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Video Killed the Satellite Star

on Thu, Dec 1, 2011 - 4:09 pm


Radio might not be the only outlet on the chopping block. Broadcast TV had better watch its back.

According to recent Comscore data, Americans are watching more video online than ever before—42.6 billion videos, to be exact. In the month of October (2011), internet users watched that many videos across a number of platforms—YouTube, Facebook, Vevo, Yahoo!, AOL and more.  Google—the parent company of YouTube—has also announced plans to expand channel offerings, giving viewers exclusive content from the likes of skater Tony Hawk, Deepak Chopra, Red Bull, The Onion, Slate and Madonna.

Today’s consumers are spending more time watching video online—on their desktop computers, laptops, streaming to TV devices such as Roku, or watching on their smart phones while commuting to work. The average viewer watches over 21.1 hours of video online each month.

So, how does a video capture the interest of viewers, given that there are so many out there to choose from? Does it take big production budgets and slick campaigns? Or is it something else?

When it comes down to it, there are three areas a video can explore to actually engage the viewer. Whether or not a video goes ‘viral’—spreading around the internet from user to user, racking up the hit count—is often more a matter of luck. Focusing on the following three video ‘types,’ though, might help your message get through the clutter.


Approaching a video from a creative angle can help a project stand out. Take, for instance, the music video done by Kina Grannis for her song, “In Your Arms.”

A nice, catchy song, to be sure, but one the benefits greatly from a unique—if exhaustingly creative—video presentation. Using 288,000 jelly beans (Jelly Belly, to be exact—a nice side plug for that company,) director Greg Jardin employed stop-motion animation for Grannis’ video.

The end result is a sweet (pun intended) music video that uses an old technique in a refreshingly new way—a creative approach that has helped propel the video to over 3,461,100 views on YouTube.


Using the element of surprise is a second tactic that works well with video, as in this next example from Dermablend Pro for their “Go Beyond the Cover” campaign.

We’ve all seen time-lapse videography before—but what makes this video (featuring Lady Gaga friend/”Born This Way” star Zombie Boy) stand out is that it reverses our expectations. Usually, videos will show the inking of tattoos on a body in the order of application, but in this project Zombie Boy is shown “au natural”—wearing the Dermablend Pro product—until the video reveals his true, tattooed state underneath.

For some, the final reveal might be shocking, but it plays into the campaign’s question of how one judges others—based upon their surface appearance, or what’s underneath. Over 6,813,238 views on YouTube, and the video is still growing. Fascinating stuff.


The third approach for videos is perhaps the most important, as it employs the tactic of making an emotional connection with the viewer. A powerful example is the recent video from Get Up! Australia, titled “It’s Time.”

Get Up! Australia produced the video to help change public opinion in that country regarding same-sex marriage rights, and to repeal Australia’s Marriage Act. Using sharp production and a clear narrative, the video shows that the trials and tribulations of love are often the same for any relationship—even if that relationship involves a same-sex couple.

Over 2,927,721 YouTube viewings (more than 600 views alone in the time that it took to write this segment of the post,) and this video is definitely spreading the message its creators intended.

Whether your video project is touting a holiday sale or explaining your company’s mission statement, think about how you can convey your message to viewers. You don’t necessarily need a slick campaign or big production budgets. (Producers of the Get Up! Australia project admitted that their budget was miniscule.)

Try approaching your project in fresh, visually exciting ways. Use elements of creativity, surprise, and emotional appeal to get your message across.

In the end—and with a little luck—your video might just outdo vicious, furry little animals (NSFW) on the web.