Actor Charles Dance, channeling his role from Game of Thrones, is currently giving a dramatic performance filmed in the Twickenham stadium changing rooms as an inspiring rugby coach. Its purpose is to encourage people to watch the Rugby World Cup.
In the television advert, he calls upon the players, the grounds men, the host cities – and even the man who cooks the hot dogs – to be part of it all in a rallying call, clearly modelled on Shakespeare’s rousing speech in Henry V.
The video was the centerpiece during the training for The Pack, the 6000 volunteers who have all given up their time to work at the Rugby World Cup. It’s using the ‘NASA principle’ – everyone has a part to play, no matter how small.
The idea of the Pack is based upon the 70,000 Gamesmakers that made London 2012 such a successful Olympic Games. And the Charles Dance video follows on from some the videos made by the London 2012 team, the best known featuring David Beckham having a quiet cup of tea at a café in the east end of London while Heather Small sang about being ‘Proud’.
There was no doubt; the London 2012 videos – also one featuring the Queen track ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and some of the most memorable Olympic images throughout the history of the Games – were very inspirational. However, anecdotal feedback so far on the Charles Dance film is that it’s not. So when does a video become inspiring and when is it just a video?
Firstly, a corporate video should be engaging – and to keep the audience with you right up to the end, it usually means the shorter the better. Not always, for example, the iconic “Look Up” video is nearly 5 minutes long and with over 26 million plays and counting, clearly a success. But it illustrates the second point to make a video inspiring – have a story to tell with a definite outcome.
Charles’ performance does tick one box through if you want to make a video inspiring. Go for upbeat, happy emotions rather than sad ones. Research shows videos tend to be shared more if they are positive rather than negative. And he’s trying to follow another good rule – use the emotion to make people feel both involved and part of it. Perhaps that’s why the Olympic images work so well –we may be able to remember where we were and how we felt when we saw Seb Coe fall to the ground after winning his race or swimmer Michael Phelps pumping the air when he took yet another gold medal and became the most successful Olympian of all time.
Music is also a bit part of making a video strike a chord with people – the Queen ‘Don’t Stop Me Now” track is instantly recognisable, even if you couldn’t pick Freddie Mercury out of a line up. It’s upbeat, it’s powerful and it’s the type of music that gets inside your brain.
Videos that are topical can also be inspiring, and Charles Dance maybe current by channeling Lord Tywin Lannister, but the Games of Thrones character is not someone you would warm to. Perhaps they should have got everyone’s World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson to do it.