Charity awareness videos that use shock or humour.

Inspiration from down-under this week – three charity awareness videos from Australia and New Zealand that use humour, ingenuity or shock tactics to push home clear messages in a truly memorable way.

These charity awareness films from the Australian Red Cross, the Heart Foundation and Sea Shepherd all use a single, simple clear idea to deliver a message that remains with you long after the videos have finished. They may look glossy but the clarity of vision and simplicity of execution mean that they could easily have been achieved on reasonable budgets. They’re also strongly visual and use text effectively, meaning they’ll work well on social media, especially Facebook where muted sound means visuals are vital.

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1. WHO WANTS A BISCUIT?: Australian Red Cross

Celebrity chefs take the biscuit in this witty ad that pushes home a clear call to action.

I’d love to see the Bake Off crew making a British version of this ad.. I can really imagine Paul and Mary hamming it up in aid of a good cause. This ad works because it starts with a confrontational proposition – this is the best biscuit in the world… and they idea is developed with some self deprecating cheffy judging type stuff, before the film reveals that the best biscuit in the world is the one you get after you’ve given blood. A clear line of encouragement – one donation helps 3 people – and then a strong call to action is followed by final appearance that made me laugh out loud.

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2. HEART ATTACK ACT: Heart Foundation

A clever take on the ‘selective attention’ phenomenon brilliantly illustrates the point of this campaign.

A few years ago there was a video doing the rounds of an invisible gorilla walking through a group of basket ball players. This film from Heart Foundation in Australia uses the same techniques of misdirection and selective attention to push home the message that someone having a heart attack does’t show Hollywood or even Holby City style signs of chest clutching and groaning. I was completely taken in by the trick and had to watch the film twice to make sure I wasn’t completely stupid. A clever premise that would have been simple and cost effective to make.

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3. ULTIMATE DEATH SCENE: Sea Sheperd

A YouTube algorithm friendly title and a harrowing performance make this film a hit

This video from conservation charity Sea Shepherd, shows what it would be like if people were hunted in the same way that whales and dolphins were, and aims to counter fishing industry claims that sea mammal units are quick and painless. It’s a similar premise to Save the Children’s ‘most shocking second a day video’ that swaps London for Syria and the title of the film ‘ultimate death scene’ seems to be targeted squarely at showing up in the search results of YouTube. Powerful stuff.

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Jeremy Jeffs, a founding partner of Magneto Films, is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. More about Jeremy

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

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