Western Sydney University: Deng Thiak Adut Unlimited


“It’s powerful, riveting.” – Steve Yamaguma, Design2Market

Let’s face it, everyone loves stories. From primitive drawings on cave walls to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3-D IMAX theaters, stories of interesting characters in unusual places set against a dramatic quest or tragic consequence capture attention like no other art form.

Lately, there seems to an awakening of video storytelling in digital marketing campaigns. Many of these stories are based on true people and events. After all, relatable non-fiction told in a visual way helps a story stick in a person’s memory.

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Such is the case with this 90-second Youtube commercial from Western Sydney University. It tells the story of graduate Deng Thiak Adut and his journey from child soldier to lawyer. The video has become a social media sensation—more than 2 million views—and shows the impact of storytelling in a connected world.

“It’s powerful, riveting,” says Steve Yamaguma, president and creative director of Design2Market, a long-time Silicon Valley design firm serving tech companies. “As you look around at people you meet, you don’t realize the history, stories and experiences that they have.”

Yamaguma was also impressed with the video’s opening visual image of an adult, faceless Adut walking in a field of grass that quickly cuts to a war zone. A strong opening is critical, given the shrinking attention span of the digital consumer. If a Web page, for example, captures the visitor’s attention in the first three seconds, then the visitor will spend at least another 30 seconds examining the page in more detail, Web design experts say.

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Video also plays to today’s social media-driven audience. Social media combined with ubiquitous, multimedia-supporting smartphones makes video the preferred medium to communicate a message, event or idea.

“With the younger generation using things like Snapchat, Meerkat and Periscope, video is becoming as popular as texting,” Yamaguma says.

Do you have a Five2ndWindow you want to share with the world? Send it to tom.kaneshige@penton.com.

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