by Mike Masnick

Amazon Tries Again With Video As A Sales Tool

from the video,-video-everywhere dept

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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  • identicon
    Simon, 19 Jan 2006 @ 2:34am

    Videos to Watch

    Two words: Monty Python.

    I think what would work for Amazon would be videos of the authors talking about their books. What motivated them to write etc. Something that ties in properly with what they are selling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Eric Willis, 19 Jan 2006 @ 5:20am

      Re: Videos to Watch

      I totally agree with you. What the internet needs more links between relevant information, albeit ads or just plain content. There are too many links between an image of someone punching out a monkey and a free credit card offer.

      When Amazon first starting doing video on their front page, they had Jon Stewart selling his book (America). It was more of a mini-stand-up routine than a "why I wrote this book" but it was relevant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BitAddict, 19 Jan 2006 @ 4:11am

    Video and Advertising

    I just stumbled on this lecture last night:

    It an interesting talk on the future of television in the age of Bittorrent. His premise is that advertising can still fund the content, but the quality of the content is key. In a world where choice is infinite quality will rise to the top, and forced and obtrusive advertising will be rejected by the viewers. Viewers must feel they are being entertained or they will look for their entertainment elsewhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vasco DaGameboy, 19 Jan 2006 @ 8:11am

    How about a different host

    It's a nice try, but using a polemic like Bill Maher to sell books and CDs has its drawbacks. He doesn't even need to try to manipulate the Amazon show to cause trouble. All he has to do is call the 9/11 terrorists brave again on a different show, and Amazon is scrambling to contain the damage.

    If it were me, I'd look for someone with more mainstream appeal who is less inclined to spout off at the mouth and jeopardize the project, but that's just me.

    Oh, and I guess I missed it, but is the show going to be online only or podcast?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rikko, 19 Jan 2006 @ 9:33am

    No Subject Given

    I'm assuming there's more to this plan than meets the eye.. Maher has never struck me as the type to sell out and just do cheap promo stuff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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