Corporate video has come on leaps and bounds in the last ten to fifteen years. TV commercials and the ever-improving web have given huge brands superb opportunities to capture their target audiences imagination and leave rival businesses, filmmakers and scriptwriters thinking: “I wish I’d thought of that!”
How many times have you seen a cool advert on TV or online and chuckled to yourself? How many times have you been talking to your friends and suddenly blurted out: “It’s like that advert for…”
The big brands know what they’re doing and (luckily for them) they have the cash to invest in the best filmmakers, special effects teams and screenwriters to make ads that are as good as any film you’ll see in cinemas.
Also take into account that some of the biggest filmmakers working in the UK and Hollywood today either started off by making adverts or have made ads between films. David Fincher, he of The Social Network, Se7en and Fight Club fame, came up through the music video and ad route, as did Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott. Top British director Shane Meadows – of This is England fame – directed an ad for Robinson’s cordial between films.
There was a time when the term ‘corporate video’ was treated like dirt, but not now. Gone are the boring white shirt and tie videos of the Eighties, replaced with state-of-the-art effects and modern storytelling.
The internet and the advances in technology for cameras, editing software and effects software has meant that you don’t need corporate dollars to make ads and viral videos. You just need to be creative.
For some businesses, that’s where the trouble begins. There’s always a chance that your once-in-a-lifetime idea has been made already, and it’s not going to look too good if your video is labelled a rip-off by those in the know. I’ve had this situation lately, when excitedly pitching an idea for a video about Google’s Panda algorithm update:
“And then a man dressed in a Panda suit comes in and smashes all of our computers…”
The reply: “Like this video?”
The EXACT SAME IDEA is Skype’d over to me, and I’m left feeling deflated and more than a little stupid. It’s pretty funny though, so I’ve learned to live with it.
The problem that would have come with that idea is that if you don’t have the resources to put the more creative and elaborate ideas for videos into fruition, it can come across as desperate, unprofessional or worse – just plain awful!
Keeping it simple is sometimes the best way forward. Apple and M&S are two prime examples of the less-is-more approach to ad video. When you see an M&S food ad, you know you’ve seen something special… And you want to eat it that second!
The most important part of the video is to get your point across, and if you can do this by creating a good video that highlights all of your businesses best attributes without the use of explosions, hilarity and Oscar winning acting, it will have the desired effect.
Here are two examples of great ads: One simple, one extravagant. They both work wonders:
There are hundreds and thousands of student filmmakers who wish they’d made this advert as a short film. Lynx ads have always had a ‘wish fulfilment’ element to them, and here they took that, mixed it with a simple-yet-fantastic idea that could quite easily be the plot of a Hollywood movie and made this little piece of gold.
“I’m a PC!” Here is a perfect example of a company who could have spent millions on an OTT, super-special-effects ad, but who chose the simple, less-is-more approach instead. They nailed it. Any company could come up with the idea for a simple face-to-camera ad, but Microsoft did it so well here, even creating a catchphrase to boot.
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