Promotional Video: Task 1

The Development of Promotional Video

Assessment Task 1 – (Criteria 1.1)

A Critical Review of the Development of Promo Practice, Codes and Conventions.

Promotional video has been around for many years and has been used in many different ways. Whether it is to promote a new product or simply to gain publicity, promotional videos have become an important part of both the moving image industry and for businesses throughout the world. Promotional videos come in many different forms, some use facts and statistics to clearly get a message or information across; others use a more artistic approach and convey a message through music or association to advertise. As the name suggests, the main purpose of the promotional video is to promote a business or a product, all the biggest companies in the world use promotional videos in one way or another to advertise themselves and their products or services. I will be looking into the development of different types of promotional video.

In my opinion, there are two types of promotional video used for advertising. There are videos that showcase a product or a company and promote its benefits and services through demonstration. A good example of this technique is Google’s promotional video for Google Glass. This futuristic video shows people all over the world using Google Glass to call friends, take pictures and capture their activities on camera, all combined with an upbeat music soundtrack. The entire video is shot from a first person perspective; this allows the audience to clearly see exactly what the product is and what it does. Although only a lucky handful of people are able to actually use Google Glass, with over twenty-one million views online, this video allows everybody to get an idea of what it is like to use the product. The two minute video concisely shows viewers what Google Glass is and what it does but still leaves them wanting to find out more, thus creating more business and publicity for Google with every view and every share of a simple two minute video.

The other type of promotional video is used simply to create a ‘buzz’ about a company or product, without necessarily showing the company or product in detail. If a video captures the attention of the viewer and makes an impact then it will be passed on and shared with other people, creating a snowball effect that results in hundreds, thousands or even millions of views. Even if the video has nothing to do with the product or company, if it is seen by millions then people will be aware of the video and the company. One of my personal favourite companies for using this technique is German car Manufacturers Audi. Audi have a very strong presence online and in the video community due to their effective promotional videos. In 2013 Audi released an online video entitled ‘Prom’, lasting one minute, the video is basically a very short film about a student going to the prom without a date and being given his father’s Audi for the night. Instead of showcasing the car in great detail, Audi focused more on how driving the car makes you feel, prompting the ‘Bravery – It’s What Defines Us’ slogan. This video has over ten million views online, that’s ten million people who are aware of Audi and what they do which is why I believe promotional videos like this have the power to turn viewers into customers.

Music has become an integral part of promotional videos. The use of songs in television adverts and promotional videos can be extremely effective and can promote the song as much as the product. After Sony used Jose Gonzales’ acoustic cover of the song ‘Heartbeats’ in its 2005 video for the new Bravia television line, the track went on to be released as a single in 2006 and reach the top ten in the UK singles chart. Similarly, products are sometimes shown in music videos as a way of advertising to a certain target audience, for example Mini featured one of their cars in a One Direction music video, promoting their cars to hysterical teenage girls/the younger generation.

The final type of promotional video that I will be looking at is health and safety videos, specifically road safety videos. This type of promotional video uses different techniques to get across a similar message. In 1998, THINK! Road Safety released the video campaign of two animated hedgehogs singing about road safety, this was directed at young children in an attempt to teach them about crossing the road safely. This was a very simple and direct approach to advertising road safety which was perfect for the target audience. The music combined with the message ‘Stop Look Listen Live’ at the end was a great way of getting young children to remember the message. Compare this to the new 2013 anti-speeding video, aimed at young drivers which use a very different technique to grab the audience’s attention. The video is dark and has a depressing feel about it, using fast cuts builds the tension up to a car crash which results in the driver of the car becoming paralyzed.  Graphically showing the consequences of speeding uses shock value to get across the message and I think this technique works very well for the target audience.

Promotional video is a hugely important tool for companies and as technology and social media evolve I think that videos promoting products and services will become more in demand by companies throughout the world, from small privately owned companies to multinational conglomerates. There are many different techniques and methods of using promotional videos, ranging from animated singing hedgehogs and graphic recreations of car crashes, to modern and artistic showcasing of a new luxury car. An effective promotional video must consider the codes and conventions it uses in order to attract the attention from its target audience. Editing techniques, effects and the use of music are just a few of the techniques that can create a memorable promotional video. A successful promotional video can drastically raise the profile of corporations and businesses which is why I believe that promotional videos will be around for many years to come and will continue to advance in new and exciting ways that will benefit both the companies and the moving image industry.