By Mariana Ionova
Ryerson spent $6000 to “pump up students” coming to the university this month, according to Doug Moxon, director of university advancement.
The university purchased a one-month spot on a billboard overlooking Dundas Square and another one inside the Toronto Life Center.
The spaces were used to display a 30-second video of Ryerson students’ work every 15 minutes and were meant to raise the spirits of new and returning students.
“The goal is to make students feel good about choosing Ryerson,” said Moxon.
“Mostly, we wanted to pump up students coming to Ryerson.”
The two boards cost a total of $6000 for the month of September, which Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said was a steal.
“We got it literally at a tenth of what it would normally cost,” said Levy.
The typical cost of a similar space could run between $50 000 and $70 000 dollars per month, according to Moxon. But the university wasn’t willing to spend that much on a video with no sound.
“I didn’t see the benefit of it for that price,” said Moxon.
The advertising campaign was also partly an effort to showcase the university’s reputation and presence in the area, according to Levy.
“This is our home we’re going to tell people it’s our home,” said Levy. “We have a great place to be able to shout our name and show the work of our students and a variety of things.”
But the location of the ads does not do much to promote the university, according to David Dunn, marketing professor at the University of Toronto. He noted that instead of advertising around the Ryerson community, the university should be getting the word out elsewhere.
“Just to stick a bunch of billboards around campus doesn’t make an awful lot of sense to me,” said Dunn.
The billboards, although visually appealing, also have limited ability to draw in potential new students, said Dunn. In his view, the university must look to other mediums to convey its message.
“For recruiting students, I would strongly advise looking at the online world as the primary source.”
But, according to Moxon, the advertisements targeted the general public and generated good exposure for the university because of their location.
“Yonge and Dundas Square is one of the most visited spots in Canada.”
And the response was so positive that the university is open to the possibility of buying more ad time in the future.
“All the feedback that we’ve been getting–people really like it,” said Moxon.
“It was a little like ‘let’s try this and see how it goes.’”
Photo: Jennifer Cheng