Giving students a voice

After winning a competitive pitch, we picked up a brief to develop a creative advertising campaign for Leeds Student Union. The campaign would not only encourage young people to register to vote in Leeds, but to also engage in the election debate and ultimately place their vote in the general election.

A hard hitting campaign

With tight budgets, short timescales and limited media, we needed to develop a marketing campaign with a bold voice. We knew that using advertising space around Leeds we would grab the attention of the 100,000 students. We decided it would be an effective way to create buzz around the campuses and wider city area.

Using recognised ballot iconography we asked students to ‘Give an X’ about the issues that mattered to them. The statement was emotive, challenging the target audience to listen. We opened their eyes to realise that if they didn’t, then they didn’t have a voice.

The campaign used personal appeal advertising to get as many student voters to register in Leeds.

Media placement that worked hard

We implemented the campaign with a range of media from a ‘toilet takeover’ to media placements in high footfall areas. We estimate that Leeds train station received exposure to over 3 million people, which is based on average footfall.

Paid media had support from social media, a video and hundreds of hours of Brand Ambassador time. Furthermore it was all supported by our marketing materials and literature.

The next step was to guide those student to the government’s registration website in a way that didn’t break the campaign message therefore we made things super easy and developed a microsite fully branded with the campaign messaging and ONE simple click to register button: The website lead students directly to the registration page on the government website.


A great result

The advertising campaign was shortlisted for the NUS Campaign of the Year. We were also thrilled to receive a Gold Award for a Not-For-Profit Campaign from CIPR, in which we were applauded for our in-depth understanding of our target audience and varied tactics to gain results.

Student registrations for the election were at a record high in the city, as was turnout for the election, with high campaign recall amongst our target audience.

“The aim of the campaign was to ensure that as many of our students as possible were registered to vote in the General Election. Data suggests that we have achieved our aim. … This is the first time I have worked with a marketing agency. Things went brilliantly.”

Michael Austin at Leeds Beckett Students' Union

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