Why the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute counts on explainer videos

What is truth?

Why does an apparently harmless blog entry on an explainer video begin with such a philosophical question? Because we were given an opportunity to address this riveting topic in a project for the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut (GDI).

Not only does the GDI investigate current trends and develop future scenarios, it is also a think tank. In collaboration with the SRF, the Institute invited VIPs to a discussion forum broadcast by Swiss TV in its Sternstunde Philosophie talk show last year. While we weren’t part of the discussion – not yet! – we contributed a film introducing the philosophical sparring round. We had one main consideration: it had to be provocative.

Conspiracy theories: Yes, please!

The aim was to show the audience in a striking way why the truth is becoming difficult to believe in our digital age. The film was not so much about explaining; rather it was to be food for thought. It should outline developments and problematic issues, suggest potential solutions and leave the audience with open questions – and a thirst for knowledge.

“It was important to us to present the complex questions to our audience in a vivid and entertaining way. That’s why the messages had to be short, powerful and to the point, and maybe even to provoke,” Alessandro D´Elia, Director Strategic Development, GDI

Truth, digitalization, provocation – we began the conception phase with these three concepts. Then we had a brainwave: Conspiracy theories. Provoking? Absolutely! Suitable for our customers? Thankfully, yes. Because GDI is a customer that welcomes outlandish concepts.

We then began to create a concept based on conspiracy theories that reconstructs the history of the term “truth:” From bygone days when various institutions instrumentalized the truth for their own purposes until the digitalized present, in which everyone can spew alleged truths into the nebulous world of the internet – and certainties are non-existent.

The challenge: Human reptile

The text was done fast and we enthusiastically turned to the storyboard. Chemtrails, human reptiles, the flat-earth society – this must be the most absurd and entertaining appointment we’ve ever had. Naturally an abstract theme such as this required abstract illustrations. The question was: What should a human reptile look like in our style? We decided on iconmade, that is, an iconographic, modern picture language with a clear focus that fitted perfectly into GDI’s overall concept.

“There’s usually a conventional film of our events. That’s why we made a conscious decision to use an iconmade explainer video with its reductive picture language as a supplement.”

Motion Design breathed life into mysterious clouds, and likewise with reptilian eyes – and as for our narrator … But how about listening for yourself?

Up on stage, invisible one!

And then it was done: Video finished; customer delighted – Sternstunde Philosophie could begin. This remarkable discussion can be viewed at the SRF media library – and you can watch our humble contribution here. GDI also used the explainer video for other events, across social media, on their homepage and for newsletters.

“For example, we made the video available to all participants in our Blockchain Valley Conference newsletter to generate a broader reach.”

And no, we haven’t discovered the ultimate truth – yet. But maybe we just don’t want to share it with you. Who knows?

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