Grassroot Soccer is an established non-profit. It runs a soccer-themed HIV prevention curriculum out of 9 locations across Africa. Supported by Barclays, Nike, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and ExxonMobil it has to work very hard to secure its funding from corporates, institutions and high-net worth donors. A typical fundraiser presentation would be very detailed and mostly focussed on efficacy and results. Grassroot Soccer came to us with a brief for an event ‘closer’. Something that would switch this focus from rational case-making to an emotive ‘bigger context’ pitch.
A Limited Budget
There was, unfortunately, no opportunity for live-action shooting on location in Africa. So we’d need to work with pre-filmed footage. However, there wasn’t a huge amount of this footage. And the quality was inconsistent.
A Creative Route
We needed to find a way to make the most of what we had.
To recognise the disparate nature of the footage and work with it.
Adding animated text sequences and layering animated handmade effects over live footage gave us the opportunity to shape a narrative.
To build up our story in layers to a carefully scripted pace.
Driven by composed music, we aimed for a dramatic and energetic pitch that reaches an emotional peak.
We used a series of devices in sequence to amplify what’s being said on screen.
Stark white text on black, which fades at the word “memory”.
An abrupt shift to black on white. A first sense of a new, positive story.
The monochrome graphical typeset is replaced by hand made assets and the start of a tangible, real-world story.
Against the brown earth the introduction of blue, green and yellow announce new life, new hope.
We cut from pure text to the first live footage. The tone shift from concepts and arguments to evidence of real progress.
Rough, hand-crafted elements, paper and paint evoke children’s artwork. A reminder that this is a project about young people first and foremost.
Library music is an extremely useful resource. Largely, it’s simply a matter of making a selection that sets mood and tone. However, for this video our needs were different. Here music played a more important role. Rather than establishing a tone, music would be pivotal in driving the rhythm and pace of the script. And this is one thing that library music cannot do. It cannot be re-arranged to follow the ebb and flow of a script. So this route demanded that we commission a bespoke piece. One that would fuel the emotional impact of the film towards its key aim: donor commitment.
And so, we delivered a stunning film that achieved all of its objectives.
Except that it didn’t.
Prior to production, a global board of directors that included a diverse group of international businesses leaders across the health, education, business and non-profit sectors convened for a conference call.
We presented a finalised treatment, storyboard and script...
We’d been in communication with key stakeholders and we were all on track and expecting a green light.
We’d got a lot right. We’d also got something wrong. This was a critical moment.
A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN DIRECTION
There was strength and energy in the script and we’d done as much as we could with what we had. But we’d opened up a new question. We were too aligned to a typical and tired charity message. We had scripted something powerful, but not positive. Grassroot Soccer were clear that optimism was central to the work they do and to their pitch. We needed a new, challenging story. One that spoke about progress. One that challenged pre-conceptions and demanded attention.
This was feedback we could take on board because we had a process geared to a collaborative client relationship. We saw the treatment as a ‘safety net’ and we approached the development of the creative as an iterative process. We revised the brief to suit and set to work on a new script.
The shift in direction and language had a wider impact on communications strategy for the organisation. Originally planned as a small-scale presentation closer, the film earned a place on the website homepage and was screened to larger audiences at fundraising events.