Marketing to bolster outreach, enrollment

By Anthony Kinney, News Editor

The Century Richmond Hilltop 16 movie theater will present a Contra Costa College promotional ad in between film trailers, starting in April, to raise the community’s awareness and increase enrollment.

Just in time for spring break and summer dates, the 30-second ad will run before select films from April to the end of the May, concluding in June, then will begin showing again in July until the end of August.

Dean of Enrollment Services Dennis Franco said the idea behind the advertisement  aims to heighten the community’s awareness of the college and the enrollment process while highlighting the degrees and courses the campus offers, such as Career Technical Education (CTE) certifications.

“We offer some of the best programs in the area, but the community doesn’t necessarily know, so this is a way to help people understand that better,” Franco said.

He said CCC is nestled in an area that’s not easily seen from any freeway or main thoroughfare, so it’s great to promote the college at Century 16 to remind the community there’s a premier community college in their backyard.

“Believe it or not — not everyone in the community knows there’s a college here,” Franco said. “We want to heighten the profile of the college so the community knows they don’t have to go far for a good education.”

CCC’s Marketing and Media Design Director Brandy Howard said, “Seventy plus percent of young people between the ages of 18-24 are moviegoers, so we know this is a good way to reach our target population.”

According to Franco, the promotional ad will provide a general overview of the college, its courses and a step-by-step visual guide of the “three steps to success” enrollment process; taking the assessment test, attending orientation and building an educational plan.

Franco said the ad will also display the newly constructed campus buildings.

“For a long time, the campus was somewhat fragmented because of construction,” he said. “But now the campus has a more cohesive feel to it and we want to let the people know that’s happening.”

Political science major Talia Padilla said running an advertisement at Century 16 is a great way to promote the college among young folks because the movies are such a popular spot for families to spend their downtime.

“Many parents bring their kids to the theaters, so promoting the concept of college there will increase the probability of those kids becoming college students. It will affect them on a subconscious level at the very minimum,” Padilla said. “It’s a good way to reach out.”

The Cinemark-operated Century Hilltop 16 Theater opened its doors in September 2001. The 16-screen multiplex enjoys the advantage of being the only commercial theater of its size in the area.

Howard said running the ad will cost the college $9,800, a favorable deal for the college when all details are considered.

The cost includes the advertisement’s development and the showing of the ad for four months, in addition to advertising on the theater’s mobile app and a CCC digital lobby display at the Century Hilltop Theater.

Franco said because the ad will highlight the college’s “three steps to success” enrollment process, the funding for the ad was provided by the Student Success and Support Program.

The program, which is bonded with a California categorical budget, allows its finances to go toward advertising and promotion of the college.

“We’re being creative and utilizing the funding we get from the state in appropriate ways to let people know, ‘yes we’re here and here are the steps necessary to be successful in college,’” he said.

Howard said the Hilltop theater ad will assist CCC’s email marketing system, which is the college’s primary way of reaching out to current students and students who have applied to the college but are not yet enrolled.

She said the college is experimenting with mobile app advertising also.

“We want to remind the community how much of a ‘gem’ we are,” Howard said.