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City College flies its flag high with Free City ad campaign

By Sarah Berjan


Beautifully vivid images of students are shown in the neighborhoods that are home to the five locations of City College in an advertisement campaign to promote the Free City program. This visual story telling experience mimics the objectives of the program. It expresses  progressive values through a contemporary lens that is authentic to a diversity in the student’s passions and interests that captures the feel of City College. Through this advertisement, the public receives a glimpse of the power of possibility that comes with free education.


Though many San Franciscans may have seen advertisements during the fall semester within their neighborhoods, on campus and within the school website, The Joshua Cogan Photography for Underground Agent for City College was hired to shoot another ad campaign for the college highlighting the now free tuition for the spring 2018 semester. The application to participate in this advertisement campaign was distributed by City College in order to be photographed and videotaped as a representative of the diverse community.

Participants of the advertisement campaign are not required to qualify for the Free City program, as becoming a representative for City supports the movement toward accessing higher education without tuition. According to the Underground Advertising update, this accessibility is a direct reflection of core values as San Franciscans; freedom of expression, freedom of self determination.


Those values combined with the renewed energy at City College, sprung forth by its recent accreditation, powerful endorsement by City Hall and the voters of San Francisco provides a second wind to the five locations of City College. This is effectively captured by Free City, and this is at the heart of the creative strategy for the campaign for City College of San Francisco.


To further the community outreach, these advertisements should also be shown within  high schools in San Francisco so aspiring college students are presented with the option of enrolling at City College. Another option would be to network through social media in order to attain a larger audience.


Advertising the Free City program is important as City College is an integral part of San Francisco. Its five campuses are woven throughout San Francisco and to reflect this accessibility through the advertisements is a small ladder toward success. Through this visual story telling experience, the community is given this air of inclusivity, as these advertisements depict the diverse student body in race and age, in addition to their interests.


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