University of Southampton


Replay – Which track takes you back?

Campaign, Strategy, Design, Development 

16,000+ member engagement
381%+ in email click rate
400%+ track uploads 

Awards & Recognition:
Gold, CASE Circle of Excellence Awards


Reawakening relations with former students through a targeted digital campaign rooted in the power of musical memories.

The decision to award this substantial piece of work to Yoyo was not difficult. Their innovative, extremely well-thought-through proposal and concepts, coupled with their clear talent for strategy and planning, enthused us from the word go. They are creative as well as strategic, challenging as well as understanding.
Sara Thompson – Senior Regular Giving and Engagement Manager, University of Southampton
Uos Home

One of the top 100 universities in the world, the University of Southampton is home to a growing global community of more than 230,000 former students, including notable names such as Justine Greening MP, naturalist Chris Packham and model Laura Bailey. But poorly targeted communication over many years meant the university was losing touch with this valuable audience and its core base of advocates was dwindling. It decided to take action by launching its first ever alumni engagement campaign.

Uos Right 2X
Uos Left 2X

Re-establish a powerful point of connection with the audience

To date, alumni engagement activities had been sporadic. They were not centrally co-ordinated, messaging was predominantly one-way, and there was little regard for an individual’s location, when they had graduated or, more importantly, how they felt about the University.


Of the various creative concepts explored, music presented the perfect solution.


Our first task was to develop a clear picture of motivating factors and barriers to engagement among the alumni audience. We augmented the University’s own research with our own one-to-one interviews, stakeholder questionnaires and competitor analysis to define key themes and identify key audience segments. It became evident that engagement was weakest among the valuable age bracket of 20 – 39-year-olds.

Our strategy, bravely adopted by the university, was to deliver a bold creative campaign that prioritised and targeted this group. We had to ensure other audience groups didn’t feel alienated but the previous one-size-fits-all approach to communication had to be abandoned if we wanted real engagement. Of the various creative concepts explored, music presented the perfect solution. For every student, there is a song that immediately takes you back, perhaps to Freshers’ Week, a night out you’ll never forget or a particular moment at that time in your life. Music is both highly personal but also taps into a shared nostalgia, giving us a powerful, universal point of emotional connection to engage this alumni segment. The ‘Replay’ campaign was born.

A campaign that resonates in more ways than one

The soundtrack to your university years is a doorway to a pivotal time in every graduate’s life. We created a campaign site that gave the audience a platform to upload their particular university song and become part of a shared alumni playlist on Spotify.

To drive awareness among the target audience and encourage them to get involved on the site, we developed a comprehensive communications plan as well as a range of templates and assets for the University of Southampton’s in-house team to deliver activities on email and social media.

Absolutely love this and have just shared with my friends from 2006! Such happy memories - thank you.
Alumni - University of Southampton
  • 16,000+

    Alumni engaged with the email campaign
  • 1,211

    Completely new ‘engagers’ from email and social activity
  • 71%

    Increase in email open rate; 381% increase in email click rate
  • 400+

    Tracks added since launch against a target of 100
  • 40%

    Of alumni targets interacted positively with the campaign who were previously identified as disengaged
Uos Map

The Replay campaign has become a template for engagement among a disengaged alumni audience. We have told the story together with the University of Southampton at leading industry events, including a talk at the annual conference of CASE, the global association for professionals in alumni relations. The Replay campaign continues to evolve, and we are now working with the University of Southampton to deliver phase two, which will look to engage an older demographic through direct mail activity alongside email, social media and the updated website.

Considering the diversity of the wealth of clients in Yoyo’s portfolio, we were, and continue to be, bowled over by the level of understanding of, and support for, the various challenges our particular sector presents. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach here – Yoyo’s ideas and proposals, from pitch to today, have been considered, innovative and entirely bespoke to the University and its unique needs.
Sara Thompson - Senior Regular Giving and Engagement Manager, University of Southampton
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