It seems like every other day some video surfaces as the new viral hit, racking up millions of views in a short span of time. Often it’s serendipitous footage someone has managed to capture, such as a cute puppy breaking up a fight between two other dogs, or the world’s worst parking attempt.
More and more, however, viral videos are not just camcorder highlights but the carefully-thought-out efforts of a company marketing their products or services. Think of the ad craze for “The Big Game,” in which the sharing of and commenting on the commercials has become a cultural event unto itself.
Viral ≠ Expensive
But it’s not only video produced for broadcast on network television. Some of the most impactful ads are ones that were never even aired. Indeed, brands will produce something they know will never make it past network censors, such as this clever one starring Anna Kendrick for Newcastle Brown Ale. The entire piece is her lamenting that their commercial never got made.
Many videos are made for a fraction of the cost of a TV spot, and they are never intended to play anywhere except for YouTube, social media and the company’s website.
Some of these are one-offs that become a viral hit and then go away. But really smart brands are using humorous multimedia as a central plank of their outreach strategy, producing entire campaigns of videos.
Blended efforts produce results
One of my favorites is the “Will It Blend?” series from Blendtec, a company that manufactures high-end blenders.
Founder Tom Dickson wanted a way to demonstrate exactly how powerful their blenders are, and he began making videos of himself stuffing all sorts of crazy objects into their blenders and chewing them up — credit cards, a whole chicken and children’s action figures among them.
Dickson soon began fielding requests from people who wanted to suggest other things to be pulverized in a Blendtec blender. Thus, the name of the viral video campaign was born. The campaign really took off when Dickson put a first-generation iPhone into the blender and turned it into dust.
“Will It Blend?” is awesome because it memorably shows off the features of the product they’re selling while being hysterically funny. (Dickson’s dry “science guy” wit is a big bonus.) To date, the viral series has seen dozens of episodes with more than 300 million views on YouTube — and boosting Blendtec’s sales tremendously.
Challenges with online video
Of course, there are dangers in this sort of “rogue” marketing. Humor is challenging, because not everybody is funny, and not everyone will react the same way to the humor. One person’s killer joke is horribly offensive to someone else.
You also have to consider who your base of customers is and if you can reach them through YouTube and social media.
The best online videos are short — preferably 90 seconds or less, according to Shawn Sorrells. He should know: in addition to being Coles Marketing’s in-house videographer/photographer, he was also a TV news videographer and editor for many years.
“Nothing has the emotional impact of video,” Sorrells said. “If you can hit an emotional chord with someone, you’re well on your way to converting them into a customer.”
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Categories: 2014 July Newsletter, Newsletters | Tags: Tags: agency, Coles, Coles Marketing, Coles Marketing Communications, communications, communications Indianapolis, Indiana, Indiana public relations agency, Indianapolis, Indianapolis public relations, marketing, photo, photography, photos, Video, Videography, viral video
Tips on How to Use Photos With News Releases
A good photograph can tell your company’s story in one glance. When submitting a news release to the media, it may be wise to include a complementary photo. A good photograph is one that tells a story or improves upon a story. When including a photo, use one that will enhance or illustrate the news release and will serve the purpose of portraying a positive image of the organization.
A “photo bank” which includes some of the following photographs is an important resource for your company. All photos should be in electronic format.
• Head-and-shoulders shots of the organization’s major officers
• Art of the organization’s logo
• Photos of the corporate headquarters or important equipment
• Action photos of some of the organization’s special events (fund-raisers, etc.)
• Photos of any regular functions the organization holds
If your organization has a “photo bank” or “photo file,” go through it frequently and update the photos when possible. Even if your submitted news release does not get used, the accompanying picture from your organization may be used by the media.
When sending a photo with a news release make sure of the following:
• Photos must be clear and in focus.
• They should not contain too many people.
• Photos should contain action. The photo should “say” something about your organization.
• Captions or cut lines should be included.
• Always identify people in the photo, left to right, and include their titles with their names.
Editors can use photos in a variety of ways. Human interest photos may be used to fill space at the last minute. These types of photos are not “dated” and can be used at any time during the year. Action shots are often used featuring children, dogs and animals. News shots and feature photos are timely and newsworthy. These types of photos relate to a true news event. Photos can also be useful when sending releases to a TV station for the purpose of getting on a talk show.
When photographs are sent along with a news release as supplementary material, make sure that both the photo and the news release can each stand alone. Editors will often use either the photo or news release separately. With that in mind, make sure that both the photo and release each tell a story about your organization without the support of the other.
Photographs can be taken by either a professional or someone within your organization. The photographer you choose should remember these basic tips:
• Make sure the people in the picture are not too posed.
• When photographing an awards event, camera angle and distance can enliven a presentation photo.
• Close-ups and head shots should come alive. Try for a candid photo so the mood and character of the person comes through.
• Shoot fast and often to catch expressions.
• If taking a full-length picture, have the background relate to the environment of the organization.
• ACTION!!! Show some action in the picture. Readers are more likely to read a story about your organization if the photo sparks their interest.
If prepared properly, photographs can enhance an organization’s credibility and can increase publicity efforts.
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