“A Hero for Their Neighbourhood”
Republica Havas's all-stock video campaign to encourage people to take the census.
The U.S. Census plays a pivotal role in government decision making. Its goal is much more than just to count the population; it’s there to gather and give the government the information it needs to decide where to fund programs, infrastructure, and allocate funding to essential services. It’s incredibly important and easy to fill out, but not equally participated in. If you are African American, Asian, or Hispanic in America, you are much less likely to participate in the census. Civic Nation is an advocacy organization dedicated to inspiring, educating, and activating people around the important civic issues. It set out to address this problem of census participation, enlisting the help of Miami integrated communications agency Republica Havas to do it.
“Civic Nation needed to encourage people to be counted in the 2020 census. In particular, we needed to portray the importance and reinforce to three demographics the impact an accurate census has on their communities. We focused on each demographic and set out to show how much they could help by simply saying ‘We have four people in this household,’ or ‘we have eight people in this household,” said Jason Wolske, executive creative director at Republica Havas.
Getting the message out, however, was not as easy as it may have seemed for the agency. The campaign needed to be produced just as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay at home. Fortunately, with the help of Adobe Stock Video, Premiere Pro, and some quick adaptation on behalf of everyone, Republica Havas was able to produce a campaign that Civic Nation could leverage to make a difference. Here’s how they did it.
Making videos when video shoots are off limits
The project for Civic Nation was predominantly a video campaign – Republica Havas produced a set of programmatic banners, social media videos, and longer-form 30 second ads. The goal was to use video to drive people to the Civic Nation landing page, where they could get more information about participating in the census and why it was so important.
Unable to shoot video, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding shelter-in-place orders, Republica Havas needed to find another way to create an effective video campaign that wouldn’t turn off audiences. They considered shooting some footage “remote style,” filming things through Zoom or FaceTime calls, but ultimately felt the amount of time required and technical knowledge the actors needed would make things difficult and exhausting. The next obvious choice was to use stock video.
“Over the years, stock footage has made its way into plenty of memes as just the ‘expected’ image. We wanted to make sure that it didn’t feel so much like stock footage, but felt a little more relatable, a little more natural,” said Jason.
Already working in Adobe Creative Cloud, Republica Havas took a look at Adobe Stock for video, which gives users access to millions of stock videos (along with its image offerings). It was important that the editing team would be able to find many different types of people, in many different contexts and in scenes that did not feel contrived and predictable. Jason liked what he saw.
“Adobe Stock footage had a pretty big array of each of our target demographics, in scenes that felt relatable and not fake or forced…Whatever we used had to feel professional. It couldn’t feel staged. It felt like the camera was there and you asked someone to just look in it and smile or you just said, “Go about your day.”
Finding diverse models in many contexts and settings
Civic Nation’s campaign was to specifically address the problem of census participation in several minority communities. It was very important that, with whichever stock video services Republica Havas used, the team was able to find models of diverse ethnicities in scenes that did not feel repetitive.
For Danny Alvarez, also executive creative director at Republica Havas, Adobe Stock’s advanced search features were invaluable, such as “More from this series” and “More from this model.” It gave the team the ability to use Stock video to tell a story, featuring the same model in multiple scenes in different contexts. They also made use of the “Undiscovered” search feature to find Stock video – which helps you find assets that have not been used in many other places online.
“When you jump around from random people, with different lighting, different wardrobe, different environments that come out of nowhere, and you inevitably think ‘Oh, well this is obviously a mash up of different stock photos.’ I remember back in the day, this never existed. You’d have to shoot this yourself if you wanted something like this,” said Danny, who also noted the savings in terms of time and efficiency. He compares this to the process of shooting short test videos of people and couples, bringing them back to the agency, and then deciding as a group if it’s the right look, feel, angles, etc. Now, with Adobe Stock, Republica Havas is able to get high-res final assets once they’ve made their selects. No re-shoots needed.
Putting it all together in Premiere Pro
Danny and Jason both stressed the need for nimble editing software at this time, with teams working remotely and footage coming from Adobe Stock. Republica Havas hired several voice actors, as well, to ensure the videos felt fresh and real, and so audio came from multiple sources as well. Using Premiere Pro, the team was able to edit and share assets and cuts of the videos with each other quickly using Creative Cloud Libraries, built right into the tool. This resulted in a highly efficient workflow, with the team trading ideas and working and creating together despite being physically distant.
“The ease of use was significant for us. It was super quick to license a video and get it into Premiere Pro and start editing,” said Gus Fernandez, head of production at Republica Havas.
“When we presented the cuts to the client, we had a few minor comments but they basically approved everything. They asked us to switch one or two clips out between the three videos we produced for them. An hour later, we already had the clips replaced, changed to different options Adobe Stock, and they approved right after. It’s the smoothest I’ve seen us move on something that’s complete stock footage,” he added.
Presenting an entirely stock video campaign to the client
As Gus mentioned, presenting the videos to the client went smoothly. In Jason’s opinion, this was because Republica Havas was able to find clips and put a story together that seemed real and relatable. “We needed to make sure that nothing felt fake. It all had to feel very natural and authentic. It needed to feel as if we went into those communities to capture footage, and I think, visually, it felt like you’re seeing your neighbor on TV,” he said.
“We wanted to make the viewer feel like they could be a hero for their neighborhood or do something important while they’re stuck at home, inside. It was important to show people they could still actively take part in their community,” added Danny.
It took a little bit of effort at first to convince Civic Nation that an entirely stock video campaign would work; Republica Havas needed to show the organization some of the footage before its team was fully convinced, but they were quick to come on board once they saw the initial scenes Republica Havas had selected. Jason and Danny are convinced the campaign, which launched on March 31st and will run until July 31,2020, moved the dial in the African-American, Asian, and Hispanic communities. The census only comes once every 10 years, and as Jason stressed, a decade is a long time in the fight for better, fairer services and distribution of resources.
“It’s not just that you’re not being counted, it’s that you’re not going to be funded because you’re not being counted. You could be passing up on money for additional services, or better facilities that are needed to ensure your community grows. I think, helping people understand that and getting that message out there, that is success.”
The above video experience, created by Republica Havas for Civic Nation, was designed with the combined efforts of:
Jorge A. Plasencia, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO
Luis Casamayor, Co-founder, President & CCO
Anthony Bianco, Executive Vice President & General Manager
Melissa Bartolini, SVP, Chief Strategy Officer
Arlene Armenteros, SVP, Head of Client Services
Danny Alvarez, Executive Creative Director
Jason Wolske, Executive Creative Director
Ignacio Martel, Sr. Art Director
Jill Martin, Copywriter
Evan Barrios, Copywriter
Barbara Bandres, Copywriter
Yadira Santana, Associate Director, Strategy
Adrienne Johnson, Brand Strategist
Gus Fernandez, Head of Production
Esteffania Najera, Senior Integrated Producer
Rick Morales, Video Editor
Alexis Regalado, Account Director
LaTasha Stirrup, Senior Account Manager
Stephanie Da Costa, Director, Media
Karen Acevedo, Associate Director, Media
Joel Mayuri, Sr. Media Planner
Abe Zarran, Senior Manager, Creative Operations
Jorge Calixto, Senior Manager, Creative Operations
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