Category Archives: Online Video

Why Use Only Half?

Would you consider producing a TV spot or internet video ad with no images — just an audio track over blank screen? Of course not.

Then why would you produce one with ONLY images, and no copy?

I’ve always found the practice more than a little frustrating. When there’s no V/O or dialogue as part of your video, and the viewer turns his head, or looks at her smartphone, or is otherwise distracted away from the screen, the ad becomes worthless. If the viewer HAS to be engaged — HAS to be looking at the message to receive and process it — then I think you’re passing up an opportunity to make a stronger connection with your audience.

Meantime, when I’m watching TV, and a commercial break comes and I get up and head to the kitchen for my beverage of choice, from over my shoulder, I’m still able to hear…

And the advertiser STILL has a chance to make an impression on my thirsty and impressionable little mind. Because here’s the thing: While video doesn’t permeate consciousness unless you’re actually watching, sound still works, even if you’re not actively listening. Add a catchy jingle like in the above example, and a high-frequency broadcast schedule, and now you’ve got a formula for an effective ad campaign.

To put it another way: In your TV ad, you have the opportunity to both say something AND show something. Why wouldn’t you do both if you have the chance?

Magic Brownie Adventure Movie, Starring Cheech and Chong

This is how it’s done, friends:

Fiber One has knocked long-form sponsored online video out of the park with this one. It’s genuinely funny and entertaining, and they found the absolute perfect spokesmen to reach the perfect demographic for the product (which you’ll note, we aren’t even exposed to until two minutes in).

It’s advertising like this that inspires me, and makes me proud to be in the business. I’d write more here, but I wanna go think up one for my clients, now.

Filemail: Large-File Transfer Made Pretty Darn Easy

Most everyone I know who works with video or photos is always on the hunt for an easy way to share or transfer them.  Tough part is, unless you’re sending a REALLY low-resolution video, most video files are fairly large — too large to simply attach in an ordinary e-mail.

There are a ton of websites that allow you to send large files, and I’ve tried several. And with most, there are positives and negatives. Some are paid, many of the free ones are riddled with ads that make navigating the site confusing, and others may limit your file sizes to only a few hundred Megabytes.

Filemail is one I found recently that seems the most intuitive and user-friendly.

It’s free, but upgradable to Premium service for only $4 monthly.  The free version allows transfer of files up to 2 Gb.  Premium service ups your allowable file size to a whopping 10 Gb. It also allows you to upload multiple files, which is huge for photo-sharing with friends or family, because now all (or most of) your photos can be sent at once. There’s even a Corporate upgrade. You can compare the various plans here.
But even if you’re not interested in a paid membership, Filemail is still an easy to use and VERY convenient free service for the once-in-awhile large file sharer who doesn’t have his/her own FTP site.

Train Wrecks and Singing Cows…

Over in Washington, D.C. at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, they TOTALLY see the value in using a little online video marketing to drive home their point about the overreaching regulations the Federal Government is trying to impose on the U.S.’s Agricultural and Ranching  industries.

And in their ultimate wisdom, they even saw fit to hire Slater’s Garage to produce these two pieces.  The first is called “The Over-Regulation All Across the Nation Blues,” and features the work of some of my favorite collaborative partners, John Hill, Bill DaButler, and Thom Osborne, who lent their animation, facial, and vocal skills, respectively, for this video:

And the second is called “The Regulatory Train Wreck,” which features many of the Federal regulations “coming down the track” for farmers and ranchers, reaching the inevitable conclusion when the track runs out:

Thanks to the NCBA for pulling us in on this project. We were pleased to be a part of it.

 

How to Find Freelance Partners

I’m a big fan of Nick Bertke, whose professional handle is Pogo. He’s a VJ/producer who creates songs using music and sounds from films like Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. Recently, Pogo hosted a contest inviting people to provide video to accompany a song called “Mellow Brick Road,” which uses audio from The Wizard of Oz.  Here’s the winning entry, by a guy named Reed Gauthier:

As a freelance producer of audio and video, I do a fair amount of solo work. But I also have a circle of partners I work with: voice people, singers, animators, graphic designers, etc. And a common question I’m asked is “How do you meet these people?”

Well, it’s pretty easy, actually. I reach out and introduce myself. I sent an e-mail to the animator of the above video, saying “I’m a fan. Congrats,” along with a short introduction of myself, and telling him how I’m always on the lookout for freelance partners. I don’t know the guy even slightly, and we may never end up working together. But now that a connection has been initiated, there’s an opportunity — a door instead of a wall. That door may not open, but a wall NEVER will.

It’s SO easy to make connections in the digital world. Isn’t it worth a few minutes of your time to reach out to someone in your field, even if only to say, “I’m a fan. I enjoy your work?”

My Creative Homeless Shelter

One of the most valuable lessons of my career is one I learned when I was in college, interning for Michael Coleman at WZLX in Boston:  Keep everything.

I have archives with all my old scripts, and most of the stuff I’ve produced is still on file someplace (I’ve changed computers several times over the years, so I’ve lost some stuff, unfortunately). Why? Because you just never know when something will come in handy.

On the Plane – Danke Schoen Parody

I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as a wasted idea. Clients have sometimes rejected my ideas for commercials over the years. When I was writing and producing bits and parodies for Daily Comedy Network, submissions would sometimes not get picked up. Hey, let’s face it: You won’t hit the mark every time. But, you can still turn that rejection into a positive.

http://www.poptent.net/getplayer/17354

Whenever a concept or a spot, or script gets kicked back, I still keep it, per that valuable lesson I learned back in 1992. That piece immediately gets moved to a special folder I have on my computer, named “Homeless Shelter.” It’s where all my ideas live which haven’t yet found “homes.” I keep them well-fed. I visit them frequently; check in, see how they’re doing. And sometimes I can re-purpose one of them for a new project that comes up.

Portly Boy – Parody of Lonely Boy by Andrew Gold

For me, coming up with the initial idea — the jumping-off point — is usually the most difficult part of the creative process. So I’ll often visit the Shelter first, to see if any ideas can be recycled for the project I’m working on, but secondly, because even if I can’t re-use the ideas there, they often will be great thought-starters to spark something new.

http://www.poptent.net/getplayer/17168

The pieces I’ve posted here all currently reside in my Homeless Shelter.  They’re all pieces which have previously been rejected for whatever reason but which I still use as creative inspiration. I invite you to watch, listen, and most importantly, consider creating a “Homeless Shelter” archive of your own, where you can begin to amass a cache of ideas to draw from, as well.

Does “Great Creative” Mean “Great Advertising”?

Kevin Nalty of Nalts Consulting posted this spot for Intel over at his blog, and beneath that is my comment, taken verbatim from there:

“Wow… What a fun spot!

Viral or not, I’d happily watch that as an interruption to my regularly scheduled TV programming choices (which are becoming fewer and fewer these days anyway), even at 2 minutes, as posted…

All the little “surprises” as they switched apps along the way — Google Earth to Quicktime, to gaming, to YouTube — kept me engaged throughout, and they framed it out nicely with Intel branding at the start and finish…

The only thing I didn’t *quite* get was what viewers (customers looking for a computer upgrade, i presume?) are supposed to DO after seeing this… Call me old fashioned, but even advertising with dazzling creative like this needs a call to action…”

So, assuming we agree that it’s a pretty cool piece of creative, is it great advertising?  Does it compel the viewer to buy?  Does it need a clear missive to viewers to go DO something?  Call, click, stop by, etc.?  Is that even important?

Love to hear your thoughts…