The Sauder School of Business in British Columbia, Canada launched a brand activation on January 15. A group of unsuspecting morning commuters in an elevator in a Vancouver building were treated to a videotaped lecture by David Hardisty, the school’s assistant professor of consumer marketing.
Professor Hardisty taught a lecture on the planning fallacy, which is the proven idea that people tend to underestimate how long it will take them to complete a task. It is a topic that is being researched by another professor in the business school.
The brand activation was part of Sauder’s Rewrite the Rules international branding campaign, which is a way for the school to attempt to remake its public image. Hardisty wanted to give a lecture that would highlight a topic of research that is being conducted at Sauder and that would relate to people’s daily lives.
Brand activations are common for consumer brands, but few universities have tried this tactic. Some professors and officials at business schools believe they will have to think outside the box instead of limiting themselves to traditional advertising campaigns. The idea for the elevator lecture was a result of a desire to be different and to highlight Sauder’s uniqueness.
The elevator lecture took several months of planning. Hardisty taught the lecture to anyone who would listen for a three-hour period. He said that some people just stared blankly, while others rode the elevator up and down several times to hear everything he had to say.