Our initiative revolved around the creation of an impactful behind-the-scenes video for the song "Philly Thing," a collaboration between SixDegrees.org, The Bacon Brothers, and the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Rock to the Future (RttF). The Bacon Brothers are comprised of two brothers: Composer Michael Bacon and Actor Kevin Bacon. Our primary goal was: to amplify the inspiring work of RttF and its mission of using music to mitigate gun violence among at-risk youth, and to establish an enduring piece that would showcase the profound influence of their efforts. Simultaneously, we aimed to raise national awareness for RttF, fostering partnerships and funding opportunities.
Operating within the constraints of a shoestring budget, we aimed to authentically infuse the essence of Philadelphia into the project, in order to establish an evergreen piece of content that further engaged the local public in their work. We aimed to achieve this by exclusively engaging local Philadelphia voices and organizations in every facet of the project, thus creating an unbreakable bond between the artistry of "Philly Thing", the critical work of RttF and the city they both celebrated.
Our strategy involved meticulous planning and execution to bring this project to fruition. Navigating a tight budget, our strategy hinged on resourcefulness. We began by coordinating with The Bacon Brothers and 9 time Grammy Award Winning Producer, Joe Nicolo, leveraging their musical prowess to craft a video that encapsulated the spirit of Philadelphia's vibrant community. Simultaneously, we forged a partnership with RttF, orchestrating the composition of "Philly Thing," ensuring a thematic synergy with RttF's mission. With RttF, we fostered a partnership that maximized shared values and leveraged the organization's localized impact. Offering an opportunity to middle and high school aged people to not only play on the track but also write and record on the track alongside the Bacon Brothers was a unique opportunity we could extend to enhance their lived experiences and provide positive exposure to a variety of career paths in the arts.
Execution entailed a creative blend of planning and innovation. Operating within our financial confines of $30k, we drew on the rich tapestry of Philadelphia's talent pool, enlisting local videographers, artists, and technical experts. Staying local both minimized costs and encapsulated the authenticity we sought to achieve. Some of the talent that joined the track pro-bono were legends like John Oats of Hall and Oats, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge, and rapper Schooly D. We also had incredible cameos by Philly favorites: NFL Quarterback Ron Jaworksi, Glenn Hurricane Schwartz, local mascot Phillie Phantatic and Phildelphia Eagles Defensive End, Brandon Graham. There were more than 20 musicians, professional athletes and local personaliaties that donated their time to this project and helped to amplify support for RttF by sharing the project on their social media platforms.
Challenges emerged in managing logistics within the limited budget, particularly amidst pandemic-induced constraints. To overcome these hurdles, we leaned into virtual communication, utilizing both old and new b-roll film, and digital collaboration, ensuring that the final product captured the emotional and communal essence of the project. We released this song on all major social platforms and included a call to action to support RttF. To maximize impact, we led a press tour locally in Philadelphia where the Bacon Bros appeared on radio, in print and on televion to talk about the project and their love of Phildalephia. This created momentum and help us acheieve national pickup.
Our uniqueness lay in our unwavering commitment to local authenticity, employing the skills and perspectives of Philadelphia-based professionals and organizations, thus including a mosaic of voices that resonated with the heart of the city. What also set this project apart was the symbiotic relationship we cultivated between the creative process and social impact. The video showcased the profound impact of RttF's work on young lives, intertwining artistic expression with social change.
The project garnered substantial media coverage: interviews with ABC6 TV, Philly Live NBC, features on American Songwriter, and a premiere with The Philadelphia Inquirer. The song "Philly Thing" resonated with the community, turning into a summer anthem that echoed through the city's winning sports season. This translated to national attention with an invite to the Kelly Clarkson show alongside Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, helping RttF to secure new partnerships with musicians such as Taylor Swift and organizations like Gibson Guitars who donated $15k worth of merchandise to them.
SixDegrees.Org: increased reach on Instagram by 141%.
Bacon Brothers: "Philly Thing" is their most viewed video in 2023, with 222% more views than their 2nd most viewed video. It's #1 in purchases this year and #1 for them on Pandora.
Rock to the Future:
In acheiving all objectives, we established an enduring tribute to the harmony between music, social change, and community empowerment. Our collaboration demonstrated a seamless blend of artistic creativity and social responsibility, fostering a deeper connection among local audiences, musicians, and at-risk youth.