In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about how more companies are trying to get their videos to go viral. I wanted to expand on how much video is now being produced that wasn’t intended for a typical 30-second TV spot.
Video is a burgeoning part of our business at Coles Marketing. Lately, it seems Videographer Shawn Sorrells, a news photographer and editor for years before joining our team, is always heading out to another site to gather content and then produce polished pieces for clients, such as auto dealer profiles for NextGear Capital.
With most companies having their own website, plus inexpensive video-hosting sites like YouTube, it’s easier than ever for businesses to produce their own pieces and disseminate them across many audiences.
More stories, less selling
These videos are part of the brand journalism movement, in which companies don’t hit people with a hard pitch for their goods and services, but tell stories about themselves, their customers and products.
In a sense, these “replacements” for TV commercials are a microcosm of streaming services like Netflix, which once merely distributed other’s content but is now increasingly a player on the production end, with shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” racking up enough viewers and Emmy trophies to make the networks jealous.
Some of these Web-only commercial videos are deliberately playing coy with their relationship to TV spots. One of the prime examples is Go Daddy, which uses plenty of sexual innuendo in its pieces.
They generated a lot of attention for having a commercial rejected for the NFL championship game for being too racy. Now, they crank them out all the time — usually teased with a tagline like “Too Hot for TV!” Other advertisers soon followed suit, and now it’s a little cottage industry.
Real innovation goes a step beyond
Other Web-only videos move even further away from the “I-sell-you” mindset of traditional TV commercials. Take Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which is more about empowering women to feel comfortable with their looks than fancy soap.
In one of the most-talked-about pieces, women were asked to describe themselves to a sketch artist, and then that artist drew them based on a stranger’s description of them. Shockingly, the women described themselves physically in much more critical terms than how other people see them.
(Just for fun, check out the parody version featuring egotistical dudes.)
It should be noted videos like this can sometimes run much longer than the traditional 30- or 60-second commercial. And people will watch, as long as they’re emotionally and intellectually engaged by the piece.
Reaching out in a new way
The point is smart brands are now looking at producing their own videos and taking them directly to audiences without even thinking about buying ad time on their local broadcast station. It’s essentially a brand new outreach platform, and one that can be extremely cost-effective.
Need a hand with creating your own Web-only videos? We’ve got the tools!