Brock University embraces critics FTW in its latest recruitment video

February 18th, 2011 Karine Joly 10 Comments

There’s been a taunt shared among students, friends and foes about Brock University, a 17,000-student university based in St Catharines (ON), Canada since the 80’s.

It’s a saying that most Brock students (prospective, current or past) have heard at some point in time.

Not a really cool way to talk about the institution, but definitely a very catchy one — due to the power of rhymes and sillyness:

If you can walk and talk, you can go to Brock

Brock University sends offers to only 25% of the people who applied. So, it’s fair to say that it takes a bit more than walking and talking to get accepted there.

Yet, when prospective students actually ask on public websites about this saying or feel compelled to blog about it in their personal corner of the Web, it might be wise to address the elephant in the virtual room.

That’s exactly what Brock University has done with its latest recruitment video, a very well-produced (yet not a budget-breaking) video released last week.

Kevin Grout, Marketing Communications Manager at Brock University, shared the link over Twitter last Friday. And, as soon as I watched the video (really a great job), I asked him a bit more information about it.

I was surprised to learn that the video hadn’t been done by an agency, so I decided to ask Kevin a few more questions about this project.

1) Can you tell us a bit more about this video? What are its goals and target audiences?

This video was done primarily as part our larger undergraduate recruitment plan. However, we see it as having institutional value: relevant to anyone who may be familiar with our University. It certainly has a goal of reputational enhancement.

2) How do you plan to promote/use it?

The video has been emailed out to all 2011 applicants, promoted through various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and will also featured on the Brock University website. The video already has more than 8,000 hits in the first 72 hours on YouTube [Note from Karine: more than 11,000 views at the time of this writing].

3) How long did it take to create this video? How big was the team and how much did the video cost?

Turnaround was very quick. Concept pitched in late November, casting and preproduction in December, shooting in mid-January. We had a director we had done some other work with who also pitched the initial script. Some refining was done with our recruitment office. I served as Producer, another member of our team as Production Assistant. A number of volunteers from our Marketing and Communications and Recruitment offices on the day of the shoot.

Professional crew was brought in by the director, totaling about eight all together. All footage was shot in one day, with the exception of the sheep and Niagara Falls footage, which was purchased additionally. Approximately 10 on-screen student, faculty and staff volunteers.

4) Any lessons learned or tips you can share with the rest of the class?

This video was a bit risky, in that we are, in a way, embracing, and then flipping a negative picture of our University. Sometimes you have to push your own boundaries into scary territory in order to be truly effective and transparent.

So, Dear Readers, what do YOU think about this video? Would YOU have taken the risk at your institution? Do you think it was a smart move?