the sally sisson blog


August 23, 2013

Best University Website Ever?


Monsters University best college website

Could be. This parody of a university website pretty much nails it. Created by clever minds at Pixar (to promote the Monsters U movie), it has all the elements: video testimonials, faculty profiles, an events calendar, even a school store. The only thing missing is a blog feed.

Over the years I’ve done communications, marketing and website work for K-12 schools, universities and education marketing clients, and I’ve spent a lot of time examining competitor websites and enrollment pitches. So when I saw the Monsters University website for the first time I had to laugh at the uncanny resemblance to the real thing.

college admissions videoAnd when I watched the Message from the Dean (see right), I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cringe. Have I scripted something scarily similar? Err…possibly.

I visited the website frequently this year, as I worked on the Monsters U marketing campaign with SubwayKids.com (wearing my copywriting hat). Each time I clicked I discovered another hilarious, spot-on piece of content. Food for thought as we head back to school and gear up for a new season of enrollment marketing. Here’s to fewer clichés and fresher ideas ahead!

Student ID card

Further reading on the Monsters U website and higher education marketing:

Future Comms: Scare Tactics
Go have a look at the site. It’s pretty much THE American university website. In fact, it’s a really good global university website… But what should we, in the Higher Ed community, really take from all this?
1. It’s not a university website. It’s a really good promotion for a multi-million dollar film made by a multi-billion dollar company. It’s just part of an annual ad budget that Adage cited as $2.1b in 2011.

Bob Johnson’s Blog on Higher Education Marketing
What do you get when you assemble every cliché about a higher education website in a single parody? The Monsters University website. Do not miss the intro to Academics with an opening video “Message from the Dean for Prospective Students.”

Sally Sisson Blog: Web Content and the Eternal Home Page Question: How much is too much?
Lessons learned from “Beyond the University Website – The Future of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.”

 

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September 7, 2012

New Content for a New School Year: Copywriting and back-to-school angst

copywriting and content For anyone working in educational marketing, communications or publishing, back-to-school begins long before August. But no matter how much content has been printed, published or posted in advance, the first week of school still brings its share of back-to-school angst.

For me, the first week of school presented a hodgepodge of projects for K-12 and edu:

Web content:

Writing and posting two new web pages for Inly School, an independent preK-8 Montessori school in Massachusetts.

Marketing copywriting:

Writing email blasts for K-5 teachers to promote this year’s new Subway Random Acts of Fitness for Kids, a national campaign for SubwayKids.com (for ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

Video scriptwriting:

Conceptualizing, writing and editing script for a new admissions video for a Catholic high school in Connecticut (for Keating Associates).

Copywriting:

Coining slogans and signage copy for a new sustainability campaign for a large university (for Hall Pass Group).

A crazy week, and crazy deadlines, but all fun stuff. I’ve got my #2 pencils sharpened and my colored folders and Mac files in order (well, almost).

Happy September!

* pencil illustration (created by Mark A. Hicks) from Discovery Education‘s Clip Art Gallery.
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June 19, 2012

Content marketing + cause marketing: Public relations with a purpose

content marketing for SUBWAY

Copywriting + corporate clients

Around this time last summer, I was busily dealing with my own child’s end-of-school activities while developing a year’s worth of content for SUBWAY Kids™ (via the Boston office of ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide).

For the Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™ project, developed to promote physical fitness and healthy habits in elementary schools throughout the U.S., I devised 365 “random” content snippets, 52 weekly activities, 12 mini field day activities and a culminating field day program. I also wrote copy for a teacher’s guide, teacher calendar and planner, classroom poster, and collateral for teachers and parents. All in about two weeks while trying to leave on my own summer vacation. Phew.

Cause marketing + bonus branding

content marketing for Subway KidsSUBWAY® Restaurants has had a successful string of win-win partnerships with select organizations and government institutions, and is now widely known for its commitment to the fight against childhood obesity.

For the Random Acts of Fitness and related campaigns, SUBWAY Kids™ partnered with We Can!™ (a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program), the American Heart Association and Little League® Baseball and Softball.

For another campaign on conservation, it partnered with The Nature Conservancy to provide reusable lunch bags and educate kids about the importance of recycling, reusing and reducing waste. [See my blog post: Earth Day interactives: Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients.]

The SUBWAY restaurant chain is now the largest in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal it surpassed McDonald’s last year as the world’s largest chain, in units sold. Not that it can be attributed to savvy cause marketing, but heck, they must be doing something right in the brand department.

Useful content for a range of constituents

June is field day season in American elementary schools, and also a time when restless kids get summer fever. The “Random Acts” guide also features quick exercises and activities that kids can do in the classroom to get their bodies moving and minds re-focused.

It also extends into the summer months, with ideas for at-home activities and seasonal recipes right through the last days of August, when kids are bored and restless once again, waiting for school to begin…

Happy summer!

(This year, I’m outa here!)

 

 

 

 

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