Policy on Discretionary Advertising and Promotional Support

Policy Category: 
Approved By: 
Priorities and Planning Group
Effective Date: 
November 10, 2009


Discretionary advertising means advertising that is optional, is usually from an outside source, including not-for-profit organizations, and is often corporate or institutional in nature. Lakehead University regularly receives requests for institutional support in the form of advertising, money, and branded products from organizations in the broader community. Both internal and external requests of this nature are received by PPG, Deans, Directors of academic departments/units, administrative units and the Vice-Presidents. This policy provides guidance on how to evaluate those requests.


  • To ensure that the University is optimizing its budgets by supporting those communication vehicles that can best achieve the institutional goal of image and reputation building
  • To provide direction for an integrated approach to the provision of discretionary advertising and promotional support
  • To ensure that advertising design and messaging are consistent with Lakehead University's Visual Identity Program


The main objective of discretionary advertising is to build the University's image or strengthen its reputation among various stakeholder groups. For example, advertising in tourism publications or major cultural event publications; advertising in local city-funded promotional materials; advertising or supporting not-for-profit awards, dinners, or events; and special supplements that feature initiatives in collaboration with community partners are considered discretionary advertising.

3.1 An annual budget will be allocated to a committee with one member from each of the following offices: Office of Communications, Office of University Advancement, and the Office of Financial Services. This committee will coordinate approvals within the annual budgeted amount for external discretionary advertising and promotional support requests.

3.2 Departments or units may request support from the Committee to defray advertising or promotional costs for discretionary advertising.

3.3 Departmental advertising or promotional initiatives may be done by departments at their own expense but they must consult with the Office of Communications to ensure ad designs (or branded promotional products) conform to Visual Identity standards.


4.1 All requests for discretionary advertising or promotional support whether internal or external must meet the following guidelines:

  1. The target audience and geographic location must be consistent with the University's strategic goals
  2. The ad or branded products must raise awareness and enhance the reputation of Lakehead University
  3. The products and materials must have the capacity to generate present and future goodwill among its intended audience
  4. Support for initiatives must indicate how this particular initiative supports the vision and/or mission of Lakehead University
  5. Special supplements must demonstrate relevance to Lakehead University
  6. Requests for support related to an event or activity outside of the University must demonstrate a direct connection, e.g. a professor or staff member who is directly involved in the initiative
  7. Advertising design must adhere to Visual Identity standards and is preferably developed by the Graphics Department
  8. Any application of Lakehead University branding requires approval by the Office of Communications. Branded products must adhere to Visual Identity standards. Examples of branded products are pens, mugs, T-shirts, key chains, caps, and sweatshirts.

4.2 Requests that would be considered for discretionary advertising or branded product support approval include:

  1. Progress Editions of major newspapers in Lakehead's catchment areas, such as the CJ, PT, or BE
  2. Tourism yearbook or similar annual publication in TB and Simcoe County
  3. City-funded and promoted publications intended for economic development
  4. Major cultural events such as music festivals, local theatre, symphony, and art gallery (e.g. Lakehead Festival for Music and the Arts, Magnus, TBSO special shows, TBAG)
  5. Special supplements that feature initiatives in collaboration with community partners (e.g. TBRRI )
  6. Locally based environmental organizations ( e.g. Lakehead Conservation Foundation annual reception)
  7. Campaigns to support community-related drives undertaken by organizations such as firefighters and police services (drives vary from year to year)
  8. Spelling Bee (Canwest)
  9. NOBA Women of Excellence award program

4.3 Requests that may be supported with branded products or financial contributions, as appropriate, to defray operational costs include the following:

  1. Steel Bridge building initiative
  2. PDNA training program and workshops
  3. Various visiting groups
  4. Special conferences organized by departments (e.g. Donor recognition receptions (c/o Advancement)
  5. Lakehead Celebrates
  6. Formula One car
  7. Presidential Scholarship Interviews
  8. Orientation Week


PPG will review this Policy every three years.