JSU Interactive is brand new—so new, in fact, that many students and faculty aren’t even aware it exists.
Formed in November 2013, JSU Interactive is a three-person sub-department under Marketing and Communications.
Accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks, Lead Designer Shannon Crutchfield and her two videographers, Bo Bailey and Tanner Cain, create promotional videos, commercials, websites and campaigns for departments within the university.
The trio has completed 80 videos thus far, including JSU’s “Accepted” campaign for high school seniors and the 2014 Homecoming Hype video.
“The only way we could get this type of content before was outsourcing,” said Crutchfield. “If you’re going to go to an outside agency, you can pay upwards of a hundred thousand dollars per video. So, we’re producing a lot of content for very little cost.”
In addition to being fiscally efficient, it is JSU Interactive’s goal to help JSU live up to its reputation as the Friendliest Campus in the South.
“We are trying to give the university the best look and feel that we can,” said Crutchfield, “and the response has been great. The best thing to me is that we have so much student involvement. It’s just exciting that people want to be involved.”
JSU Interactive hosts open call auditions for all the voice actors used in its videos and has even featured some JSU faculty and alumni voices in its creations.
With a limited staff and no budget as of yet, it’s sometimes difficult to manage the high demand pouring in from eager departments.
“We usually have four or five projects going at one time,” Crutchfield said. “We have to be efficient. Sometimes we have to turn people away just because video takes a lot of time to produce.”
Projects can take anywhere from four days to produce for a basic event video to six months for more complex ad campaigns, such as the “Accepted” campaign. In conjunction with Andy Green of the Admissions Office and Tim Garner of Marketing and Communications, JSU Interactive has produced its most exciting ad yet: a two and a half minute video entitled “Accepted,” which has inspired an online viewbook for prospective students and will be shown as a recruitment tool at Accepted Students Days throughout this semester.
Bo Bailey is a senior Communication major and one of two videographers and editors for JSU Interactive. “We sat and racked our brains for about a week brainstorming and just thought of coming down to one word and that was ‘accepted.’ Everybody wants to feel accepted.”
“And at JSU you’re definitely going to be accepted,” Crutchfield added.
As young as it is, JSU Interactive has already been growing by leaps and bounds. In December, JSU Interactive was awarded two silver Education Digital Marketing Awards for its ‘Accepted’ video and online viewbook and a gold award for its Housing and Residence Life video. But the benefits of JSU Interactive go further than just awards.
“It’s a great chance for us to hone our skills, [as Communication majors] come out and learn, actually do real world experience,” said Bailey. “Working here has given me more experience than any of my previous jobs. We’ve done things that look good. They feel good; it’s something to be proud of.”
And, clearly, the three-man team is doing their job. “When you do things in house it’s a lot more personal to the school,” said Bailey. “Everybody that’s seen [‘Accepted’] has told us, ‘That’s what Jacksonville is about. That captures it.’”