Video as an advertising tool has been around for nearly 80 years. The very first TV commercial for Bulova Watch Company, which was 10 seconds long and ran during a Brooklyn Dodgers game in 1941, stated simply, “America runs on Bulova time.”
Eight decades later, video remains the single most dynamic and influential medium in terms of conveying a persuasive message. And while the new digital landscape has fractured the video audience into smaller and smaller niches (gone are the days when 106 million people watched the M*A*S*H finale), it also has presented us with a plethora of additional means and channels with which to target and speak to customers.
With our nimble, in-house video department, Hart is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the new video landscape. Here are just a few examples of how we leverage our expertise to create dynamic video content for our clients.
Gone in 30 seconds.
Perhaps the biggest change to video brought on by the digital age has been a move beyond 30-second spots. Thirty seconds was, for decades, the length of choice when creating content for television. And while the 30-second spot still has a place on network and cable TV, we now regularly create content that’s anywhere from six seconds in length to several minutes, each coming with its own unique set of challenges.
Give us a minute. Or three.
Digital formats have freed advertisers from the constraints of time completely. Because clients can post content online without having to buy time from a media source, a video can be as long as they want it to be. That said, our experience has taught us that going beyond three minutes tends to result in a fairly precipitous drop in viewership.
The key to holding attention in a two- to three-minute video is to be entertaining in some manner. Be funny, dramatic, emotional, simply tell a good story – it doesn’t matter so long as viewers don’t feel as if their time is being wasted. In the following example – a video we produced for the introduction of the Cat RP Portable Generator – we combined dramatic footage with in-house special effects to give Caterpillar’s new consumer product a feisty, engaging personality.
Let’s get graphic.
Another tool in our video kit is the use of motion graphics. Motion graphics can be used sparingly to dramatically enhance the look of a video, as with this piece for Bowling Green State University football.
But motion graphics can also be used fully in videos when going out and shooting content is cost prohibitive. Sometimes the story is simply better told with motion graphics, as is the case with this graphics-only video for the Ohio Lottery’s “Royal Gems” game.
Another recent development in the world of video is formatting content for mobile devices. Traditionally, video has been shot and edited to fit the standard televisions of the day; first a 4:3 aspect ratio and, more recently, 16:9. These are both horizontal formats. When a video is viewed on a phone, however, it’s generally viewed vertically, otherwise it gets really small or requires rotating the phone. Much like most web content must now be designed with mobile devices in mind, so too is the case with video. Here’s an example from our recent Owens Community College campaign showing how we work in vertical.
Creators of video content today have more tools in their box than ever, including both virtual and augmented reality, which we’ll get into in another blog post. Video, as it’s been since its inception, remains the single most dynamic and influential medium for conveying a message. What’s changed is that the guardrails are gone. Today’s video storytellers have more options, and fewer constraints, which makes taking full advantage of video experts like those at Hart all the more critical.