The year was 1982. As an MTV-obsessed pre-teen, I would sit patiently in front of the television, poised to hit record on the VCR the second I heard the beginning strains of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf,” or any number of big budget music videos from artists like Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna, until my Memorex tape was filled. I made these compilation tapes for two reasons: I wanted to be able to watch my favorite videos whenever I desired and I wanted to share them with my friends.
Fast forward to 2008. Digital video has emerged as a vital communication tool inspiring conversation and increasing exposure for products, causes and services 24 hours a day. During PRSA’s Digital Impact Conference, we learned that when it comes to video, it’s no longer about big budgets. Some of the most successful case studies show how a small budget, clever video and well-planned strategy can go a long way. Other notable campaigns relied on user-generated content and viral communication to help spread their messages. It was stressed during the conference by many of the speakers that online videos must not only be creative but highly-engaging in order to reach online audiences — audiences that are growing at a rapid pace. In the session “Digital Video: A Potent Catalyst for PR’s Conversations With Audiences,” Lynn Bolger of comScore informed us that as of March 2008, 138 million people were viewing online video regularly.
In the session “Speak to me…not at me,” Matthew Snodgrass of Porter Novelli told us how indie rock duo The Bird and The Bee increased their popularity with their song “Again and Again” thanks to online video. Oh, not with their professionally produced online video that cost somewhere around $100,000 to create. No, the “Again and Again” video that garnered more than twice as many views and four times the comments on YouTube was created by Dennis Liu on his MacBook Pro. Liu, an NYU grad hoping to become a full-time filmmaker, was inspired to create his own Apple commercial. The result was a compelling video that showcased Apple’s functionality and the band’s catchy tune, not to mention Liu’s impressive editing skills. Liu’s out of pocket expense? Approximately $100. The value of the exposure gained for Apple, The Bird and The Bee, and Liu? Priceless.