Producing a social media campaign. The Blueswater Company at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We had a conversation with our in-house filmmaker Diego in relation to his involvement with The Blueswater, an Edinburgh based blues band, during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017.

Bridge IV Films. How did this particular online marketing campaign for The Blueswater comes about? Was it part of a greater strategy or rather a last minute decision to boost sales during the festival?

Diego. To begin with, lets mention a few things about the festival. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a massive twenty-four hours-seven days a week conglomerate of shows. The performances run for about three weeks in the month of August in the capital of Scotland. As a matter of fact, during this same month there are at least other three festivals taking place simultaneously (The Edinburgh Tattoo Festival, The Edinburgh International Festival, The Edinburgh International Book Festival). Above all, when you hear people talk about the festival, the are referring to The Edinburgh Fringe. In 2017, there were a total 3,398 shows of taking place in around 300 venues. Actually, it is quite difficult to express verbally the magnitude of the festival.

Firstly, when planning a marketing campaign for your Edinburgh Fringe Festival show you have to know how to stand out in an oversaturated market. We consider that you have to be present in multiple marketing platforms simultaneously, creating fast and accessible content on a daily basis for the whole run of your show.

Secondly, you have to access your target audience directly and efficiently. Most of the times, the artist who presents a show in the festival already has a set of followers in one or several online platforms, and this is the starting point of the campaign. The work that we do is social network focused.

The musicians of The Blueswater are highly experienced in mastering the dynamics of the Edinburgh Fringe. The fact is that in 2017 the band proudly celebrated their fourth year straight producing shows in the festival. When we started conversations about the marketing strategy months before the start of the run, we decided that we needed a new refreshing approach focused exclusively in social network positioning.

After that we carried on a research in current trends of content creation and the visual language of these platforms. Later we put ideas in common in finding different ideas on how to fit the message into that medium. The result was a set of short films with two different narrative styles that drew attention to each show and its particular characteristics.

BIVF. Why Facebook and Instagram? Is it in these platforms where the band has most of its following? Do you see this as a common trend?

D. Certainly, you as an artist will probably want to address the ideal target audience with your campaign as efficiently as possible. Having a presence online nowadays it is a must if you want to create a one to one relationship with the people who like what you do.

We produced content for Facebook and Instagram because The Blueswater does have a strong community of followers in both. As I mentioned before, instead of starting from scratch, we wanted to take advantage of the online community associated with the artist.

At the same time, those two are currently the most appropriate social networks for film and still photography outreach. Particularly Instagram which allows to share video content since 2013. And even more now with the introduction of the Stories section in the app.

BIVF. Viral and trending videos play a major role in these platforms along with new marketing campaigns exclusively designed for smartphones and tablets. How do you adapt to create a video that performs at its best in these platforms and devices?

D. The audio-visual perception of the audiences has change radically in the last ten years. From consuming visual content in television at home in the early 90s, we are now surrounded moving images playing in smartphones that fit in our pockets.

As a consequence, the tendencies on visual engagement and consumption have evolved dramatically. Your video has to be concise, it needs to tell enough information to drag the attention of the audience so they will spend a few more seconds processing and remembering what they just watched.

In this campaign we decided that we were going to use the squared one-by-one format. It has been popularised first by Instagram but later by the inclusion of auto-playable videos in Facebook´s feeds. This is the to-go format for smartphones and tablets as it allows the user to access in a single look without any scroll required to clear information at once: First, the video itself which always contains graphics that catch the attention; Second, the description which expands the content shown and highlighted; Third, the community´s reaction to it by the number of plays, shares, likes and comments; Fourth, who has published the post, when was it posted and where it is happening, which is key.

BIVF. What were you trying to achieve with this campaign? Visibility? What’s the concept behind?

D. This campaign was designed to reach potential audiences to the four main shows that The Blueswater was producing that year. Even though the brand unifies all the productions, each show had its own very particular character infused by their conducers and lead singers: Felipe Schrieberg, Nicole Smit, Toby Mottershead and Cat Loud. To do so we developed two kinds of films.

The first series introduced each of the four lead singers. These films captured their charisma and sound in a cappella flash performance in the streets; While the second series mixed close-up footage from rehearsals and performances during the first days of the run. These films were more eclectic not showing much of the show itself and rather generating interest.

In order to differentiate the look of the films we used various locations, acting moods and color palettes in connection with the specific tone of the show in focus. At the same time them all maintained a unified cinematographic style and a very characteristic set of integrated motion graphics. We wanted to make sure that if people had found one of the films in any medium, they could look for the rest and share them.

BIVF. On the same line, what does a flash campaign like this one implies in term of planning and execution? The musicians must’ve been extremely busy at the time.

D. Certainly, pre-production is essential in order to be efficient when the festival kicks off. As a consequence, we decided that we wanted two different series of videos. In the first series mentioned above, only the lead singers were engaging directly with the audience by their a cappella performance; While in the second series there was no direct interaction with any of the members of the company, which allows more flexibility and does not interfere with their schedules.

 Doing your research on practical elements such as equipment required and fixing locations is essential for a well time management on location when shooting. At the same time, founding the style and tone of the films beforehand is definitely helpful. Ultimately we designed the motion graphics animation in a way that it could be recycled many times later in the following videos to speed up the process of upload and share. Every step of the process was optimised for quick and efficient shot and delivery.