Video goes direct with fantasy, gorillas

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Video's power as a direct-marketing tool was on vivid display at last month's ACE Awards, presented by the New York chapter of the Business Marketing Association. Video in its various forms—both short for TV and longer for the Internet—played a prominent role in numerous winning entries. In particular, companies and their agencies had plenty of fun with the submitted videos, demonstrating that creating attention and social buzz to drive inquiries and leads is inspiring video production these days. “You can only show so many demos,” said Lisa A. Burns, director-corporate marketing and branding at Corning Inc., on the company's several winning videos, some of which feature a gorilla. “One of our biggest challenges is getting people to think differently about glass as a technical or design solution,” Burns said. Corning's “A Day Made of Glass” long-form video won top honors at the awards ceremony. It's a five-minute snapshot of an imaginary family's day spent interacting with a variety of objects that incorporate glass. Some objects actually exist while others are purely imaginary, such as holographic alarm clocks, electrochromic windows (shading that adjusts electronically), tablet computers, fiberoptic lighting, solar-paneled rooftops and interactive work surfaces (think of a giant, horizontal iPad). The video, developed for Corning by Doremus, San Francisco, is the second version of Corning's original “Day Made of Glass,” which was introduced last year and also won a slew of awards. That first video is virtually science fiction, with even more imaginary uses of glass. It's introduced with the tagline, “In the near future ...” Burns said Corning's video series is meant to inspire original-equipment manufacturers, designers and design engineers, interior designers and architects, and even its far-flung workforce, who might not know the company's array of glass products. The lead-gen response has been strong, Burns said. “We were inundated with questions from major motion-picture houses to large builders, wanting to buy the technology today,” she said. The company had to explain that it doesn't sell the featured technology, but rather provides the glass that enables such products. Or would, if the products existed. Short-form video wasn't overlooked by BMA. Burns said the company's winning “Corning Gorilla Glass” campaign—featuring 30-second spots of simian violence on products using Corning's Gorilla Glass product—was a classic b-to-c-to-b effort. “Our goal was to create consumer pull,” Burns said. “It helps with our marketing relations with OEMs.” Engagement is a key component of any direct marketing campaign, and video seems to be a key driver of it. According to an online poll by interactive agency Digitas and research company Harris Interactive, conducted in March with 2,211 respondents, 46% said they would be likely to look up details about a new brand or product after seeing it mentioned in an online video; 49% of those who follow brands on social networks said if a brand they follow posts a video online, they are likely to click on the link to watch it and learn more. The combination of video and social sharing was particularly pronounced in the study. Half of those who watch videos posted online by their social network contacts said that if they enjoy watching a video, they usually share it with three or more others. Video can be an important element in a company's search rankings, according to Steve Beatty, director-search engine optimization at search technology company Covario Inc. “The key to direct marketing is to know what your user base is looking for and how to make a video that's interesting to it,” Beatty said. “When you create a video, work with your SEO, PR and social teams. Maybe insert a secret game into the video. Or just ask in the video, "Would you like to see more videos?' It all works together.” Among other video award winners at BMA-New York's ACE Awards were PJA Advertising+Marketing, Boston, for “Iron Mountain File Heads,” for records-management company Iron Mountain, and Barbarian Group, New York, for “The GE Show: Power of the Sun,” for General Electric Co. “The GE Show” also was a key component in an ACE integrated marketing campaign winner, while IBM Corp. and its agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York, were honored for a campaign featuring the video, “IBM Business Agility AQ Video & Assessment Tool.”
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