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Jeremy Jeffs

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The Science of Storytelling

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The Science of Storytelling

We’ve been fascinated by a new book called “The Science of Storytelling” by journalist Will Storr. In his book, Storr writes about his personal exploration of why stories are such powerful tools. He discusses how they create connections, change and engagement.

3 insights into the power of stories

Over the years we’ve been gathering our own deep understanding of the science of stories:

1. Stories help people to remember more. 

a pile of books

Jennifer Aaker is a professor of marketing at Stanford University and according to her research people are 22 times more likely to remember a message when it’s told as a story.

She cites research for Save the Children where 2 groups were each given a 1 minute pitch for the charity. The first group were given a fact and stats based presentation and the second group were given information in a story.

After 10 minutes, each group was asked to write down what they remembered about the charity. Only 5% of participants remembered the stats but 63% remembered the story.

2. Stories trigger hormonal changes and encourage people to donate more.

Harvard Psychologist Paul Zac wondered what was going in in peoples’ brain when they were told a story. So he came up with an experiment to find out whether there were any changes in their hormone levels. He discovered that a well told told triggers the release of 2 key hormones – cortisol associated with stress and attention – and oxytocin – the empathy hormone.

And astoundingly he also found that people who’d watched a moving story, were more likely to donate to charity and to donate more than people who simply watched a presentation.

But, the story must be constructed along very specific lines, with 5 key elements. Happily, these fit very neatly with the classic ‘dramatic arc’ known to writers and film makers.

3. Story telling may be the only way to change someone’s mind.

old fashioned lightbulb

A fact based presentation encourages people to challenge your argument because it engages analytical parts of the brain. However, Princeton researchers led by Uri Hasson found that a story creates a direct connection between teller and audience, to the extent that similar parts of the brain were activated in both parties.

“When the storyteller had activity in her insula, an emotional brain region, the listeners did too. When her frontal cortex lit up, so did theirs. By simply telling a story, the woman could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.”

We regularly run Storytelling Workshops for charities, so for more info have a look at our workshops page.

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Assistant Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. More about Magneto Films

CONTACT US ON 020 7274 2986 or email us!

runner burundi

A cinematic founder’s story: Friday Film Club 8th March

By | Best Charity Videos, Friday Film Club - Great Video Production

Friday Film Club

Every Friday we try and get the team together to share and watch films that we’ve found inspiring. It’s a great way to keep up to date with new techniques and ways of telling stories.

This week we’ve been watching video from Great Lakes Outreach – who work in Burundi –  and Helen & Douglas House – a children’s hospice.

Great Lakes Outreach - The Runner

WHY?

A stylish and cinematic way of telling a founder’s story and explaining exactly what a charity does.

WE LOVE

Beautiful photography –  gorgeous slo-mo and imaginative shots.

Unusual storytelling – a clever hook and staggering personal story drive the narrative.

Great sound – lots of background noise and sound effects create real atmosphere.

Helen & Douglas House - Every Little Life

WHY?

A clever new way of explaining what the charity does.

WE LOVE

Natural conversations – lovely snippets of sweet chats between staff and kids.

Using interviews in unusual ways – no staged, sit down interviews, instead they use voice over and pics to great effect.

Volunteer Videos

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How to make a volunteer video

This week we wanted to share some of the best volunteering videos we’ve seen from a variety of charities.

Volunteering films give people more information about the types of volunteering they can do, but can also be used as a call to action to get more people involved with your charity. 

We know that not all charities have the money to spend on high budget films though.

So here are 3 examples of films that can be made from low to higher budgets. They’ll give you an idea of what could work best for you.

1. No Cost – Oxfam

Vlog videos like these are brilliant at sharing people’s stories. And better yet they require no extra spending, just a smartphone with a camera and a free editing app (see here for some great suggestions…)

Jess tells us why she volunteers and why she loves doing it and the vlog style of film is also very personable and friendly. Sometimes the unscripted videos feel more real and engaging, which is a double bonus paired with this costing you zero pennies to make.

2. Low Cost – Dog’s Trust

The Dog’s Trust have made this film to share volunteers’ stories of fostering dogs for families fleeing domestic violence.

The film shows some lovely shots of the dogs in their foster homes and with their temporary owners, as well as interviews with them sharing their experiences.

3. Higher Cost – Air Ambulance

Here’s one we made earlier… If you have the budget, higher costing films allow you time and careful planning with producers, directors and editors to make the best film for you.

We worked with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance to make a film celebrating the charity and its volunteers, and encouraging more people to join the team.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an Associate Producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

Charity video with bite

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Charity video with bite - using satire to provoke action

Satire isn’t just great entertainment. It can actually have a real-life impact on viewers and change the way they act. In fact a recent study reveals that after watching a satirical take on an issue, people are more likely to feel their actions can make a difference.

Satire makes people laugh, but also challenges the way people think. It isn’t about spoon-feeding people the content they consume, but instead getting them to question what is being said and think beyond what they know.

Satire for Charities

By using satirical films charities can challenge harmful stereotypes and get people talking.

These are some of the best satirical films we’ve seen – there’s challenging work from Australia, merciless skewing of stereotypes from Norway and a film that tackles assumptions about poverty in Africa.

If you have a video you’d like to share why not tweet us or send an email!

HONEST GOVERNMENT – THE PLEBYSHITE: The Juice

The truth about the ‘truth’

We’re all familiar with satire’s close relationship to politics. And it’s been found that satirical content can actually engage people who otherwise avoid politics. With the current world being the way it is, it’s no surprise we could all do with a bit of comic relief.

And an increasingly popular way of sharing the ‘honest truth’ about political events is through satirical videos, something that The Juice Media does brilliantly.

They bring attention to the ridiculousness of political and worldwide events, not only by making people laugh but by being blunt about what is going on and how people are being taken advantage of. Not everyone agrees with their left wing politics, but it gets people talking.

THE RADI-AID APP (Change A Life With Just One Swipe!) : SAIH Norway

Flipping stereotypes on their head

SAIH Norway turn the tables in this brilliant film about poverty stereotypes. Not only are videos like this good at making people think, but they attract attention.

People share these videos because they love humour. Even if people don’t understand what they’re about (sarcasm is not always understood for variety of reasons) it often sparks conversation and debate in the comments section or on social media. And sometimes the first steps in making change is to get people talking.

 

 I MUST NOT MAKE ASSUSMPTIONS: Live Below The Line

Fact or fiction?

This film for the Live Below The Line campaign also forces people to challenge the perceptions they have of Africa. 

Using satire to highlight common ignorant views it delivers the strong message that making assumptions is a) harmful and b) something we should all make more of an effort to stop doing.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

 About the author

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower is an assistant producer at Magneto, and she’s responsible for lots of our blogs and she also makes films.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with cases tudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

New charity video from Centrepoint & Mind

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New charity video weekly round up

New films this week from Centrepoint, Mind, Anthony Nolan, Dogs Trust and Alzheimer’s Research. As always, if you’ve made or spotted a film and would like us to feature it in our review next week, why not send us a tweet or an email!

Trends we’ve spotted this week:

1. Sound Design

Sometimes music gets in the way. Using natural sound or back ground noise can help your film standout. Check out Centrepoint’s film – or our brand film for Anthony Nolan – to see this technique in action.

2. Spoofing YouTube

‘How to’ videos are massively popular, so leveraging off this simple formula can help people find your video and the info they need. Anthony Nolan have tried this.

3. Little and Often

Making cheaper DIY video means you can engage with your audience more often. Dogs Trust in Leeds do this brilliantly – their YouTube is full of doggy films, bursting with character.

ABI’s STORY: Centrepoint UK

What we love about this film from Centrepoint is the clever sound design.

Music is kept to a bare minimum and instead the focus is on the natural background sound. It keeps the film engaging and, in-keeping with Abi’s emotional state as she tells her story, harnesses the broken and jarring journey she goes through. It catches your attention and works well with the story being told.

Sound and story work hand in hand, and this is the perfect example that sometimes a lack of music can be more effective.

(Produced by Mile 91 http://www.mile91.co.uk/)

HOW TO BE A STEM CELL DONOR: Anthony Nolan

Some of the most popular videos on YouTube are How To videos. If there’s one thing that people will always be searching for, it’s videos that show them how to do something. So it’s a great idea for charities to take advantage of this format – boosting searchability and offering useful info.

Anthony Nolan have created this short, fun animation letting people know how they can become stem cell donors.  Animations are a great way to create videos that are fun to watch, while also giving lots of information in bite-size and easy to digest chunks.

ELEFRIENDS: Mind

Recently we teamed up with Mind to produce their Christmas appeal that they’ve released this week. Nadine shares her story with mental illness and how she copes at this time of year.

Showing real vulnerability in film is incredibly important when you want to make an impact. It’s the raw, gritty stuff that often makes people pay attention.

Not only that, but sharing personal stories like this can really help others gain the confidence they need to seek help themselves if they are in a similar situation.

(Produced by Magneto Films)

ROXY: Dogs Trust Leeds

By using a low budget film to introduce us to Roxy, Dogs Trust Leeds’ film this week does what video does best – shows rather than just telling. We really get to see Roxy’s character shine out and we see how well trained and obedient she is.

Video makes information so much more accessible to people, all for free. By creating video portfolios for their dogs it allows potential owners to learn a lot about the dog before they even meet them, and hugely increases visibility for the dogs who need a home… genius!

You don’t always need fancy equipment and a chunk of money to make films. Sometimes the most effective videos are made using your phones and free editing software like iMovie.

TRINA & GRAHAM: Alzheimer’s Research UK

This film from Alzheimer’s Research UK was actually released last month, but it caught our attention so much we had to feature it. If you’d like to see there latest Christmas film then it’s here

We’re a big believer of using real people to tell real stories. It can be incredibly powerful, especially when you need people to sit up, pay attention and engage with your charity’s message.

The film gives an intimate insight into the vulnerability of both Trina and Graham as it follows how they are dealing with Trina’s illness. It really allows the viewer to empathise with their journey, making this a powerful charity film.

(Produced by Across the Pond http://www.atp.tv/)

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

email us!

New trends in charity video

By | Best Charity Videos | No Comments

New Trends in Charity Video

Keeping up to date with the latest video trends can be tricky and time consuming. But there’s a lot to watch and learn from. So to make it a bit easier for you, we’ll be sharing our weekly roundups of the best videos we’ve enjoyed watching and what you can learn from them.

Three trends in charity video we’ve noticed this week:

 

1) Films are getting longer. ‘How long should a video be’ is the age old question. But recent findings suggest Facebook algorithms are now favouring longer videos.

2) Creativity Counts. Don’t be afraid of venturing away from what you know. This week’s films from Cats Protection League and American Heart Association take a lateral approach to charity video.

3) Recipes are taking over your inbox. So to harness the popularity of this style of video, the American Heart Association has made a video that’s usefully watchable and promotes their cause.

LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS: The Children’s Society

All good charity videos tell a story. And this one does it wonderfully.

We’re able to empathise with the girl’s journey of emotions – her loneliness, her confusion, her fear – while the text messages pop up on screen.

It’s the perfect example of how to tell an effective story with no dialogue. You’re engaged in the story entirely through the visuals, and the cinematic quality adds the finishing touch.

FELINE FACTS: Cats Protection

Next we have this short, sweet and informative video made by Cat’s Protection.

As with all content on YouTube it’s not always about what you produce, but how you produce it. Cat’s Protection run series of short and informative videos all about cats and how to care for them.

Cat lovers especially won’t be able to resist these cute videos in their sub boxes. But this method of uploading videos in a series works for them. Looking at the number of views their films get on their channel they’re consistent, with most reaching into the hundreds, often pushing thousands.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: American Heart Association

You don’t always have to stick to the same style of video to promote your charity. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the box and find new ways of engaging with your audience.

American Heart Association have been regularly making healthy recipe videos for their YouTube channel. Rather cleverly, they follow the trend of the ever popular ‘Tasty’ recipe videos that infiltrate everyone’s Facebook feed. Come on, we all secretly love them.

Finding out what people love watching and creating your own similar content can be really effective, and this is a great example of that.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

The best marketing video campaign ever? – Poo-Pourri

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The best video marketing campaign ever?

We’ve love these marketing videos from Poo-Pourri – and not just because they’re full of toilet humour. We love the campaign because it was built around video and achieved staggering success. To date their launch video has been watched 39 million times. Not bad for an air-freshener.

Girls Don’t Poop: Poo-Pourri

Strategy built around a video marketing campaign

In the week after it was published ‘Girls Don’t Poop’ gained 6 million views and increased the company’s Facebook following by 354%. Now at 39 million views, the advert remains one of the funniest brand videos to date.

And it’s not the only viral video Poo-Pourri have produced.

Since launching  the company have released a further eight videos that reach well into the million viewing figures… ‘How to Poop at a Party’ (10 million), ‘Imagine Where You Can Go’ (13 million) and ‘Save Your Relationship’ (2.6 million) to name a few. They even released a Christmas addition ‘Even Santa Poops’ which received a staggering 16 million views since 2014.

So what is behind Poo-Pourri’s continued success?

Video First

The company founder Suzy Batiz knew what she was looking for when it came to marketing – an all out viral video success. After watching his other viral videos on Youtube and wanting to recreate a similar tone for her product, Batiz specifically sought out marketer Jeffrey Harmon of the Harmon Brothers to produce Poo-Pourri’s first advert.

Make them laugh, make them share

When you’re selling a product relating to a taboo subject it certainly helps to have a sense of humor. And a marketing video that makes people laugh is a bold way to go.

On first watch viewers even think the advert is a joke. But this actually encourages people to look further into the product. It’s genius because it grabs the audience’s attention and the product gets more visibility. After its initial release, ‘Girls Don’t Poop’ boosted Poo-Pourri’s web traffic by 13,000%

When it comes to planning their videos the team sit down to brainstorm multiple script ideas until they find the right one. They say, that it’s all about not being afraid to try new things and not being afraid to be flexible with existing ideas. The result is pretty much the best video marketing campaign that we’ve seen.

As long as you have an end goal in mind, the rest will follow.

Now wash your hands

The majority of Poo-Pourri’s video marketing takes place on YouTube.

Adverts appear before the start of other YouTube videos and offer a click through link, taking viewers to Poo-Pourri’s main YouTube channel. Commenters even say they sat and watched the entire ad (their longest runs at 4.31 minutes) because they enjoyed it so much…

By knowing their target audience and running on the success of their first viral video, the company place most of their advertising efforts on YouTube and have repeated success every time.

And the recurring character from the original advert is instantly recognisable to those who have seen the ads before. When you create a brand image that’s memorable people are more likely to pay attention.

Have fun

Poo-Pourri is so successful because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It engages with its audience in humorous ways which people appreciate.

Their content isn’t all professional ads either. Audiences enjoy watching behind the scenes clips or other various content, such as learning how to do the Poo-Pourri dance..

All in all, this makes it just about the best video marketing campaign that we’ve seen.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

email us!

Best brand videos – Christmas mix

By | Best Charity Videos | No Comments

3 of the best brand videos - all with a Christmas flavour

Christmas is peak season for brand videos and in a few weeks the papers will be full of speculation about what the big players will be doing this year. But you don’t have to be John Lewis or Sainsbury’s to create a brilliant video marketing campaign. So here’s our round up of 3 of the best Christmas marketing videos from the past few years.

Last year’s 2016 Christmas season saw as many as 60 charity campaigns appearing on our TVs. That’s a lot of appeals. Not to mention all the commercial adverts that appear this time of year. So having an effective brand video that stands out from the crowd is a must.

We’ve chosen three distinct and different Christmas brand video examples that we think are each effective and attention grabbing in their own way.

1. We’re Robert Dyas and we’re gay. And straight. And bi … ROBERT DYAS 2015

First up is this LGBT themed marketing video from Robert Dyas. It’s silly, it’s unique and it certainly left us laughing. It left other people baffled and still more scratching their heads.

The brilliant thing about this brand video is that it required very little time and money to make. Its success lies entirely in the comedy value. It deliberately plays on the idea of a bad, cheesy advert – which ironically makes this a brilliant one – and is so comical in its bluntness it leaves you wondering about what you’ve just watched.

Since published in 2015 it has generated a 733k viewing figure on YouTube. A large viewership like this inevitably lends to a rise in negative or homophobic comments, but rather cleverly Robert Dyas have prevented this by disabling the comments section and like/dislike feature for the video. Definitely one of the best brand videos.

2. Advent Calendar: BRIGHTON HOUSING TRUST 2015

Instead of your typical cosy family Christmas, this ad looks at the harsh reality of a family struggling to make ends meet.

Behind each door of the advent calendar reveals something bad that happens to the family, until eventually they are evicted and made homeless on Christmas Eve. It leaves us with the message ‘a month can be all it takes to become homeless’, and really drives home how easy it can be for people to be left vulnerable and without a home for Christmas.

3. Kassensymphonie: EDEKA

Nope. We’d never heard of them either but they’re a giant German supermarket chain.

This last advert is all about the fun. There’s no dialogue and no story, just two minutes of supermarket workers playing a rendition of Jingle Bells on the checkout machines. One of the funniest and best brand videos that we’ve seen.

It’s catchy and clever in that we’re subtly shown branded products throughout but in a way that’s entertaining and keeps the viewer watching, listening and bopping along.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films

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imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!

5 of the best campaign videos

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Best campaign videos

Supporting a marketing campaign or awareness drive with a marketing video is a must. Here’s our round up of  the five best campaign videos we’ve seen.

A campaign video can give your brand or charity a louder voice. They engage and can create real change. Think of Movember and the Ice Bucket challenge – we’re all familiar with them because they’ve had successful campaigns that were (and are!) widely talked about.

We’re possibly a bit biased, but video and film are absolutely essential when it comes to campaigning. That’s why we’ve chosen 5 campaign videos to share with you that we think are up there with the best.

1. GIVE ME A HEART: Donate Life America

We’re starting with a tearjerker. ‘Give Me a Heart’ launched in 2016 and shows us why the need for organ donors is so prevalent.

Patients tell us the number of days, months and years they’ve been waiting for a heart transplant. It’s pretty grounding stuff.

But Donate Life have taken the concept of giving a ‘heart’ on Instagram and made this a reality, to really give someone a heart.

And it worked. They saw an incredible increase of 698% in organ donor registrations after the video launched.  And three of the heart candidates we see in the film received heart transplants in the weeks following the campaign.

2. GIRLS POOP TOO: Poo-pourri

This one was a certainty for our list of the best campaign video: you don’t know whether to cringe or laugh. Or both. But talking about a taboo subject in a blunt and crass way is clearly an effective marketing strategy.

And so is using video for marketing: the whole brand has been created and communicated by the use of video. The launch film alone has generated more than 39 million views, and lifted their Facebook following by 354%. It’s such an impressive campaign that we’ve written a whole post about it.

The video’s  success can easily be seen in the number of views these videos generated on YouTube, with figures heading well into the millions per video. Apparently there’s something to be said for bad toilet humor.

3. #ThatsNotLove: ONE LOVE FOUNDATION

#ThatsNotLove raises awareness of abusive relationships.

This is definitely one of the best campaign video that we’ve seen and over 2 million viewers on YouTube have watched in, many leaving a strong positive response.

What’s brilliant about this film is how it builds suspense throughout. With each short cut scene the camera slowly zooms further and further in on the faces of the abusive partners, all while they repeat the ‘because I love you’ mantra. This is a great filming technique called a ‘push-in’.

‘the push-in turns a wide into a mid-shot, taking us closer to the action. It turns a mid-shot into a close-up, revealing a character’s intention as we drift ever nearer.’

Paired with a low string soundtrack that builds with intensity this film makes you feel on edge and ‘trapped’, really reinforcing the campaign’s message.

4. Youth Sports Trust

Now for something a bit more uplifting… Earlier this year Youth Sport Trust partnered up with the #ThisGirlCan campaign encouraging young girls to get involved with sports at their schools.

The interviews with girls who got involved and are sharing their stories are lovely to watch. It’s fun, upbeat and lively and an empowering message for all girls across the country

Paired with a low string soundtrack that builds with intensity this film makes you feel on edge and ‘trapped’, really reinforcing the campaign’s message.

5. Crisis at Christmas

Every year the charity Crisis run the Crisis and Christmas campaign. In 2016 they went well over their income target, generating £13.1 million and making this their most successful campaign to date.

Taking a look at last year’s film it’s clear to see why they did so well.

The focus is on the vulnerability of the homeless, but also shows them as normal and relatable people who could be any one of us. Watching them enjoy a Christmas meal together knowing they would otherwise be alone on the streets is particularly poignant.

We regularly publish helpful blogs and reviews of new films – sign up and stay inspired!

imogen gower magneto producerImogen Gower in an assistant producer at Magneto Films. She recently graduated from King’s College London with a degree in English Language & Linguistics. Imogen has joined the team at Magneto and is training in film production.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, technology and the charity and public sectors. We specialise in telling real stories, working with case studies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

 email us!