In 2024, the University of Manchester is celebrating its bicentenary—and it's doing it in style with a vibrant burst of purple brilliance that extends far beyond the confines of its campus.
In this post, we highlight some of the campaign's best launch moments.
And if you're wondering why there's so much purple in the images below, it's because this is the main logo branding color for University of Manchester, which is complemented with the University crest and the Manchester Bee.
The University went all out on this milestone anniversary and made a big (purple) splash with their social media campaign that introduced the year-long program of events and activities that started on January 17.
Manchester University's bicentenary launch is a nice example of a highly coordinated social media campaign and celebration planning that hits all the right notes.
Here's what they're doing well:
- Created a social media hashtag that's easy to remember and is used consistently across channels
- Got the wider Manchester and global University community involved
- Created a singular (purple) “Light Up” theme to the launch that was repeated everywhere
- Launched in January, with year-long celebrations and events (even if the official bicentenary date is later in 2024)
- Posted and reposted how alumni and others are experiencing the launch
- Continuing with more activities and posts throughout the year
- Keeping a record of posts in an easy-to-access location online
Want to see it in action? Check out the highlights of the campaign below.
To mark the start of the University's 200th year, iconic places and spaces on campus and beyond were lit up with a purple pathway of light, culminating in a poetry reading and a chromesthesia music performance.
But it doesn't stop there; instead, the campaign got the greater Manchester community involved.
The Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory also took part and was lit up in purple with a special shoutout to the University's 200th year.
And to kick off the University's anniversary celebrations on January 17, 2024, Manchester Museum held a “Light-Up Late” event to mark the occasion, with a curated light-themed tour of their collection and a family lantern-making workshop.
Image: Manchester Museum on X
The celebrations also featured a video projection on University Place of “people who have made a difference” over the last 200 years of the University.
They even involved local Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, to speak for the occasion on a brief video shared on social media, where she spoke on how integral the University is to the development of the City.
While the centenary is officially underway, the flagship Bicentenary Festival actually takes place from 6 to 9 June 2024, with more performances and celebrations, such as behind-the-scenes tours, immersive experiences, creative performances, debates, fun runs, and more.
The campaign shows great coordination and streamlining not just within the University but with the global University of Manchester community.
Coordinated social media campaign
The campaign on social media extends to other online channels, including the University home page, with an unmissable purple banner advertising the 200th year and the iconic Manchester bee.
Their bicentenary landing page features the activities yet to be held, a call for festival applications, a bicentenary branding guide, and
You can see more clips from their social media activities from the campaign.
Alumni and community response
There's been a nice response to the campaign, which seems to resonate well with current students and alumni across social media.
Alumni have been posting congratulatory messages on social media in response to the campaign, wishing the University a happy birthday, reminiscing about their time there, and posting anecdotes.
The "I'm meant to be here" messaging seems to have struck a positive chord with students.
University of Manchester's post on Instagram gets a little love
Other institutions in Manchester have also gotten in on the campaign to share positive vibes of the launch event.
Alistair Beech, Social Media and Digital Communications Manager at Manchester University, was thrilled to see the campaign's positive impact on the University community, saying:
"So many magical moments from our Light Up event, as thousands of people visited The University of Manchester campus to mark the start of #UoM200. Seeing posts like Arooj Hussain's this morning really brings home how powerful our University community is..."
So, happy birthday, University of Manchester, and kudos on a successful campaign launch.
Do you have an anniversary coming up at your higher education institution or one you've recently celebrated? Share it with us or tell us about it in the comments below, we'd love to hear about it.