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How Reframing a Narrative Brought Ivy Tech Increased Summer Enrollment

As the state’s community college network, Ivy Tech makes college affordable for many Hoosier families. Each year, the college runs advertising campaigns for its Free Summer program, which allows high school students to take free Ivy Tech courses. This year, we strategically decided to break from Ivy Tech’s traditional branded look by using animation to deliver an important message to Indiana students and their parents with the ultimate goal of increasing enrollment. 

Bringing Free Summer to Life 

Since this campaign was targeted to a high school audience, we were given creative freedom to have fun with both the language and visuals in the ads.

The creative messaging centers around the value of free things. Much of the time, free things can be “kinda lame,” as the spot says. Free pens, free water bottles…you get the point. Free summer classes at Ivy Tech are quite the opposite. They add value to high school students’ lives by setting them up for college success before they even cross the graduation stage. 

To illustrate this message further, our designer and in-house animation expert Rachel Knierman used stock imagery to create and animate the cut-out collages that make up the video spots. 

“This animation style was a fun one to work with,” Rachel said. “We wanted to bring in a handmade, scribbles-in-your-notebook, collage look rather than something super polished. I believe this really helped to grab our audience’s attention because most college ads they see are super polished.”


This campaign was a huge success! Not only did we exceed Ivy Tech's overall enrollment goal by increasing enrollment 43% from the previous year, but the campaign also directly contributed 19% of the request for information (RFI) forms. 

For search, the campaign click-through rate (CTR) was 150% better than the industry average and our Facebook and Instagram assets produced clicks per impression at a 33% higher rate than the benchmark. In fact, those were the strongest performing tactics. We saw 1,200 form submissions, 3,000 shares, 300+ comments, and 43 new followers to the Facebook page. Plus, the cost per engagement saw a 66% decrease from last year. 

Additionally, this year’s campaign CTR was 26% higher than last year. It’s safe to say that, much like the value Free Summer provides to students, this campaign provided a lot of value for Ivy Tech. 



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