This ad deserves millions of Youtube hits. 


Ok. You be the judge. Is the ad we made for The Fred Hollows Foundation the world’s happiest  TV commercial?

I hope so, because we set out to put together 30 seconds of pure joy. What do you think?

Of course, the truth is, if you can’t make a happy ad about restoring a person’s sight then you probably shouldn’t be making advertisements at all. It’s very happy subject matter.

A still of Fred Hollows from the ad.

In the time I’ve worked at The Fred Hollows Foundation I’ve put together two TV campaigns. We finished this one earlier in November.

The last one was back in 2009, featuring a soundtrack by the Australian band Jet. Thanks in part to Jet’s generosity in donating their song, the ad managed to find a global audience, and has been seen by over 160,000 people on YouTube at the time of writing.

Sure, those may not be the type of numbers that qualify it for the viral category – but for a charity ad, dealing with worthy rather than funny subject matter, it’s a healthy online audience.

Too many great videos for really important causes end up with only 20 or 30 views on YouTube. Of course even just reaching one person is important when you are trying to let people know about righting the wrongs of the world. But even YouTube videos take at least some effort to produce. And there is usually a cost too, even if most of the work can be done on a desktop computer (like we did with our ad).

And when videos are taking time and money to produce, it is disappointing if only 30 people watch them.


So how can worthy causes become more successful at reaching audiences online?

The answer is simple. Focus on connection.

This is the happiest ad ever!

The truth is very few of us will ever make a viral video. There is no secret formula to unlocking millions of online video views.

But if you are passionate about a cause, then I’m betting you spend a fair bit of time telling people about it.

Is there a moment when you see people connect with what you are saying? Perhaps it is when you share a statistic, or a fact. Or when you relate a personal side of the story?

That connection is the key.

If you build your online video around that connection, around that part of the story that most engages your audience, then you are well on the way to creating something that will cut through.

In the work I do, uncovering that moment of connection was easy. Pretty much every person I meet says the same thing when they hear about my job. “It must be amazing to be there when the eye patches come off.”

The truth is it’s pure joy. Everyone in the room is smiling and laughing. And I wish I could share that moment with more people. So we made an ad that hopefully does the job.

What do you think? If you know of any other super happy advertising campaigns I’d love to see them, so please post and share.

Visit the Fred Hollows Foundation here to donate to this worthy cause.

Joe Boughton-Dent is the Communications Manager at The Fred Hollows Foundation. He is a past winner of the International Fundraising Congress Gold Star Award for World’s Best Non Profit Video.

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