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Four Ways to Make Your Facebook or Instagram Video Stand Out

With every passing day, social media audiences grow larger and advertisers are capitalizing on the massive potential reach that social platforms offer. According to Statista, as of June 2016, over 2.2 billion people worldwide are active social media users. Of these users, 1.59 billion are active on Facebook, and 500 million are active Instagram users.

Though Facebook and Instagram have massive potential reach, creating an ad that stands out in the sea of content poses a unique challenge to marketers. A successful video must engage fast-scrolling users who are browsing through a seemingly endless stream of content. There is no perfect formula, but successful video ads have common characteristics that allow them to stand out and enable their brand’s content to reach millions of users. Here are four keys to creating a standout Facebook or Instagram video ad.

  1. Make it attention grabbing:

In the online world of scrolling and swiping, it is important to engage the viewer quickly before they move on to the next dog video or family photo. According to Social Media Examiner, a video should catch the attention of the viewer within five seconds. To accomplish this, it’s best to get to the action right away rather than opening with a still scene. Also, since Facebook and Instagram videos are silent until the user clicks on them, a video ad should engage the viewer and communicate the message with or without audio.

Example: National Geographic

  1. Keep it simple:

Due to the 60-second time constraint of Instagram videos—and the tendency for users to lose interest in long videos—an ad should focus on just one product or service. If a company wants to market multiple products on Facebook or Instagram, a short video should be made for each product rather than one long video that includes multiple products.

Example: Nike

  1. Personal

According to Target Marketing, 89 percent of customers are likely to switch to a brand that is associated with a good cause if the price and quality are similar. The growing Aspirational demographic cares more about what companies are doing socially than ever before. Campaigns on Facebook and Instagram that focus on how companies are contributing to the world beyond their products have seen great successes. Through video ads on Facebook and Instagram, businesses can capitalize on the social media culture of interpersonal connection to foster a new type of relationship with consumers based on shared values. A video with a personal message can draw the consumer to the company in a way that will increase brand loyalty and engagement.

Example: Always

  1. High Quality

Most users access Facebook and Instagram on their mobile phone. Because of this, it is essential to use a 1:1 aspect ratio so the video properly fits a mobile screen. With the volume of high quality video content on social platforms, it is important to meet this standard to ensure that no technical shortcomings take away from the content itself. The content may be strong, but if the video is too small or the quality too low, viewers won’t bother sticking around to watch.

Example: Under Armor

Nothing can guarantee a viral video, but knowing the nature of the platform and your audience can strengthen your video content. Social media allows businesses to share high-quality content with a highly engaged audience to expand their reach and foster connections. A successful video can make millions of new impressions, inspire people to see a company differently, and strengthen existing relationships with consumers.


When Bad Ideas are Good

“No, that’ll never work.”

This phrase–or one like it–tends to pop into our heads when we’re staring at an empty pad of paper, brainstorming ideas for a project. Or sitting in a meeting with a roomful of creatives. Maybe the idea’s a little off. Or maybe it’s just flat-out nonsense. Whatever the reason, something tells us to keep that idea to ourselves. And that’s where the problem begins.

Fear and the risk of embarrassment restrict us from writing something down–or sharing it in a brainstorming session. The trouble is, ignoring a bad idea can make it a bigger obstacle than it was in the first place. It starts with one idea, but quickly snowballs into more. And before you know it, you have a brain full of ideas that you’re pretending don’t exist. That doesn’t leave much room for the really cool ideas to get through.

It’s like trying to get closer to the stage at a concert. You might get all the way up to the stage–or you might step on some big guy’s foot. Good ideas might make their way to your pad of paper, but it would be a whole lot easier if they didn’t have to squeeze past a crowd of bad ones.

The solution is simple: Write all of your ideas down!

Here are three reasons why writing down your bad ideas can help you in the creative process:

  • Sometimes your bad ideas want to be acknowledged. Putting them down on paper can get them out of your head–and out of your way. Getting to that stage is a whole lot easier when you acknowledge people and ask them nicely if you can squeeze by. While it can feel weird–or even embarrassing–to write down ideas you don’t like, it eliminates them and makes room for stronger ones.
  • Your bad ideas can make you think of something else when you review them later. By writing down a bad idea, it becomes a stimulus–when you look at it, it might make you think of something else. And that might just lead you to a great idea.
  • Bad ideas may still have usable parts. Think about that big guy who blocked your path at the concert. It might seem like he’s just a roadblock, but he could potentially block for you and get you all the way to the stage. After all, he probably wants to get there, too.

Whether we like it or not, good and bad ideas are both part of our creative processes. Sometimes you have to humor the bad ideas so you can get to the really good ones. There’s no benefit to leaving bad ideas floating in your brain. But there certainly is a huge downside.

Why do we refuse to acknowledge bad ideas? It stems from a misplaced expectation of perfection. But nobody has solely good ideas; every person who’s ever lived has had bad ideas. We’re imperfect people. Imperfect thinkers, problem solvers, and righters … uh, writers. So why should we expect anything different from our creative process?

If you hope to attain anything close to perfection in the end, you need to utilize the imperfections along the way. Especially when your goal is that one, big amazing idea.

An Indirect Approach Hits Harder

We have all seen those commercials for charities that make us want to look away, change the channel, or perhaps do what the makers intend: pick up the phone and call to donate. The screen shuffles through the sad faces of starving children or the dejected faces of abused puppies or kittens. These commercials surely impact us emotionally and we do feel bad that we aren’t doing more. Sometimes it seems that the commercials make people feel so bad that they don’t want to donate because they were given such a negative feeling from viewing it.

Today, I came across a TV spot with the goal of charitable donations as well, but instead of using the brute force of guilt and pity, they approached it in a clever manner. The spot does make the viewer feel somewhat guilty, but it sucks them in and generates curiosity before doing so. The commercial entails a monkey being put in a cage by itself. Another monkey is then brought into the room next to the cage and given food. The monkey on the outside, having never met the monkey on the inside, frees it from the cage so it can join him/her for the meal.

The segment is meant to generate donations to help children with cleft lip and it shows that we instinctively want to help others, while instilling that bit of guilt in our minds when we think we may not be as good as those monkeys.

Typography, Music, and Motion

If you know me and my relationship with graphic design, you know that one of my favorite parts about it is typography, or how type is used to create design. If you know me at all in any other sort of way, you know that I absolutely love music. So, naturally, when two of my loves are combined into one, I get very excited. Cue the Lyric Video!

Below I am sharing two music videos shared by two very different musical artists. Both songs depicted are brought to life by the use of typography, motion, and bright colors in order to engage the listener visually as well as audibly. The video for Revolution by Diplo also includes simple shapes in and motion order to represent other visual elements. The typography in these videos is simple, yet it creates something that is visually stimulating to the viewer. I hope that you enjoy these videos as much as I do and appreciate the typography within them for the are that it is.

(Please be advised that this video for F%!@ You by Ce Lo Green is not censored.)

Crest and Oral-B Use Halloween to Their Advantage

Halloween is probably the only holiday that revolves itself around small children scoring candy. Easter comes to mind as well, but that has more of a religious origin than Halloween seems to. So, what does candy do to small children? It gives them tummy aches and rots their teeth if they are not careful. Parents don’t want to deal with that, but what can they do?

Crest and Oral-B teamed up and have created an awesome video directed to parents in order to promote their products. Their logic is that you cannot change candy or have a candy-less Halloween, for children will go insane. This video “proves” that and provides their products as an alternative to taking away Halloween candy from kids. The concept behind this video is simple enough, but the unscripted kids really took the cake. My favorite part is at the 51 second mark. Enjoy!

the iPhone 5c: for the colorful

I visited Boston this weekend and noticed that almost every bus stop and billboard was plastered with a colorful iPhone 5c ad. The colorful pinks, blues and greens were hard to avoid. In that moment I began to wonder why I haven’t noticed any of my iPhone loving friends with an iPhone 5c. This product has been on the market for over a month, it’s less expensive than previous models and it’s intensely colorful, yet I’ve heard little about it. As an iPhone user myself, I decided to look into it. I realized that beyond a doubt this has everything to do with the way Apple is branding it’s products.

The iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s were released on the same date. The first 5c commercial looked like this:


This product is branded as fun, colorful and cheap. Now take a look at the first 5s ad:



This phone is branded as luxurious and special. It’s made of metal, contrasting the 5c’s “plastic perfected” image. This ad is a clear nod to the fact that the main iPhone line (5s) is a more decadent, expensive product. Instead of relying on other cell phone retailers to remind consumers that the Apple iPhone is a high-end product, the company has taken it upon itself. This product branding technique is a clever way for Apple to maintain it’s high-end profile while still selling product to cost conscious costumers.



Colorful Campaigns

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 10.14.18 AM

My favorite ad campaigns are those which tell a story. These are effective because it is nearly impossible to run out of material. Instead, the story simply continues. The M&M’s brand has this down to a science. Around 1995, the M&M “spokescandies” were introduced. Each character has a unique personality, and represents a specific type of M&M (peanut, almond, dark chocolate, etc.). This campaign was been alive for almost two decades and the story still continues.

Just last year the newest spokescandy was introduced, Ms. Brown. The character first appeared in this Superbowl commercial.


This year, she informs us that the M&Ms will make an appearance in the first half of the Superbowl.



She references the commercial from last year’s Superbowl and gets us excited for the next. This campaign is strong in that the ads build off one another. In this way, it’s almost like following a TV show or watching a movie.The audience stays interested and wants to know what will come next.

You can read more about the M&M spokescandies and their colorful personalities here:

“Yes, this is a real product. And yes, it really works.”

The first time I saw this commercial, I didn’t believe it was real. I had never heard of this product before and I honestly thought it was a joke. The 50s-esque outfit and clean cut girl talking about her poo? Yeah, there was no way. Well, I was wrong. This is a real product and this is a real commercial for it, an oh my gosh is it genius! This particular video was posted to YouTube on September 10th, only a little over a month ago, and it already has almost 14.7 MILLION VIEWS! That is incredible, and I believe it it because this commercial is so outrageous.
Many things are seen as taboo in society, talking about a bowel movement being one of them (gross), and so advertisers seem to sort of steer clear of talking about them. This video is almost shocking because the director gets right to the point of the product without really beating around the bush of what the product does. I honestly think that this is admirable, and though the video may be a bit shocking, it is more than affective of getting the attention of the audiences they are trying to reach. I say bravo for having the guts to be completely blunt because this advertisement is definitely effectively getting people to talk and building a buzz around the product.

Truly creative advertising shines above the rest

SuperMan Ad

The thing that draws me the most towards advertising – what makes me excited to get involved with it as a career – is because of its ability to engage people and make them feel something.  These ads are great examples of effective, creative advertising that makes a connection with the audience.

Nikon Ad

Where these advertisements shine is the way they’ve fully embraced the brands they are representing. If you look at each of the ads you will be hard-pressed to find more than two words on any one of them.  They have found incredibly creative and effective ways to engage their audience with the core essence of their brand in one image.

Hot Wheels Ad

These are the types of advertisements I want to work on in my career. I want to break through the clutter and meet a client’s customers in a way that engages them and truly brings them value.

FatFit Planet Fitness

When a brand embraces what they are and shares that with their audience in an honest, creative way, they will create a lasting memory – and, if they’re lucky, a relationship with their customer.

Mr. Clean Ad

The Truth About PR

I took a class a long time ago that contained a brief section on public relations and the lifestyle it entails. Now, having completed one internship and being in the middle of a second, I must say that the lifestyle portrayed was, well, wrong.

People have misconceptions about what it means to be a PR professional. An image of glamour, style, and alcohol fueled campaigns has been shown in a series of films and television shows (I’m pointing my finger at you, Sex and the City). Although I am merely the intern and cannot officially label myself as a PR professional, I have experienced the life it entails for the past several months. And it’s different.

First and foremost, there is no distortion of the truth coming from the PR department. What could possibly be gained from this tactic? The whole purpose of public relations is to develop and maintain good will between a company and the public. If we were to incorporate deception tactics, then we would lose the public’s trust – and that is unacceptable.

Another point I must make is that the job is not glamorous. Yes, it is an adventure in every sense of the word, but PR professionals are working too hard to be bothered with elegant parties and closets filled with designer clothes. I’m not saying that we would turn down an invitation to enjoy these luxuries, but these factors are not connected with the job title.

One of the most rewarding things about PR is the ability to make a difference. Your work will help clients grow as an establishment. You will assist in their success. Believe me, there is no misconception when it comes to that.