We created a 32 episode documentary series of real impact stories, featuring experts curated in collaboration with the campuses, produced and distributed with an awareness campaign over earned and owned channels.
Strategically, the series intentionally represented a broad cross-section of narratives in order to aptly capture the brand story, but also to provide more on-ramps for our audience to find themselves in the campaign. We included a diverse set of topics, from the search for new, habitable planets, to efforts to save endangered species, and how to improve literacy in the third world. And traveled to every corner of the state, from William Heise County Park outside of San Diego, to a natural oil leak off the Santa Barbara coast and into UC Riverside’s unprecedented sci-fi and fantasy archive. The diversity of subject matter and geography in the films provided more opportunity for engagement with a diverse target audience.
Episode: The Universal Language Is In Our Minds
Take “The Universal Language Is In Our Minds”; this episode took to the streets of San Francisco to meet with Patrick Boudreault, a deaf professor of linguistics at UC Berkeley, who we profiled entirely in sign language.
Episode: Beer – A Beautiful, Artistic Symphony
Or discover “Beer: A Beautiful, Artistic Symphony” where we introduce Dr. Charlie Bamforth of UC Davis, “The Pope of Foam,” and an enzymologist, chemist, and Head of the Beer and Brewing Sciences program.
Episode: Reaching Out, Beyond Earth
And step into a virtual reality CAVE to meet Professor Dawn Sumner, a geologist on the Mars Rover Mission, analyzing the rocks and formations found on the Red Planet via her UC lab and JPL.
We developed and managed the social media promotion of the campaign, working with the marketing and communications teams at the system and the individual campuses. We used their owned platforms to target audiences with an affinity to a particular UC school, as well as a broader outreach effort through pop-culture, yet niche, channels whose audiences would engage with our “inherently interesting” content for its storytelling and subject matter.
For instance, we leveraged the video on our solar energy expert to earn him an op-ed on the Huffington Post, and seeded the Pope of Foam’s know-how on craft beer blogs and popular science websites. Each placement included an embedded video that drove back to the Onward California website. The approach garnered widespread coverage and recognition for many of the episodes, and the campaign as a whole.