Open University and Sky Media team up to help ambitions.

Career campaign.

The Open University has launched a six-month marketing partnership with Sky Media, as part of a major new campaign to inspire people to harness their ambition through education and achieve life-changing results with the university’s flexible offering. The ‘free your ambition’ multi-channel campaign expects to reach 75 per cent of the UK adult population and highlights the university’s wide appeal as a flexible, distance-learning institution.

Running under a ‘Your Ambition, Our Mission, Set yours free’ strapline, the campaign launched on Boxing Day with a 30 second advert, created by Havas helia, which is appearing across TV, cinema, radio, out of home and digital across all four nations of the UK.

The advert tells three inspiring, interwoven stories of people whose lives have been transformed through studying with The Open University and was shot by Ivan Bird – one of the UK’s most sought after commercial directors and cinematographers.

This week, the second strand of the campaign has gone live, with an additional four 30 second ads focusing on the successful lives of Open University students employed by Sky. These include SCRUM Master Rom, DTV engineer Karin, Operations Account Executive, Garry and associate project manager, Sarah and show the flexibility, support and sense of community achieved through studying with The Open University. The ads will be broadcast across linear TV, video on demand and through Sky Advance to reach a national audience of 16-54 year olds.

The Sky partnership, created by JUMP, Havas Media Group’s content and partnerships hub, and Havas Media, represents much more than an ad campaign. It has been created to emphasise the credibility of an OU qualification with large organisations like Sky and the employability of Open University students. It also explains that OU students are supported throughout their studies and how they can fit it around their busy lives.

The campaign comes as new research finds 56 per cent of UK adults have an unfulfilled dream, with people citing cost (35 per cent), personal commitments (30 per cent) and a lack of confidence (26 per cent) as reasons for not pursuing it. Furthermore, The Open University estimates around 8.3 million adults would like to return to learning but 1.7 million are putting it off because of confidence, a fear of failure and commitment challenges.

Claudia Church, head of acquisition at The Open University, said: “While The Open University’s students are hugely diverse, a single thread runs through each of their stories: ambition. We believe this partnership will show how large and credible employers like Sky recognise the talent and abilities that OU students bring to the workplace. Three of the students who star in the adverts secured their jobs at Sky before they had even graduated because of the skills and knowledge they gained from studying with the OU. We hope the partnership will help demonstrate how The Open University can help change your life for the better – whoever you are and whatever your background.”

Jason Hughes, Head of Creative Solutions at Sky Media, said, “We’re incredibly proud to be partnering with The Open University on a campaign that inspires people to believe in better. This creative collaboration is a first of its kind for us; real human stories from our very own staff, showcasing the power of knowledge and development. We hope this campaign inspires people all around the UK to engage with flexible learning, however they choose to do it, to help them upskill and fulfil their passions.”

Stuart Peddie, executive creative director at Havas helia, adds: “For our first brand campaign for The Open University – its first since 2016 – we wanted to dramatise how its courses can turn ambitions of all shapes and sizes into tangible, aspirational opportunities that change lives for the better. That it was brought to life by someone with the pedigree of Ivan Bird is testament to not just the idea, but to the powerful force for good that is The Open University.”

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