Blog: Colonel Korn, Andy, Sandy impress in videos about ethanol

Have you met Colonel Korn? How about Andy and Sandy? The Nebraska Ethanol Board is happy to make the introductions.
By Holly Jessen | October 19, 2015

Late last week, I received a press release from the Nebraska Ethanol Board about two new biofuel education videos starring cartoon characters Colonel Korn, Andy and Sandy. I watched the videos, and I have to say, I was impressed. Both videos were attention grabbing, well done and fun.  

Each video is about 2 minutes long and is well-worth the time to watch. You can check out the video featuring Colonel Korn and the one about Andy and Sandy on YouTube. Better yet, share them with your friends on Facebook! (DVD copies are also available.)

“The educational messages embodied in the new videos are an excellent means of communicating the benefits of ethanol to students as well as older adults,” said Todd Sneller, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator, in a press release about the project. “They are brief, factual and quickly convey the economic, environment and public health advantages associated with ethanol and other biofuels.”

Side note, did you know that the Nebraska Ethanol Board is the first and only state agency devoted solely to developing the ethanol industry? I didn’t realize that until I met Megan Grimes, public relations coordinator, at the American Coalition for Ethanol conference, this summer. The Nebraska Ethanol Board is not to be confused with the separate group, the Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers, which is currently searching for a new executive director. 

But back to Cononel Korn and Andy and Sandy. I decided to check in with Grimes to learn more about exactly how the videos were made. She told me the idea came from the United Soybean Board’s “Busy Beans” video, which was posted on YouTube in early 2014.  For this project it was decided that the Nebraska Ethanol Board would go with two shorter videos rather than one longer video, to keep the audience engaged and interested. Another way the video does that is by including the artist, actually drawing the cartoons, as part of the video, she said. I agree. I thought that was pretty cool!

Nebraska Ethanol Board worked with a company called Story Vision Video, which is based in Wisconsin. First, staff of the ethanol board wrote scripts for the videos, which the video company helped them adjust to make them more fun. There was a bit of back and forth on the look of the characters Andy and Sandy, to give them a more modern look, Grimes said. (I got to peek at the original version and it was definitely an improvement!) In the end, the completed videos were received in about four weeks, she told me.

Another cool thing about the videos is that they can be easily changed and updated. For one thing, as the industry continues to grow in Nebraska, the Colonel Korn video can be updated with new numbers, such as how many gallons of ethanol the Nebraska industry is producing and at how many ethanol plants. But the usefulness isn’t limited to one state. The videos can also be edited for use in other states or nationally, Grimes says. The Andy and Sandy videos would be ideal for that, as all the information is general up to the end of the video, when Nebraska-specific websites are mentioned. “We can work with any group to have that easily swapped out with their information, so they can use it locally,” she says.

Bravo to everyone at Nebraska Ethanol Board who worked on the project, as well as the organization as a whole. I’m excited about these videos and I think lots of people deserve to get the chance to watch them. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to click on the links, watch, and then share with others. As my nearly 2 year old says, "Ready, set, go!"