Engaging the fatigued and unshockable – 4 awesome video campaigns


Engaging people online to interact with campaigns is an ongoing challenge. There is so much noise that it is no longer easy to draw people in just based on a good cause or a worthwhile project. People have become desensitised through the use of increasingly shocking visuals e.g. starving children or dead polar bears. The shock factor is becoming less and less ‘shocking’ and people are losing their motivation and interest in world issues.

To date we have largely relied on people supporting campaigns by dragging them in with their conscious. This has worked to a certain extent but what we haven’t been so successful with is communicating the ‘why’ behind campaigns. Why do children live in poverty? Why does it matter that the earth’s temperature is increasing? More importantly we are struggling to package messages in a way that works in today’s environment that is saturated with information and distractions.

Unfortunately, advocacy campaigns aren’t selling a product that has a clear storyline or a million dollar advertising budget. For example, selling a new pair of running shoes is relatively straightforward. You should buy a pair because you will look good, they will help you get fit and healthy and they’re (hopefully) great quality. Then you pay a superstar athlete a million dollars and film him running on a deserted beach. Selling climate change is another story. To start with, unless you have studied and/or worked in the industry for at least a few years most of us are going to struggle to explain ‘climate change’ to our best friends let alone ‘sell’ it as an issue of public interest.

Luckily there are some really creative people out there who are working out new ways to actually educate people and get them onboard with global campaigns. I want to share with you four of my favourite video campaigns that demonstrate the direction we need to move in order to ‘re’engage people with the key issues of our time.

All of these videos have different messages and these are the things I like about them:

  1. They are emotive without inciting ‘compassion fatigue’
  2. They tackle the complexity of the issue and aim to educate viewers
  3. They are not depressing and they don’t leave viewers feeling helpless
  4. They keep the viewer interested and get them asking questions
  5. They are online, short, easy to share, inspirational and are great design

I recommend you watch these clips fullscreen.

Number One
My number 1 favourite is a clip developed by the project ‘Mama Hope’ that aims to “Stop the pity and unlock the potential” of poor communities. The project advocates that telling the story of connection instead of contrast is an essential first step in ending poverty. The clip is fantastic and features Paul Simon’s hit song You Can Call Me Al. Watch the clip below or here.


Number Two
WWF’s latest clip – ‘Change the way you think about food’ is a great example of how to use animated infographics to start to explain the complexities of why we need to balance and manage the finite resources of the earth.


Number Three
This Miss Representation Trailer is a hard hitting clip about how “American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality”.


 Number Four
The Climate Reality Project’s (founded by Al Gore) latest stop motion video ‘Climate Change 101’ is a pretty sterling effort to engage and educate viewers in under 4 minutes about why climate change is important.


What is your favourite campaign video?


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One Response to Engaging the fatigued and unshockable – 4 awesome video campaigns
  1. [...] One of MSF’s recent multimedia projects - Urban Survivors - is a great example of how to engage... emilydath.com/ngos-implementing-digital-trends

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