Cinesecrets: York

A social media campaign that boosted Yorkshire Film Archive’s content and got a community talking.

The Yorkshire Film Archive have some amazing video content in their collection. The York Festival of Ideas, with its 2015 theme of Secrets and Discovery, was a perfect chance to get people talking about it.

We’ve worked with YFA before on a few projects and were delighted they thought of us for this one. Along with the team there, we came up with a few ideas sketched out on paper. The aim was to focus on the videos and discussions around them and to keep the rest of the site to a minimum.

Secrets for discussion

In keeping with the theme of the festival, the clips would have a bit of secrecy about them. Rather than explaining what the film was about, YFA would pose a question each day to get people talking. In some cases, they knew the answer. In others, they’d be learning more about the films in their archive from the public.

Daily engagement

We wanted people coming back daily to interact with the clips. Each day there’d be a new video and a new question. A discussion thread below the video would allow people to chip in with comments and answers.

Simple is always best

We kept things as simple as possible. The team at YFA would be able to upload all the video content and questions in advance and the site would tick along each day. We used Vimeo to host and play the videos because its player is clean and simple and works great on mobile.

Sharing on social media

Sharing was a big deal so we made sure it was a breeze for viewers to share each day’s clip on social media. We created Twitter cards to tempt people in and shared the question and film thumbnail on other networks.


Nearly 2,500 different people visited the site during the 13 days of the festival. Many came back on several days or returned the same day to check back on the discussion. Links were shared over 750 times on the main social networks.

Clips about York City and the John Bull pub were the most viewed and commented on. Who’d have thought football and drinking would have been popular themes in York?!

It was lovely to see comments, both on the site and on social media, about memories the videos brought back. Grandchildren seeing their grandfather play for York City for the first time, in particular, gave a real sense of worth to what we’d done.

If you’d like to have a chat about an online campaign, we’ll put the kettle on. Call Rob on 01904 924108 or email me.