Sunday, December 6, 2015

Greenpeace won't save the world

Video of the week Woche

So who will?

Link to the video

'Video of the week' mainly because of the outstanding communication strategy:

Target group of this video are the doubters, and the video pick them up from there: Starting with their doubts. And what is more: Greenpeace agrees. True to Dale Carnegie ("How to Win Friends") this is the best method to earn credibility:
"Yes! You are right. We, Greenpeace won't save the world.
But why that? Ummmm...could it have to do with the fact that you do nothing?"
- and BÄHM, big beat on the drum of your conscience!

A great 'doorstep' video - with the decisive little push to get you over the line - and start to act.
I personally like the implicit idea that Greenpeace this time do not advertise their own organisation, but the cause, no matter if somewone will take action within or outside their own club. It is not always so clear, but the difference between a company and a non-profit organization is simply this crucial question: If we had to choose whom we would have preferred? Paid subscribers (= members) or independent activists?

Sorry, bad question...but maybe think about it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pope Francis as Rambo!

Video der Woche

A lesson in humor...

Direct to the video

This video campaign comes from the Observatório do Clima, a network of NGOs from Brazil on climate change.
This week at COP21 summit in Paris the leaders of the world negotiating about nothing less than the fate and the future of humanity - ie climate change.
Worldwide this becomes the center of attention as they plan to find a solution there...WAIT! STOP!
Don't laugh!
This isn't the punch line yet. They are serious about it.

Ok, yes for sure in the end it will be nothing than a big joke - say I. But again: A bit of respect towards such high ambitions, will you?

Or not? This videoclip with Rampo Francis couldn't care less about respect. Instead the story is focusing on humor, and this means: Crossing borders, breaking taboos - for a good cause. And the Enzyclica "Laudato Si" of Pope Francis about climate change is perfectly timed, right before the summit.

But don't let's focus on timing in campaigns. Here I wanted to add a short tutorial in humor for NonProfit Videos.

How to find a funny idea - or is it already there?

You don't need to invent fun. There are things around you that already make you laugh. Life has a lot to make fun about. Your life. What makes you laugh during your days? And what makes you so angry that you start being ironic? Even cynical? That's the stuff funny ideas are made of.

5 Steps to a funny idea

  1. When do you laugh about what? Take this as you starting point.. 
  2. Try out to break taboos and cross borders. It can be exaggeration. (Francis as action hero) It can be ironical (Save the poor poor oil-industry from the bad good-doers), Disrespect, hilarious Stereotypes, and so on...
  3. Choose your protagonists: Who does what with whom - a good choice for Comedy in NGO-Clips are always: Representatives from your target audience, Antagonists or you yourself. (like in the Francis Clip)  
  4. Develop your story: Use the rule of three / increasing tension / unexpected turnaround (Many jokes follow exactly this structur structure).
  5. Timing: Every punch line needs perfect timing: Not too long - the viewer wants to be rewarded for his time he or she invests. But not to short either, as you need a certain time to build tension and expectation. As always: Short is beautiful, but too short is ...just too short ;-)
Last thing: Humor is an individual plant. No Video, no joke can please everyone. It's just not possible. So I recommend a test cycle with your main target audience. In my eyes it's mandatory.  

Learn from the masters!

In cinema there are three unmatched masters of comedy: Chaplin, Lloyd ...and Buster Keaton (my personal favorite). Here comes a timeless lesson in humor: 

Direct to the video

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Who is afraid of Coca Cola?

Video of the week

This TV spot of Greenpeace Australia is almost the classic nonprofit clip. The dramatic composition is made by all rules of the art:
  1. Foreshadowing: The first seconds just look like the classic Coke-TV-Spot. But we still watch: The headline "Stop Coka Cola" leaves you expecting more. In Dramatics we call this "Foreshadowing", so to speak, and the little hint that keeps us interested, because everybody knows that this can't be the whole story. The intro generates curiosity & tension. It's like a promise.
  2. Turning point: As the first bird falls from the sky and the music suddenly stops. Here the promise is being fulfilled. 
  3. Show, Don't Tell: The falling birds are the actors, not just any voice that tells us about the evil beverage industry. So here comes the cake. Say it without words - it's more powerful.
  4. Clear Call To Action: Telling exactly what this video wants us to do, and it comes with the best motivation possible for almost every environmentalist: Our children and their future. This impressive picture of the boy who looks up bewildered by the dead bird. I am reminded of the dead refugee boy Ailan on the Italian beach, we have seen around in the media these last few days. The effect was so impressive.
Just keep in mind: Words are weak. Actions are strong!

A ban as a marketing strategy

Australia's public TV stations have rejected the spot. It was called "Inappropriate". For Greenpeace, the explanation is simple: The advertising budget of Coka-Cola those same broadcasters receive is just huge. Hmm ... but they are still publicly funded, aren't they? Financed by our taxes? So shouldn't they just be ... um ... "independent"? Well, forget about it. 

From a marketing perspective this refusal of the TV channels has served a lot to spread the clip, since nothing can get you more public media coverage as a scandal concerning other media. Newspapers, blogs, news networks, they all reported it. And these multipliers are the ones who make a viral distribution possible. Greenpeace has achieved its promotional objective very well - and even without TV advertising costs.

Oh, just an idea: What do you think, whether they perhaps even planned? I do think so, at least as a Plan B if TV did not work. So whichever way - they could only win! Greenpeace has played exactly the same game in campaigns for decades now. And with success!

So here is my second cake: Never change a winning distribution strategy!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dad? What are you doing here?

Video of the week

The British Heart Foundation has become famous for their viral video productions in the UK and far beyond. Do you remember the hilarious and funny Vinni Jones first aid video? There are more of that kind to be found on their Youtube-channel.

However despite the strong story this charity appeal has committed a fatal error in my eyes: The reason to donate is just weak!
It would have been perfect for any awareness campaign, but for fundraising...? A miss is as good as a mile.

WHY donate?

Even the best story must make it quite clear to me, what reason for my donation is and why it is needed right here and right now. Yes, the video is very strong in many aspects: Very good actors, a very good director, a very good script. But it misses this most important point.

The dramaturgical connection is far too common and has to many abstract levels:
"With your support our research can help end the devastation"
Was sort of "devastation"? Has my donation saved this father? No! Could it? It's not clear, but probably not. The story only reminds us that fate can be heartless. This father did nothing wrong. Nor do we seek to save another father. No, we donate for research. To fight a general bad situation. Two levels of abstraction. These are two levels too much in the daily fight to reach donors. There is viral potential in this video but the ROI (return of invest) might be smaller this time. Okay, we do not really know yet, the video is out for just a few days now. So lets see. But I am part of the target group, I am a father, and I am aware of my mortality, however, it does not really motivate me to donate.
What about you?

But again: The film itself is very well done and the story is condensed to the esseantial points. Kudos!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Babysitter Chaos

Video der Woche

The babysitter you don't want to be....:

Direkt to the video

The American Red Cross  also has an educational mission, namely First Aid, and this TV spot is aimed at a target group of Babysitters - people who work in a particularly risky area and who have the greatest responsibilities. Their call to action here is as follows: Take part in our first aid training! A recruiting video.

The agency BBDO (again) has chosen the perfect distribution channel, because if there is one thing babysitters in the USA do on a permanent basis, it's watching television.

This comedy speaks a language that is very well known to all teens worldwide: that of sitcom humor. This is a perfect tool: I myself laughed a lot. Incidentally, a little guessing game: The little hero with his yellow cape appears twice, have you've seen it? If not, look again.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Facebook for Dictators

Your weekly video 

Software tips down below. First take a look at this brilliant parody: 

Link to the Video

Irony and parody are simply best for awareness-videos - just remember the fantastic 'Oil ! - Live With-It-App' about the Shell-Pollution in the Niger Delta.

Election campaigning for a dictator like Assad? While U.S. Embargo E.O. 13582 actually prohibits every business with the Syrian government?

Well, Facebook is in good company: Most dictators of the world have strong relations with western business partners, and we should not forget the military support of around 1.3 Billion US-Dollar to Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. If that's not enough - think about these two pictures below:

Experience has shown again and again, that global companies bow to pressure from the consumers, IF those call for ethical standards (however, very often only after somewhere in Asia a textile factory has crumbled to the ground).

So yes, videos like this Facebook-Add-Parody from the 4 person strong UK-NGO The Syria Campaign make sense to me.

But HOW did they managed to make it?

Animation do-it-yourself.

'The Syria Campaign' are lucky to have a US-media animator being part of their team. That's fine. I only can recommend it to every NGO. He animated Mark Zuckerberg's Photo with Adobe After Effects - maybe the mouth was his own contribution - it's a real film insertion. Ok, that's a bit more tricky as DIY animation for beginners. But still it's interesting to take a look at both tools used in this case: Puppet-tool und lip-sync, both part of the actual CC-version of After Effects (Click on the photographs to see the tutorials)

If you want to use animations yourself - here's my recommendation, GoAnimate!
It let's you build cartoon animations on a remarkably level. A bit of basic know how is sufficient for this. For 39,-$ you get the basic plan for one month - it can be cancelled at any time. Fair enough in my eyes!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Live with it - The Shell Parody

Little known but outstanding parody app about a little known but outstanding oil catastrophe - well in fact, it's the biggest in history. Did you know that?

Video of the week

Do you recognize this man? Maybe you have seen him in Men in Black 3 and Sledge Hammer, it's David Rasche who agreed to act for this friends-of-the-earth video from the Netherlands.

It's a brilliant idea - parody is a nearly perfect tool to do awareness campaigns. It can be shocking, but the most shocking part in this campaign is, that literally no one seems to be aware of the real disaster: Remember the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? It only took a few days before the whole world was outraged, huddled around their TVs watching live video of the BP leak.
The oil spill in Niger delta last for 54 years now. 54 YEARS! And in contaminated surface it's the biggest oil spill in history - polluting an area of the size of Portugal. So why aren't we aware of it? Oh yes, sorry, I forgot: It's in Africa.

Donate Your Stereotypes

Video of the week

Donate your stereotypes! This message reaching out to non profit professionals was produced by Norwegian activists and students from SAIH, founded 1961.

Every year they host the "Rusty Radiator Award" to honor the most creative, intelligent and most NON-STEREOTYPE charity-clip. Have a look! Their satirical approach has a serious aim: To counterbalance the mainstream charity storytelling, or as they call it: "Dearism" and "Poverty-Porn."
I agree 100%

Fun with Frogs

Video of the week

Well, this is a fast but yet very entertaining campaigning clip.
It's my weekly favorite because it is breaking with conventions. The ironical approach clearly aims at a target group very used to this kind of humor. People who just read Andy Borowitz or The Onion - after the got their daily shocking image from Syria or felt bad about the rain forest issue...well this video got them all. And me too!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dumb ways to die

Video of the week

This must be mentioned here - for the sake of completeness, and because I am an unconditional fan!

In 2012 the Metro Train Society Melbourne started this safety campaign - with a special focus on kids as target audience:
Youtube Link

Within ten days "Dumb Ways to Die" got more than 25 million views on YouTube. The song ended up as No. 10 on the iTunes charts. On it's day of release! And the campaign was awarded first place at the Cannes festival of creativity 2013. It was one of the best viral campaigns of the year. The company claimed a reduction of near train missing accidents of 30% in the following year: See the article - even if there are voices criticising this number

The often brutal deaths inside the cartoon video still remain within the playful frame and clearly take the humor of children serious (Remind yourself of your schoolyard jokes in primary classes, they were bloody too, no?). And the song is a catchy tune. After two times you can already sing along ... but let's put focus on something else:

What can be better than a video being shared hundreds of times? Well, a video that is imitated a hundred of times by fans. This is exactly what happened here, so to speak the King League of viral success. This video i n s p i r e d! - here's my favorite example:

Dumb Ways To Die - The Paper Version

Youtube Direktlink

Of course, the agency of the Melbourne Metro Company had to follow up after success knocked on their doors - and again they found the perfect tool - especially for kids: A game! Can be used as app or as a website where you can re-enact some of the most wonderful deaths: Dumb Ways To Die - Game.