Five things brands learnt about video content from Covid-19

22nd Jun 2021

It’s not surprising that at the height of lockdown consumers engaged with 80% more digital content than usual. Being cooped up inside for months un-end, video whether it was Netflix, social media or good old-fashioned TV became not only our favourite way to pass the time, it served as a memento of better days. Giving hope that things would improve.

Of course, no industry was left unaffected by the global pandemic and while the demand for video skyrocketed, COVID threw a spanner in the works when it came to its production. With Government advice being that everyone should remain indoors as much as possible. How did producers get around these hurdles and how did their output change?

 1. Animated times

An storyboard for an animation

The most obvious solution to creating engaging video, in a period when encouraging workers to leave their home was unadvisable was of course with animation. While there are certain constraints when it comes to animating from home — such as the need to transport bulky equipment to people’s homes, and the limitations of domestic internet connections. For the most part, animation can be done as easily from home as it can in the studio.

For this reason, there was a surge in animated corporate videos and advertisements, The government itself lead by example with a series of animated videos on test and trace.

2. Brands learnt to recycle, finally!

Recycling is a hot topic in the modern age, we are all aware that we need to individually take steps to tackle our ‘throwaway culture’ to reduce plastic waste and help save the environment. It is strange then that many brands still maintain a throwaway mentality when it comes to their content. We always advise clients to keep reposting video content even if it was made years before.

At the end of the day, video is a cost-intensive medium and it makes no sense to only promote content a few times on release to be forgotten about. Recycling content should be a key component of any brand’s marketing strategy.

The power of recycling was it seems, finally discovered by many over lockdown. We saw a surge in brands reposting their older video throughout this period as the combination of covid-19 restrictions and staff furlough prevented the creation of new video.

One word of warning: ensure your content is evergreen, re-watch everything the whole way through before you repost. You must ensure there is nothing that will make the video seem anachronistic, such as references to an expired date.

 3. Brands embraced their archive

A portable hard drive

We all know that video files are BIG, just one hour of 4k footage takes up a colossal 318 GB of storage space. This can give us all the temptation to jettison rushes after a project has been completed, to reduce external HDD costs or our cloud storage solutions.

However, this is incredibly foolhardy. Hours of footage might be recorded to make a video that lasts just a couple of minutes, and this is ripe for repurposing. It was the brands and agencies that maintain a well-organised archive of all their footage that reaped the most benefit this year — being able to turn old footage into shiny new video output.

 4. Brands wanted to sound kinder

A neon heart

Perhaps the biggest change we saw in 2020 was the change in brands’ tone of voice. Understandably in such frightening times, brands wanted to sound fuzzier, kinder and comforting, this wasn’t the time for the hard-sell it was time to take a far softer approach. This is perhaps best illustrated by Unilever’s Domestos campaign which used the line ‘use bleach, any bleach’ when cleaning the home to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

5. Brands took a low-fi approach

To great success, a large proportion of brands embraced the low-fi trend when it came to their production. Perhaps in the same way that office dress codes became slacker while people worked from home, we also became more accepting of the ‘rough and ready’ aesthetic when it came to content.

Perhaps the earliest pioneer of this was Dominos, who in the US created an advertisement entirely using zoom. 

Want to find out about incorporating video successfully into your marketing strategy? Get in touch.


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