It’s not often that I take on an advertising project. There has to be something that’s outside-of-the-cube about the project to pique my interest.
The reality about successful advertising is that it must elicit that special marketing phrase: “a call to action.” In-other-words: it needs to compel the person who watches the advertisement to spend their time and money on the service or product being advertised.
There’s a thin line between success/blandness and failure/artistic merit.
Here’s Carly Foulkes in a film-noir/action thriller ad. Sixty seconds after the ad finishes, does anyone remember the service?
Similarly, when twin sisters Sinem and Meltem Gulturk drop “awesomesauce” into the mainstream lexicon, what product were they promoting?
Both of these ads had artistic merit in cinematography and writing, respectively.
But, one of the most successful ads when in comes to the conversion of views to paying customers is this one:
And what it makes up for in sales it doubles down on blandness.
I was asked to help an organization called “The Heartbeat of Plymouth” (Michigan) to get the word out about their annual festival. With the above examples in mind, it took me a while to say “yes.”
The reason for taking on the project is that it’s entirely run by a group of enthusiastic volunteers representing a group of area churches. The fact that they’ve set aside differences between the messages of their respective religions to focus on people and the commonality of helping people went a long way to me saying “yes.” To seal the deal, these wonderful volunteers have bitten off more than they can chew and have been successful!
To help them get the word out about all of the activities that would take place during their outdoor weekend festival, I focused on what would reach all of the various constituents who were involved. Music has universal appeal and the people working on the live concert portion of the event had done a clever job of incorporating local worship bands with regional and national touring acts.
Here’s the ad that we ran to raise awareness during the 6 weeks prior to the beginning of the event. It focused on the quality of the two headlining bands: I Am They and 6th Day Made. It had to be both appealing and convince viewers that the festival was something that would be fun to attend.
I also did a follow-up video that was recorded during the actual event. Here, I focused on telling the story of everyday people who came together and created an event that was simultaneously professional while retaining the traditional atmosphere of a barn-raising event.
The results: storytelling through the eyes of the participants and audience that lead to a measurable increase in participation.
The music was fun, but the people who particularly caught my attention were the three speakers found in the above videos at mark 0:18, 0:43, and, 1:06. With no preparation, they delivered compelling messages. That’s the true testament to the artists who performed and the people who attended. Everyday people.