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Pop Up Cube Helps Allegany College of Maryland Create the Element of Surprise

Pop Up Cube Helps Allegany College of Maryland Create the Element of Surprise
March 20, 2014



In the higher education marketplace, recruiting competition is fierce. As a two-year community college, Allegany College of Maryland (ACM) needed to stand out in a field of four-year schools. Allegany has more than 100 fields of study and wanted to customize the communication with its prospective audience (juniors and seniors in high school) according to the student’s area of interest.

Like many colleges, ACM had been using a four-page personalized mailer with personalized response URL. However, public relations and marketing director Shauna McQuade felt it was time to do something different. She wanted not just to grab students’ attention but to send a message that the school is on the cutting edge.


When she received a promotional 4.25” Pop-Up Cube from Red Paper Plane, McQuade knew she had what she was looking for. “It exploded in my hand and surprised me,” she says. “I thought, ‘This is a really cool piece. It’s really different!’”

ACM replaced its personalized mailer with the 4.25” cube. The cube was designed entirely online at Red Paper Plane and was printed in six versions, each representing a different academic division. Each panel showcases a different aspect of campus life, including academic rigor, diversification, and extracurricular activities. One panel is reserved for the student’s expressed area of interest (i.e., Humanities, Business and Technologies, Allied Health and Wellness). The panel also lists all of the programs that fall within that division.

The college ordered 2,200 cubes, which it mails out to future students in clear mailer envelopes so the students can see the graphics inside. But the pop-up is a secret until the student removes the belly band. “I have spoken with different people’s kids who received it,” says McQuade. “When they took the band off, they were really surprised!”

The message was clear — if you think you know us, think again. “We’re a community college,” says McQuade. “We have a hard time competing with the four-year schools and showing that our faculty is just as qualified and that we offer as good of an education. We are diversified. This is saying look, ‘We’re doing new things here.’”

Like many other Red Paper Plane customers, Allegany College of Maryland learned that dimensional cubes are no longer a specialty reserved only for a few. At Red Paper Plane, anyone can design a dimensional mailer online, receive a digital proof, and have it printed and in the mail in as little as five days. The ability to create these quick turn, low-quantity dimensional pieces has opened a whole new world of marketing opportunity for ACM—and created real differentiation in its highly competitive marketplace.

4.25" Pop Up Cube Helps Allegany College of Maryland Create the Element of Surprise