Anyone who has ever tried to launch a startup can agree to the simple truth: getting it off the ground is hard. Startups cannot settle for anything but enormous growth in a split second.
In this digital world where endless content is available at your fingertips, startups must fight tooth and nail to get an edge over the competition and be noticed in the crowd.
For many, video content is that edge.
Considering that most online users nowadays no longer have the patience and time to read through an article or blog post, using creative, well-produced video content as a promotional tool is a great way to reach and engage them in no time. Not to mention – video content is now much easier to create and promote to huge audiences than ever before, thanks to the Internet and social networks.
If your startup hasn't jumped on a video marketing strategy, there is no better time than right now to start crafting your promotional campaign videos and get the limelight you deserve.
To help inspire you, we've rounded up ten of the best examples of promotional campaign videos that your startup can learn from.
1) Slack: “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…”
Slack is a cloud-based instant messaging platform designed for business projects.
The company launched their app a few years ago with an engaging promotional video. This video is not a typical promotional campaign video. Instead, it tells a compelling story involving a video company called Sandwich Video, Inc. that started using Slack in its daily production.
With perfectly timed humor and some animated overlays involved, the story cleverly depicts how Slack reduces some of the day-to-day work at the company. It's a refreshing way to create a relatable scenario for its target customers: businesses with big teams that need to stay coordinated on big projects.
The ending of the video seems like a customer testimonial, with genuine (and hilarious) reasons why the company's employees love using Slack. This is a smart move to create a trustworthy story, highlighting Slack's value even more.
Takeaway: One thing you can steal from this video is the use of an exciting, humorous approach to storytelling. It describes how the service works while telling a story in a casual, non-corporate tone with the right touch of dry humor.
Creating a story-driven script for your promotional video like this is an enticing way to increase engagement. Once engagement happens, the conversion is just a step away.
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2) Poo-Pourri: “Girls Don't Poop”
Wacky toilet spray company Poo-Pourri debuted its first promotional campaign videos called “Girls Don't Poop” that went viral – and have been viewed (collectively) over 350 million times.
The video starts with a young woman sitting on the toilet in the middle of a party, fancy restaurant, and office while introducing the product. Her posh British accent, confident tone, and delightful style turn an array of scatological phrases into humorous puns in delivering the message that leaves you giggling, to say the least. They offer an “unconditional stink-free guarantee” and boast a higher rating on Amazon than the iPhone 5.
This hilarious video ad enabled the company to broaden brand awareness, expand their reach, and increase sales by 90% in the same year the ad debuted. The company that started with just a $25,000 budget had $4 million worth of back orders within less than a week and is now worth $240 million.
Takeaway: This video demonstrates that the company knows its audience better than anyone else – the title “Girls Don't Poop” says it all. It defined its target audience and intentionally crafted a promotional video that they knew potential customers would love.
Another thing to learn from this video is the incredible creativity in using blatant humor and a complete lack of euphemisms for brand storytelling. Look how seamlessly Poo-Pourri has fun in turning an awkward topic into something entertaining and worth sharing.
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3) Dollar Shave Club: “Our Blade Are F****ing Great”
Most marketers agree that Dollar Shave Club's promotional video is the Godfather of all startup videos. When its “offhand” promotional video was first launched, it quickly became a sensation on the Internet.
This video takes audiences on an entertaining walk through the company's warehouse as the founder effortlessly pokes fun at the annoyances that every multifunction shaver faces. They created the video with a $4,500 budget and a single day to shoot, and sold the company to Unilever four years later for $1 billion.
With smart punchlines and a seemingly “amateur” production quality, this promotional video hit 5 million views views in just 90 days after it was posted on YouTube. Approximately 12,000 new customers signed up for the monthly subscription razor service within the first two days.
Takeaway: Your startup doesn't need a big budget to produce a top-notch promotional video. Learning from DSC, you only need to find a fun, resonant way to tell the story of what your product does and why your customers need it. As CMO Adam Weber says, “Approach production with agility. Don’t be afraid to improvise.”
Another thing you can learn from the video is that you can flesh out one idea that resonates with your customers and deliver it in a voice and personality that captivates them through a one-on-one connection.
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4) Spotify: “Spotify has landed in the U.S.”
Before becoming one of the most-used music streaming platforms, Spotify started its first marketing campaign with a more modest approach, relying heavily on word-of-mouth and a promotional video that was launched a little over a decade ago in the United States.
Their first promotional video for the U.S. was crafted quite simply using motion graphic and kinetic animation. Within one minute, it explains how the service works with playful animation and upbeat background music, without any voice-over.
The choice to ditch a voice-over in this video makes sense. As a music platform, Spotify brings you quality music, so why hide its most important characteristic beneath unnecessary talking? With killer animation, Spotify shows you how to grab the audience's attention (and hold it) with captivating captions from the get-go.
This type of promotional video is an excellent example for your startup to see that you can make a great video with a small budget.
Takeaway: In some cases, videos don't require a single spoken word. This music-only promotional campaign video is one of the best examples to make a video specifically for your target users – who in this case are music fans.
Creating a video with no narration can be quite tricky. To play it safe, try not to rely on too many captions. Let the animation and background music tell your story instead.
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5) Dropbox: “Dropbox Intro Video”
Dropbox is an excellent example of how a startup can take off with a simply designed promotional video. Started as a minimum viable product, the company launched its first promotional video for less than $50,000 more than ten years ago on its website.
The video uses cutout animation with a fine-tuned script to show how the product works and why people need it. A white background highlights the graphics and animation to make the message crystal clear for viewers. This simple presentation of the video is effective to help less tech-savvy people understand what Dropbox can do for them.
Takeaway: While you're planning your promotional explainer video, keep in mind that it doesn't have to have a slick, Pixar-level style of animation since keeping it short and quirky is often key.
Just be sure to come up with a tagline or the problem that potential customers have in order to capture the viewers' attention within the first few seconds and tempt them to watch the video all the way through.
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6) Square: “Danny's Story”
In this promotional video, Square, a mobile payment company, doesn't try to sell their product by talking too much. In fat, the entire 30-second video is one of its customers speaking for themselves with a testimonial. This is an excellent way to give viewers an honest, authentic explanation about how the service works.
The video might only be only half a minute long, but it covers all the crucial information that potential customers need to know about the product. Not to mention that the use of a little bit of animation makes it easier to understand this quickfire customer testimonial video. Square keeps the script as real as possible (including the customer's nervous laugh at the end) with an excellent flow to make it more convincing.
Takeaway: One of the great things you can learn from Square here is that your startup promotional campaign video just needs to be an open and honest story, as that is what connects viewers to your brand the most. Using testimonials from your customers is a smart way to do it because it puts a face to your business and gives your brand the credibility it deserves within your target customers.
7) Notarize: “Notarize!”
Notarize, a remote notary delivery service, uses an amusing promotional video to explain the premise of its product.
The video starts with a scenario where the actor faces a problem (going to an inconvenient strip mall to find a notary), which segues to its product information (that you can get legal documents notarized on its app in the comfort of your own home) as the solution. It's a smart way to make the audience relate to the problematic situation so it can tell the story in a more engaging and personal style.
Because not everyone knows what a notary is, Notarize breaks down dry, complex information into snackable chunks with oh-so punchy humor and “historical” reenactments. In this case, the viewers get to learn about the service while also being entertained.
Despite the humor, the video is still able to give you the information you need to know about the app. With this balance, Notarize hits every note in its promotional video.
Takeaway: Promotional campaign videos with complex information can come off as dull or dry if they aren't produced correctly. Learn from this video, in which Notarize shows you how to help viewers retain unfamiliar information with absurd jokes. Be careful, though, because comedic videos can be tough to pull off. But if you do it right, it can break the barrier of relatability between your brand and your potential customers.
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8) Yellowbag: “Yellowbag”
Yellowbag, a discount app that alerts you to price drops on your favorite products, uses a great explainer video to promote its brand as a personal, organized shopping tool.
The promotional video starts by grabbing the viewers' attention with a common question that evokes relatability. The digestible script, simple-yet-impactful motion graphics, and cheerful narration entices people to watch the video all the way to the end.
In this video, Yellowbag covers all the information that potential customers need to know before downloading the app and getting started on saving money. At the end of the video, the catchy call-to-action tempts the audience to try out their service immediately. It also uses the yellow color predominantly to give the brand a strong trademark identity.
Takeaway: A startup needs to emphasize its brand personality in its promotional campaign videos, through color, style, tone, etc.. It helps your potential customers imprint your brand image in their minds and makes it easier for them to remember you. By doing this, your startup can gain a competitive edge in this incredibly crowded marketplace.
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9) Be My Eyes: “Bringing Sight to Blind and Low-Vision People”
Be My Eyes is a free mobile app that helps bring “sight” to people who are blind or low-vision. The app quickly and easily establishes a live video connection between blind users and sighted volunteers, who “lend their eyes” to help with simple or complex everyday tasks.
This Danish not-for-profit company introduced its service in this promotional video by showing how people with no or limited vision can sometimes experience trouble at some points throughout the day, like getting lost in a train station or checking the expiry date of a food product. It shows how they can use their phone to connect to a sighted person who will guide them with the help of the video call.
The inspiring script, captivating visuals, heartwarming stories and sentimental background music creates an emotional appeal for viewers and inspires them to take action and download the app.
Started with only a €300,000 ($327,664) budget for the whole business, the non-profit company now has more than 3.5 million volunteers and over 194,000 blind and low-vision users in 150+ countries and 180+ languages.
Takeaway: Although most of the explainer video examples in this list have been humorous, you can connect with people through other emotions, too, such as compassion. Learn from this video to deliver your product through an honest and compelling story that naturally evokes the audience's emotions. This emotion then drives action – as shown in some of the YouTube comments:
10) CrazyEgg: “Awesome Explainer Videos: Crazy Egg”
CrazyEgg, a heat mapping tool for websites, successfully boosts brand awareness and conversions with an informational explainer video.
Considering that the company offers a complicated service to a niche marketing audience, CrazyEgg uses an easy-to-follow script and engaging animation to break down what each of the features can do for their customers.
It also gives a solid reason why free tools like Google Analytics aren't enough to find out why your website visitors are not converting, which highlights CrazyEgg's brand value and perks.
The video helped drive an extra $21,000 in monthly revenue and increased conversions by 64% for the fledgling startup. It transformed CrazyEgg from a startup web tool to a popular (and necessary) tool for every website owner.
Takeaway: Answering all your potential customers' questions and concerns is one of the best ways to reap the benefits. Without thoroughly understanding what your product or service does, customers won't understand the perks of using it. Once you get insights into your customers' experiences, you'll know what information is needed to include in your startup promotional campaign videos.
Start Creating Your Promotional Campaign Videos
It’s entirely reasonable for startups with a limited budget to feel overwhelmed when it comes to ideas for creating promotional campaign videos. Fortunately, explainer videos no longer have to be pricey to be successful.
Of course, fancy cameras, flashy celebrities and expert editing can help with the value of your campaign. But that's not what it's all about at all. Rather, it's about the message you want to deliver and how you convey it.
Considering the tons of benefits you can reap from a promotional video, it's well worth the effort for your startup to create one now!