To determine the winner of Video of the Year, we evaluated videos based on five categories: recruitment effectiveness, emotional appeal, entertainment value, overall campaign effectiveness, and your votes.

All four finalists York University, University of Phoenix, University of New Mexico, and Babson College deserve exceptional praise for their ambition and creativity in 2016. However, after reviewing the contenders, we have determined our selection for Video of the Year.

However, your votes are also critical to this process, which introduced a second category we're thrilled to present: The People's Choice Award for the most overall votes in the popular voting category. Let's start there.

Drumroll, please...

People's Choice Award

With 46% of the popular vote, Babson College’s "The Entrepreneurs" campaign was the clear winner of ths year's People’s Choice Award.


Babson College launched a massive multi-year, multi-channel campaign called "The Entrepreneurs" aiming to redefine what ‘entrepreneurship’ means. The campaign shows to showcase the unique paths their graduates have taken, from the classic ‘startup’ or ‘small business’ story to graduates applying their entrepreneurial mindset within large organizations.

With 14 video profiles released over two years, and social media reach ranging across 140 countries and all 50 states, the video series has generated buzz among alumni and reinforced social proof of Babson’s entrepreneurial leadership.

“It truly is a brand awareness campaign. But from a recruitment standpoint, to be able to see that someone saw that campaign, but further down the funnel, to be able to track inquiries back to ‘’ is validating for us,” said Sara Quist, Senior Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Babson.



And now....

Video of the Year

Playfully acknowledging their lack of brand recognition, University of New Mexico (UNM) leverages their ‘unexpected’ accomplishments, high rankings, and student opportunities to create a compelling recruitment piece that drives traffic to a dedicated recruitment portal at


The “Unexpected on Purpose” video launched in November 2016 in conjunction with an overall brand refresh, including the release of a new UNM website homepage, and outdoor, traditional and digital marketing materials. The video has collected 92,000+ views and 650+ shares on Facebook, showing remarkable reach in the first few months since the video’s launch in November 2016.


Why University of New Mexico?

It isn’t enough to just declare a winner. We wanted to make sure we provided perspective on why this video was so effective, so let’s take a look at that now.

It creates hype: Using stunning videography, inspiring music, and a spoken word poetry narration, UNM provides a fast-paced journey through the university's offerings and highlights the energy and ambition on campus.

“The goal, of course, is to attract people to and build awareness of the value of UNM, but we hope that everyone already here, and all our alumni seeing this video will walk away saying ‘wow, I’m proud to be a part of that. This is UNM.’,” said Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer in a press release when the promotional video launched.

Lesson: A compelling video has the power to make people feel, unlike any other media. In a recruitment video, you only have a small window to connect with your audience so take advantage of that opportunity to convey a powerful emotion.

It was created for multiple channels: UNM’s choice to cut their video campaign into two formats, long (105 seconds) and short (30 seconds), is a smart play for their targeted millennial audience. By uploading the short format video on Facebook and Twitter, where they know they’ll catch viewers scrolling through their feeds, UNM grabs viewers' attentions and engages them on social media. Meanwhile more interested, investigating users who are exploring UNM on their website will get the full story in closer to two minutes.

Lesson: Design media with its consumption in mind. More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices, and AdAge reports that 33% of viewers drop off after 30 seconds; 45% after one minute. Will your two-minute director’s cut work everywhere? Probably not.

It is rooted in authenticity: UNM went above and beyond to ensure their video reflected not only the school’s spirit, but the people who have lived, worked, and learned on campus. The video effectively gets viewers’ hearts racing using inspiring music and a spoken word poem, but what you may not know is that the narrator is poet and UNM alumnus, Hakim Bellamy. All of the external work to create the video was done locally by agencies located in New Mexico as well.

“This is a simple, consistent and authentic way of stating that UNM is the sum of its people and its parts,” said UNM’s Blair. “Our differences in perspective and experience, our successes, and opportunities. Every student, faculty member, employee, alum – everyone who loves this place contributes a piece to the UNM story.”

Lesson: Authenticity is everything in marketing to millennials. In fact, in recent studies, 84 percent of Gen Ys claimed they don’t “trust” traditional advertising, and 43 percent ranked authenticity over content when consuming news.  Capitalize on what makes your school unique and test your ideas with members of your audience and your campus community to confirm they resonate with both prospective and current students. If you can't sell it to current students, it's probably not an authentic representation of your school.