Billboard beauties: Western launches new ad campaign
By Brendan Howe
Five of Western's best students will see their faces plastered across Toronto in bus, subway and newspaper advertisements over the next few weeks as part of a pilot ad campaign the university announced yesterday.
In an attempt to recruit new students, the university will place ads throughout the city showcasing students who have displayed academic excellence, depicted in a personal and humorous way.
One of the ads, featuring Jonas Pennell, a fourth-year media information technoculture student, says his purpose in life is "to challenge the Gatesesque empires."
"I thought it would be fun. I guess I'm kind of an exhibitionist," Pennell said.
Western's President Paul Davenport said Toronto is the university's largest recruitment base, with 20 per cent of first-year students coming from that area. He said it is crucial to reach out to these students in this important time period.
"For many high school students, that 200 kilometres [between London and Toronto] can seem like a long distance. We want to break that down," Davenport said.
The total cost of the campaign will be $150,000 with ads being placed on buses, subways and publications including Eye Weekly, Now Magazine Shift Magazine Inc. and Watch Magazine. The print ads started yesterday and will continue for eight weeks while the transit ads begin Nov. 24 and will continue for four weeks.
The recruiting effort comes at an important time for the university after 150 high school visits were missed because of the teachers' strike, said Roma Harris, vice-provost and registrar.
Marya Maat, a first-year arts student, said she was chosen to be in the campaign because she is a national scholar. The ad she is in says her purpose in is "to breathe life into blank pages."
"I think [the campaign] is really good. It should get a lot of attention," she said.
Ted Garrard, Western's VP-external, said the students used in the ads were chosen based on academics as well as what program they are in. The university is trying to target specific programs to increase their enrollment.
Another participant, Daniel Marentette, a second-year biology student, said the idea of having her face plastered on ads around Toronto did not really bother her.
"I doubt many people are going to recognize me from it. If it was in London it would be a different story," Marentette said, adding she felt honoured to be part of the campaign.