Ad of the Week: Seeing is believing
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) FoxP2 will bring a lump to your throat, and a tear to your eye, in a social campaign that promises to deliver improved vision to thousands, and the gift of sight to one very special person. So get the Kleenex ready when you watch Ster-Kinekor’s short commercial film about a young man who lost his sight 10 years ago — the story of a movie lover called Philani Twala, who is now getting the chance to see again.
Twala’s second sight comes courtesy of a corporate social responsibility project driven by the Ster-Kinekor brand, called Vision Mission. For over 10 years, this project has been raising funds to provide eye tests and glasses for children in underprivileged areas. Since its campaign started in 2005, Vision Mission has screened well over 54 000 learners with help from ophthalmic nurses, and has provided some 5 000 spectacles for youngsters who have needed them.
The importance of seeing well
Why is ensuring that kids can see well so important? On its website, Ster-Kinekor states that one tenth of the some 3m kids in Grades 1, 2 and 3 have eye problems. This plays havoc with the children’s ability to learn well and progress at school.
Through its self-service ticketing kiosks and online, Ster-Kinekor raises about R1m each year which it uses to provide eyecare to kids from rural and disadvantaged areas. As part of the programme, the cinema brand has so far also sponsored two corneal transplant operations. This is all made possible because people have the option to simply add a R2.50 donation when booking for a movie online or at one of the self-service kiosks.
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The video produced by FoxP2 in Cape Town introduces Twala, the third transplant candidate. The young man from the East Rand, who had been functionally blind for 10 years, has had both corneas replaced. Twala’s story has been made into two short movies, the first of which is being shared on Facebook and screened in Ster-Kinekor theatres.
In this, Part 1 of the documentary, Twala is depicted as a warm, fun-loving young man who lost his sight due to keratoconus, a degenerative disorder of the eye that causes the cornea to thin, change, and become conical. In extreme cases, this may result in functional blindness — the patient can still detect light and dark, but the cornea is unable to focus the incoming image; or a crack may develop due to swelling that also distorts the patient’s vision.
In Twala’s case, he describes how he woke up one day and everything was so blurry that he couldn’t make out any detail. The ophthalmologists told him he had to learn to live as a blind person, which in his case meant no longer being able to enjoy his favourite activity, watching movies. In the mini-documentary, Twala talks about how he once thought that he would have to quit school and stay indoors until the day he dies.
The video very cleverly uses a combination of imagery. Abstract visuals illustrate the subjective, blurry light and dark that Twala experiences. The interview with him is shot on a dark backdrop, with a hint of some movie imagery being projected onto it. It’s a very subtle effect that ties into the other visuals, which are of Twala being examined by Dr Asvat, who shines bright lights into his eyes, while using his high-tech ophthalmic equipment. The closeups of Twala’s eyes are dramatic and intimate.
Twala describes the frustration he experiences when he goes to movies with his friends, asking them to describe what’s happening on screen. He continues, “When my vision is perfect, I will just like to watch the movies they’ve been telling me about. I am so excited.” Something else that excites him is the prospect of watching a 3D movie. And he says that he wants to tell his mother that she is beautiful, “because I never told my mom she is so beautiful.”
The solution in a case like Twala’s is the replacement of the cornea. New corneas need to be taken from organ donor eyes. But this is a very costly and highly specialised procedure. Fortunately, the Vision Mission initiative identified Twala as a candidate for corneal replacement surgery, and ophthalmologist Dr Asvat offered his skills pro bono to perform the operation.
Back to the documentary, which ends with a message from Twala, delivered directly to camera. “I’m so happy, guys,” he says, “and I just want to say thank you very much. I just feel like laughing,” he adds, and he is clearly almost overcome with emotion, as all he can add is, “I thank you, I thank you very much.” His sincerity is pure and endearing: if anyone has skipped the donation button before, this should make them think twice.
The campaign is also supported by outdoor and radio advertising, and the call to action at the end of the video is simple. “What’s the first movie Philani should watch with his new eyes?” is the question flashed on screen, with the hashtag #OpenEyes.
Make a suggestion
The public is invited to upload videos to Facebook or Twitter, or simply send a text with the hashtag, to make a suggestion. So far these have varied from Casablanca to The Revenant.
The campaign is a very clever way of engaging with Ster-Kinekor’s customers, and improving awareness of a campaign that has been doing good work for a decade. Hopefully it will increase people’s willingness to click that ‘Donate’ button, and help to make a real difference in the lives of those in need.
What a great initiative and what a smart way of showing Ster-Kinekor patrons where their donations are going, and the big difference that they’ve made to one human’s life! So what movie would you suggest for #OpenEyes? I’d have to go with Captain America Civil War, because it’s on right now in 3D — and what youngster doesn’t love an action-packed superhero movie?
ECD: Justin Gomes
CD: Michael Lees-Rolfe
Writer: Gavin Williams and Andrew Pearson
Director: Dave Meinert, they films
Agency producers: Katherine Trippe and Josh Michaels
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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