Have you ever browsed through a website looking to buy something specific, but didn’t find anything that looked like you? Maybe it was a new pair of shoes or apartment rentals. Often, businesses use thumbnails of stock images or still frames from videos. Still images leave it up to the buyer to imagine themselves with the product. While these visuals certainly have a place there is a deeper level of marketing available, Video Marketing.
Think about your favorite toy advertisement as a kid. Is it a carousel of pictures from different angles? Or is it a commercial showing the toy in use? Growing up, I bought TONS of WWE Wrestling Figures. Every wrestling tape you rented in the 80’s and 90’s often started with a commercial featuring kids playing with the latest line of action figures with their real-life counterparts such as the Ultimate Warrior or “Rowdy” Roddy Piper joining in for the fun. Times haven’t changed much; video is still on top. If video wasn’t so powerful, YouTube wouldn’t implement pre-rolls, and online commerce would be satisfied with banner ads.
In fact, when I think of the most memorable toys of my childhood: Power Wheels, My Buddy, anything at Toys ‘R Us – they all had commercials, showing me how to play with the toys and the fun I’m going to have, complete with a song to keep it fresh in my head.
Pick A Product To Shoot Video
I wanted to put this idea into action and spruce up a classic product with online presentation: used cars. Used cars have different levels of advertising.
Dealerships deploy television and radio commercials highlighting their lot of certified pre-owned vehicles, but online, I found a much more underwhelming approach.
Here’s a car. Here are words and numbers about the car. Based on that, leave your house and come look at this car.
How many pictures of cars do you have to look at online before you find a car you want to see in person? How many dealership websites and image carousels will you scroll through? Does anything speak to you?
In my research, I’ve come across 2 types of videos trying to sell cars. One example is usually provided by an all-in-one service. The video production is streamlined by shooting a lot of cars the same way with a handheld device (consumer camcorder or cell phone), and using automatic video effects in post-production to try to make it look professional. But it doesn’t look professional and nobody is fooled. These type of services usually include other admin tasks done for the dealership, such as inventory tracking and sticker printing. Which means these videos are not worth much. They exist, but is anyone picking a car because they watched this video?
Another type of car video I was able to find is the “do it yourself” approach popular on YouTube. This is generally a salesman walking around with a cellphone in a 15-minute video showing you his entire inventory. Besides the quality of the video that speaks for itself, this puts the video in the hands of the salesperson and now you’re getting the blatant sales pitch, which is the exact opposite of what sleek online marketing is supposed to do.
My Approach To Shooting Video
Products have attitude, right? Sweet or Edgy, Exciting or Relaxing, Inspiring or Reassuring. Those are some of the basic emotions I go for when making a video. That’s the sales pitch. This car is what you’ve been looking for because you are seeing yourself in it right now.
How do I represent that in video form? I’ll tell you!
I had the opportunity to shoot a Jeep Wrangler that was for sale and void of any Certified Pre-Owned regulations.
The first thing I surveyed was the area I was going to be shooting. It was a parking lot partially under construction. Nothing I could do about that, but in researching the previous videos shot at the location, they didn’t avoid any of the construction around the area, showcasing cars alongside chain link fences and excavators. It’s not the imagery one thinks of when they are looking at a $25,000 vehicle.
I noticed an unused building in the middle of the fence perimeter and to the left of the dump trucks and loaders. The building was surrounded by rocks. Rocks = Rugged. Rugged = Jeep. Location secured. To have a successful shoot, I needed to make sure I used the “rugged exterior” while avoiding the fencing, street traffic, or construction to creep into my shot.
The next part is to my advantage because, like many car buyers, I’m not a “car guy.” I know to how to look up a Blue Book Value or peep the mileage; that’s how deep it goes. When I’m looking to buy a car, I want to know what it looks like and see the cool aspects: the radio, the steering wheel, the fold down seats, the speakers, the famous Jeep logo. My focus, getting great shots with movement that will make people say “Cool! Now, I want to drive it!”
I want to see myself in this car. I want to believe that this car was parked here for me, waiting for me to buy it. That feeling can’t be expressed scrolling through thumbnails. A big part of that comes from the music.
I’ll pick a song that I have the rights to attach to my work and play with impunity, but also feels unique enough to the product. This video is an experience to help the potential buying figure out if they want to buy this car now or not. It feels like them, it looks like them, it sounds like them. It is them.
Why Would I Need This?
I mentioned a few different marketing ideas for products, and cars specifically. If you are a big time dealership with a large marketing budget and many different avenues to go down, then you smartly use all of your options, Carousels, bad video, banner ads, pop-ups, email marketing, etc. But if you don’t have 7 chances to get it right, you may need to focus your attention on the most effective options.
Do you own a custom body shop or sell luxury cars? Then you may need to cut through the noise and target people looking for exactly what you provide? Then you need something that stands out from the big names trying all 7 different things. A sleek, well produced video here on your LinkedIn, Instagram page, or YouTube can provide infinite opportunities to show off your product. Especially if you already have an audience that is aware of you, they just need the motivation to come out and see you.
I’ll continue talking about my experiences in production, current and past. But I’d love to know some product videos you’ve found extremely persuasive and popular, or what simply didn’t work for you.
Til then, like my (12th) favorite teacher told me in film school, Keep Shootin’.