It's been six years since YouTube went live, bringing online video to the masses and giving marketers a great tool for reaching online consumers. People watch 2 billion videos every day on YouTube alone, and there is a growing number of fantastic options for marketers -- including video hosting sites, ad networks, and white-label video platforms -- that are providing even more access points to consumers who yearn for information and entertainment.
At its most basic point, online video gives advertisers a chance to extend the reach of their TV creative by bringing it online. But video's potential is nearly limitless; it's a medium that pushes creative boundaries and redefines standard advertising.
You're most certainly aware that last year Old Spice reached millions of consumers with its "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign. Following that, brands are approaching video in a variety of ways, using long-form videos, slick production, and cutting-edge techniques in combination with old-fashioned storytelling to grab consumer attention.
To that end, here are four great video campaigns that you might have missed.
There's no better way to demonstrate a product than to make a commercial using the advertised product, which is what Olympus did in this campaign for its PEN cameras. The team making the video used the camera to shoot photos for the 355 billboards that appear in the stop-motion clip. It's something of a sequel to an earlier PEN video that used thousands of small photo prints and a similar stop-motion technique.
We've seen the stop-motion effect before, and other brands have used the product to shoot online ads, including Samsung with its H205 digital camcorder. But what makes the Olympus video really great is that it uses these elements to tell a compelling story. It's entirely possible for brands to spend five minutes showcasing flashy video techniques or funny talents, but the ads that really stick with consumers -- the ones that they watch all the way through -- are the ones that put a premium on a story that showcases the product.
And, in another great example of how online video can build stronger bonds with consumers, PEN put together a making-of documentary for the campaign.
Guy Walks Across America
Great online video can look very much like a TV campaign, or it can choose to look very different. This Levi's video is an example of the latter, combining very subtle advertising with the look and feel of consumer-generated video. In a neat bit of creative photo and video manipulation, the agency Conscious Minds combined stop-motion and time-lapse photography to simulate a man walking across the country, passing Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Mount Rushmore before arriving in San Francisco (home of Levi's headquarters).
The walking guy wears blue jeans throughout the video, but there's no glaring brand plug until the very end, when he tucks a list of accomplishments into his back pocket, prominently showing the trademark Levi's red tag. The campaign works because it's immediately eye-catching, but still looks like something a budding film student could put together for fun. If you weren't already aware, you might not know it was an ad for Levi's.
LinkedIn's Timeless Guide to Small Business Success
With the poor economy, LinkedIn has become a go-to site for the recently unemployed looking to rekindle old connections and help find a new job. But the social network is looking to expand beyond that and market itself as a valuable resource for small businesses to expand online. Its newly launched "Timeless Guide to Small Business Success" is designed to both advertise the LinkedIn product and help business owners use the social network to grow their business.
Here we have a series of videos produced by a brand to advertise its products and services that combines camp, comedy, and helpful tips into a winning formula. Each video, explaining how small business can advertise and find new employees on LinkedIn, is both helpful and self promotional. It taps into the irony-heavy "internet humor" vein by parodying classic instructional videos, complete with '70s-style graphics. LinkedIn is capitalizing on a popular aesthetic and co-opting it for its marketing purposes without coming across as boring or unoriginal. At the same time, it has signed FedEx as a sponsor, meaning that each video advertises two brands at once.
Hunter Shoots a Bear
There's nothing exciting about correction fluid, liquid paper -- or whatever you choose to call it. It's such a mundane product that it's usually referred to by the leading brand name, which is Wite-Out. So how does a competing brand like Tipp-Ex stand out? Innovative advertising helps, and Tipp-Ex's YouTube campaign for its Pocket Mouse product is noteworthy because of the way it plays with consumer expectations.
After a slapstick encounter between a hapless hunter and a bear, viewers choose whether to shoot the bear or not. Both options take viewers to a new page, where the hunter reaches outside of the video player, grabs a Tipp-Ex product from the adjacent display unit, and then uses it to erase part of the video's title. Innovative, imaginative -- and it showcases the product. Great stuff.
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