Video is the Medium of Our Time: 7 Vital Stats

28th March 2018

written by George Hughes

7 Vital Stats That Show Why Video is the Medium of Our Time:

 

Video killed the radio star, and then obliterated everything else in its path to become the de facto method of engagement for consumers, businesses and marketing outreach. 

The evolution of video has seen it become a prominent player in every industry, from the entertainment business to pharmaceutical companies and everything in between. It’s now the most effective way for businesses to share content. 

81% of brands now use video as a marketing tool, which is up from 63% from previous years. The digitisation of, well, pretty much everything, has only increased video’s influence. Simply using the word “video” in an email subject lines boosts open rates by 19%, while 83% of businesses say it brings them a high return on investment (ROI).

But just in case you’re not sold yet, here are seven more vital stats that show why video is the medium of our time. 

1) 10x the engagement levels

Video is essentially immersive marketing, as it has the power to increase engagement levels beyond other methods. Audiences are 10 times more likely to engage with video content than they are any other medium. Whether you’re turning video into snippets for social media or filming customer testimonials, it offers an array of methods for telling stories. It’s a versatile tool that captures a range of imaginations, which helps to increase engagement levels.  

2) 92% believe sharing is caring

A whopping 92% of people share a video after watching it. Going viral is all the rage, but getting people to share content is one of the hardest things to do online. Fortunately, video increases your chances of creating popular content that gets routinely shared online and off. 

3) 65% watch video on your website

The power of words have their place in the realm of content, but when it comes to keeping people engaged with your website, video is the primary driver. 65% of web users watch more than half of a video on a website. If you’ve got a story to tell, you’re better off doing it with moving image. 

4) 49% of business grow faster with video

Brands that use video are growing faster than those that aren’t, with 49% of businesses seeing an uptick in fortunes when they implement video marketing into their strategies. Deciding against using video marketing can be a costly error, leaving brands to play catch up in a [digital] world where everyone is already competing to put their brands in the spotlight. 

5) More than 50% of consumers want to see branded video content

The age-old saying “the customer is always right” will always ring true, and video allows you to give the people what they want. More than half of all customers wish to see branded video content, which they demand more than any other content type.

6) Conversions increase by 71%

Put simply: video is easier to monetise. Conveying your message through video converts more customers, with conversions increasing by an impressive 71%. People like to see things in action, whether you’re showcasing an event demo, providing educational “how-to” guides, or creating personalised messages. The easily digestible nature of video makes storing information that much easier.

7) 95% information retention rate

Getting your message across is one thing, but convincing people to store that information is another. We retain around 10% of all text (unless you’re reading this post, of course), but remembering video information increases to a staggering 95% retention rate. With such staggering numbers, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see brands using it as a primary method for relaying messages. 

Long live video 

Video has become part of the cultural lexicon across so many different platforms. The options to express yourself through video are vast, and brands are embracing it in their marketing strategies. By the end of 2020, 84% of all internet traffic will be video-based. The business of video is booming, and there’s no doubt that it’s the medium of our time. 

Follow us on Linkedin for tips and tricks on creating the best branded video content. Or get in touch at info@smallfilms.com

 

 

 

Summer is a really important time for many FMCG brands – it’s a happy time filled with a lot of fun and excitement, good weather, holidays and late night sunsets, and is therefore a massive selling point for both businesses and consumers. Some brands depend solely on their summer campaigns and will spend the whole year working towards the months of July, August and September, where they release new products, run promotions and do big advertising online and out of home. For food and drink brands especially summer is a massive highlight of the year, it’s when all of the big food shows roll around like Taste and Lunch, and when consumers are more eager to be out and about, which unsurprisingly means they eat on-the-go a lot more. In fact, consumers are prepared to spend more on things like food in the summer because they spend more time outside and last year we saw a 5% rise in consumer spending during the summer holidays (Barclays). Because of that, the months of “summer”  are some of the best times to be making video content and getting your brand as much attention and exposure as you possibly can, so that when your customers are out and about, they will spend their extra cash on your products. 

 

Digital marketing during the summer can be very loud, fun and exciting, and your content can be as colourful and summery as you like. Using a season to help promote your brand is an easy and effective way at engaging customers and reaching new audiences And making video is an even better strategy as it can be cheaper, more versatile and a lot more engaging. Consumers already prefer watching video to static imagery and text and during seasons of fun like the summer holidays they are even more receptive to adverts that reflect the positive and happy vibes they are trying to achieve during the summer months. Here are some examples of videos your food or drink brand can make this summer…

 

Social Media Videos

You can go really basic with Instagram video ads like this one from Costa Coffee – Iced Coffee Range. 

Really simple but yet very engaging; they’ve made the coffee and the foam look like the ocean and placed it in front of a blue “sky” background. It’s eye catching because it looks like the beach and reminds you of summer holidays, vacations and calming times spent looking at blue skies  It instantly gives you a positive feeling.

These Instagram videos from Holland and Barrett work well at promoting products using a happy and summery vibe.

 

Summer Campaign Video

The great thing about a summer campaign is that they can be as extravagant or as simple as you like. They can range from a massive stunt in Waterloo Station, to a pop up shop on Oxford Street, to a simple out of home billboard or online advertisement. Either way if your food or drink brand has anything planned this summer you’d be a fool not to film it. If you’re attending an event then you should film it, if you’re handing out samples then you should film it. Even if you’re going on a work outing to the Zoo, you should film it! We did a summer campaign video last month for UpBeat Drinks for the launch of their new juicy protein water products and to promote their new re-brand. The video was a 22 second social media advert and a 6 second cut down version for YouTube pre-roll as well as a 15 second version for out of home digital display.

 

 

Filming your street sampling is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways at getting great customer feedback, market research and providing audiences with a first hand, genuine account of what people think of your product! We created this video for Emily Crisps last year to promote their Whole Foods front window display on Kensington High Street! 

 

 

Promotional videos

Promotional videos are a really effective way at targeting and engaging consumers and work really well across all forms of social media and online advertising. These can be as short as 6 seconds and can advertise your products online to target audiences that you really want to market to. They can be short and snappy and therefore really eye catching, like this promotional advert by McDonalds which is promoting their iced coffee range.

 

 

It’s striking and definitely takes you into a summer hypnotism. Really cheaply, you could film your cold drink bottles close up with water slipping down the side – its eye catching and reminds you of summer – great for an instagram video.

 

Video adverts

So, Boot’s isn’t exactly a food and drink brand but they do stock and promote a lot of food and drink products. This advert they’ve recently released called “Summer” created by marketing agency Ogilvy is a great example of the types of promotional video adverts you could make online. Whilst this had significant budget behind it, you can still take aspects of this video advert and utilise in your own video marketing on a much smaller budget. This is a montage of a child’s summer experience, from the school summer dresses to watering the plants in the garden. A food and drink brand could make short video content for online advertising that shows a child in the garden playing with water and mum calls them in for a snack. Or, people in a park playing frisbee and reaching for your product.

 

 

Event videos

If you are exhibiting at an event this summer then 100% make sure to film it and make sure to create some promotional content around it. Exhibitions are the perfect place to get video content for your social media pages, online advertising and even for your brand film, because you have first hand footage of consumers sampling and trying your products. Event videos make great case studies and customer testimonials. Don’t be afraid to ask the visitors what they think of your product and film their reactions. It’s great to show your audience that you are out there, attending events, making the most of your summer and keeping them in the loop. Event videos work well at developing your brand identity and personality. You can live stream these events, take videos for your instagram and facebook story or you can get a professional to film it and get interviews.

 

Be creative this summer with video and get your brand out there, show off your fun personality and engage with as many audiences and customers as you can. Summer is a huge promotional attraction to any brand, influencer and consumer, so regardless of the budget just make sure you’ve got a lot of summer related posts and videos going up onto socials, through your stories and feeds. This way you can effectively stay at the front of people’s minds and slot into their news feeds with relevant content.

 

 

As recently as 5 years ago, the vast majority of us would have tuned into our favourite show via our TV sets… at home… probably on the sofa. Today, the picture is very different. Almost half of adults aged 22 to 45 are not watching content on traditional TV platforms (AdAge) and 64.8 million people born between 1981 and 1996 will watch streaming videos or downloaded videos on a device at least once a month (Forbes). TV as we know is dead. Long live online streaming! Of course, TV isn’t actually dead. But the way we consume it has changed forever. Many people will still flick the TV on to catch their favourite series as it is released whether that’s X Factor or Silent Witness, but for most of us, on-demand has replaced live viewing as our preferred method of consuming any type of television content. And for Millennials and Generation Z who have come of age in a digital world,  BBC and ITV are increasingly shunned in favour of subscription based services like Netflix or Amazon or user generated content sites like Youtube. 

 

The writing has been on the wall for analogue TV for at least 2 decades and when the analogue signal was switched off in 2017 forcing every individual to access television via a digital box, it wasn’t a great surprise to the industry. The emergence of super-fast broadband that removed the need to have a sky dish or cable TV to access more than 5 channels of television was one of the biggest driving factors behind the shift in the television landscape. That… and the arrival of 3G and cheap mobile data which has allowed video streaming in the palm of your hand.

 

It’s surprising to find that Netflix has actually been around since 1997. It started life as a DVD rental business but began streaming online video in 2007, just 2 years after Youtube was founded. Today Netflix has 139 million paid subscribers worldwide and on Youtube, one billion hours of content are watched every single day. YouTube is ranked as the second-most popular site in the world after Google (Alexa Internet). And, whilst Netflix and Youtube may have paved the way for online video, there are now dozens of different streaming platforms from Disney+ to Apple TV, Now TV to Facebook Watch, TikTok, Instagram TV and Amazon Prime.

 

There’s huge money behind these platforms. Facebook will spend a “measly” $1 billion on video content this year compared to Amazon’s $4 billion spend last year and Netflix’s projected $8 billion spend for 2019 (Media Post). Also this year, Amazon and Netflix have said they will be investing in UK TV production, and will help to promote these shows on both platforms (Video News). However, the question is, will this bring traction to TV broadcasters or, will audiences be tuning into their SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) services to watch the shows? An Ofcom report released in the summer found that huge investment in original content by digital players has seen subscriptions to SVOD services in the UK overtake subscription to pay-TV services. Ofcom also found that last year that after a period of sustained growth, pay-TV subscription revenues fell in the UK for the first time, falling by 2.7 percent to £6.4 billion. Unsurprisingly as UK consumers turn their back on conventional television viewing in favour of subscription based streaming platforms, they also turn their back on advertising. TV advertising income fell significantly last year, declining seven percent year-on-year in real terms to £3.9 billion (Video News).

 

So what does this mean for brands who have, in the past relied on TV advertising to reach their customers? You guessed it, they’ve started to pump more and more of their budget into online advertising. Last year, digital advertising increased by 9.5% in the UK (emarketer) with video being the fastest growing medium. The exciting thing is that marketers looking to get an edge over their competitors are putting budget behind incredible branded content that is shining a spotlight on their products and services. Volvo, Heineken and Dove are not only running heavy hitting multi-channel campaigns with a hero piece of video content at it’s heart, but many like Patagonia, Red Bull and Nike are becoming publishers in their own right with Youtube channels that include regular, engaging video content that is enjoyed by millions of people.

 

As we, the consumer, become accustomed to subscription TV viewing, the days of sitting through 5 minutes of TV adverts seem like a distant memory. No surprise then, that we actively avoid spending time online in places where we are being hit with constant adverts. With Youtube releasing its own subscription service, it begs the question how long we will have to wait before Facebook, Instagram and other platforms follow suit? Moving forward, brands will have to work harder and harder to get their message seen by their audience and commissioning branded content will be one of the best ways to do that.

If your food or drink brand doesn’t have a great personality, you’ll leave a very bitter taste with your customers and will struggle to connect with the Millennials and Generation Z consumers of today… 

1600 new food and drink products are brought to market each year in the UK (LSEG). That’s a sh*t ton of choice and this abundance means consumers are incredibly discerning about the brands they buy into. In fact, Millennials are said to be the pickiest generation when it comes to food (NYPost) and yet at the same time the most impulsive buyers, with nearly 1 in 5 Millennials admitting to impulse shopping every day (Finder).

With 90% of Millennials spending time online every single day (Google) it’s never been more important for brands to be sending out the right message and connecting with audiences in the digital space. 

The proliferation of social media means that consumers have endless access to information making them a lot more culturally aware. In the last couple of years people’s attitudes to food and drink has radically changed, particularly in western countries Millennials and Generation Z have totally redefined the FMCG industry. In fact, 25% of teens aged 15-17 say they worry about staying healthy and another 49% agree that drinking soda is unhealthy (Mintel). And Millennials are far more attracted to personalisation with 77%  of them thinking that it makes a food brand more attractive (Askatest).

They aren’t just concerned with the consumption of food however, with so many Millennials spending a lot more time on social media and having their lives on display, the image and identity of the food they consume is extremely important and acts as an extension of their own personality (Kantarmedia). Now the phrase “How to Cook This” is the most searched on Youtube and on Instagram there are over 3 million posts containing the hashtag #avocado (Onebrandmagic). Incredibly 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z’s share images of food and search for food products online everyday (PSL) and according to a study by Maru/Matchbox, 69 percent of millennials take a photo or a video of their food before eating.

Whether you’re a restaurant, smoothie or chocolate bar, your brands identity on-and-offline is extremely important. Your consumers today are going to resonate more with the brands that seem to share their values and lifestyles, represent what they do or want to represent, are building personal connections through relatable and engaging content, and, are providing them with a more individual experience. Brands like Cadbury show us that you don’t need to be an all plant based and organic product to do this, instead you just need to connect with them, show them your brand’s personality, and resonate with them on an emotional level. Cadbury recently decided to change their brand’s personality from being loud and quirky to being a lot more family-led and down-to-earth. This was specifically to “reconnect with consumers” (The Drum), and their recent adverts have been very down-to-earth and relatable to a large UK audience of different age, gender and status.

Cadbury Inventor – Go Madbury UK

Cadbury – Mum’s Birthday

Cadbury – Coast

Creating video content can be one of the most effective ways to showcase your brand’s personality, especially online, and it’s why a lot of food and drink brands decide to create brand films. A brand film gives the audience an instant deep dive into your brand’s personality, background and story, and it gives the audience something to instantly connect and engage with, making your brand a lot more relatable. It will typically be the first thing a customer sees and will help inspire and formulate a positive first impression.

Ugly Drinks exploded onto the UK market last year with this killer brand film which encompasses their personality very well. They’re bold, they’re disruptive and they have a problem with sugar. Here’s a quote from an interview with the Founder of Ugly Drinks “Our fans love to be seen with the cans, they buy our merch from the website and they stick our stickers everywhere!” (Business Advice).

Ugly Drinks – It’s Time for the Ugly Truth

The personality of your brand is going to be what sets you aside from all the other food and drink businesses out there and it is going to be your greatest asset when building loyal customers. That’s why focusing attention on building a brand personality online through platforms like Instagram, your website and Youtube has become so important. They help you to connect with your customers, spread a message and help you to build a loyal following. Once you achieve that loyal tribe it will be a lot easier for your brand to tackle larger demographics. Brands like McDonalds have always been nailing this part of their marketing and are now providing a personality that is relatable to millions of customers. The reason it works so well for them is because they know who their customers are, they know what their customers want to see from them and they know why their customers buy their products.

In this advert by McDonalds “More in Common” we can see the way they connect with multiple demographics based on multiple personalities and this in turn showcases McDonalds as being inclusive, down-to-earth and enjoyable for everyone.

McDonalds – More in Common

Consumers today want to see the brand behind the product, they want to see your personality and they want you to speak to them as an individual. You can read our other blogs to find out how to connect with your customers online and best spread your brand’s personality through video.
Supercharge your Social Media Marketing using Video…
Seasonal Videos to Supercharge your online marketing…
How to use Video in 2019…
How to Win Customers with Branded Content…
Brand Storytelling through Video…

In recent years there has been an undoubtable shift in the way brands and advertisers are choosing to communicate with their audiences and customers. Not only is there a steady decline in traditional forms of advertising and a transition towards online video content but, the way brands are using video to advertise is also changing.

Whilst video adverts that play on the immediate desires of a general target audience still have a big role to play in general advertising, advertisers and brands are starting to see the opportunities to connect with their audiences with more meaningful content; content that is relevant to their lifestyles and emotions. What we are seeing now is video being created by brands that is driven more by narrative and storytelling as opposed to the “hard sell” video adverts that has been the norm for so many years.

Take this 2018 advert by Disneyland Paris – The Little Duck as our first example.


The video was posted on Youtube on December 25th and now has 2.9 million views and is the most viewed video on Disney’s channel. It is a video led entirely through narrative that plays with the audience’s emotions. The story is relatable to both an older generation who remember Donald Duck and a younger generation that engages with high quality animation and cute animals. What works well with this video is that it sells the desire to visit Disneyland Paris through the story of the little duck, without needing to mention ticket prices, accommodation or travel. The narrative of the video helps to build an instant and positive connection to Disneyland. 

A lot of brands now produce video content solely for online use because it not only costs less than TV advertising but can also reach an equal number of people. More money can then be put into the production of the video, making them appear more like short films or TV series instead of adverts. They are longer in length, have characters or a protagonist and there is a strong storyline that has a message relatable to the target audience.  

Here is another example by Mercedes Benz – Bertha Benz: The Journey That Changed Everything.

It is a video about the journey of Mrs Benz and her first fuelled car adventure. There is a strong narrative and a main protagonist, the production quality is high with a lot of detail put into the set design and costumes, and there is a relevant and modern message about female empowerment with the tagline at the end of the video “She Believed in Herself”. It is 4 minutes long and therefore would be too long to run as a TV advert but works incredibly well as an online branded video because it’s interesting, eye catching, different from what Mercedes have done in the past and has a meaningful message. 

Creating an online video for your brand that uses storytelling can help you to reach wider audiences that you might not already engage with. The reason the Mercedes Benz video works so well is because the message it is selling is worth sharing, so audiences are more likely to share the video amongst friends and family. The story is powerful and it builds strong emotions which help aids the positive impression of the Mercedes brand.

Here is another example by Delta Airlines.

A very eye catching and heartwarming video that works well at building an emotional connection to Delta Airlines. They’ve told the story of travelling through the eyes of a child which makes it seems a lot more exciting and desirable. What works well with this advert is the brief mentioning of the brand at the end of the video. If the audience is engaged and likes the video, they will need to wait till the end to find out who the brand is behind it. Because the story has been so engaging for the audience, when they see the branding they will respond positively to it.

These are just a few examples of story-led videos from brands that have come out recently online. Videos that rely on storytelling are highly effective at engaging your audience on a much deeper and more meaningful level and they don’t always need a big budget. It is more important to have the right strategy, ideas and script. And most importantly you need to know what story you want to tell.

In a fast moving and crowded industry, food and drink brands need to find efficient, engaging and consistent ways to connect with their customers online and social media can be one of the best tools to do that. We see a lot of food and drink brands focusing a lot of their time, energy and resources on social media marketing in order to build a loyal community of followers who can spread a message about their products. But, if every other food and drink brand is doing the same thing, how do you stand out from the crowd?

 

One of the tricks to nailing a successful social strategy is to have a consistent stream of posts that encourage regular engagement. Text and picture posts can get great results but did you know that posts with video have 48% more views (HubSpot) and generate 1200% more shares than text and image content combined? (G2 Crowd).

 

As a food or drink brand, Twitter, Linkedin and Snapchat are great but Facebook and Instagram should be your bread and butter. Instagram in particular is highly visual so it’s great for showing off your products in the best light and acting as your virtual “store front”. Try to tell the story of your brand and your products with a variety of videos. For example, you can create simple, glossy, 10 second clips of the ingredients that go into your products or a quick time-lapse of a pop-up display being put together in a retail store. Do 1 minute interviews with members of the team or film with your farmers and producers.

 

Videos on social media add huge credibility to your brand’s identity especially when they are informative and educational. Viewers retain 95% of a message after watching it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text (Wirebuzz). Remember, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Instagramso consider adding motion graphics or subtitles to make them stand out.

 

Instagram and Facebook are perhaps one of the most effective ways to create a deeper connection with your customers and engage them on a more personal level. Get somebody in your company to create a Live-stream broadcast taking your audience behind the scenes of your brand and give them insight into your day-to-day activities. These can be behind the scenes of a shoot, event or product sampling, shots in your office, a team outing or videos in your factory. This type of content will resonate with your audience because it’s personal, honest and will make them feel more involved with your journey. Also, because of the personal style of these videos, 47% of consumers enjoy watching adverts from brands on Instagram and Facebook Story (Animoto).

 

Think of social media videos as part of a wider ecosystem of content you are creating. Try to drive your audience from one channel to create better engagement with your brand. For example, if you have some great long-form content on Youtube (above 2 minutes) but don’t have many subscribers, then create short clips from that content and post it on your Facebook or Instagram page with a link to send viewers across to watch the full video on Youtube. If you are creating blogs or other pieces of written content, then you can create short videos summarising the main points from the blog. Post that video on social media and then encourage the viewer to read the full blog on your website by following the link. Not only does this technique help to give your audience lots of content to “gorge on” but it’s also fantastic for SEO.

 

Social media is a great way for food and drink brands to build their own tribe. It works extremely well at engaging audiences with relevant, interesting and exciting content about your brand, and by using video amongst your social media marketing you can find simpler, easier and more engaging ways to stand out online.

In today’s digital world, brands can now reach their customers with dozens of touch points from Google and Youtube to Facebook and Instagram. But there’s also a problem; with the proliferation of digital marketing, people are starting to become desensitised to online adverts – they’ve learnt how to tune out the digital ad noise.

 

As we move into the next decade of the 21st century, brands will have to work far harder to connect with their “audiences”. Conventional advertising won’t be enough. They will need to create educational, entertaining or informative content that puts their “audience-first” – putting the customer’s needs before the brand. Not only will this help them to compete for their customer’s attention, but it will also enable them to create a more meaningful relationship with their customers.

 

For consumers, this “Audience-First” video content will compete for their attention with TV programming and other forms of entertainment. The only difference is that the video content they love to watch online, will be powered by brands. For the Brands, the video content they provide will enable them to create a connection to their market and loyalty beyond anything they had experienced before.

 

A lot of major brands like Volvo, Patagonia and Red Bull already have Youtube channels dedicated to audience-first content. These include informative series about interesting people, places or topics that they know their audience will enjoy watching. Volvo run a documentary series called “Human Made Stories” looking at amazing people doing incredible things. Red Bull’s focus is on extreme sports; people snowboarding, mountain biking or surfing, where the only mention of Red Bull is a logo in the corner. And Patagonia do a series called  “Workwear” looking at craftspeople and workers doing interesting jobs. It’s not heavily branded and it’s video content that normal people love to watch.

 

So how do you get started with audience-first video content and how can you incorporate it into your own marketing strategy?

 

It’s firstly important to understand your demographic – their interests, their dislikes, their habits and their activities. You need to understand what sort of video content will resonate with them. It’s clear that a 25-year-old women in London may not enjoy watching the same content as a 50-year-old man in Leeds, unless they both share similar interests and passions. Once you’ve found a common thread to your customers, try to come up with ideas for video content that will resonate with them.

 

Social media platforms offer great tools to connect with customers and find out what they are interested by. Using Instagram stories you can directly ask your audience questions. By using “polls” or “ask me anything” tools, you can find out first hand what your audiences are interested in. So if you want inspiration for your first Youtube series then post the question on Instagram.

 

Audience-first content doesn’t have to be a massive production of documentaries or nation engaging stunts. It just has to be content that is made for your audience, whether that’s “how to videos”, interviews with experts, or recipe videos. At its core, Audience-first content should not be too heavily branded or advertorial. You need to make your audience forget there is any kind of branded message.

 

For more information on Audience-First content please feel free to give us a call or drop us an email. We always encourage our clients to explore audience-first content as we see this as the future focus for brands.

If you are an SME and haven’t heard of the term ambush marketing, then you may be missing a trick. It’s a high impact, cost effective way for brands to hog the limelight and is frequently being used by the likes of Pepsi, Burger King and Nike to generate huge sales. And the good news is that you don’t have to be a big brand to use ambush marketing. It works for emerging brands too. So, what is ambush marketing and why is it so effective?

Imagine you want to hold a street party but can’t afford it. Then you find out your neighbor is hosting his own street party with a band and an expensive sound system. So you invite all your friends over and pass the party off as your own. Before you know it, your neighbour’s guests have even ended up at your house. You’ve got the street party you always wanted and didn’t have to pay a thing. #partyambush.

Now imagine you are Coco Cola and you’ve paid a fortune to sponsor the World Cup. But then Pepsi, who hasn’t paid a penny in sponsorship, decides to rebrand all their drinks cans with pictures of the England World Cup team. They win sales from Coke without the hefty price tag of official sponsorship. Catch my drift?

The most common form of ambush marketing takes place surrounding key sporting events where brands would ordinarily have to pay for sponsorship like the World Cup, Wimbledon or the Olympics. But it can also be used for other key calendar events like Movie Releases, Royal Birthdays, Festivals OR to hijack big marketing announcements from other brands like Apple or Tesla. And that marketing can manifest in print, TV, digital, radio or a brand’s packaging.

So how can emerging brands use ambush marketing effectively? And what about video – how can you use it to amplify an ambush marketing campaign?

1. Be Direct

In this game you need to be proactive and keep a beady eye on your annual calendar. There are many events that pop up throughout the year which you could create some awesome content to generate buzz. Form connections through imagery, colour and slogans whether that’s Union Jacks for a Royal Wedding, rainbows for London Pride or in the case of Blue Kitchen restaurant this year – create a social media video.
During the world cup they create this video which referenced Maradona’s famous “Hands of God”. So even thought Blues Kitchen has no official connection to the present world cup they formed a strong association that would have resonated with their audience.

Your ambush doesn’t just have to be inline with a specific event – it can stem from anything that is current or trending. You need look no further than social media for the latest meme or hot topic. Do you remember when fidget spinners first came into town and how everybody went crazy for them? Well Burger King took that trend in their stride and produced this awesome Gif…

As an emerging brand this is exactly the type of trend that could you easily to create some content around.

2. Be Fearless

To make an omelet you have to break a few eggs. So to stay ahead of your competition, you’ll have to risk putting a few noses out of joint with your ambush marketing. Look at what your competitors are doing or any bigger brands that you could ambush and then form a marketing campaign around their events. For example, in 2012, Nike piggybacked off London Olympic fervor with their own TV campaign called “Find your Greatness” despite the fact that Adidas were the official sponsor, not Nike.

And an example of an emerging brand jumping on a big brand’s bandwagon is Mous – they timed the release of their indestructible phone case with the arrival of the Iphone X. They even ambushed the long queue outside the Apple store and filmed some video content with the hopeful Iphone owners putting their indestructible case through its paces.

3. Be Predatory

Look for opportunities to have a dig at your competition. Here’s another example from Burger King where they hijacked the cinema release of the Clown horror film “IT” and used it to poke fun at their main competitor McDonalds with the slogan “Never Trust a Clown”. They created this piece of video content to promote the campaign.

And Android released this advert for their Smart watches just before the release of the Apple Watch, making the point that as an Android smart watch owner they have different styles so you can still be individual but with Apple, you only get one choice.

As an emerging brand there are so many opportunities lying in wait for you to do your own ambush marketing campaign, whether that’s piggybacking off a major event, jumping on a new trend that’s doing the rounds on social media or having a dig at some of your bigger competitors with a counterintuitive video campaign. Just look at the calendar and for anything you can take advantage of, then start your scheming! Be the predator, not the prey.

Marketing to millennials.

As the digital landscape changes and consumers become more media and tech savvy, brands are having to adapt quickly in the way that they find customers and market to their audiences. Recent research has shown that display advertising is rapidly losing its effectiveness due to the widespread use of ad blocking software and viewers’ increasing tendency to distrust and ignore explicit marketing techniques. After sixty years of overt disruptive advertising, it seems audiences are getting wise to it. Technology is putting the power firmly back in their hands. Digitally competent consumers can now decide when and how they interact with brands and demand uninterrupted digital experiences with value-adding, entertaining content to keep them engaged.

But with more global competition and marketing noise than ever, this increasing rejection of hard-sell advertising means that brands now need alternative ways of reaching their audiences. Branded video content has therefore become the newest and most effective tool for brands to engage with their customers.

So what exactly is branded content?

It’s complicated! There is much disagreement about what actually differentiates ‘branded content’ from other forms of marketing. At its very basic level, branded content is customer focused and puts the brand’s ‘audience’ first. Rather than traditional advertising which informs and persuades customers of brand benefits, branded content takes a different approach. Treating its audience as real individuals instead of merely ‘customers’, branded content attempts to foster relationships socially and emotionally with consumers through tailored storytelling and engaging creative content rather than explicit advertising. The aim is to build customer loyalty and an authentic brand-consumer relationship rather than strong-arming people into buying your products.

The evolution of advertising into branded content.

Traditionally, brands have sought to reach new or larger audiences through paid advertising with the big content publishers and broadcasters. In the past they might have taken thirty second TV commercial spots and/or bought up display or banner advertising with print or online publishers. Of course this still happens, but brands are having to become less formulaic in order to connect with and engage their customers. Traditional advertising still has a place – but is increasingly being used as part of integrated campaigns with diverse types of branded content across multiple channels. Taking a more holistic approach to content and distribution in this way enables brands to achieve the sort of in-depth creative storytelling that viewers might actively choose to consume.

Types of branded content.

The point of branded content is that it should seem less like disruptive advertising and should integrate well into the surrounding online content and TV programming. Because of this, it can take many different forms – from sponsorship of brand-aligned existing programming to full length ad break ‘programmes’, documentary film collaborations, music videos and even feature films. It is this diversity of style and content collaboration with the big publishers and broadcasters that has led to a blurring of the lines between traditional advertising and programming and between brands and traditional content publishers. As long as this doesn’t advance brands’ agendas in a biased or dishonest way – the rise of branded content can be seen as a welcome injection of creativity and funding for traditional content publishing and programme making.

Here are some of our favourite types of branded content campaigns:

 The programme sponsor:

Wickes advertising sponsors Homes programming on Channel 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu6w7FZmDik

The full-length ad space takeover:

Waitrose ran full-length ad break ‘recipe shows’ with Heston Blumenthal and Delia Smith between food programming and have also launched their own YouTube channel to showcase their content.

 Moving into the online space – the brand ‘hosted’ live, cross-media TV show:

Carling partnered with the Premier League and Sky Sports to host a Friday night football show,  Carling in off the Bar – a half hour live pre-match broadcast from a pub, simulcast on Facebook Live, YouTube and Sky Sports with half-time match analysis streamed live on social media and post-match analysis. An ideal cross-media vehicle for Carling to reconnect with its target audience of 18-35 year old men.

The online value-adding content collaboration:

The Performers – Gucci with GQ

Featuring 5 of the world’s ‘coolest’ guys (according to GQ), this series of films followed 5 performers as they travelled to places of personal pilgrimage to share stories of their inspirations. The characters and stories take centre stage, but Gucci accessories are ever present.

The branded content commercial break replacement:

The US Comedy Central Channel is now running a 2 ½ minute branded content series once a month instead of a traditional ad break in an effort to blend advertising with quality comedy content and keep viewers watching.

http://handytheseries.com

The documentary film content partnership:

Volvo  + Sky Atlantic – Human Made Stories

Volvo partnered with Sky Atlantic to produce a series of inspiring short documentary films centring on the emotional impact of human innovation, raising brand perception of Volvo as a progressive, innovative manufacturer and taking advantage of the increasing popularity of socially-aware content.

The Lego Movie

The best example of a brand commissioning a feature film and probably the finest and most successful piece of branded content ever created.

 

Whatever the moral ins and outs of the rise of branded content and its impact on the big content publishers and broadcasters – one thing is clear, and that is that brand influence on the digital content we consume is growing – whether audiences perceive it to be ‘advertising’ content or not. TV – be it broadcast, playback or video on demand still accounts for 76% of UK video consumption and it’s where brands want to be (Thinkbox). With other vehicles like Facebook Watch up and coming, brand-funded programming and programming agendas are definitely here to stay. The less direct approach to marketing is working – and both brands and publishers are fast cottoning on to that fact. The big brands have started the ball rolling, but surely – the smaller ones won’t be far behind?

If you would like help with creating branded video content for your business – contact us here

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.