How can you create a concept and campaign for something that doesn’t exist yet?

How can you create a concept and campaign for something that doesn’t exist yet?

Anglia Ruskin University challenged Net Natives, their trusted long-term advertising and creative partners, to create a compelling campaign for their new School of Medicine, Chelmsford, Essex.

19030-Roadside-48-Sheet (2)


Their vision is to educate and train doctors who will be ready to deliver and practise modern medicine in the 21st Century. A dynamic and modern curriculum with social accountability at the heart delivered in a new contemporary facility is aiming to address the urgent need for more doctors and healthcare professionals in the UK, especially Essex.

But how do you come up with a look, sound and feel for a medical school that isn’t finished yet?

The creative team at Net Natives brought their expertise together to come up with a concept that truly encapsulates the University’s vision for the School, and the type of pioneering students they wanted to attract…

“It takes courage to be the first. This concept goes deeper into the human qualities needed to take up the mantle.” Cate Sloan, Lead Copywriter, Net Natives.

Facing the challenge of the unknown, along with limited assets and nothing to photograph, the team pursued concepts that would work with the restrictions, not against. ‘Visionary’ and ‘pioneering’ were about seeing the future with wisdom and imagination, and the notion of being the first. ‘Made for pioneers’ was chosen by the client, and the team set about creating messaging and animation that would portray the bold, future-gazing nature of the project.

“This concept is about potential. The block-colour silhouette is a space to be written on, the illustrative stethoscope a nod to an achievable future. The student can self-identify: I am not this yet, but I think I can be.”

To reinforce ARU’s message a series of engaging content pieces were created, designed to drum up excitement for the School’s opening and to educate the audience on what it means for the future of healthcare in the region. (4) (2)From Render to Reality – Net Natives created imagery and videos for a closer look at the progress of the build, which takes the form of blueprint style animation rendering out into real photography and video of the facility. This was done to make it feel ‘real’, showing how the medical school is being built from the ground up – enticing prospective students to be a part of something new.

In order to raise awareness and get the University’s vision out there to the right audience, Net Natives’ media specialists used their expertise and experience to capitalise on the limited budget whilst strategically selecting the right media channels and OOH locations.

With high footfall across rail and roadside, using digital 6-sheets at Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and Paddington, 48-sheets at key geo-locations and 6-sheets at targeted cinema locations, the team were able to maximise the campaign’s reach.

And the results? ARU exceeded their original target of completed applications by 25%, three months before their September 2018 intake. And for their summer Open Day, they’ll be welcoming over 500 students for Medicine alone.

Net Natives rose to our challenging brief; we had no building, no students and very few staff. In addition to this the timescales were incredibly tight – only being awarded places in March 2018 – we needed a rounded campaign in market within weeks. We are delighted with the results; the creative concept turned a challenge into a compelling creative execution and the media plan delivered what we needed and more.”

Abigail Brockwell, Head of Marketing & Brand, Anglia Ruskin University.

Looking to enhance your own student recruitment campaigns? Get in touch with our student marketing experts.