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WGU Washington

You've probably never heard of Western Governors University. That’s because unlike other online universities, they don't advertise. WGU only spends students' tuition on providing a high quality education for working adults.

However, when WGU was endorsed by the state of Washington, it became the state’s only all-online, nonprofit university. That’s big news. So, we decided to make a big splash. We bought a huge billboard right in the middle of the state, where everyone could see it.

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For Washington residents that didn't happen to be driving by our billboard, we set up a live webcam, broadcasting live billboard action 24/7.

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Of course, there were a lot of other things that people should know about WGU Washington, such as the fact that it's fully accredited; it has a unique competency based model; and how it's received a lot of good press for providing an accessible education. So, we started adding things to the billboard. A starburst, a sash, an over-sized magazine reprint dangling from a pole…  

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Our banner ads were so interactive that people had to literally turn their computer monitors sideways in order to read them.

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For Washington residents who weren't driving by our billboard anytime soon, who don't have the internet, but who do still read newspapers…we ran an ad about the billboard there too.

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The press coverage of this campaign was intense. We made the front page of the local Ephrata, WA newspaper.

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Later, we took the billboard on the road and visited a few real-life WGU Washington students. Because after all, not everyone has time to drive to the middle of the state to see the billboard. 

(It's worth noting that by the time we reached this "second phase" of the campaign, WGU Washington had already met its annual enrollment goals five months ahead of schedule. So now we know…billboard advertising still works!) 

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When the billboard campaign ran its course, new student enrollment had risen by 287%. That made the first advertising campaign in WGU Washington's history also the most successful advertising campaign in WGU Washington's history.