Unilever : Videoing guinea pigs
Presentation style and content are the key to an engaging product testimonial.
Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch food and personal products group, uses video-vérité testimonials to promote a new skin-care lotion.
Unilever’s Vaseline® brand has a standalone promotional site for a new prescription-strength moisturiser, Clinical Therapy™. The content is based around a product-testing project in the town of Kodiak, Alaska, which began with one of the 600 residents being given a sample and freedom to “prescribe someone you care for”. A Flash-powered project introduction leads to an interactive testimonials page where clicking on an image in an atomic-structure-like matrix opens a panel about the individual ‘tester’ and, in several cases, a link to a short video clip.
The clips feature the individual talking informally to camera in their home/work setting. They are professionally produced and edited but shot in a camcorder style; for example, close-ups are not always in focus initially and there is a general ‘hand-held’ feel to the presentation.
Video testimonials are gradually becoming more widespread in the wake of mass broadband take-up and several companies now use them effectively as engaging content in their careers sections. However, allied to the explosion of video-sharing sites and consumer-friendly videoing technology, this means the easy-win early-screener advantages are no longer to be had, so organisations have to work harder on content and presentation to make an impression. Vaseline®’s story of its town trial succeeds by creating an informality in the presentation that gains veracity through ‘humanising’ the interviewees.
Given the viral nature of the project, the credibility of the guinea pigs is a critical element in the campaign It is helped in the videos by trading on the familiar style of reality television – an interviewer can be heard on occasion, for example – rather than trying to pass them off as user-generated (others have foundered on audience sophistication going this route). Vaseline® is also updating a traditional strand of consumer tv advertising – the vox pop endorsement – using the web to enhance the marketing value by embedding it in product information.http://www.prescribethenation.com
First published on 23 October, 2008