I have jokingly justified video’s worth a few times, saying “if a picture is worth a thousand words then video must be worth 24,000 words a second.” Even though this is said just to get a rise out of my marketing and photography friends, it got me thinking about the real worth of video.
I grew up loving film and all of the situations you got to explore without leaving the house. From the time that Bambi’s mother died and E.T. left our planet to go home, films have touched me. They have made me feel sad, scared, and happy and every other emotion possible. It isn’t limited to film either. A good commercial or marketing video can move you to think & feel and drive you to action. So what is that really worth? Well, companies will spend millions and millions of dollars for just thirty seconds of airtime during the Super Bowl. People will put themselves in harm’s way just to make you laugh on YouTube, and the stars of these videos and films have been raised to superstar status in a matter of minutes.
When talking about video, I feel that it is impossible to separate it from the emotion that is created when viewing. Take the Super Bowl commercials for example. People all over the world tune in to watch the big game. A lot of the people watching don’t even like football, but they tune in to laugh, or be moved by those thirty second short films that run in-between the actual game play. These short films have been created so that the viewer is compelled to action through laughter, empathy, excitement or compassion. Over the years these shorts have gotten more and more sophisticated and the advertising medium that used to thrive on taglines and hooks is now becoming an amazing way to tell a story and make people feel part of their brand.
Great commercials are now painting a slew of emotions where only laughter used to dominate. And they’re doing it as well as any feature film can. Think about any of the commercials from the past two years and which ones stand out in your mind? To me it is “The Farmer,” Dodge Ram’s two minute commercial narrated by Paul Harvey.
This piece is bold yet simple. There are no explosions, or imagery of their truck being loaded down with ten tons of metal, or even some attractive model washing the truck. In fact, they barely even show the truck (only 14 seconds out of a 2:42 extended cut version) but by the end of the piece you understand the emotion and the brand of Ram.
It isn’t just the major corporations that are achieving this with mega budgets either. YouTube has become one of the most viewed websites in the world. (1) It runs close behind Google and Facebook, which are also dominated by searches for videos. Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of video and generate billions of views. (2) A lot of these videos are done by everyday people using the tools that they have in their pockets, and although I will not go as far as saying all of them evoke emotional responses, I will say that the best ones do.
With a shift in our emotional culture, and a push for Marketing 3.0, video has become the best tool to create an emotional connection with your audience. So, where a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a thousand emotions. And capturing people’s emotions in this day and age is priceless.