College Ads on the Boston Subway

So I was riding on the subway the other day and just so happened to have my Nikon D90 with me and was noticing all the ads for colleges.  For those of you that didn’t knowBoston is the quintessential college town.  Everyone knows about Harvard, MIT and Boston College but their are A LOT of institutes of higher learning in this town!  So as I’m riding on this T (Because that is what the subway is called in Boston)… looking at the ads… with my camera… how can I not snap some pictures of these and share with you?

This wasn’t the first time that I’ve noticed all the ads on the train, in fact a few weeks ago I tweeted that Suffolk was the clear winner then and I still hold by that.  So Jessica if that was you congratulations, if not be sure to tell the person in charge I thought it was the best!

A few notes as you view the ads:

  • Suffolk wins because of nice visuals, strong layout, short easy to remember URL to a landing page (although you might want to put some tracking tokens on that redirect).  This was one of the few that had lots of text but I am a strong believer in over giving.  Besides many people spend their time on the T reading anyway, why not read a poster ad if it’s of interest to you?  That way you can have lots of strong information to get you excited and help to modivate you to make that next step!
  • Most didn’t have a lot of text on the ad and of those I felt Boston University was the strongest mostly because of the strong visual call to actions of contacts.
  • Notice Cambridge College’s url with the “info22″ that sends to a landing page.  What is really neat about this is I’m guessing they probably have at least 21 other campaigns they are running to test each campaigns effectiveness.  (In fact upon changing the number at the end a few of the lower numbers send you to the same landing page)  Nice testing job guys!
  • Finally I’m probably breaking some higher ed cardinal sin by calling them out (that’s ok because I don’t work in Higher Ed anymore) but Harvard… Really guys…  Are those extra four characters at the front necessary?  The whole point of having a short URL for print is to save people from typing and does the job just fine!  Also of the nine ads Harvard was the one that didn’t include rip off pad.  Not saying that they need it or that I’m a big fan of the element but of the nine ads on the T it was the only one to not include this element that seemed to be pretty standard.

So what do you think?  What is your favorite ad?  Any other things that you noticed that I missed?  Feel free to leave you comments below or surf on over to the Flickr images and leave them there.

5 Responses to “College Ads on the Boston Subway”

  1. Says:

    Thanks for the shout out! I’ll let the ad people know that they are doing a great job. :)

    Since we use the redirect on a lot of pieces (print ads, outdoor, direct mail), and from conversations with those who know to just type in /summer, we’d not be able to capture our T traffic easily. Maybe next year we could have a more specific URL for each. I’ve been thinking more and more about dividing up our web traffic in our analytics for ROI.

    Again, thanks for the props! Always nice to hear we’re on the right track. No pun intended. ;O)

  2. Says:

    At Boston University, I know we really started to our big marketing push for Summer Term courses last year.

    The Office of New Media developed a new site (stunning, as are all of their new sites over the past couple of years), and they really ramped-up their local advertising, especially the out of home stuff like the T ads you highlighted in your post.

    And like you said, Harvard certainly has the legendary status, but their marketing is definitely falling behind. You can’t rely on your name forever, especially when there are an abundance of lesser known colleges and universities who are building (and now have) outstanding academic reputations that are willing to devote resources to building their brand and developing great marketing collateral.

  3. Says:

    Loyola University Chicago has tons of ads on Chicago public transportation too.

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