Sylvan Learning ‘Celebrates’ With $70 Mil. Push

NEW YORK Out to prove that tutoring isn’t just for the troubled kids in the classroom, Sylvan Learning will launch a new national campaign, dubbed “Celebrate Sylvan Success,” next week.

The campaign, via Publicis in Mid-America of Dallas and timed for the busy spring academic season, shifts from the category’s more traditional messaging about the help tutoring companies can provide to struggling students towards a more positive tone emphasizing individual school achievement.

In one spot, a teenage girl walks through a school hallway, entering a faculty lounge where she is greeted by flashing lights, a dance party already in progress, and a large banner that reads: “Congratulations on your B+ in English, Emily.”

“Tutoring in the past has been thought of as something you need if you’re a struggling student, and now it’s being seen for an increasingly wide range of kids who really want to fulfill their potential and achieve some goals,” said Joseph Adams, CMO at Sylvan, Baltimore. The company has increased its ad spend 10 percent to $71.5 million for the campaign. “We’re repositioning our brand to become a place where you can fulfill your goals and feel success.”

The campaign comes as there is more pressure than ever before placed on U.S. schoolchildren to perform better on standardized tests, particularly as they face an increasingly selective college admissions environment in tandem with the rise of the “helicopter parent” (so called because they hover over the child as they watch over their academic performance.)

To combat those pressures, parents of both struggling and strong children alike are reaching to services like Sylvan to gain competitive advantage. Today, the supplemental education and test preparatory market pulls in $5-7 billion in annual sales, per the Education Industry Association, Rockville, Md.