Why Your Commercial Won't Work Online

“Video is great!”


“Online video is better!”

“Let’s take our TV commercial from last year, put it on YouTube, and watch it go viral!!”

Have you had this conversation recently with colleagues, a marketing committee, or worse yet, your Agency? Does any of this sound familiar to you? Then here are a few reasons to put the brakes on, before you spend any more time or money editing your TV commercials to upload them to YouTube. Because, no, even in your industry, it won’t work.

1) Video IS great, but there’s a difference between “commercial” and “viral”

We’ve all seen the YouTube videos that went viral. From “wedding dance mashup” to “Charlie bit my finger” to “Evolution of Dance”, and we’ve passed them along to friends. They are funny, unique, or witty in some way, and can fill 2.5 minutes of entertainment. Notice what’s missing though? They are not selling anything. There are no companies involved, no large production budgets. Just people with a camera and a few minutes to spare. While you may be able to create an online video that combines humor, interesting facts, or a witty situation, by making it promotional you immediately lose the experience that makes it worthy of being passed around.

2) Interrupting vs. Inbound

There is a common theme behind advertisements of any type. They are meant to interrupt us while we are doing something else. Commercials during a radio program, ads in between sections of our favorite tv shows, billboards in our sight while driving, print ads in between the articles we are reading. While I’m not knocking traditional advertising, in fact it can be a very effective method of driving awareness, there is a major difference between the marketing methods that interrupt you while doing other things, and the ones you will actively seek out. From there, it is easy to see why crossing those lines and using an “interrupting” media in a forum where you are looking for people to seek you out, it is easy to see how that would fail.

3) How you CAN Succeed

We’re not trying to be all “Debbie Downer” here, really. There are many ways that video can help you achieve your goals, but it is important to use the right media in the right place, at the right time. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Think “interesting” or “resourceful” rather than “promotional”. Are you trying to sell a complicated product? Embed video on your website and upload it to YouTube to show people how easy it use to use, and share some tips with them.
  • Have an awareness issue? Create an interesting or funny video that will get attention, but keep it non-promotional. At the very end, tag on a teaser slide to “see more” and include your website.
  • Looking to keep customers and prospects interested? Include video links in your monthly e-newsletters with updates and industry information.
  • Are your competitors advertising heavily? That’s a great time for you to benefit from their media budgets. Include some of the keywords and phrases they are using in your video descriptions, and show the benefit of your product/service over theirs.
  • Most importantly: Don’t make it look like a Hollywood production. Some of the best viral videos were developed with nothing more than a digital camera and some so-so lighting. The key to Keeping It Real is to make sure the entire production looks real, never scripted.

We look forward to seeing your Videos!! Please comment and share them here, we’ll help you promote them.

Image courtesy of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cloudzilla/50257242/