Brand Strategy

14 Ways to Waste Money on Branded Video Content

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Ellie Pierce

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Everyone knows brands have to create video content to thrive. Video is what engages audiences. It’s what they love on social. It’s capable of forging an emotional connection with your audience in a way other types of content struggle to achieve.

Video simply works for some of the best brands out there today.

But there’s a flip side: A lot of branded video content is garbage. It’s a waste of money and a waste of time.

So, if you have piles of cash you’d like to essentially set fire to through bad branded video content, we’re here for you! Here are some great ways to do it:

1. Jump onto a social cause you don’t really understand.

Maybe it didn’t work for Pepsi, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t just jump onto a trend with both feet. What are the kids into these days? The environment? The plight of bees? Spirituality? Athletes foot? Sure. Do that.

2. Don’t optimize for the specific channel.

You can just crop it for Facebook. Probably.

3. Better yet, don’t optimize for mobile.

Don’t you dare do a vertical video. Go deep horizontal, and use the kind of cinematography tricks that really only work on a big screen.

4. Make it super-duper branded.

Like, make the logo bigger.

5. Forget storytelling techniques.

Just treat it like an ad—but, like, a hard-sell ad.

(There is a counter-argument, I suppose. As Kaaren Whitney-Veron said in a recent column in Adweek:

“If your content is about your product and your product features—for example, a car video where the car is still front and center and includes beauty shots of the vehicle—it’s not branded entertainment, it’s an ad.

Using new tech or platform to show your ad still means it’s an ad.

Just because you have a movie or TV celebrity in your content does not automatically make it branded entertainment. It’s still an ad if that celebrity is talking about the brand or holding/driving/eating/drinking the product. If your content includes your logo in the first 30 seconds—it’s not branded entertainment, it’s an ad.”)

But, you know. Product features. Everyone loves those, right?


6. Forget about entertaining people.

If people want entertainment, they can watch TV. Or Movies. Or read a book.

7. Don’t worry about making an emotional connection.

We know that some people claim that fully connected customers actually bring in more money for your brand than customers with a low (or no) emotional connection, but forging an emotional connection can be a lot of work. It at least requires some thinking about the human condition.

Isn’t it easier to just make easy jokes?

8. Know your audience: Why bother?

9. Or, you know what you could do if you do know your audience? Pander.

Pander like “Don Draper cribbing from the hippies at Esalen.”

10. Go cheap on the visuals.

11. Hawk instead of educate.

12. Blow most of your budget on big-name influencers.

What could go wrong?

13. Don’t try anything new. Just do what you’ve already done.

Why mess with success? Or, you know, if you haven’t had success doing the same-old-same-old, you can just keep trying. What’s that saying?

14 . Just steal ideas.

Easy peasy.

Ellie Pierce

Can execute figurative cartwheels, just not the literal kind. #NopeForever

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