About this series: I’m looking for videos that had clear goals and knocked them out of the park. We hope these examples help EDF staff refine our sense of what it takes to make wildly effective videos.
Context: Produced as part of a campaign for DC City Council. Bryan Weaver is a challenger taking on a well-funded incumbent.
Goal(s): According to the candidate, “We wanted to to talk about my candidacy and issues that surround the Ward in a ‘unique’ way that for a first introduction would not be too preachy or too heavy handed. We wanted it to be fun, but wanted to make some serious points. Something memorable that would get people more interested. Send more people to the campaign website.”
Results: More love from local blogs and media than anyone could have asked for. The local NBC affliliate blog is a great indicator of the notice it got among local political commentators, and it got superlative mentions on DCist and Wonkette. In less than a week, it had 8,000 views, who were presumably mostly among its target audience of local voters.
Weaver said, “The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive and truthfully it’s gotten more hits than I think we anticipated. Only time will tell if it spurs the ultimate actions we want—votes on election day—but it has met our goal of generating a buzz (overwhelmingly positive) about my campaign.”
And that was before it got picked up on reddit.com and went international, racking up tens of thousands more views.
Why it works: Some viewers will recognize the concept from an early Paul Wellstone ad. (Weaver worked for Wellstone and credits him with inspiring his politics as well as this ad.)
This format let Weaver tell a simple but comprehensive story about his ties to and aspirations for the community. All the local scenes kept people who live here engaged in game of, “I know that place!” But it never got too obscure to lose meaning for those who didn’t get every reference — it’s a solid balance of accessibility and insider-ness.
Thanks, Lauren Guite, for sending me the link!