Higher Ed TV: a behind-the-scenes look at the New Spice video from the Harold B. Lee Library with Chris Garcia, Multimedia Project Manager

July 16th, 2010 Karine Joly 7 Comments

Mike Richwalksy from HighEdWebTech has been keeping track of interesting videos produced by institutions for some time now. So, when I saw he posted about a higher ed parody of the big social media hit video campaign, Old Spice, I checked out the video right away.

Believe it or not, but I had been so busy those past few days with work, danah boyd’s master class and a zillion other things that I hadn’t had chance yet to watch the Old Spice video before this morning. I knew it was a hit because of all the chatter on Twitter, but I didn’t feel compel to watch it until this morning.

In case you’ve been living on an island located in an ocean of work and were not in the know, here’s the original:

And, here’s the parody the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Team created.

Wow. Very nice job and an instant success with more than 169, 000 views at the time of this writing.

I knew you would all want to know more about how a higher ed team managed to produce and promote this viral success, so I interviewed via email Chris Garcia, HBL Library Multimedia Project Manager.

1) First, can you tell us a bit more about the team behind this video?
We are the Harold B. Lee Library’s Multimedia Production Unit. We handle all the video and media needs of the library. We record lectures, make video materials for exhibits, promote the library (exhibits, general promos, collections, services), and occasionally branch out to do something for other BYU entities. We consist of 2 full-time employees (Mike Hill, unit manager, and me, project manager) and 10-12 awesomely talented student employees, depending on the time of year. We also get a lot of support from the library itself.

2) How did you come up with the idea of this parody? What were your goals for this video?
As our job is to promote the library in anyway we had a break in between projects and we thought we’d make another “fun” promo video (some of our other ones are on youtube.com/hbllproduction). We sat down as a unit and talked about possible ideas. Our meetings and projects, for that matter, are very student driven. We wanted something that would catch on and be seen. As far as our specific goals once the project was decided upon, we really wanted to do the whole thing as smooth as possible by making sure to give our pre-production the time it needed (which really wasn’t all that much time but it worked).

3) How did you manage to write, shoot and produce this video so quickly?
We had that initial meeting on May 27th and then we were shooting it on June 12th. We worked completely as a team to write the script and even had Stephen Jones, the actor, come in and contribute to the script. We were two full-timers and 10 students. Our team is a smorgasbord of talent. Mike and I have backgrounds in media and film and we have students in BYU’s film program, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, animation, IT. We did the whole thing under $500, however, we have all our own equipment so that was not a cost specific to this project. We have really tried to setup a mentored environment here with most if not all aspects of projects being done by students. For the shoot we also called on a lot of friends to assist with the stunts on the day of the shoot as well as a lot of BYU volunteers to be extras at the three different locations. We spent hours trying to get the shirt rip-off and the backpack drop just right. We even had a practice shoot two days before the real one to make sure we knew what we were doing.

4) The video has gone viral with more than 50,000 views this morning (when I asked the questions – about 6 hours before writing this post). How did you promote it?
We started by just showing it to full-time library employees at a meeting and then two days later it went up on the web. Promotion was a library effort I think and a real example of the power of social networking. I posted the video on YouTube yesterday (July 15th) at about 11:30am. A few of us here in the unit posted it on Facebook. I send out a library wide e-mail with a link to the video and from there it exploded. After 3 hours of being up we were getting e-mails from Canada, New York, and even Sweden about the video. YouTube stops instantly updating views after about 300 (which we hit after about 45 minutes) so we were unsure of the growth after that. We had to wait until this morning to see the real response to the video.

5) Can you share a few examples of the feedback you got on campus and elsewhere?
Some of the funniest responses we’ve gotten have been our personal friends, who didn’t know we made this, sending links to us to watch it. We’ve gotten e-mails from New York Public library, the University of Alberta (who told us that some friends in the UK were all a buzz over the video), the University of Rochester, an advertising blog in Sweden (at least the person who contacted us had a Swedish phone number), and several other libraries all over the country. The comments on YouTube have been a real joy to read as well. I’ve been checking our actor’s, Stephen Jones, Facebook page and he even got a wall post from someone studying in Egypt.

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