I’ve seen a lot of advocacy videos – three years ago I helped start the WITNESS Hub and have been scouring the web for creative, innovative and effective advocacy videos ever since. Throughout, there is one genre of advocacy videos that has always has been the most polarizing: comedy.
Over the past few days I’ve seen and circulated (@WITNESSchris + #video4change) a few advocacy videos that used comedy to engage and motivate the viewers – or at least that seemed to be the intention. For both of the videos below, there has been some discussion around the efficacy of the video and particularly the appropriateness of the story and content to advance the cause.
Before I write and taint your viewing experience further, here are two videos I’d like you to watch. Both incorporate comedy and come packaged with some super well known celebrities. Whilst you watch, I would encourage you to keep these few questions in mind:
- Who do you think this video is for?
- What was the key message that came across?
- Were you asked to do something – to take action? If so, how were you instructed to act?
- How did you feel while watching the video?
- Did the video keep your attention throughout?
Description from Funny or Die: Okay that was wrong, but domestic abuse is a serious issue. In the US a woman is battered every 15 seconds and no one is talking. Please visit our Facebook page and lets start talking about it: http://bit.ly/cqO2pu
Organization: Ocean Park Community Center
Request for Action: Go to Facebook and donate.
Video 2: “No Pressure“
Warning: This film contains scenes that some viewers may find distressing. Not suitable for children.
Description: Please note that 10:10 took down the original video (and posted a statement about why) and the version above is a copy uploaded elsewhere on YouTube. The Environment blog of the Guardian has a very good write-up about the video, its history and an interview with some key folks involved.
Common description on YouTube from users that copied the video: “Whippersnapping climate campaign 10:10 teams up with legendary comic screenwriter Richard Curtis – you know, Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill, co-founded Comic Relief – and Age of Stupid director Franny Armstrong to proudly present their explosive new mini-movie “No Pressure”. The film stars X-Files’ Gillian Anderson, together with Spurs players past and present – including Peter Crouch, Ledley King and David Ginola – with music donated by Radiohead. Shot on 35mm by a 40-strong professional film crew led by director Dougal Wilson, “No Pressure” celebrates everybody who is actively tackling climate change… by blowing up those are aren’t.”
Organization: 10:10 Global UK
Request for Action: Go to 10:10’s website.
So, Do You Think They Were Effective?
Please add your thoughts below – I’m going to post mine response next week (I like the comments below and hope we’ll get a few more in the next few days!)
Update: 10.15.2010 – Thanks for all of the insightful comments. Please read my foll0w-up post and keep the discussion going..