Today’s post isn’t going to mention an advertising agency or a big brand. Instead, it’s going to highlight the incredible power of online video which allows people from all over the world to share who they are, impassioning others with stories, ideas and creative works of art.
What started out as a simple YouTube songwriting contest turned into much more when Fred Stobaugh submitted the lyrics to a song he wrote for his wife of almost 73 years.
“I thought I’d just write a letter and send it in, never thinking I’d get an answer,” said the 96-year-old man.
Stobaugh met his life-long love Lorraine at a car hop at an Illinois root beer stand in 1938. After dating for two years, they married and spent over seven decades together. They had children, grandchildren and an overall happy life. Unfortunately, Lorraine passed away earlier this year just shy of their 73rd wedding anniversary. Stobaugh channeled all of his emotions and poured his heart and soul into a love song in her memory titled Oh Sweet Lorraine.
The contest, hosted by production company Green Shoe Studio, was meant to spotlight emerging singer-songwriters through YouTube, but Stobaugh’s song touched their hearts. His submission wasn’t a video, so it didn’t meet the contest criteria, but they decided to record it anyways.
“Green Shoe Studio decided to take Fred’s lyrics and bring them to life. We decided to put them to professional music, professionally record it—we wanted to have a professional singer sing on this song,” said Jacob Colgan, a singer-songwriter with Green Shoe Studio.
Colgan was the one who called Stobaugh with the good news: “He goes ‘Oh, that’s so great. But how much is this going to cost me? I don’t have any money.’ I said, ‘Fred, you misunderstand me. We’re going to do all this for free.’ He began to cry on the phone and ask ‘Why would you do this for me?’” Colgan said.
Colgan replied, “Fred, it’s not that we’re doing this for you we’re doing this together because music means so much to so many people.”
Colgan took Stobaugh’s heartfelt lyrics and turned them into a polished song.
In a story on the Green Shoe website, Fred says, “The song really helps me. It really helps me. It just seemed like she’s just sort of with me. Which I know she’s smiling, she’s smiling down and she likes that song, I know.”
Not only did this act of kindness touch Stobaugh’s life, but it also touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world. His story and his song are being shared across the internet and will be remembered for years to come.
Online video is remarkable. It brings people together to foster inspiration and a sense of community. This form of communication is boundless; it has so much potential that people are just starting to take advantage of. This medium is the most powerful storytelling tool—if a picture’s worth a thousand words, a video is worth millions and when people start talking, that’s where the magic happens.