An Inspiring and Creative Viral Video to Market a School

Video is a powerful marketing tool for private schools.

Video allows you to showcase your school in a creative way.

While many school videos are typical, expected and look alike, some school leaders have tapped into their creative juices to produce something out of the norm and unexpected.

This past week Gina Busk, Director of Admissions at Trinity School at Greenlawn in South Bend, IN, reached out to me to show me her school’s new video.

Immediately I was impressed. This is one of the most creative and unique school videos I have ever seen (there are two other links to two other outstanding videos at the end of this post you will not want to miss).

Take a look for yourself: What’s in Store

I had an opportunity to talk to Gina via email and ask her some questions about their “What’s in Store” video.

How did you decide to create a video like this?

“As our head of school John Lee and I were thinking about what we wanted to do this past year to market the school, we decided we’d like to do a video that featured student life. As you can tell from the video we made, Trinity’s a pretty quirky place, so we knew we’d have to be creative about how we represented life here. We knew that whatever we did would need to be authentic to the students’ experience of the school. We didn’t want it to have our spin on student life—we wanted students to be active participants in the video.

We’d seen a number of the student lip-dub videos that have been trending, and it wasn’t ‘us.’ We focus on the true, the good and the beautiful in our curriculum and culture, so using a pop song, which is oftentimes none of those things, wasn’t an option for us. But the halls at Trinity are always filled with students singing, so we still liked the idea of using a song.

We polled the student body to see if they had ideas about what we could do to represent life at the school. I think their imaginations were somewhat stifled by what they’d already seen: we got plenty of submissions for a flash mob, but nothing that was quite ‘the’ idea.

In meeting with Joe Gleason of Greenlawn Films (the group that produced all of our other videos and is incidentally made up of three Trinity School alumni), he threw out the idea of rewriting a song from Les Mis. He’s quite theatrical himself, and obviously very talented behind the camera.

I liked this idea. The students were already singing songs from the musical in the halls (my office is two doors down from the junior and senior boys’ locker room, and I was constantly hearing the boys sing), and while Les Mis is popular, the music is beautiful and the story uplifting. We could also make sure the rewritten lyrics focused on the things that made us truly unique.

Joe and I brought the idea to John, who, while not a self-professed lover of musicals, is always open for trying new things that fit and further our mission. John okayed it and we started right away.”

How did you involve the students in creating this video?

“We asked the students to help write new lyrics to fit the music of “One Day More”, lyrics that would tell prospective students what’s in store if they attend Trinity. Students turned in submissions one week later, and using many of their ideas and lyrics, Joe finished rewriting the song, then hosted auditions and began production. Because we’re all about learning, all of the vocal recordings and shooting took place outside of class time. Students gathered extras, helped with the sound, made props, and obviously acted and sang in the video. They even came to school in uniform one Saturday morning at 8:30 for a shoot! That’s dedication!”

How long did it take for you to create the video?

“From the start of the lyric writing to the final product (which we showed to the students on the last day of school) the entire thing took 5 weeks!”

What was the reaction to the video when you showed it to your students?

“The video had its debut on the last day of school at our all-school assembly. The students loved it! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard them cheer so loudly! The video received a standing ovation. We played it a second time and they cheered just as loudly after that.”

What are some of the initial results and how do you plan to use the video?

“Everyone worked so hard on the video—it really unified the school body. We’re so happy with the finished product because the content and form of the video accurately portray what life at the school is like. When people new to Trinity watch it, they can learn specific things about the school, but also get a “feel” for the school just by seeing that we’d produce such a video.  For people who already know the school, it makes them proud; we’ve had numerous positive responses from our alumni, who are happy to see how much current students love the school.  The video has also made current parents happy, affirming their choice to send their child to Trinity.  After just four days on YouTube, the video has received 5,500 views. We are continuing to promote it on Facebook and to our local media outlets. We hope that prospective families see the video and like what’s in store!”

I love this video. It is creative, unique and clever. It tells the story of the school through in a compelling format using students to sing their way around campus.

Great job Gina! I am looking forward to checking back in with you to hear more about the results of this video.

You might also be interested in taking a look at the Friends’ Central Shake by Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia and the DS Baby by Derryfield School in New Hampshire that were recently posted in Ian Symmonds blog.

Do you think you could create a video like this at your school?

Have you created a unique and creative video that you would like to share?