Swim Creative, Wisconsin-Superior combine forces for video campaign

According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, over three million students will graduate from high school this spring. How many will choose to pursue secondary education? Of those, how many will choose the Twin Ports?

To attract those potential students, especially local ones, the University of Wisconsin-Superior teamed up with local advertising and branding studio Swim Creative to raise awareness and enrollment numbers.

UW-Superior, which traces its origins back to 1893, is a midsize state university with over 2,000 students and 500 online students. The school prides itself on its 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, affordable tuition and national recognition. Despite all that, UW-Superior somehow finds it’s not top-of-mind with some local graduates. To combat this perception, the school needed potential students to rethink UW-Superior, so it devised a plan to reintroduce UW-Superior to the Twin Ports and the surrounding community.

A large portion of this reintroduction was video. Working alongside Swim Creative, UW-Superior produced two stories. One follows the path of a new freshman, the other an online learner. As each scene unfolds, it is revealed that the lone student is actually surrounded by a growing support team of UW-Superior friends, faculty and family. Instead of a typical campus flyover, the videos captured how it feels to attend UW-Superior: the support, the pride, the energy.

“When talking to the UW-Superior marketing team, we came away with this key insight: if you want to blend in, UW-Superior is not the school for you,” said Gia Bellamy, senior copywriter at Swim Creative. “Students and parents want a supportive college, and UWS definitely fits the bill. This insight really stuck with us as we started brainstorming. It gave UWS an edge and a story to tell.”

Shooting on campus provided some interesting challenges for the production team. They only had small windows of quiet time to use areas such as the Jim Dan Hill Library and the recently constructed Yellowjacket Union. Luckily, Swim and the UW-Superior marketing team had planned out each scene and shooting plan in detail, providing a smooth process throughout the two-day shoot.

“My favorite thing about these commercials is that they are authentic,” said Leah Kohlts, marketing manager at UW-Superior. “There are no actors. It’s our students, our faculty and our staff telling the story that students and alumni tell us over and over again — that it’s the people and the supportive environment that makes UW-Superior such a special place.”

Through planning, teamwork and insights, UW-Superior now has compelling videos to engage potential students. The videos will be displayed at local high school games and online on UW-Superior’s social channels. They can also be viewed at http://swimcreative.com/uws-videos/.