One of the most powerful forms of media is video. I’ve heard it called the “You’ve got to see this” factor, that transcends language. If a video is fun, funny, unique or moving, people will watch it, share it, comment on it — and it will help get your message across in a powerful way.
As a professional in higher education, I particularly like to see what other universities are doing when it comes to video. So following, in no particular rank or order, are 6 of the best university videos that I found from 2011.
- San Diego State University – I’ll start with our own. We’ve gone away from the typical institutional television spot showing faculty members in labs coats and tried to do something a little more fun, that shows both the passion of our alumni, and the reach we have into the community. Our institutional spot focused on a chant that the student section does before every home basketball game – “I Believe.” The commercial features several prominent alumni, including the founder of the Rubio’s Fresh Mexican food chain, Ralph Rubio, and the mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders. But the best part is what we did after the commercial debuted. We were able to get Mayor Sanders to join the student section before a game to lead them in the chant. And we captured it on a smart phone (Not all videos need to be professionally produced to have impact). But the video was a hit and shows the excitement and atmosphere at our games.
- Boston University – Boston Red Sox, Behind the Lens. We all like to share stories about our successful alumni. BU does a great job on this feature, shadowing this sports photographer as he shares his experiences taking pictures at historic Fenway Park in Boston. The production value of the video is outstanding, very creative, weaving in still photography, making it look as though it’s moving. And the story is compelling, like something you might see on a network sports show.
- University of Toledo – #whyUToledo. This is a great example of an integrated approach to new media. It started as a Twitter campaign, asking people why they chose UT. Then they took the images of the actual Tweets and made a video out of it, with voice overs of (supposedly) the students reading their Tweets. Really fun, forward thinking, great way to connect with the generation that is currently looking to go to college.
- McMaster University – This Month with the President. While this is a very simple concept, execution is not always as easy. McMaster sits down, in a different location, each month with the president of their university and has him discuss a particular topic. It’s not scripted, there’s no teleprompter. It’s just him sharing his thoughts. It’s a great way to personalize someone who, often times, people on campus don’t get to interact with.
- University of Oregon – Call me a Duck. I’m a sucker for Hip Hop songs being used in non-traditional places. And this one is outstanding. It’s actually sung by an a Capella group from UO that went on a national television singing competition show. It’s an amazingly well produced music video that shows school pride, passion and creativity.
- Bowling Green University – Stroh Center Rap. One of the challenges in the Advancement and Development world is educating people – particularly students – about the importance of philanthropy to a university. The typical introduction of a newly built and/or named building is a press release and a ribbon cutting ceremony with a photo opp. The opening of Bowling Green’s new basketball arena, The Stroh Center, was anything but typical, thanks to this video. The rap talks about the people who made the building possible, including how much money they gave. — “He will melt your face with his philanthropy” — And the video features those donors. The production value of the video is excellent. But for my money, getting the donors to participate in the video is well worth the watch.
What great university videos did you produce or see this past year?