A Unique Partner

Our client, CBL International, develops the critical thinking and life experiences of people who are likely to be  future global leaders in business, politics, law and society.  We were delighted to partner them in creating their video campaign.

CBL deliver elite Summer educational travel programmes for international high school and  university students as well as young professionals. The experience of an Oxbridge university and its faculty is a unique opportunity to study in an amazing part of the world. The  experience is educational in every sense, academic, cultural and social with excursions to sites of historic significance included in the mix.

Every year, new generations around the world need to learn about this opportunity.  The audience are some of the most able young people on the planet: interested in  law, society, business, and the academic world.  Video is clearly the answer to connect with such an audience;  however, in elite education one size will definitely not fit all.

Together with CBL International, Oxford Media Factory developed a multiple video brief to answer this need. We produced  50 bespoke videos to ensure each course, each audience sector, the detail of the offer and the fantastic locations of Oxford and Cambridge and the iconic cultural sites students can visit are all showcased to their best advantage.

Global, but Personal

Rather than simply creating a generic awareness campaign, CBL wanted  to engage their  worldwide audience  in a way that feels tailored to them.

The primary purpose of the videos is to build on the global reputation for excellence held by CBL International and encourage more high achieving and discerning young people to participate in the summer courses delivered in Oxford and Cambridge.  The approach needed to be suitable both via direct appeal to the students and via the influence of their educators and parents.

Each individual in this audience is looking for a unique opportunity to develop their academic and career futures. Equally, we needed to show that the programmes are fun and socially fulfilling for all the participants.

Getting the company message out globally raises some challenges.  How does someone living in industrial china picture studying under blue skies on the college lawns of Oxford or punting on the river Cam?  Can we help someone used to vast lecture rooms understand what is meant by the tutorial system?  How confident will they feel about tackling new academic challenges in another language? How can high school students learn the value of the university skill of analytical questioning and critical thought?  

The  key to success in answering these challenges  is clearly to show rather than tell.  Heartfelt testimonials in the context of beautiful locations, where people are sharing their experiences close to camera will always be effective.  All of this was to be achieved  within the branding requirements of the company and its collegiate partners.

Visual Appeal

We  filmed in stunning Oxford and Cambridge  in the height of summer,  using  memorable and historic college locations.  The warmth and fun in the social aspect of the experience shone through as much as academic rigour.

Most of the students and young graduates involved were speaking English as a second language, so we needed to ensure they felt relaxed and confident to speak with us about their experience.  We filmed in lectures, at social occasions and on excursions so that we could ensure they felt at ease to give us a few moments to recommend their course to others.  As well as showing that they had fun, it was important to share how students reflected that they had benefited and grown through the academic and cultural sides of their experience.

Academics and CBL staff also contributed, creating a real sense of the community feel created by the programme that ensures the safety, well-being and progression of each student.

Post Production

Key to project management of the post production phase was not only the management and organisation of material, but  ensuring client and team communicated well.  The client was closely involved at every stage from initial concept through to completion of all the videos.

Our post team took care to choose best clips, create a narrative that worked in each case, as well as across the wider brand storytelling.  We ensured a consistent look and feel across the project. The overall storytelling arc was as important as paying attention to every detail.

We looked to understand the tone of voice of the organisation and ensure this was projected in every video, while also ensuring each testimonial was spontaneous and fresh showing of the personality and authenticity of the interviewee.

Music helped to set pace and tone and again unite the videos as being part of one brand and approach, whilst still focusing on the uniqueness of the experience for each participant.

Lessons Learnt

Meeting with the client and sharing interim versions of batches of video to an agreed schedule helped to ensure the full suite of videos are appropriate to be used for a range of purposes.  The plan is to use through a year of planned marketing and engagement across web, social media and direct marketing to educational institutions.  The following were the secrets of our partnering success:

  • Clear video brief from our client meant every team member knew what was required
  • Strong brand guidelines created a consistent approach with a clear narrative
  • Iconic and beautiful locations with access and permissions secured resulted in engaging and visually stunning footage
  • Warm and approachable client team made the project very enjoyable as well as effective
  • Post production team of professionals used experience to make the project as seamless and natural as the glide of a swan on the river.