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September 22 , 2009

University sharpens online marketing
Goal is to attract international students

Gaining advantage on the competition to attract the best and brightest young minds, the University of British Columbia (UBC) is launching a smart, new campaign to recruit international students to its Vancouver and UBC Okanagan campuses. The recruitment marketing features UBC’s first-ever website dedicated to international student enrollment, www.connectionsforlife.ubc.ca, as well as an integrated suite of on- and off-line recruitment materials developed by Tribal DDB Vancouver.

“UBC is ranked one of the best universities in the world and we have students from 140 countries,” says Karen McKellin, associate director, International Student Initiative, UBC. “We know that our prospects go online today to get primary information about a school and the website forms their first impressions of our University. We wanted to create a website specifically for international students that gives UBC a stronger, user-friendly online presence and provides meaningful information to help them with their decision process.”

In addition to information on the two UBC campuses, academics and research, programs and more, prospective students can connect with current international students and professors, via a series of online videos and stories, to get an authentic glimpse of the school and learn firsthand about life at UBC.

“Most university recruitment sites offer the same standard information about the school, its location and offering, but UBC’s site expands on this by addressing what’s in it for prospective students,” says Josh Fehr, creative director, Tribal DDB Vancouver. “The site connects prospective students to the UBC experience by bringing it to life through the eyes of its students, professors and alumni."

Other noteworthy features on the new site include a map that illustrates the international student body via citizenship, featured student stories, as well as approximated flight routes with estimated flying times from various departure cities around the world.

The site also holds a UBC social media dashboard that feeds in UBC-related news from third-party sites like, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube allowing students to further connect with alumni and current students.

With all international student recruitment materials now available online the new recruitment campaign supports UBC’s commitment to sustainability. The number of pages in the traditional viewbook has shortened significantly, making it lighter and more energy-efficient to ship, but offers the same core content and refers to the site for more detailed information. The viewbook uses new leaf reincarnation matte paper stock and is made with 100% recycled fibre and 50% post-consumer waste, processed chlorine free and manufactured with electricity that is offset by Green-E ® certified renewable energy certificates.

To support UBC’s international student recruitment effort, Tribal DDB Vancouver also developed various off-line collateral pieces, including postcards, a poster for school counselors, a new recruitment presentation, brochures and stationary that all embody the “connections” visual concept used on the website.

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