How they made it

Timeline of creative process?

Inspiration: We work to create a positive atmosphere where creativity can flourish, no idea is bad, and we build off each other until we land on a concept.

Workflow: We allowed the viewer to go on these journeys alongside the prospects and push the status quo.

Results: Always aim for content that is authentic, genuine, and makes people feel.

You can do it too with monday.com

Webby Awards partner monday.com is so impressed with NFL Draft Letters that they created a workflow inspired by the project!

Try this template

Tips from the Team

”The key to creating "excellent" content is to first understand what you're trying to achieve with the content, and then work toward that from conception to execution.” - Jordan Dolbin, Manager, Social Content, NFL

“Let smart people do their job.” - David Feldman, VP, Social Media Marketing, NFL

"Build a team that believes in the idea and get out of the way." - AJ Curry, Senior Manager, Social Content, NFL

See the full team
Inspiration

We were inspired by past NFL emotional moments – Jim Mora wrote a note to Myles Jack after he fell in the Draft, and Buddy Ryan wrote a heartfelt letter to his team

What was your inspiration?

As one of the rare “helmets-off” NFL events, the Draft is a crucial opportunity for us to introduce fans to the next generation of stars in a genuine way.


With prospects often answering the same questions and telling the same stories, we wanted to get them to reflect authentically on their journey. We were inspired by past NFL emotional moments, like when Jim Mora wrote a note to Myles Jack after he fell in the Draft, or when Buddy Ryan wrote a heartfelt letter to his team.


This led to the creation of “NFL Draft Letters,” our video series in which we surprised prospects with letters or video messages from loved ones just moments after the biggest event of their lives.

How did you approach this challenge?

When faced with a creative challenge, our team doesn’t skip a beat. We are quick to get everyone in a room together and start spitballing ideas and solutions. We work to create a positive atmosphere where creativity can flourish, no idea is bad, and we build off each other until we land on a concept.


We do some bullet-proofing – making sure this makes sense for our brand, is feasible, and most of all, that our fans will truly connect with it and be entertained. Then we start assigning roles, creating a timeline, and then we get the ball rolling!

Workflow

While the skeleton of our creative, strategic, and technical approach stays the same, our constant desire to up-level our work changes our approach each time.

How does your team work across capabilities and disciplines?

Our department is made up of several teams with different focuses. There’s league social, club social, player social, college social, animators, designers, video editors, influencer team, brand partners team, and social sales/sponsorship team.


By working cross-functionally with a variety of people and creative skill-sets, we are able to

 

1) Service our entire social ecosystem, distributing content to a variety of accounts to generate the maximum potential reach.

 

2) Open the door to new opportunities we may not have thought about.

 

3) Be flexible in choosing the best possible medium to match the idea and still consistently deliver a premium product.

How does your approach adapt to the needs of a project?

While the skeleton of our creative, strategic, and technical approach stays the same, our constant desire to up-level our work changes our approach each time.


For example, the first time we did Draft Letters, it was shot exclusively for social – on a cell phone, in a small corner backstage. Now, we share this content across multiple channels, and we have a legitimate footprint and production setup.


To meet the demands of all those output channels, we’ve had to involve people with a stronger production background and find new technical solutions to turn the content around immediately. Depending on the project, we involve different groups in order to put out the best content possible.

Was there anything out-of-the-box about your approach for this project?

Normally, standard interviews have an intricate backdrop, multi-camera setup, and beautiful edits. But we didn’t want this to feel like a standard interview. We kept our space small, simple, and intimate. The unique visual of the simple set allowed the videos to stand out in feeds full of colorful graphics and videos, stopping scrolling thumbs in their tracks and imploring fans to dive into the emotional storytelling content they crave.


Traditionally, social content performs best when it’s short and fast-paced, but by reducing the amount of editing and leaning into the incredibly compelling raw content, we allowed the viewer to go on these journeys alongside the prospects and push the status quo.

How do you digitally manage your projects?

For this project, we use multiple spreadsheets to organize each individual aspect: one that identifies and provides notes on the loved ones we will be approaching for each prospect, one that covers the format of the message (video or written letter) and the schedule for filming or delivery, and one that tracks the production and distribution process of the deliverables, as well as any resulting media coverage.

 

We keep all the working files and deliverables on a hard drive, using Slack to share the deliverables across the different parts of our team.

How is the pandemic and remote working impacting your team?

While we have obviously had to change our workflows now that we are all working remotely, we haven’t changed our approach, nor our determination to put out the best product possible.


We are lucky in that we can replicate much of our process from home, but it has required a commitment to communicating and staying organized from everyone involved. While some may have used this scenario as an excuse, we saw it as a creative challenge to overcome and we are continuing to push ourselves to be better than the last project, despite the limitations.

Results

Always aim for content that is authentic, genuine, and makes people feel.

Any advice for creative teams looking to make great digital work?

The biggest advice would be to always aim for content that is authentic, genuine, and makes people feel. Don’t worry whether your strategic approach is the “standard” approach – rather, make sure it fits your specific project and helps you communicate your message in the best possible way. You can have a creative content idea, but sometimes it requires a creative execution as well to do justice to the idea and produce the best possible output.

What does being named "best of the Internet" mean to you?

The National Football League has officially been around for 100 seasons, so it is truly an honor to be able to take such a long-lasting brand and evolve it to a point where it has been named “the best of the Internet.”


There are many video series online that are created by full-fledged feature production teams, but the fact that ours is led and created by a social team has allowed us to make a video series that is uniquely social, and truly social-first content. For that to be named “best of the Internet” is a testament to our team’s hard work, adaptability, creativity, and desire to learn and be the best we can be.

You can do it too with monday.com

Webby Awards partner monday.com is so impressed with NFL Draft Letters that they created a workflow inspired by the project!

Try this template
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