Paper Advertising—Posters vs. Handouts, Part II

College Advertising Handouts Paper Advertising

On-campus paper advertising typically employs posters, handouts, or a combination thereof. While ideal coverage would dictate the use of both methods, a choice between the two must sometimes be made; I’ll weigh the relative merits of each.

In part one of this series I made a case for paper advertising being an integral part of a college marketing portfolio and explored some of the benefits of distributing campus posters. Here I’ll do a similar analysis of handouts.

For my purposes here, handouts include any kind of paper advertisement that is given out to students in person, preferably by a college street team. The actual advertisement could be a coupon, a promotional pamphlet, or even just a smaller, briefer version of a poster if combined with that college advertising solution. Printing a QR code on the handout is also a good idea.

So what are some advantages specific to handouts?

1. Direct.

Because handouts are a form of direct youth marketing, involving peer-to-peer contact, they feel more personal and demand one’s attention, even to refuse. This interpersonal aspect should not be ignored—attaching a face to a collegiate promotion can be invaluable, especially if the marketer is a fellow student. Like a testimonial, this amounts to a peer endorsement, giving the product or service a credibility boost in the eyes of the student.

2. Broad Distribution.

If the campaign in question is trying to reach as diverse a group of students as possible, handouts are an excellent youth marketing choice. Unlike posters, which are geographically limited in their scope to certain areas of campus, handouts are distributed to a randomized student population (or as close to it as you can get)—i.e., anyone who is walking by and accepts one.

3. Owned.

Once accepted, a handout becomes the personal property of the student. While not a monetarily valuable piece of property, ownership of a handout nonetheless means greater ad exposure than that afforded by a poster. Whereas a student who is interested by a poster might forget about it later, with a handout in their pocket, it is virtually impossible for them to do so. 


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