The Abbey School, Reading is a leader within so many aspects of education. That said, the marketing team had recognised they were missing content that truly expressed the unique experience offered to their students. With this goal in mind, they approached NOTW, and together, we worked to create an ambitious suite of films that covered all aspects of school life at The Abbey.
The ultimate goal was to bring in new students, but to do this we would highlight the unique approach and values of the school in a way that was hard hitting and provocative. Our vision was to create films that didn’t feel like traditional school content. We wanted to create something that stood out: ignoring common educational video tropes in favour of getting to the heart of why The Abbey is such a special place for young people to grow. Luckily for us, The Abbey shared our vision of breaking the mould.
As always, with a brief of this scope, the most important thing is defining where to start. From our perspective, creating a series of sporadic, ad hoc films would not be anywhere near as effective as coming up with a cohesive and meaningful strategy, with a universal story tying all the content together. Through extensive discussions with the team at The Abbey, we identified and settled on a clear message:
Preparing young women for the future.
This conjured so many exciting ideas around achievement, solving the world’s most pressing challenges, and promoting progress that benefits all. The potential was exciting.
In our initial proposal we laid out a wide array of content that could work in unison and compliment the school’s existing marketing strategy This included a number of hero films alongside additional content that would help to increase the school’s social presence, and recognition of other key assets (such as the school podcast, Podcast with a cake) With all content the main goal was creating something that stood out from other films in the sector. This meant factoring in things like; poetry, unconventional narratives, human-led messaging, and not an ounce of ‘corporate’ in sight.
With so many spinning plates, it’s important to have a solid process in place to ensure we are maintaining a high level of quality for each film. This all comes down to planning and collaboration. We collaborated on scripts and location scouts with the school before creating detailed storyboards, schedules and call sheets. This meant that we had a package of pre-production documents that kept each individual project running smoothly. More than that, they made sure that we were making the right creative decisions and bringing the most important messages to the forefront for each film.
The plan in action
Having such a strong, thorough planning process allowed us to prepare for every possibility, and execute our plans with ease. Production for these films was lengthy, taking place over a number of weeks. However, no shoot was ad hoc. Instead, we arrived each day with a dedicated crew, working from a meticulous shot-list, who worked to capture the most rich and powerful footage possible. This meant lighting scenes, bringing in specialised equipment for fluid camera movement, and a huge amount of creative direction. Fortunately for us, the school was massively accommodating fort all logistics, working with us to help capture our vision.
Once we had all the footage we were ready to create the suite of films. This content was not to be a scattergun approach. Each film we made, whether it would be protagonist-led hero content, teacher stories, subject specific, and so forth, was to tie in with the school’s existing marketing strategy, and the student recruitment cycle. Key objectives across all films were; impeccable-quality, unconventional and provocative, and to ultimately recruit more students. But aside from that, the styles for each film allowed for a lot of flexibility. Some felt more gentle and abstract, whereas others were a lot more direct. This allowed for some drastically different concepts within the same campaign. They have been a lot of fun to make.
All in all, we delivered 22 films across multiple series and we’re proud of each one for different reasons. We set out to create films that felt fresh and unique and we feel like we managed to do that. We had a universal story of ‘the future’ at the forefront of our minds throughout working on this project. We stayed true to that, and, as a result, the films still feel connected even if they deal with completely different topics.
Simply put - they are the best supplier I have ever dealt with. Their professionalism, alongside their naturally infectious personalities made our projects run smoothly and in a really relaxed atmosphere. They really understood the brief too, went away and researched any gaps in their knowledge, and came back with a solution that fitted seamlessly into our branding and messaging. They were excellent with our students and staff - making them at home with a camera in their face is not an easy thing to do, but they work in such a way that everyone involved feels at ease.