Tribeca Studios, YouTube Global Ad Campaigns Boost U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

Courtesy of Tribeca Studios for Spacestation

An innovative YouTube ad campaign from New York’s Tribeca Studios and agencies in eight cities around the world are helping push traffic and new viewers to, the website for the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs.

Tribeca CEO Jane Rosenthal, Google, YouTube and advertising execs presented the findings at a prerecorded session to stream Wednesday at Advertising Week 2020. Tribeca paired filmmakers with agencies on campaigns for eight of the U.N.’s 17 SDGs, an ambitious 2015 global call to action on issues from climate and poverty to education and food waste. The campaigns used YouTube’s sequential ad sequencing technology, creating a series of related films from six seconds to around four minutes long that unspool differently for viewers depending on their response.

They collectively drove 120% higher traffic year-on-year to including an 80% increase of new visitors to the site, said Frances Simpson-Allen, partnerships lead, United Nations SDG Strategy Hub.

“This partnership with YouTube and Tribeca Enterprises is really critical,” she said. “At the end of the day, nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. And we think the something that creative can do is unique and absolutely essential.”

Through its films, annual festival and studio operations Tribeca has a large rolodex of global filmmakers. “To come up with the way we can get people’s attention. That is what we try to do,” putting together “filmmakers, top agencies and good storytelling,” said Rosenthal.

Ben Jones, global creative director of YouTube parent Google, explained that video ad sequencing “allows you as a creative to determine a set of ads people see in a row and in multiple ways depending on how a viewer interacts with them.” It’s been more effective than showing the same ad multiple times.

The LA-based campaign directed by Smriti Mundra with Deutsch agency on poverty features a homeless man on a stoop, saying, “Hi. Don’t skip me.” Sequentially longer ads flesh out his story.

Filmmaker Brian Schulz for Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco focused on pollution in Life Below Water narrated by Morgan Freeman. Whimsical footage of floating plastic bags turns dark as Freeman hones in on tiny dot-like micro-plastics that kill a million fish a year. Other films include Sustainable Cities from Brazil — where a 1,700-kilometer traffic jam immobilizes San Paolo; Responsible Consumption from Chicago; Climate Action from the U.K.; Zero Hunger from Germany; Quality Education from Australia and Gender Equality from Thailand.

The U.N. General Assembly inn 2015 adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with SDGs based on the principle of “leaving no one behind.” They’ve become a central pillar of U.N. activity. The films started rolling out last month and were showcased at the General Assembly’s 75th session, which closed yesterday.


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