Producing One Film Is a Mistake

Here is our latest, a film about community for Kohelet Yeshiva High School near Philadelphia, PA.

The Longview
Since this is part of a larger campaign for Kohelet (see our first film for them – accompanying Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’s lecture at Kohelet – here), we have the longview in mind.

What I mean by this is, each film we create for them has its own specific purpose. Most schools, if they hire someone to make them a video, they want one video that covers everything about the school, wrapped into one.

But doing this is a big mistake.

Why? Because you end up with the same film every time. Because your audience isn’t getting anything new from you, just basically an updated version of last year’s video.

We work on larger, multi-film campaigns for our clients, and this is crucial to their success. It makes them stand out, and it increases enrollment drastically more than the 1-video approach.

One Org, Many Audiences
Think about it.  A private school has many audiences.  It has the current student body, the alumni, the prospectives, the parents, and the community (donors).  If you’re saying the same thing to every one of them, you are surely missing your mark, because you can’t please all the people all the time with one video.  You are actually hurting your campaign if you put all your eggs into one basket like that, because kids want to see something different than parents or donors, for example. Not only that; each of those different target audiences value different things. This will have an impact on whether they donate money, apply to your school, or buy tickets to your fundraising gala.

A pre-gala commercial gets people curious and excited to come to the event.  What this really means is that it gets people to want to give money to something they FEEL & CARE about. And what do they care about?  Certainly not how your classroom looks.  What they care about is what your school represents, what it means to the wider community, and what it means to the future of the world.  Big, emotional stuff that’ll make them pull out their checkbooks and donate. Because people give based on their emotions, not on information.

In a future project we will produce a film for Kohelet that incorporates the nuances of its education, the greatness of its staff and programs, its philosophy.  But we can save that for the open house.  Right now we want to talk about the abstract value that Kohelet brings to the greater community.

Go Abstract for a Change
Kohelet wisely made “Community” the theme for their gala.  We took a more abstract view of it, and boiled it down to the essentials of what make up a community: people, in a place.  So we featured the place, and the people in it, because that is what community is all about.

It’s a very fitting theme, especially for Kohelet, because what has impressed me most about the school is that it’s not insular – the students are involved in the community, and the school is the center for community events on a regular basis. Shiurim, beit midrash, Sunday learning, volunteering… even just the way the students smile at people and are polite to their elders while they’re at the local cafe, for example. It all impacts the wider community.

During what can be a very selfish time of life, Kohelet students are taught to reach out, to care for people beyond themselves, and not just in words, but they are SHOWN how to do it by their educators, and it makes them mature, friendly, and happy, ready to really make a difference in the world.

Bottom line, when you plan your next film advertising campaign ask the following three questions:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What is the one thing that they really care about on an emotional level?
  3. What do I want them to do after they watched my film? (strong call to action)

Once you have those three answers then each answer need to be represented in your film and video ad. Not more and not less.

P.S. In case you didn’t get a chance to watch the first film ad we did for Kohelet featuring Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, here it is:

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