In an effort to increase attendance at his store’s Graduation Fair, Clint Aase, director of Bronco Bookstore at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, began to think of new ways to advertise the event to students.
“In the past, we’ve sent emails and hung up posters, but we still had students tell us that they hadn’t heard about it,” he explained. “I realized it was time to find a different way to draw attention to the event that would ensure they saw our message.”
Aase and his staff then came up with a set of fun and interactive games to increase students’ awareness. Beginning two weeks before the event, they hosted the graduation-themed activities across campus.
For instance, they dressed a mannequin in a cap and gown and encouraged students to try to throw a hulahoop over it from a distance. Cleverly called ‘Grad Hoopla,’ the game was held outdoors and attracted student passersby who played for the chance to win prizes.
The store also set up Grad Pong, where students attempted to toss a ping pong ball into a formation of cups.
“They loved it,” he explained. “It definitely showed students the fun side of our store. As they played, we let them know what our Grad Fair is and when it is held; unlike a poster, this message came through loud and clear!”
As an additional way to promote the event, student employees dressed in full regalia and visited highly-populated areas of campus to hand out flyers with information on Grad Fair.
“That was definitely the approach that most impacted attendance,” he said. “Students couldn’t help but take notice of their peers wearing a cap and gown in the middle of the cafeteria or student union; it really helped to spread the word.”
The activity that was most popular with students, however, was the store’s spirited photo booth that allowed them to take pictures with the school’s mascot, Billy Bronco.
“We made 20-30 different signs with graduation-related phrases such as ‘Thanks, Mom!’ or ‘I’ll Miss CPP!’ and gave students the option to choose the one that they wanted to include in their picture,” he described. “After they posed for a photo, we emailed the image to them as a keepsake; we took over 200 pictures, so it was really popular!”
After implementing their new advertising strategy, the store saw a significant increase in attendance at their Grad Fair, making it more than worth the effort!
“Grad Fair 2012 was a huge success and students had a blast,” he said. “We’re definitely going to continue the Grad Fair Games in the future. We’ll plan to mix up the activities to keep it interesting, but we’ve found that it’s a great way to generate excitement!”