Case study

– Water-colour format


Our clients come in all shapes and sizes. We work with big international companies that need to roll out their new strategy, and we work with small independent organisations that have to reach a very specific target audience. We work with ministries and government agencies – and we work with NGOs.

Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

In one case, we were contacted by DRC – the Danish non-governmental, non-profit humanitarian organisation. Their work focus on helping refugees and internally displaced people in conflict areas around the world. And they needed a series of films that introduced the organisations code of conduct; what kind of behaviour is expected from employees and volunteers, and what is prohibited and grounds for dismissal.

In addition, they also wanted to present the related reporting mechanism, so everyone would know exactly how to act when they witnessed a violation of the code of conduct.

Most of our films are aimed at a very specific target audience – a certain type of person with clearly defined concerns and motivations. But in this case, we were dealing with a much wider and nuanced target audience: people from all over the world, with very different social and cultural backgrounds. A mix of employees and volunteers, some working in the office and some working in the field.

And the subject matter posed a similar challenge. The main idea was to motivate people to behave responsibly and take action against misconduct. But how do you show a series of immoral acts without alienating your target audience – without portraying everyone your trying to reach as criminals?

A delicate situation that required the right format. A format which would balance the serious message with a respectful tone and appeal to a wide target audience.

We decided to produce the film in our water-colour format. In this format we use photographs to capture an authentic and emotional situation, and we carefully alter each picture with several different filters and effects to reach a water-colour look, which blurs ethnicity, nationality and identity.

The final result is a general visualisation of a concrete situation. And with the right balance between reality and watercolour you get a very powerful effect, which enables the target audience to put themselves directly into the emotional storyline regardless of ethnic or cultural background. And it also made it possible to show very serious and strong images, without the risk of pushing the audience away.

We arranged the watercolour pictures in a narrative, and used the camera movement, dissolves and zoom to provide a dynamic progression for the films. This way we could use multiple pictures at once, or pause on a single picture if we needed to.

The first film we did explained what the code of conduct is, who it protects and why it’s important to uphold. The second film focused on misuse of power and prevention measures. And the third film presented the reporting mechanism and how to use it.

Where the first film needed to be motivating, inclusive and generate a certain sense of pride and obligation, the second film had a more straightforward agenda: it needed to show a series of violations against the code of conduct. To avoid any misunderstandings we decided to use on-screen text in combination with the watercolour images, to underline the serious nature of each situation and to state our messages clearly.

In the third film, about the reporting mechanism, the main purpose was to show the different options and procedures when reporting a violation: how should I act? Who do I tell? And What happens next? This required a much more systematic step-by-step approach to the storyline. So, we decided to let the camera movements follow a diagram (or explanation tree) as it was being drawn, using images and text to support the narration.

Three different approaches for three different agendas – but all executed in the same visual format to maintain a coherent look. The films were produced in English, but to maximize their use around the world French and Arabic versions were also created.


Misuse and Prevention Measures

The Reporting Mechanism