See3 Date

Jumping The Shark – When a video style has outlived its purpose

There have been videos around that use words and music only to make a point. The best of these is a video called The Girl Effect. It is really the only MUST WATCH video of this genre.

Here it is:

Since this is so moving, many folks have watched it and then thought — hey we should make one of these about our issue. OK, listen to me. ENOUGH!

Starbucks did their knock-off (ripoff):

And it’s a shame more people have seen the Starbucks video than the Girl Effect video.

Then we have Toms Shoes… which did their version:

I was notified of the Toms Shoes video from one of our production staff who said “Can we pledge not to do this?”

Of course you have the Twin Cities United Way getting into the act:

And I got a tweet saying, what do you think of this video. I think, stop it!

If you have more of these examples, post them in the comments. And if you are thinking of doing your own Girl Effect video… do something original. Think of your story and find your voice, you will be much better off.


Does this one on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights count? I like it, though.

I actually saw a car commercial on TV yesterday that was playing during a football game. It used the same graphic treatment of words as the Girl Effect and so many of these other videos. Interesting to see that the style has now moved beyond web video to traditional television advertising…

I agree that there’s an overload of copycats on this type of text effect. But, you’ve got to admire what The Girl Effect did – they took something that’s been done thousands of times (text on screen) and made it their own. Agreed, it is MUST SEE.

What’s interesting to me is that we has humans can’t tear ourselves away to read type on screen.

We’re programmed to read and read and read. If it was a voice over we would fall asleep after the first twenty seconds.


Curiously, this is also the style that killed the Motrin folks as well.

Just saw this one about Christmas from @rdfrench

has 640k views on YT

[…] With the end of the year approaching, we created a special video that captures one of the most popular trends in online video we saw in 2008. “The Girl Effect” did it best, and you must see it in order to truly enjoy our end-of-the-year homage. […]

There’s an implication here that The Girl Effect is completely, or at least very, original in this genre, and I disagree. While the video is very good, there are others that have done this, such as “The Machine is Us/ing Us” about Web 2.0, with 8.2 million YouTube views between two versions, originally released in January 2007:

I’m sure there are other examples.

There’s a greater difference in style between this example and the four listed here, to be sure. Part of what makes the latter three seem like cheap knockoffs is that they borrow not only video method, but other elements of the style, like fonts and music type as well as message content and call to action (Please take some small, charitable action, which, multiplied many times over, will have a deep and world-altering impact). I think that there are probably still ways to use the moving-text-with-music method that won’t seem like such obvious knock-offs if you choose different elements for other aspects of the video.

[…] Barack Obama urged Americans to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by volunteering. Starbucks launched  “I’m In” (video above in the The Girl Effect style that my colleagues at See3 find tiresome). […]

Another 1… I can’t believe it. Share Our Strength JUST NOW, in 2009, spent money to produce this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sicTk_Y7YQQ Pahleeez.

great post! and thanks for the videos of the commenters.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *