LAS VEGAS — I know it works. I know that integrated video, on a budget, can be a game-changer for owned content, and turn what could be a press release into a can’t-miss event.
In August 2012, in the middle of the night in Las Vegas, I stood next to the winner of Microsoft’s BlueHat Prize, given to an independent computer security researcher who earned $200,000 for an innovative way to mitigate online threats. We were at a nightclub on a rooftop deck at Caesars Palace, celebrating the big announcement made hours earlier.
Eight of us were crowded around a tiny iPhone video screen, watching the on-demand video replay of the ceremony where three finalists came on stage, and one emerged as the winner in front of a crowd of 1,000 at another nightclub across town. Over and over, we watched his face as he learned he won, and then bedlam broke out: confetti cannons, strobe lights, music, no amount of flash was spared.
I’d already seen the video, because I had produced it, along with the ceremony and the tightly-choreographed visuals. I had insisted, implored my teammates that a huge splash could be done with an American Idol-style reveal at the party, a corporate party we were hosting anyway.
I was watching the reaction of the other seven. The delight was evident in their faces. At least four of them asked for the link to forward off to their friends, and away they went to show others. Within hours, articles from Reuters and Agence France Presse happily cited the “flashy” display, and linked to the video. Several other reporters recorded it from just in front of the stage, on their mobile phones.
You may think I broke the bank and had a staff like an army to produce such an event, but that wasn’t the case. For under $3,000, including travel costs for myself and a cameraman/editor, we had a video that made a huge contribution to the marketing mix around the complicated topic of technology and security. As for the confetti and lights, well, we were already going to have a party anyway. Why not make it memorable?
In the DMA Statistical Fact Book 2013, video and photos were ranked #2 and #4 by marketing professionals as “content with the best return on investment”, so the marketing profession knows that it works. What it doesn’t know is that in this day and age, the ROI can be even greater. With costs for quality equipment declining, the true art of visual storytelling is now available to any marketer on a budget.