In Australia, University marketing is entering a revolution. With disruption engulfing all aspects of life and business, some of the country's oldest institutions are now in the firing line and there's a groundswell of change.
Over the past 40 years, universities have shifted from being institutions attended only by the elite, to being free, to then being supported by a government loan scheme. This represents a vast change in business models for organisations that have traditionally traded on their heritage.
Today there is growing pressure on institutions to be on the cutting edge with a constrained commercial model, and many competitors will turn to marketing as the way to innovate their way forward, attract new students and modernise their reputations.
Compressing a 20+ year story across three countries into 90 seconds was a no small task. We had an extensive interview with Deng to work from, and refine down to some key moments in his journey. Sourcing and creating footage for the edit was a three-stage process. We needed to source and select news and archive footage of the South Sudan conflict that matched he journey and timeline to use as insert shots and backgrounds for our re-creations. These were rough cut into an assembly so we knew what angles we’d need to shoot on-set. Once principal photography was finished we finalised the offline for grading and VFX.
To create this campaign we looked at thousands of West Sydney Universities alumni stories. This is the true story of Deng Thiak Adut. A child soldier, who became a refugee lawyer. The real Deng plays his adult self in the commercial, all of the rest of the commercial we had to recreate in the western suburbs of Sydney Australia, transforming it into war torn Sudan for the opening of the film and then faithfully recreated the casting and locations that make up key moments in his story all the way to modern day. The project was achieved on a very modest budget.
The majority of the Sudanese people in the commercial were members of Deng’s local community, many who are refugees themselves. They hold Deng in high regard, grateful for all the legal assistance he contributes to their community, and were prepared to revisit the horrors of their past to tell.
The campaign was designed to celebrate University Alumni and describe their struggle to success; the larger hope was to create awareness of existing role models for the depressed Western Suburbs of Sydney. We needed an emotive, uplifting, yet retrospective track, one that would thematically unite three distinctly different true stories, all with diverse visual styles.
The musician we engaged with was breakout Sydney based artist Jarryd James, who in collaboration with producer and two-time Grammy winner Joel Little, had crafted this track as part of his upcoming debut album.Jarryd is philanthropic and before becoming a full-time musician worked in a
This is the true story of Deng Adut, a child soldier who became a refugee lawyer. Deng plays himself. The Sudanese people in the film are also non-actors, many also refugees, and proud members of Deng’s local community who turned up in support of him.
After a lengthy interview with Deng, the Director wrote the script. The narrative and scenes of war were shot in a quarry in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. The pyrotechnics were in-camera. The backgrounds we created from archival news footage from the South Sudan conflict. The rest of the story was shot on-location around Western Sydney and at the University, with real students and lecturers.