While working for Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Corporate Communications Department, I was tasked with managing the polytechnic’s yearly advertising campaign. Ngee Ann Poly is a publicly-funded institute of higher-learning in Singapore with a student population of approximately 15,500. As such, the objectives of these campaigns were to inform prospective students — students leaving secondary school having completed their GCSE “O” Levels at the age of 16 or 17 — of the benefits of further education at Ngee Ann Poly and to boost enrolment.
For the first two years, we left the creatives of this campaign to advertising agencies. My job was to manage the agencies by helping them understand our brand messaging, balance the budget, fine-tune media strategies, and gain internal approval from key decision-makers.
For the 2011/2012 campaign, we decided to go in another direction. We decided to create the campaign ourselves.
This decision was prompted by the fact that we realised that most agencies were struggling to differentiate our brand from other polytechnics. We felt that we best understood our branding and image — and were in the best position to articulate this to potential students.
We also had the expertise to do so thanks to my background as a copywriter and a very talented in-house designer we had at the time.
Together, we decided on a series of three main visuals featuring close-ups of three of our students. Each ad featured one of our three main unique selling points: possibilities for learning, our talent development programmes, and the chance for global exposure.
The look and feel we were going for was something fresh, vibrant and full of life — like the students themselves. By closing up on our own students, we gave the ads an aspirational quality: these were students just like them, successful “seniors” that younger, prospective students could look up to.
The main tagline of the campaign — “Expect the Xtraordinary” — was the progressive next step on a tagline (“That Something Xtra”) that Ngee Ann Poly had been using for the past several years. This main tagline gave us the headlines for the three ads: Xtraordinary Possiblities, Xtraordinary Talent and Xtraordinary Exposure.
Finally, once the creatives were approved, we engaged an agency to adapt the visuals across different media: outdoor, online and print advertising. The creative theme was also extended to an event website.
Click on the links below to better view the advertisements: