Advertisements | Marketing Practices

The two primary concerns in advertisement design is effective communication and authentic representation, which is an accurate depiction of your program and activities.

DOs & DON’Ts 

  • DO use actual students performing typical actions.
  • DON’T use stock photography or hire models to replace students.
  • DON’T construct settings or stage events that would never occur.

Student Consent

When using a student’s image in advertisements, be sure that the student consents to the use of their likeness. There are three approaches.

  1. Use posed photographs taken for the purpose of marketing with informed student models. These students will have previously provided consent.
  2. Use existing, non-posed photographs after contacting the student to ask for consent.Your communication should use neutral language. Do not pressure the student. Provide the student ample time to respond.
  3. If you are telling a student’s personal story, you may contact the student and ask to photograph them individually for an advertisement.

Effective Communication

Clarity in advertising derives from understanding your audience, budget and goals. The guidelines below may not be applicable in every context. However, your advertising strategy should harmonize with them where possible. These guidelines are intended both to benefit students and to benefit you by limiting confusion in your message.

  • Use photography of students performing topical actions.
    For example, an art student painting; an optometry student performing an eye exam. 
  • Use real or related environments.
    For example, use an actual examination room; have your student wear their white coat.
  • Use students’ own words to describe the topic.
    A student describing a program as “life-changing” is more powerful than marketing copy.
  • Use students’ stories to tell your program’s story.
    Students’ journeys deserve to be heard, and they can be very effective at explaining programs.

Authentic Representation

Authentic representation is the intersection of your program’s values, Pacific’s values and your actual community. Authentic representation balances what your program wants to be and what your program is. When representation is authentic, you depict your program’s vision while avoiding deceptive practices.

CONNECTION | For further discussion on this topic, see Authentic Representation. Among other things, this appendix addresses a perceived tension between authenticity and advertising.

Observe the following guidelines.

  • Inclusion is a practice, not a checklist.
    For example, never attempt to include one of every U.S. Census defined race in a photograph.
  • Authenticity cannot be measured in numbers.
    For example, never attempt to represent your program’s statistical demographics in photography. Among other reasons, it is impractical, reductive of students’ identities and is not suggestive of how welcoming your program is or is not.
  • Authenticity cannot be manufactured.
    For example, do not use stock photography.
  • Authenticity is not only visual.
    For example, include students with differing socioeconomic backgrounds or invisible disabilities.

CONSIDER | Because your program values diversity, you might put extra time into recruiting students with disabilities as models. However, you would never ask a sighted student to hold a cane and wear sunglasses for your photo shoot. Beyond being unethical and in bad taste, the latter case literally demonstrates a preference for the appearance of diversity versus actual diversity.