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Advertising Your Events


Competing for residents’ time and interests can be difficult. As a programmer, you are battling chemistry tests, math quizzes, hanging out with friends -- a number of things. In order to catch someone’s attention to elicit him or her to a program, you have to be different, unique and unusual.

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    • be consistent with logo, theme, colors, etc. 
    • be concise – no one wants to spend an hour reading a poster
    • be creative
    • use catch words or phrases; be off the wall
    • work on publicity in well-trafficked areas
    • use the blue painter's tape for posters- it is at your front desk



    • wait until the last minute
    • publicize in areas where the event is not taking place
    • clutter the wall space or the poster
    • leave out crucial information – the 5 Ws
    • tape posters to the floor, elevators, or any main doors


    1. WHO is sponsoring the event
    2. WHAT the event is
    3. WHEN the event is taking place
    4. WHERE the event will be held
    5. WHY the event is being held


    • What are the goals of the program?
    • What population are you targeting?
    • Where does the intended audience live, hang out, etc.?
    • What else is competing for their attention that would detract form your message?
    • When and where will the program be? What will be happening? Is all relevant information in the advertisement?
    • Is there a slogan or catchy phrase?
    • Are you offering an incentive for people to come? Do they know this?
    • Would the advertisement attract your attention?


    1. Increase Awareness: Residents need to be made aware that a program is happening.
    2. Make Them Think About It: Have some sort of gimmick so residents will have to think about the program you’re presenting. “Sign blindness” is all too common in the residence halls. Your gimmick may be anything from laminated signs in the shower to “nanometers of cookies” served at the event.
    3. Reminders: Even if someone really, really, really wants to attend a program, sometimes he/she just plain forgets. Don’t give residents that chance.
    4. Last-minute Door Knocking: Knocking on doors 15 minutes before your program is a great reminder for people. You can even recruit someone from the floor to help.
    5.  Appreciation: Often overlooked, thanking residents for support and attendance is important. This kind of positive “advertising” makes it more likely that they will attend another of your programs.

    1. Balance: Make it look good.
    2. Contrast: Vary the size, shape, tone and/or direction of the elements.
    3. White space: Avoid clutter or blank spaces trapped inside a design. Sometimes a lot of white space is just the novelty to catch someone’s eye.
    4. Harmony: Watch the proportions of your advertising elements. Avoid too much similarity in size or shape.
    5. Text: If you want a bold headline use a san serif font like Helvetica. If you want someone to read some text, use a serif font like Times Roman. Match the text to the topic or concept, like using Firestarter for a fire safety program or BURRITO for something fun. Add variety with size, shading, italics and bolding the type face.
    6. Color: Color attracts attention, develops associations, aids retention of information and creates a pleasing atmosphere regarding your work. Don’t use colors that are closely related -- the best statements are bold ones using opposites on the color wheel. Good colors to use together are black and white, orange and green, orange and navy, yellow and navy, yellow and black, and any bright, dark color on white (like red, navy, etc.).
    7. KISS: Keep It Simple Silly. Simplicity in design adds clarity to your message and helps transfer a lot in the 10 to 30 seconds you may have someone’s attention.


    1. Flyers & Posters: Although an old standby, flyers can still be effective if you have a good design. All you need to do is be a little inventive in how you post them. The most important key is to hit high traffic areas or do things to maximize your visibility. Post them on landings, mirrors, doors, the floor, the ceiling, high on the wall, bathroom stalls, laminate the flyer and put it in the shower or print the flyer in reverse so people read it through a mirror.
    2. Banners: As with anything, location will vary with the target audience. Some things may be posted by the desk, others may be floor specific. Banners can be done on sheets or paper, with paints, crayons, finger paints -- just be different and be BIG.
    3. Personal invitations: Nothing replaces a personal invite.
    4. Door hangers
    5. Use paper cut into odd shapes
    6. Paint a T-shirt and wear it around
    7. Make a human billboard to walk around the dining hall
    8. Prizes, freebies, food
    9. Teasers/build up suspense for an event (ie. it’s coming in 3 days...)
    10. Some events will lend themselves to extra creative advertising. For example, if you are having a pumpkin carving contest, carve one yourself and display it at the front desk.
    11. Watch what's around you. What are the current trends and fads? TV, movies, You Tube, and magazines are always good for inspiration.

    1. If you plan to use flyers for bulletin boards or outdoor boards in which people pass by quickly, make your message is seven words or less. The brain can only absorb so many words in a few seconds.
    2. The headline may be all the person reads, so make your headline memorable. Seventy percent of your advertising effort is in the headline.
    3. Chose easy to read words. You audience is not going to slow down to figure out a work they don’t understand.
    4. Use UPPER and lower case lettering. It has been tested scientifically that it is easier to read combined upper and lower case lettering than all caps.
    5. Use font that is readable! When considering typeface, consider those that are readable from a distance.
    6. Color is a valuable tool. When selecting paper or backgrounds or even color ink, pick a color that stands out.
    7. Be creative with shape. You can make more impact using an unusual shape for your design (paper shape, artwork, etc.).
    8. Location is vitally important. Do a survey in your hall or building to determine the spot where people are more likely to stop and read a flyer.
    9. Don’t rely on e-mail to get your message out. It’s too easy to hit delete without even reading the message.