GVSU students win Ford video competition

By Sarah Hillenbrand | 1/4/15 11:41pm

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GVL / Courtesy GVSU Ford Team


This semester, a group of Grand Valley State University students worked together to create a video sharing the story of inspirational people or organizations around Michigan as a part of a Ford Motor Company “Go Further” video competition between GVSU, Compass College and Calvin College.

On Dec. 12, the students found out that they won the competition, giving them the opportunity to travel to Team Detroit, Ford’s advertising agency, to help produce a national advertisement and also receive a monetary prize of $4,000. The team won by having the most unique YouTube views on their video.

“It’s opened up a lot of doors for our group,” said Lindsey VanDenBoom, a senior studying communications and advertising and public relations, and one of the students who worked to produce the video. “It’s an opportunity to work with Ford and Team Detroit in January, working to create and edit a video.”

In their video, the students featured David Milarch, co-founder of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, which works to preserve genetics of the largest and oldest champion trees by cloning them.

“It feels great, not to have won the money, but to know that our video has helped spread David’s message to more people and gotten the word out about saving the trees,” said Ian Kast, a GVSU senior studying film and video.

Frank Blossom, affiliate professor of advertising and public relations and adviser for the GVSU Ford team, said they chose to feature this story over others because it best fit the criteria and was an interesting organization.

“…we started prioritizing and strategically we selected Ancient Archive and Milarch’s story because, one, it was someone who really did go further and everyone else told him he couldn't do this and he went ahead and did it. Two, it has that environmental story that ties in nicely with Ford in terms of how they are very much focused on the environment and recycling,” Blossom said.

The video now has over 5,500 views, which has outperformed the majority of the videos produced by Ford, Blossom added.

“It says to the students, ‘Hey, you can compete and produce work that is professional quality yourself.’ So they now have a really strong portfolio piece, and they also have networking because they can list Ford and the marketing team and also the advertising agency,” Blossom said.

Kast said he gained a lot from the experience – not only did he learn what goes into making an ad or commercial, but also he learned more about teamwork in order to get the video done on time.

“This is something I am so grateful for, and am glad that my team and I were able to accomplish so much in such a small time frame,” he said.

VanDenBoom added that she greatly enjoyed working with other students on the project.

“Our entire group had a diverse group of students pulling all their attributes into one project,” she said.

The students will go to Detroit on Jan. 29 and 30 to work with Team Detroit in producing an ad for Ford.

For more information on the project, visit http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2014/12/news-ford-video.

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