Need a Good Marketing Campaign? There’s a Place For That.

(Hint: The place is JWU.)
As the school year comes charging to an end, students have to start preparing for moving out of their dorms — and figuring out what to do with all the stuff they've accumulated this year that definitely won't be fitting in the car for the trip home. Marketing students contemplated this common problem as they created the marketing strategy for the Move Out and Donate campaign, and they’ve unveiled the answer, or at least an angle to build their strategy on: Do you have stuff that you’re going to throw away? There's a place for that.

Marketing students work on strategy for the Move Out and Donate campaign.

It’s a simple statement to support a simple goal of getting students to donate their unwanted furniture, clothing, sheets and non-perishable food items to the right place, instead of just throwing them away when they move out of their dorms. This campaign is a campuswide effort involving many departments, including JWU ECO, Facilities, Res Life, Student Services and more. It also works with numerous outside organizations, including the Rhode Island Donation Exchange, Providence Animal Rescue League and Big Brothers Big Sisters

Associate Professor Elizabeth Carey’s Portfolio class has built the marketing strategy for this campaign for the past three years. The strategy includes creating social media posts for Instagram and flyers to place strategically around campus that provide information students will need to donate their goods. This year’s “There’s a Place for That” campaign was created by nine students, who each had an important role in developing, coordinating and launching the campaign.

  • Laura Zakrewski ’19 — Concept development and copywriting for social media posts, flyers and move out checklist
  • Gabrielle Chu ’19 — Copywriting for Wildcat email and social/digital content
  • Manal Jakhar ’19 — Art direction and design for flyers and social media posts
  • Brieanne Johnson ’19 — Art direction and design for flyers and social media posts
  • Jeremy Hoff ’19 — Coordination with Student Involvement for campaign tables
  • Hannah Sill ’19 and Genevieve Fina ’20 — Copywriting for all social media posts
  • Courtney Craib ’20 and Jenna Cavallaro ’20 — Off-campus email copywriting for apartment realtors and coordination of communication with landlords

Some examples of posters with clothes and a cute dog.

From previous years, they’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. What does work is building the campaign around a simple angle that students can relate to.

“When we started talking about it, we were trying to see why students were donating all the things that they do,” said Gabrielle Chu ’19. “The biggest issue is they often aren’t planning ahead. When they’re donating stuff, it’s often last minute and because they can’t fit it in their car. We thought about it that way in the beginning — as in there’s no space in your car for this, but there’s a place to put it somewhere else that would do good instead, so that’s why we went with this angle.”

"This year’s look is a complete departure from previous years."

With a concept in place they moved on to the look, using the lessons they’d learned from past campaigns. “This year’s look is a complete departure from previous years,” said Carey. “We split up our messaging to off-campus and on-campus students, because in the past we’ve had way too much information on the flyers.” Now the flyers feature minimal but impactful copy, bold colors and live photography. The same designs will also be used for social media posts.

“This is the first year we’ve used live photography instead of illustrations,” said Manal Jakhar ’19. “I think the photos give it more depth — you can see and almost feel the object instead of just looking at an outline of something.” 

Some examples of posters with table and a rug.

As for the bold color choices and overall feel of the campaign, Jakhar revealed that the design was conceived with a focus on the flyers rather than the social media posts. “I designed more towards the flyers, just because I know how students are navigating their lives,” Jakhar explained. “They aren’t really going to be on the JWU Instagram all the time, and there’s so much competition on Instagram versus just a student walking to class and seeing a flyer.”

The campaign launched a week earlier this year, in the hopes that it would give students even more time to start thinking about how to consolidate their belongings. Now that the campaign has launched, the marketing team will soon start to see how well the message is getting across.

“With public awareness campaigns, you can’t guilt people into doing things and you can’t be punitive,” said Carey. “You have to tap into a piece of humor, like we’ve done in the past, or a clear statement. For this campaign we knew the design and the writing really had to work tightly together.”

Carey also revealed that the team had some doubts about the concept at first. “When we first talked about ‘there’s a place for that’, not everyone in the class agreed that it was the right concept. The concern was that it might be too vague. But, we just had to emphasize that the copy and the visuals have to work together, and as you can see when it’s the right copy and the right visual, there’s no doubt what it means.”

Some examples of posters with can and a camera.

Need information about where to donate your goods?

Donation bins can be found at all Residence Halls, the Wildcat Center and the Downcity Parking Garage from Monday, April 29 to Tuesday, May 21.

Rhode Island Donation Exchange (Call (401) 831-5511 for donation pickup)
Providence Animal Rescue League
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Providence Public Works