The Trap of Success: Be Prepared!

One of the goals of video marketing is to attract attention to your brand and your objectives. What happens if you are successful?

In 2012, the non-profit, human services organization, Invisible Children, released a thirty-minute video whose objective was to rally international support for military intervention leading to the arrest and prosecution before the International Criminal Court of Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army, operating in central Africa. The video immediately went viral. Invisible Children supported the video with a campaign of posters and t-shirts, all designed to raise awareness of how the Lord’s Resistance Army forcibly recruited child soldiers to perform criminal actions, including murder. Some children were abducted into sex slavery. The message of the video, Kony 2012, was clear and simple: Joseph Kony was an evil man who needed to be stopped.


“Stop Kony”

Within weeks, the video had attracted over one hundred million views. A movement arose among the young of North America to put political pressure on governments to “stop Kony” before the end of 2012. However, young people looking for a just and unambiguous cause were soon disappointed. The domestic history of Uganda, as well as the international relations that determined conditions in central Africa, were complex. What conditions had spawned Joseph Kony’s rise? Who actually supported him? Who benefited from the Lord’s Resistance Army? Whose interests would a military intervention advance?

It was soon clear that the producers of the video could not effectively respond to their critics or their supporters. Moreover, it appeared that the celebrity that the video brought was detrimental to the health and well-being of at least one of the producers. Countless young people had been inspired by the prospect that they could affect meaningful change in the world through the force of their goodwill. However, the historical and political complications involved belied the simplicity of an inspirational video.


Preparing for the Consequences

Two years later, Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army still operate in central Africa. Whatever effect the video had on the organization Invisible Children is a topic for research. However, the stated goal of prosecuting Kony or even putting an end to his activities was not accomplished.

What lessons can we take from this episode in the history of video marketing?

Before we go public with a proposal, we should be confident that we can defend our claims and answer questions. One way to do that is to avoid surrounding ourselves with only those who agree with us. See things from as many angles as possible. What do our potential allies need to know? What will our detractors say? Are we up to the challenges they might pose?

Secondly, if we are proposing a plan of action, what might be the consequences? Do we have an understanding of the situation equal to the goals we set? It is possible that a narrow and inadequate appraisal of a situation may actually have the opposite effect to the intended goal.

Let us help to prepare you for the consequences of your video advertising. We have the expertise to prepare a video marketing strategy tailored to your goals!


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