2019 Telly Award Winners Making a Social Impact!

The year is coming to a close, Thanksgiving and Giving Tuesday are behind us. We are making resolutions and setting good intentions for 2020. One of our intentions at The Tellys is to honor more inspiring and conscientious work in the new year. With that in mind, rather than release our usual trend report, we wanted to focus on the winning work and the creators making stories that shed light on those doing good in the world. 

It may seem like “purpose” has become an industry buzzword, with many companies highlighting their social purpose, perceived or real. Although it may feel like we are moving towards a point of “purpose fatigue,” video has long served as a powerful vehicle to share and spotlight stories that matter.

The Telly Awards has also long recognized work by and for non-profits, work highlighting an issue that touches upon social responsibility 

The Telly Awards have long recognized work created by and for non-profits, and work focused on Social Responsibility. This season we doubled down by adding a suite of Social Impact categories to recognize work that is expanding our understanding of the world—our challenges, hopes, and those who are trying to inspire the latter.

When we looked at Branded Content in particular and the categories that touch upon on these efforts (Not for Profit, Social Responsibility, Cause Marketing, Charitable), it’s not surprising to see that entries into these categories have increased by 26% from the 39th Tellys to the 40th Tellys—the latter’s winners were announced in May. Branded Content in general saw a 24.3% increase. 

With both these figures in mind, coupled with Telly Award-winning work that has stood out, we wanted to share our top 6 favorite projects that share an important message while delivering an impactful story. Click the links before to view the work and read more about each project!

If you are making work that highlights a non-profit, champions a cause, or has a social impact, take a look at categories for the 41st Annual Telly Awards here and submit by the Final Entry Deadline on February 28th 2020!

Viacom International London “International Women’s Day”: Telly 40 Winner (Promotional Video, Social Responsibility)

Viacom International London “International Women’s Day”: Telly 40 Winner (Promotional Video, Social Responsibility)

As a celebration of International Women’s Day, Viacom International London worked with Spoken word poet Sophia Thakur to craft a visual narrative around a spoken word piece to great effect. Following one woman’s journey in a “day-in-the-life” approach, their team created an interwoven narrative through words and visuals blending together seamlessly to deliver their message. Watch the piece here.

Square, Inc. “Sister Hearts”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Documentary) 

Square, Inc. “Sister Hearts”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Documentary) 

Currently touring cities across the US and Europe as a feature in  our Film & Video Nights, this piece has impacted many audiences around the globe. As part of a series commissioned by Square, Inc., “Sister Hearts” shines the spotlight on the selfless Maryam Henderson-Uloho and her thrift shop SisterHearts. Having been incarcerated for 13 years and struggling to rehabilitate, Maryam now runs a thrift store that supports women recently released from prison and uses this space to help provide meaning, employment, and a second chance. Watch the piece here.

WeTransfer “Breaking the Circle”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

WeTransfer “Breaking the Circle”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

WeTransfer, through their platform WePresent, explores creativity in all forms and expressions. This piece is, in their own words, “about Brazil’s women opposing rampant gender inequality through Samba, launched on International Women’s Day 2019. But things are changing, and having been sidelined for decades, more and more Brazilian women are composing and performing the nation’s most celebrated style of music, often in all-female ensembles.” Watch the piece here

SteptStudios, “Adventure Not War”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

SteptStudios, “Adventure Not War”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

Stept Studios, based in LA, have produced a number of stunning pieces that blend documentary storytelling with quality cinematography in difficult to shoot places.  This short just does that by following the story of three U.S. veterans traveling back into the mountains of Iraq on a mission to heal wounds and experience the country and its culture without the shadow of war. Watch the piece here.

SoulPancake, “For Her Age”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Cause Marketing)

SoulPancake, “For Her Age”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Cause Marketing)

Documentary has long been used as a powerful vehicle to highlight and spotlight causes. SoulPancake, however when working alongside Disrupt Aging, created an impactful format that would be highly effective on Facebook and elegantly highlighted our inherent ageism. Watch the piece here.

New Reality Co, “Tree VR”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

New Reality Co, “Tree VR”: Telly 40 Winner (Branded Content, Social Responsibility)

This piece may have been created two years ago, but it continues to tour and receive award recognition around the world. Created with the Rain Forest Alliance, Tree VR is a virtual-reality project transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and your body as the trunk, you’ll experience the tree’s growth from a seedling into its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. We had to include this project! As a project pushing beyond the boundaries of documentary, TreeVR is a great example of bringing to life a key social impact message by putting the audience in the shoes of the issue. Read more about this project here.

Here's to 2020!

From short form documentaries, to episodic videos made for social media, this short list is merely a small representation of Telly award winning work that  highlights stories that matter. As we head into 2020, we are excited to continue to see more video and television work, across all screens, using this medium to share messages of those doing good in the world and raising awareness of the issues that unite us all. Enter your work today across categories in Social Impact, Cause Marketing and Non-Profits here before the Final Deadline on February 28th 2020.

Here’s to the start of a new decade!