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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 1, 2018 3 years ago

School's quest to attract students for new program takes simple, straightforward approach

Ringling College of Art & Design's communications team developed an advertising campaign for the school's new virtual reality development major.
by: Grier Ferguson Sarasota-Manatee Editor

Organization: Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota 

Client: Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota

Task: Spread awareness and get potential students interested in Ringling College’s new virtual reality development major. The college will introduce a bachelor’s in fine arts degree in virtual reality development in the fall.

Highlights: The Ringling College communications team created marketing materials to promote the major. The team works closely with the admissions department to target prospective students. They also collaborate with the Ringling College Design Center, the print design arm of the college, and the Ringling College All Ringling Television Network, the video production arm of the college, also known as ART Network, on a variety of projects.

A digital ad promoting Ringling College of Art and Design's new virtual reality development major.

The digital virtual reality advertisements started to run online in a variety of places in October 2017. The ads focus on the sheer fact that Ringling College even introduced the major — a key point since college virtual reality programs are new. The tagline gets to that point quickly: “Got VR? We do.”  

The call to action on one of the advertisements invites interested students to register for a Ringling College preview day to learn more about the major. 

An image of a virtual reality headset takes center stage in the ads, creating a sleek, simple look. Lisa Moody, interim director of marketing and digital strategies and director of ART Network, says, “All of us really like simplicity. We wanted it to be straightforward.” Simplicity is something the team usually aims for, adds Stephanie Lederer, editorial and public relations manager. “There’s no need to clutter it up.”

The team ran digital ads on social media, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. It also promoted it using Google AdWords and with graphics on the Ringling College website.

Outcome: Within 30 days, there were 30,000 hits on the new webpage for the virtual reality development major. In the fall, a full cohort of virtual reality students will start classes.

Moving forward, the communications team plans to talk with Ringling College virtual reality students about how they think the program could be best marketed to potential students. They’ll likely develop a new campaign for next year with different messaging and visuals based on feedback and stories from first-year students. “Probably our best ambassadors are our students and alums,” Moody says. “We’re trying to promote more of their stories.”

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