Videos are most often used nowadays for commercial purposes. There’s no telling how many videos are out there with the sole intent of promoting and selling a product. Video is steadily becoming the number one media to be used for marketing products.

And as more and more videos are released with the objective of selling a product or service the more people are bombarded with messages they don’t want in their way. It all started with commercials in between our favorite TV shows. Nowadays video ads are practically everywhere- on roads, in social media, YouTube, websites, even inside stores.

But as videos get more and more intrusive target audiences get smarter and find ways to block out your ads. Gone are the days that simply hard selling through video can get you great marketing leverage- not with skip buttons now dominating the terrain.

Today the trend has shifted to another approach- telling a story through video. How is telling a story any different from the traditional way of simply selling through video? Here are three major differences.


Imagine you’re watching a few marketing tutorials on YouTube and just right before the next video, an ad promoting a service that can can boost marketing efforts. What’s the likelihood that you’ll click? I’m guessing it will be much higher compared to showing a soda commercial.

What’s the secret to this scenario? It’s the idea of context. People don’t like skipping between one focus to another. If you want your ads to tell a story and not hard sell, it needs to be relevant to the exact moment a person is in. Some other examples include:

  • Targeting FaceBook sponsored video ads for a hip march line to a younger demographic.
  • Tying up your message to an upcoming big event like Christmas or Super Bowl.


Another big difference between videos that hard sell and videos that tell a story is the value it promises. Hard sells add no value except to those who are marketing the product. Stories however add value to the viewer.

That value can be in the form of learning a new piece of information, bringing an emotional appeal that makes people feel good or giving something entertaining. Here are a few examples of how some video marketers do that:

  • Creating a quick video tutorial on a simple recipe before promoting food products.
  • Creating a short story that touches the heart of people like a family reunion or people coming together for a cause.
  • Putting out a funny ad that makes people laugh.

One Clear Message

An effective story is one that has a clear message to tell. Too many videos out there today tell no story whatsoever because it’s just trying to say too many things. Hard sells are often jam packed with information- contact numbers, addresses, ordering instructions, distribution channels, available sizes and variations and so on.

While it’s good to get a good call to action out, try to put one simple message out for your audience to take in. Here’s a tip: Don’t make it about the product just yet. Make it abut the viewers and getting them to get as much value as they can out of your video.


Kiko Mabilog

Kiko is the Marketing Manager for Pluggas. He started Marketing early on and has consulted with various businesses in many industries including tourism, technology, banking, consumer goods, BPO and B2B. His skills include graphic design, web strategy, social media and business development.

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