Yes; in a word. Effective video has a character. Creating a suitable ‘idea’ or applicable ‘concept’ for a video production that entertains while it informs is a job-order that is sometimes first given to a ‘Concept Artist’ and once framed out it is given to a Screen Writer. Sometimes the ‘Concept Artist’ and the screenwriter’ is the same person. This is not to say that someone who does not consider themselves skilled in either of those roles cannot originate a compelling concept that will eventually evolve into a viral video.
Videos have character content; they have a feel and a style. They have to if they are to be successful. Consider that the advertising and marketing for the PC and the MAC are so different that they effectively make the MAC user feel smug and the PC user feel envious. Anyway, that’s one opinion, and I suppose a careful reading of that last sentence will reveal which demographic I belong to!
Video content goes in and out of fashion. And you can prove that to yourself by going and looking at video or film footage that has been produced as resent as 7 years ago. For example, given the current economical situation it will be easy for you to understand that a post called, ‘Dr. Horrible’s, Sing Along Blogg, has become very popular. It’s a sort of nonsense internet TV program which is very popular. It finds it success in the type of humor it represents… and humour is one of the most revealing aspects that history records about the people that create that history. If you can locate what a generation, or a time finds ‘funny’, you can also locate what they find terrifying. Multi National companies spend millions of dollars in research efforts until they figure this out- then and only then, do they design the advertising and marketing for the Pepsi or Coke-a-Cola brands. Ultimately it’s all about telling a story.
Do you remember Sponge Bob Square Pants? Of course you do! If you’ve a child under the age of 15 or you’re between the age of 10-20 you will certainly remember this outrages character!
The character-driven cartoon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob; he is an incurably optimistic and earnest sea sponge, and he has many friends. He lives fathoms deep beneath the tropical isle of Bikini Atoll in the sub-surface city of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob lives in a two-story pineapple. SpongeBob does not approaches life in a logical fashion rather he chooses a wayward and unconventional way. Whether he is searching for a perfect spatula to flip his perfect burgers while working at Krusty Krab’s, or just hanging out with Patrick (an amiable starfish) his best friend, SpongeBob” overzealous approach to life creates chaos in his underwater world.
He’s so cheerful that he gets on the nerves of his grumpy neighbor, Squidward Tentacles. Spongebob is a frycook at the Crusty Crab’s; this burger joint owned by the greedy, yet kindhearted, Mr. Crabs. Spongebob has many buddies and one of them is Gary, SB’s pet snail, Patrick Star, is a simple-minded starfish, while Sandy Cheeks, wears a space-suit and is a Texan squirrel.
Imagine sending the concept for this program to a producer?!!? They may not get past the name you’ve given the character… but send this concept to them in the form of a video or a drawn out story-board, now that provides the images that speak a 1,000 words and it will most probably get past the person who would never have gotten past the ‘word’ description. When we say that “a picture is worth a thousand words’ it would be good to add that the words will be ‘picture words’ and those rarely need translated. This is why video is such a compelling tool to use in your efforts to communicate your product or service. It says it all. Another simple example of this would be to consider the impact of a Video Resume; suppose you were applying for a scholarship to a performing arts institute or a college looking for an All star Football player, don’t you think a video displaying your skill-sets and talent would speak volumes more than a letter accompanying the application telling the Judges how good you are?
Spongebob Squarepants Originator:
Written by Mike Konczewski Spongebob Squarepants has a host of multimillion dollar merchandising attributed to him; movies, cartoon books, clothing, toys, games for both internet and off the shelf, music, screen savers, sing along kareokee, etc. the list is endless.
This is a good example of the power of video. But it’s yesterdays news. If you were to create such a character today, this character would probably have something to do with the circumstances we now find ourselves in. If you were to create a character that was to have the full impact that Sponge Bob Square Pants had, this character would have to be in the same circumstance we find ourselves in. Note how President Elect Baharat Obama has tailored his campaign around the character content of his predecesors: John Fitzerald Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Rosevelt.
Think about it, all of a sudden, a classic novel like the one written by John Steinbeck is selling off the shelves as fast as they can print it. Subject matter- the Great Depression; Hollywood ending..none in sight; moral of the story…history repeats itself…. advice: keep going. Straight on- straight up. Do the right thing even if it appears to cost you more than you have to spend.
When you’ve decided along with the millions of others, that Internet Video is indeed a powerful tool for the purposes of marketing and advertising, then do the work; research the demographic that you want to engage, and create the video in the language that they understand, answer the questions that they have, give them a solution to their problems comfort them and acknowledge the fears they have, and finally, sell them the product that they are already buying or find a way to develop a need for your product or service you’re providing and then convince them that they want it! Who would ever have gone out to find Sponge Bob Square Pants? Who knew that they needed this guy?!
He generated so much fun… and it spoke to it’s generation like Mickey Mouse and the Three Stooges did mine. The inventors that made these characters come to life were either accidental heroes or did the work of research to find out what would work.. or what was needed; even internet video has to follow the formula of ’supply and demand’.
If you want to spend the time you could find some very interesting data on what worked then and what would work now in the way of Internet Video There is no luck here; either you meet the current ‘thought’ or need of the moment or you don’t. Observe how Barack Obama has utilised the history written by John Fitzerald Kenney, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Rosevelt, to expand on the ‘character’ of his campaign and punctuate his presidential intentions. How many words do you think that would have taken; how much shorthand did he cleverly engage by summoning these images?
Remember, the research that has been done in order make a character ‘viral’ or a message ‘viral’ is not magic; it’s pure formula. It has to fit the times your living in. It has to respond to the situation that we find ourselves in. If you have a product or service to sell, tailor it to the times we are living in. It has to be styled in the times you’re living in…that means, verbiage, fonts- if you use text on the video, images that are relevant, etc. The only exception to this rule is that you use something from the past with the intention of speaking to the present. This is called ‘Retro’!