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In the spring of 2020, one of our clients sought to create a statement video to push a social topic to the forefront of their marketing efforts. This was more than a glossy advert with hollow messaging, but rather a full-throated attempt to story tell, and to shed light on a real life double standard within the fitness community. The creative undertaking was centralized around identifying the problem which is; “women of all shapes, and sizes are not encouraged to take off their shirts while working out”. This runs counter to male social norms in the fitness community, where men are free to, and in some cases encouraged to take off their shirts while exercising. Initially, the client sought to streamline their message with only community generated content of women taking off their shirts, and simply throwing it to the next woman inline with a series of clever editing. It was at that point that our agency proposed injecting a storyline into that concept to strengthen their message, wedging the community generated content into the center of the statement.  


With a series of drafted scripts, we came together on the idea of a central character leading us into her own journey of self image and discovery. This character’s arc prevails rather quickly to introduce the issue, move to a place of community support, overcome the issue at hand in a public setting, to handshaking to community generated content, and then back to our central character to offer what we like to call a “positive dare”. In a discovery session we deemed it important for our audience to take a direct action to the presented social issue. So with some sharp writing, we had our central character break the 4th wall, and directly call to action the audience. In an explicit fashion, the central character offers a bit of her own courage for the audience by literally, and figuratively extending her hand outwards to the camera. This was the crescendo, or emotional “gut punch” if you will. Needless to say, it had the direct impact we were seeking with hundreds to thousands of comments all echoing the same thing, which was how that moment brought them to tears, and it gave the women the courage to take action in their own lives. Mission accomplished. 


Regarding success, this campaign turned on heel as a rallying point for the client who utilized this IP as a springboard to build an entire clothing collection around the “I Am Free” storyline. With very little dollars spent on production, and what appears to be a rather modest ad buy, the client saw very rewarding results both directly, and indirectly with a strong reach, views, engagement, CTR, and subscription surges. Understandably, while the client has not shared it’s direct ROI figures, it is easy to conservatively forecast a strong ROAS (return on ad spend) based on some backwards engineering. With the provided metrics we can confidently estimate a conservative average of 20X ROAS within the reported success range of the clothing E-Commerce industry (10 – 25X ROAS). While the client shared these metrics at the early onset of it’s campaign, at the point of writing the video is at a cumulative 1,045,000 mark in terms of views across all social platforms (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram). It’s easy to see with this sort of performance not only the power of video, but rather an advocacy for strong storytelling. If the writing strikes an emotional cord, it can be transformative to a brand beyond what a simple cellphone advert can garner. It’s worth mentioning, this is their most successful video to date. Upon reflection, it makes a strong case that no matter how many dollars you throw at an ad buy, the advert has to have authenticity, and “heart" to catch fire.