Death to the Branded Introduction Video
You know the videos I'm talking about. The manufactured, "look-how-cool-we-are", perfectly imperfectly staged agency brand videos meant to give you an idea of how cool, fun and fabulous it is to work at [insert agency name here]. These videos are certainly not in short supply, but they hold up the classic statement: If you have to tell everyone that you're cool, you probably aren't that cool. If you have to tout your fun company culture, it probably isn't that natural.
I'm well-versed in these videos. I've concepted them, I've appeared in them to fulfill the young + trendy quota, I've architected idillic scenes of craft beer bottles and the creatives laughing behind them. The truth? These videos rarely, if ever, achieve their desired outcome. And just as rarely are they an accurate representation of day-to-day life. They are a highlight real. A professional Instagram delivering a curated version of agency life. They sell the dream.
Can they work? Absolutely. I've seen some agencies blow them out of the water. But perfecting the "looking cool while trying to look like you're not trying" image is as difficult now as it was when you were single-strapping a backpack in high school hoping your jeans were ripped in the right places.
That leaves us with a question, though - if branded videos so often fall short of their goals, then how do we demonstrate culture? How do we give potential clients and employees a good idea of what it's like to work at agency x? Because the truth is that no agency or company is as shiny as their video. There are late nights and angry clients and hours spent trying to tweak ideal gradient for a piece of work that will never see the light of day. The trick is making sure the good stuff is so good that it makes the bad stuff worth it. And being honest about that in a way that doesn't terrify people.
Everybody and their uncle is trying to be "authentic" these days, and branded videos tend to represent an attempt at authenticity that most often fails. So how do we counteract it? Keep creating these videos with a nod and wink? Seek out the ones who do it best and copy their format? Or do we simply embrace them for what they are, a piece of work that's meant to sell the dream.
I'm not sure what the answer is, but if you need me, I'll be trying to figure out which video does the best work pairing buzzwords like "collaboration" with the most off-beat but still charmingly professional group of creatives.