Creating the 2015 GW Holiday Video

University community’s memorable moments shared on social media star in the holiday greeting distributed Monday.

Marketing and Creating Service staff members smile as a group
Office of Marketing and Creating Services staff at the Marvin Center holiday video shoot. (Photo/Peter Konwerski)
December 14, 2015

By Keith Harriston

It was months in the making, the 2015 George Washington University holiday video. Really almost 12 months.

Staff in the Office of Marketing and Creative Services, housed in the Division of External Relations, started bouncing ideas around shortly after they completed work on the 2014 holiday video. They monitored social media tied to GW. They checked out best work produced at other universities and advertising agencies. They brainstormed in weekly meetings. By September, the team settled on a concept.

“We knew that whatever we did was going to feature GW students, staff, faculty and alumni,” said Lesley Grier, associate director of digital marketing strategy.

Jon Hussey, managing director of digital marketing strategy, said the concept was influenced heavily by observations of staff who keep an eye on Twitter, Instagram and other social media as part of their regular work responsibilities.

“Our team looks at social media all the time,” he said. “We see all of these amazing moments of user-generated content.”

That brought them to Nov. 12 at the Marvin Center and the holiday video theme of “take a moment, share a moment.”

They invited the GW community—with a lure of free Captain Cookie cookies—to take part in the holiday video shoot as “extras.” They also had printers at the site so that participants could print their special moments from the year as stickers. The GW community shared about 200 “special moments” from social media that day.

“From those, we picked seven to feature in the holiday video,” Ms. Grier said.

Those featured moments include the engagement of GW alumni Shakir Cannon-Moye and Elizabeth Acevedo, athletic celebration from the women’s basketball team and one student’s Only at GW moment from the steps of the Supreme Court.

Then Brad Failor, copywriter for External Relations, went to work. He wrote the script, and it is Mr. Failor’s voice that narrates the 110-second video. The web team created an interactive website as a companion to the holiday video. Here is the result, the GW 2015 holiday video:




Watch a time-lapse of the holiday video shoot on Nov. 12 at the Marvin Center.