Published on: 09-Nov-2016
An online video starring Professor Bertil Andersson, President of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) as a mystery biker has won an international award at the 2016 IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence, an annual event which recognises excellence in public relations practice worldwide.
Titled Secret Biker at NTU, the 2-minute video shows an unknown biker zipping around the University’s newly opened North Spine Plaza, drawing lots of excitement from students who are surprised to meet the mystery character face to face.
The video was produced by the in-house Corporate Communications team in March to generate awareness of the North Spine Plaza, a new food and retail hub, which was opened after 18 months of renovation and inconvenience at a high-traffic area on campus.
Debuted at the annual NTU President’s State of the University Address, the 1,000 faculty, staff, students and alumni present were thrilled when the identity of the secret biker was revealed at the end of the video -- when the NTU President made his entry on stage – gliding in on an e-scooter.
It was a roaring success -- 88 per cent of those at the event found it an effective way of communicating campus developments and 85 per cent found the video entertaining.
Posted on NTU’s Facebook, the video has a reach of almost 450,000, garnering more than 115,000 organic views and almost 6,000 likes, comments and shares.
Said NTU President Prof Bertil Andersson, “As a young university that is rapidly undergoing changes, it is challenging to effectively keep all in the NTU community updated of new developments in a short span of time.
“I am delighted that this little video has done a big job in communication, and even made its mark internationally. I had great fun playing the ‘secret biker’ and getting an award is a bonus. The award is an endorsement of the University’s creativity and innovation which does not stop at academics.”
Said Mr Bart de Vries, IPRA’s President and one of the judges, “The surprise ending which moves seamlessly from screen to real life, enhances the entertainment value -- a great tactic to engage the audience. Though made in-house on a zero budget, the video is produced with great professionalism. It is sleek and delivers a big punch on information and entertainment in just over two minutes.”
This is NTU’s fourth award from the IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence since 2013, and also the fourth major international award that the in-house team has won in 2016.
Two-day filming on zero budget
Thanking the “cast” of about 100 students and staff volunteers, NTU Chief Communication Officer, Dr Vivien Chiong said, “We thought a video would be a good vehicle to show the attractions at the new North Spine Plaza. To add to the entertainment value and better engage the live audience, the team planned for a surprise ending to the video. We told Prof Andersson the idea and he gamely took it on.”
But first there were a number of hurdles to overcome. School holidays were round the corner, making it hard to reach student volunteers. With deadline looming, the NTU President who was to be the central character, could not take part in the video as he had to be overseas during this time.
With only two days left for the actual filming, the team managed to gather about 70 NTU students and staff on short notice through social media and Whatsapp. More volunteered on the spot on the day of filming.
The in-house team also came out with a concept that solved the problem of the “missing protagonist”. An unidentified person with just his feet shown would zip around North Spine on an e-scooter. Besides the mystery element, the e-scooter, a common sight on campus, would also strike a popular chord with the audience.
The video cost next to nothing as the planning, filming and editing were done by two in-house staff. The only prop, an e-scooter, was borrowed from a student. The pair of legs belonged to another staffer who could ride an e-scooter with ease.
The “cast” enjoyed themselves tremendously. One of them, engineering student Ng Yi Mei said, “Being involved in the video gave me a sense of belonging in NTU. I felt a little unnatural when they were filming me, but when all the scenes were put together, it made perfect sense! I feel proud being part of the video.”
Another cameo, Bryan Lee, a business student said: “Playing a role in the video, no matter how small, is my way of contributing to my alma mater. For the video to win an award, wow, that’s like having a cherry on the top of the icing.”
Many positive comments were received. Alumni who were surprised to see the changes at NTU, tagged their friends to say they should return to visit their alma mater. Many also commented on the NTU President’s spontaneity and sense of fun.
Some comments from students, alumni and staff:
My school president is so cool – Hoo Jan Wei
This looks more like a shopping mall than the NTU that I know. Thumbs up to the NTU President for his effort! – Kang Zhijue
This is how my university, NTU looks like now. And how hip can the university president be! – Md Sufian
Very cool, President of NTU!!! – Naama Laness
Wah so happening at NTU now! Last time the coolest thing I had at NTU was like Starbucks – Choo Yan
Dissemination of information through social media and through this kind of video is very effective. – Kalupahana Liyanage Kushan Sudheera, PhD student.
I like the opening video and have already shared with folks at NTU who did not attend the Address.” – James Michael Moses, Mgr
The video used to promote various aspects of the University is very engaging. – Justin Seow
Secret Biker at NTU can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/NTUsg/videos/1049544705084707
Senior Assistant Manager
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a joint medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up with Imperial College London.
NTU Singapore is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
Ranked 13th in the world, NTU Singapore has also been ranked the world’s top young university for the last two years running. The University’s main campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg
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