Four Ways to Make Video Adverts Like a Pro

There are lots of videographers who can make an explainer video for you. But how do you get the sort of creative outcome you see from the larger, integrated advertising agencies? 

Here are a couple of examples to help you see what I mean:

This creative idea came from the McCann agency. 

It raises the question: how do you get from thinking about promoting an airline, to a barn of cute chickens?

Thumbnail of Tiger Air ad

  Here's another funny, this time from DPR and Co (I think):

Honda Mower Ad Thumbnail

What makes the difference between these, and the Youtube clips on most websites? For a start, these full service agencies are advising clients on overall marketing strategy, integrated across platforms: TV, print, radio, outdoor, online. The Tiger Air ad, for example, is part of a campaign to promote an "Infrequent Flyer" club, which the agency came up with.

If you're a small to mid-size business and not considering a full service agency, here are four ways you can make adverts like a pro.

1. Constrain yourself. If you're limited to a 30 second TV timeslot, you can't say much. Making videos for the web however, we can ramble on for minutes, even hours, but gee it can end up boring. There's a strong temptation to want to say and include everything. DON'T. These ads make just one point.

2. Don't be safe conservative. Be open to seemingly silly ideas. Don't throw out bad ideas. Imagine if a staff member presented the chicken idea to the Tiger Air board – they'd probably be laughed out the door. But when a board sees it well executed and proposed by a seriously capable agency, it gets the nod.

Most folk will come up with a description and list of benefits and features when asked to promote a product or service. It's hard to get away from that, but these ads do.

So constrain yourself, but don't constrain yourself. If that makes sense.

3. A key insight. I mentioned these ads only have time to get one point across. Selecting which point should be based on a deep understanding of where your target market's thinking is at. Find their "truth", as they say on Gruen.

We know, and as business owners we're continuously reminded, that we need to understand our target market – demographics, psychographics, behaviours – and develop avatars or typical personas. Sometimes it's more difficult to know how to apply them. Well this is how. Work your story from a key customer insight.

The Honda Mower ad is a good example. They've figured out that many guys actually like mowing the lawn, though we won't admit it in a hurry! There's something rewarding about it. And definitely something nice about a real lawn instead of concrete.

Similarly, the Tiger Airways Infrequent flyer campaign stems from knowledge that 77% of Aussies fly three times a year or less.

4. Steal, extrapolate, brainstorm, and push to the extreme. I don't really mean steal, but certainly as I'm doing here, look at what others are doing and think about how you can apply the thinking, whether they're competitors or in other industries. How do people react to these other examples?

To generate creative ideas, the ad agencies will use all sorts of brainstorming and idea sifting techniques with a team. You've probably participated in them. Google those techniques and use them with your team.

Take your key message and think how you could demonstrate it in the extreme. Create caricatures of gross exaggeration for comedic effect. A removalist wrapping old furniture like it's a Monet painting. A graphic designer who's so creative, she can't function because of the ideas flowing from everything she sees (sorry, you had to be there).

There's every reason why small to mid-size businesses can produce the same standard of creative advertising as the big marketing agencies, using more modestly priced videographers. Truth is, many of the larger marketing and advertising agencies outsource production to the same videographers anyway. So apply some of this thinking and see where it takes you.


Keith Rhodes 

Director of Video Production Company, Clips That Sell Pty Ltd. Keith also has a Masters degree in Marketing.

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