Think about it—films, TV shows, and Broadway plays and musicals are all honored for their ability to entertain audiences, affect change in the world, and inspire new ideas. But what about college recruitment campaigns? Sure, you don’t buy a ticket to see them but that doesn’t detract from their ability to entertain students, effect applicants’ enrollment decisions, and inspire collegiate goals. In an increasingly competitive higher education market, colleges must get creative with their video campaigns to stand out from the crowd and connect with potential applicants in meaningful ways.
At Kira, we highlighted the top videos from the last year by establishing the first annual Kira Award for Best of Higher Ed Recruitment Video earlier this year.
In order to select the Best Higher Ed Recruitment Video recipient, the Kira team reviewed dozens of higher ed recruitment videos from all over the world, evaluating each on its recruitment effectiveness, emotional appeal and entertainment value. After selecting four finalists, we opened voting up to the public, receiving thousands of votes from more than 30 countries. The University of Moncton won the popular vote and was named the winner for its racy video, which generated awareness for an otherwise small, lesser known school. The ad sought to capture the true college experience—not just learning in the classroom—with a montage of lab work, studying, celebrations and sporting events.
What really got people talking was a single steamy shot of students embraced in a passionate lip-lock in the library.
Despite some critics who thought it was too risqué, this video works. Why? For one, it was built with its audience in mind. Moncton designed this campaign for students, not parents or professors, and unapologetically pursued their target audience and executed their vision. While this ad isn’t for everyone, that’s exactly the point. Whether you love it or hate it, the important thing is that you have an opinion about it.
Another reason that Moncton’s video was so successful, both in our voting process and from a marketing standpoint, was that it’s short—coming in at just 30 seconds. According to YouTube, such videos see a 90 percent playback completion rate, compared to one minute-long videos with just 59 percent. The video’s length makes it perfect for sharing with 250,000+ YouTube views on Moncton’s school channel and media coverage in the National Post, Gawker, Huffington Post and CBC.
Perhaps the most important reason that Moncton’s video won Kira’s award was that it drove meaningful results. In addition to the video’s success on social media and the buzz it generated among the press, the relatively unknown university saw a 22 percent increase in Canadian applicants following this campaign and a simultaneous website facelift.
By taking a risk and speaking honestly to their target audience, the University of Moncton used video to raise international brand awareness for their school and increase applicants exponentially.
About the Writer
Andrew Hastings, Research Director at Kira Talent
Andrew is the Research Director at Kira Talent. He works on the marketing strategy, brand management, and lead generation tactics for Kira Academic. He's also the author of "Admissions Fraud: The Truth Behind the Application".
Main Image: Brooklyn College