Touchstorm's 'Guide to Online Video' Is Its Own Subtle Calling Card
It’s clever that Touchstorm, which cut its digital teeth on its use of editorial videos to drive advertising, would create its own “Guide to Online Video Marketing,” being released today, purportedly to convince the befuddled advertisers/marketer out there how online videos are effective.
It's informational and a sales tool, which I’m sure was not far from the mind of CEO Alison Provost. Touchstorm is based on the idea that information is just down the street from revenue, easily a walkable distance.
But Touchstorm is nothing if not clever, and the 24-page guide is downloadable right about...now, based on that idea. “Knowing there is something to all of this online video business, but not being certain how it fits in with your brand can be overwhelming,” Provost says in the canned comments that come as a prelude to the report.
Or to put it another way, and to utterly destroy an old advertising bromide first uttered by department store magnate John Wanamaker, half of what’s written about online video advertising is just jargon-packed gibberish, but no one knows which half.
Touchstorm does a nice job defining some of those terms. That, to me, makes it a useful tool for anyone in the buying and selling business who is still resistant to advertising online, if that person will take half a minute to find out what business Touchstorm is in. It calls itself a “pioneer’ in online editorial videos, and distributes branded videos to publishers all over the Internet, with an editorial network of 30 million unique viewers according to comScore.
I read over a pre-release copy of Touchstorm Guide to Online Video Marketing yesterday in the threadbare trade press cubbyhole at the otherwise luxurious Earned Media Institute. As I did, I couldn’t help but think it would be illuminating if more online advertising businesses would produce freely distributed “How-To” guides. More than a mission statement, booklets like these give a pretty clear idea about where the sponsoring business sees itself. There’s a level of cynicism (or not) that informs “guides” about anything. If you can see the skid marks where the authors are avoiding their own shortcomings, it’s best to beware. Touchstorm pretty much avoids swerving at all.
Reading other sponsored guides in a variety of fields, I’ve been reminded of a colleague’s column about a Louisville, Ky. minor league baseball team whose largest radio sponsor also bought space on part of the outfield wall. The announcers were encouraged to use that outfield sign as a center point for everything that happened on the field. “There’s a fly ball to right field,” the play-by-play man might say, “nowhere near the Hopkins Hardware sign about 60 feet away.”
The Touchstorm online pamphlet is fairly objective, using the first section to sell the befuddled executive on the reason to advertise online, a second chapter to explain various ways online video can sell product (where Touchstorm first makes it pitch), and a third section where the reader/executive is called upon to size up what their online ad needs are.
In the fourth section Touchstorm puts on the full-court press for the value of “information-based editorial videos distributed by earned media is a powerful combination on the Web.” It makes a strong play for the search function because—not to get too flowery here—in this life we spend more time searching than we do being social. Touchstorm has stats to back that up and its ads often also show up via Googling. Just so happens.
Bottom line, until the last section of this guide, you can’t tell Touchstorm is behind it. This, of course, is the kind of advertising Touchstorm sells online. Brilliant. Maybe they should think about sponsoring a minor league baseball team.