'Lemur Swami' challenges prospective SGU students

Grenada-based St. George's University (SGU), which boasts 1,000 undergrads, 3,300 medical students, and 130 veterinary students each year, is always looking for new ways to target the hard-to-reach base of prospective vet students in the US and abroad.

Grenada-based St. George's University (SGU), which boasts 1,000 undergrads, 3,300 medical students, and 130 veterinary students each year, is always looking for new ways to target the hard-to-reach base of prospective vet students in the US and abroad. The school teamed up with longtime AOR The Halo Group to drive prospects to the school's Web site - with a humorous twist.

Strategy

"We've tried many different routes to engage [potential veterinary students]," says Bob Ryan, SGU's associate dean of enrollment planning.

The best, the school has found, is to get people to visit its Web site, which is sophisticated and able to reel them in. So The Halo Group devised an online game featuring a sarcastically rude "Lemur Swami," who challenges players to answer questions about animals, insulting them when they're wrong.

Tactics

The agency e-mailed the game - which links to the SGU Web site - to more than 34,000 prospective veterinary students in the US, UK, and Canada. Halo Group partner Denise Goodwin Pace notes that vets tend to be "impractically passionate about animals," so the animal theme of the game helps serve as a "gateway into the [SGU] site."

Results

The e-mail blast went out on October 15. Within the first week, SGU's vet school site had logged 500 visits as a direct result of the game - which, as Goodwin Pace points out, is a relatively large number for such a specialized field.

Future

The Halo Group will continue to work with SGU. The school is planning to give the Lemur Swami more exposure by using the game as an installation at upcoming veterinary conferences in the US.


PR team: St. George's University (Grenada, West Indies) and The Halo Group (New York)

Campaign: The Insulting Lemur Swami

Duration: Late summer to October 2007

Budget: $25,000

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