She calls it a "real world project".
Local mom and owner of Grossman Chevrolet Nissan in Old Saybrook, Linda Grossman, is helping Valley Regional High School students craft an ad campaign. For three years, she has teamed-up with teacher Chris LeQuire of the Video/Graphics Department to teach students, in his beginning and advanced film classes, how to make a commercial for a customer, from beginning to end.
Grossman explains the project: "We start by outlining what I, the client, am looking for in a TV spot. I give them a theme and some thought starters. The basic ground rules are that it must be 30 seconds, exactly, and must promote the dealership and give consumers a compelling reason to choose Grossman Chevrolet Nissan over other dealers."
She first meets with students to create storylines, then follows-up to critique ideas and provide guidance to the teens. Eventually, the would-be filmmakers go to the dealership to shoot their commercials, planning-out scripts, actors and lighting. They then edit their own spots.
Check out the students' work on YouTube. Each student puts a unique spin on his/her creation, tapping-into individual interests in sound effects, photography or acting. Styles of the finished products run the gamut from comical to sentimental.
Once done, viewers can cast a vote for their favorite spot on Facebook. In the springtime, Grossman holds an "Academy Awards" at the dealership where winners from both semesters are announced in front of a crowd of family and friends who watch the videos on a projector. The grand prize winner's ad is actually aired on TV!
"It's a lot of fun and creates a lot of excitement in the community and at the school. The kids work really hard to try to win and are amazingly creative," says Grossman, noting the students learn about sales, production and even marketing. "Grossman Chevy Nissan created and funded this project as we were looking for philanthropic ways to give back to community, beyond just delivering a check. We wanted to...engage with the students and future working professionals within our community."
The slogan - Grossman Cares - was actually created by a student during the first year of this project.
This mom-of-three says, each year, parents express an enormous amount of pride, appreciation and amazement.