The 4 Golden Rules For Online Video Ads

Follow these four rules, or fail like so many others


Video advertisements are now a core aspect for many company’s marketing strategies. In addition to allowing companies to use a non-static technique to talk to their customers, it is still one of the easiest mediums to go viral in the world today.

However, it is also one of the easiest aspects of any company’s marketing capabilities that could cause embarrassment if it is done wrong. Think about the Samsung Advert for the 840 EVO solid-state hard drive, which was slated by almost everybody who saw it.

The reason it is so bad? It broke several of the four most important rules:

Don’t Take Advantage

Advertisements have traditionally been severely limited in scope. Not necessarily in budget, but in timing.

Traditional TV ads run for a maximum of 30 seconds, with online videos, there is no limit to how long they can last. Some therefore see it as an opportunity to create more of a short film than a snappy advertisement.

This is a mistake.

People are almost always disrupted by advertisements, they are things that appear when they want to watch something else. They are simply not going to wait around and watch your message if it is anything over 2 minutes.

The Samsung advert runs for over 3 minutes and has no hook or interest to make us want to continue watching.

Don’t Be Offensive

Making an advert that will go viral is easy. Just make sure that it is deeply offensive and I can guarantee that people on social media will be sharing it everywhere.

This is not the kind of attention you want though, making racist, sexist or homophobic remarks in an ad is not only going to make for a poor advert, but will damage your company in the long run. If people think that you are a backward and intolerant company, you are not going to be gaining new customers or even hold on to your existing ones.

The Samsung ad is a prime example of this, using stereotypes of a woman who knows very little about computers and playing on this. It is deeply offensive and the responses in the comment section on Youtube show the level of vitriol they received from taking this stance.

Production Value Is Vital

The tone of your company needs to be portrayed through the video. This is why you see urban brands with a slightly more edgy approach, whilst big corporations try to be as smooth and clean as possible.

Much of this comes down to production values, from the way that scripts are written, scenes are filmed and actors are directed. A poor production value will damage your brand and make for a disastrous video.

We can see from the Samsung ad, that they clearly invested in good sets and lighting, but the way that the actors work is so dreadful that the production values are some of the lowest I have seen. It is demonstrated perfectly by this comment - ‘It's like aliens came to Earth and are trying to fake being human to infiltrate our society’.

Make It Relevant And Appropriate

Think about your audience and who you are going to be communicating with.

If you do not a specific audience in mind, the chances are high that you will be missing out on all audiences.

What will these people know about your product already? Are they likely to already trust you as a brand?

You need to discuss the product in the terms that these people will understand and target it properly. This is the biggest failure from the Samsung video. They have three totally different people, three different audiences and in doing so miss the point for every one of them. 


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