University of California at Santa Barbara

How It All Began

UCSB officials contacted Verdin after viewing a particularly successful outreach campaign they created for the San Luis Obispo Police Department targeting excessive student partying. The challenge was threefold:

1.To raise awareness and affect behaviors around Halloween weekend, as well as Deltopia in 2015, to a manageable and acceptable level.

2.To reduce out of town visitors during Halloween and Deltopia.

3.To create a new trend of responsible partying for everyone, ultimately avoiding a repeat of the substantial riot that occurred during spring break of April 2014 (referred to by students as Deltopia).

This was the first time UCSB had requested help outside for student outreach.

Our Approach

Research identifying the causes of tension between law enforcement and students was conducted. Unique peer to peer messaging was created to avoid students feeling controlled by authority and acting out in anger. Officials did not want local students to feel solely responsible for the activities of out-of-towners, but wanted to enlist their help to spread the “Keep Isla Vista Safe” message.

Research indicated that attendees came from as far north as San Luis Obispo, and as far south as San Diego. This age group is the most digitally savvy, so it was determined that the majority of outreach would be done targeting primarily smartphones, with digital banner advertising, digital radio and social media.

Verdin designed a strategy to use similar but separate messaging to address 18 to 25 year old adults both within and outside the Santa Barbara city area. The name of the campaign was “Keep IV Safe", which would be used in all advertising and on social media. The creative strategy was refreshed but stayed consistent during the second “Deltopia” phase of the campaign in April 2015.

What Happened

The campaign to Keep Isla Vista Safe during Halloween and Deltopia was successful beyond expectations. The combination of social media, digital advertising and digital radio brought 58,142 clicks to the Keep Isla Vista Safe page and reached 5.7 million throughout California in the target demographic. Arrests were down 80% from the year before, and estimated crowds were no larger than average weekends. No fire department calls were made and no injuries were sustained during the weekend. In 2015, Verdin won a Silver award for the Keep Isla Vista Campaign from American Advertising Awards Council.

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