Tuesday, September 18, 2012


We do a lot of work in the NFP-charity sector and, regardless of media, storytelling is the probably single most powerful tactic we have to try and move behaviour.

Often this takes the form of dramatising the experience of the beneficiary.

And while direct mail is the default first tool in the box for many NFPs, I'm always mindful that film is pretty much the unbeatable storytelling medium.

I'd normally be on the side of happy endings being more effective, there's fairly robust science to back that up, but occasionally something comes along in this category with a surprising twist and proves the exception to the rule.

For me, this film made for The St John's Ambulance service is another example of this almost situationist trend for communications that incriminate the audience.

The story reflects new research from St John Ambulance which shows that over four times as many people believe that more people die from cancer than a lack of first aid - an availability cascade - when there is compelling evidence and statistics to indicate that the danger of choking, for example, is at least as frequent.

(On a minor tactical note, and bearing in mind that 'virality' is going to be an important mechanic for this spot, the 'surprise' element of how the piece ends up is somewhat spoiled by the labeling of the film on You Tube)

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