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The HE world cup – 32 Braziliant marketing stars

Posted on Jun 18, 2014
The HE world cup – 32 Braziliant marketing stars

The HE World Cup – 32 Braziliant marketing stars

As the world sits down to watch the biggest sporting extravaganza ever – we thought we’d news-jack the carnival to offer our own inspiration. For each of the 32 countries taking part we’ve identified one spark of Higher Education marketing excellence, innovation or creativity. Embracing the full marketing mix, we’ve looked at how institutions are shaping and designing their offer to meet the new demands out there, as well as how they are showing creative flair and innovation in their promotional activity. These 32 sparks together create a global illumination that can light up ideas for any HE marketer. Read on, absorb and enjoy the spectacle.



Cruzeiro do Sul University – Espelho do futuro


It makes sense to start with the host country and its biggest city. This one’s a couple of years old now but it’s still being talked about as a brilliant way of cutting through the noise and grabbing attention. Imagine an installation in a busy Sao Paulo subway station. Imagine you get invited into its public booth and you find yourself in front of a screen. Within seconds you’re face to face with your future-self, and you’re much older and don’t look quite so good as you hoped you would. Then your future-self starts to talk to you! It was certainly enough to get the attention of swarms of commuters. They called it ‘Espelho do Futuro’ or ‘Mirror of the Future’. The objective was to get potential students to think about how Cruzeiro do Sul University could improve their future-selves. Have a look at the YouTube story and reflect on this creative and inspiring idea.


RIT Croatia students – Style the future

A few weeks ago, two Croatian students won a global innovation competition by inventing the haircut of the future – for 2050 to be precise – using apps, smartphones and nanotechnology. This is all part of a trend with global business, in this case Henkel, partnering with universities to encourage enterprise and innovation, whilst benefiting from co-created ideas they can use in the future. It’s an approach that is finding its way into courses and extra curricular activity in more and more universities and business schools. Dominik and Daren won tickets to travel around the world for their particularly hair-raising idea.


Miami Ad School – Mexican Boot Camp


One of the world’s great creative educators, Miami Ad School, have torn up the text books and developed a 3 month programme that allows students to work with real clients on real advertising projects from its Mexico City campus. It’s a perfect example of the fast, practical learning ‘boot camp’ approach that is emerging in many countries – real world learning for real world careers. Check out the proposition for yourselves.


Village Collaboration – Cameroon Catalyst

We need to thank two University of Southampton students for the idea of the Cameroon Catalyst. Their initiative in 2009 to get 20 civil engineering students involved in an international development project has flourished into a fantastic partnership with the Mosame Trust to work with the local population to facilitate sustainable development in villages in Cameroon. A great example of how education can be shaped to foster practical learning and real-world solutions. Marketers responsible for portfolio recommendations should take note.



ESADE – Business School diversity


ESADE Business School in Barcelona has produced a number of inspiring videos in recent years. Have a look at their latest #ESADEdiversity promotion on YouTube – all part of celebrating the School’s 100+ nationalities and its ‘window to the world’. The website is worth a look too – a good example of bringing together Instagram photos, hashtags and the opportunity to download a PDF to create your own message on what you think of diversity at ESADE, along with instructions on how to share it. That’s how to get people involved!


Universiteit van Nederland – Super Profs


Every day the best professors in the Netherlands give a video lecture on the internet. Every week students vote for a new professor. The result could be described as MOOC TV. And it all looks very impressive. Marketers need to decide if this is an opportunity or a threat. Or maybe both. Have a look at the video trailer and make your own mind up.


Autonama de Chile – Business summer camp

IFSA-Butler has created programmes with Universidad Autonoma de Chile to attract international students who want to spend time studying abroad. The Exploring Business in Latin America programme takes on a ‘Summer Camp’ approach, welcoming students to spend a short time absorbing both another country and an emergent business world. The mix of Santiago city experience with incredible outdoor landscapes is described as ‘More culture. Less shock.’ It’s certainly part of a growing trend with private institutions and organisations ‘managing’ and ‘packaging’ a modern, global experience for students.


Open Universities – Your best days are ahead of you


Open Universities Australia recently launched a campaign promoting its online courses to adults willing to dream about their futures, just like they had done when they were children. A leading advertising agency, DDB Melbourne, and computer generated animations helped achieve the child-like effect. It’s quirky, creative and fun. Have a look at the videos for yourself.



Medellin – Emerging internship programmes

The Intern Group offers internships in Colombia, one of the world’s emerging economies, with some of the country’s leading blue-chip employers. Set-ups like The Intern Group are responding to a rapidly increasing thirst for global knowledge and experience. Universities and business schools should be looking at how they too can embrace this demand for quick, comprehensive personal and professional development. Not forgetting the networking, language skills and sampling of the emerging business world.


Athens – MBA innovation

Full credit to the Athens University of Economics and Business who recently beat strong competition from global AMBA accredited programmes to win the coveted MBA Innovation Award. Despite the debt crisis and economic uncertainty in Greece, the University earned acclaim for offering cutting edge e-skills as a core component of the MBA – including SEO, Social Media, Web Analytics and Mobile Marketing, all key ingredients in the world of modern business. A relevant and smart way of standing out from the crowd.


Open University of West Africa – Open-sourcing MOOC technology

Students in the Cote de Ivorie are just some of the millions of West Africans that can now connect to the education possibilities found online. The Open University of West Africa – built on the open source edX platform – is part of a new much needed trend to develop African higher education that benefits a self-sustainable Africa. Hopefully this is just part of the continuing rise of Africa in the world of education.


University of Tokyo – Explorer


The University of Tokyo’s ‘Explorer’ film is a brilliant example of bringing a great story to life. It tells the story of a graduate from its 1993 class and how she had become the second Japanese woman to go to space. The journey takes us back through her university experience – all in her astronaut suit. A kind of reverse space walk! It’s a great advert. It’s great content marketing. Explore for yourself.



Univeridad ORT Uruguay – Personal Touch


The design of this Young & Rubicam 2012 campaign for the Facultad de Arquitectura says it all. Your own personal floor plan, complete with the line that translates effectively as ‘First you have to build yourself.’ A strong message executed with a brilliant idea. Click here to see the larger version and the detail that really makes it stand out.


UGA Costa Rica – Mountains of study


When the University of Georgia branched out to Costa Rica it clearly knew it had something special to offer. Imagine studying subjects such as Biology, Environment and Design and Conservation Medicine whilst immersed in the 155-acre mountains and forests of San Luis de Monteverde. Have a look at how the website brings the campus, and amazing natural resources, to life through a series of 360 degree, high-resolution tours. Well if you’ve got it, why not show it off!


University of Sheffield – #standbyme


The University of Sheffield has been a strong advocate of the We Are International project – a collaboration of UK institutions to promote a welcoming message to potential overseas students. This is particularly important when there has been some negative coverage about international recruitment from the UK, particularly around visa issues. Sheffield continues to go one step further than many others and recently displayed the importance of international students via a huge projection of flags onto the Town Hall. And, right now, their #standbyme campaign continues to gain momentum. Essentially it’s a selfie-led demonstration against immigration policy (visa restrictions that deter potential applicants) and encourages students to get their picture taken with an international student to show the true welcoming nature of the campus, and of the UK. You can read more about it here.


SDA Bocconi – Fashionable MBAs


The business school SDA Bocconi was a forerunner in the fashion for creating industry specific MBA courses when it launched its Bulgari inspired Luxury Business Management MBA
The school has now moved to new levels by partnering with one of the world’s best business schools, Wharton, to shift from a Milan-based innovation to a global positioning. You can read more here. Courses are now even more tailored to the requirements of the fashion and luxury business world, mixing student exchanges, Bulgari based classrooms and guest lecturers – an inspiration for marketing orientated institutions everywhere.



Thought For Food – Ideas to feed the world


If you want to really get under the skin of what future education could look like then you should spend some time looking at the Thought for Food global student challenge. The challenge inspires student teams around the world to tackle the serious food security problem the planet is facing. It’s a fantastic example of how students collaborate, learn and inspire. They do this online, through Facebook, Skype and various apps, and offline by meeting up and running boot-camps, brainstorms, hacks and jams. Starting in 2011 with 10 European teams, the challenge is now running with over 100 universities across the world and recently hosted its first ever summit in Berlin. It’s just one of many initiatives that are lighting up the way for future learning, practical problem solving and meeting the needs of our future planet. Finally, it’s also worth noting that industry led the way with this initiative, with the idea and seed funding generating out of Syngenta’s Swiss headquarters.


El Nomad – Custom adventures


EL Nomad specialise in ‘immersion programmes’ in Ecuador. They work with universities from across the world to design Ecuadorian learning adventures to meet the objectives and interests of visiting groups. They focus on the logistics, freeing up the group leader to enjoy the experience. Higher Education marketers should be aware of this trend of customising education experiences like this – meeting the new demands of students everywhere.


HEC Paris – e-Lab


Universities have to be at the top of their game when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation. So HEC Paris has created a new e-Lab with ‘white-board’ paint, ‘action-learning’ and guest lectures from a variety of fields. It’s a space where students from different courses can learn together and inspire each other. It’s all part of a strategy to add value to the student experience that now also includes a presence on soundcloud.


Ohio State University – Aquaponics in Choluteca

Aquaponics is an amazing technique for sustainable food production that can grow crops without any soil. Not surprisingly it’s the type of future-facing subject being studied and researched at Ohio State University. But why stay in Ohio when the university can apply its skills to areas of the world desperately in need of help? That’s why you’ll find Ohio State aquaponics projects now integrated into Siete de Mayo, a small rural neighbourhood in Cholutec, Honduras. Proof that universities can design and shape their specialisms to make a difference to problems anywhere in the world.



Underground Creative School – DrogaGiveMe5


25 advertising students at Underground in Buenos Aires created their own campaign to hunt down one of the world’s best creatives, David Droga. Using Facebook, Twitter, video and their own integrated ad campaign, the students not only managed to get Droga’s attention, they convinced him to fly from New York to spend time with them in Argentina. Watch the video for the full story – a really good example of how students are now applying learning to improve their own CVs and grab the attention of employers. And what fantastic content for the school’s marketing team to get their teeth into. If it all sounds familiar, it’s because Droga had been stalked the previous year by Australian students with their own Come Home Droga campaign.


University of Sarajevo – Joined up thinking

The Interdisciplinary Joint Master’s Programme South Eastern European Studies links the University of Sarajevo with a number of universities in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. Mixing politics, economics, sociology and law, the programme aims to give a unique blend of knowledge and skill in a key part of the world. A great example of collaboration to identify new opportunities in the European market.


Qazvin Azad University – Future Energy

Iran US Solar Car

Iran has over 300 sunny days a year. It’s no surprise that solar energy has been identified as an industry worth investing in. The Iranian government is particularly keen to identify cheaper energy sources having had to cut fuel subsidies to strengthen its economy internationally. Iranian universities have been tasked with developing the talent and the technology required and it has been particularly inspiring to see Qazvin Azad students ignore the well documented US-Iran political tension to fly their solar-powered car out to compete in the 1700 mile American Solar Challenge. Another shining example of how student challenges are becoming a key part of Higher Education.


Calabar University – Sustainability Leadership

REDD+ is a UN global initiative to incentivise countries to protect their forests and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A short course at the University of Calabar was developed to bring together 200 participants across Nigeria to show them just how they could work within the project, and how they could benefit too. By bringing together technical specialists, policy advisers, UN officials, academics, entrepreneurs and NGO members, the university proved how its own course portfolio innovation could provide leadership to such an important project.



Technical University Munich – Slides


There’s so much in Germany to inspire the Higher Education marketer but we couldn’t resist heading for the slides. Being able to drop 4 floors from a lecture in a matter of seconds is impressive! Location is such a key part of the marketing mix and Technical University Munich is clearly making efforts to align its buildings and facilities with some of the most modern, innovative and exciting businesses and industries – benefiting its own brand positioning in the process.


Lisbon – The Friday Forum

The Lisbon MBA has been created through a collaboration of two of Portugal’s best business schools and MIT Sloan in the US. It stands out because the teaching and learning is designed to encourage the creative business thinking that is much in demand at a senior level in businesses throughout the world. In the same way that some of the world’s biggest companies are creating the time, structure and environment for innovative ideas, the Lisbon MBA holds a Friday Forum that takes students into a different creative context (music, painting and cooking all feature) to boost self-development and spark new ideas.


Ghana Technology University
– Africa Rising

If you want to get a sense of just how Ghana is progressing in the world of Higher Education then have a look at Ghana Technology University College – and you get an immediate sense of global partnership. Undergraduate courses and MBA programmes from UK institutions are taught on campus alongside industry shaped 3 month accelerated programmes. There are numerous partnerships with US institutions too. At the same time we are seeing CEIBA, one of China’s biggest business schools, and New York University established within Accra. As the latest All Nations University College space satellite prepares to launch we can sense that both Ghana and Africa are really on the rise.


Stanford – Back to the Future


Stanford University has a reputation for innovation and leadership to maintain. So it’s no surprise to see the University leading the way to prepare for the future. A recent ‘@stanford’ project has been asking current undergraduates to imagine a future university and to reinvent what next generation teaching and learning could look like. Best of all, there is a website that brings the future university to life. It’s well worth a look and fits fantastically with Stanford’s overall mission and reputation.



Hasselt University – Paddle Power

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When talking about inspiration in the Higher Education world we just have to mention Paddle, the amazing shapeshifting smartphone of the future, being developed right now at Hassalt University. As university marketers dig for great content to enhance their brand messages then they mustn’t forget some of the incredible innovation right on their doorstep.


Tizi-Ouzou – Visual Inspiration

For this, you have to watch the video. We’re not sure if these plans are actually happening. We have a feeling too that videos like this are fairly common in the architecture world. But we still think it’s amazing and rather inspiring! It got us excited about the investment in Algerian higher education and left us with lots of ideas about how we could use similar fly-through video to bring campuses to life.


Skolkovo – Open University Innovation


Open University Skolkovo (OpUS) is not an education institution. Whilst some of the country’s best teachers, visiting business leaders and technology gurus will deliver lectures and seminars, the outcome is not a certificate. OpUS is in fact a hive of start-up businesses that benefit from a shared ‘ecosystem’ of technology and learning. It’s the result of 6 Moscow universities collaborating to create a hub for their undergraduates to start their own businesses. The focus is on priority areas such as nuclear technology and biomedicine with partners including Boeing, Microsoft and Nokia. The buildings are striking, the ambition impressive and the concept is a good example of how universities are embracing modern industry and business across the world.


Korea University Institute of Foreign Languages – Tongue in Cheek


We just had to finish our tour of 32 countries with this creative idea for standing out in the highly competitive language education market. It’s a few years old now but this outdoor campaign from world-famous ad shop Ogilvy proves that Higher Education can still grab the creative limelight, and that there is always a place for ‘word of mouth’ in the marketing promotion mix.

These are just 32 of the thousands of sparks now lighting up our Future Index lab. If you want to know how we can inspire you further, through our events or on your campus, then check out our latest Future Index Academy programme at Or dig into our main site to learn more about how we can help you apply the very latest trends and ideas out there.

And, if you have your own work of inspiration then please do share it with us. We’re often on the conference stage – including recent CASE Europe, CIM and UCAS plenaries – and we’d love to show off all the brilliant work out there! Simply email

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