Centennial College keeps it real with teens

The new campaign targets its demo with more personable ads in Toronto transit and print.

Centennial College is looking to attract the attention of Toronto teens with an OOH-focused media campaign that uses ‘real’ images in its creative and reaches them in their environment.

Launched this week, the media buy for the campaign (handled in-house by Centennial College) focused on Toronto transit, with additional buys in Metro and the Toronto Star. The goal was to reach Toronto-based teens in the places they frequent and through the media they read while on the go, Bruce Williams, advertising manager, Centennial College, tells MiC. The buy will last through the key fall recruitment season ending in November, and start again in February through March.

The creative, handled by Smith Roberts in Toronto, features teens in their everyday states: canned-ravioli-eating, slightly dishevelled and pierced. The text features promising slogans as a counterpoint to the teen’s stereotypical image, such as, ‘Einstein didn’t own a hairbrush either.’

The goal of the campaign was to embody the opposite image of the typical post-secondary school student depicted in most school’s advertising, Malcolm Roberts, president, Smith Roberts, tells MiC. Smith Roberts did focus group research with the campaign, and found that young people thought that traditional advertising did not reflect what teens were really like. The goal of the campaign’s creative was to address that notion and at the same time, provide an uplifting message that would appeal to parents too.

‘We wanted to put out a message of ‘we understand what you’re going through as a teenager’ and Centennial College understands that even if you look like this kid who’s scruffy or doesn’t conform and sleeps all day, that’s just the physiology of what kids are going through at this stage.’