York University's "Transit Domination"
In early May 2004, York University launched a "Station Domination" ad campaign at the St. George TTC subway stop, one of the busiest junctions -- and perhaps not coincidentally, the station immediately below the University of Toronto campus. A crowd of highly energized York student volunteers coupled with signature York red-and-white advertising messages provided an early morning jolt to sleep-dazed commuters. Student supporters offered commuters York-branded Metropass holders with information about the University and buttons that promoted the subway extension to York. Every possible surface on every level seemed covered with a York banner, and all of the platforms' display advertising space carried the York message of interdisciplinary excellence.
The "station domination" strategy was chosen to launch York's "Interdisciplinary University" brand campaign, which has run ever since, and was "the first-ever fully integrated advertising campaign by a Canadian university." The campaign is designed to position York as a different kind of academic institution, one that offers a modern, interdisciplinary approach to study and research. Richard Fisher, chief communications officer, explains, "This campaign is about being an interdisciplinary university where we question every angle, innovate and break down traditional boundaries. York brings together thinkers from every discipline and also allows students to combine majors in completely different fields. That is an important part of the York U difference. Most universities communicate with big pictures of students and buildings... We have tried to get at what it is our university brings to our students."
In 2007, in the weeks leading up to the Ontario Universities' Fair, York extended its transit strategy to encompass above-ground vehicles, such as the King Street streetcar (pictured above) shrink-wrapped as a giant fish, with ads for York dominating the interior as well. A GO train car was to be shrink-wrapped with a giant spider web as well, and banner ads were established on subways and buses throughout the TTC system.