Thoughts on the Girl Effect video

We were talking about the “Girl Effect” video the other day, thinking about what makes it tick, and I guess I got a little carried away. I figured I might as well write it all down, at least.

The video is organized into three parts. The first part is 0:31 and displays 51 words, or 1.645 words per second.
The second section, from 0:32 to 1:40 (68 seconds) is 147 words; or 2.162 words per second.
The final section runs until 2:23, displaying 65 words in 43 seconds or 1.512 words per second.
The entire video averages 1.860 words per second (266 words in 143 seconds).

The video uses music and color to emphasize the text.

The music in the first section is fast and moving. It creates a sense of anticipation, of wonder, and perhaps pending discovery. One friend described the music as appropriate for approaching Hogwarts in a Harry Potter story.
The music in the second section starts slow and simple, building every eight counts. The layering effect emphasizes the cascading effects promised by the Girl Effect.
The third section is a reprise of the first–the same music, but much slower, since things aren’t as bad now that we’ve discovered how to save the world. We still have to actually do it, so there’s still some of the initial urency and anticipation, but at least now we know how to do it.

Beginning as white text on a black background, the words “a girl” introduce the first color into the video–white text on an orange background. The word “girl” remains in orange, as we quickly transition through black text on a white background to orange text as the solution is further described. The last three lines, in addition to the “changed the course of history” line a few lines previous, return to the white-on-black theme.

The music matches up with the text at three points–at each of the section transitions, and again at the end.

The video was produced by Wieden+Kennedy for the Nike Foundation. Their page on the effort is at

The transcript:

The world is a mess.
So what else is new?
What if there was an unexpected solution that could turn this sinking ship around?
Would you even know it if you saw it?
It’s not the internet.
It’s not science.
It’s not the government.
It’s not money.
(dramatic pause)

a girl.
Imagine a girl living in poverty.
No, go ahead. Really, imagine her.
Girl, flies flies flies, baby, husband, hunger, HIV. [animated]
Now, pretend that you can fix this picture.
[remove all of these things and start over]
Girl. OK. Now she has a chance.
Let’s put her in a school uniform and see her get a loan to buy a cow and use the profits from the milk to help her family.
Pretty soon, her cow becomes a herd. And she becomes the business owner who brings clean water to the village, which makes the men respect her good sense, and invite her to the village council, where she convinces everyone that all girls are valuable.
Soon, more girls have a chance, and the village is thriving.
Village, food, peace, lower HIV, healthier babies, education, commerce, sanitation, stability. [animated]
Which means the economy of the entire country improves, and the whole world is better off.

Are you following what’s happening here?
Girl -> school -> cows -> $ -> business -> clean H2O -> social change -> stronger economy -> better world. [animated]
It’s called the girl effect.
Multiply that by 600 million girls in the developing world,
and you’ve just changed the course of history. [white on black]
The girl effect. [with logo]
Invest in a girl and she will do the rest.

It’s no big deal.
Just the future of humanity.

Girl Effect:

And a parody:

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