You may think that video isn’t that important to your communications strategy…It may seem too costly and maybe just a bit scary to commission. But it can be such a huge boost to raise awareness of your brand, campaign or product or better yet, all three! 2014 saw a third of the top 20 video ads promoting social causes. And if you look at two of the UK’s most successful adverts you can spot the pattern. John Lewis donated profits from its Monty the Penguin merchandise to Barnardo’s and the WWF, while Sainsbury’s partnered with the Royal British Legion on their “Christmas Is for Sharing” campaign. We’d like to celebrate some of the most successful uses of video by charities, brands and businesses to raise awareness for good causes:
ALS – Ice Bucket Challenge
Marketers can only ever dream of a viral campaign of this magnitude. It seemed like everyone and their mum was grabbing their iPhones and videoing themselves being dunked in ice cold water. What started out as a little known disease, ALS soon reached headline status, as celebrities all jumped on the bandwagon including Bill Gates, Benedict Cumberbatch and even Game of Throne’s author George RR Martin) As Unruly notes – the figures were staggering: millions of video uploads, a billion views on YouTube and 10 billion views on Facebook. This was without a doubt the most successful social video campaign of 2014. Of course big props must go to the guy who started it all…Chris Kennedy.
Always – #LikeAGirl
There were a lot of pro-feminist actions last year raising the awareness of women’s rights, which was great to see – Emma Watson’s UN speech and launch of #heforshe, the #banbossy campaign, apologies over #karmagate, and the eye opening video of a woman walking around New York City for an hour showing just how prevalent everyday sexism is. It was also a bumper year for female empowered videos, with advertisers picking up on this shift and marketing videos to women in a positive way. One of my personal favourite’s was #ThisGirlCan a video for Sport England aimed at celebrating women being active, comfortable in their own bodies, while they do it. A chart hitter was Potty Mouthed Princesses Drop the F-Bomb for Feminism by the social change t-shirt company FCKH8. Alongside all of this we saw Always launch #LikeAGirl a powerful ad which breaks down the gender expectations of what it means to do something ‘like a girl.’ It was ranked number 7 in Unruly’s the top most shared adverts of 2014 ( and I even shared it with my two younger sisters!).
Save The Children – Most Shocking Second A Day
This powerful film gave viewers an insight into the realities of the Syrian war and what this would look like for our own children. The video was shared over 1 million times and ranked number 12 in Unruly’s top 20 most shared adverts, which is pretty amazing for a UK based charity.
Green Peace – Everything is NOT Awesome
Greenpeace use social media and video with unerring strength. They’ve occasionally gone too far for some people’s taste (remember the Kitkat Orangutans palm oil video?) But last year they hit big with their “Everything is NOT Awesome” video. No one was immune, Lego polar bears, kids and even a Game of Thrones character all drowned in a sea of oil to the tune of “Everything is Awesome” by Tegan and Sara, covered in a most depressing way. But the bright side is that after three months of campaigning, Lego ended their agreement with Shell. Great job Greenpeace!
Activia/ World Food Programme/ Shakira – La La La
And the most shared advert of 2014? Activia’s trackvert “La La La” run in conjunction with the World Food Programme. According to ReelSEO music videos tend to be the most shared video content online, and it’s no surprise that companies are blurring the lines between adverts and music to capitalise on this.
Whether you want to start a social video campaign using your iphone, or want to create a slick awareness campaign video or have ambitions to partner with a big name brand, video is a powerful tool for furthering your cause.
About the Author
Rav Chambers, Founder & lead trainer of VideoKnowHow
Rav made his first film in 1995 capturing the work he was doing in East Africa helping street children and immediately saw the power of video, particularly to effect social change. He is now an award winning director and producer and founder of Be Inspired Films. In 2009 he founded VideoKnowHow to help others develop the skills and confidence to create their own videos at low cost.