Higher Ed Marketing – Doing It Right and Doing It Wrong

First things first. Watch this video. You don’t have to watch the whole thing, but if you are intrigued, go for it. I’ll wait.

I was alerted to this by a former colleague of mine. She said that her current boss (who sits in my former office) showed it to the marketing and communications staff last week. The current boss said that it is a perfect example of why they don’t many videos any longer.

That’s when I called my friend’s current boss a goddamned idiotic [insert string of expletives that even I won’t put into print].

Why did I say those things — other than that I like to tell the truth? Well, let’s build some context here.

First, that video was uploaded to YouTube in December 2005. It might help you to recall that YouTube did a beta test in early 2005 and launched officially in November. This was really, really early in the YouTube movement.

Secondly, think about what software was readily available in 2005. iMovie 2? Uploaded over a dial-up connection?

Yes, it’s cheesy, but what’s wrong with it? I mean, really, from a marketing or public relations perspective, what is wrong with it? It gets the message across and nine years on, the message is still sound. Does it matter if the song is goofy or it sort of has that “C’mon, let’s go to Branson, Missouri” vibe? The still photos don’t suck and they’ve laid it all over a background image of the Boone Valley, so you know where you’re going to be and what the place is going to look like.

And finally, as of the time I checked in, this video has had 1,790,546 views. Nearly two million views. That’s right, nearly two million people have listened to that stupid jingle and can sing, “Appalachian is hot, hot, hot!” And that’s bad marketing?

I don’t think so.

And I especially think it’s rude to trash someone’s video with 1,790,546 views when the most views on your YouTube channel is 5,124 — and that’s a video from another department from five years ago.

The thing is, you have to get them where they live. This is a devilishly subversive video that has probably gotten more than one student to think, “Hey, maybe I’ll look into this place.” If it has, then it lived up to its video claims!

And as for anyone who thinks you shouldn’t be doing more videos in 2014, I have a string of expletives for you, too.

PS — Truth in Reporting Statement: I’d never seen this video before this week, but I am a graduate of ASU. I went there when it was a second-tier state school, something it absolutely is not any longer, and I got a damn fine education there. I froze my ass off on top of those god-forsaken mountains, but there’s nothing I would ever trade for that experience. It actually was “hot, hot hot.”

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