Online student films boost audience for Biolife

mjohnson@bradenton.comMay 11, 2014 

Jeff Boos, a senior filmmaking student at the Ringling College of Art & Design, prepares for his role in a short commercial video as "The Injury Fairy." The commercial, directed by Evan Mattson, is one of six made in partnership with Manatee County company Biolife. PROVIDED PHOTOS

MANATEE -- Six short films promoting a wound-healing product manufactured by a Manatee County company may leave an indelible impression on consumers looking for alternatives to bandages.

The Injury Fairy is sure of it.

The 30-second films -- written and shot by four Ringling College of Art and Design students -- debuted online last week as experimental advertisements for Biolife's WoundSeal product. Tapping into the funny side of getting hurt, the films show the company's flagship product as the best way to fix cuts and abrasions caused by the stupid things people do to hurt themselves.

In one of the films, a gruff bearded man wearing a jean jacket and pink fairy wings, appears out of nowhere to help a man who has cut himself. The "Injury Fairy" doesn't want to be bothered with the cut and recommends that the man use Wound Seal, a hypo allergenic powder that helps blood clot at a wound site.

The approach and the humor is what Biolife was looking for, said company vice president Andrew McFall. Biolife worked with The Collaboratory, a Ringling-affiliated organization that promotes art-related projects with a business bent. Serving essentially as an executive producer, The Collaboratory enlisted the school's ART Network film class to create a video-based advertising campaign for WoundSeal.

The films are posted on the WoundSeal website. Viewers can vote the films up or down. The film that garners the most "up" votes will win its director a $3,500 scholarship funded by Biolife.

McFall said the company sees the scholarship as a good investment. Although WoundSeal is already in about 25,000 retail stores nationwide, he said the humorous commercials appeal to an audience younger than the product's typical buyer.

"It's started to reach a bit of a different demographic," he said.

Biolife was founded in 1999. Its headquarters and manufacturing facility is located at 8163 25th Court E. near the intersection of U.S. 301 and University Parkway,

Viewers watching the video will see the product applied to a misguided William Tell scenario, a careless stuntman, a 1950s-stereotype husband, a manly househusband, a multi-faith healing class and to the fractured fairy tale.

Evan Mattson, director of the fairy film and one other, said making the video shorts was a good lesson in producing video for the business market. A film major at Ringling who recently graduated, Mattson said he learned the importance of listening to a client and producing a product to specification.

"You have to be very mindful and considerate of what your client wants," he said.

Lisa Moody, director of ART Network and the film class instructor, said her

students produced good product in a three-week time frame. In some cases, students in the class had little or no video production experience. One student had not even uploaded a video to YouTube, she said.

Moody said the videos were a practical exercise in working with a client. Students not only had to write and shoot their videos, but also had to pitch them and work with client needs through an initial rough cut.

"Pitching is really important," Moody said.

Those involved with the WoundSeal videos noted that no one was actually cut or otherwise injured for the filming. A Ringling business student created a few seconds of common footage that shows the brown WoundSeal powder being sprinkled onto realistic fake blood in a fake injury. Biolife assisted in mixing up a convincing blood substitute.

Biolife may enter into a second phase with the online videos in the fall, possibly filming something with a longer format. McFall said the company is exploring ways to leverage online video as an alternative to the types of advertising it currently does.

WoundSeal has been on the market since 2012. Its major distributors include CVS and Walgreens.

The Collaboratory is funded by the Sarasota-based Patterson Foundation.

The student videos will stay on the WoundSeal site, woundseal.com, until May 31.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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