Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Comfort and joy

Two diverse organisations, John Lewis and Oxfam, are using online video in a similar way: to encourage us to spend some of our Christmas budget at their websites.

In its enewsletter last week, John Lewis included a blurb about its Toy Joy video, in which "we asked some children we know to give our predicted best sellers a test run, and as you’ll see, they had lots of fun". In the three-minute clip, a half-dozen or so kids play with scooters, dollhouses, glow-in-the-dark light sabers, and the like. It's a cute idea; I just wish that the production was a bit less slick. The kids seem more like child actors told to play nicely than "real-life" kids who jumped at the chance to mess about with toys. One of the girls in particular appeared positively joyless playing with what looked like a pretty fun dressmaking kit.

John Lewis doesn't seem to have uploaded the video onto YouTube, which seems to be a lot opportunity. Oxfam, on the other hand, has a series of videos on the clip-sharing site as well as on The site sells "gifts that make a big difference"--£30 buys farming tools for a Third World family, £221 a desk and chair at a school in an impoverished community, £25 a goat for a family in need. The print catalogue includes plenty of callouts directing you to the website to "see this gift in action". The video (below) in which a Honduran family shows how the gift of a cow (£80) improved their well-being is more effective than any copywriter's verbiage could be. And if the expression on the girl's face at the 1:25 mark doesn't epitomise "joy", I don't know what does.--SC

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