Videos: Keep it London vs Lives Rooted in Places

Historic England, the overseas equivalent of our preservation organizations in the US, recently launched a “Keep it London” campaign to help shape the planning of its nation’s capital, urging that, “the city must evolve by building on its unique character and identity, rather than by turning into a generic city.” The campaign contains the usual list of recommendations, solicitation for contributions and letters, and offers of updates through email and social media.  More interesting, however, is the “I am London” video that accompanies the campaign.  Listen carefully and in four minutes, you never hear the words, “history,” “preservation,” “old,” “save,” or “historic.” Instead, the faces and voices of dozens of diverse people personify buildings, giving these mute places emotion and personality.  Compare that to the approach used by the US National Trust for Historic Preservation in their video, “Lives Rooted in Places.”

Who’s the target audience for each video? Which video would resonate better with your members and donors? With your community and neighbors? Which one speaks better to outsiders than insiders?  What emotions are involved? Do they tell viewers what to think or feel, or do they let them unfold in the viewer?

2 thoughts on “Videos: Keep it London vs Lives Rooted in Places

  1. William Hosley

    I Am London is more effective because if focuses on a specific place – makes the case for place – in practice not theory. I reposted both on the Issues in Placemaking & Cultural Heritage FB site w comment to make the point – that all Places Worth Caring About can all tell their story – succinctly and compellingly – this way. Short form video is an essential tool in communications and marketing – and not costly to do – and do well.


  2. thehistorylist

    Interesting comparison, Max. Despite the different approaches, they’re both the kind of safe, inward-focused corporate happy-talk that organizations fund. Neither will be shared much. Neither will excite or engage.

    They’re also great examples of a very common mistake, especially in non-profits: Focusing on what they think people should hear or know or think, with hardly any regard for the interests, motivations, and desires of the audience.

    If folks are considering creating videos, the place to start is with the desired outcome, not the tactic. And a tip: For great insight into how people actually interact with your video, including where they start and stop, use Wistia.


Comments are closed.