Anthropomorphic Storytelling

Anthropomorphism is the process of giving human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals and plants. Technology advancements have allowed marketers to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) to develop new and innovative campaigns that can form a warm connection between the advert and viewer.

Viewers seem to be a lot more receptive to an animal with human characteristics promoting a service or product than with human-beings. This is where anthropomorphic storytelling comes in. A prime example of how successful a marketing campaign involving anthropomorphic characters can be is Comparethemarket.com’s Russian meerkat family.

 

 

Compare the Meerkat marketing campaign launched on 5th January 2009 and is still going strong today. The television adverts feature Aleksandr Orlov, a CGI anthropomorphic Russian meerkat, with his family and friends. Comparethemarket.com were soon seeing a fantastic return on investment, with it’s site becoming the fourth most visited insurance website in the UK, up from 16th in 2008. Furthermore, after launching the advertising campaign the company’s sales doubled.

Along with the television adverts, the campaign has grown further through the years. In October 2010 Aleksandr Orlov released his own autobiography, much to the public’s excitement. The book reached second place on the Amazon UK website on its first week of sale. And in July 2011 the company began production of cuddly toys representing each of the meerkat characters. A cuddly toy was given to every customer who bought an insurance policy through their website. Receiving a cuddly Orlov and Family toy was seen as a quirky incentive to use Comparethemarket.com.

meerkat toys

 

There are other companies too who have successfully included anthropomorphic storytelling in their marketing campaigns. Sofa retail chain Sofology, once Sofaworks, now have Neal the sloth who is the face of the company. Sofology also now offers a free cuddly Neal toy with every sofa purchase. From personal experience it really does work. We went into a local Sofology store just to see if we could get a Neal toy on its own. A couple of visits later we left with a sofa and two Neals!

 

A survey carried out by Promotional Products Week found that the UK is a nation of freebie hunters who will change brands for a free gift. The survey found that 3 in 10, of 1000 men and women asked, purposefully changed from their regular brand to receive a freebie. 34% said that they would be persuaded to change brands if there was a free cuddly toy on offer.

Is it because the toy is free that people are attracted to Comparethemarket.com or Sofology? I believe our affection and desire for these characters runs far beyond our need for a quick freebie. The cuddly toys are representations of animals that share the same human characteristics as us. Because they are anthropomorphic characters with personalities and emotions of their own, viewers can form their emotional connection’s with Neal and Aleksandr. They are like familiar, reoccurring friend’s.

Our affection is a result of clever storytelling. It gives the characters personality while moving them away from who they actually are: animals. Neal does not hang from a tree in any adverts, but instead he likes slouching on the sofa as we would at home in front of our own television sets. These human characteristic’s, effectively conveyed through the adverts, makes the viewers feel that they are more than just a CGI character and toy. They are relatable and more personable than a human could ever be.

Every successful marketing campaign starts with a great idea and a great story. If you want to discuss an idea with us or want some friendly creative advice we are just a phone call away. Get in touch with us to book a FREE consultation where you can discuss your business challenges and goals and how video can fit into your marketing plan.

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The Rise of Branded and Personalised Video

2015 was widely regarded as the year that video marketing really took off. As we head into 2016, marketers will be looking into how they can use technology to further build on the huge potential of video marketing.

Increased Value of Branded Video Content

The power of YouTube will come to the fore again this year resulting in more companies making an extra effort to produce branded video content. Marketers are recognising the fact that YouTube is now the third most visited website in the world with more than four billion views per day.

‘The play button has become the most compelling call to action on the Web’ (Lessard, T).

Videos are becoming more popular among online users than traditional text-based pages. More and more marketers will move towards moving images, creating branded videos such as key interviews, behind-the-scenes insights and product promos to engage their target audience.

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More Videos Will Appear on Websites

Jayson DeMers (Forbes) suggested that there are two areas where video content is likely to show up:

  • Home pages – As this page is likely to be the first page seen on the website, it is vital that it is attractive for the viewer. If your homepage is engaging, the visitor will be more likely to spend more time exploring the website.
  • Product pages – To make sure that your product or service is sold effectively, videos are a great method of explaining what you offer. Using just text and still images can be difficult to understand if your product or service is complex or new to the market. With the use of short videos, customers will better understand the product and the purchasing process which can boost conversions.
The Revenant: 200 Miles website includes an interactive video in the background.

The Revenant: 200 Miles website includes an interactive video in the background.

Videos Will Play a Larger Role in Driving Sales

The inclusion of videos on websites brings us onto the next prediction that videos will play a larger role throughout the customer journey. From a recent survey by research firm Demand Metric, 74% of businesses reported that video content drove conversions more than any other content type.

With increased video content, customers will be guided through the purchase process. According to a recent study, customer testimonials, demos and explainer/tutorial videos were found to be the most effective at helping convert sales.

The Potential Rise of Personalised Video Content

 

Interactive, one-to-one, video content is forecasted to emerge in 2016 which will create a more conversational experience. New technologies will allow the viewers to fully engage with the video content to form a more immersed experience to potentially gain more customers. Features to look out for will be mid-roll surveys and questionnaires inserted into the videos as well as multiple choice options that the viewer can select to direct how the video content will continue.

Video personalisation will also enter the mainstream in 2016. The concept will involve the viewer’s name, company logo, or an image posted on social media placed into the video to bring the viewer into the story. Marketers will be hungry to create a more engaging, immersive experience by creating stories that are personally directed by the viewer.

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Super Bowl 50: A Marketer’s Paradise

Sunday 7th February will see the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers compete at Super Bowl 50, one of the most watched events in the world. With 114.4 million U.S. viewers watching it alone last year, the Super Bowl is one of the biggest marketing opportunities of the calendar year. It does come at a price however, and it is a big one. Broadcaster CBS will charge a record $5 million (£3.5m) for a 30-second advertising slot this year. The huge global audience attracted to Super Bowl allows the broadcaster to demand such high costs.

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Digital marketing expert Joanne Bradford explained that the Super Bowl could not be beaten for the “impact of that moment” and the “brand awareness that it offers”.

 

The Super Bowl television adverts are a popular talking point, extending a brand’s awareness span beyond just a day. In fact, talk of the advertising campaigns begin weeks in advance. MarketingLand.com have their own feature called the ‘Hashtag Bowl’, where they cover all of the latest news and developments on which companies are taking part and how the productions are going.

Among the many brands participating, Doritos have launched their final ‘Crash the Super Bowl’ campaign. The contest invited fans to produce their own Super Bowl adverts to be in with the chance of having their production aired live on game day. This year Doritos have received nearly 4,500 entries which they have whittled down to three finalists. The winner is determined by the public, who can vote for their favourite entry up until 31st January. The campaign by Doritos is an effective marketing tool as it builds interaction goodwill with it’s fans and runs many weeks in advance of the Super Bowl event itself.

At the time of writing, 35 brands have announced their participation in the Super Bowl ad battle. To showcase their brands, some ad campaigns feature well known stars such as Alec Baldwin (Amazon), Christopher Walken (Kia) and Liam Neeson (LG Electronics) to name but a few. This highlights just how important the Super Bowl event is for companies. It is the US version of the UK’s Christmas advert. See our earlier blog post on the battle of the Christmas ad.

amazon-super-bowl-50-ad.

 

Global Brand Exposure

Major sporting events offer a rare occasion for companies to be market their brand to vast live audiences. But it’s just the Super Bowl that attracts people from around the globe – The FIFA World Cup final in 2014 has been estimated by many broadcasters to have been watched by a global audience of at least 909 million. The peak audience in the UK reached 21 million.

As a result of the high audience figures, broadcasters were again able to put an expensive price tag on a 30-second advert slot on their channel. ITV for example were charging between £275,000 and £300,000 for adverts in matches that featured England and between £40,000 and £100,000 for other matches.

2016 promises to be, yet again, a year for major sporting events. Football’s Euro 2016 is being contested in France this June, while athletics’ main event, the Olympic Games, is coming up in Rio in August.

How can your business tap into this?

We’re realists, so we know unless you’re Coca Cola or Amazon you’re highly unlikely to fork out £3.5 million of your great British pounds for a 30 second tv ad slot. But this doesn’t stop your brand from tapping into the audience that will be taking part in such large events. A well planned and relevant marketing video, released on or around the event can do wonders for audience response and brand exposure. Why not produce a corporate drama film that intelligently and creatively advertises your brand? The best example we’ve ever seen is Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.

Telling stories is what we do. If you’re interested in exploring corporate drama for your brand, or just want some friendly advice, get in touch with us and we’ll have a coffee.

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“Hey Look at Me!!” – How to Grab Your Viewers Attention

“That was sooo boring” is something no one wants to hear about their videos. Whether it’s in marketing or in film, you want to capture interest. This is the only time it’s really okay to crave attention, I mean really crave it. You want people to watch it, but what if you can’t get them past the first five seconds?

If you’re anything like me, YouTube is probably you best friend. I can spend hours on it and eventually, my fingers start to get tired constantly hitting the skip button (for now we’ll ignore the videos which I actually start and then decide to leave, that is a WHOLE other topic). However there have been two times, on record where my finger actually paused. The first one was the Pantene – Labels ad.

When it started, the music and the imagery made me wonder ‘where exactly is this going?’ So I just kept on watching.

The second incident was a lot more light-hearted. After searching, I can’t for the life of me remember the brand or find the advert, but I do remember everything else.

Basically, it started with a man who paused his wrestling match on TV, the doorbell rings and he goes to get his takeaway. This wasn’t the fun part. The fun part was the wrestlers. The hilarious conversation that ensued between the two stuck, paused in probably the most awkward position actually made me laugh out loud. It was like a “mature” Toy Story.

Have you noticed a trend yet?

Whether it was humour or intrigue, these ads had me hooked. They were interesting, so they caught my attention. So how do you grab attention?

Don’t waste those five seconds

You can’t get them back. I’ve seen so many ads that waste their time with a fade in, or a “well placed” logo and slogan. I can’t help but wonder why do that? They’ve given no real reason to keep watching so obviously, I skip. I feel no urge or need to continue to watch. Lets look at McDonalds…

They get straight to the point, leaving their well placed logo and slogan right to the end. Just how it should be, in my humble opinion. If you’re interested in the McRib, this will definitely hold your attention.

Be relevant, relevent, relevant

So, for whatever reason, Google decided that because I watch a lot of cute baby videos and family vlogs, I am definitely a soon too be mum. I’m not. I every time I watched a video I was hit by diapers, baby food and educational toys. Skip, skip AND skip. This is just time wasted for you as a marketer or video director and me, your humble viewer.

This is just down to knowing your audience, and knowing them well. If it’s catered to the right people, they will watch.

Targeting, video marketing, attention

Be interesting

Now this is  tricky one. How do you make something interesting?

Think of it as the way you think about people. What type of people do you find interesting? Now I’m not talking about people you like, the word is interesting. Daring, controversial, opinionated, funny, mysterious etc., that’s what you want in your five seconds, impact. This can be done with visuals, sounds or words. Just looking at some still work, you can see how strong a single image can be. Now image a strong video.

video marketing, attention

It’s great to have amazing videos and marketing, but if you can’t get your viewers attention you might just be wasting your time. So don’t wait, make your five seconds count!

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