Recently, my boyfriend; Jethro and I pitched to one of the guys in charge of advertising for the company Northern Rail which is a train operating company in the North of the UK. They wanted students from our University to pitch ideas for a one minute (or so) safety advert which they would go on to make for both Television and the Internet. This would be then seen by hopefully around 500,000 people and it has a yummy budget of £5,000.
Most people in my class were considering to do a story orientated around the subject of family and children as the target audience for this will be mainly around 0-21 year olds. This is because the advert will be used in public spaces such as hospitals, schools, the internet and train stations. However I was concerned that if we did something along those lines, we might not be chosen and so Jethro and I set about trying to think of an idea which is equally important but may be potentially something quite different all together.
After some brain storming, we decided that we’d use our own personal experiences to try to think of an idea for our film. I myself, originate from Liverpool and unfortunately I have been privy to the seriously damaging culture of binge-drinking in Liverpool and other major cities. Jethro comes from a rural part of Cornwall and so he had not encountered the binge-drinking culture quite as much as I have and so his own perception of the student lifestyle was much fresher and raw compared to mine. He moved to live just outside the city of Preston where we both attend UCLAN uni there. He commuted for much of our first year and so he found it difficult to juggle going out for drinks with friends and taking the train home at night and so this is where he encountered many people in a similar situations as the ones we wanted to describe in our adverts; people doing the right thing for taking public transport rather than driving but the wrong thing of the state they did it in. Paralytic would be the word he often used to describe them.
We found that after many thankfully, successful campaigns by companies and charities such as; http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/ and http://think.direct.gov.uk/index.html, that people are more conscious of the dangers of drink-driving however this is having a negative effect in other areas.
We concluded that these campaigns have not necessarily lessened the statistics injuries and deaths in regards to drinking but have only transferred them from road/traffic accidents to accidents relating to public transport. So, we watched adverts like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQtTREndJKkto get an idea of what kind of impact we wanted for our film. They often went for a shock factor to get across the message and especially because our film would be only one minute, we went for that theme also. There would also minimal dialogue only to progress the idea forward, the character development would only come mainly through the character’s appearances as opposed to their relationship with the other characters and story of the piece.
I feel like I’ve explained a lot of things in a very wordy manner so I’ll just let you check out the presentation I made for our idea: http://prezi.com/1vk1im9xy2e8/northern-rail-pitch/
To summarize, we won said competition and despite all of our hard work I still can’t quite believe it happened. The quality of the work from our class was so high, it literally could have been anyone. I’m so proud of Jethro and my classmates and for once, I can honestly say I did a good job pooling ideas with Jethro and making the presentation myself. (He tried and got very, very irritated with the new software.) Also, I am very pleased to say that they loved our class so much that another person in our class got first place, Sorrell! (I won’t say her surname due to privacy but if you would like to contact her, contact me and I’ll see what I can do.) We did not expect two (well three technically) winners for first place so yeah, to say I’m happy would not really hit the nail about how pleased I am.
We did our presentation on www.prezi.com, a site which I would HIGHLY recommend. Gone are the days where powerpoint is considered the best and ONLY software to use for presentations, lectures and the like.
We ‘officially’ get first place on the 3rd of November this year (2011) so I will post up links to the press release (if there are any) to do about the safety film. Until then, thank you so much for reading.
Also, I have permission for giving you Jethro’s contact details so if you have any questions for him, you’ll find him here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any questions or comments for me, ask me either here or on email@example.com.