Published On: January 5th, 2021By
Illustration with learning related iconography including a badge or seal, textbook, eye, and glasses.

Understanding the Challenge

In an effort to explain the open education resources (OER) concept and its benefits to both educators and students, Campus Manitoba aimed to produce a series of videos for Open Access Week in March 2020. The videos were meant to encourage post-secondary faculty members to review and adopt resources in the existing OER collection, and/or adapt new materials (the greater the collection, the greater access students in Manitoba have to education).

Finding the Concept

The videos needed to make a lasting impression and after a brainstorming session, we landed on a number of strong ideas—with the most ‘out there’ idea being to create videos that replicated mission briefings from espionage movies, such as James Bond or Mission Impossible. The idea involved positioning educators as the heroes of education whose mission was to carry the OER movement forward.


Campus Manitoba approved the bold concept, and we began the research phase by watching video clips of espionage mission briefing in order to perfect the style and tone. A key trait of these types of mission briefings is a serious, informational monologue and if we were going to mimic the style, we had to be sure to get the copy exactly right. Otherwise, the audience may not understand our message.

From there, we wrote scripts for the five videos and hired a freelance animator to animate the videos, heightening the sense of mystery they needed to convey.

What Happened Next?

The videos, which were launched once per day during Open Access Week, provided a strong message and memorable effect, and will allow Campus Manitoba to use them as they continue to grow their presence in the Open Ed sector for years to come.

Open Education Week  takes place annually in March,” Carley McDougall, the Acting Executive Director, Campus Manitoba explains. “The goal is to raise awareness and showcase the impact open education has on teaching and learning worldwide. This year, Campus Manitoba wanted to highlight the main aspects of open education through the use of short, engaging motion-graphic videos. Working with UpHouse is always an easy choice because they think outside of the box, have a collaborative approach to working with our small in-house communications team and they deliver great results.”

“We are so happy with how the videos turned out and have been receiving positive feedback from the community. They are valuable assets that we now have in our toolbox as we continue with the work that we do through the Manitoba Open Textbook Initiative.”

– Carley McDougall, Acting Executive Director, Campus Manitoba

Marketing Tips for In-House and Agency Teams

Not sure if it’s the right time to pitch that bold new idea?
  1. Don’t be afraid to pitch an ‘out there’ concept. If you have a strong relationship with your client and have built a lot of trust, go ahead and suggest a boundary-pushing, bold idea. Even if the client opts for another concept, it showcases your team’s brainstorming capacity.
  2. Strike the right tone. A bold concept only works if it’s properly executed. If your campaign warrants a different tone than the overarching brand’s tone, do a lot of research before getting started to make sure you get it right. Otherwise, your campaign may fall flat.
  3. Create distance to innovate. Avoid The Proximity Paradox and escape inside-the-box thinking by collaborating with someone outside your normal freelance network. Aside from the experience of new collaborations, the end result may be very different (in a good way!) than if you had stayed in your zone.

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