Lazy Video Clichés Suck

Yep, I’ve watched Kendra Eash’s video published on McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies that rips the shit out of video clichés, and I cringe, not because the examples used are not cringe-worthy (which they truly are), but because you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve used several of them in my work over the years.

But there’s a subtler point here in the fact this video can be made at all and have real resonance with viewers; it tells us that online video has come of age.

People recognise the clichés and understand a vocabulary that has developed over the past decade in corporate and promotional videos

As Fash’s sharp wit illustrates, in a relatively short time video has developed a strong common visual language that can be mocked for being stereotyped.

It’s amazing that this medium of video, once the sole sphere of broadcaster and film makers, is now being made by everyone, everywhere, and its formats, created from scratch by video pioneers, are being questioned and morphed (as all interesting creative forms should) at an accelerated pace.

Something tells me this video revolution has a long way to go yet.

Jamie Oliver Ahead of the Game

Ahead of the Game

Ahead of the Game

A core ingredient of TV broadcast output, cookery shows have created feted celebrities and food crazes, but could it be as the media landscape changes forever that this last bastion of television commissioning is about to fall.

If Jamie Oliver’s determined iconoclasm carries the day, it almost certainly marks the end of the way cooking programmes are shared with the viewer.

Jamie’s Food Tube doesn’t really do anything markedly different to other cookery formats in the videos themselves; although his cheekiness is given free rein as he glugs down wine from the bottle (something someone at the BBC would have left on the cutting room floor).

You Tube is eroding the reach of the broadcasters. This we know.

But when the protagonists themselves start producing and distributing their own content, cutting out the army of expensive TV producers and the like, the situation is probably terminal for the kind of TV that some of us have known all their lives.

The change is not the how the content is presented, in some ways back to the basics of TV cookery, but how it’s distributed and paid for.

Participation is Key to Online Video

Good Content Engages

Good Content Engages

Creating content that draws viewers into a video channel and makes them come back for more is the key to building a community of consumers.

In the past B2C brands targeting a mass audience pioneered investment in high quality design and advertising and expected to control the interaction, but social media has changed the parametres.

It used to be all one way, happily in the hands of the brand manager. No longer.

Nowadays the customer is right in the mix commenting, interacting and sharing. As a result the consumer is shaping new relationships with business.

Whilst this is an opportunity, some might perceive it as a threat.

But it’s what social media is all about, including a major network like You Tube. And it’s here to stay.

Making content that viewers engage with and more importantly share with friends and colleagues is now a fundamental of consumer marketing.

Why Go Pro’s Content Strategy Soars

Go Pro Get Video

Go Pro Gets Video

The most successful You Tube channels publish video once or twice a week and they don’t attempt to create faux viral.

Brands that have aligned themselves to the rhythms of the You Tube generation are reaping the benefits of huge viewing figures and real customer participation as evidenced by high subscriptions and hundreds of comments on video content.

Econsultancy’s casestudy of Go Pro on You Tube is well worth absorbing.

Although it’s true the product (Go Pros cameras), channel and content are perfectly aligned, which for 99% of brands simply won’t be the case, the way in which the marketing team have strategised the output is admirable.

So what makes these video channels work?

Investment in content that engages is the answer; brands that invest in the producers, directors, participants, athletes, editors, who constantly make videos that people want to watch, like this one that has nearly 30 million views, are growing fast.

Brand Content for the You Tube Generation

Brand Content for the You Tube Generation

You Tubers Understand Social Media

It’s not enough to make a video, shove it on You Tube and then wait for it to work like magic bait to bring the sales rolling in.

Video should form part of a long term strategy that aims to plan and refresh material on an on going basis with consideration given to where it will appear in other social media channels.

As Google’s Andrew Bent says, “brands must use YouTube in the future, but they must know the type of user they are targeting; those in either browse mode or search mode. Those that are in browse mode are looking for content that’s inspirational and entertaining”.

And there’s the rub; it’s not about creating one great viral, but as Brent goes on to argue, “it’s about being regular and reliable. It’s not about cut through, it’s not about disruption. You Tubers don’t do three campaigns a year; they do three videos a week. And that gives people a reason to return”.

Producing consistent, high-quality content that informs viewers of benefits, but doesn’t sell product directly on a regular basis is a simple but winning formula for building an audience.

The process requires investment and understanding of the medium, but will translate into greater brand engagement and ultimately higher basket volume and value.

How to Spice Up a Boring Message

Spice Up!

Spice Up!

There are still those who don’t believe in the power of online video to alter consumer behaviour.

Insisting on yet more specific analytics to prove a case that was done and dusted half a decade ago, they represent a minority of business managers, including remnants of a stubborn club who don’t believe social media works either.

In a quarter when Audi announced that following the launch of three new videos on car finance, visitors to the finance section of its website increased by 82%, it seems hard to argue against video as a form that truly engages, interests and explains complex subject matter in a digestible way to a majority of people.

And provides a call to action that results in purchase.

It’s true that on the whole the unbelievers are confined to some B2B leaders, who can’t see how social media, let alone online video, can help them interact with potential customers.

This will change, even in the last dusty corners of businesses that believe they’re immune to the seismic shifts the Internet is making in selling behaviour,

Video Established as a Marketing Currency

You Tube Ad Apend Soars

You Tube Ad Apend Soars

For most serious brands video is a key marketing tool, but contextualising and placement present real difficulties because of the speed of video consumption and the seeming lack of analytical tracking available to keep tabs on its efficacy.

So will the placement of video ads in the online environment eventually become a programmatic exchange, where the trading of billions of advertising impressions to the right audience at the right time for the right price is automated?

This is already happening.

Since YouTube enabled the bulk of its video inventory for programmatic buying in 2011, online video has become one of the most important and profitable channels of digital advertising.

Many believe this has shifted the balance of power from content producers to the buyers, with the result that agencies are quickly becoming brokers both buying and selling content on behalf of their clients, with the result that higher volumes of inventory are being bought for lower prices via the open marketplace.

The approach, although highly effective, has led many advertisers to view programmatically traded advertising as suitable for remnant inventory alone, rather than premium – an image it needs to shed if the market is to advance to the next stage and assert itself as a branding medium.

As content producers we look forward to working with agencies and advertisers who see the online video, from premium content creation to strategic placement in the networks, either via programmatic trading or otherwise, as part of an indivisible process.

Social Media Spawns Mini Videos Ideal for Brand Advertising

15 Seconds of Joy

15 Seconds of Joy

6 Seconds of Joy

6 Seconds of Joy












Instagram versus Vine video; the bitesized versus the tiny bitesized.

Hardly a rumble in the jungle, more a midget minuet.

Still the platforms attract viewers, mostly young and interested in uploading their own content.

Vine is Twitter’s 6 second video platform and Instagram belongs to Facebook giving users a more realistic 15 seconds to create something interesting.

As commentator Christopher Ratcliff puts it “Instavid is the Vine of Instagram”.

These video spaces are challenging for creatives, but not so different from 10 second TV ad spots, where re-versioned clips from longer adverts bookend upcoming programmes. The trick is still narrative compression.

Think of a product story and, without losing coherence, tell it in the shortest number of frames possible.

Some of the best Vine videos use animation and trickery well. Check out Tee Ken Ng’s Vine Channel. But truthfully 6 seconds is probably only good for trickery and single shot uploads of cats and babies.

At 15 seconds, Instagram videos, known as Instavids (!), are positively epic compared to their little rival, thus offering an opportunity to make a more rounded narrative; see Puma’s Cesc Fabregas neat product plug.

Do we care about these platforms?

Marketers should care because where there’s an audience there’s engagement. 1.5m followers on Starbuck’s Instagram channel can’t be bad.

Video Engagement Mixes It Up With New Forms

Tweeting Noise

Tweeting Noise

It’s a well-known fact that the Internet likes to gobble up fresh content and that to make a splash in such a noisy space, more is more.

Twitter takes the biscuit as brands slog it out to churn messages that will keep them at the forefront of the consumer’s mind.

But, pause for a moment and reflect.

The point of social media is to engage.

Sure pumping out volumes of content is a strategy of sorts, but logic dictates that quality will eventually suffer and, gawd forbid, messages, whether copy, photos or video, might even become inane and damaging.

As digital matures, allowing for more content innovation, the best practitioners will explore how to take storytelling to a new level. It will be here that content consumer and creators will spend time.

And I guess this is where business should want to be; engaging its target audience with quality output that increases brand value.

Immersive video is a new angle that takes the viewer deeper into the narrative.

Firestorm is one such project; created by the Guardian’s multimedia team and cited by Econsultancy as a pivotal trend that with the right budget can cause a sensation on the web.

It’s a moving account of one family’s narrow escape from a terrifying bushfire in Tasmania. The story is told using background video, overlay text, scrolling indexed pages and interviews that are seamlessly integrated into the experience.

This kind of material is a bulwark against the quick-fire, volume-driven brand chatter that will continue to fill social networks.

It gives the more thoughtful consumer a place to find out more about the brand narrative and help to spread the word in a different way.

Read more about the construction of Firestorm at

Video Needs Careful Planning in the Networks

Get their attention

Get their attention

The web offers us a global audience.


But the statement should be qualified by the fact that you’ve got to work hard to grab those worldwide eyeballs.

It’s not enough to set up pages in the networks, commission the content and wait for payback.

The web is a noisy, over populated, Babel of a place, with encyclopaedias of data being pumped into the system every second, which means there’s a lot of hard work to be done to get people to connect with your Internet content.

Content greedy and fragmented, the Internet encourages us to graze on its offerings through suggestion rather than intent. So planning how to guide users to stuff is paramount.

The key is strategy.

Decide who your targets are, what sort of content will engage, where to put it once it’s made and how often to seed it. And then devise methods of alerting followers to new content.

Disappointment over the lack of hits on a You Tube video that has cost good money, may be more to do with the fact the potential audience hasn’t been notified of new content and links don’t exist to the channel from other pages.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Media planning hasn’t died in the digital age; on the contrary fragmentation has led to greater need for linking strategies in the channels.

How to get the best from great content for clients should be part of the video production service as the video producers are best placed to advise on where to seed video for maximum impact.


The Chartered Institute of Marketing IMRG - The voice of e-retail

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