TCC: Reach Higher

Integrated Advertising Campaign

Tacoma Community College educates approximately 13,700 students annually and makes a positive impact on the surrounding communities by preparing its students  for the workforce. Although TCC was actively filling its classes each semester, they needed to combat the efforts of the local University to recruit college freshman from local high schools.  

The Challenge

Tacoma Community College had not run any major advertising campaigns for nearly three years and a well-known University in Washington had recently opened their doors to graduating high school seniors in Downtown Tacoma. We needed to differentiate TCC from the 4-year universities by communicating their value and encouraging applications from women and minority students–ensuring that the TCC student body was reflective of the diverse and inclusive Tacoma community.

The Solution

REACH HIGHER. We made calls, sent emails, and fired off texts to get in touch with the perfect local celebrity/spokesperson for this job: Vicci Martinez. A local musician who recently gained national fame as a runner-up on NBC’s The Voice, Vicci was also an alumnus of TCC. Once we tracked her down, we sold her on an authentic script and the creation of a scholarship program for aspiring women artists that would bear her name. We promoted the scholarship via Pandora radio commercials and a regional news media/PR campaign. With regard to the advertising mix, we went big with billboards and musically with the media:

The Work
Web Development

We built a landing page for the TTC website where visitors from the video ad would be directed. Here they could see behind the scenes footage of filming the commercial with Vicci, learn more about the scholarship, and sign up to apply for the scholarship.

Outdoor Media

Designed bus boards and bill boards to be placed around Tacoma to announce the Vicci Martinez Arts Scholarship.

Video Ad

To appeal strongly to female millennials we recruited a local musician and celebrity Vicci, to be the face of our video. She was our top choice given her very recent appearance on The Voice, as well as being a TCC graduate herself! We chose to run her video ad on Pandora Radio. Our goal was to be unobtrusive, tout the scholarship and let Vicci’s voice do the rest…

The Results

750K+ earned media impressions

leveraging Vicci and TCC social media channels.


2% click-thru rate on Pandora ads

(one of the highest to date in the greater Seattle area)


300+ scholarship entries

for the Vicci Martinez Arts Scholarship for Women.


17 million impressions on a budget of $45,000

Our branding campaign was a huge success thanks to Sands Costner & Associates. Without much direction, SCA understood what TCC needed and made important suggestions to help us stand out in our market. SCA knows how to work inside the box in order to think outside the box. TCC’s Pandora Radio campaign has been one of the most successful in the area. Their creativity and passion for our Reach Higher campaign really showed through.”

– Shawn Jennison
TCC Director of Marketing

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