videos

Absurdity in Marketing

After a weekend of watching ghastly amounts of television, I was struck by the high percentage of ridiculous commercials I endured. We’ve all seen ridiculous commercials- there’s the kind that has you laughing so hard, you get side stitches, the kind that leaves you bewildered and asking “What was that commercial for, anyway?,” and everything in between. The most absurd commercials seem to come out around the holidays, and of course, the Super Bowl.

I remember when the first Geico gecko commercials came out (the “Stop Calling Me!” phase), and they’re still going strong with hilarious ads. Then there’s the E-Commerce baby, although we haven’t seen him in awhile, and many food related commercials including Snickers and Jack Links beef jerky (the ones with Sasquatch).

Why do companies use humor in advertising? According to this article from The Atlantic, our attention is more likely to be held when we perceive something as either a positive (or negative) experience. Most marketers lean towards the positive experience rather than negative, because they’d rather their audience have a positive association with the brand. Humor not only grabs attention, but holds onto it. That being said, there’s a fine line between hilarious and absurd. It’s a risky marketing strategy, and yet companies still use it.

This is one of my favorite Super Bowl commercials, because it combines my favorite candy with my love for this great song (and quite possibly Meatloaf himself).

Pros

When we think something is funny, we’re also more likely to share it with others. Sharing includes word of mouth, social media shares, e-mails to friends and/or co-workers- anything that gets the word out. Ridiculous content gets shared more organically (meaning people find the content worthy of sharing with others with no incentive or push from the company that put out the ad).

Doing something absurd helps your brand stand out. By sticking your neck out and doing something different, besides the “same old,” safe, guaranteed to work advertising routine, in many ways you’re demonstrating not only innovation but passion. By doing something risky, you send the message “I believe in my product, and am willing to take this chance on it.”

This is my favorite Geico commercial to date. They’re still using the “15 minutes” bit, and adding the ridiculousness of Pinocchio being a motivational speaker. Full disclosure, I find this commercial way funnier than is probably appropriate. Even just writing a brief blurb about is enough to send me into a delirious fit of giggling. That being said, I am not insured by Geico.



Cons

Risk is a larger factor when it comes to absurdity, or humor in general. First, there’s the risk that your ad isolates certain demographics. Some people may not be as receptive to your attempt at humor, so it’s important to consider your target audience, if no one else. Second, there’s always the chance that, hey, you aren’t as funny as you thought, and people don’t respond well (especially if you go the off-color or risque route). Third, if the attempt at humor seems too forced, it isn’t going to be funny.

Another risk is that people who see your funny/absurd/ridiculous ad will be so distracted by the humor, that they pay very little attention to your product. Humor can distract people from the intended purpose of the ad, and then you’re left with a net-zero situation.

If nothing else, avoid creating an ad that is so over-the-top that people don’t understand what you’re marketing. To emphasize this point, I was going to insert a video of an advertisement that was completely strange, and I can’t even tell you the name of the product. There was an aggressive magician wow-ing an inexplicably enthusiastic crowd, and he had some sort of product that (to me) resembled Airborne. I can’t tell you the name of the product. I can’t even tell you if the ad was for the magician guy or for the Airborne-like tablets he was waving around. I even tried Googling this commercial, but clearly was unsuccessful. Moral of the story: this ad was so absurd that it achieved nothing.

Instead, I decided to insert this delightful Starburst commercial. It a) clearly explains what their product is and why it is of value, and b) has a jaunty and ridiculous tune. Success!

This article from Time magazine explains that while funny ads get a lot of laughs and general appreciation, marketers “should use humor as a supplement — not a replacement” for content in any advertisement.

8 Inspirational People Who Put The Time In

I love that we live in a video culture, not because I think I’m particularly photogenic but I’ve always thought photos and text captured only part of a reality. A video can really give you an idea of someone’s mannerisms, voice, poise, and process. A video can give you a really good idea of who someone is and what they are about. (That’s part of why we’re doing so many videos this year.)

In a world where everything seems instantaneous, it’s nice to remember that people have put time in to get good at something. The time lapse video phenomenon allows us to enjoy this process without watching paint dry (sometimes in a very literal sense.)

Watching these videos, a few things struck me:

1) It is possible to show improvement over time in a wide variety of disciplines, from drawing to dancing. I kind of wish I had video of myself working six or seven years ago. I bet I type faster, do more complex tasks, and seem much more relaxed. It would be cool to see that!
2) It’s not about looks. It’s contrary to think that we’re watching videos but it’s not about what any of these people look like: it’s about what they’ve accomplished. Even the guy who takes selfies as he walks along, we might notice his beard slowly growing but we more notice the passage of time and how far he’s come. I am not even sure what color his hair is, but I think it’s brown… though I do remember how far he walked and the variety of terrain he encountered.
3) There is the time it took to make the video… and the time it took to get good at the skills in making the video. So it’s one thing to understand that to create a full drag face can take 4 hours to accomplish but understanding shading, contouring, etc. took many many more hours than elapsed in the video. In watching these videos, it’s easy to understand we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.



So here are a few time lapse videos (not of grass growing or people aging- ie stuff that would happen anyway) of people doing something.

The Girl Who Learned To Dance In One Year

This Guy Who Draws A Ball

This Popsicle Stick Mansion Builder

This Guy Who Walked Really Far

What This Person Does In Photoshop

This 30 Story Building Built in 15 Days (even if construction isn’t meant to last more than 30 years, as some commenters have implied, still impressive)

This Makeup Job

This Man Who Overcame A Lot To Not Only Walk But Do A Lot More

I don’t know about you but seeing what’s possible makes me not only aware I need to put my time in but happy to do it.



Online Video and SEO

Way back when, search engines relied heavily on text. But in the age of Youtube empires and search results including videos, it is time to realize that video and doing well in online searches actually go hand in hand.

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Think about it:

Youtube = Search Engine

Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google and attracts 157 million unique visitors per  month. So people are going directly onto Youtube to find information they need.

Worried about your performance in Google? Videos are 53 times more likely to be on the first page of search results.

So if you want to do good in search engines, make videos, upload them with good titles and descriptions to sites like Youtube or Vimeo, and make sure in the description and on your profile, you link back to your own website.

Video Websites = Social Networks

Youtube has 1 billion monthly active users (as of March 2013). Vomeo has 25 million members with a 70%+ international audience. In other words, people go on video sharing websites (not just large networks like Youtube and Vimeo but video sharing sites/curating sites like Upworthy or Godvine) and not only watch your initial video but all the videos on your channel (this obsessive watching has a term now: binge watching).

So not only do people connect with your video, they might see what else you have to say, what else you are liking and commenting on, and otherwise want to interact with you.

Video = Sticky website content

There are entire websites built on curating specific groups of videos (Upworthy and Godvine above but also even very specific websites like Twitch, where you can watch people play online video games in real time).

People are four times as likely to stay on a website that has video on it. In other words add video to your site and not only are people more likely to come but they’ll also be more likely to stay.

Video = Less competition (for now)

I do this exercise when I talk to groups.

1) How many of you have watched a website video this week? (99% of people raise their hands.)
2) How many of you have watched a website video today? (Depending on the time of day it’s at least 50% but sometimes close to 99%.)
3) How many of you have made an online video in the last month? (0 hands go up)

In other words, here is this thing that people want but not many people are making. A low supply/high demand scenario at its best. If you are the ones making the videos that other people are watching, you win!

So this is why we have resolved to do more with video this year: because not only is it a cool thing to do but also because it is worthwhile in terms of online visibility. And it’s never been easier folks so step in front of that camera and let’s see what you’ve got!

Click here to binge watch Tech Thursday… 

Some Of My Favorite Motivational Videos

I spend a lot of time watching online video. More than I should probably admit.

Sometimes, these videos distract me. These are usually animal videos.

But other videos kind of give me some inspiration to work hard and do more. Here are three of my favorites:

Productivity from Randy Pausch

This video is about productivity and achieving dreams from a very smart charismatic professor who happens to be dying. If you want some general productivity ideas or just a kick in the pants, this will do it. Everyone from high school students to someone about to retire will get something out of this lecture.

Negotiation from Ramit Sethi

This is the only business ‘class’ I ever paid for. While aimed at freelancers, Ramit Sethi will teach you the scripts you need to negotiate. (If I’ve used any of these on you, sorry.) These series of videos are part of that course and can give you some useful tips on raising your rates, negotiating with providers, and other useful stuff.

Goal Setting With Marie Forleo

If you have a big dream you want to tackle, Marie will break down the process of brainstorming into steps you can implement. This half hour video, if you do the exercises, will give you a goal and ways to work towards it. Since I can’t embed it from her site, here’s the link: http://www.marieforleo.com/htgayw/

Do you have any productivity/educational/business-y videos you like to watch? Share the links in the comments!

 

Love To Pinterest: Three How-To Videos

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

Pinterest is the latest and greatest website in social networking. It is driving major traffic to ecommerce sites (more than Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google+, combined) and is growing at an almost unprecedented rate.

This first video is a basic how-to use Pinterest and includes information about how Pinterest drives traffic to websites (using breakingeveninc.com’s Google Analytics data as an example):

Tour of Pinterest, Part 1: Pinwhat? from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.



This second video shows how you can ‘pin’ items from any website (including yours) to your boards on Pinterest and a little trick of how Ecommerce sites can promote what they are selling:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 2: Adding To Your Pinterest Profile from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This third video shows how some businesses and non-profits are using Pinterest and maybe give you ideas on how to use it yourself to drive traffic to your website and interest in what you’re doing:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 3: How Businesses and Non-Profits Are Using Pinterest from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

Are you on Pinterest? Seen any great examples of people, businesses, or non-profits using Pinterest? Comment below and let me know!

More reading:

Why Pinterest is 2012’s Hottest Website (on CNN)

Why Pinterest Gets One Billion Monthly Page Views (on Business Insider)

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers Infographic (on Mashable)

Love To Pinterest: Three How-To Videos

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

I heart Pinterest. Image from artfulaussie.com

Pinterest is the latest and greatest website in social networking. It is driving major traffic to ecommerce sites (more than Youtube, LinkedIn, and Google+, combined) and is growing at an almost unprecedented rate.

This first video is a basic how-to use Pinterest and includes information about how Pinterest drives traffic to websites (using breakingeveninc.com’s Google Analytics data as an example):

Tour of Pinterest, Part 1: Pinwhat? from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This second video shows how you can ‘pin’ items from any website (including yours) to your boards on Pinterest and a little trick of how Ecommerce sites can promote what they are selling:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 2: Adding To Your Pinterest Profile from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

This third video shows how some businesses and non-profits are using Pinterest and maybe give you ideas on how to use it yourself to drive traffic to your website and interest in what you’re doing:

Tour of Pinterest, Part 3: How Businesses and Non-Profits Are Using Pinterest from Nicole Ouellette on Vimeo.

Are you on Pinterest? Seen any great examples of people, businesses, or non-profits using Pinterest? Comment below and let me know!

More reading:

Why Pinterest is 2012’s Hottest Website (on CNN)

Why Pinterest Gets One Billion Monthly Page Views (on Business Insider)

Pinterest Becomes Top Traffic Driver for Retailers Infographic (on Mashable)

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