With video consumption skyrocketing, 2013 is shaping up to be the year of the video. Cisco has predicted that in less than four years’ time, video viewing will be bigger than Facebook and Twitter, making up 69 percent of consumer internet traffic. In many cases, people are more likely to watch a video than read a long block of text. In fact, the average time spent on pages with videos was three minutes as compared to one minute and 30 seconds on pages without videos. Also, almost 60 percent of C-level and senior executives said they would watch a video before reading text on the same web page. eMarketer has predicted that more than 73 million people will watch mobile video in 2013, a 20 percent increase from 2012. And Vine, Twitter’s new micro-social network, has a winning formula for “Generation ADD.” With its six-second limit, Vine producers must be concise with their creations. The result is a wonderful supply of hilarious, surprising and most inventive mini-movies. Here’s what I learned after reviewing some of the year’s great video successes.
1) Create an Over-the-Top Experience.
Are you ready to create a totally unexpected experience, involve real people and capture their spontaneous reactions? Some of the best videos do just that. Coca Cola was an early pioneer with videos capturing college students reactions to vending machines transformed into “happiness” experiences.
Fast forward to 2013 and brands are creating one-of-a kind, full-blown theatrical experiences. In the “Best Bus Stop Ever,” mobile innovator Qualcomm suggested how everyday experiences can become extraordinary by adding mobile to your life. First they covered a metro bus stop in Los Angeles with ads asking people who were bored or in a hurry to use their mobile devices to go to a special website. Those who clicked through and visited the site were offered unbelievable rides to work in a Lamborghini, via a dogsled, or on a bus filled with adorable puppies. Along the ride they were introduced to Qualcomm’s new product, the HTC One; 3,341,331 views later, this one-time experience in LA continues to enjoy a big afterlife.
Another favorite is of mine is “Dramatic Surprise on an Ice Cold Day,” produced by Turner Network Television (TNT). This brilliantly edited three-minute movie perfectly articulates TNT’s message that they offer a “daily dose of drama.”
2) It’s Still the Battle of the Sexes.
About a week ago I watched a new PBS documentary of women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King’s 1973 exhibition match with self-proclaimed “male chauvinist” Bobby Riggs. Though Billie Jean was fighting for an equal place in the then male-dominated sport of tennis, the event itself was a full blown male vs. female fight to the finish. Forty years later, in the quest to promote their products, companies are still finding new, often humorous ways, to pit men against women.
One of the best I have seen recently is “LG Fright Test” a hilarious video shot in a men’s bathroom. I’m not a guy, but I have been told that for men, one of the biggest problems when in a public bathroom is seeing people looking at them while they are peeing. LG brought this up a whole level by placing screens over the urinals and making men believe they were actually being watched by, you guessed it, gorgeous women. As the men watched, “fight” gave way to experiencing the incredible clarity of the TV. Provocative subject, but certainly caught my attention and it was done in a way that ultimately did not offend.
3) Issues Still Matter.
Video is one of the best media to link a product, brand or service to issues consumers care about. With this strategy, content can be emotional to drive strong consumer engagement. Marketers like Dove and their “Real Beauty Sketches Campaign” deliver powerful content that makes you question the norm. With only 4 percent of women around the world saying they consider themselves “beautiful,” Dove’s message is about creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence not anxiety.
This past June, American Express launched the “Passion Project,” hoping to inspire and encourage people to pursue their passion projects. The #PassionProject brings together leading experts, how-to advice, personal profiles and a monthly contest to inspire consumers to pursue the projects that are important and meaningful to their lives. Video plays a key role. Through their YouTube channel, Amex shines light on #PassionProject members through profiles and how-to “do-torial” videos of people who are making an impact through projects they feel passionately about. One of the first members of #PassionProject is Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water, which brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. The video has been up only two months and already has 1,730,105 views. Amex has struck a great cord here; being passionate about living is something everyone can relate to.
As you think about the last months of 2013 and shape your plans for 2014, remember these three video strategies, as they can help you create content for those “viral” videos your client keeps asking about.