Paint the Town Ad
New York Newsday
In 1985, Newsday, then the nation’s ninth largest daily newspaper and a jewel in Times-Mirror’s journalistic crown, entered the raging tabloid wars with the launch of New York Newsday. Its entry into the highly competitive urban market had to be simultaneously sophisticated and splashy. That New York Newsday was the only daily paper published in full color was high on the list of competitive advantages vaunted in the campaign that emphasized colorful coverage of America’s largest city.
I conceived the “paint by numbers” visual and wrote this ad heralding the New York City entry of the only full-color daily newspaper in The Greater New York Metropolitan Area. It ran as a double-page spread in New York Magazine and was reformatted and repurposed as point-of-purchase signage throughout New York City and as an insert in The Sunday Newsday Magazine section. A variation of the theme—We Paint the Town with the Right Numbers—was also produced as a brochure and distributed to advertisers and advertising prospects.
At the height of New York City’s crack epidemic, Newsday and New York Newsday wanted to raise public awareness of the consequences of addiction through its pages. The publisher wanted something that was stronger than the Reaganite admonition to “Just Say ‘No’” and yet not too preachy.
I conceived and wrote a full-page ad which won Newsday an East Coast Regional ADDY Award for Public Service in 1987. It ran repeatedly in Newsday and New York Newsday and was also reproduced as an 11x14 glossy poster distributed to all Newsday and New York Newsday advertisers, Long Island high schools and medical institutions, made available for mailing upon request to all Newsday and New York Newsday readers, and displayed at all Newsday retail outlets.
Paint the Town Ad
A Little Crack Ad
Baruch College, City University of New York
Division of Continuing and Professional Studies (CAPS)
Attracting International Students:
A university-wide strategic planning initiative focused on attracting international students posed a particular challenge for a division of a tax-supported public institution dedicated to providing non-credit programs primarily designed for working adults. We had to overcome the political firewall between credit and non-credit schools and develop a low-cost marketing plan dependent on piggy-backed international travel, University approval of entering contracts with foreign agents, and positioning two F-1 visa eligible programs as “feeders” to the schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees.
I wrote two Informational brochures on our F-1 visa eligible programs: Contemporary American Business Practices (CABP) and English as a Second Language. Each was designed to describe the program in English and two other languages which were determined as the administrators of CAPS were able to arrange international travel. A national educational commission tour to Vietnam and Indonesia resulted in the English / Vietnamese / Indonesia version. A school fair in six Brazilian cities necessitated a Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish version. And so on…
These brochures, downloadable in all languages from the CAPS website, were also linked in response to inquiries and distributed to Baruch international student groups, meet-ups that attracted groups of targeted nationals living in New York, international student recruitment organizations worldwide (Study in the USA, for example), and prospective recruitment agencies. I also created a one-year email follow-up calendar for leads generated by every trip, a domestic outreach plan to raise on-campus awareness of CAPS’s international programs, a referral incentive program, an international prospect tracking procedure and all foreign exhibit materials. These recruitment efforts, begun in 2013, are ongoing at CAPS.
CAPS needed an identity that would appeal to its diverse target audiences (international students, working professionals from entry level to executive suite, career seekers and changers, corporations) and encompass its diverse offerings (online and classroom courses in 30 different subject areas, workshops, seminars, professional certificate programs, corporate training).
I came up with the tagline "The College of Possibilities." This emphasized that there was something in our catalog that would help any member of these diverse audiences reach their personal or professional goals. The first visual I proposed to illustrate the range of options CAPS provided was a Rubik’s Cube which was pictured in all print, digital, and transit advertising, as a header for eblasts and flyers, and on all promotional and informational collateral in 2010. Future years featured a maze visual, the “splash” (a play on the inkblot and all the different images people assign to them), keys and doors. The tagline, created in 2009, is still being used.
The College of Possibilities
Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business is the largest public business school in the USA. The applicant to acceptance ratio in both the full-time and part-time MBA programs is 3:1. Since most of the non-credit courses and professional certificate programs offered by CAPS are in business subjects I assumed that Zicklin’s aspirants and event attendees would also have some interest in CAPS programs. The challenge was to overcome academic politics that inhibited interaction between credit and non-credit programs and Zicklin’s concern that CAPS would position its affordable professional certificate programs as reasonable facsimiles of an MBA.
CAPS offers excellent and cost-efficient GMAT and GRE test preparation courses. Since these exam scores were essential criteria for Zicklin admission, I proposed that CAPS could supply the coffee/cookies service at Zicklin’s monthly information sessions in return for a presence promoting only test prep courses at these sessions. Every month, CAPS test prep secured between 30 and 60 leads from the Zicklin information sessions. After intensive follow-up, we were able to increase test prep enrollment by 14% over the course of two years.
Trading Coffee/Cookies for Leads
And then…The trust and good will generated by CAPS’s non-threatening presence at Zicklin’s events (plus the excellent cookies supplied) paved the way for additional collaborative efforts. Most significantly, Zicklin agreed to mail a CAPS promotional brochure touting our business classes as valuable complements to future grad school application and current work experience to those in their applicant pool who were not accepted for the following term.
Increasing Enrollment at the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute:
All that is required to become a licensed real estate salesperson in New York State is completing a 75-hour course, passing a licensing exam, and securing the sponsorship of a licensed New York State real estate broker. The licensing course had been the lynchpin of Baruch’s Real Estate Institute for years and served as a valuable introduction to additional courses available to the real estate professional. As less expensive, online licensing courses proliferated, however, the Real Estate Institute faced decreasing enrollment and revenues. I was assigned to develop and implement a three-month campaign to reverse this trend with a budget of less than $10,000.
Working with the administrators and faculty of CAPS and the Real Estate Institute we revised (actually, reshuffled) the curriculum of the Institute to appeal to job changers eager to augment their professional experience and earn a marketable certification. We created eight certificates emphasizing real estate management, marketing, finance, and sustainability, based on a career flow chart showing how earning these certificates helped industry aspirants on every level. I created the theme “Move In and Move Up,” rolling out the red carpet for the “newly-renovated” Real Estate Institute and an integrated campaign that included print and digital ads. radio, email, catalog spreads and open house events. Enrollment increased by 12% over the two terms following the revamp and campaign.
Move In and Move Up
The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College enlisted CAPS to launch a jointly administered, comprehensive entrepreneurial certificate program on a shoestring budget of under $5000.
I wrote a brochure, digital ads and an email series heralding the certificate headed “Start Smart.” Brochures were distributed through several Small Business Development Centers in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area, to a mailing list of Small Business Loan applicants, and to local incubators. Small digital ads were placed on the New York Enterprise Report site and a dedicated email was sent through CareerBuilder to users who indicated interest in business ownership. The enrollment target for the first Certificate of Entrepreneurship course was eight. Thirteen aspiring entrepreneurs enrolled.