#HappyinMemphis Viral Video by Harding Academy

I am sure that you’ve heard the song, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams by now. It’s one of those feel-good, make you want to dance and smile songs!

Just the other day, Allen Gillespie, from Harding Academy in Memphis emailed me. You might remember him from the Q&A interview post I did with him about his Merry Christmas lip-dub that he did a year ago. Well, Allen has done it again. And this time, the viral impact is amazing!

Allen and his team recorded their lip-dub version, “Happy in Memphis,” celebrating life in Memphis. Allen said in email to me, “Over spring break I filmed several of our students all over Memphis for a Memphis version of Pharrell’s “Happy”. It hit 100,000 views in about 2.5 days! We’re still getting phone calls that are opening cool opportunities for the school.”

I just checked YouTube and the views are now over 130,000! Check it out for yourself:

I love the simplicity and feel-good emotion of this lip-dub video. You can’t help but smile and sing along while at the same time there are images of Harding Academy students on campus and in the surrounding city of Memphis. While I have never been to Harding Academy, I get the impression that this is a great place to send a child to school and it is a place where they will be happy!

I also love the effect that this video has on the city of Memphis itself. This is the second time that Allen has appealed to his city in a lip-dub video. What a smart and clever way to get the message out about Harding Academy!

This video has much better appeal than any ad could ever produce. Think about the impact of over 130,000 people watching a video about your school.

Congratulations Allen on seizing the moment to put together a fun and “happy” video to share about Harding Academy in Memphis and all over. You have raised the bar for what other school marketing and enrollment leaders should do to get the message out about their school in creative and innovative ways.

I don’t know about you, but I am feeling happy about Memphis and Harding Academy after watching this video!



6 Responses to #HappyinMemphis Viral Video by Harding Academy

  1. Rebecca says:

    What an awesome video! Kudos to Allen and his students! I would love to know how long this took Allen to create…

  2. Feras says:

    Love the idea, the video and as you said, the feel good emotion it fills you with. I wanted to add a few comments regarding why I think it was so good and possibly why it did well, and see what you think.
    1. This was a ‘genuine’ video, meaning it wasn’t some sales tactic to get people to buy something. Real people, real emotions, real scenes.
    2. This wasn’t directly about the school (full school name was never revealed unless of jersey), it was bigger than that. It was about the people and the community that make up this school.
    3. FInally, wasn’t too long, the title of video and probably the appeal of the song itself may have played a role in getting it viral so quickly.

    Great job – lots of learning can come from this – would love to know more about the real impact Allen witnesses in the next couple of weeks

    • Allen Gillespie says:

      Hi Feras,
      You are right on all 3 points! The bigger picture though can only really be understood by people in Memphis. It’s hard to explain, but there is a history of deep division in Memphis (racial, economic, etc). Over the past 5 years or so there has been a grassroots emergence of “progress and hope.” For locals, what the video offered was a glimpse of what everyone HOPES Memphis will be like in 10-15 years in the future.

      But, your #3 point about not being too long was a huge factor and something I learned the hard way over the years! Just because people click doesn’t mean you have them any longer than 30 seconds. You have to earn the next 30 and the next.

  3. Rick, so awesome that you share this. I LOVE IT! I will be passing it along to my administrators.

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