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Updated on January 24, 2020
Join the Conversation with Activist Videos
Every video has a message. But for many companies, the message is more than selling a product or service. Activist videos challenge social norms. Dove and Always are notable examples. Dove’s videos draw attention to body image, and Always’s #LikeAGirl challenges society’s perceptions of girls. They prove that by hopping into larger social conversations, brands can stand out not just as a product, but as a movement.
Not all activist videos go over well with audiences, but that doesn’t make the video ineffective. Want to connect with your audience through branded video? See what makes these branded videos memorable.
Connect with viewers through humor
A seemingly silly premise draws in your audience. A disturbing twist on that premise makes them remember your video. PETA did just that: They had NFL player Tyrann Mathieu sit in a hot car to prove the danger of leaving dogs in the car. He only lasts eight minutes in the heat.
At first, viewers would laugh at a strong athlete being seriously tested by the weather, but they quickly realize that this is no trivial matter. They see how a danger for pets is easily a danger for humans. Videos like these make audiences laugh then cringe, which makes them invested in the emotional power of the cause.
Shock your audience
Use graphic content – tastefully. When used correctly, it grips your viewers in a meaningful way. This video by France5 shows a woman beating herself for no reason, and it ends with a message about domestic violence. The audience is thrown into the scene without context, which makes it more jarring.
The clip works because of its 42-second length; a three-minute video of just a woman beating herself would be excessive. When used in small doses, disturbing content sticks with viewers for a lasting impact.
Want your message to stand out? Change the conversation! EDF Energy’s “Pretty Curious” campaign questions why too few girls enter STEM careers. It encourages girls to pursue science opportunities in school. Many people criticized the campaign, though; they argued that the word “pretty” only enforces stereotypes that women in STEM still have to be pretty.
However, according to the company, they purposefully chose the word “pretty” because it would draw attention. It’s meant as wordplay, to mean “pretty” as in “pretty curious” or “pretty determined.” Even though people attacked the campaign, it still drew attention to women’s underrepresentation in STEM. Companies shouldn’t be afraid to question stereotypes; even if their messages aren’t received as intended, they still open up important conversations.
Don’t be afraid to get people talking–even if the talk is negative. By aligning with larger causes, branded videos resonate with viewers on a personal level. They draw not only people who support the company, but also people who support its larger mission. With any type of marketing, the key to drawing customers is being present; what better way to be present than joining some of our largest conversations?
Kristen Lee, Content Marketing at Green Buzz Agency.
Emily Herman contributed to this post.