Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nearly 10 Million Views of a Video WITHOUT Shock Tactics.

(NOTE:  This blog entry was first posted in April 2010 and is being re-posted again as a public service.)  

** Leave it to the Brits to once again spawn a video about safety -- that has spread virally around the world -- which in large part continues to go unrecognized by traditional sources of news in the United States.

** In August 2009, the very blog you are reading -- played in integral part in helping virally spread a video made in the township of Gwent (Wales) in the United Kingdom -- that explicitly dramatized the consequences of texting-while-driving. That source video eventually racked up more than three million hits. After exchanging permissions from its makers, e.g., this blog wrote the news summary exploring how it was made at You Tube for its makers, who in turn authorized its separate availability to readers of this blog -- the texting-while-driving video racked up an additional 700,000 views on this site, mostly from readers in the United States.

** Today's entry is about an 88-second video that has quietly logged nearly 10 million hits -- which, while eschewing the shock tactics of last year's texting-while-driving video -- effectively sells its safety message in a way that many people believe has resulted in one of the most poignant and elegant public service spots ever made. (Click below.)

** The spot was made for Sussex County in southeast England and is part of an "Embrace Life" campaign by The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership -- to remind people to wear their seat belts.

** At the video's website, writer-director Daniel Cox says, "The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership was already looking to create a road safety campaign with a more positive message -- and so when I approached Communications Manager Neil Hopkins and his team with ideas for a fresh take on road safety filming, it was evident we were all on the same page in our quest to deliver a powerful message, but in a new way.

** "(What was) key to the film's creation -- was to focus on a message that didn't take a conventional route to shock and scare the audience; rather it was my intention to bring the audience in on the conversation of road safety, specifically seat belts, and the best way to do this was to make a film that could engage the viewer purely visually -- (which) could be seen and understood by all, (regardless of who) they are and wherever they live."

** Working with what its makers say was an undisclosed "small budget," commercial film producer Sarah Alexander said the challenges were huge in that "we needed state of the art camera technology, more lighting than they use on a Hollywood feature film and a team of very experienced people that knew what they were doing and could rig and shoot within the tightest of schedules." High speed cameras were used to capture the film's power in slow motion.

** "I wanted to create a visual metaphor addressing how a single decision in a person's day can greatly influence both their own and their loved ones' lives," director Cox continues on the production video's website. "Choosing to film the story inside the family living room represents the feelings many people equate with their own car, in that it represents a level of safety and protection from the 'outer' world.

** "So to create the emotion of this dramatic moment, I wanted to tell the story using slow motion to allow the audience the time to be drawn into the film's world -- and to let them connect with and project their own feelings onto the scenario playing out before them. I wanted to give the audience the time to breathe, to absorb our message -- and using slow motion was the right technique to allow this to happen." (The video was shot in just two days.)

** But according to producer Sarah Alexander, what was scarier was anticipating how audiences would respond. "Touching people’s emotions is not a science at all," Alexander said. "It is an incredibly difficult thing to do and even after working on it for months you are still not sure how people will react. We always aimed to make something of TV / cinema quality so that is where we launched it. The first time I saw it on a cinema screen in front of an audience of hardened police officers and realized they were touched, I was sure we had succeeded."

** Although the video is primarily an "Internet-only" sensation, plans are in the works to have it screened in cinemas throughout the Sussex area and beyond. The video was originally posted on January 29, 2010 and is being licensed for broadcast around the world. For licensing information visit: Alexander Commercials in the United Kingdom by clicking here. Video © 2010 Sarah Alexander/Daniel Cox/Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

Original material © 2010-2012 by David Kusumoto Communications.

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