The curse of the agency promo video

We’ve all been there.

Sat in a brainstorm.

Talking about how to promote the agency.

When someone comes up with the bright idea of doing a promo video.

And everyone then agrees it’s a good idea.

After all, content is king, and what better way is there to spread the agency’s message in a creative and interactive manner?

??And then, often, someone often builds on the idea and suggests that maybe it should be a song.

Sung by the agency staff.

That’d be cool, right?

At this point most agencies accept it would be a cringe and move on with the brainstorm and leave the promo video idea behind.

But some don’t.

They shoot the video.

And sing a song.

And whack it onto Youtube.??

And inevitably  – it’s a car crash.

And a very public one at that.

This week it’s Sapient Nitro’s turn.

They’ve produced a ‘music video’ about them being ‘idea engineers’.

And it’s terrible.

No seriously – it’s so bad they’ve already removed it from their own Facebook page but thankfully it lives on for now via Youtube.

It’s already had 50,000+ hits in a few days and now I have heard of Sapient Nitro.

But for all the wrong reasons.

Their video may just overtake Ogilvy’s “ballad to David” as the worst agency song / video yet*

So why do some agencies, communication specialists, get it so wrong when it comes to self-promotion films?

Fundamentally, it’s because they forget the basics.

I.e. why are we doing this piece of communication, who is the audience and what do we hope it achieves.

Agency promo stuff should be a chance to demonstrate just how great the agency is at delivering creative content.

It needs to be engaging, interesting and maybe surprising.

But most of all, it has to be brilliantly delivered.

There are of course some agencies that have done it really well over the years.

Engine Group using Tim Westwood for the ‘Engine are like the Wu Tang Clan of Comms’ grad recruitment scheme, is a shining example:

Funny, executed brilliantly and right on message for their audience.

And so was Mother’s Christmas Rodriguez campaign that helped explode them on to the map all those years ago.

But these examples are few and far between.

Agency promo videos can be very powerful when delivered properly.

But they do require the same level of thinking as if planning a client campaign.

And if the agency isn’t prepared to do this then their promo videos really do deserve to go viral… for all the wrong reasons.

Adam Clyne works at leading content PR agency, TVC Group.


*(They smartly removed theirs from Youtube although fortunately a bootleg version remains here )

  • Steve Ward

    Ahhh – the CV is dead subject raises it’s head! :) 
    Amongst the network of us `futuristic` recruiters (inhouse and agency), this is a hot topic. At the recent #truLondon event – it was debated heavily. The result of the discussion? No, they are not dead – roughly by a margin of 57 to 3 in the room. 

    The reason is because 99% of employers still want to see a CV. I take Dirk’s point, but the LinkedIn profile is dour, standardised and often incomplete. It doesn’t encourage `CV type` achievement content – it encourages mere task lists under jobs. 

    Where the 2 combine, is that there is actually nothing wrong with CVs, if the jobseeker has displayed the links Dirk refers to. CVs CAN be dynamic pieces of presentation – in the social age, they need to be catalysts for information, social footprint, proof, evidence of work, and downright boasting of visual online brilliance. It is also a demonstration of how the jobseekers likes to present information, how they write, and how they prioritize and emphasise relevant content. (On that note, I consider infographic CVs as mindless nonsense) 

    The black and white one-dimensional CV should be close to dead to those of us operating in the creative industries – but an optimized, multi-dimensional platform for links to their online existence certainly is not. 

    Let’s please not kill the CV at least as a starting point to someones evidence of work. As I do as part of my role – let’s educate people to do them better.

    Steve Ward | CloudNine Social Media & Digital Talent | @CloudNineRec:twitter

    • Steve Earl

      Perhaps it’s the static CV that needs to die then? A ‘platform’ for a person doesn’t need to be a CV. Yet the very vast majorit of CVs I receive ARE static, formulaic, fairly meaningless standard fare. I point this out not to grumble, but to encourage applicants to think about what they’re trying to communciate and how they’re trying to do it.

  • Steve Earl

    All makes perfect sense. I’d like to see more of candidates conducting (though it’s risky from their perspective) ‘hire me’ social campaigns rather than just slapping on a CV that they’re familiar with “tools like” Facebook. The latter doesn’t cut it any way.

    I will miss the clumsy CV boasts though, they always brighten the day. The “I am a strategic thinker, I act strategically and immerse myself persistently in the heady waters of strategy” kind of guff.

Powered by WordPress. Built on the Thematic Theme Framework.