Video has always been an effective medium, however how has the change to online impacted the creative and script choices that are made by video production and creative companies?
We’ll talk about YouTube since it’s the biggest online video hosting company in the world. As far as advertising goes we’ll talk about pre-roll ads, which are ads that play before your cat video is about to start. Unlike television, with online video you don’t have the benefit of someone watching your ad for even 30 seconds – unlike traditional television which will play your video ad in its entirety, YouTube will only play the first 5 seconds of the ad, and after this the user has the option to skip it (and I’m guessing over 95% do).
There was a video that played recently however… that I didn’t skip. That I watched until the end, and it intrigued me – what was it about this video that made me watch it. Below is the video for you to check out:
This video is exactly what is needed for a pre-roll ad. Here’s why:
Unexpected & Random – the video begins in a boring fashion. An executive is talking about some boring company… straight away your eyes begin to glaze and you place your mouse over the ‘Skip Ad’ button. Then… a ninja jumps out of nowhere and chloroforms this poor little executive lady to sleep. Ok… you have my attention! The whole video is actually unexpected and random. Like when it zooms out to show a woman is working at her desk and making a vase with her feet at the same time. These moments come up again and again, never letting up, catering to the short attention span of 99% of YouTube users (including myself).
Violence – what gets a person’s attention faster than violence? If you were the typical ‘corporate’ company you would think using ‘violence’ in your video PURELY for purposes of entertainment would be ‘simply wrong’. However a company such as the Rail Safety Board in Brisbane used violence (dying on platform tracks) as a purely comedic device. The point is that if you use violence in a funny way you immediately gain attention (a valuable commodity online) and create a conversation. In this particular video a person is not only chluroformed but another is killed with a ninja star. It’s the last thing you would think would be in an HR recruitment company but it gets attention!
Understand the Medium – if you go to the OneShift website you’ll notice that they have a video on there… but it’s totally different from the one on YouTube! Why? Because the producers of the content quite intelligently understood the medium. When showcasing your video on YouTube the most important thing is gaining attention, remember you are basically competing with millions of videos, not to mention full length films. Why should someone watch your video? However once someone lands on your website they all ready have at least some interest in what it is you do and your services, so you don’t need to be as outrageous to capture attention, now you can be more relaxed and explain exactly what you do.
Risk – there are risks taken in the One Shift video from a creative direction… and here’s what I’ve realized, while the video is not THAT funny… it’s interesting. It kept me entertained and for that I actually became interested in checking out their website. Think about this… if you make a commercial that ATTEMPTS to be funny while getting the message across but it doesn’t achieve the ‘funny’ goal is that a big deal? Are you going to be dropped from your prime time slot? No, it’s a commercial, you’re not making a TV series. I can guarantee your commercial will be more interesting than 95% of the generic stuff out there.
Remember, anyone can make a non memorable ad. It’s easy to stay safe, it’s harder to go outside the comfort zone and when you do people take notice and you get the attention and respect you deserve.
What do you think? Do you find this ad funny or way too crazy?