Short films for people on the move

To bring a new perspective on familiar topics

The brief

Like many other online publishers, the BBC identified a definite trend in recent years — people seeking out and sharing particularly interesting things, often in quite a random way. The BBC has been making radio and television content that falls squarely into the thoughtful content space for decades … and lots of this content is online. The trouble is, it’s now quite hard to find; in many cases, it’s easier to find on YouTube than it is on the BBC. The BBC Ideas platform, a one-year beta project sees the corporation experiment with short-form formats and styles, with the aim of learning from audience responses to understand what people like.

The BBC put out an open call for content for “quality, thoughtful, ideas presented in a digital-friendly way that works for a mobile audience”.

Wow, love seeing our short #film on #cognitive bias on the @BBC homepage today, you may have to scroll down, but we think it's awesome.

Our solution

We looked at the needs of our audience: 25-44 year olds in the UK. They care about the quality of their media diet and want to maximise the value of their time and attention. They are concerned about fake news, filter bubbles and click-bait. They like to approach content with a curious but also critical mind.

We were delighted that the BBC selected two of our concepts. With modest budgets, we created these animations, with different stylistic approaches, that are beautifully crafted and communicate complex ideas in a short time to provoke thinking:

“Is your brain your worst enemy” takes a humorous, quirky look at cognitive bias and why our brains work in the way they do.

Our playlist “Thinkers from the past on our world today” comprises five beautifully crafted animated films:

  • What would Freud make of the selfie?
  • What can Greek poet Sappho tell us about gender identity?
  • If Plato were alive today, what would he think of the modern referendum?
  • How would Simone de Beauvoir have reacted to #MeToo?
  • Foucault’s warning on fake news…

The result

Our Cognitive Bias animation achieved 15k views in first 24 hours, and made it to the BBC homepage. Similarily, the Foucault film amassed 20k views in the first few days and was featured on the BBC News homepage.