Inside Visible's Covid Campaign That Helped Out-of-Work Actors
"Create a digital brand spot, with the only requirement being that we want to bring real customer testimonials to life, with as many unknown actors as possible."
That was the simple brief we shared with Jelly Media. Although unique in nature, we've amassed a bit of a reputation for creating compelling content, and so we partnered with Jelly to bring this concept to life.
The entertainment industry and acting community were among the first to see the deep impact of Covid-19. Just weeks ago, actor Viola Davis pointed out with urgency on Facebook that "unemployment in the acting community is at 95 percent" (it's actually closer to 99 percent!). So, we wanted to do our part to help this population hit particularly hard by the pandemic.
People forget that our economy relies heavily on the entertainment industry, which in turn relies on artists of all kinds. From a marketing perspective, entertainment content has been a big part of our brand. Musicians, artists and influencers have enabled us gain traction and capture many of our current members. Aligning our social impact mission to our marketing efforts has always been a crucial part of our identity, and this campaign would be no different.
The challenge, of course, was developing an effective concept that could organically bring together scores of principal actors. After reaching out to a small group of our members online, we sourced hundreds of member testimonials acknowledging the member experience and service. Quite coincidentally, after watching HBO's Barry featuring Henry Winkler as an overly zealous acting coach, an idea hit the Jelly team: Film an audition in a New York theater with actors performing dramatic readings of our real member testimonials. We loved the idea!
New York's Shubert Organization agreed to reopen a theater shuttered by Covid for our shoot. Up-and-coming SAG actors were selected from thousands of respondents, all thanks to a Backstage casting notice. Our actors individually performed interpretive readings of the testimonials. The earnestly written member feedback, dramatically read by talented actors, was both endearing and hilarious!
It feels good to be able to bring actors back to the stage. But that's not where things ended. To continue supporting this campaign, we made a $50,000 contribution to The Actors Fund to help support artists through necessary services including mental health resources, housing and social service.