‘I’m So Much More Than That’; 3 EXCEL Awards Finalist Videos Show Power of Good Storytelling

In a survey of marketers last year, 59% said a video strategy would help them improve their results, providing direction and focus. The three finalists in the 2023 EXCEL Awards category for Video – Single Entry (Promotion) are most likely in that 41% minority because these are three superior videos, all using members to tell their moving stories.

“When people ask me what I do,” a woman with a hint of a foreign accent begins, “I tell them: ‘I’m a school nutrition professional.’ Sometimes they’re like, ‘You’re a lunch lady.’ And I want to tell them, ‘I’m so much more than that—feeding thousands of kids day after day takes a lot more than what you may think.’”

So begins this 90-second video from the School Nutrition Association, titled Bring More to the Table, a finalist for the EXCEL Awards in the category of Video – Single Entry (Promotion). The EXCEL Awards Gala takes place the evening of June 27 as part of our AMPLIFY 2023 summit here in Washington, D.C. (Get tickets here.)

The video gets even better as woman number two enters: “You have to be a budget boss, a logistics lion, a menu maverick…” Now the people come in rapid-fire and with flair. “An apple ‘artiste,’ a rigatoni rebel, a wrap wrangler (twirling a make-believe rope), a schedule scout, a supply chain sorcerer, an equipment extraordinaire, a warehouse wizard, a pizza pilot, a culinary composer, a salad bar superstar…” Then all nine, diverse-in-every-way people gather. “We do everything. We feed kids. Become a school nutrition professional.”

I’m in.

In CMI’s 2022 Content Marketing Video & Visual Storytelling Survey, 52% of respondents said that videos ranging from 1-3 minutes long have been most successful for their content marketing. Almost half of respondents say they create videos to raise brand awareness. When planning videos, marketers say their two primary goals are to create a human connection (37%) or inform their audience (37%).

Or, in the case of this video, both. It’s also said that opting for real employees over hired talent or voice actors can go far to connect your audience with people behind your organization.

About 74% think their organization needs to invest more in video. Nearly 70% say they produce their videos in-house, and 55% say they have the proper tools to do this. But 32% say they need to invest more in production equipment and editing tools.

The second finalist in this category is a powerful video from the ALS Association titled Whatever It Takes: Ken Paves’ Story. We see beautiful scenes of Paves as a child with his mother, and then today caring for her and carefully cutting her hair.

“My mom was always there for me and always reminded me and told me that I was enough,” begins beauty expert/hairdresser Paves. “Today it’s just a little different. We received a phone call confirming that my mom had ALS. It felt to me, like a death sentence, so we avoided it. Until now. My mom and I have learned to find happiness in ALS.”

Amazingly, it’s only a minute long. At the end, he says, “The act of finding and recognizing beauty together is still there. Together we can end ALS.” An addendum below the video lets us know that Paves’ mother Helen passed away on May 1 and thanks them “for all they have done to help us raise awareness of ALS in the community.”

The third finalist in this category comes from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association—their 2022 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions Opening Video. This video comes in longer at 4 minutes, but the time is used wisely, highlighting stories of people attending the event.

A woman says she was a doctor for 10 years and hadn’t heard of PH until her daughter was diagnosed with it. “That experience shaped our future.” Another woman pledged to make a coloring book of children doing everyday activities while wearing their oxygen masks. The next shot shows kids drawing in that book. A third woman got into UCLA’s School of Nursing and “at orientation I was on continuous oxygen. I graduated at the top of my class in 2020.” A return attendee said he is “excited for [the] chair yoga” they do. “It overwhelms me what you all do. It literally saved my life.”

A video like this can serve as an incredible marketing tool for future events—this one is held every other year. The PHA 2022 theme was “PHacing the Future Together” and was their first in-person since 2018. “Watch the highlights to experience the fun.” Indeed.


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