From the Nominator
On March 22, 2019, Florida Gulf Coast University launched The Water School, the first new school at the university in over a decade. On April 1, 2019 we launched our annual April Fools video and pushed it out via social media. Although the video had all the elements of a good prank, it was highly strategic and gave us yet another, somewhat unexpected, opportunity to highlight our new school. Located in Southwest Florida between the Florida Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico, FGCU is surrounded by water that fuels our state’s economy and well-being. Tourism, real estate, development, agriculture, recreation and our health all depend on the health of our southwest Florida waters. With Florida’s recent water problems, it was time to bring together all water-focused faculty from the marine and ecological sciences, biology, engineering, the health sciences and business to take a holistic approach to develop solutions.
From the Judges
What a fun way to extend the reach of a strategic initiative—The Water School and FGCU's focus on the environment and sustainability—to a broader audience and at little cost! Engaging students and well-respected faculty in the video project was a nice touch, as it provided "authenticity" to key points about the university's strength in these areas, even in an April Fools' Day video. The video also provided a nice mix between being fun/entertaining and educational (without overtly hitting the audience with language that is too heavily messaged or filled with marketing jargon). It's great to see higher ed marketers use humor effectively in a way that will likely resonate with their younger audiences. Great job at successfully demonstrating the university's personality in a unique way.