Social media has opened the
door floodgates when it comes to causes getting the word out to consumers, but with the overwhelming amounts of information available online (and that’s an understatement), it’s often difficult to ensure message retention, or even that your issue will rise above the clutter as other organizations vie for attention. So, naturally some causes are employing video tactics in the hopes of creating an emotional connection with the viewer that will drive adoption and action. While video is also becoming increasingly saturated, the visual appeal can definitely help with exposure, and the right combination of messaging, music and a dash of marketing might do the trick in cultivating cause champions. At least that’s what Oxfam, a UK-based organization dedicated to generating awareness around important social and environmental issues, is hoping with their recent “Resuscitate the World” video in support of the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Summit.
The goal of the minute-long spot is to impress upon viewers the severity of climate change and encorage them to sign a petitiion to force government leaders at the summit to act on this important issue. Overall, I think the video does a decent job of communicating the message in a short period of time, and leading viewers to a call to action, and it certainly is more compelling than the thousands of pages of text on this topic, but I’m not convinced that, unless someone is savvy enough on the issue of climate change, it will drive behavior. Where’s the sources? What gives them credibility? Why should a user just blindly sign a petition because of a well-produced video?
These questions are not to say that this isn’t a worthy cause, but in a space that is a breeding ground for misinformation, there needs to be some substance behind the creative. Use the video to draw users into the issue, but give them some meat that they can sink their teeth into beyond pretty pictures and floating text across the screen.
Leo Murray, a designer also from across the pond, created an animation on climate change entitled “Wake Up, Freak Out” that effectively conveys the issue in a meaningful way, calling upon several trusted scientific sources that reinforce the factual credibility of the message.
Granted, this segment is much longer but it’s astounding what a video portraying only animated stick figures was able to accomplish in terms of generating mass exposure and support for this issue, causing even NASA scientist, James Hansen, to take notice, who said, “The film with the little stick people is very good. The science is right.”
The key is to strike a balance between creative execution and content, ensuring you’ve given viewers enough information to believe in the cause, and visually impactful imagery to capture and hold their attention while you communicate key facts. Also, don’t underestimate the entertainment factor. Even when it comes to serious issues, consumers don’t want to be mired down in morosity so much as inspired to take action, and that by doing their part, they can help to change the world. And who doesn’t dream of putting on a superhero cape and saving the planet? Ok, maybe that’s just me, but you get the point.