Who swiped the Hype?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

November 15, 2007 Ed Cartoon

During last year’s University Students’ Council Presidential election, both Chris Reynolds and Tom Stevenson agreed the USC’s external promotions portfolio needed a boost.

At the start of this year, the HYPE Street Team was launched. It was hoped the group would promote USC events to the average Western student. Most students, however, are asking what is HYPE?

Which begs the question: shouldn’t your target audience " students " have an inkling of who the promotions group is and what it is promoting?

Students do not associate HYPE with the USC or with events promotion. Despite the huge sales of the now iconic HYPE T-shirt, HYPE’s events promotion has either been non-existent or ineffective.

For example, in order to promote PrideWestern’s B-Girlz event, HYPE members donned brightly coloured wigs. Students were supposed to ask members why they were wearing wigs to learn about the event.

The problem is most students will not ask. Most students are too busy going to class, studying for exams or grabbing a quick bite to eat to notice such things.

Oktoberfest is another event HYPE could have been ‘hyping.’ Few students were aware of the event on Concrete Beach. The only ‘hype’ around Oktoberfest was one person handing out fliers in the Spoke Lounge one day prior. There wasn’t even a sign in front of the Oktoberfest tent.

It is refreshing to see HYPE use a subversive marketing approach, but in order to capture the attention of busy students, it must venture beyond the University Community Centre and not shun traditional methods such as posters, rave cards, and media coverage.

With a 100-person team, HYPE can easily launch a multifaceted promotion campaign and reach more students. For example, HYPE should target residences to pique first-year students’ interest in the Western community before the students venture off campus.

HYPE should be commended for promoting smaller USC events that might have gone unnoticed by the typical Western student. It is not an easy task to promote events on campus, especially with a generally apathetic student body.

However, HYPE’s event promotions have been poor to say the least. It has been too focused on developing the HYPE brand instead of promotion.

The street team argues it must focus on branding first, but it can be argued HYPE does not need to establish its brand identity since the USC, the organization whose events it is supposed to promote, already has a brand identity.

But, there is no point in developing a brand identity if students do not understand what HYPE is.

HYPE needs to change its strategy in order to be an effective group; it must utilize both traditional and subversive marketing tactics in addition to making use of its underused team members.

Maybe then all the hype will mean something.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette