What can an NGO with a video camera learn from Kony2012
Kony2012 has become one of the most viewed viral videos ever.
Even though allegations on Invisible Children’s organisational practice have come into question (Charlie Brooker does a great job doing so, in his 10 O’Clock Live slot) and even though those living in Uganda see it as a horribly bias, western focused and incorrect film (here and here) you can’t help but be a little bit envious of all the attention it has gained - pushing the organisation and the campaign itself into the stratosphere.
So what tricks can NGO’s or charities with a video camera learn?
Surly the success can be replicated elsewhere - what secret does it have, to even hook the most self-centred person and make them post it everywhere.
- Start with an quote that most people know. Like - ‘Nothing is more powerfully then an idea whose time has come’ - Victor Hugo.
- Make a statement of such epic proportions, it makes every viewer feel together and as one. Here its done by talking about the connectivity of the internet.
- The next 27 minutes are an experiment - What a hook, even though you have no clue what the hell he is talking about, you want to watch more.
- 02:20 Here they start a simple narrative frame based around family and how important it is to all of us.
- Include a personal story - For this video it is Jacob’s, as bad as it sounds - he is a story plot. Stories are powerful tools of connecting with an audience.
- 08:10 The director, yet again pulls in the individual by stating that you can change history, collectively with every other viewer - and this is repeated ever so often throughout the film.
- 08:30 Start to introduce songs with emotional, tuneful melodies. Usually by Coldplay, Sigur Ros or in this case The Naked & The Famous. X-factor always does it.
- Get a kid to talk about the issue or bad guy. If the next generation can understand how evil someone is, that person is really EVIL!
- Ok - now we have some very technical, expensive slow-mo shots of children acting like their are being kidnapped, followed by technical photo and even CGI shots . Hardly any NGO has a turnover to even think about doing this.
- 14:20 Bring in your organisations own history, your achievements, your growth, your story - you are the ones who want to be joined by viewers to form a community
- Show people uniting with your organisation (just please do not inadvertently look like a new version of Hitler Youth… 17:06)
- Tell them how to act - what can they do right now to help the cause. Here it’s the simple action of spreading his name.
- Insert Bono…..*
- Offline material. This may be online - but offline material is a vital necessity
- Bring back the points and narrative made at the beginning - like how the internet connects everyone, how family is important and how everyone can work collectively to change history.
It is a very cleaver propaganda film - much like the Make Poverty History campaign it will unite people within developed countries, in the thought that they will save the world; which is not a bad thing, but shouldn’t we move to a more long lasting plan- growing and shifting the power to those without a voice.
If the people in Uganda have power and a voice to fight Kony and if all those that watch this film have power and a voice to fight Kony, wouldn’t that lead to longer lasting change?
and when I say power I do not mean military - I mean the power to advocate for what is right, the power of community, of democracy and of equality.
These are the types of power that create change.
*Please do not insert Bono anywhere