AAHSA goes Hollywood

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Let's face it: Many of us work with pleasant enough people and settings in the long-term care field. But outright fun? It's often hard to find.

That's what made a new YouTube discovery such a delight. Whether you're tall, short, a clinician or administrative, affiliated with a nonprofit, for-profit, government or other type of organization … this video clip from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging will put a smile (or three) on your face. And that's the point, thank goodness.

It hasn't gone “viral” yet, but give it time. Check it out (it's safe) HERE.

Known simply as the “2010 AAHSA Annual Meeting Movie Trailer,” it is 3 minutes 12 seconds of entertainment (and information, I must emphasize) that deserves a big round of applause. Willing to be more than a little different, AAHSA decided to advertise its annual conference and exhibition in a new way.

Seizing on the event's Los Angeles location, AAHSA's marketing department settled on shooting a video in the style of a movie trailer using its two most prominent officers as lead hams, er, actors. Those who know CEO Larry Minnix and Board Chair Win Marshall will probably nod knowingly, as they watch these two stars pack, dress and travel for the big trip to Hollywood–all on-camera, with dramatic music and pulsing narration throbbing in the background. This is an adventure not to be missed, as the diminutive Marshall, a sleek Californian, asks the bigger Minnix, a Georgia native, “Are you ready for MY world?!”

The “two men will risk EVERYTHING to bring AAHSA to L.A.!” the deep-voiced narrator states ominously (a spoof on the action genre, of course). Dressed in dark suits and ties, with white shirts and dark sunglasses, the pair evokes a modern-day version of a “Men in Black” duo, with a mix of “Indiana Jones” daring. The two good-natured execs dodge explosions and floating blobs while “running” in super-exaggerated slow motion that might force some viewers to call their incontinence supply vendor after seeing it.

Along the way, we also get a look at the “new” Los Angeles (AAHSA last held its annual conference there in 1998) and learn that big shots such as Edward James Olmos, Paula Zahn, Vicki Lawrence and Bob Newhart will either speak or entertain, or both, at the conference.

“Be there when L.A. gets its AAHSA on!” the speaker thunders near the conclusion.

It's all done with a wink and a grin but also delivers a serious message.

AAHSA's vice president of marketing and conference services, Sharon Sullivan, praised Conference Operations Manager Sherry Shultz for coming up with the original movie trailer idea. Once the AAHSA marketing team staked out some goals, it called in O'Keefe Communications, its production partner for various other conference events. O'Keefe staffers came up with the hilarious script and taped the spot in about six hours April 21 at AAHSA's Washington headquarters.

AAHSA Marketing Manager Keesha Atkins and Director of Marketing Services Eva Tennant (both of whom have speaking roles near the end of the trailer) also had a strong hand in producing the clip. Numerous other AAHSA staff members also appear in the video, which delivers a twisted ending worthy of, well, Hollywood.

Sullivan said the departure from the normal was welcome, and made affordable by cutting back on mailings. Good idea. This video should boost attendance at any rate.

The “risky” move produced 700 viewers within the first two days of the trailer being posted to YouTube last Thursday. That's way more than any other AAHSA-themed clip that appears on YouTube (sorry, all you policy wonks). And the number is expected to climb significantly as word of it spreads, throughout and beyond the long-term care arena.

Part of the reason for making it was not only to create a good marketing vehicle, Sullivan explained, but also to do something “you wouldn't see another organization do.” Roger that.

“We live in such serious times. With everything our members are facing, it's nice to have humor every once in a while,” she told me.

Four stars and two thumbs-up all around on that sentiment.

Encore!

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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Emily Mongan.

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