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TheCommich says – enjoy!

Video Made the Radio Star

Posted by on Jan 7, 2010 in BLOG, Kapakahi, online marketing, video | No Comments

One of the best enhancements from the world of Web 2.0 has been the increasing ability of everyman to create compelling, effective video on the cheap and use it in their online marketing arsenal.

With low-res video available in the most basic digital camera, and with basic editing software now coming standard on most laptops, virtually anyone harness the power of the mighty moving picture. I mean, seriously – if Jackasses can make millions by re-enacting everyone’s id fantasies, why can’t a schoolgirl/singer make millions by oversharing herself on YouTube? (Yes, you, Lilly Allen)

Even products that wouldn’t generally lend themselves to viral sharing have embraced the You-Tubery of it all. Anyone remember the guys from BlendTec? This manufacturer of industrial blenders (industrial bleeping blenders!) got the whole world watching a series called “Will It Blend?” in which they demonstrated the power of their product by liquefying iPhones, marbles, golf balls, and even a golf club (something to think about, Tiger). The fact that Tom Dickson, the company founder, hosts the show, is slightly cross-eyed, and starts every episode with a quasi-profound “Will it blend? That is the question” only lends to the weird/WOW factor.

Crazy right? You know what’s crazier? As of 2007, the profits generated from the video through ads placed after each clip generated $18,000. The videos themselves garnered coverage from the Wall St. Journal, the Today Show, The Jay Leno Show and the History Channel (under the show Modern Marvels). The cost of this video campaign? $50.

My favorite use of video by far is by musicians and other creative types. The Japanese band Sour released a video called Hibi No Neiro (“Daily Melodies”) featuring a montage of their fans from around the world captured on their computer video screens. It’s since been nominated for the 2009 Japan Video Awards. Low-res? Sure. Low budget? Definitely. But high-concept, crazy creative, and effective as well – everything we want in a marketing campaign.

Locally, my favorite urban aloha band Kapakahi made a video invite for their 2010 kickoff party. Armed with a 15-foot green screen, a lot of creative input, and a whole roll of tinfoil, they came up with a hilarious homage to the movie Back to the Future. Click here to view.

For your personal foray into video marketing, thecommich suggests the following:

1) Pick a good frontman – or woman

And my this I don’t mean “good looking” – I mean “good.” As in, someone who is likeable and who likes the camera. Someone who speaks clearly, spontaneously, and with emotion in their voice. And yes, a little eye candy doesn’t hurt.  Even though video is cheaper than ever to produce, it still costs effort and money to come out right. Don’t waste it on people who don’t want the job or can’t handle it.

In some cases (Like Tom Dickson’s), a person’s strangeness can help carry the piece – but don’t forget that right after Tom spoke he was annihilating garden rakes in a blender. If you don’t have as much of a spectacle to follow up your frontman’s poor delivery, you’re in for trouble.

2) Rehearse ’til it looks spontaneous

One of the most agonizing things to watch on camera is someone who is unprepared for the task at hand. Watch any episode of The Next Food Network Star  if you don’t believe me. The long pauses, the nervous laughter, the gazing off camera – brutal. This effect is TRIPLED if you are going for drama, i.e. something that requires acting.

Again – don’t force people into roles they don’t want to do. If you insist on a skit or dramatic piece for your campaign, go to Castingnetworks.com or ModelMayhem.com and recruit talent on the cheap. Some models/actors will do your project for free because they need the exposure – just be sure to ask for a demo, and know that you get what you pay for (i.e. don’t blame the commich if you are on take 45, stuck with a lisper who needs to say “Sissy said so.”)

If you are the designated host or frontman, try practicing in front of a mirror, or videotape and review yourself alone. If you can deliver your lines without cringing at yourself, you should be OK.

3) Forget the word “viral”
Many executives have come to me saying “we want to make a viral video. How can we make a viral video?” The answer is: Make a good video that gets your message across, and if you do it right it will go viral.

Sure, Captain Obvious.” Says the Guy Who Wants All The Answers Now. “But what is a good video?”

As Rick Cusick said in my last post,  it’s a little bit of art, a little of science. But for me it should cover the basics:

Does it speak to your target market? Kapakahi made a funny video, sure. But it is only truly hilarious for the fans who have seen Back to the Future and know what the soundtrack sounds like, or what a Flux Capacitor is. Incidentally, they also happen to be the older fans who can afford to buy merchandise, go to their shows and pay drinks while they watch ’em. Ka-ching!

Does it pitch your product or service the right way? Blendtec had only one thing in mind, and that was to show people how reliable and powerful their blenders were. They didn’t try to call the blenders “sophisticated, with a modern and ergonomic design.” They said “it’ll pulverize anything you put in it,” and that’s all you needed to hear.

– Did you put a little oomph in it? The kids from Sour didn’t stop at putting their fan’s faces in the video – they found a way for the fans to create stunning visual effects with the simplest of movements, and conceptualized the use of glowsticks (bleedin’ glowsticks!) to make a mosaic of shapes and colors at the end of the piece.  Even if all you’re doing is videotaping your CEO talking about your product/service’s outstanding capabilities, you can always insert something memorable in the script. Don’t be satisfied with sending out the message… send it giftwrapped with a bow on it.