A recent video came across my Twitter stream that had me thinking about effective storytelling in advertising. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children created a shocking, emotional, and heart-wrenching video for their summer fundraising campaign entitled “I Can’t Wait To Grow Up.” It’s narrated by a 7 year-old boy while he is simultaneously being beaten by a man whose face is never seen.
The campaign is about how childhood is supposed to be one of the happiest and safest times in life, yet for many Irish children who contact Childline, this is simply not the case. If this video is any indication, that would be an understatement.
The spot in its entirety is moving, to say the least. My heart broke for the boy who was obviously helpless — a prisoner of abuse in his own household. The content had spread virally to me, and with over 500,000 views, it’s obviously a success from an awareness perspective. None of their other three videos have topped the 10,000 view mark.
But is it effective from a branded storytelling perspective? If so, what makes it effective? Is it enough to just pull at your heartstrings? Does the boy’s message cut through the powerful visual story?
This is one of those questions that I’m not sure I have the answer for. Ultimately, branded content has to nudge a reader to an action, whether it’s to buy a product or donate money to their nonprofit. Is this video effective brand storytelling? Let me know what you think in the comments.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this video, check out this AdWeek post.