It Takes Creativity to Get Above Message Clutter

by Jon Nelson

With the astronomical number of marketing messages constituents see each day, quality is vital to having your messages stand out.  In fact, quality in general isn’t enough. Specifically, creativity is imperative.  

Take as an example this video, the “Stroh Center Rap,” which was created by Bowling Green State University to thank major donors who made a new athletics center possible:

Instead of simply hosting a dinner in the donors’ honor, recognizing them at halftime of a couple games and sending them a box of chocolates, the donors were featured in a music video.   Now, with such creativity, you have to be careful.  You don’t want to upset your donors with a piece they will absolutely hate, or with a theme they can’t stand.  So, to solve this problem, and make sure the donors were OK with it, the producers not only ran the video by them, they got the philanthropists involved in it – and that is an extra feature that really takes BGSU’s creativity to the next level.  (Read about the creative process in this article, “University Thanks Big Donors With a Rap Video,” from The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)  Plus, it’s pretty funny seeing these older guys as “ballers.”

Clever lyricism also ups the creativity.  Example: “He gave a cool eight mil / His name is sure to survive / You can see it in lights from I-75.”  Another great line is: “So he can’t dunk / No, he won’t hit that three / But he will melt your face with his philanthropy.” Creativity isn’t just one great idea, rather it is taking that idea and augmenting it with numerous elements that really make people laugh, think, smile, take pause, etc.

The execution of this creativity wasn’t exactly perfect, though.  I happened to turn on the TV to a BGSU football game on ESPN where they were talking about the video and interviewing the rapper, Mikey “Rosco” Blair.  Rosco’s comments were brief and the conversation was forced – it was very awkward to watch.  He should have been prepped better by BGSU staff to really serve as a face for the school.  There’s a reason the handlers of presidential hopefuls work so hard prepping their candidate on what to say: the face of your organization needs to look really good – especially if that face is on national television.  After all, you know how awkward it can be when a candidate flubs.

However, if this video made it onto national TV, has a fair amount of YouTube views and is getting picked up by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, they clearly did something right.  My only thought was that it could have been even more effective with a better interview.

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2 thoughts on “It Takes Creativity to Get Above Message Clutter

  1. I love this video, cracks my up every time. Shared with my senior pastor and we joked about which pastor would be our best rapper and how well it would play at the end of a worship service!! For me, the bigger message is, “how do we express our gratitude?” The buzz is about creating a “culture of generosity.” First we need to create a “culture of gratitude” amongst those of us who receive the gifts of time, talent and treasure.

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