Sea views: YouTube campaign brings RNLI’s essential work to a new audience

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea, providing a 24-hour lifeboat search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland. They asked us to develop a video to appeal to young adults and twentysomethings – a group they had identified as being less aware than others of RNLI’s essential work, and its charitable status.
After a boatload of planning, filming and editing, we’re finally ready to release the results into the wild. Many miles have been covered and a few sunrises and sunsets have been witnessed, not to mention the bright lights on the seafront…
Selfless, dependable, trustworthy, courageous – these are the values that define the RNLI. Yet without a crew to bring them to life, they don’t mean a thing – and that’s where community is vital. Our ambition, and challenge, was to expose local involvement and show how seemingly ordinary people from all walks of life do extraordinary things.
Through research and recces, discussions and cajoling, seven lifeboat stations in five locations were enlisted (Blackpool, London, Lyme Regis, Swanage and Tenby), with over 40 crew, lifeguards and volunteers participating.
We made a short sample of the filming style available up front, to put minds at rest and get the crews and their families thinking. We recce’d and photographed 320 locations to find a truly diverse range of backdrops.
Each screen has a nautical/water reference- admittedly, some are more subtle than others! The filming style was designed to be quick and portable – moving through towns at pace with minimum disruption to the community, while keeping a firm grip on production costs.
Halfway through the film, the pace slows from a purposeful run as the crew converge, to a more controlled and professional mood as they transition though the kit room. It becomes apparent that providing a 24-hour, year-round service comes at significant cost – and here the viewer has the opportunity to make their own contribution, by buying an item of crew kit as a virtual gift.
So when you’re wondering what gifts to buy for Christmas, here’s our suggestion… we hope you enjoy the film. How many nautical references can you spot?

At The Workshop, we specialise in creating high-quality, effective brands and campaigns for charities and not-for-profit organisations. If you need a cost-effective targeted campaign, or want to reinvigorate your fundraising efforts, please get in touch.