Dow Expands ‘Human Element’ in Web Videos

NEW YORK Dow is making the Web a larger part of its nearly three-year-old “Human element” push with a series of Internet videos that tie the chemical company to solving a series of vexing problems facing the planet.

The videos, housed at a new “Human Element” microsite, are designed to fill in the details of the overarching “Human Element” push, which launched in 2006 as a way to reintroduce the chemical company after years when it did little brand building. Dow relied mostly on print and TV work to communicate the overall message tying the company’s work to the improvement of humanity.

“We went into TV to generate awareness and let people know we were still here,” said John Claxton, group creative director at DraftFCB in Chicago, the lead agency for Dow. “The TV spots were very big picture and lofty. They set the tone but they didn’t do well on specifics. There’s a desire on our part and the client’s to get into the details of what they do.”

A four-minute video titled “A City in the Desert” looks at the challenges of water resources in a growing, more urbanized world through the experience of Middle East boomtown Dubai. Dow executives and outside experts weigh in on the issue. The video highlights Dow’s efforts to develop technology to provide greater access to clean water. It ends with links to additional Dow information on the area and biographies of the experts shown in the video.

“To see it told as a narrative and seeing places where people are interacting with their environment, it gives it so much more impact,” said Jason Koerner, interactive creative director at DraftFCB.

“A City in the Desert” is one of four videos DraftFCB has produced for the site. One other, “Farming the Sun,” is posted now. It examines the issue of solar power — and Dow’s investments in the sector. Two additional videos addressing the rise of emerging markets and the need to address transportation systems are on tap.

Dow is running an interactive ad campaign to promote the new site, placing video banner ads on sites like, and Users will see a snippet from the videos, then have the opportunity to expand the unit to see a preview.

The full videos will reside on the Dow site alone, although users can embed the videos on other sites.

The “Human element” site replaces a “brochureware” destination that was mostly a reproduction of images from print ads with some short copy. Koerner said the videos were an example of how clients are beginning to shift resources not just to digital, but also into the production of top-notch creative.

“Clients are seeing their brand and saying we don’t want two different quality levels to our work,” he said. “It has a high standard to live up to.”