We’re living in a unique time right now. Everyone on earth is facing the same invisible enemy. We’re being inundated with statistics, predictions, and strategies related to coronavirus and its aftermath every time we’re within eye-shot of our phones.
Humans throughout history who weathered prior pandemics and plagues suffered alone and silently. We have the advantage of reaching out across miles and oceans to talk to and see loved ones, get inspired by art, stream music, and conduct business “as usual”(ish), thanks to the internet.
One thing that is quite limited at the moment is live-action video production Does that mean you can’t create new ads and other branded content? Not at all.
In our last blog, we covered the basics about setting up your own Instagram channel, but you don’t have to stop there. By tapping into and sharing your own sense of vulnerability — as well as still photos and footage you already have — you have everything a video production company needs to create meaningful content that offers solace and community to your customers.
Whatever you do, don’t mention the (you know)…
An April New York Times article reported on marketers’ uneasiness about selling during a pandemic. RewardStyle — a company that connects brands with influencers — recommended that only two of five posts should be about our current mostly stay-at-home lifestyle, while the other three focus on shopping itself. Overall, even when brands and influencers deal with quarantine, they keep the mood light and positive, without mentioning the coronavirus at all.
Corona Beer quickly adopted a “don’t mention” strategy to counter-balance the negative press they’d received when a poll suggested that people were avoiding the brand because they shared a name with the coronavirus. While that poll wasn’t as provocative as the headlines suggested (nobody actually stated they were avoiding the beer because of the virus), the story went (dare we say it?) viral.
In answer, Corona’s owner, Constellation Brands, created a simple, emotionally intelligent ad. On Instagram, they posted a one-shot video of a peaceful beach, bathed in sunshine.
In response to what could have been a bad hit, Corona responded positively. Staying on brand, they posted their iconic beachside scene — the ultimate fantasy vacation spot — but as a backdrop for a message about how they’re helping out-of-work wait staff (who, of course, used to serve Corona). Near the end of April the video had shy of 9,000 views — two to four times their other Instagram videos. And, sales of Corona are better than ever.
All they needed for this simple but effective message were:
- Great concept
- Beautiful footage (from a prior production)
- Great graphics
- Caring, directed message
The overall takeaway from the Corona coronavirus lesson? Don’t sell. Give.
That’s carried on through many of the major brands who are now running commercials and other promotions that highlight how they’re helping populations at risk during the pandemic and economic downturn.
When major brands run commercials on TV, the message tends to be general, and focused on quarantine and social distancing. In this full-out commercial for Uncle Ben’s rice, a single Dad and his little girl enjoy a dinner “with” grandma. We can only assume that absent Mom is the DP in this case.
You don’t need an at-home DP, though. At Ezra Productions, we have access to skilled and award-winning women DPs and directors. If you’re looking to go beyond recycling your footage and shooting something new, give us a call for a free consultation.
Let them have a piece of you
Corona gave their Instagram followers a peaceful beach scene and the news that they were looking out for those who literally served them in the past — and will again in the future. Even if you’re not contributing to charity, you could contribute to your customers’ well-being by sharing one of your well-kept secrets that made you an important part of their lives.
SoHo House, a worldwide exclusive private club for creatives that has hosted members like Lorne Michaels and Tracey Ellis Ross, posted two how-to videos: One on how to make their signature mac-and-cheese and another one for their popular Piquante cocktail.
The videos are introduced by Soho House founder Nick Jones and feature elite Soho House chefs and mixologists. They’re fun and authentic, and give everyone on Instagram the feeling that they’re now part of the elite club. They also remind actual members of their days at Little Beach House in Malibu and other SoHo House locations.
The Piquante video racked up more than 80,000 views. When someone makes a Piquante or mac-and-cheese, they’re bringing SoHo House into their own home. By revealing your “secret sauce” on a social-media video, you let your customers feel like you’re still in their lives, because they can replicate just a bit of the magic you work for them.
“Secret sauce” videos are also shareable content — both now (through forwards and “hey look what I did” videos) and as part of your customers’ eventual quarantine legend. “What did I do during the pandemic of 2020?” they may tell their bored grandchildren one day, “I learned to make that delicious SoHo House mac-and-cheese you love so much!”
Based on your business, you can teach your customers to:
- Make a signature dish or drink
- Plate like a pro
- Perfectly make up and turn down a bed
- Make a hand-cream that heals overly washed hands
We can even train you or one of your team members who’s stuck at home to make the video of your choice. We’ll send the right low-cost equipment straight to your door and coach you through the process from start to finish, including “on-set” direction. Together, we can create the message your company needs to send now.
Or just get them involved
Whether you’re interested in recycling and reusing old content or creating new content, asking your audience to get involved boosts its emotional impact and shareability. Adam Koszary, social media editor for the Royal Academy of Arts. found a number of unique ways to remind people of the museum’s collection. One tweet — which led to a New York Times article about his knack for making art fun, jokey, and accessible — read: “Who can draw us the best ham. ” Replies ran the gamut from watercolor studies of smoked pork to caricatures of actors and politicians.
“Arts and heritage can’t possibly fix coronavirus,” explained Koszary, “but we can try and do something to help the sadness and fear.
Have a Coffee Tawk with us
Like you, everyone at Ezra Productions adheres to current safety recommendations, and we are loving being of service during this time. We have been staying busy by creating engaging, shareable content that emotionally resonates with our clients’ core audience. Email us to set up a no-cost virtual creative strategy call that will help you come up with the best engagement plan for your company and your customers/audience.