This post was first published by Brendan Reilly on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

Product promo videos should recreate environments familiar to the target audience.What makes a good promo video? Do you need a huge budget and a Hollywood film director to pull it off?

The answer to the second question is a simple “no.” The answer to the first question is a pretty simple one, too. Take the video below as an example. This comes from Triune Films, an independent production company that runs a very popular YouTube channel, Film Riot. FYI,while they do absolutely amazing work, they are neither operating with Hollywood level budgets (not even close), nor are they spending any more than the amount of money that most CMOs could find between their couch cushions.Film Riot is geared toward independent and aspiring filmmakers. Its audience ranges from pre-teens with their first cameras to industry veterans. The promo in question is for a sound effects pack. If you haven’t already, take a look and then keep on reading.

It’s great, right? But what makes it so great? Like I said before, it’s pretty simple. For starters, know your audience. This will impact your ability to put yourself in their shoes and understand what will resonate with them. In this case, independent and aspiring filmmakers are the targets, as they always are for Triune/Film Riot.

The promo combines humor with great visuals, while simultaneously showing the depth of the product’s feature set, its ease of use and an example of what one can accomplish with it. Let’s take it step by step (at this point, if you haven’t already watched the promo below, you really should … seriously).

A Promo Video KO-Punch

We start with the outdoor scene where two characters trade punches. The first one lands powerfully, with a strong impact sound you’d expect to hear accompanying vicious fisticuffs in television or film. The retaliatory strike, on the other hand, is akin to a soft whimper. The sound is pathetic. This character quickly surmises that he is in dire straits, something Triune/Film Riot’s target audience can relate to. His plight echoes the plight of all those aspiring filmmakers who struggle to find high-quality, affordable sound effects that live up to the scenes they’re shooting — something with a solid impact rather than a dull thud.

Now, as the weak-fisted man turns to the camera, we are pulled through that fourth wall and see that the action is happening in an editing suite, again, something filmmakers are intimately familiar with. This is the environment they work in every single day. Now, we are shown the depth and breadth of Film Riot’s sound effects pack and how easy it is to use within the editing software (Adobe’s Premiere Pro, in case you were wondering).

Once the appropriate sound effect is found and easily inserted into the clip, the camera pushes back in until our character is now in full frame. We see a knowing smile on his face right before he clobbers his foe with a punch equal to those seen in blockbuster comic book movies. Victory is mine ours his!

Okay, let’s recap what made this promo so perfect.

  1. Film Riot understands its audience.
  2. They used the work environment filmmakers practically live in to illustrate how the product can be easily used to remedy one of the audience’s biggest problems.
  3. They not only showed the application of the product, but an example of a final result one can expect when using it.
  4. It’s funny.

Yes, they did all of this with a very skilled and talented director. However, if you look at the video again, nothing about the scene featuring these two would-be pugilists is overly complex. That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of thought that went into it, because there was. But the problem with many brands handling their own video content is that they either overthink things or underappreciate the value of good visuals, even when they’re relatively easy to pull off. Both of these can be the kiss of death.

Whether your brand is focused on consumer electronics, the food and beverage industry, B2B tech or any other sector, the principles Triune/Film Riot absolutely nails in this promo are the same ones that any brand can use to their benefit. Know who you’re making the video for, showcase the product in environments your audience understands and can relate to, and don’t be afraid to bring the funny.