Winners & Shortlists


Entrant Company KETCHUM PLEON Berlin, GERMANY
Name Company Position
Dr. Christof Biggeleben Ketchum Pleon Berlin Head Of Campaigning
Svenja Ziegert Ketchum Pleon Berlin Junior Consultant
Sandra Schwartländer Ketchum Pleon Berlin Senior Consultant
Laura Schlotthauer Ketchum Pleon Berlin Senior Consultant
Christine Franke Ketchum Pleon Berlin Senior Consultant
Petra Heydrich Quot/Ministerium Für Wissenschaft Und Wirtschaft Des Landes Vertreterin Des Ministeriums
Bettina Quäschning IMG IMG Investitions Und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen/Anhalt Mbh Prokuristin
Antje Mutzeck IMG IMG Investitions Und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen/Anhalt Mbh Projektleiterin
Antonia Krieger IMG IMG Investitions Und Marketinggesellschaft Sachsen/Anhalt Mbh Projektassistenz

The Campaign

East German state university professors have given new meaning to the term “guest lecturer.” Several have rung doorbells, set up slide presentations on flat-screens, stood at lecterns, and taught class in the comfort of prospective students’ living rooms. It’s all part of a bold experiment to attract West German university candidates to East Germany’s 43 state universities. Due to a birth rate dip, enrolments in eastern Germany have been falling since the mid-1990s. To compensate for this and the increase of high school graduates in West Germany, the Marketing Campaign of the 43 East German state universities (My Campus – Studying in the Far East) needed to attract more students. But in 2013, only one in six western high school graduates considered studying in eastern state universities. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Wall, many westerners still had reservations, despite their eminent professors, first-rate research and modern campuses. Glossy brochures wouldn’t do the job. So the agency pondered what eastern universities offered better than the rest. The answer: smaller classes and better student-teacher ratios. So we did the unexpected: we took our illustrious professors straight to West German living rooms to show prospective students what they were missing. “Professor in My Living Room” was born as a provocative media stunt. The unusual “sofa seminars” drew national television coverage, 90 online stories, and 110 newspaper articles reaching 2.84 million. Classes were streamed online by some of Germany’s biggest online magazines and portals (, and, resulting in as many as 2.29 billion views. “My Prof” earned an A+, igniting the most interest ever in eastern state universities.

The Brief

Make Germany’s Eastern State Universities Part of the Consideration Set: • Drive awareness of the many benefits of East German state universities among prospective West German university entrants, 16-19 years old • Position East German state universities as the choice for incoming university students from West Germany due to a set of unique advantages • Put eastern state university educators in the national media spotlight


“Looking East” “My Prof” stirred national interest in university life in East Germany – and its smaller classes, great campuses, and lower cost of living. A December study showed that people familiar with the marketing campaign of the 43 East German state universities were almost twice as likely to consider eastern universities (46%) compared to those unfamiliar (24%). While the true impact on campus enrolment will be seen in the coming academic year, there’s an exciting new vibe about attending eastern state universities. Campaign coverage ran on virtually every West German radio and television outlet. Ninety online stories appeared on high-traffic portals, and 110 newspaper articles reached 2.84 million. Additionally, the “sofa lectures” were streamed online by some of Germany’s largest online magazines and portals ( with250MM unique visits/month, with 290 MM unique visits/month, and with40 MM unique visits/month). West Germans have opened their homes to the campaign, and the unexpected new university marketing approach has created extensive buzz.


Sofa Seminars: We wanted to bring living room lectures West, complete with Q&As about university life back in the East. We strategically targeted three states: North Rhine-Westphalia, which has the highest population; Hessen, which is centrally located; and Lower Saxony, the second largest state after Bavaria. We then chose our audience – 16-19 year-olds undecided about which university to attend. We selected professors who are leaders in various fields – management, sociology, and history – subjects incoming students are likely to take. We paired them with student ambassadors, so-called “Campus Specialists,” for Q&As about the state universities. On 6th September, the management professor rang a student’s doorbell in Bonn, and delivered a convincing inaugural lecture. Afterward, a student exclaimed: “I can now imagine studying in eastern Germany. … The East is definitely more interesting to me now.” Other lectures followed 19th September (Hannover) and 11th November (Frankfurt am Main). And all the media tagged along.

The Situation

East Wants to Meet West: The German state higher education system, among Europe’s biggest and best, includes 194 western and 43 eastern state universities. But the lion’s share of students is in the West. Students had reservations about eastern universities, even though the Wall fell 25 years ago. In 2013 only 17% of West Germans were interested in attending eastern universities. Due to demographic changes the number of East German high school graduates going to university declined, thus, it was imperative for the East German state university system to attract more prospective university students from West Germany.

The Strategy

Take the University to the High School Graduate: We knew western students had misconceptions about eastern state universities. When it came to choosing universities, some thought, “West is best,” due to clichés about the “Far East” that predated the fall of the Wall. Other high school graduates were simply unaware of eastern universities. But we knew eastern universities offered tremendous advantages, chiefly that classes are smaller, so students can benefit from closer relationships with lecturers and better services for individual students. Our research also indicated that westerners were indifferent to eastern universities. How could we reach our target group and let them personally experience the advantages of attending university in East Germany rather than West Germany? “Bring eastern state universities to them,” we thought. Our strategy was to bring outstanding lectures by East German professors to West Germany – directly to high school students’ living rooms – and leverage the events in the media. We’d show the nation what East German state universities had to offer.