In my last blog, I discussed strategies for making a great video which includes identifying your goal and intended target audience. Now comes the fun part, flexing your creative muscle.
The most effective videos are timeless and deliver instant association with the products or services such as Hershey’s Christmas ad. Many of us have grown up with the soft-sell ad featuring 11 chocolates “ringing” to the tune of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” Hershey’s has run this ad since its inception in 1989 and consumer’s don’t get tired of seeing it because it only runs for a few months out of the year. Furthermore, the product hasn’t changed which makes the commercial timeless.
Similar to Hershey’s nostalgia approach, ads with humor are considered soft-sell and are designed to get the consumer's attention without being too direct in the sales pitch. Beer commercials that feature humor are some of the more popular soft-selling advertisements on television today. Advertisers who use humor are looking to associate a positive feeling with their products. This approach is intended to entertain rather than make the viewer feel like they are watching a commercial.
The soft-sell approach works well for companies looking to increase brand recognition and create a rapport with consumers. On the other hand, a hard-sell approach is intended to create a feeling of urgency for the consumer. Car dealers are notorious for producing and running these types of ads.
In addition to nostalgia and humor, you may also want to consider other tones such as: cute, caring, or conservative/traditional.
Once you have decided on the tone of your video, you should decide on a structure. Without some preplanning and structure in mind before you start recording, it’s all too easy to ramble and get off topic. Think of your video as a short-movie. It should have a beginning, a middle, and end.
Below are some popular video structures to choose from:
Donut: This includes music and/or action at the start and close of the video with a very specific message in the middle. The structure makes it easy and more affordable to update your video message at a later date.
Dramatic: This approach attempts to create interest by appealing to the viewer’s emotional involvement. The primary purpose of the commercial is to create a feeling or mood. Hallmark Christmas ads are a good example.
Endorsement: Often delivered by a celebrity or authority who advocates or recommends that product or service but does not claim personal use or satisfaction.
Testimonial: These videos feature customer endorsements of a product and or service. They may include one individual or more than one person.
Vignettes: A series of two or more stories that can stand alone.
Slice of Life: An interplay between two or more people that portrays a conceivable real life situation with continuity of action. Insurance companies like Progressive, All-State, and Geico are great examples of this.
Surprise and Suspense: This structure is self-explanatory and a bit challenging for a novice writer or producer.
Regardless of which type of ad you choose to create, the true measure of success should always be based on consumer response. Thus, when it comes to commercial videos, you can expect Hallmark will continue to strive for emotional response while auto dealers continue to drive home their messages by using the hard-sell approach. As the saying goes, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”