Successful Product Videos Aren’t About Products


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Think Un-Product

I was waiting to see the movie, “Lincoln,” last weekend when the this “trailer” played in the theater.

“Oh no,” I thought, another cliché movie about finding love and missed connections, literally and metaphorically – as love between two bloggers blossoms as a result of a chance encounter at an airport.

Sears, Connecting Flights

The fabulous surprise ending revealed it was not another ad for a cheesy romantic comedy (thankfully!); rather, it was an appliance commercial for the everyday store for hardware and house wares, Sears. In fact, the product is appropriately only in the last scene of the video. Sears got it right: story before product.

Love May Be Hot, But This Fridge is Cold

Besides the fun surprise ending (which I love), this video hooks us in by telling a story. The product makes an appearance – comically – in the last scene and that’s as it should be. If you want to make products relevant, don’t think ‘product’ focus for your videos. Instead, think ‘story.’ Customers’ lives don’t fit into product stories; instead, products fit into the stories of customers’ lives. So why not focus on the life – albeit a romantic one – of a customer couple.

Fun and Surprise Work – Every Time

There is nothing fun or exciting about appliances. Yet, appliances are everyday items that fit into the context of our lives. When romance and life are unpredictable, appliances from Sears, by contrast, are reliable. Humor that shows stark contrast works, as does the element of surprise. Up-end your audience’s expectations and you grab attention.

By focusing on telling the larger narrative of a customer profile – in this case, the young and in-love couple –mundane products have a context and a back-story that draws us in. The story of a product is bigger than the product itself. In fact, the product’s specs and features are never the story. Moreover, when you are dealing with perceived commodities (in the minds of customers), the only way to differentiate your product is the story you wrap it in. Providing an emotional wrapper is the key to standing out.

Want your product story to stand out?

Start by up-ending expectations with your product videos. Tell the larger story of your customer, think “un-product,” and have some fun.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kathy Klotz-Guest
For 20 years, Kathy has created successful products, marketing stories, and messaging for companies such as SGI, Gartner, Excite, Autodesk, and MediaMetrix. Kathy turns marketing "messages" into powerful human stories that get results. Her improvisation background helps marketing teams achieve better business outcomes. She is a founding fellow for the Society for New Communications Research, where she recently completed research on video storytelling. Kathy has an MLA from Stanford University, an MBA from UC Berkeley, and an MA in multimedia apps design.


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