5 Show-Stopping Marketing Videos to Inspire Your Strategy

Alex Winter

Creative Director, 10+ Years of Video Marketing Strategy and Creative Leadership

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5 Show-Stopping Marketing Videos to Inspire Your Strategy Blog Feature

Published on February 1st, 2019

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As we dive headfirst into 2019, one word or theme keeps coming up for marketers -- VIDEO.

It’s as if people have never heard of this confangled thing before. It’s as if some mystical creature was found and everyone wants to get a look!

I find it rather funny because I’ve been utilizing the power of video for so long, I can’t even remember when it began.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I remember where and when I had that lightbulb moment, but that’s not important right now.

What’s important is the new shiny thing that every marketing team knows they have to get behind.
So, how the heck do you choose what to shoot as a marketer or how to go about shooting it?

That’s a really great question.

The answer can be found in three simple truths:

1. Your goal

2. Your audience

3. Your inspiration

Today, I want to focus on the third piece.

Personally, I find inspiration by consuming exceptional content. I meticulously watch videos created by the best professionals at their craft.

Those moments of inspiration and learning are what drive my professional career forward every day and I hope it'll do the same for you. 

With that in mind, below are five marketing videos that really inspired me over the years and I believe can do the same for your video strategy in 2019.

1. Dollar Shave Club

 

 

It’s hard not to include this video when I think of great marketing videos. With close to 26 million views on YouTube alone, it’s safe to say this campaign was a monster success.

I love it because it’s not overly complicated. It’s extremely direct and, most importantly, it’s hilarious.

Why does it work?

From a creative standpoint, the pitch probably sounded something like this: The founder of the company casually sits at his desk and explains why Dollar Shave Club’s razors are the best. We can have shots of him walking around the facility and it will be funny. People will love it.

Seems mundanely unsatisfying in conversation.

So, why did this video work so well?

They didn’t overcomplicate the production; turning into something more than what it needed to be. (Something that happens quite often in most other cases.)

The creative team focused on genuinely capturing the founder of the company in his element, following him casually around the warehouse as if it was any other day.

While, yes, some situations were obviously outrageous, the way the story unfolds leaves the audience feeling a real connection to both the founder and the brand.

There is beauty in its simplicity that amplifies the humorous undertones we’ve come to know and love.

Overall, it is a great introduction to the company’s quirky brand and speaks directly to the laid-back, no-frills consumer they’re trying to reach.

What can we learn?

You don’t have to have a Hollywood budget or an A list celebrity to endorse your products. You need to be genuine in order to connect with your audience. If you can connect with your audience, they will follow. Be authentic.

2. TNT - Push To Add Drama

 

 

Now, this is one of my favorite Experiential Marketing Campaigns ever created.

To launch the TV channel TNT in Belgium, the creative team placed a big red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish town.

A sign with the text "Push to add drama" (a real-life call-to-action button) invited people to use the button.

What happens will surely get a reaction from anyone watching.

Why does it work?

Now, this is a great example of capitalizing on your existing marketing.

This wasn’t a stand-alone marketing video like the Dollar Shave Club commercial, but one highlighting a really fun, exciting campaign that a greater audience would want to watch and share. 

What better way to get people excited about the content you display on your TV Channel than to literally have them in the action?

This ideology aligns so much with the book They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.

TNT was moving into a new geographic region and needed a fun way to get people to know, like, and trust the channel.

They answered a specific question; “Who is TNT and what claims do they make?”

They accomplished that by demonstrating to a potential audience by serving up the most direct experience they could possibly come up with.

You don’t know us? That’s okay, just push this button and BOOM!!! We’re TNT.

What can we learn?

Start with the basics. If your potential customer’s don’t know who you are… show them! If your customers have questions; answer them openly and honestly. It will yield better results than you could fathom.

Also, do it in a way that is memorable (and worth sharing). Not only will the people of Belgium not forget their experience with TNT (great way to build awareness), but they’ll likely want to talk about it.

Then, by sharing this real-life story online via video, TNT has created an opportunity for the campaign to be shared on a wider spectrum while maintaining the same effect on its viewers.

3. Volkswagen - The Force

 

I may be biased because I’m a Star Wars fan, but this just may be one of my favorite commercials of all time. Yes, you heard me!

 

Why does it work?

It connects multiple generations of fans on an emotional level and expertly connects that to the brand/product at hand.

It’s super relatable for both parents and kids alike. I feel like anyone who grew up watching Star Wars has done something to this degree as a child. It’s also just genuinely funny, even if you're not a fan of the movies.

This experience is a great way to grab attention and get the audience to connect with the brand on an emotional level. 

Most importantly, I love that you can see the child actor’s reaction even though you can’t see his face. That priceless moment gets me every time. I can feel the shock and awe.

The silly, but sweet concept is so strong and extremely well-executed. You could’ve honestly slapped any other car brand or logo at the end of that commercial and people would still love it.

What can we learn?

The power of a strong, relatable and emotionally invested story will always win over your audience.

This emotional connection builds trust and once you establish that trust, it’s much easier for them to form a relationship with the brand.

Using emotional resonance and nostalgia to connect people specifically to your message is a powerful tactic. It’s the quickest way to establish a common ground and establish trust.

 

4. BMW Films - Short Movie Series

 


"The Hire" brought together an amalgamation of some of the most talented actors, directors, and crew in the industry for marketing campaign that had never been done before.

Consisting of eight short films produced exclusively for online viewing, each short was directed by a different popular filmmakers from around the globe and starred Clive Owen as "the Driver" while highlighting the performance aspects of various BMW automobiles.

Since video was directed by a different person from Hollywood royalty, each mini movie its own look, feel and overall style. The only consistent piece tying the stories together is our protagonist, Clive Owen's character.

Why does it work?

The campaign videos were designed to be a cinematic experience, and they most certainly were but where exactly does the sales pitch come into play? It doesn’t.

That’s the beauty of these videos.

BMW didn’t go in for the hard sell. They decided to showcase the products and let the emotional connection happen naturally with their stories. The cars are the main characters.

They each have their own look, identity, and personality and the videos let the audience connect or identify with a certain model depending on the film.

What can we learn?

People make decisions based on emotions. If you can convey a truly compelling story that connects people’s emotions with their desires… well, you can get them to buy almost anything.

Also, self-identification can be powerful. Giving people a way to identify or “see themselves” in a product is a great way to break down barriers and connect.

It all comes down to knowing your audience.

It’s crucial to understand the demographics, ethnographies, and other stats for whom you’re trying to appeal to. That’s the only way to make an informed creative decision about crafting content they will find relatable.

5. WestJet’s Christmas Surprise

 

 

 

The last flight I took, WestJet let me cut the TSA security line and I thought I hit the jackpot. Could you imagine if this was your experience?

In this video, WestJet shows how they delighted unsuspecting travelers with a real-time holiday surprise that delivered personalized gifts to guests arriving in Calgary as part of a true “Christmas Miracle."

With the support of a strategic communications plan, WestJet created an experience for each guest that was not only timely and engaging but captured the hearts, minds, and social media feeds of WestJet’s target consumers across the globe.

The viral campaign garnered international attention and became one of the most-viewed and shared viral ads in the entire world.

Most importantly, it increased WestJet’s sales by 86% compared to the same period the year prior. 86%!!!!!!!!!

Why does it work?

What is more compelling than helping real-life people? How about giving them free stuff?  I mean have you heard of Oprah or Ellen?

 Giving people gifts is an amazing thing.

However, this campaign is so much more than just the warm and fuzzy feeling of gift giving.

It’s about WestJet’s commitment to their customers. It’s about WestJet crafting the best customer experience in the industry.

WestJet does an incredible job of demonstrating their attention to detail, their caring nature towards their customers, and their core values from a company culture standpoint.

What can we learn?

 

Again, create a memorable experience for your customers that is worth not only sharing, but repeating. People who were given gifts by WestJet will never forget the delight they experienced and that's a happiness that can be felt even by those watching the video. 

 

The Bottomline

As a creator, I know that the best way to make sure your message is delivered and understood is to strike an emotional chord. 

And as a marketer, I know this begins with knowing your audience.

According to this article by Forbes knowing your audience is the most strategic things you have in your bag of tricks as a creator and I couldn’t agree with them more.

I encourage you to immerse yourself with this mentality on your next project. Deep dive into understanding whom you are speaking to and what that specific audience wants to hear.

My process is to reverse engineer everything I create.

I ask myself, what does the end goal look like? What does the audience need to hear or see to get there?

I establish those clear benchmarks first, then I work backwards until I reach the starting point.

Knowing your audience is crucial to ensuring you are creatively directing the right conversations, emotions, visuals and other facets of the campaign to convey your message.

Successful marketing campaigns are strategic at their core. I encourage you to do your homework to fully understand your customers, set clear goals with them in mind, then use some of the videos above as inspiration. 

It’s that simple.

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