Freedom on Trial

In 2016, we helped Libertarianism.org, a project of the nonprofit Cato Institute, engage complex economic issues in a totally new (and entertaining) way. Our team wrote and produced Freedom on Trial, a three-part courtroom drama, and supported the original content with educational wraparound materials and a robust digital marketing campaign.

    • Production
    • Video Production
    • Post Production
    • Marketing
    • Media Planning + Buying
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Impact at a glance

2.8 million video views

2,700 comments

40,000 monthly site visits

83,000 video engagements

1.8 million new people exposed to brand

Challenges

Let’s be honest. “Libertarianism” is trigger word. And “minimum wage”? Even more so. Our challenge was to find a vehicle for exploring libertarian economic concepts that brought new viewers into the fold, rather than scaring them away.

Strategy

Our creative team explored a range of concepts (Snapchat? A public stunt at the state capitol?) before settling on a format that perfectly marries libertarian intellectual rigor with big-tent emotional appeal: Courtroom drama. The prosecution and defense could fairly represent both sides of a sticky issue, thereby giving all viewers a safe point of entry.

Freedom on Trial focuses on Philip, a small-town business owner who becomes an overnight celebrity when he’s arrested for failing to pay his teenage employee the minimum wage. We supported the three-part series with a 6-week marketing campaign and a suite of educational bonus content.

Tactics

We pushed our production department to the limit, asking them to produce a broadcast-ready pilot on a tight budget. We released all three episodes simultaneously on YouTube and Facebook Native, driving viewers to a content-rich microsite on Libertarianism.org. The 6-week promotional campaign attracted new affinity audiences while retargeting encouraged viewers to complete the entire series.

Outcomes

Hot-button issues, accessible entertainment, and massive social engagement combined to propel Freedom on Trial to one million views in just two weeks. The videos exposed nearly two million new people to the Libertarianism.org brand and, more importantly, drove a meaningful discussion of the minimum wage. In fact, Freedom on Trial was so successful, a second series is already under way.

TL;DR

  • Entertaining branded content makes a great first impression
  • Amplifying the right content to the right audience = winning
  • We’re basically lawyers now
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