VCU’s “Invest in Me” television spot, the work of four VCU alumni, recently won a National Capital and Chesapeake Bay Chapter Emmy Award.
The commercial, which features students and faculty asking the audience to invest in their futures, originated with Michael Andrews (M.S.’05/E), VCU director of annual giving, who was looking for a new way to appeal to alumni donors.
“I wanted to create a video that spoke to our alumni base in a way that emotionally engaged them and instilled a sense of pride,” said Andrews, “and, hopefully, compelled them to support the university.”
After the concept was born, Andrews and the associate director of annual giving, Ike Tucker (M.Ed.’06/E; Cert.’06/H&S), convened a focus group of students, faculty, staff and alumni to get an idea of what ideas would have the most impact on such an audience. One theme, Andrews and Tucker noticed, seemed to resonate the most with the focus groups: investment. Undergraduate students felt that their parents were making an investment in them; graduate students felt they were investing in themselves and their futures, and faculty and staff felt they were investing their careers in VCU.
Bryce Spivey (B.S.’10/MC) and Jesse Vaughan (B.S.’80/H&S) joined the project to handle videography and video editing. Andrews and Melanie Seiler (B.S.’96/H&S; B.A.’96/H&S), senior director of development and alumni communications, handled the writing and editing of the video script.
The video was completed after weeks of dedicated hard work. Andrews said it was exactly what they had been hoping for.
“Jesse and Bryce produced a fabulous three-minute video that transitioned from the invest theme to a theme of Quest for Distinction, the university’s strategic plan,” he said. “We loved it. And we were so enthusiastic about it that we wanted to get it on TV.”
Once Vaughan edited the piece down to a TV-friendly length (shaving two minutes off the video), it was ready for air time, and when it hit the small screen it was so well-received that the regional Emmys took notice. Months later in June, the team’s hard work paid off when “Invest in Me” won in the commercial category.