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Harley Reaches Gen-Z

Harley-Davidson occupies a singular position in American cultural consciousness. Their motorcycles elicit visions of never-ending roads, wide open spaces, and unlimited adventure. For over a century, the iconic potato-potato-potato of a Harley engine has come to signify more than just a brand. To generations of Americans, a hand on the throttle of a Harley means the freedom to forge your own path and define your own destiny.

But newer generations of Americans didn’t seem to get the message. Harley riders grew increasingly older, with Baby Boomers becoming a disproportionately large share of the brand’s customers. Harley’s storied history seemed to hamper them in marketing to Millennials and Gen Z, who saw them as a relic of a bygone era.

Or did they? With The Campus Agency’s help, Harley sought to discover a new market for their legendary motorcycles in the new generation of students who were simply unfamiliar with motoculture at large.

Reintroducing one of America’s most beloved brands to a new generation took the creation of unforgettable experiences for students. With our team’s help, Harley-Davidson found a network of students across the South who craved the thrills, excitement, and unbridled opportunity that comes with the wind whipping around their helmet on the back of a Harley motorcycle.

At four campuses, we sent a team of ambassadors to Harley riding school to learn the ins and outs of safe motorcycling. Armed with startup merch kits and a taste of Harley-fueled freedom, our ambassadors created a new motoculture movement on their campuses. They combed their schools for two-wheeled vehicles, leaving promotional materials for travelers who might want to amp up their two-wheel experience. They tabled for Harley in high-traffic areas on campus, in local coffee shops, and at Harley dealership events. Freedom Fridays, in which ambassadors raffled off Harley swag kits, became the hottest competition on campus.

The Campus Agency staged over 50 experiential marketing events for Harley-Davidson in 2019. At the University of Alabama’s fall activities fair, our ambassadors created the Bama Rides Out group, giving over 500 new students a crash course in motoculture. We teamed up with Sony and a local dealership at the University of Texas to host a tailgate activation event, where our ambassadors distributed merchandise and Riding Academy vouchers to some of the Longhorns’ most stalwart fans. Then, Harley-Davidson took over the annual Eve Carson 5K at the University of North Carolina, working in partnership with Greek organizations at one of UNC’s biggest philanthropic events of the year.
Our #CampusAgencyPowered Harley-Davidson campaign generated a fresh surge of buzz around an American tradition. Though their brand had struggled to attract younger generations, with The Campus Agency’s help, they found that the appetite for the freedom and excitement Harley represents is just as strong now as it was back in 1903. All it took to tap into this excitement was a little kick-start.

Ambassador Programs Influencers Marketing Tips Social Media

Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Brand Ambassador

On-campus brand ambassadors are a highly effective way to reach to college students and young professionals. Their awareness of interpersonal connections and ability to create genuine experiences ensures that they will make a lasting impact on the day to day lives of their peers, and allow their audience to make a personal connection with the brand.

They’re at all the events, not just their own.

Successful Brand Ambassadors aren’t afraid to put themselves out there, and they’re down to go to all sorts of events. People will probably know who they are before their first conversation, and they’re personable and approachable to everyone, not just their clique.

Social media expertise.

It’s not just about the follower count, it’s about knowing what clicks and sticks on each social platform. One of the most important KPIs for Brand Ambassadors is follower engagement. On top of that, they need to be able to create content on the fly. They know how to post consistently, but without spamming their followers.

They know their brand, through and through.

Brand ambassadors are tasked with representing the personality and image of the brand accurately towards everyone they meet, but to be “always on” is not an easy task. It’s important that they know what the brand stands for and how it wants to be perceived. If you’re lucky, they’ll know how to integrate the brand they are reping with their own personal brand effortlessley.

They’re Involved in organizations on-campus.

It’s important that campus ambassadors are well-rounded and involved in activities besides their jobs. Campus organizations are an important source of connections and a great way to get your voice out to large groups of people.

They make their interactions organic.

When they talk to their peers, they believe in the brand they are promoting, and talk about it because they genuinely like it. Just like longtime customers, they have their own unique insights about the brand and favorite products that they don’t mind sharing.

Accurate & honest data tracking.

Clear communication between the brand and ambassador is key for long term success. In order for clients to get the best information from their ambassadors, they need to be tracking their data accurately. Without this info, brands won’t know if their efforts are paying off and what future methods will work the best for the campus dynamics.

Work hard, play hard.

The ideal ambassador is organized and knows how to maintain a work-life balance. Ultimately the most successful people are the ones who have fun doing it and make the program work for them and their lifestyle.

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Micro-Influencers: The Best of Both Worlds?

If you have been paying attention to business news in the last couple months, you’ve probably seen some of the drastic effects that influencers can have on businesses. The prime example? A single tweet by Kylie Jenner contributes to the stock value of Snap Inc. dropping by $1.3 billion.

sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.

— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) February 21, 2018

According to NBC, Jenner makes about $1 Million per paid instagram post, and is widely known as the highest paid instagram influencer. But are these brands really getting what they paid for? For $1 million, many of these brands could have easily gone the traditional route and launched an entire agency campaign.

But instead they’ve kept faith in the effectiveness of this costly influencer marketing trend for two simple reasons. The first is the belief that organic, trackable social reach is better than paid social media ads, and the second is that these influencers carry built-in credibility that simply cannot be bought through a traditional creative campaign.

If Jenner’s followers took her suggestions as seriously as analysts on Wall Street did, this spending might be worthwhile, but this isn’t the case. However, what if there was a way to get the same trackable, organic social reach without the enormous price tag? Enter the micro-influencer.

These social media personalities are often found on Instagram & Youtube. They range from having 2,000 to 10,000 followers, which is a high, but not quite celebrity-level follower count. What makes them special is that they have a higher engagement percentage than most celebrities, and they can be used to target specific communities or subcultures that they may be a leader in.

Many of these micro-influencers are used to creating and editing their own content, which means less work and a lower budget for you. Gone is the need for a production team or even a photographer to shoot content for your product; the micro-influencer will do it all.

While you won’t get the same massive reach by employing just one, by spreading out your social media reach to multiple micro-influencers, you can target multiple cities and communities. The best part, as mentioned before, is the lower cost. Your company won’t have to spend millions, or even six-figures to engage a wide, yet targeted audience.

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An Open Letter To Brands Considering a Campus Ambassador Program

Dear Brand Name,

Over the past couple of years, I’m sure you’ve poured countless money and resources into researching, studying, and trying to crack the code to reaching the Millennial generation. From their work habits to their ideas on buying, people have been fascinated with Generation Y for the past few years. After all, they are the biggest generation with the greatest spending power, right? While this fact remains true, it won’t be for much longer. All your findings on Generation Y and everything you thought you knew about reaching these buying powerhouses is about to become obsolete. This is because a new generation of spenders is about to come of age, and they’re even more powerful than the Millennials. This new breed of consumers is known as Generation Z and according to The Huffington Post, they will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020 (that’s a lot sooner than it sounds).

Generation Z, also known as those born after 1996, are much different than their older Gen Y siblings. According to BizJournals, some researchers refer to them as the “pivotal generation,” in contrast to the Millennial generation. This means they are pivoting back towards a more traditional view of personal success, work ethic, and money management. These are kids who came of age during the Great Recession, have seen their parents stressed about income and finances and have bared witness to the harsh realities of the global economy through digital media. Between this and the constant exposure to the internet and mobile phones since they were born, Gen Zers tend to value honesty, transparency, and authenticity

So now that you know a little bit more about the next generation of great spenders, ask yourself “how can my brand reach this generation and stand out from the rest? How can we begin to form relationships now to ensure brand loyalty in the future when their true spending power comes to fruition?” The answer is simple: a campus representative program (also can be referred to as brand reps, brand advocates, collegiate ambassadors, etc–you get the idea).

Since most Gen Zers are either already in the college space or are about to become co-eds, this puts them in the perfect, bubble-like atmosphere to show them how your brand can benefit their lifestyle. You already know that Gen Z craves authenticity and transparency. Therefore hiring a designated student(s) rep on campus who thinks, talks, and acts like your target audience will be your best bet for ensuring authenticity and generating brand awareness. If you begin to put your resources towards relationships and engagement, it will make interaction meaningful and your brand memorable. Here are a few ways campus ambassadors can help your brand resonate with Gen Z:


According to AdWeek, 77% of Gen Zers prefer ads that show real people in real situations. A campus rep program does exactly that. Students will respond much better to someone they perceive as similar to them, as opposed to a normal sales person. Most importantly, this is an opportunity for you to enlist students with personalities that fit the brand and the message you’re trying to convey–these will be your best spokespeople. And since Gen Zers prefer transparency, you can prepare your student reps with the direct messages you want them to convey to your target audience.

Brand Loyalty and Instant Gratification

By having a direct peer represent your brand, you can show students how your product would benefit their lifestyle and keep them coming back for more. Campus reps are the perfect agents to execute brand activations, marketing events, and make your brand a known presence. Also offering student discounts, deals, and premium items will further incentivize the audience you’re catering to and make them remember you. Not to mention, it allows for instant gratification (remember, these kids have the attention span of about 8 seconds). Utilize your campus reps to deliver that instant gratification–arm them with enough branded swag to reward loyal customers and to start generating a little buzz on campus. If you don’t capture their attention and begin to cultivate a relationship now, another brand will.

Social influencers

Simply choosing a student to represent your brand on campus isn’t enough; choosing the right student makes all the difference. This person should be considered a “social influencer,” meaning other students on campus look to them for what the latest trends are, and they do so through social media. Your rep should be the type of person who not only has a strong pre-existing network, but can also work to build relationships with other students. And because nearly 40% of Gen Zer’s say social media has a direct effect on their happiness, they should have a strong social media following. As a campus rep, they can post authentic content of your product and help students associate your brand with them. People will begin to look to your campus rep for information on your brand and new products. Their following will become your following. Not to mention, Gen Zers have their specific set of etiquette and rules on different social media platforms, according to BizJournals. They know how to leverage their Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter profiles to their advantage. And they’re smart enough to know that Facebook is for Mom and Grandma.

Collecting feedback

Finally, and possibly the most valuable asset to having a campus rep, will be feedback collection. Brand ambassadors are your built in source of information on campus. According to Fortune, Gen Z values consistent and honest conversations to help build relationships. If they know a brand is willing to talk with them and not at them, they’ll be more likely to trust it. Thinking of a new product or idea but not sure how students will respond? Ask your student reps. Have them ask their friends. Have them distribute a survey on campus. They are the best source of insight and they’re not afraid to be honest and critical. In fact, they actually revel in it.

So there you have it. Not convinced that your brand needs a campus rep program? Companies such as The New York Times, Google and Showtime have already all hopped aboard the Campus Rep train and they’ve seen great results from their respective Campus Rep programs. So what is your brand waiting for?


The Campus Team

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Allo Messaging Meets Gen Z

When Google made their first foray into the group messaging app market with Allo, they knew that Gen Z would be the keystone of their consumer base. Allo’s competitors had a considerable market share among students who used group messaging apps to text their network of friends and communicate with fellow members of teams, clubs, and other organizations, and Google needed an eye-catching marketing strategy to entice students to switch their conversations to Allo. Enter The Campus Agency.

In the spring of 2017, The Campus Agency ran a test Allo campaign on our home turf in Boston. We organized Allo takeovers at Boston University and Northeastern University, working with 40 campus ambassadors to promote Allo to their fellow students. Enlisting some of Boston’s best-known food trucks, like Cookie Monstah and Boston Frosty, we gave away personalized sweets to students who downloaded Allo, with their Allo group names and photos mouth-wateringly rendered in icing and edible ink.

Our Boston campus takeover culminated in a one-of-a-kind concert by the chart-topping band Bleachers at Royale, one of the city’s most storied music venues. Free to any student who had downloaded Allo, the concert utilized Google’s latest technology to create free, personalized Allo merchandise for the 1200 lucky students admitted.

Energized by the success of our Boston event, Google enlisted The Campus Agency’s help to expand our Allo takeover to the 14 universities in the Big Ten Conference in the fall of 2017. With 20 ambassadors raising Allo’s profile on each campus, we curated our Allo campaign to match each school’s unique personality. At every Big Ten university, we released a branded pedicab onto the streets. Anyone who’d downloaded Allo was given a free ride in the pedicab to anywhere they pleased around campus, with our ambassadors explaining Allo’s unique features and distributing promotional materials along the ride. At student-frequented eateries around each campus, we purchased thousands of popular menu items for anyone who downloaded Allo, with ambassadors in each restaurant tabling for Allo during the promotion.

The Campus Agency made Allo’s Big Ten takeover a fixture of the conference’s sports calendar. Our Allo signage in stadiums and arenas reached tens of thousands of fans in the stands and millions more watching at home. On campus, our Allo tailgate parties, complete with branded cornhole games and catered food giveaways, became a nexus of school spirit each Saturday.

For each Allo campus takeover, we prioritized locally-minded engagement and student-driven experiences. At the University of Wisconsin, we staged an Allo tailgate party in partnership with the Phi Oompa Loompa fraternity, giving away free grilled cheeses from the x food truck. For students camping out to be first in line for season tickets at basketball-crazed Michigan State, Allo delivered free catered meals and blanketed campus dining trucks in branded signage.

The publicity generated by our Allo Big Ten campaign resulted in x downloads and x percent growth in brand awareness. We gave away x dollars of food, merchandise, and rides, and directly engaged x thousand students. In total, The Campus Agency’s Google Allo campaign created x million PR impressions.

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Meet a Campus Rep – Eli Scheinholtz

“Being a Campus Representative for The New York Times has given me an opportunity to promote a brand that I am passionate about, and one that I believe provides an important service. Along with football on the University of Michigan campus, the power of political activism has been a long-standing tradition. This activism requires that college students be aware of world events and have a grasp on the nuances and complexities that surround them; they need news like The New York Times to provide that for them. We can look to the News section for the most breaking stories, The Edit (bi-weekly newsletter) to provide tailored information for us as college students, and the Times’ archives to help us contextualize it all. It’s comforting to know there’s a source of credible and quality journalism for us to turn to when we need it most!

Working for The Campus Agency has helped me meet countless new people and opened my eyes to different perspectives, as I meet and discuss the day’s news with students across a wide range of organizations, communities and beliefs. I’ve learned so much about the way people engage with current events, which has become more relevant in our lives. At such a large school, it is nice to know that we can form our own community of Times readers. As a Mentor Representative, I also had the pleasure of learning from other Representatives about the student experience at an eclectic group of schools. Despite the diversity in size, location, and culture, I see so many similarities in college students across the nation; we are always looking for easy ways to stay engaged with current events and finding new spots for interesting and exciting content. I have had a tremendous experience working for The Campus Agency, and learning about the power of brand marketing to connect people, both within my Michigan community and across the country.”

-Eli Scheinholtz

If you are a student, and are interested in becoming a Campus Rep, check out and apply for opportunities at OnCampus Nation.

If you are a brand interested in exploring on campus representatives, contact us.