The Long Term Impact Of Video

22 Oct The Long Term Impact Of Video

Lately, there’s been a lot of research proving the effectiveness of video in changing behaviour long-term. We just experienced it first hand.

Every year, we produce a video for MADD Canada’s “High School Assembly Program”. It plays in everyhigh school across the country; all Canadian teens watch it.

This past year, the show was called “Long Weekend”. The first half is a fictional movie that dramatizes a holiday up north where a few teens are partying hard and then choose to drink and drive. The consequences are fatal. The second half of the video is non-fiction. As we travel across Canada to interview real-life victims, we hear painful stories of loved ones lost. Emotionally charged, it’s hard to watch.

As video producers, we want the movie have a huge emotional effect on the students. We want them to leave the assembly feeling stunned, wanting desperately to change things. In order to deliver this emotional punch in the face, we need to fuse all the creative elements: scriptwriting, acting, shooting… then add just the right music to deliver the message straight to the heart.

So how ‘effective’ was it? In 2012, the Toronto-based research firm, Environics, polled thousands of students across Canada who had watched the “Long Weekend” video.

They wanted to determine how effective the video was at changing actual drinking and driving ‘behaviours’; and if it was effective, would the message be powerful enough to change behaviours over time?

When interviewed immediately after the show, 65% of the students rated the video’s “effectiveness” between 8 and 10. When interviewed three months later, the number had only slipped by 3%! In other words, they felt the video’s effectiveness was almost just as high after several months… the message was sticking!

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That’s testament to the power of the emotional memory. Now let’s test your logical memory. Here’s an equation we all ‘learned’ years ago, but probably forgot:

“The sum of the square root of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side.”

You probably don’t remember that, because your brain stored it in the left hemisphere as ‘temporary’, knowing it only needed remember it for the math quiz later that week.

If you do remember that equation, it’s probably because you heardthe Scarecrow say it after the Wizard of Oz gave him his diploma. Again, there’s the power of emotional memory!

Mike McCurlie
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