By Thai Luong, Kapi‘o Staff Writer
Kapi‘olani Community College recently unveiled six new commercials designed to reverse declining enrollment rates and communicate the college’s “brand” to a larger audience.
(To view the other KCC commercials, go to Engage. Learn. Achieve.)
Carol Hoshiko, KCC’s dean of community relations, oversaw the project, which was produced by the Matsumoto & Clapperton agency. Acclaimed filmmaker Gerard Elmore served as director.
The production ran on a budget of just $25,000 and relied on volunteers from the community to fill acting roles. Despite limited resources and a tight schedule, the production team was able to film all six commercials in just two days.
Each of the commercials has a creative message designed to show the diversity of KCC’s programs and student body. Each ends with the slogan, “Engage, learn, achieve.”
“We decided to go with different themes and be creative, then slip in the program’s information,” Hoshiko said. “Everything was very intentional in there (including) the props and the people who played the parts. If it was a field that was traditionally male, we deliberately had a female.”
Hoshiko emphasized the importance of educating the public about all that KCC has to offer.
“We wanted to get the work out more about Kapi‘olani Community College, in other words to get our brand out there,” Hoshiko said. “When people think about Kapi‘olani, they think about our culinary program because that happens to be the most visible thing. But we’ve got wonderful arts and sciences, we’ve got health programs — we train all the EMTs in the whole state — and we’ve got good business programs. We wanted to show more of what we do.”
Dean of Arts and Sciences Charles Sasaki echoed Hoshiko’s sentiments.
“I think one of the things that is amazing is that we know how extraordinary this place is but we don’t always tell people that,” Sasaki said. “We just let people stumble onto the campus and they just happen to be lucky to have picked KCC versus another option. But they should be deliberately picking this place because it’s exceptional.
“What’s extraordinary about this ad campaign is that we’re telling people what we already know,” he said.
The commercials, each cleverly depicting what the college can offer, have been running on Hawaii News Now, which initially donated free airtime. They also can be seen on the KCC website and on the school’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Hoshiko said the social media sites have been the driving force for the early success of the commercials.
“I think our best results were from social media,” she said. “We’re getting a lot of clicks.”
At the end of the Spring 2014 semester, enrollment for fall was down by 12.8 percent. By the start of the current semester, that deficit had shrunk to just 4.8 percent — a possible indication of the effect the commercials have had.
“This is an excellent college,” Hoshiko said. “It’s local, it’s affordable, and it’s a place where you can get a quality education. The students need to engage, learn and achieve.”