Budget Day is the day when media organisations across the country wrack their brains trying to find ways to convert all the tedious numbers and wordy speeches into something that people can latch onto. The University of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs Business School), may just have cracked the case. On Tuesday night, it released a Lego Budget video on YouTube, complete with all the facts you need to know from Budget 2017, and the hits are rolling in.
"It's taken off like wildfire this year. It's really exciting for us," Katie Kilpatrick, manager of media and business forums at Gibs, told the Huffington Post South Africa.
Last year, the institute had graphic artist James Durno create a live illustration as the Budget was happening. That video (which you can watch here) was very well received so this year the Gibs media team again sat down to find ways to use video to make the Budget more accessible to a broader audience.
"One of the guys had a great idea and said, let's do it in lego," she says. "Lego's really trendy, it's really accessible, and we thought it was a cool idea."
Asogaran Shunmoogam, senior editor in the marketing department at Gibs, and assistant editor Michael Walter used an iPhone 6 and a Gorilla grip tripod to shoot the stop-motion video. They couldn't actually touch the iPhone in between shots for fear of moving the camera, so Shunmoogam used an Apple watch to hit record remotely.
The sets were built by lego master builder James Datnow. "We contacted Lego South Africa and they put us in touch with him," said Shunmoogam. The team used last year's speech to create a mock-up of Parliament and Kilpatrick wrote the script.
The whole process took about three weeks and the team had a rough copy ready by 2 p.m. when Gordhan started reading his speech. Then it was just a question of making final adjustments based on the actual speech.
"We finished off the work at 9.30 p.m. yesterday," said Shunmoogam.
Professor Nicola Kleyn, dean of the Gibs Business School, said the institution is increasingly using technology to get messages and learning out.
"The Budget is an important event for both businesses and individuals," Kleyn told HuffPost SA. "This was an opportunity to do something different but also to appeal to a younger generation that might relate to this a little more, something that might engage and entice them," she said.
The response so far has been very positive. The video racked up well over 1,000 hits in less than a day, and Kleyn has received lots of positive feedback from people who've watched it.
"What I've been hearing is, this is so cool, I watched it with my kids or I watched it with my younger learners," she said. "It's tapping into financial literacy, not at a simplistic level at all a but in a way that is interesting and engaging and leverages digital learning."
The only question now is, when do we get a Pravin Gordhan minifig, complete with Budget notes and a tiny, tiny calculator?