Logistics and the Koyaanisqatsi effect
Yes, it’s the return of business video marketing Saturday. This is where we analyze a small business video ad that we have found online to see what we can learn from it in regards to improving our internet video marketing skills.
The need for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to use video marketing is growing in importance. Potential customers and collaborators will start seeing more video ads as apparently Microsoft intends to make more use of them in the newly-bought skype, and Google, Bing and Yahoo are all implementing new video advertising regimes. As i have mentioned in a previous post, a PRNewswire survey from the start of the year found that media outlets and internet publishers utilize press releases with video embeds more than they pick up the wordy ones.
So each week, we look at a video ad and discuss it from a business video marketing perspective. The idea isn’t to hang shit on any particular video-making attempt (although I am looking forward to coming across something truly awful some time when I am in a bad mood and need to vent), but to occasionally stand on the shoulders of giants and more frequently, to simply learn from those who have given it a go already.
After researching the use of wireless sensor technology in logistics this week, I thought it would be apt to drag you all into the world of supply chain management that is in my head. Let’s review this video from US sensor company, Crossbow Technology:
The video ad good
Great use of short films. I think the visuals for the most part really pull you along. The port (0:56), the aerial shots (2:01) and the ship cargo shot 2:32 are all great, yet simple. They have a bit of movement, connect to the logistics core theme, and aren’t too distracting from the intended message.
“And it’s blocking your lane.” The occasional ability of this video to personalize the impacts of supply chain inefficiencies helps to connect with the viewer. Copyblogger’s Influencer Project even kicks off 60 snippets of wisdom on their website with David Meerman Scott’s advice: “Stop talking about your products and services. People don’t care about products and services; they care about themselves.” Crossbow demonstrate this idea in practice with the lane-blocking reminder.
The length. Coming in at just under 3 minutes, the video ad is long enough to unpack the challenge and the solution while still remaining punchy.
The “What’s wrong with this picture?” montage. This is a great subliminal-esque device that helps the viewer summarize and hold the whole of the argument in their head while they wait for the forthcoming solution to be presented.
“Donate.” While the social and environmental benefits proposed were all known to me, I did like the additional idea that businesses could collaborate and donate excess goods that weren’t needed as part of their increasingly efficient supply chain systems. This seemed a slightly fresher angle to me, even after working in sustainability policy for the past 5-10 years.
The video ad obvious
The Koyaanisqatsi aesthetic. in a nod to the ‘life in a day’ genre made famous by Francis Ford Coppola’s epic visual meditation epic or the more hopeful Baraka, the video starts with the morning sun and ends with the view of earth from the moon, and also set to a tribal music soundtrack. It’s a style that was last seen being appropriated to death by Madonna for her Ray of Light music video. The style makes it slightly clichéd given that Crossbow’s video was only uploaded in 2010 and not 1991. OIn the other hand, the familiar format also allows the viewer to focus on the message as they know how to ‘read’ this set of visuals. The world music soundtrack starting with the ubiquitous “huh!” tribal grunts was a little too much (but overall I liked the choice of music, reflecting a good pace with the visuals).
The occasional clunky wordage. It would be great if business could contribute towards a more sustainable world rather than simply a more efficient one. And perishable goods could be prevented from being wasted rather than being stopped from perishing, since that is kind-of in their very nature to do, at some point.
The video ad bad
No visual presentation of data. I would have liked to have seen a few graphs to illustrate the point they were making and to lend a bit more authority to the ideas. For example, they could have shown a transparent map over the film (at 0:21) of US cities that had surpassed levels of recommended air pollutants, perhaps based on something like this:
Quantify the data. They could also have quantified their arguments a bit better in regards to the costs of logistics inefficiencies. For example, sending a truck off with only half a cargo load would add $USD105,000 to each trip. This total is based on the cost of 25 million gallons of oil at prices per gallon, and employment costs for an extra worker to drive around needlessly.
“This guy can’t remember what his kids look like.” I actually snickered at that point. Perahps a more effective image would be of a worker staring forlornly at a scrappy wallet-sized picture of his wife and kids.
The definition of forecasting was unclear to me. I didn’t really get how forecasting was resolved by sensor technology. The first use of the term forecasting is used when the wheat goes bad (2:32) but it is a bit unclear. The links between improved project planning and forecasting and using sensor technologies wasn’t really clear except in the video summary text on the youtibe home page.
Making internet videos for SMEs
But overall, I really like this as a business video ad and can see how this sort of internet video marketing could be useful to business. At the moment I am working with a video-maker on a short business video marketing piece that complements other website content I am writing. After that, I may well be looking around for a logistics internet video marketing opportunity.