Earlier in my career, I worked in the Office of Communications for the Peace Corps. I was happy to take on a variety of roles for the Office that included everything from directing documentary films in far away places like Kazakhstan and Tonga to creating a national marketing campaign to helping edit a book of Peace Corps volunteer stories.
But one of the roles that I relished most was helping craft the speeches, talking points and remarks for my bosses and their bosses before an event or a special occasion. I would often start the task by mining the writings of presidents who had spoken frequently about the Peace Corps. That exercise usually led me to reading several speeches from the President who founded the Peace Corps, John F. Kennedy. Among the quotes I stumbled upon in my research was the basis of a new campaign launched this month for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library:
“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea will live on.” – JFK
November 22 is a well-known date to many Americans as the date President John F. Kennedy was tragically assassinated 50 years ago. But this month, in order to celebrate the legacy of the ideas vs. simply the loss of life, the JFK Library launched their “An Idea Lives On” multimedia interactive documentary using the very words of JFK as a symbolic reminder of their mission. This groundbreaking visual experience that behaves like a hi-tech museum exhibit was created by The Martin Agency and Tool of North America. It is accessible from any laptop or mobile device and is filled with compelling video, audio, text, photographs and tweets and celebrity narrators.
This is the 2nd time that The Martin Agency and Tool have collaborated with the JFK presidential library. The first time was in the creation of Clouds Over Cuba, an award-winning interactive multimedia documentary on the Cuban Missle Crisis (News and Documentary Emmy winner in the New Approaches: Documentaries category, and honors from the AICP Show, D&AD, The One Show, Clios, Art Directors Club, and 11 Cannes Lions).
To make the exhibit experience feel like a true 2-way conversation, the public is invited to submit their stories to www.AnIdeaLivesOn.org, where the Library will curate submissions and spotlight the most compelling stories. Submissions are also invited through social media, using the hashtag #AnIdeaLivesOn.
With compelling content curated in a digital format, the user can decide what to watch and in what order, and each specific story is shareable via social media. With such advances in technology, the stories that once were only told well at museums, can now be told from any connected device. It begs the question, why aren’t all museums creating digital experiences like this for their fans?
But to take it a step further, this type of high-quality documentary-style experience would be ideal for any client that has a wealth of compelling content and a dedicated fan base that will invest the time to explore it and soak it in. It’s only a matter of time and expertise before other museums, brands, teams and schools join the mix.