Produce a Summer (Recruitment) Blockbuster

by Vince Fabra

jacksparrowIt seems like every Friday during the summer one or two or three blockbuster movies are released. The releases of these movies are preceded by months of hype, propped up by massive budgets, and overpromoted through press junkets and guest appearances on The View (not that I watch that) by the movie’s brightest stars. You can always count on a blockbuster for two things: 1) It will cost you anywhere from $7.50-$12.   2) You will always be entertained. Blockbusters are fun. We sit on the edge of our seats while watching the superheroes save planet earth or Captain Jack Sparrow sail the high seas. I am not questioning their entertainment value. However, I do have a few questions. Where is the originality? Do these films have any heart? Other than entertainment, what do these movies provide the audience?

Now, I do not want to sound like Roger Ebert who seems to hate every fan favorite… Instead, I provide this critique because I think there is a direct connection to fraternity summer recruitment strategies.  As you map out your plan for summer recruitment, be aware of the common pitfalls of the summer blockbuster.

Originality – I love superhero movies, but do we really need a fifth X-Men? Johnny Depp is awesome, but I feel it’s time to hang up the sword and three corner hat. And honestly, how many alien creatures can threaten the existence of mankind?

When mapping out your summer recruitment, try to avoid the same old story lines and gimmicks of the past. Try new activities, tactics and events to get connected with incoming and returning students alike. Here are some good ideas to get you started (See the Summer Recruitment Section of this document).

Budget – I am sure it cost a lot of money for super cool special effects and prime time advertisements. Nowadays, it seems like if you want a movie to make money, you have to spend money.

You do not need to spend money to drive results for your summer recruitment. Be careful of planning big events that require a large chunk of your recruitment budget. Effective small activities are the way to build relationships. Check out this link for a list of effective small activities that drive results during the school year and over the summer.

Storyline – It seems that Blockbuster movies distract us with special effects, A-list actors, and Ryan Reynolds in tights (it’s tough to look away). If all the bells and whistles were stripped away, we would be left with nothing substantial for a plotline.

Could the same be said for your chapter? If we strip away the cover band, chicken wings, float trip, minor league baseball game, and/or night out in the nearest big city, would you and your members be making genuine connections with potential new members? In other words, are you and your members having meaningful conversations during your summer recruitment activities? Use this blog post (Fun Zone/Deep Zone) as a guide to quality conversations.

This summer, you are the director, the producer, the star and the screenwriter. Create something worthwhile. Make your Summer Recruitment a little less blockbuster and a little more indy film.

Lights, Camera, Recruitment!