Wheelhouse Creative’s Joe Monahan, the company’s Creative Director, is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steeler fan.
“All my life,” Monahan said. “Back to Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain.”
His love of those Steelers runs so deep, he even remembers the team’s gut punches — like that of the first game of the 1995 season, when cornerback Rod Woodson suffered a torn ACL while attempting to tackle Detroit’s Barry Sanders.
“I remember Woodson said, ‘No, don’t put me on injured reserve. I can come back for the Super Bowl,’” Monahan said.
It seemed a pipe dream because of normal long and painful ACL recovery times. But now? West Virginia native Dr. Chad Lavender of Marshall Orthopaedics has developed a groundbreaking Fertilized ACL technique that drastically cuts down the time of recovery. Playing in Super Bowl XXX, like Woodson amazingly accomplished, would not only be possible these days, but expected using Dr. Lavender’s technique.
The technique has gained worldwide attention. Dr. Lavender is speaking to other doctors in countries around the globe. Patients are flying in from all over the United States.
And Wheelhouse Creative helped get word out via an award-winning video, a public relations campaign and, recently, a second video filled with results-driven data.
Dr. Lavender first called Wheelhouse Creative’s Mitch Vingle who then handed the task off to Monahan and his skilled video team. The ball was rolling toward what culminated in an ADDY, a recognition of excellence from the American Advertising Federation.
Monahan remembers first hearing about the project.
“What stuck out to me was the opportunity to see a medical innovation in real time,” he said. “Who gets to see that unless you work in the medical field, right? We saw patients in the beginning, on the ground floor of this breakthrough. We saw the very early results and I thought, ‘Wow, this is really something if it holds.’ Fast forward a couple of years and we interviewed people that have had the procedure and it’s perfect. You don’t get to see that every day. We saw a medical breakthrough in the sports field.”
The key was to present the major medical breakthrough in an understandable way, not only to the medical community, but potential patients.
“The first thing we needed was to talk to the doctor and have him explain everything and why it’s so unique,” Monahan said. “ACL surgeries have been around a long time. Obviously, the technique had a different name – the Lavender Fertilized ACL — but what does that mean, what makes it unique? What are you doing differently?
“Talking to the doctor was very important. And talking to the early patients was just as important. What were the experiences? ACL injuries are very painful and time consuming to recover from. We wanted to talk to them about what they experienced. What’s the story here? Why is this different from what’s been going on for decades?”
The interviews were conducted in Scott Depot, West Virginia, between Charleston and Huntington. The Wheelhouse crew and equipment traveled.
“The video equipment was relatively straightforward early because the driving part of the narrative were the interviews,” Monahan said. “A tripod, a camera, choose a nice backdrop, ask the questions, find the story, tell the story from there. We also followed around some athletes, which gave us examples of running, cutting, things like that, by going through drills. We had to ditch the tripod and use what’s called a 3-axis gimbal, which allowed us to move with whomever. We can put the gimbal low, high, run with them, run backwards with them. It puts the motion in the camera that allows us to tell a bit more of an emotional story. It allows us to get in there and run with the athlete to further enhance the visual storytelling.”
Joe’s brother and video production specialist Pat Monahan was instrumental with the gimbal. Then came the hours of sifting through the interviews, selecting, editing, etc.
“For a project like this, it’s one of the most difficult editing processes,” Joe Monahan said. “Normally, if you’re shooting a commercial, you have a script and people have their lines. You have preplanned shots. In this, it was based on interviews. There was no narrator. The narrators were the patients being interviewed and the doctor explaining the procedure. You must go through Phase 1, listen to the interviews, and pick out what you might potentially use.
“It can be a pretty daunting task to go through, say, seven, eight interviews. You sit down and go through each interview one at a time and say, ‘That’s a good quote’ or ‘That’s a good story.’ You may use each; you may not. But you must whittle it down. You do everything in phases. So that was Phase 1. You forget about the end product. Forget graphics. Forget music. Forget all that. Concentrate on the interviewees. Hear what they’re saying. Build your story through that.”
The attention to detail is part of what makes Wheelhouse special. So is the enthusiasm for tackling such an important project.
“Most people don’t get to see things like this,” Monahan said. “We were called in to see what no one had seen before. Everyone knows about ACL surgery or know someone who has had it. We know how devastating of an injury it can be. I’ve been watching sports for years. I know what time it could take to come back from that.
“To see a doctor say he can get the athlete back in four months, I thought, ‘Wow, I want to know about this. I want to see this.’ It was unheard of. It’s changing the game, not just football, but any sport. I had to see it.”
Finally, after hours of work, the pieces of the first video began to fall in place.
“When you’re in the throes of it, you’ve heard the interviews so many times, watched it so many times, over and over, you wonder if it’s any good at all,” Monahan said with a shake of his head. “But once you get it in place, the story you want to tell, you back up and look at it objectively. Have we told the story? Have we got across the gravity of all this? Once you get the feel, it’s time to see.”
The video draft was sent to Dr. Lavender and Marshall Orthopaedics’ staff.
“When you get the feedback from the doctor and the only word is a capital-lettered WOW, when you submit it for an ADDY and win, you know you’ve done your job,” Monahan said.
“Wheelhouse Creative did a phenomenal job from the planning stages until the projects were finished,” said Dr. Lavender. “I would highly recommend them and was amazed by their professionalism throughout. They were a pleasure to work with.”
The ADDY was the icing on the proverbial cake. A successful PR campaign – Dr. Lavender appeared on TV news shows and in The Sporting News – and the second video followed.
“When those judging for the ADDY initially didn’t understand the subject or work involved but also say ‘wow,’ it’s very rewarding,” Monahan said. “Our job isn’t about personal accolades. Maybe folks don’t know Joe Monahan, Pat Monahan, Dave Everly and Mitch Vingle all worked on this project. Maybe folks don’t know it was Wheelhouse Creative LLC. But we know. And we can certainly take pride in this video.”
To check out the award-winning video, see here: https://vimeo.com/396692166?share=copy
To view the follow-up video, see here: https://vimeo.com/866123566?share=copy
If your business could also use top-flight video work for marketing and advertising, give Wheelhouse Creative a call at 304-905-6005. Our website is https://wheelhousecreativellc.com