Ads created for public schools to lure parents, students

PHOENIX - In the Arcadia neighborhood, where competition is fierce for new students, Hopi Elementary School is using a slick marketing video to sell parents on the campus.

Hopi is part of the Scottsdale Unified School District, and like many traditional districts, Scottsdale is seeing enrollment numbers decrease as more charter and private schools pop up.

"We embrace school choice because we believe we can convince the public to choose us, but marketing is a very important part of that," said Scottsdale's Communications Director Erin Helm. 

Helm admits public school districts can be at a disadvantage. Marketing budgets are limited, because Helm says, "public schools --- we're struggling just to put money into the classroom."

ABC15 checked the area, finding two charter schools and three private schools that also woo families with marketing campaign and video tours of their campuses.

A local dad, Mark Wahlstrom, who also runs a media company, came up with a new approach to help the Scottsdale district. This year, he created individual school videos at no cost to taxpayers.

"They've got a great story," Wahlstrom said. "It's our job to help them tell that story and get out there."

Wahlstrom's company, Sequence Media Group, produced all the videos, which are funded by local real estate agents. The agents get an ad attached to the video they sponsor. 

Kelly Jones was one of the first real estate agents to sign up. She says vibrant schools are important to her clients.  She adds public and neighborhood schools offer many innovative programs and services, and families should learn about them.

"It's just like selling real estate: As soon as you hit the threshold, we know the house is sold," Jones said. "When you hit the front door, you're going to know that's your school."

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