I had a potential client call me to ask about producing an infomercial for her company. In my mind, I was picturing a peppy pitchman, showing off a product to a live audience, in a 30 minute format, ready to broadcast. What she meant, was a short, 2 to 3 minute web video… an “informative commercial” or infomercial.
With the advent of YouTube and Vimeo, anyone can broadcast their story quite easily. No need to buy airtime, just click and upload. In ever increasing amount, we are being called upon to create this new breed of “infomercial” — the short web video.
The most common request is for a “documentary” style. Interviews supported by “B-Roll.” But as marketing directors try to differentiate themselves, we do some more creative video and film formats.
The “narrative” is like a mini-movie or feature film. It has actors and a plot. It might be funny or emotional, with the goal to get people to forward the link. This style has also worked extremely well for training– with the audience having much more retention than watching a lecture or a talking head video.
The “motion graphics” video is gaining a lot of steam. Usually, this has no shooting involved and our animators get to go all out. It can be 2D, “cell” type animation, or 3D like Toy Story. When you have a lot of info to tell your audience, this is a great way to grab their attention. In some case, we mix “live action” with animation, like this video here.
The “spokesperson” video is where an actor or company representative talks directly to the lens to impart the information. Usually, the script is displayed on the teleprompter. This works well when the president of the company is a dynamic speaker. Or when you want a celebrity to tell your story.
As you can see, there are several different styles of the infomercial– none of which are selling a cleanser that can clean fire damage off a car hood. It’s best to take a look at the message, your story, who your audience is, and what you want them to take away. A younger audience might mean a faster paced video. Or for a video targeting a group of employees that all know each other, inside jokes can make a huge difference.
Whatever the story is, find the style that most effectively tells your audience what you want them to hear and leaves the message long term in their minds.