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What a Concept: Viral Marketing
Posted Dec 8, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1

Do you know Peggy and Steve? If you're a wedding and event videographer, chances are these names sound familiar. Like me, you were probably one of the thousands of event video producers wowed by the "Save The Date" movie trailer that the couple produced for their August 2002 wedding. Rules of Engagement, as it was titled, had high production values and a comical voice-over, and it cleverly combined popular wedding themes with James Bond-esque action and cutting. The video was displayed on a website, and it wasn't long before the URL was everywhere. It was viral marketing at its best. If Peggy and Steve were professional event videographers (they're actually film school grads), they'd be in high demand. In the fifth and final installment of this column on concept video production, I want to talk about viral marketing. Producing concept videos can be very rewarding, both professionally and financially, and good marketing is key. So, I'll leave you with a golden nugget—a description of the marketing strategy we used for Bridal Boot Camp (our Diamond Artistic Achievement Award-winning concept video). Our objective was to create a viral marketing campaign that would not only build excitement among those attending the wedding, but increase our company's exposure.

We treated Bridal Boot Camp (BBC) like a Hollywood release, and decided that like all blockbuster movies, it needed its own website. We used this strategy again recently with another "Save the Date" video. We designed the site to look like one of Apple's QuickTime trailer pages. Creating dedicated, Hollywood-quality websites for concept and love story videos is not common among wedding videographers. So this is another way to make your work stand out.

There are many inexpensive ways to create a dedicated video website. For BBC, we purchased a domain for $15 then had it forward to a sub-directory of our main company website. Just using the sub-directory of your main site could save you the domain registration fee, but you'd lose some of the Hollywood appeal of a URL that's short and unique to your movie.

Better yet, create a blog. There are plenty of free blogging services, such as Blogger, Vox, and WordPress. You can post production journals about the making of the movie, podcast interviews with the cast and crew, and anything else you can imagine. Think outside the box and think big!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't suggest YouTube. If you think you've got something unique that could really catch on, create a YouTube account to post your video. Something to keep in mind is that YouTube has a policy against posting copyrighted material. We produced BBC with music from Digital Juice's buyout music library because we knew we wanted to use the video extensively on the net. Lastly, if your clients have personal wedding websites, make sure they add a link to the concept video website from their wedding site.

Another way to create a buzz around your concept video is to serialize it. BBC was an eight-minute video that we serialized into four episodes for the web. Each episode was a different scene from the movie and was short enough to watch on a coffee break. The first three episodes "aired" in the weeks leading up to the big day. I would upload the video and forward the link to our clients, who in turn would forward it to their friends and family. During the reception, we played the entire video. The final episode wasn't posted until after the reception, so even if most of the guests had seen the clips online, the ending was still new. By serializing your video, visitors have a reason to keep coming back.

The tricky thing about serializing a video is that it might not necessarily have been shot with serialization in mind. For BBC, each scene was a different gag on the groom. Therefore, they worked perfectly as autonomous episodes. Also, we started each episode with scenes from the previous one. If you know in advance that you are going to serialize the video online, you can keep that in mind when you write the script.

Finally, even as you aim for the perfect take every time, think about bloopers and outtakes. Oddly enough, some of the best parts of any concept video production are the mistakes. So, when you're serializing your video, make sure you leave room for outtakes. For BBC, we incorporated them into the end credits of each episode. Besides being entertaining, outtakes and bloopers illustrate how much fun it is to film these concept videos. This entices viewers (who may be planning a wedding, mitzvah, or other social event) to invest in a concept video of their own.

I hope that over the past few months I've been able to inspire you to delve into the world of concept video production. Open up your mind to the tremendous potential and countless possibilities available to you as a professional videographer. And don't limit yourself to social and consumer video production. The corporate arena is fertile ground for planting concept video roots and setting yourself apart from your competition (unless, of course, they're reading this column and are beating you to the punch). I wish you all the best in your creative endeavors with concept videos and look forward to seeing you shine. And remember: Charge what you're worth, but always give a little bit more.

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