January 14, 2011

Class project video receives national attention

With the star power of Buckeye football player Dane Sanzenbacher and attention from national media, a YouTube video that started out as a class project has become a viral hit and also a contender in the national collegiate video competition sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA).

Undergraduate students in Patricia West’s consumer behavior class worked with the local AMA chapter and Lifeline of Ohio during the autumn quarter to create awareness for becoming an organ donor.  West said four teams in her class produced videos or used social media to get the word out or hosted an event with Lifeline in conjunction with the Beat Michigan Blood Drive. 

The team of Sanzenbacher, Melissa McGhee, Tyler Kunkle, Teryn Wessel, Mallory Malec and Makaela Banks chose to do a video spoofing the LeBron James Nike television advertisement about his “big decision.” The video, posted on YouTube, has received more than 100,000 views.

 “The idea of spoofing LeBron was actually Dane's idea,” McGhee said. “He thought it paralleled the choice of making the decision to become an organ donor and it was something that was a hot topic in pop culture so it would be a good vehicle to get our message out. We figured the obvious choice was to use Dane because he was a well known athlete and ultimately was his idea.”

The video caught the attention of reporters for Fox Sports News and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We know the reason people watched the video was because it was a spoof of a controversial video and we had a famous athlete star in the video,” Wessel admitted.
McGhee said despite the fact that what grab audience attention is a Buckeye star athlete performing a parody of professional superstar, the project accomplished its goal.

“I do think we successfully got the message across,” McGhee said. “We wanted to raise awareness for organ donation and by all means close to 100,000 hits on YouTube did that. We also had numerous people who were personally affected by organ donation write comments or talk to us to thank us for taking the time to talk about this cause.”