By SHEILA SELMAN
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Adele was the queen of the night at The Grammy Awards Sunday. But another big winner was Goshen College.
Commercials promoting GC aired during the Grammys, which normally draws a decent TV viewership. This year, though, with Adele and the death of music icon Whitney Houston, the music awards show managed to draw its highest viewership since 1984.
More than 39.9 million viewers flocked to the broadcast, making it the second most-watched Grammys in history, according to preliminary Nielsen Co. figures released Monday. That exceeds last year’s Oscars broadcast, which was seen by 37.6 million viewers.
“I am just thrilled (about this Grammy year),” said Jim Caskey, vice president for institutional advancement at Goshen College. “I was very interested because I like Adele. It was just good.”
And, although it’s a sad occasion, Houston’s death definitely drove up the viewership, he said.
“I was impressed with the quick turnaround (for the tribute),” Caskey said.
The commercials were aired in the Michiana region — not nationwide. The intent was to spark interest in students who are applying for college.
“Our goal is always awareness and visibility,” Caskey said. The Grammys just happened to be part of an advertising package that was approved by college officials in the fall. This is probably the biggest single event the college will advertise in the year.
More commercials are coming at critical moments in the application process for college. The next round of GC commercials will be probably in April as students decide on which college to attend, Caskey said.
It’s not the first time Goshen College has aired a commercial during a big TV event. In the past, the college has advertised during the Super Bowl and the Olympics. One commercial that aired during the Grammys was an updated version of the piece that aired during the Super Bowl. Some graphics and logos were changed just to give it a fresher look, Caskey explained.
“Anecdotally, I’ve heard a lot of nice things about the commercials, and the president tells me the same thing,” he said
“It’s more a matter of strategically trying to reach prospective students and their parents, and for the broader good of reaching alumni,” he said.
Is advertising during banner events worth it?
“TV ads are hard to tell in and of themselves,” Caskey said. “They are necessary but not sufficient. They are part of a bigger plan. We also do print and radio.”
What it all comes down to is local contact with parents and students, he said.
“We are continuing to analyze or figure out which ones are the right ones,” Caskey said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
On The Internet
To view the Goshen College advertisement, visit http://www.goshen.edu/virtualgc/videos/2009/promo-hey-you/