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Ads for Colleges Are Usually Terrible, but McCann Melbourne Just Made a Fascinating One


Creative ads for universities are very rare. Most rate about a D+ (particularly this 2010 campaign for Drake University, whose actual theme, hilariously enough, was "D+"). But now and again, you see a good one. And the latest comes once again from Australia, which seems to specialize in college ads that don't suck.

McCann Melbourne made the spot below for the University of Melbourne, and you know right away that it's unusual—it opens at night, which is unheard of in college ads. A woman sit on a campus bench, reading, when suddenly she rises and begins sprinting toward a building. From there, it gets quite surreal.

The Pilobolus-like choreography is impressive (particularly as the ad features the university's own students, teachers, academics and executives). It's a bit like a high-minded version of PlayStation's famous "Mountain" spot, except it's conceptually the opposite—the piles of people here have risen through learning, and laying off the video games.

The metaphor of great minds colliding is a bit obtuse, and not paid off in the visuals, where it's bodies colliding and clambering over each other. But the idea of collision is a useful one for higher education.

"This campaign acknowledges that contributions that impact us all, aren't for the most part created by individuals working alone in dark spaces, but through the bright minds and their imaginations colliding and collaborating. A little bit like advertising agencies," says Pat Baron, executive creative director McCann Melbourne.

The campaign includes social and digital media, cinema, TV, print, outdoor and a content partnership with the Guardian. This is McCann's first major work for the university since winning the business in a pitch earlier this year.

Client: The University Of Melbourne
Executive Director, Marketing and Communications: Lara McKay

Agency: McCann Melbourne
Executive Creative Director: Patrick Baron
Creative Director: Andy Jones
Creative Director: Alex Wadelton
Art Director: Corey Thorn
Copywriter: Chesney Payet
Head of Broadcast: Victoria Conners
Production Assistant: Afrim Memed
Editor: Patrick Jennings
Managing Director: Adrian Mills
Head of Strategy & Media: David Phillips
Senior Channel Strategist: Ross Dougall
Executive Director: Serrin Dewar
Account Director: Jessica Jolley
Account Director: Sally Bradley
Print Producer: Anthea Waters
Retoucher: Ross Goddard
Senior Finished Artist: Daniel Hickey
Digital Director: Tony Prysten
Senior Digital Producer: Joe Guario
Digital Producer: Rebecca Earwaker
Social Lead: Chris Baker

Production Company: Exit Films
Director: Mark Daly
Producer: Martin Box
Managing Director/EP: Kim Wildenburg
DOP: Geoffrey Simpson

Postproduction: The Editors
Editor: Ryan Boucher
Producer: Nicoletta Rousianos

Visual FX: Fin Design
Colourist: Ben Eagleton
Producer: Amelia Babos

Sound Design: Klang
Sound Designer / Composer: Brendan Woithe
Producer: Paul Healy

Additional Sound Mix: Soundlounge
Richard Buxton
Sam Hopgood

Sarah Ewing Agency: Still Photography/Print
Photographer: Chris Von Menge
Producer: James Mauger
Retoucher: Jamie Phillips

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