The assignment was to produce a promotional video for a client, either Raindance or an agreed alternative which needs to be approved by the tutor in advance.
After discussions with the tutor, it was agreed I could create a promotional video for Bushey and Oxhey Round Table’s (BORT) Charity Beer Festival. I have long had an association with BORT, and have been involved with their beer festival since the inception in 2007 and it seemed right that a charity should benefit if possible.
Traditionally, being charity affairs, Beer Festivals rarely have the funding for professional promotional efforts and are instead at the mercy of the best efforts provided by volunteers. As can be seen, by the examples below, these are not always the most professional (or stabilised) of productions. It also seems that, apart from North Leeds, Harrogate and Chester – there are barely any promotional videos out there.
BORT is no different, and to date has only been able to make use of posters and word of mouth marketing. It has been my goal to change this, and in both 2016 and 2017, I attended the festivals, with camera in hand, to record some footage to use for promotional videos. Sadly, time and resources meant that, until today, I have been unable to actually complete the task.
The traditional format appears to be to create the video much like a TV news segment, with lower thirds and reporter style commentary.
And sometimes, the festivals do make local news channels – such as “StaffsLive” – Staffordshire University’s media channel created by their BA and MA students.
The videos seem to be, on the whole, considerably longer than the 1-minute segment requested for this assignment. North Leeds Festival have posted 30+ minute videos showing the festivities including live music, drinking, competitions and more. Several of the videos I’ve seen were incredibly shaky, handheld, iPhone footage filmed from the back of a crowd. The few things they all have in common are Live Music, Beer and of course “fun” whilst emphasising the charity nature of the festival.
Having been involved in the Beer Festival for many years, and in fact having been Chairman of Bushey & Oxhey Round Table for a total of 6 years (6 festivals), I have a fair knowledge of the workings of the festival and the “client requirements” which meant that, apart from running through a basic checklist, I only needed to spend the bare minimum of time in research phase.
My checklist went along the lines of
- Highlight the charity nature of the festival
- Make sure Round Table is seen in a good light
- Ensure the current Round Table branding is utilised
- Ensure the current Ladies Circle branding is utilised
- Round Table is a young man’s organisation (18-45), try to ensure that the portrayed demographic includes the younger generation
- Highlight the live music aspect
- Highlight the ciders – it is more than just a beer festival
- Highlight the association with Ladies Circle (this wasn’t possible in the 1-minute time frame, although should be possible in a 90 second or 2-minute promo)
- Arrange interviews with other stakeholders (this was impractical in the initial time frame due to the loss of 3 weeks with laryngitis).
- Make something which can be re-used each year
- Ensure that the venue (The Three Crowns) is seen in a favourable light
- Highlight that the event is one for all the family, child-friendly beer garden, etc
- BBQ food on offer throughout the weekend, as well as the usual restaurant menu.
At least for the milestone, I have been unable to arrange interviews with the Ladies Circle Chair/committee. A mixture of snow and illness (both myself and the ladies) meant that interviews have been cancelled on more than one occasion so far. I am hoping to be able to conduct the interviews and include them in a longer edit prior to the April 26th submission deadline, however, the 1-minute version is unlikely to change much and is already “packed” so adding content may prove counterproductive.
I will consider doing a Ladies Circle specific version, as well as a joint/co-branded version as the project develops.
I chose to run a voice over / commentary by the landlord as he talks about the historic nature of the venue, coupled with images of the beer garden, people relaxing and having fun. We highlight the live music, as well as the large selection of real ales and ciders that are available, without naming any specific brands. We show young men standing around, laughing, having fun, whilst also showing the older generation in an unhurried an unrushed environment, enjoying a half a cider.
The festival covers 3 days, and is a joyful, family experience. Unrushed, unpressured and it was important to encompass this in the visuals.
We show members of Ladies Circle working behind the bar, as well as the young members of Round Table. We show a local dignitary turning up for a beer, paying for the beer, and then being invited behind to pour his own beer (used for press coverage after the fact).
What would I do differently?
As with all charity productions, you are limited by a volunteer’s available time. If this were a commercial presentation, being paid for by a company, then the company would be more invested in the production and they would make their staff available (paid and during office hours) to record the necessary interviews or b-roll. In this instance, we were hampered by the fact people needed to work during the day, were only available on certain evenings, and then these dates having to be postponed at the last minute due to illness.
The brief was for a snappy, 1 minute, delivery. The content itself doesn’t really lend itself well to a 1-minute slot. The whole idea of the beer festival is to spend a relaxing weekend chilling, not a hectic/frantic visit.
There are issues to consider regarding the advertisement of alcohol, ensuring that we do not promote over drinking or binge drinking. There is a voluntary code, as well as legal requirements which need to be adhered to. In this case, I have erred on the side of caution and steered away from any direct marketing of any alcoholic drinks or brands.
For television, the slots would be 15-seconds or 30-seconds and would follow a simpler, more prescribed format – this said, the 30-second advert slot is now effectively dead , instead, being replaced by 6-second “bumpers” and skippable infomercials advertising products online (Google, etc).
Feedback and Peer Review
We went through a peer review session in class. Comments related to the placement of the mic on the talent (done this way to avoid pops that we were experiencing), and about a transition at the end of the video – now covered.
There was also a lot of uncertainty about what is Round Table .. something the organisation as a whole does need to combat, however not something for this brief. Fortunately, our target audience in Bushey is familiar with Bushey Round Table as we do a lot to promote our presence in the community. Nationally the organisation really does need to do more to promote itself I agree.
Other than that, the feedback related to poor audio due to the quality of the Raindance speakers, and some confusion about whether this was promoting a beer festival, a music festival, or Round Table. The answer was _all of the above_ so I guess it had the desired effect and brought in those who would prefer music and those who would prefer beer. Only one respondent said that they would not attend the beer festival, simply because they do not drink alcohol.