Achieving positive brand impact on a budget

Campaign strategy and design

Arts University Bournemouth


'Clearing' is the period after A-Level results day during which students are able to take up places on degree courses that haven't yet been filled. AUB wanted to capitalise more on the process of Clearing by presenting it in a positive light. Although commonly an entry point to university for students who didn't achieve the required grades, Clearing can also apply to students who did better than they expected.

We were asked to turn this concept into a coherent message and help AUB achieve cut-through during a highly competitive period in the Higher Education recruitment cycle. The resulting campaign had to be flexible enough to cover a number of platforms, both on and offline, on a relatively small budget compared to their competitors.


We saw an opportunity to buck the trend of 'fire sale'-style advertising used by universities at this time and play on the word 'Clearing' to introduce clarity, calm and thoughtfulness in AUB's campaign. By combining Clearing and thinking, we created 'Clearthinking' to both celebrate the work the university produces and put forward a simple message for how students could make the most of the process.

We created a series of flexible Clearthinking displays ads to evidence the work produced at AUB and intrigue students looking for a place through Clearing. Along with this, we worked with AUB to create a simple 'Clearthinking guide to Clearing', which took the form of a simple animation and Z-Card. The Z-Cards were sent out to schools and colleges to raise awareness of places available at AUB and provide teachers with a simple guide to help students through the Clearing process.


With over 6,000 views of the Clearthinking video across Facebook and YouTube, along with a successful display advertising campaign that covered key students portals and the UCAS website, AUB were able to achieve cut-through on a limited budget during one of those most competitive periods in the Higher Education sector. More importantly, they were comfortably able to fill spaces available through Clearing and meet their recruitment targets.

The Clearthinking campaign is flexible enough to be expanded upon and used again each year during the Clearing period, meaning AUB can use future budgets more effectively when it comes to reaching a larger audience of prospects.

Related Work