how mid-sized cities are trying to attract students

In the Caen la Mer community, we are very proud of the successful ‘publicity stunt’ in May. As thousands of young people across France lived in anxiety over higher education admissions results, the public flooded social media with a humorous video that broke the institution’s communication codes. We see the character, the evil Parkour Soup, flanked by his loyal Al Gorritm, soliciting real students on the street during the city’s final student carnival. “I wanted to ruin your life by sending you somewhere you wouldn’t be happy. [Mais] Are you happy to be in Caen?…”, laments the villain played by the actor, faced with the spontaneous positive responses of the young people he meets. This video made 1.6 million people smile on Instagram, 45,000 users on TikTok and almost as many on YouTube.

“Our idea was to impress the minds of final year students and their families with a funny and rhythmic video that gets people talking. And what attracts them, recalling that Cannes is a dynamic student city, not a sleepy area associated only with the history of the landing., explains Romeo Peuvrell, head of the attraction mission of Canlamer. He says this while walking around the marina of the capital of Calvados, where, despite the summer period, we meet a few groups of students. Located opposite the new Presqu’île district, which showcases the modernity that the city promotes to young people, it is one of the most popular places for students. Not counting “famous” rue Ecuyère, the Cannes equivalent of the “rue de la soif” in Rennes.

Communication campaigns to attract students, especially international students, are commonplace in major engineering and business schools, as well as universities in major metropolitan areas. However, the fact that local authorities such as Caen, Strasbourg, Metz and Saint-Étienne make students one of the main targets of their territorial marketing policy is recent.

“Make the machine profitable”

“With a long-term focus on business attraction on the one hand and tourist attraction on the other, we have observed for about a decade the increasing interest of these cities in attracting and retaining students in their territory.confirms Vincent Gollain, director of the economics department Institute of the Paris Region and an expert in territorial marketing. In the context of budget stringency “Cities want to make the most of the equipment they finance or co-finance [bibliothèques, salles de sport, etc.] attracting new audiences »he says.

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Georgie Collins

"Falls down a lot. Writer. Passionate alcohol maven. Future teen idol. Hardcore music practitioner. Food fanatic. Devoted travel fan."