The University of South Dakota is taking its admissions marketing campaign online.
The “My USD Story” campaign goes public Oct. 8 and features three USD students chosen by their fellow students.
Seniors Jordan Foye and Taylor Moore and sophomore Alayna Ackerman will each be featured in a three-minute video showing what USD and its students are really like.
“These students are examples of all walks of life at the university,” Natalie Eisenberg, account supervisor at Lawrence & Schiller, said. “They give a snapshot of all the activities at USD and show a picture of what campus is like without being overly staged.”
While USD has done billboards and other traditional media to recruit students, Jeff Baylor, vice president of Marketing, Enrollment & Student Services, said it was time to enact a new strategy of engaging high school students.
“Our demographic, which is 16- to 19-year-olds, is living online,” Baylor said. “We want to be where they are, which is why we’re moving toward this digital campaign.”
This summer, USD and Lawrence & Schiller sent a campus-wide email asking students to nominate someone they thought had a good story that involved USD. From those nominations, Lawrence & Schiller selected about 10 students to interview and then chose Foye, Moore and Ackerman as the videos’ subjects.
“The three students who were chosen were picked because they had the stories that Lawrence & Schiller thought would relate best to high school students,” Baylor said.
The videos show each student going through what is a typical day for him or her. Foye, who is an anthropology major, is shown working in her chosen field and focuses on the internships and field experience going to USD has given her.
The video featuring Moore, a football player and contemporary media and journalism major, shows him at the DakotaDome and filming segments for Coyote News, USD’s student-run news broadcast.
Ackerman talks about her plans to attend a different university until she changed her mind three weeks before school started; the video shows her leaving her sorority house, taking potential students on tours as a Student Ambassador and talking about her dreams to attend USD’s School of Law.
“As a former USD student, I’ve never seen a higher education advertisement capturing campus like these videos,” Eisenberg said. “We always want to deliver a message in a way that gets viewers engaged and interested.”
While the admissions campaign is making an “investment into media this generation is using,” Baylor said the general university marketing campaign will still exist on billboards and television commercials.
“However, we think these videos will be interesting to people who have a stake in the university — donors, alumni, friends of USD,” Baylor said. “It shows who our students are and what they’re doing.”
Once the campaign goes public, the videos will be located at SeeMyUSD.com, the official landing page of the campaign. The videos will be promoted by advertising banners on sites aimed for teens, on signage in malls throughout the region and in different activities through Admissions, Eisenberg said.