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How Four Producers and Creatives are Keeping Social Video Fresh

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Distillery takes a look at the impact of social video and how four producers and creatives are choosing to keep it fresh

How Four Producers and Creatives are Keeping Social Video Fresh

Can you remember a time when Twitter didn’t exist, Facebook was just an American college phenomenon, Instagram and WhatsApp hadn’t been thought of yet, and only 55% of UK households had internet access? It feels like a faraway past, but this was only 15 years ago. It was against this background, in 2005, that YouTube was born and with it, social video started taking off - and never stopped.

The video sharing platform allowed users to experiment with self-produced content in an age when television monopolised the video scene. All of a sudden, anyone with a camera and internet access could become a videomaker – even 'go viral'. The advent of laptops and the invention of the iPad and iPhone (in 2007) further changed the way we interact with video: we started making and watching content on the go. The possibilities for social video were endless, and it didn’t take long for brands to catch on.


Is the golden age of social video over? (Spoiler: Not even close!)

In 2010, Tipp-Ex set the bar with A hunter shoots a bear, one of the first interactive videos on YouTube. Viewers were invited to ‘rewrite the story’ by replacing the word ‘shoots’ in the title with an action they’d rather watch. 42 unique scenes were recorded to create a video response for (almost) every possible viewer request. Within 36 hours of going live, A hunter shoots a bear became a global viral hit, reaching 1 million viewers and 1 tweet share per second. Talk about the power of social video!

We saw another social video landmark in 2015 as This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop brought fame to a humble toilet stool brand. With nearly 38,500,000 views on YouTube and 46,600 subscribers to its YouTube channel, Squatty Potty proved that any brand, no matter the product or audience, can use social video to grow and engage online communities.

Today, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. So the tough question is: As a brand, is it still possible to stand out in such a saturated and creative space? We say yes! Read on to see how four brilliant creatives are making unique and exciting video work, even when it feels like everything’s ‘been done’. Plus, learn how producers are navigating new guidelines during Covid-19.

Want to grab attention? Turn views into rewards. 

Is video still an effective way of getting noticed? According to Vieworks CEO and Co-founder Chris Gale, the answer is ‘yes’ - as long as you can be sure that your audience is really watching your video.

Vieworks was launched in 2020 to help businesses get their videos seen by their fans, audiences, and potential customers. The company believes that video is the most powerful sales vehicle out there, and to maximise this strength, he thinks brands should use it as a ‘value-exchange mechanism’ - rewarding audiences for their attention with something more than the video itself.

“When Covid-19 hit, many sales teams lost the ability to network directly with media agencies and buyers, making it even harder for them to get noticed,” Chris says. One solution is to pitch products and services through video, instead of in person. But how can sales teams make sure their videos get watched? 

“The Vieworks player lets sales teams reward viewers for watching a presentation. Rewards can be as simple as a meal delivery voucher, and it helps users connect with potential buyers by bringing a human touch back to remote selling. You’re not just presenting your product to an audience, you’re also buying them lunch - something that says ‘our company really appreciates your time.’ It leaves the viewer with a more positive sentiment,” says Chris.


Want to keep it fresh? Look beyond the format. 

As an all-round creative who experiments with many formats of storytelling, from illustration to video, our very own senior content creative Guilet Libby believes that video can make a powerful first impression. 

“Video is an orchestra,” he says. “When image, music, and voice all work together to carry us through a story, they play on our senses and emotions, and that’s powerful. Photography, illustration, text... Each medium has a part to play in capturing our attention. And video unites many of those simultaneously to keep us engaged,” he explains.

For Gui, keeping it fresh means finding new ways to use the resources and platforms available to us, and going beyond their original purpose. He shares Insta Novels as an example. This initiative by the New York Library uses Instagram Stories to showcase books, using social video to get young people to fall in love with reading, even if they’d rather be on their smartphones than at the library.

Want to keep it engaging? Make it immersive. 

Behind every Instagram Story, advertisement, music clip, TV show, movie, and social video, lies a world that has been carefully curated, sometimes imagined, and even constructed by hand, to the last detail. Luiza Pissurno, Graphic Art Director, dedicates her career to bringing these worlds to life. Her work has been featured on Channel4, Warner Bros, the BBC, Apple TV, and TV Globo, the largest TV network in Latin America. 

“We, in the art department, are responsible for making everything that you see on screen: from advertising posters on a shop wall, to parking tickets, to what appears on the screens of computers and phones that are shown in any given scene,” she summarises. “One minute I might be creating a real estate website, and the next I can be designing uniforms for a made-up football team,” says Luiza, referencing her most recent project, Ted Lasso.

Key to Luiza’s job is making all these things look as real as possible, so that we, the audience, can truly immerse ourselves in the action without being distracted by the odd positioning of a lamp in the background. “Everything must look natural and real, to support the story and help the viewer truly get lost in it,” she explains. “When the audience can’t tell whether the story’s location is real or a set, it makes me proud.”


Celebrating innovative social video

We can all agree there hasn’t been much to celebrate in 2020. With this in mind, and with almost all advertising events postponed or cancelled, the Advertising Producers Association (APA) is working hard to keep great video work going.

It has partnered with Shots to launch Top 20 of 2020, a free-to-enter showcase aiming to highlight the best video advertising work emerging from the UK in the past 12 months. The initiative aims to create positive momentum for the industry and prove that the show can go on. It’s also fostering the best possible environment for production, animation, VFX, immersive, sound design, and music and editing companies making commercials to operate in.

“Early in the coronavirus era, I think our industry struggled, both creatively and in a business sense. Clients, agencies, and production companies were cautious, putting the health of their people first, of course - but also unsure of what consumers might buy and how they might react to advertising messages. It took time for us to collectively get our heads around that. But ultimately, some very good video work did emerge,” says Steve Davies, CEO of APA.

It looks like, even 15 years on and with the new challenges of today, the momentum of social video is far from slowing down. To learn more about how we can help you develop social videos that grow your online community and turn them into fans, get in touch.


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Distillery, Mon, 05 Oct 2020 15:00:07 GMT