The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
"The objective for Wheels Up: A Little 500 story was to create a share-worthy, heartwarming short film while communicating the Delta Air Line’s new brand positioning, “the pursuit of opportunity.” We found inspiration from the quote, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to ride a bicycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.” In turn, we used Delta’s sponsorship of Indiana University’s The Little 500 -- the largest collegiate bicycle race in the United States -- to develop a story that showcased Delta creating opportunity. The Little 500 is a massive event, full of energy, competition and passionate fans. That meant the event be an excellent setting for our story, but we also knew that Delta would have to take action in the film in order to create a brand story beyond the competition. We secured a partnership between Delta, The Little 500, and Girls Inc., a national organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With the partnership in place, ‘Wheels Up’ became a story of Delta bringing together three different groups of people to empower young girls and give them the freedom to move forward, with the feeling that they can do anything. "
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
"A key element that made ‘Wheels Up’ special was the big reveal in the final seconds of the film. It was important for us to preserve the authenticity of this moment, as it was a crucial element to the overall story. We had one, single shot to capture the girls’ surprise. There was no room for error – technical or logistical. Orchestrating the delivery of 45 bikes in a way that allowed our team to film while also avoiding detection by the girls was a challenge we met successfully. In so doing, the surprise you see on the girls’ faces was genuine."
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
"The most rewarding aspect of working on this project was the genuine surprise the girls experienced. For most of them, being invited to attend The Little 500 itself was delight enough and exceeded their expectations. However, when they saw the bicycles and realized they were their own, joy radiated around the track. As the girls ran to collect their bikes, the sense of community – between Delta, the students and faculty at Indiana University, the Little 500 cyclists, and supporters of Girls Inc. – was so strong you couldn’t help but smile. We know that moment is one the girls will never forget and are proud we could play a small role in bringing joy to their lives."
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
Our team had many conversations on the importance of protecting Wheels Up’s authenticity. We wanted the film to show a real, genuine story. That meant no retakes, no script, and no actors – just raw emotion and real connections.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
"We did expect the girls to appreciate their gift, but the level of gratitude was near overwhelming. We were flooded with thank you notes from the girls, their families, and the university community months after The Little 500 wrapped. The response on social media continues to impress us. Thus far, Wheels Up has received over 500,000 views and comments on the piece have been very positive, proving that the film’s authenticity struck a universal chord.
Narrative content under five minutes running time, created as a single short or one-time episode, and dedicated to dramatic material that premiered on the Internet. Content must be original and fictional in nature. For non-fiction, news or documentary ent