Marketing is a world that, by its nature, plays safe and is risk-averse. As even the biggest global brands have found, just one wrong move can cause irreparable damage in the age of social media. So when Loughborough Grammar School decided to embark on a seven-year project that would follow the journey of one individual pupil as he made his way through his school career, there was no guarantee of success.
Tom's Journey has been described with a word sure to make any marketing executive shudder: "brave". But when the campaign emerged, Tom's Journey was nothing short of a triumph.
Tom was filmed and interviewed on camera at regular intervals from his entry to the school aged 11 to his departure at 18, having achieved his goal of joining the Combined Cadet Force that he had set out all those years before.
The four-minute video not only moved and inspired parents at the school's open day, but it also drove a big increase in the number of visits to the school's website and Facebook page and "contributed to significant increases in numbers of prospective parent visits, and applications (and acceptances) for Year 7 and Year 12 entry". A second version of the film, featuring three pupils, was launched in December 2016.
The film has been described as "a powerful strategy to promote some aspect of the school to a wider community" and "an inspirational, forward-looking and brave campaign which will resonate with parents of children at every stage in their school career.".