In this year’s advertising campaign for summer session, PCC’s PR team deployed potty humor in the place everyone is a captive audience: the PCC bathrooms.
“This year we were thinking about how to get people’s attention, and we figured everybody’s got something they’ve got to do everyday,” Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing Alex Boekelheide said.
“They’re going to be in there,” he continued, politely eliding explicit mention of where ‘there’ is, “with some spare time, so we thought, ‘why not have a little fun with it.’”
Referencing recent development in legislature affecting California Community Colleges’ funding, Boekelheide pointed out the motivation for the PR push for summer enrollment.
“There are changes to the way the school is funded that are coming down from Sacramento, and clearly we need to still worry about our enrollment,” he said.
The intersessions are typically low-enrollment semesters, so one of the goals of the PR team is to bump that enrollment up by getting the idea of taking classes during those times into students’ heads. To this end, standing out is key.
“The biggest challenge in marketing is to get someone to focus on you, to get someone to take a split second out of their day to say, ‘oop, look, I thought about that,’” Boekelheide said.
“It’s hard to get students’ attention…[we] don’t want to become wallpaper when we’re putting stuff up,” Creative Services Supervisor David Steiman said.
Steiman was the mastermind behind this year’s unique campaign. Spanning many months and stealing his attention from several management meetings, inspiration struck in flashes of jokes exchanged between him and his colleagues.
“I was actually in a management meeting when my colleague and I started to riff off a couple,” Steiman stated.
“I always want something that’s going to stand out or get attention; I also have this sense of potty humor. These two things merged, and voila: the posters,” Steiman said.
The internal campaign for the summer intersession will be up until about two weeks into summer session, by which time class enrollment will be closed.
“I think students will think it funny; it will grab their attention; it will just kind of remind them to sign up already, and maybe put it on the radar if they hadn’t been thinking about it,” Steiman said.
This is not the first time that the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing has marketed for summer intersession, but this strategy so far is looking at least as effective as the past’s.
“[The posters] have attracted some attention already, and that is worthwhile,” Boekelheide said.
Summer registration is currently open, and students can sign up for classes via LancerPoint. The window to enroll closes by June 25.
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