September 28, 2016

Why I Filmed One Second of Every Day Last Year (and How It Makes for Provocative Marketing)

September 28, 2016

Why I Filmed One Second of Every Day Last Year (and How It Makes for Provocative Marketing)

Marketing Strategy

What was the highlight of your day yesterday? How about Thursday last week? What did you do on the second Saturday of April? If you’re like me, remembering those moments is impossible — a swirl of memories that vanish as soon as they’re creating.

Then, three years ago, I started filming one second of every day. 

It’s a simple premise, powered by an app called 1 Second Everyday (1SE). It allows you to record really short videos daily and stitch them into one continuous movie of your life.

One second isn’t much, but strung together, it’s a powerful montage of moments. Some are spectacular — a glimpse of my wedding day, a whirlwind holiday in New York, popping the champagne at a Step Change milestone. Others seem ordinary at a glance but are powerful personal reminders — a chair where I just had an amazing conversation, a view of the hallway in a house I no longer visit, the cover of a book that changed my life. (Check out my video below.) 

After three years (more than 20 minutes of one-second clips), the difference has been profound. Moments that seemed mundane at the time I cherish three years later. Life’s highlights that are packed together remind me that there’s a lot to be grateful for.


Back in 2011, the app’s creator, Cesar Kuriyama, who admitted to be a forgetful person, decided that he was going to chronicle his year, one second of every day. A video journal if you will. After a year of filming, he compiled these into a 365-second movie. His TED talk is well worth the watch.

As Kuriyama pointed out, people have different, often creative, interpretations on how to use the app. Here are five of them.

1. A medium for personal reflection. People could look back and see patterns of their life through the video — their routine and, ultimately, what they hold as the most important aspect of their life.
2. Wedding proposals. One cool guy documented every day for eight months and showed it to his girlfriend. The video ended with him opening a drawer and uncovering a jewellery box with a ring in it. 

3. Life’s firsts. Parents use this app to film their baby’s first year.

4. Showcasing how things are built. Take for example this guy who couldn’t find the perfect desk for himself, so he decided to make one.

5. Some use the Freestyle option to document one second of anything. Check out this 20-second movie I made about life here at Step Change.


1SE for Marketing

As a storytelling medium, it’s remarkably powerful, which is why the format is starting to be picked up in marketing. Here’s some of the best current applications of the 1SE format to marketing:

1. Tell a powerful story. The most moving campaign inspired by 1SE is by Save the Children UK, telling a refugee child’s story in a very personal and confronting way. It is a must-watch.

Video 1 

Video 2 – the sequel

2. Show construction over time. Some firms are experimenting with timelapse — but with the 1SE format, there’s an added human element to construction.

Here’s a video of a group of students building an entire house from the ground up.

3. Show you care. Filming your clients every day (with their permission of course) to record their progress or how they’re coping and then giving the compiled movie to their families is one great way for them to know that their loved ones are taken care of.

Watch this video from Family House, an organisation that takes in families of children with life-threatening illnesses who are receiving treatment at the partner hospital.

The opportunities to use the format are vast. Try it for a few days for yourself and see the difference it will make. Your memories won’t be the same again.

Written by Adam Long, Executive General Manager at Step Change

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