The future of Life on the Hill remains tentative because the original marketing proposal only existed for the Fall 2014 semester.
Amanda Pittman, enrollment marketing manager, has served as an adviser for the project and cast members.
“We knew it was an experiment going into it,” Pittman said. “We weren’t sure if it would even work; we weren’t sure what was going to happen to it.”
The original proposal for Life on the Hill, which was presented to Jason Groves, chief marketing officer, and Dr. Allison Garrett, executive vice president, included only the fall semester of 2014.
With four cast members graduating and unplanned budgeting and casting for next year, the future of Life on the Hill is being determined by success researched through Morris and Mitchell, the on-campus Ad/PR association, and surveys to prospective students.
Life on the Hill seniors Brantly Houston, Ad/PR major from Abilene, and Alikay Wood, English major from Sacramento, California, are graduating in May.
“There was a lot of focus on creating videos for ACU’s YouTube channel,” Houston said. “As a group, we were the subject of over 50 videos. They really boosted traffic to ACU’s YouTube account, so it was very successful.”
Last semester, cast members of Life on the Hill were paid to create videos and post to social media at least five times a day with the hashtag “#lifeonthehill” or “#loth.” The focus has now shifted to cast members being available for enrollment marketing.
Despite the budget only being planned for a single semester, the success of Life on the Hill indicated the cast would continue the project.
“I think it went beyond our expectations,” Pittman said. “When the spring semester rolled around, it was ‘Well, how do we do this now? How do we keep this going?’ The students all wanted to continue doing the project, but there are still limited dollars.”
This required student cast members to continue posting to social media such as Twitter and Instagram for less pay than last semester. Though the cast created 53 videos in the fall, they haven’t produced a video for this semester yet.
“I know last semester I shot at least three videos that were never released because our awesome video team was always on the go,” Houston said. “The best videos were the ones that got released. This semester, the video guys have had a plethora of other responsibilities, so LOTH has kind of taken a back seat.”
Despite the lack of push for content this semester, the current cast has continued to devote time and posts to Life on the Hill and have even been asked to sit on panels for incoming students. However, snow days have prevented those panels from taking place.
“It was really cool that the project got extended, but unfortunately, there was only enough money in the budget for one semester, so some things had to be cut back,” Wood said. “We are still getting paid, but our pay was cut, so they felt it was only fair to lower what we were expected to do as well.”
The evaluation of the success of the project and potential changes for future Life on the Hill productions have begun to determine the future of Life on the Hill for next year and following years.
“We are working with Morris and Mitchell; they are doing some research for us,” Pittman said. “They’re going back and looking at all of our posts and the traffic and looking at when we got waves of followers. We didn’t do any paid promotion; it was all organic. We’ve got over 26,000 views on all of the YouTube videos, combined.”
Tentatively, the results of that research will be presented April 1, and the enrollment marketing and marketing offices will decide the future for Life on the Hill.
“I’m naturally a very private person, so it’s weird for me to share that much of my life with other people,” Wood said. “But I think the project is a really good idea and is just another way ACU is being aggressive and innovative in its pursuit of new students.”