Video campaigns – must they cater to short attention spans?

Care Canada’s ‘I Am Powerful’ video campaign is a bit unusual in length & pace … for North American audiences this spot might feel too long & too slow.  It could be argued that the same effect & message could be achieved at half or quarter the length.  But it depends on the target audience.  My first assumption was that the target audience would be potential donors to the international development organization CARE.   These donors are most likely in western/northern countries.   This particular spot is for CARE Canada, which means for the most part that their audience is accustomed to media for short attention spans.   At almost three minutes in length and almost slow-motion in pace, wouldn’t this video cause drop-off of their viewers (& potential donors) before the end?

But maybe the pace of the video matches the pace of life of the people in the video.   And if the goal of the spot is to raise awareness about the lives of people in less-wealthy parts of the world, providing a contrast to the hyper-speed media we’re accustomed to is a pretty interesting strategy.

Another longer campaign video about The Girl Effect demonstrates both that length can work, and that simple graphics and simple animation can amplify the power of a message.

The other thing I find interesting about the strategy behind The Girl Effect is that it approaches a weighty, overwhelmingly massive problem without the sad music, girls-murdered-for-wanting-to-learn, forced-marriage-in-childhood, enormity of the issue of gender inequity globally.   The inequities are awful, and unjust beyond measure… but people don’t act when they’re up against what they perceive as bleakness.  And if the goal is to motivate action, then sticking to heavy messaging – which does not result in public action – doesn’t work, and no one wins.    What’s interesting about this campaign is the positive tone, and the bouncy music on topics that are anything but bouncy.    It’s interesting to reflect on this strategy when looking for example at an issue like climate change communication.

As for The Girl Effect, who does the spot target, and what is the intended goal of the message?  Is there enough of a call to action?  They choose to keep the action steps pretty low-profile:  two images at the bottom of the page, with links for policy-makers and for media.

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