SFU’s 50s-style earthquake video topples competition (with video)

SFU's 50s-style earthquake video topples competition (with video)

SFU has scored a major award with a 1950s-style two-minute video that casts Simon Fraser University’s beloved mascot McFogg the Dog as the protagonist in a primer on earthquake preparedness.


PR Daily has awarded SFU Creative Services (SCS) and Safety & Risk Services (SRS) a 2013 Video Award in the public service announcement category for their creation of Drop, Cover and Hold On!

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The inaugural award celebrates memorable videography that successfully uses storytelling to convey a message.


PR Daily is a communications news site owned by Chicago-based Lawrence Ragan Communications, a leading publisher of corporate communications, public relations and leadership-development newsletters.


SCS produces interactive multi-media communication solutions for SFU and external clients. SRS prepares students, faculty and staff for any emergency, including earthquakes that could affect SFU’s three campuses.


“The safety of our community is the top priority,” says Miranda Myles, SRS Emergency & Continuity Planner. “Ensuring everyone has knowledge of life-saving emergency preparedness practices is the first step in keeping them safe.”


This was the two departments first collaboration on video production.


Hundreds of entrants competed in 20 categories for the award, which is given out in partnership with Qumu Corporation, a professional video production consultancy with offices around the world.


The SFU video was up against submissions by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs and the University of Colorado, Health, Management.


The visual and narrative power of Drop, Cover and Hold On! in engaging different SFU audiences in learning about earthquake preparedness put SCS and SRS a cut above their formidable competitors.


“The primary goal of our video was to engage and entertain the viewers with a watchable, memorable story and drive them to other platforms like the web for fuller information,” says SCS senior producer Kevin Teichroeb.


Drop, Cover and Hold On!, featuring SFU President Andrew Petter demonstrating how to prepare an earthquake-ready emergency kit, was part of a larger annual community outreach initiative called ShakeOutBCDay (http://shakeoutbc.ca).


“The larger ShakeOutBC awareness campaign focused on engaging the staff and faculty, but we wanted to engage the entire community with the video,” says SRS communications officer Katey Scott.


“Creative Services videographer Eric Sanderson captured the fine balance between creating a nostalgic piece for the 1950s generation and a retro piece to intrigue younger generations.”


Scott doubled as an actress, donning the McFogg the Dog’s costume to demonstrate drop, cover and hold on exercises to viewers.  


“In communications you end up wearing many hats, and due to tight time constraints, I had the privilege of donning the mascot-actor hat,” explains Scott. “Luckily my face was covered by the mascot head and we were more interested in portraying grand physical gestures in our footage than facial expressions.”