Exploring the power of creative storytelling, particularly through video, is one crucial way that NGOs and non-profit causes can get their messages heard above the marketing humdrum, and capture hearts and imaginations in the process. UNICEF is one major player in the non-profit sector that has recently done this very successfully with a video titled "Reimagining the Future for Every Child," produced locally by Rooftop Productions.
The video has reached over half a million views on Facebook and Youtube and recently won Platinum at the AVA Digital Awards, which recognises outstanding work that speaks to the evolution of digital communication, and in particular supports the efforts of creative professionals contributing their unique talents to public service and charitable organisations.
UNICEF's media followers are accustomed to hard-hitting reports, human interest doccies and campaign drives chockfull of colourful stats and poignant photography. But this year for its flagship report on the State of the World's Children (SOWC), UNICEF decided to venture even further down the road of creative visual storytelling.
"We sought out an approach that would inform a digital-centric audience about the SOWC report and its importance in a compelling way. We partnered with Rooftop Productions to capture the attention of our global fan base through a visual story to spark an emotional connection that would generate awareness and engagement, both related to the subject of innovation and the report itself," said UNICEF.
With this year's report coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF wanted in particular to highlight how innovative problem-solving can help overcome the challenges facing millions of children around the world.
With a simple message that change can come from anywhere - even children in the most unlikely places - the story concept was developed by Rooftop in collaboration with UNICEF New York. "It was a great working relationship that synergised well, largely due to the trust from UNICEF's side in giving us a lot of creative license," said Rooftop Managing Director, Richard Ahlfeldt.
"The campaign resonates quite strongly because it is inspirational without being too far-fetched. Ultimately, the engagement and response we are seeing supports the idea that South Africans are connecting with the campaign as much as young audiences all around the world," said UNICEF.
The girl cast for the main role was a big part of the success of the video, according to Ahlfeldt. "For someone with absolutely no acting experience, she really blew us away. And in a way, she really is the on-screen proof that children have so much potential when you give them a chance to be seen and heard."
Director Nick Waring said it was one of the most inspiring projects he's had the privilege of working on. "We hope it reaches many people across the world, makes a difference and touches people's lives."
"This was a really refreshing project for us and our team really got engaged in the opportunity," said Ahlfeldt. "As a company, Rooftop has always had the goal to work on these kinds of projects. The expertise we've gained from advertising and other types of work has helped us develop a high level of technical skill and experience which we're now able to leverage for NGO clients who wouldn't necessarily have the budget for it. We want to see video being used in society not just to sell, but to motivate people, create awareness on important topics and show people something bigger. We truly believe that video is one of the great tools for change, and we want to keep exploring the power of this medium for worthwhile causes."
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