Though the temperatures might not be up to much, the clocks have now gone forward and a new spring of opportunity is upon us (just about). But before looking ahead to future projects, let’s take a moment to quickly recap what was put out there in the closing months of 2012 in terms of the most basic and crucial staple in every student recruitment video marketing plan – the overview video.

Roughly 20 UK universities have released new overview films in the last three months of 2012, and while the production values are for the most part agreeable, the degree of creativity on show could be said as still leaving something to be desired. So then, let us begin.

CASE STUDY # 1: ‘Aston University’

Though this video by Aston University has the best of intentions, it makes a number of errors which are indicative of broader recurring issues within student recruitment videos.

For a start, having the Vice Chancellor present in a video inevitably lends it qualities which will resonate with investors and funding bodies rather than young, prospective students. If this is what they were going for, then that’s great but they can’t have it both ways. What works for one audience will not work for another. This is exacerbated by the unfortunate stock music, which is a shame because a commercial soundtrack would have gone a long way to appealing to the targeted audience in a way which addresses the above.

CASE STUDY # 2: ‘University of Bolton’

Compare this with a video by the University of Bolton, which utilises real students as presenters (to a much better effect) and the contrast one observes is staggering.


CASE STUDY # 3: ‘Cambridge University’

One video production which rises above the rest is ‘Cambridge in Numbers’, in which student presenters go one step further and manipulate graphics to convey information in a memorable way.

Already having more than 10,000 views is nothing to be sniffed at, and though one’s first reaction might be to write the effect off as being down to Cambridge’s formidably large marketing budget, the truth is that infographics of this kind simply aren’t that expensive to create. Take special note of the multitude of presenters. Having a greater number means that if a certain person jars with audiences then at least they won’t be on the screen for long.

So then, what have we learned? When choosing music, think about what might resonate with your target audience, and if the budget is there then always go for a commercial track. When choosing a presenter, be sure to choose wisely and remember that there is safety in numbers. When choosing the kind of overview film that your video production will strive to be, be sure to think outside the box and come to terms with how you can transfer the unique qualities of your university into the creative process organically, rather than simply shoehorning it in. Do all this, and you’ll be incubating the kind of production that can stay ahead in a very creatively competitive climate to in 2013.

But what do you think? Is our criticism unjust? Is there indeed a better solution lurking on the horizon? Get in touch and join the conversation!

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