We love helping our longtime client Glens Falls Hospital launch its Annual Fund campaign each year. This year, they’re seeking to raise $2 million for the new Harry M. “Mac” DePan Surgical Care Unit.
The unit will feature 27 private rooms for enhanced patient care and comfort. They’re what the Hospital calls your “Back to Living Rooms!”
Our total team effort this year included the creation of the campaign video, brochure and logo, and the choreography of today’s campaign launch event and news conference. A capacity crowd of Hospital staff, supporters and the news media was on hand for the announcement.
As always, it’s a pleasure to work with our friends at GFH and the GFH Foundation.
The OR was prepped, and the surgical team assembled. A long metal arm swung slowly around the perimeter of the room, then hovered just above the operating table.
Not a high-tech medical device. A high-definition camera.
“Scalpel, suction, clamp” were not the orders of the day. It was “Lights. Camera. Action!”
A Behan Communications video production team led by myself as the producer and Mik Bondy as the director/editor was shooting the latest in the series of “Big-City Medicine, Hometown Care Promise” TV commercials for our longtime client Glens Falls Hospital.
Great commercials tell great stories. Our preparations began weeks before as we worked with Hospital VP of Community Relations Ray Agnew and Dr. Steven Scalia of Baywood Surgical Associates to identify a surgery story that captured the Big-City Medicine part of the Promise. We chose to spotlight a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows some women with breast cancer to complete their radiation therapy at the Hospital’s nationally accredited C. R. Wood Cancer Center in just five days instead of six weeks.
Next came the selection of surgical nurse Andrea Eichler to represent the Hospital team. Her veteran nurse’s confidence, calming manner and warm smile made her an ideal choice for personalizing Hometown Care.
Then we went to work on the script and pulled in our friends at Golden Lamb Productions for videography and lighting help.
A high-def camera brings you into the OR with crystal clarity. Mounting the camera at the end of a seesaw-like device called a jib gives our shots the subtle but entrancing movements that ease your eyes through each scene without detracting from the most important part of the commercial — the message.
From the OR it was back to the Behan Communications editing suite where we pored over the footage, choosing just the right shots and melding in the graphics and distinctive musical score that, together, bring the Hospital’s Big-City Medicine, Hometown Care Promise to life on television screens across the Capital Region.
The doctors at Glens Falls Hospital save lives in innovative ways every day. We’ve been privileged to tell this story for more than a decade now. And every day that story grows more inspiring.
In case there was any doubt about Jimmer’s pop culture status…
If this were an exam, George Philip aced it.
Philip, the University at Albany president, was handed a PR nightmare when images surfaced of hooligan students who can’t hold their beer trashing an off-campus neighborhood in what’s known locally as a “kegs and eggs” celebration, as if that word fits.
Philip hasn’t dithered. Within a few days, he announced that spring break next year would be moved closer to St. Patrick’s Day, which is when the kegs and eggs vandalism takes place, in an effort to get the troublemakers out of town. And Sunday, he canceled the university’s annual Fountain Day celebration, which for many had become just another excuse to get boozed up and act stupid.
Is it “fair” to the thousands of good young men and women at UAlbany that the actions of a relative few have ruined a campus tradition for everyone? Probably not. But if that’s what it takes to rescue the school’s image — and perhaps nudge the well-behaved students to exert pressure on the knuckleheads — then it’s worth it.
As Philip wrote in his letter to students announcing the cancellation of Fountain Day, “The need to proactively respond and to uphold our reputation has never been greater.”
A lot of handwringing happens at colleges that wear the “party school” label, but the truth is, little is done about it. Philip wisely saw that UAlbany had reached a tipping point, where failure to act would have left the perception that UAlbany was a place without adult supervision. By acting decisively, Philip is making it clear that such a perception would be inaccurate.
Recent stories in the media about the growth and use of QR codes are telling illustrations that smartphones are becoming ubiquitous and consumers are using them to get on-demand information and data. As part of your strategic communications plan, they can be an effective tool and present important opportunities.
QR codes are those bar-code-looking squares (like the one at right) that are actually links to information for marketing, promotional or informational purposes: A web page, a video, a coupon, an advertisement, a review.
Smartphone growth is averaging 17-20 percent a year, and will continue to grow at that rate for the next few years. It’s a growth area in the economy, and it’s smart strategy to take advantage of any tool that reaches smartphone users.
The benefits for companies are endless: Instant information for people waiting in line, in advertisements for more information on a product, more details about an upcoming event. You know who is visiting and what they are interested in seeing.
But they are much more than just links. They can provide a message to the user in a contest; link to a telephone number for sales or information or updates; create a vCard with all of your contact information (imagine how that would go over at a conference); link to an RSS feed …. just about any information you can share could be gotten using a QR code.
QR codes are one part of a much larger communication strategy – your overall strategy – that should be much broader than just using the latest tools. It should fit in to your strategic brand marketing; your daily and monthly messaging and blogging; communications with customers, clients and media; and, naturally, any social media campaigns.
Scan the QR code above if you want help with that – or you can just call a strategic communications firm that you trust already.
Just when you thought Jimmermania couldn’t get any bigger, now comes the President of the United States referring to Glens Falls’ favorite son by one word: “Unbelievable.”
President Obama added, “Best scorer in the country, obviously.”
The president made his comments in an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz, during which Mr. Obama revealed his NCAA Tournament bracket. The First Fan has Fredette’s BYU Cougars winning two games — advancing to the Sweet 16 — before losing to Florida, the team BYU defeated in the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
As if the presidential shout-out weren’t enough, Jimmer also is on one of five regional Sports Illustrated covers previewing the tournament.
BYU opens the tournament against Wofford on Thursday in Denver. The game will be televised locally on CBS-6 beginning at 7:15 p.m.
Whenever BYU’s season ends, the speculation soon will turn to Jimmer’s NBA future.
Enjoy the ride.
There was a great editorial cartoon in Wednesday’s Times Union that is definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of poignant and insightful commentary, as I am.
In the panel, cartoonist John de Rosier depicted riotous University at Albany students during their annual “Kegs and Eggs” St. Patrick’s celebration. The riot that occurred last Saturday morning in the Pine Hills section of Albany has been fodder for local and national news media alike. Posted videos of the chaos have gone viral, leading to an unfortunate stain on the reputations of the city of Albany and, especially, UAlbany and its students.
DeRosier is spot on with his depiction of the event and highlights the way the media have changed because of new technology. The news traditionally has been covered either by fearless scribes, or reporters with camera in tow reporting on the event. This is no longer the case. Now, anyone with an iPhone and an Internet connection can break news, as witnessed by the dozens of videos that cropped up depicting last Saturday’s events.
Instead of waiting for the evening news to learn about the wild scene that unfolded, my instinct was to visit YouTube and look for videos. Sure enough, a dozen or so were on there, from every angle I could imagine.
In a sense, we are all the media now, keeping an eye out for great stories as well as outrageous events such as this. Many in the media mainstream have caught on to this trend, as well, and are capitalizing on it, such as CNN with its iReports.
As fascinating as all of this is, this new state of play scares me a bit as well. News is now whatever has mass appeal, judgments that no longer are in the hands of an editor or news director who is constrained by, for example, bounds of good taste. As gray as those constraints can be, I feel much safer knowing that there is some sort of vetting process for news. The rule of thumb for many now is if you post it and people watch it or read it, it’s news. Mass appeal trumps editorial control.
Another wave of scandal has swept over National Public Radio, washing out its president, Vivian Schiller, and its top fundraising executives, only months after a top news executive and leading commentator were sacked. At no time since its formation in the 1970s has NPR been under such scrutiny, with political pressure intensifying.
Controversies about unethical conduct, false statements or political bias are, regrettably, as common to journalism and broadcasting as they are to other endeavors and certainly not confined to public radio. But the latest controversy has revealed a truth: NPR’s top fundraising executive admitted that the public radio system would be better off without its federal government subsidy.
The executive had no idea he was making a public admission, of course. He thought he was pandering to a couple of big donors. A Word to the Wise: They turned out to be phony. His remarks were caught on video.
All Things Considered, a lot of what the fundraising exec said was false, but his statement about taxpayers financing the public radio system was right on the money.
Congress provided $400 million in taxpayer dollars to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for 2010. CPB distributes the funding to individual public radio and television stations, the public broadcasting service and specific public radio and television programs. No such appropriation is made to commercial broadcasters (though just imagine the rich entertainment in the apoplectic debate that would erupt if a generous subsidy for Fox News were proposed.)
Public radio and television stations compete aggressively— and effectively — every day with commercial radio and television, but the public broadcasters have one big taxpayer-financed advantage.
I’m a big fan of public radio. I’m a middle-aged conservative guy, but I like the diversity in news coverage and the imaginative, often surprising programming. Public radio and television are popular across the country. Intelligent, high-quality content draws millions of listeners and viewers and millions of dollars in support from companies and organizations (including Behan Communications, Inc., which provides financial support to public radio station WAMC) that seek the reflected benefits of an association with high-brow entertainment and informational programs that draw predominantly upscale audiences.
In other words, though it may be a struggle at first, NPR and PBS can make it without government subsidies.
There is an entrepreneurial spirit that animates many public broadcasters. They know how to program stations and how to raise money — lots of it. In the long run, competing both in the commercial Marketplace and in the marketplace of ideas will only strengthen NPR and PBS, enrich their public appeal and ensure that their mission is closely aligned with the needs and interests of the diverse communities public broadcasters serve.
Public broadcasters argue persuasively that the cost of producing premium programming is so great that government subsidy is essential — basically, the same argument advanced in support of government funding of the arts. It’s true that a transitional weaning period is far preferable to precipitously pulling the plug: A solution might be limited grants for innovative or experimental television and radio content for which the public and private broadcasters could compete equally, provided they have raised private contributions to match the government subsidy dollar for dollar.
Journalists ferociously covet their independence, as well they should. This is the right time for NPR, PBS and the CPB to embrace that ethic when it comes to the essential question of funding. It would be a breath of Fresh Air.
Smartwater set out to make fun of the viral video phenomenon — and, it’s safe to guess, sell more Smartwater — by making the enormously appealing Jennifer Aniston the star of a video whose sole purpose, telegraphed throughout, was to go viral.
It’s irresistible — cute, funny and incredibly effective.
And yes, viral.
The video was posted Monday, and 48 hours later it had been viewed 2.5 million times. What I’d really like to know is, how many of those were people hitting the replay button on YouTube?
What makes a well-done web video so valuable is this: People — your customers — are seeking and watching your message. They want to see what you have to say. And in the case of this video, Smartwater is holding its audience for 2 minutes, 46 seconds, more than five times the length of a standard television commercial that, in this era of the DVR, multiple channels and short attention spans, can easily be avoided.
Part Onion, part Saturday Night Live skit and entirely charming, this piece is worth whatever Smartwater paid to produce it and then some. Bill Callen
If you happen to be visiting downtown Glens Falls this week, you’ll notice that things will seem a little, well, blue. And it has nothing to do with the winter doldrums.
Just the opposite, in fact. Downtown merchants are going blue for a great cause, helping to raise awareness of the dangers of colorectal cancer.
The C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital teamed up with our very own Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Troy Burns to spearhead the Glens Falls portion of the statewide “Main Streets Go Blue” campaign, March 4-12. Glens Falls is one of 12 cities in the state participating in the campaign, which is aimed at colon cancer prevention and informing people that they can get free colon cancer tests even if they don’t have health insurance.
We’re proud to be associated with this worthy cause, and will join numerous other downtown businesses in displaying blue lights. Ours will shine from our corner conference room on the 2nd floor of the Glen Street side of our building.
As part of the effort, Troy has spent countless hours designing posters, invitations, and other materials to promote “Main Streets Go Blue.”
Troy’s dedication comes from the heart. Ever since he lost his father to colon cancer in 2004, Troy has been on a crusade to raise public awareness about identifying and preventing the disease. Through his volunteer work with the Colon Club and now with “Main Streets Go Blue,” Troy has demonstrated tireless commitment to the cause of stopping colon cancer.
If you’d like to get involved, drop by the Queensbury Hotel on Monday, March 7, and paint the place blue at a free blues party starting at 7 p.m.
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