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February 21, 2014

Video Trail Blazers: Mercedes, McNuggets, and Mega Rap Battles

Awesome branded video content examples

When creating videos, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and make me-too marketing.

Y’know, the typical homepage explainer video, a product demo, and some cheesy corporate culture videos for good measure; but to be a video marketing leader, you need to go above and beyond to stand out and make an impact.

Lately a few brands have caught my attention in terms of what they’ve done differently. As you’ll see, there’s a lot to be learned from companies experimenting with Instagram video, behind-the-scenes concepts, and even witty rap battles.

Mercedes Makes Microvideo Useful

The idea of drinking the emission from a car sounds absolutely crazy, but not as crazy when the car is a Mercedes F-CELL hybrid that runs on compressed hydrogen and emits water vapour. In January Mercedes Benz released this video starring Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson who were tasked with driving through 120 ℉ Death Valley in two days and surviving only on the water produced by their car.

Marketer’s take note!

Use Instagram video as a trailer!Really great videos always start with a clever concept. In this case Mercedes generates interest by flipping conventional thinking on its head (which is often the basis of a compelling story). A car you can drink from? That’s nuts! But you can bet your crab cakes it gets the point across that the car’s a clean alternative.

The coolest component of this car campaign is the way Mercedes used Instagram as a promotion channel for longer form content.
Check out the 15 second video they made as a trailer for the full version video.

This microvideo preview approach works especially well because it presents the three C’s: the concept, the celebrities, and the call to action at the very end – all in 15 seconds.

Next time you release a video, use other channels like Instagram to offer a preview and promote it. Hint at your video concept just enough to get everyone to follow through with your CTA short link.

McHonesty is the Best Policy

As part of their ‘Our Food Your Questions‘ campaign, McDonalds Canada released this video after a customer asked: “What are legitimately in McNuggets? Is there pink goop?”.

Visiting the London Ontario processing plant, Nicoletta the Supply Chain Manager answers the question by giving us a tour:

In this terrific example of video PR, McDonalds address the pink goop video that circulated online. As Nicoletta says, “We don’t know what it is or where it came from, but it has nothing to do with our chicken McNuggets.”

The nugget tour with a real food scientist brings the brand’s point home and, whether or not you believed in/knew about/ or even cared about the pink goop, you do walk away from the video thinking you got a cool behind-the-scenes look at the company’s operations; you might even feel differently about McFood in general. Also notable is the video they released in the same concept showcasing exactly which parts of the chicken they use.

McDonalds ultimately shows us that when your brand faces some kind of negative stigma, you can create a video message to counter the problem and showcase transparency. Not only is the video message you create completely in your control, but it’s scaleable and comes across in a very genuine way. I mean, show me a blog post that conveys honesty and tone like these videos – am I right?

Juniper Networks: A Nerdy Rap Battle

What about the B2B marketers you ask?

Well wait ’til you see this awesome video series by Juniper Networks, an IT manufacturer of networking equipment. Featuring the two divided sides of the IT world (physical and virtual), as well as an awkward moderator, they present four nerdy rap battles set up in a choose your own adventure campaign.

Here’s one of my favourites on Virtual Potential vs Physical Reality:

On the landing page you can see all of the match ups (like on Demand vs. Always on), and you can vote for the winners:

Juniper Networks' Rap Battles are impressive

Marketers can learn from the tone, voice, and humour used by Juniper. With their dad jokes and over the top actors they’ve successfully spoken to their target audience’s pain points and industry issues in a fun, engaging way. I don’t think I’d watch a CEO talking-head style video on system security, but a rap battle with jokes and high production values? Yep, I’m in.

The lesson here is that when making B2B videos, you have a choice to be boring, or you can reach beyond your products to get to a better, more compelling message. Find a joke format you can spoof and go to town subbing in your industry issues or brand personas.

Share some great videos!

Well, now it’s your turn. What did you think of Mercedes’ use of Instagram video? Would your company benefit from some PR McNugget style? If you’ve seen great videos this month, share them with a comment.

Jennifer Pepper

Jennifer Pepper

Jennifer is the Customer Success Content Strategist at Unbounce. One day she wants to direct the ads you skip on YouTube. Follow her on Twitter @PeppersWrite.

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