Social Marketing

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Every summer Lifeway reveals its theme for the next year’s Vacation Bible School one year in advance. That’s right, a full year in advance. It surprised me to find out the awesome, die-hard fan-following VBS has and the particular interest these fans take in the upcoming theme. It’s a well guarded secret up until the moment of it’s release. So to help with this year’s announcement, The Lifeway Children’s Marketing Team asked us to make a series of videos that could release this year’s theme in a humorous and fun way. I enlisted the help of my friend and actor, Tyler Torti, to play the character Donnie. A crazed VBS fan in his desperate search to uncover the theme before it’s officially released. Absurdity ensues.

As part of their announcement and social networking/marketing strategy, the videos were then posted to their VBS facebook fan pages, on YouTube, on Donnie’s blog (a site by the character that give life to his quest beyond the videos) and the lifeway/vbs website. The results were thousands of hits to the videos (combine views on youtube 12,361 as of now), tons of referrals, comments and most interesting:  speculation. The videos were designed to give clues to what is next year’s theme, and the viewers dissected and examined the videos extensively. No seriously…

It’s a well guarded secret up until the moment of its release. So, to help with this year’s announcement, The Lifeway Children’s Marketing Team asked us to make a series of videos that could release this year’s theme in a humorous and fun way. I enlisted the help of my friend and actor, Tyler Torti, to play the character Donnie: a crazed VBS fan in his desperate search to uncover the theme before it’s officially released. Absurdity ensues.

As part of their announcement and social networking/marketing strategy, the videos were then posted to their VBS facebook fan pages, on YouTube, on Donnie’s blog (a site by the character in the videos where he blogged about his quest) and the Lifeway/VBS website. The results were thousands of hits to the videos (combine views on youtube 12,361 as of now), tons of referrals, comments and most interesting:  speculation. The videos were designed to give clues to what the next year’s theme is… and the viewers dissected and examined the videos extensively. No seriously…

Some of my favorite moments? One clue was hidden in the address of a letter that appears in the video for 1/12th of a second.  One viewer paused the YouTube video at the exact time and found the clue. Also their was some speculation behind the appearing, disappearing coffee mug.Turns out it was something left on accident by a crew member.

These videos turned what could have been a simple announcement into a week long event. We’ve been grateful that our friends at Lifeway have enjoyed (or put up with) our handling of the projects, our off-beat humor and sense of timing. For a second year, we’ve been able to work with them on the theme release. Here’s last year’s video that started it all:

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