Leff videos rated platinum Hermes Creative Awards

Recently, we learned that a series of videos we produced for Deloitte as part of their USOC sponsorship activation efforts had been recognized as platinum, the highest category of achievement, by the Hermes Creative Awards. The videos, which we produced with Mike Russell of Highway M, exemplify four elements of successful visual storytelling:

Amazing stories. The Deloitte videos presented an interesting challenge: since they focused on a roster of Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls in their preparation for Rio, we truly had an embarrassment of riches, with one story more inspiring than the next. We felt pressure to produce videos that did the stories justice and also tied each athlete’s insights with Deloitte’s campaign messaging. Check out “The Patriot,” the story of Paralympic swimmer Brad Snyder, to get a sense of the personal journeys we sought to bring to life.

Finding humanity in the technical details. Sometimes it takes some thought and creativity to find an interesting angle or narrative device to bring a story to life. We routinely work with clients who have amazing services and products, although some are very technical. Therefore, distilling the ideas and insights into a story that connects with a specific audience can be an interesting challenge. The video on equestrian Laura Graves had to educate viewers about dressage, a sport they likely weren’t familiar with, as necessary context to appreciate her story. Take a look and see if you’re invested in her quest for gold.

Innovative shots. Athletes are the ideal subjects for short films—the medium naturally provides a vantage point to reinforce their physical speed, strength, and prowess. Of course, the physical aspect is just one element of an elite athlete; the personality, motivation, and mental toughness are also vital. Boxer Marlen Esparza embodies the dichotomy of the physical and mental: she won bronze at the 2012 London Games and has also signed a contract for Cover Girl, so we wanted to feature both aspects of her career. The result is an opening shot that showcases Esparza’s gifts in an indelible way.

Collaboration. We were also fortunate to work with a client team that was interested in elevating the quality of the videos. They understood not just the challenge in cutting through the clutter to engage viewers but also the power of imagery and music to create excitement. With their ideas, feedback, and guidance on what to emphasize with each of Deloitte’s 15 sponsored athletes, we were able to create a kickoff video for the campaign that teased all of these ingredients.

Many thanks to Deloitte’s Doug Neff, Krista Frysinger, and Talla Mountjoy for the opportunity to work on this campaign and for their support and humor through 15 video shoots over the span of three months last year. And thanks as well as to the inspiring athletes who shared their time and stories.

Scott Leff

Scott is the founder of LEFF. He’s spent his career helping executives and subject matter experts tell their story in a compelling way. In the process, he’s had the opportunity to work with C-suite executives, politicians, academics, and Olympians, not to mention dozens of talented writers, editors, and designers in the business world. Scott developed the concept of “lean content creation” as a cost-effective way to support comprehensive, integrated communication strategies.

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