Admit it: when commercials come on during the Super Bowl, you perk up. The room goes silent. Chicken wings pause half way to mouths, as everyone tunes in to watch the very best, or at least the most talked about, advertisements of the year. And when it comes to viral marketing or a long-term advertising campaign, these are often the same thing. A successful marketing campaign shares a lot in common with successful storytelling across a variety of media. Much as a great episode of Mad Men entices new audiences and propels its viewer ship to tune in next week, a great marketing campaign hooks its intended audience and gets people talking. A stellar advertisement evokes a reaction, makes the viewer look forward to more, and tells a clear story. As long as the story is clear and the methodology behind its delivery consistent, it will undoubtedly cause people to stop and take notice.
Nowadays, the Super Bowl commercial spot has become such a powerful position that companies ran commercials for their commercial. Big name products like Doritos and Volkswagen aired what were essentially teaser trailers for the commercials that would air during the game. The ads hinted at a larger story or viewpoint, leaving open a trail that viewer could only connect by seeing all of the subsequent material. The viewer could then go online and see the same message taken a step further. The campaign hinted at a larger world that unfurled itself the further one cared to go. Much like a T.V. series, the campaign treats the viewer as ‘audience’ and asks them to invest time in uncovering the full story of the product. There is a narrative at work, albeit a simple one, that is self-referential. See a piece of the marketing campaign, get a hint of the product, and be enticed to ‘stay tuned’ for more. The viewer is tantalized to go online, to search out more of the story. Companies like Volkswagen are therein able to create synergy between online marketing videos, their social media efforts, and the ads they air on television. Coca Cola took this one step further, creating a truly epic series of ads centered on a central quest. They didn’t air one advertisement, over and over – they aired a series of advertisements that all tied together to make a campaign.
Not every organization or company has the capitol to run a campaign like Coke. However, nearly every business can learn from these Super Bowl campaigns. There is increasing effort placed on synergizing story, character, and viewpoint across multiple media. In this way, the marketing effort looks less like advertising and more like television, movies, books, or comics. It becomes an experience to be sought, rather than a distraction to be skipped over. Video marketing, social media, SEO and blogging can go way beyond traditional 1-dimensional marketing campaigns and truly create an interactive, compelling experience for your perspective clients. Call SVG today!
Next week, Skillman Video Group is set to film a flash mob set up by a local non-profit. Since its inception in 2003, flash mobs have been entertaining unsuspecting passersby with their spontaneous yet organized public group performances, usually involving dancing and singing. Because of the amount of coordinating and planning that goes into it through social media and email, most of these occurrences are filmed and made into short videos, which most often go viral. The fun is in watching the confused people who stare dumbfounded by what is before them and the increasing delight that appears on their faces as they realize what is going on. For this reason, flash mob videos make for great marketing vehicles for businesses selling a product or creating awareness for their company.
From T-Mobile’s song and dance numbers in Liverpool and Trafalgar train stations followed by Heathrow airport in 2010, to Delta and Southwest airport outbursts in 2011, to Finnair’s dancing flight attendants in celebration of an Indian holiday on a flight to that country in 2012, major companies have made these musical flash mobs a part of their marketing campaigns. This guerilla style advertising approach has grabbed the attention of many consumer and social media companies who see its significance for a successful ad campaign and have realized the excellent potential of public stunts to increase word of mouth tracking rates. Like any trend, the flash mob concept has evolved but continues to be relevant even by the internet community’s discerning standards, the main target audience for these videos. More recently, companies have used the large group performing in public framework and taken it to a different level. The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra played an impromptu concert to amused subway riders to promote a local radio station and Tic Tac’s unique “Death” shows a whole city center ‘dying’ after smelling the breath of a passerby. All of these videos have gone insanely viral, and have been successful as part of their video marketing campaigns in terms of revenue. T-Mobile showed a 52% increase in sales from their first Liverpool video and a 129% return-on-investment from the second.
It’s no secret that flash mobs are effective for video marketing, and that they are no easy feat with the weeks of planning and gathering of participants and talent and precision of camerawork and audio, the payoff is even sweeter. In fact, they are so popular that Flash Mob America, a full service flash mob production company, exists and has an impressive client list like BMW, Dell, and ABC. Flash mobs are infectious fun and with businesses conceiving clever, original videos all the time, you never know if you may one day be that unsuspecting passerby.
This week, Skillman Video Group shot two online promotional videos for for Arch Painting, a Boston area company providing quality painting and wallcovering throughout New England. Wednesday’s shoot showcased Arch Painting’s superior craftsmanship in residential home painting, and on Thursday the shoot was based around the company’s quality work for commercial clients. Skillman Video used a combination of client testimonials, footage of the professional painting crew in action, and a voiceover outlining Arch Painting’s capacities as a company.
Making two videos was essential to the success of Arch Painting’s marketing campaign. Commercial and residential clients are looking for very different capabilities from a painting company. A residential home may be concerned about the painters’ cleanliness and friendly attitude, where a business may need the painting to be done quickly and for the paint crew to work seamlessly within the space while business continues as usual. Combining these specific needs into one video would force the company to leave out important information that could, in turn, lead to missing out on important clients.
If your company’s client base is broad, sometimes one video for your website or social media pages isn’t enough. If you try to reach every group of customers in one clip, trying to include all the necessary information will lead to the video being too long. Online customers are not the most patient people, and probably won’t wait through a 15-minute video to learn what they need to know about your company. On the other hand, if you cut out too much information to shorten the video, you risk viewers not learning enough about how wonderful your company is. By breaking the information down into several shorter videos aimed at specific clients, the information they need is presented in a simplified way, making it more likely they will learn about all the advantages of your business.
If your business has a broad client base, talk to Skillman Video Group, and we’ll work to find the best way for you to reach each and every one of them.
It’s the first month of 2012, which means that award season in Hollywood has begun. On January 15th, the 69th annual Golden Globes kicked off several months of red carpet events that will include the SAG awards and, of course, the Oscars. And even if “there’s no business like show business”, Tinsel Town has followed suit and gone high tech for the upcoming award shows, utilizing social media and online video.
The biggest of these upcoming award shows is the Oscars, which will be held on February 26th. For the second year in a row, the nominations for the prestigious awards were announced live via Youtube. This year, the use of mobile devices to watch the announcement was at it’s peak; the availability and popularity of smart phones allowed more people to follow the broadcast regardless of where they were located. As a result, the internet played a much larger role in the announcement than the televised event. After the nominees were announced, people flocked to social media sites to share their predictions and expectations for the show. To add to the online social interaction element of the event, Facebook and NYTimes.com are teaming up to create an interactive online ballot for the Academy Awards. The ballot will allow participants to select their choices for winners in the various categories, and the on the night of the big event, track how their votes stack up against friends and even celebrities. This is an exciting way for fans to participate in the big event, but the plans for next year are even more high tech. In fact, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has decided to move forward with a completely electronic voting system for the 2013 Academy Awards.
The Oscar’s aren’t the only way Youtube is getting involved with the film industry this year. Starting February 2nd, the video site is launching it’s largest film festival ever, called Your Film Festival. Anyone 18 years and older can submit a short film (no more than 15 minutes) to the social video site, and 50 semifinalists will be chosen by Scott Free Productions (Ridley and Tony Scott’s production company). Those 50 short films will be hosted on a youtube channel, where viewers will vote for their favorites. The 10 films with the highest amount of votes will be flown to the Venice Film Festival, where a winner will be chosen and awarded $500,000 to produce a movie with Scott Free Productions. This film festival is another example of how the internet can create a level playing field for businesses (or film makers) of all levels. Having worked for a film festival, I have some idea of how expensive the processing of a blu-ray or 35-mm film can be, even for a short. By allowing participants to post their work directly to the internet, allows small production companies to be considered for an award.
Even if your company doesn’t have a red carpet and golden statues, you can still take a page out of Hollywood’s book and improve your online business.
Presidential elections and new media have always gone hand in hand in America. In 1948, the first radio debate was held in Oregon between Republican primary candidates, the first televised debate in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon changed the face of politics (in fact it was Kennedy’s handsome, healthy face that led viewers of the program to feel he won the debate, while those that listened on the radio thought Nixon had the upper hand).
And of course, Al Gore invented the internet.
In the 2008 presidential election, the internet played a major role for voters seeking information and news about the candidates with an 11% jump in voter use of the internet from the campaign 4 years prior. And so, there was a push to capitalize on internet marketing, particularly social media and the “youth vote”, which candidates believed could be the turning point in the election. This focus on internet marketing was not in vain; over 22 million voters between the ages of 18-29 voted in 2008, the second largest youth turn out in American history.
With the Republican primaries starting and the election coming up in November, internet campaigning has never been more prominent. Social media in particular has taken the foreground in political presence on the web. Potential candidates have Twitter accounts, create premade Facebook profile pictures for their supporters, and advertise on Youtube. Republicans even have a presence on tumblr, a social media site Skillman Video Group discussed in blog post last week.
However, there has been a shift since the last presidential race in the demographics of users of social media sites. For example: the average age of a Facebook user rose from 33 in 2008 to 38 in 2010. In 2008 sites like Facebook were still used primarily by teens and young adults for interacting with friends. Today there are companies, corporations and established entrepreneurs that use the site for networking and establishing new clients. As a result, using social media and using it effectively has never been more important for the candidates.
This trend in political campaigning and the effect it has on results is interesting to look at for your own online marketing strategies. Campaigning for president and marketing your company are similar; both aim to reach as many customers (or voters) as possible in the most effective way. Presidential candidates spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on strategists, researchers, and political advisers to ensure they are marketing themselves well, and if they are focusing primarily on social media marketing, there is a good chance your company will benefit from these websites as well. Another interesting point brought to light by this campaign is the shift in users of social media sites. Four years ago, it didn’t make sense for every company to have a Facebook page; today it is an indispensable aspect of online marketing.
Democrat, Republican, or Independent, there’s one thing your business stand behind this election season; the importance of social media marketing.
A couple weeks ago, Skillman Video Group shot an instructional video on wallpaper installation for Brewster Home Fashions, a Boston-based manufacturer and distributor of fine wall coverings and home décor. This video will be posted to Brewster’s website to enhance their online visibility and web-based marketing. As mentioned previously, on Wednesday we built the set for this video, using drywall flats, paint, and a little elbow grease to give it the appearance of a real room in a home. It was the first time SVG had built a set for a shoot, working with the client to ensure that the space was optimal. By Wednesday night, the set was ready to go, with white walls just begging for a fun, new wall treatment.
The stylistic choice for this instructional video was shots of our talent, Lauren, putting up the wallpaper in her
“room”, and a narration recorded separately to be added in later. The video covered the most common issues a homeowner might have when installing wallpaper, such as insuring the first sheet is straight, successfully navigating around a corner, and working around outlets, light switches, and doorways. A scripted narration is a great option for a how-to video; it ensures that the instructions are succinct and easy to follow, and takes the pressure off the on-camera talent to get the information out and allows him or her to focus on doing the job right.
Once again, a video like this can be a great way to introduce potential customers to your company. The use of a real customer like Lauren with the straightforward instructional narration gives the client a look at the beautiful wallpapers Brewster Home Fashions has, and the simple, stress-free application of the product.
This two-day shoot was a success, and the “room” looked fabulous after it got a makeover with a fantastic Brewster Home Fashions wallpaper. We were able to shoot some more footage for our “behind the scenes” video, which will give people a glimpse at the process from start to finish. Check in soon to see the final product!
On Wednesday, Skillman Video Group built the set for our shoot with Brewster Home Fashions, a prominent manufacturer of fine wall coverings, wallpapers, and home decor products. The shoot, coming up this Friday, will be a how-to video on proper wallpaper installation.
A how-to video like the one for Brewster Home Fashions will be a great viral marketing tool for the company. Many people turn to the internet for tips on everything from making the perfect souffle to installing a car radio. Putting a video demonstrating proper wallpaper installation on Brewster Home Fashions site will draw frustrated homeowners to their website, and when they see the professional demeanor of the company, as well as the beautiful wallpaper they create, the viewers will be more likely to use the company for their business in the future.
SVG worked closely with Brewster Home Fashions and Hollywood set designer (and former Skillman Video intern) Chris Plummer to conceptualize the perfect set for their shoot. We put together a mock room made up of 6 drywall flats, including a door, light switch, and outlet to replicate all the challenges a homeowner comes across while their putting up their wallpaper. We painted the “walls”, and put together some furniture pieces so the video feels like a real room.
Skillman Video Group also shot some footage for a behind the scenes video of the set construction. Check in soon to see the process, and what the final set looks like when Brewster Home Fashions has installed the wallpaper!
Picture a time before YouTube; too difficult to remember that far back? Born in 2005, the video giant is only 6 years old. It grew up quickly and was bought for a cool $1.65 billion barely a year after its inception by a little company called Google. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in any given sixty day period than all 3 major US TV networks have created in 60 years. Large and small companies alike realize the importance for quality video content. Not only is the Web already saturated with video, it is equally saturated with articles about why video content is important.
Better search optimization, more intimate fan/customer engagement, and the ease of viewing vs. reading are only some of video’s selling points. These days, everybody wants a viral video. Is going viral the only thing that matters though, and more importantly, is YouTube the only destination? Not every video is going to go viral; by definition it is impossible. Viral videos are great, but they’re the junk food of the video world. Everyone loves them, they’re easy to consume, and often times they don’t have much substance behind them.
A fascinating lecture given by a brilliant astrophysicist probably won’t garner as many views as Lady Gaga’s latest hit, but does this mean that the lecture is of lesser value or quality? The two videos, simply put, contain different content with different intentions. As ostensibly easy as shooting and posting a video has become, it can be just as easy to forget that not all content is created equally, and that not all content serves the same purpose.
Anyone can shoot decent looking video on an iPhone, but can they add quality sound, smooth editing, and a concise story? Who is the audience? Is the video intended for the Web only or will it have internal purposes? Is its sole intention to make people laugh or to convey a serious message, or both? While it has become drastically easier to produce video content, it’s as hard as ever to make it good and worth watching, especially with all the competition. Skillman Video Group knows this, which is why we make sure everyone of our clients knows what they want and what their expectations are before any cameras start rolling. If viral is the goal, let’s make it, but if reaching a specific audience is the end game, we’ll make sure your video is worth their while, and more importantly, that they know it exists.
For the past four months I have been fortunate to hold an internship at Skillman Video Group. I came here after working as a professional in film, television, and commercial production for a number of years. I’m working on a career shift and SVG was the perfect place to combine my production experience with my social media hobby. What happened with me and SVG over the summer?
When I took the internship I wanted to make a marketing video for SVG that was more ambitious and cinematic than their previous videos. I brought my skills as a set designer, contacts with actors, and access to cinematographers and wardrobe stylists together for the Old Timey Marketing project. I’m quite proud of what I did, and it is helping us find new clients. I think it shows that SVG can make movie-like videomercials for clients that want to stand out.
I had the privilege of attending a Muslim Ramadan service in Chelsea when SVG shot a fundraising video for a community center. I’m not a religious person, but it was still a powerful, moving experience. And we shot some amazing footage. I doubt I’ll ever have another opportunity to go. You can read all about it here.
Social Media does work for SEO. Our page rank has risen, which is good. Getting people to follow you and comment is tricky, no matter how good the content is. I looped in a few new subscribers and I think it’s paying off. Read all my posts here.
Managing a multi-platform social media campaign is not that difficult. A few hours a week. More businesses should do it.
I discovered many interesting social media and viral video campaigns and got to blog my analysis of why they work. Some interesting and inspiring ideas.
Anchor links, micro sites, pingbacks, landing pages, etc.
I got a much needed brush-up on Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack.
I hadn’t used a Lowell lighting kit since college, so I got a valuable refresher course on lighting from Andrew, our usual Videographer.
Now that I’ve attended client meetings I can add actual “agency experience” to my resumé.
Until you ask, the answer is always “No.” Most people are really happy to help you out with locations, props, wardrobe, camera, etc.
I’m excited that I’ve got these new skills that will propel me into new career choices. Thanks SVG!
Twitter is cool, right? Celebrities, businesses, non-profits and average-joes all use Twitter to spread their message 140 characters at a time. Web video is cool too. You can use it to advertise your products, ask for money, rant about politics, and show cute kittens.
What if you could combine the two? That would be internet coolness squared! Or would it?
TwitVid combines the two social media applications nicely. TwitVid has some interesting SEO tools, time saving integration features, mobile apps, and general buzz. TwitVid makes it easy to share videos with your followers and generate discussion amongst your friends, partners, clients, and customers. It has stuck around longer than most other Twitter video services and received a lot of capital investments. TwitVid has some impressive business and celebrity users and partners.
Building a service around Twitter seems a little opportunistic: take something popular and add video to it. That’s bound to be a success. The trouble is there are many other services doing the same thing and it won’t be long until Twitter makes its own video service. Maybe that’s the founder’s plan: get bought by Twitter. It also lacks Twitter’s original communication gimmick that made it so popular: restrict messages to 140 characters.
We’ve been sharing our videos and clients videos through links on Twitter for a few years without this added application. You can post advertisements, marketing videos, video blog, and all other business video tools to Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc. and link them on Twitter. SVG embraces social media and marketing trends in our work everyday, but TwitVid leaves us feeling a little underwhelmed. With so many other social media options you have to manage your outlets carefully. It may, however, be the greatest web video service of all time.
We’re going to try it ourselves for some of our projects and see what you think. Follow us on Twitter for updates on TwitVid.