Okay. We get it. Online video is hot. From Apple and Google to startups like YouTube and VideoEgg, it seems that everyone is offering video-related products online. People are still trying to figure out exactly what types of videos work online. Short, funny videos that are likely to get passed around seem to do well, but beyond that, it's still not entirely clear what people are looking for. However, it should come as no surprise that companies are looking to use online videos for advertising purposes. In the past, we've seen both good and bad examples of video advertising online. Bad examples are when companies just take their boring commercials and put them online -- or where they try to build up fake word of mouth advertising. Good examples are where companies recognize that they really need to entertain -- as Honda did with its cog commercial, BMW did with its BMWfilms effort and American Express did with its Superman/Jerry Seinfeld shorts. All were focused on entertaining first, which brought people in. Amazon has experimented with trying to advertise through video as well. A little over a year ago it started offering short films with famous actors on the site, where product placement played a major role. There was one problem. The short films were dreadful, and the whole promotion seemed to fade away pretty quickly. However, now Amazon is trying again -- and it sounds just as forced. It's going to launch a web only talk show featuring Bill Maher, who will have guests on to talk about wonderful products for sale (such as their own CDs or books) on Amazon. Again, though, this seems forced. It's focusing on the advertising first, and the entertainment second. Since there is no captive audience, that makes it a tough sell. People will go if they think they're going to be entertained. They're not so interested in watching it if it feels like "a product pitch."
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