Every online video campaign is different, but production companies that create Web series often find that a set of guidelines can help steer brands and businesses through the production process. To help figure out the look and feel of a Web video campaign, Happy Little Guillotine Films, which has produced Web series for 7-Eleven, Reebok and Samsung, asks brands and their ad agencies three simple questions.
Who are you selling to?
A demographic range such as 18-34 or 22-35 is no longer a detailed enough answer, said Yuri Baranovsky, Co-Founder of Happy Little Guillotine Films. That’s because online video is a world comprised of niches. Happy Little Guillotine Films’s most recent series, Leap Year, sponsored by Hiscox Insurance, targeted two demographics: business owners and TV transplants. “The former was the main focus of the project, the latter is what dictated the style. The people who have traded their cable box for Hulu still expect the same quality from their online series, so part of Leap Year's success was that it had the look, sound and feel of a TV show,” Baranovsky said. “On the other hand, if you're trying to create an interesting transmedia campaign, where viewers aren't sure if what they're watching is an advertisement or real, then you might want your videos to look slightly amateur, but still maintain that professional level of writing, acting and directing to make them compelling.”
What are you selling?
If you're selling a particular product, then what is its style? What are its features? Who would use it? “The quality of the video will always dial up and dial down depending on what exactly you're selling,” Baranovsky said.
Where are you distributing?
The distribution venue plays a big role in determining the style of an online video campaign. If a video is slated for Hulu, then it’s time to up the length and quality to meet the expectations of viewers. When it comes to Facebook, fast and funny is the way to go so the videos are more shareable. That’s the style Happy Little Guillotine Films went for with a 7-Eleven campaign, Slurpee Unity Tour.
“At the end of the day, the thing to remember is that the Internet is not television,” Baranovsky said. “No matter how high quality your 30 second spots are, they still tend to do poorly online. Be it long-form, high-quality content, or guerilla-style user-generated calls to action, advertising is changing and the brands that push their comfort zone and try to truly innovate are succeeding in this space.”