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A “One Poster” Approach to Advertising

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Erin Kuepfer
Communications Assistant
Mon, 03/11/2019 - 14:00

You might have noticed a single, bright blue poster hanging in the Great Hall recently - the only one of its kind.

Alexander Kelley, Feds Marketing Specialist, had been contemplating the idea of a minimalist, zero-waste approach to advertising for some time, and the first ever Night Festival event was the perfect place to try it out.

“Originally we tried to print nothing at all,” Kelley said, “but now we’re focused on one poster in the SLC Great Hall.”

The “One Poster” idea was designed with the intent to keep marketing as zero waste and environmentally-friendly as possible. Using only a single poster for advertising is more sustainable, redirects funds toward student life instead of marketing, and encourages individuals to be conscious of how they’re promoting things on campus.

“Because we’re going without printing, funds can be directed to online promotion and giveaways,” Kelley said.

However, Kelly stressed that a single poster requires certain criteria to be satisfied in order to ensure its success as a marketing method. First and foremost, people have to show interest in the event.

“I had been thinking about doing the idea [of one poster] for awhile now. It’s just been hard to execute," he said. "When the community comes together around an event it makes it easier to go green – there isn’t as big of a push to get the word out because people associated with the event naturally get the word out."

Using one poster for the entirety of an event focuses on the students attending and participating to get the word around. Students can take a picture of the poster and share it with friends through social media. Also, there needs to be a sufficient amount of time to allow for people to self-advertise.

When the Night Festival event was confirmed, Kelley knew that it embodied all the criteria needed for testing out his “One Poster” idea. The Night Festival, which took place on March 6, acted as a “pre-show” to Cultural Caravan. It featured a wide array of Waterloo clubs, some featuring interactive booths or merchandise for sale, and information on how to join. The primary goal of the festival was for clubs to display what they do.

"It's like a night market for art," Kelley said.  

Kelley hopes that the one poster challenge can be carried into more types of events, and the next goal for him is to tackle Clubs and Societies Days.

“If we can get this worked out so that clubs, dons, and other individuals contribute to sharing the message then we could do one poster for Clubs and Societies Days as well," he said.

Overall, Kelley said he was happy with the outcome from the advertising experiment, and that the success of the “One Poster” for the Night Festival offers a promising future for this sustainable outlook on advertising.

The future of on-campus advertising is green. Ideas like “One Poster” show that focusing on minimalist and low-waste initiatives can achieve great results.