State-of-the-art ad campaign rolls out for the summer
Washtenaw Community College is taking its message to the movies and across Washtenaw County through a new $85,000 ad campaign rolling out this summer.
A promotional video produced by the college will convey WCC’s mission before every film in every theater, said Associate Vice President of Advancement Wendy Lawson.
“People learn through reading, but many do visually,” said the film’s director, Eleanor Shelton, WCC’s community relations manager. “We want to get our message to everyone.”
The video was part of WCC’s four-month pledge to increase marketing efforts. This campaign was led by Lawson and initiated by a strategic plan presented last spring.
“WCC’s brand came out loud and clear,” Lawson said. “The community has great respect for WCC, they’re glad we’re in their community.”
Bus signs, billboards and banners advertising occupations and careers to be reached at the school have adorned Washtenaw County since May.
“What do you call a WCC graduate? Your Honor,” read one banner with the personage of a judge.
Shot and edited on campus, the video was inexpensive to make, Lawson said. Shelton has produced informational footage for the school’s website, with similar facilities, over the past five years.
“This is leaps and bounds ahead of where we were,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair Diana McKnight-Morton after viewing the clip. “It’s like we’re coming out of the dark ages. Excellent for showing who we are.”
The minute-long video follows student experiences into three industries selected for active hiring by Shelton. Over the years, she has perceived a growing importance for communicating through film to an evolving constituency.
“We wanted to show that students at WCC get the full spectrum,” Shelton said. “It’s great not only to learn, but to make friends and get jobs. Supplementing with visuals is just where the Web is going.”
Six weeks of production featured student actors and scriptwriters. Filming took place in classrooms and onsite at workplaces in the fields of nursing, construction and computer science.
“It’s pretty amazing, the partnerships,” Lawson said “They went in with full camera crews and were very much embraced.”
Administrators, from meetings on campus and in the community last winter, found the community WCC serves largely unaware of the school’s academic successes. According to Vice President of Student and Academic Services Linda Blakey, the campaign is designed to inform the public.
“They know we’re an alternative, but not what we really do,” Blakey said. “Our mission and what we produce is a surprise. It’s time we told them.”
A publication entitled “College Focus” was circulated over the spring and summer across campus and into the community, providing information from student housing to career guidance. It replaced a spring issue of “Career Focus,” WCC’s employment magazine, released three to four times a year.
“We did this as a very targeted campaign,” Lawson said. “We had to make some choices to not go into certain media to save costs.”
According to Lawson, deciding against television or radio spots accounted for the majority of savings. Nevertheless she is confident in the campaign’s clout.
“We’re being very strategic in our placements to have as much impact as possible,” Lawson said. “To get the biggest bang for the buck.”