This post is part of Rassak’s “YouTube Tuesdays Plus” featuring mini case studies of marketing videos (sometimes we look at other digital media too). New on Tuesdays. Don’t miss one, subscribe.
I’m sure when YouTube Tuesday reader David Risher sent me this week’s video he wasn’t thinking about it for the blog. He was thinking about the night he was awakened in our guest room by the high-pitched screams of a dying smoke alarm. I think he was dropping me a serious hint.
This is one of those videos that is so devoid of artifice—so unvideo-ey—it’s ALL about the product it’s promoting. On the face it’s a totally unremarkable video. It’s like the battery the video promotes: simple, unadorned—like any 9 volt battery you have ever seen (or touched to your tongue to test if it still has power). But, like the battery in the video, on the inside it’s actually packed with extra goodness.
Here’s a quick rundown. The video is at the bottom of the post.
00:00 – 00:14. Showing Vision
You might say there is no need to “waste time” with showing a grander vision in a Kickstarter video. Just get right to the product and get on with it. But this 14 seconds positions the speaker (Roel Peeters, Co-Founder and CEO of Roost) as a broad thinker/leader—giving him a greater degree of authority for the remainder of the video. This also sets him up as somebody who can offer journalists an interesting perspective on the market, which might help the company get press. And, in fact, they have been covered in a number of outlets: engadget, mashable, gigaom … a wise investment of a few seconds.
00:15. Product Clarity
We see the product for the first time… and it is EXTREMELY familiar looking. And that’s the point. While Peeters holds it up, he gives us the very short and very to-the-point description of what the battery is and does. “Retrofit” might be a bit of a jargony word but it works pretty well.
00:27. A Clear (And Painfully Familiar) Problem
The video sets up the problem. Very clearly. Note the whiteboards behind the speaker (James Blackwell, Co-Founder and CTO)— they say “smart dude.”
00:40. Note the familiar “chirping” sound (as anybody who has a family can attest, “familiar” does not always mean pleasant) .. it viscerally reminds the viewer just how painful current smoke alarms are. It’s also a nice, inexpensive cheat to give that still photo of a smoke alarm a video-like feeling. BTW… this video looks inexpensive. It probably was inexpensive to make. But here’s where they didn’t skimp. The team behind this video very, very clearly invested significant time and thought into identifying simple messages and honing them very tightly. Truth is you often don’t need to spend a lot of money on a video (or any communications piece) if you invest wisely in this process.
01:05. This Thing is Super Easy — And You’re (Yes You, the Customer) Awesome
With incredible economy of words and images, the video now shows how easy this product is to setup.
01:19. The music is no great shakes — probably stock audio from a place like iStock that sells clips for about $50 or $60 — but it swells right here. Just as somebody (a stand-in for the viewer) successfully inserts the new battery into an old smoke alarm. If this weren’t so subtle (almost subliminal) it’s would be painful. But I bet most viewers will only notice this subconsciously. So it’s smart. You too can feel like a hero when you install Roost.
02:04. Yes We Have Competition. We Are Waaaay Better
They take a nice semi-subtle dig at Google Nest—the competition, but not really the competition. Roost has a much, much larger market. But they’re not obnoxious about it either. Smart… one day they might be Google Roost.
02:13. Video’s One Misstep
OK cheesy and unnecessary stock video alert .. but whatever.
02:21. Required Watching
Here’s the standard Kickstarter “we are far enough along for you to put in money now” schpiel. It’s fine.
02:50. More Vision. Taking More Than One Audience Into Account
A bit more long-range vision here. They’re clearly not only talking to Kickstarter funders in this video —they’re talking to bigger funders too who usually want to see you’re a company not a product.
The video is so simple and straightforward.. perhaps, you might say, a bit boring. But Roost’s product is so smart they have no need for flash or artifice.
I bought a pack of four. Hint taken, David!
Oh… you probably want to see the video… here you go: