The agency triumphed following a pitch, handled by COI, which included Agency.com, Wheel and the incumbent, DLKW Dialogue.
Grand Union will now work on online advertising and a website due to launch in September. The campaign will target 16- to 19-year-olds and drive them to the site, which will feature information on the types of support available, as well as application details.
The campaign will use the DfES "Aimhigher" branding and the line "Study first. Pay back when you're earning", used in the above-the-line campaign from Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners. A second burst of activity from DLKW will launch on TV, radio and press at the same time as the digital campaign, with online media planning and buying through i-level.
Barry Duffy, the senior marketing manager at DfES, said: "We selected Grand Union's idea for its singlemindedness and impact."