Chosen because the Eastern Christian School won Bronze for Enrollment Video, In-House in the 2018 InspirED Brilliance Awards. Rudi Gesch, Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management, explained the project to InspirED.
Start with a Surprise
Rudi Gesch wears multiple hats at Eastern Christian School (who can relate?), a PS-Grade 12, coed day school enrolling 825 students on multiple campuses in New Jersey about 20 miles east of New York City. In addition to being Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management, Rudi is also the boys varsity soccer coach.
At a soccer team pasta party, Rudi thought the room could use a little music and began a shuffle on his phone. The first song was “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana. (Did we mention Rudi has two young children?) “As I raced to my phone to change the song that I thought was too ‘little kid’ for this collection of 17-year-old young men,” Rudi explains, “I was surprised to hear them sing along. Every boy on the team knew the entire song word-for-word.”
Rudi conducted some informal research in the high school hallways to how many kids knew the song — and they all did. That got Rudi’s wheels turning, thinking a parody of it written to fit an EC student’s journey would be fun, inspirational, and original. He thought that the messages lined up very nicely — Moana is looking to venture beyond her little island community, and EC motivates students to venture beyond metro NYC to go out into the world to make a difference.
Pull It All Together
Knowing he would have the legal intellectual freedom to do a parody and use the original soundtrack, Rudi wrote the lyrics and asked a talented EC senior, Jaylyn Ocasio, to sing it. Justin Van Dyke, EC Visual Communications Coordinator and Webmaster, produced the video including staging the shots, finding various locations and diverse ages of students, editing, and laying down a studio-caliber audio track. “Other than time, there was no real budget.” Rudi says. “We spent more on Facebook boosts than the entire video cost to produce because it was all done in-house.”
The admissions team shared the video with open house registrants and gave them the “Moana” code to waive their application fee. “The result was improved year-over-year applications for the months that we ran the promotion,” says Rudi. The school also grabbed increased brand recognition through viral sharing.
Eastern Christian School’s Board of Directors and Head of School were very impressed with the video and told Rudi so, and the 5,500 views on the school’s Facebook page prove it’s success. Rudi says, “The catchiness and familiarity of the song made for an instantly sharable video within our school community.”
The school announced their Brilliance Awards win on their website.
Eastern Christian School’s Video Team
Rudi Gesch, Director of Marketing and Enrollment Management
Justin Van Dyke, Visual Communications Coordinator and Webmaster
Congratulations, Eastern Christian School! You are brilliant!
Brad Entwistle interviewed Rudi Gesch in a recent Image Seven (Australia) podcast about this project. Give a listen.
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