Contributed by: Vice President / Executive Producer at Hooah Production Studios, Tanya Zeiher
Department of Defense spending cuts are no secret to many government contractors. Working within lean budgets are the way of doing business with the government and in particular, the military.
Hooah has had the great benefit of providing services to many government agencies, including several branches of the military. For one particular project, we were contracted to produce a series of public service announcements (PSAs) for military use to educate Service members on "the dangers of designer drugs” – with an emphasis on the military’s zero tolerance policy concerning the use of such substances.
The initial challenge involved presenting the subject matter of both PSA sets in a way that would connect with their target audience, 18-to-35-year-old Service members, and motivate them to the desired behaviors. The original concept was for all PSAs to be live action. The Zero Tolerance spots would use actors and be shot aboard active naval ships and at military bases. However, sequestration, which occurred in early 2013, took effect and the project’s travel budget was immediately cut.
The Hooah Production Studios team had to go back to the drawing board and quickly determine several alternate courses of action. We came back to the client with a proactive, innovative solution to the limitations imposed by sequestration, proposing that all spots be produced as motion graphics-style animation.
Benefits in approaching the PSAs in this manner included not only cost, but the capacity of animation’s innate ability to deliver a message in a manner more easily accepted by audience members than when conveyed through live actors. This would be especially helpful in the case of the Zero Tolerance spots, as the scripts used an element of humor to engage the audience (and bypass their defenses against being “preached to”) before delivering the impact of the consequences that come with using illegal substances.
Hooah’s production team went to work and the spots soon came to life as animated music videos. Two original songs were written as country-western and reggae, each relating the tale of a Service member who went down the road of using a banned substance and was dishonorably discharged as a result. The final products display the strong education-through-storytelling techniques that Hooah Production Studios brings to every project. Each Zero Tolerance PSA effectively engages the target audience members, making them receptive to heeding this important message.
Working with the government or the military in particular requires thoughtful execution and sensitivity to budget restrictions. And it cannot come at the cost of creativity. Interested in learning more about Hooah Production Studios? Visit our website at HooahStudios.com.