Republik kicks off Unitec partnership with virtual reality installation

In October, Republik won the Unitec account, inheriting a brand that has over the last few years outspent both the University of Auckland and AUT University in its bid to attract new students to its classrooms. 

And despite having a new agency, the educational institution has continued this trend of investing in marketing by hosting an elaborate experiential activation at Auckland’s Britomart just over a week ago.

Running under the new Think.Do positioning conceptualised by Republik, the campaign featured a purpose-built container, developed by Method Studios and run by event management agency Agent 86, which allowed participants to experience the difference between interactive learning and the standard lecture theatre environment.

Once participants entered the environment, they put on virtual reality headsets and were immersed into a world were they could engage with items they could potentially encounter while working in the field. The point here is to illustrate that Unitec offers a practical learning experience that allows students to actually do things, rather than sitting passively and listening.       

“The team created the Think.Do Experiment to reinforce Unitec’s philosophy that learning is more effective when students can apply their knowledge to a practical situation,” says Unitec marketing director Alistair Kirk. “It was designed to engage people in a conversation about what an education in today’s world should provide and draw attention to Unitec at a time when people are considering study options for Semester One.”

Republik senior account director Nicole Quin says that the activation was very well attended, but adds that the aim wasn’t to get as many people through the doors as possible.

“We had a constant stream of people coming through and participating in the experiment on all threes days, with many queuing up to 25 minutes to take part,” Quin says. 

“This was always intended to be a quality vs quantity experience. Success wasn’t about getting as many people through as quickly as possible, it was focussed on creating a genuinely engaging experience that would have a ripple effect well beyond the physical site of the activation. The fact that we had over 300 people come through the experience and spend up to 30 minutes or more with Unitec is a testament to the strength of the idea and it’s execution.” 

Quin says the objective of the campaign has been to spread awareness about Unitec among potential students—and she says it went beyond this in some regards.   

“The number of kids we had coming through and dragging their parents in to experience it was exactly the kind of cross-generation connection and conversation we were hoping for. We even had a senior member of AUT staff stop by who though it was so good that he left his card (apparently stating that this is exactly what AUT should be doing).”

Unitec is also hoping to parlay this real-life engagement onto the Think.Do microsite, which currently features a video of the experience.

But this isn’t the first time Unitec has developed an intricate experiential campaign. In early 2014, the learning institute also took over the Westfield Albany mall with an architectural installation to showcase some of the skills students can learn at courses.    


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