Thought Leaders in association withPartners in Crime

A Fresh Approach to Freshers Week

Out of Home
London, UK
Lee Mabey, integration strategy director at Posterscope, discusses how this year's Freshers events are expected to look a little different thanks to current social distancing measures

This year, a total of 514,020 people of all ages from across the UK have applied (through UCAS) for a place on an undergraduate course at one of their chosen universities. This figure is up 1.6% at this point in 2019 and reversing a fall in UK applicants from earlier this year. This year also has seen a record 40.5% of all 18-years apply…up from 38.9% year on year. All in all, there are an estimated 2.4 million students who will return to universities campuses this September. 

For those students about to embark on university life, Freshers Week is an important first part of their educational journey, a week-long event highly anticipated by first-year students. Fresher’s Week is one of student life’s rite of passage, an opportunity to meet people, make new friends and familiarise yourself with your new neighbourhood. 

The typical Freshers Week usually consists of pub crawls, club nights, student union parties and so much more, but this year events are expected to look a little different, thanks to the current social distancing measures in place at universities across the country.

Student Unions up and down the country have been busy getting creative and arranging a raft of alternative events, both virtual and in-person, to welcome undergraduates – everything from virtual DJ sets, cooking and yoga classes, bingo and online escape rooms, open-air cinemas and food festivals – and ensure they still have plenty of social interaction.

For brands looking to reach students this autumn, out of home is a powerful and trusted channel at a time when young people are becoming increasingly sceptical about online advertising. An IAB study revealed that 29% of 18-24-year olds are likely to block ads, on their devices, the highest among all age categories.

To meet social distancing regulations, many universities are planning staggered arrivals and check-ins, but they are also expanding Autumn lectures over a longer period, which presents guaranteed audience delivery among students in out of home. Posterscope can offer advertisers the opportunity to welcome students this autumn, with unique on campus reach on full motion screens in some of the UK’s biggest university student unions and bars (which will be following social distancing regulations), as well as across the campus.

Freshers Week 2020 is just around the corner, and with a combined spending power amongst UK university students of £23bn, and over 59% if students saying they are tempted to buy products that have seen advertised (source: Youthsight) it’s a unique opportunity for brands to support students as they settle into university life.


- Lee Mabey, integration strategy director, Posterscope