Charity video marketing – inspiration of the week

21st March 2014

The power of video offers charities the opportunity to tell the compelling stories that matter to their causes. However, it can also be difficult to escape the conventions of the form in video marketing campaigns.

This week I’ve picked out a couple of charity video ads which have eshewed the usual clichés with creative approaches.

Mayhew Animal Home – Unloved


If you’re a dog fan, you may have seen this video ad whilst watching Crufts on More 4 recently. “Unloved” turns the conventional animal charity ad on its head. You know the one. Distressing images of animal suffering, sad music and a voiceover telling its story to pull at our heartstrings.

In contrast, this ad plays on our very human desire to be loved. On first viewing I don’t think anyone would see the twist coming. By focusing on an expereince we can relate to, the message of the charity is reinforced – how our lives could be made a little better by coming home to the unconditional love of a four-legged friend.

And it worked. This ad has been a viral hit for the not-for-profit. Funded by Moxie Pictures and scripted by Dominic Goldman of BBH, the video reached over 1.5 million views since it went live on 6 March with 5,000 shares. By thinking around the conventions of charity messages, this ad successfully cut-through.

Prank video for children’s charity


Whilst searching for April Fool’s videos for an upcoming blog, I was reminded of this charity prank video with a twist. A Norwegian charity – SOS Children’s Videos – created this video advert to raise awareness for children in Syria. Rather than in the popular prankster video which rely on the fear factor, this ad focuses on the kindness of strangers. The not-for-profit set up hidden cameras at bus stops to film people’s reactions to a freezing boy without a coat.

As with the Mayhew Animal Home ad, “Would you give your coat to Johannes?” veers from showing the audience ‘overused’ images of suffering. Indeed such visuals are endemic on 24 hour news reports, and may not have the shock value or cut-through they once had.

This set-up is intriguing, and we want to know more. The audience is encouraged to make a personal connection and identify with the participants. We imagine what we’d do in that situation. Through our identification with these ‘real’ people who help the boy, we align ourselves with the charity’s cause.

A similar process of identification is at work in Save the Children’s recent successful “Second a Day” ad which follows the video diary of a middle class girl in the UK who ends up in a refugee camp. Again it uses the local and personal to foster connections with the situation in Syria. So far this ad with the strapline – “Just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening” – has achieved over 27 million views.

Chat charity video marketing with us

Have you seen an inspiring charity content marketing campaign recently? Which ads have made you act?

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