University of Otago encourages students to heed migration call

Every year, thousands migrate down to Aotearoa New Zealand’s deep south: albatross, seals, great white sharks, students.

University of Otago – Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka wants prospective university students to answer that call and, alongside Special Wellington, it has created a new marketing campaign, encouraging them to head on down.

The campaign, Down for It, aims to capture the momentousness of this mission, using real footage captured on the road, in the air, over the ocean by students during their latest migration south in February. It was put together by production company Assembly and backed by classic Dunedin track ‘Tally Ho!’ by The Clean.

Alongside the film, outdoor posters call students down by speaking to the range of experiences on offer at the university. Giant Otago scarves handed out at Open Day reclaim and reframe the university’s scarfie culture.

The new campaign is the latest in a series of big moments for the university, which recently unveiled a new tohu, Māori name and identity; celebrating both its history and future.

“The education landscape is rapidly changing; young people are redefining the path to success and expect more from universities. Otago has a strong history of supporting both academic and personal growth and we wanted to really lean into that. Down for It perfectly frames our unique place in the market and geographically,” says Lucy Bell, Marketing Manager at University of Otago.

“Most universities invite young people to make their mark, change the world, and forge the path they were born to walk. But many young people don’t know what they want to do yet. University is where you can find out. We wanted to reframe university to be part of the windy journey of learning, not just the ladder to achievement,” says Head of Strategy at Special Wellington, Bethany Omeri.

“As New Zealand’s only true university town, Dunedin swells with the ebb and flow of students each year, as they descend en masse. We wanted to celebrate the beginning of this big, unmissable journey, in a way only Otago could,” says Mark Forgan, ECD Special.

Assembly Director Jonny Kofoed wanted to capture the big ball of energy a student has when they start something momentous.

“The film’s mixed media approach allowed us to integrate various styles and animation techniques seamlessly, guiding the viewer’s eye through intentional design.”

Emily Swan, Managing Partner, Mindshare says: “Our media selection playfully brings Down for It to life in ‘look-down’ formats, and through engaging formats including airtime in co-viewing / appointment-to-view programming such as the Olympics. We are so excited to see this campaign live.”

“We are so grateful to be working alongside such an iconic institution. We hope this campaign works its socks off and Otago 2025 is the biggest migration yet,” says Matt Barnes, Lead Business Partner, Special Wellington.

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