University Video: "Future Innovators"

This blogpost's subject is the "Future Innovators" university video series from Best Buy, and for several great reasons.  If you haven't seen the videos and TV spots, you can peruse the first-person stories of college innovators who created mind-blowing inventions below.  Will these bright minds be the Rockefellers and Steve Jobs of the next generation?  Judge for yourself the quality of innovation, but for our purposes as creators & marketers of college video communications, we'll take a critical look at the storytelling techniques used. The first reason we love this university video series is the obvious aesthetic value of the footage the production company and director set out to capture.  If you're a marketing professional working on making your higher-education videos better, checkout how the film crew used subtle camera movement; low-angles and long-lines in their compositions; and "everyday" minimally-lit collegiate details to tell their university video story.  I've been on film location with Explore Media on many a college campus looking for the same details that communicate the university experience, see "Let There Be" or "Outcomes" for some examples of scenic detail after watching below:

The second reason we love this university video series:  listen how they used the music underscores to further their strategy.  The spots are about innovation, so the soundtrack is upbeat and feels energizing.  But an added emotional connection if you're in their younger demographic target market, you'll recognize the tunes of some very popular indie bands like "Of Monsters and Men" and "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros", giving the commercials instant credibility.  As a video producer, I also love how they use the words and swells of crescendos at the precise moments where there is space in the actual narrative.  Music can be the subtle emotive message in the video story, especially if you can use the words in the chorus to sync with a thread of your theme.  These spots all do this very, very well.

One note: if you look at the :30 TV spots vs. the longer videos, you'll notice the longer videos don't use the actual recording artists' music tracks...instead it sounds like a composer creating a track that fits the same style, just without the label and publishing red tape.  I'm sure this is due to smaller budgets for the web videos...but the music still fits "in the spirit" of the other university videos.

Lastly, the use of language and scripting in these university videos is honest, cuts together fluidly, and tells the story in a believable, inspiring manner.  "Your Dorm Room: Where Ideas Come to Life" What's not to like about that tagline?  If I'm a college-aged consumer or a graduate student or researcher looking to buy a laptop, I might actually consider Best Buy after watching these university videos.  Of course, the entire point of this campaign is for consumers to buy what the advertiser is selling...and some people have been critical that a laptop does not an innovator make.  This campaign is not a hard sell, but rather a brand story about Best Buy's commitment to innovation.  We think they did a pretty good job!

Here's the playlist below that should play the entire campaign if you want to see everything without clicking, it should work right YouTube?

Wrapping up, the Future Innovators university video campaign has visually-pleasing, artistic footage; indie-rock popular music tracks; and inspiring stories told through believable first-person testimonials.  The campaign has been a huge success, and when you break down the elements, you can seen why.  Weaving poignant visuals, music and well-told stories together is also the way I believe in producing great content, from web videos for universities to TV ad campaigns.  You can read more about university video production services, or see more college video work in this education portfolio!

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