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#LetsGetStreetSmart puts the human before homelessness

“The measure of a city is determined by how we treat our most vulnerable neighbours. Embarrassed, frustrated and determined, San Franciscans redefine their city by taking on the homelessness crisis with the trademarks of the SF culture: innovation and activism. Along the way, they also redefine what we mean by getting “street smart.”

– Micro Documentaries

THE CHALLENGE

Micro-Documentaries produces social impact shorts with a call to action to enact change with each film. The production team engaged Yulu to support them with the launch of #LetsGetStreetSmart, an eight-part series of shorts demonstrating solutions for homelessness, based on the principle of human dignity. Micro-Documentaries had a goal to reach a mass audience and inspire change while growing a movement through impactful films. With homelessness and human dignity being two topics that our Vancouver HQ team hold in high regard, we promptly took on the challenge.

THE STRATEGY

If a documentary isn’t released at a film festival or backed by a major studio, it can be challenging to get the right media to view a film series, let alone review one. We knew we’d need to be both creative and resourceful to reach our viewership goals. When talking strategy for media engagement, we always say, “pitch a story, not a product.” Taking notes from our playbook, we focused on the people and organizations within the films, rather than the film series itself. This was a key driver to our success. We lead with the story of Lava Mae, a large bus converted into a shower and toilet on wheels for the homeless. The idea took off, as did the video. We released one video at a time, crafting tailored messaging for the each issue in each film – from meditation and mindfulness to rehabilitation. Turns out there are far more advocates of yoga and mindfulness, or pre-natal care, than there are for social impact short films.

RESULTS & IMPACT

By the end of our campaign, Yulu shared #LetsGetStreetSmart’s stories, and the message of creating solutions that account for human dignity, with hundreds of thousands of viewers – 733,054 to be exact. This was bolstered by social media efforts, which accounted for approximately 10% of views garnered. In our media relations efforts, we secured a feature on Micro-documentaries’ founder Natasha Deganello Giraudie in Fast Company, and media opportunities with the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Elephant Journal and RealChange. Furthering the message through community engagement, we garnered support through an online pledge campaign, as well as partnered locally with the Super Bowl party at SOMA StrEat Food Park and with the online channel Upworthy. Ultimately, and as predicted, it wasn’t media coverage that helped #LetsGetStreetSmart achieve views, but a distribution partnership with Upworthy. Film producers out there – take note! The film series continued to gain momentum long after our campaign outreach wrapped, and is currently being broadcasted on television to 1,700,000 people.