Maine Community College System


Creative Services
Media Planning and Buying
Social Media
Website Development


Amy Steenstra
Eben Peck
Linda Sutch
Sarah Price
Joanna Wood
Jen Kessler
Tim Blackstone
Doug Bertlesman

Ethos was selected after a competitive process to develop a comprehensive media campaign for the Maine Community College System. The goal of the campaign is to build awareness of Maine’s Community Colleges and to invite inquiries to Maine’s seven (7) community colleges located throughout the state. The Maine Community College System consists of seven (7) Community Colleges located in Presque Isle, Calais, Bangor, Auburn, Fairfield/Hinckley, South Portland/Brunswick, and Wells.

Ethos conducted several internal assessments with relevant stakeholders from marketing, admissions, and leadership at all seven colleges. The end result was a collaborative, system-wide campaign focused on creating awareness of the tangible benefits of Community College as a category. The campaign, entitled “For Those Who Do” targeted those who could most benefit from attending community college and differentiated community colleges from other educational institutions.

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Real Stories to Reduce the Stigma

We positioned Maine’s Community Colleges as a viable, affordable, local path to either a job, a credential of value, or as a first step to university. By communicating as a collective, we could address student debt and help raise the tide for all of the seven colleges. Once the key messages were established, the call-to-action motivated prospective students to check out the community college that might best meet their goals (which was either course of study or location specific). We filmed real students at all seven campuses who shared how they addressed and overcame barriers. These stories helped reduce the stigma of “just a community college.”

Ethos media strategies sought to leverage the established Maine Community Colleges creative strategy. The media objective was to build awareness and differentiate MCCS. Ethos targeted the under employed or unemployed adult (age 25-45) as well as graduating high school seniors and their parents throughout the state of Maine.

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To cover seven campuses and six learning centers, media schedules ran on broadcast television, cable networks, and digital OTT television in three DMAs: Portland-Auburn, Bangor and Presque Isle. Spot cable buys ran statewide, supplemented by two smaller cable systems to deliver southern Maine (Sanford area) and western Maine (Skowhegan & Farmington).

Ongoing, targeted digital campaigns on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and programmatic advertising platforms helped reinforce key messages with specific target audiences; specifically, the unemployed, underemployed and those seeking career enhancement. At the time the campaign launched, the system projected a 5% decrease in enrollment. Today, enrollment in all colleges has increased 4.2% system-wide – bucking national trends.

Fast facts

system-wide increase in enrollment – bucking national trends