freight company DHL is promoting University Express - its courier service for Indian students applying to foreign universities - through a variety of digital platforms. These include a micro site, a viral video, social networking and mobile promotions.
University Express is a special courier service targeted at students who send application forms and other admission documents to foreign universities. The service was launched in India in November 2006. Students who use the service three times get a special International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which enables them to get discounts on travel and accommodation.
Gautam adds, "We are currently spending around 3-4 per cent of the total advertising budget on digital media and we will increase it to 5-6 per cent by the end of 2008."
MEC Interaction, the digital agency of Mediaedge:cia, is handling the University Express campaign, which was launched in the first week of December 2007 and is still running.
Biraja Swain, director, MEC Interaction, says, "DHL's brief to us for this campaign was to connect with the youth as this is a youth-centric product. There were certain features of the product that the TG (target group) had to be educated about, and this was possible only through a highly interactive format. The campaign had the standard elements of a micro site and referral programme along with interactive elements such as a viral video and a Mind Benders' Quiz."
The site has a Fun Zone in which students can take a trivia quiz on their knowledge of different countries. The company claims that the micro site received about 42,352 page views in December 2007.
According to Gautam, "DHL is planning to make the micro site a one stop solution for students going abroad for studies. The site will offer travel booking, visa facilitation, finance solutions, online counselling and a discussion forum for students to talk universities and courses. In line with this, DHL is talking to several companies to offer these services."
A humorous viral video called Baap ki Galti, Bete ne Palti was uploaded on the video sharing site, YouTube.com, by the agency.
DHL is also running a banner campaign on the education related sections of sites such as Yahoo! India and Rediff to promote the video. It is using social networking sites such as Orkut and Facebook to promote the viral campaign. There are plans to launch a University Express application on Facebook in March. The company has identified several Indian and foreign blogs, which post articles on foreign education, to spread the word about the University Express micro site.
DHL is also carrying out an SMS campaign in association with Affle, a mobile media company, by using its SMS 2.0 solution, which offers contextual SMS advertising.
The campaign involves a contextual banner, which is served along with a related SMS. Users can click on the banner, which leads to a full screen advertisement with an interactivity option allowing users to call the DHL call centre.
Anuj Kumar, executive director, South Asia, Affle, explains, "DHL wanted to create an interactive campaign which would lead to instant action by mobile users."
A search marketing campaign using Google AdWords is being run by DHL using keywords related to university names and competitive exams targeted at students interested in studying abroad.
Gautam says that the search campaign achieved a 4 per cent CTR (click-through rate) and a 30 per cent conversion rate.