Kevin Barber

Kevin Barber

Kevin is the Creative Director of Vybrary. He has created videos for some of the world's leading brands, like Gatorade, Budweiser, Mastercard, and Forbes, been featured by Ellen Degeneres, and has created video campaigns that have generated 30 million views (of a single video, alone!) for small businesses-2-3x-ing annual revenues. He has also taught Film & Media at Pace University and regularly holds commercial workshops in NYC. He currently resides in Nyack, NY.

Your Video is Charlize Theron’s Face

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Your Ad Creative is Charlize Theron’s face. 

Or, at least, it should be.

It’s that powerful and that important. 

Let me explain:

Digital marketing campaigns tend to manipulate three primary variables to drive results– the creative, copy, and interest targeting.

When running ad campaigns, most businesses tend to obsess over their copy and targeting, in an effort to incrementally improve their technical marketing, while they ignore the elephant in the room: the creative. 

It’s like when you really need to unload the dishwasher but don’t want to. So, instead, you find new and creative ways to pile the dishes in the sink, so you can ‘clean them later.’ No matter how well you stack your dishes, your sink can only hold so many. 

The written copy is the sink in this analogy. It can definitely do a lot of heavy lifting. But it can only do so much.

The ad creative is like the time it takes to unload that dishwasher. It takes a few minutes, but then you can just stick your dishes straight in and save all the time and effort with your stacking theatrics AND get better end results.

This isn’t to say in-house marketing teams and agencies don’t use creative in their ad campaigns. 

Of course they do. They need to! 

But this often takes the form of images, gifs, or quickly-produced videos that wouldn’t stand out if they were showcased at the town hall in 1850. 

These creative elements can be quickly switched & tested (a positive!), but they rarely engage the viewer on a deep level (big negative!). They fill their role as second-fiddle to the copy. 

Again, images aren’t necessarily bad or ineffective. And they’re less expensive and quicker than videos, for sure. 

But when you figure that you’ll be funneling thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into your ad campaign, shouldn’t you be making sure your creative maximizes the potential returns of the campaign? 

Instead of investing in standout creative, most marketers try to ‘find more space in the sink’ by focusing on tools–analytics, quick attention interrupters, and other tactics–of their advertising platforms to farm what concrete results that they can show the boss to justify their actions: 

“Look, we put in $, it only took us 1 minute, and made back $!”

And that may be so. Net + sounds like good business. But it’s not necessarily good marketing. Nor is it yielding anywhere close to the full potential of their marketing dollars.

Wait a minute… 

What about Charlize Theron? 

Enough about dishes and marketers– let’s get to the meat and potatoes:

Think of your marketing campaign as a stranger at an uncomfortably stodgy dinner party and the creative strategy is your face

Your ideal potential client is trying to get to the bathroom to alleviate their bladder from the fifth glass of wine they drank to offset the social awkwardness of trying to initiate conversations at this terrible party.

This sounds a bit like marketing, no?

On their way to the bathroom, they encounter you (the marketer), hovering uncomfortably close to the door, blocking their way. 

In this hypothetical situation, you happen to be blessed with Charlize Theron’s ridiculously alluring face (to say nothing of her incredible acting talent). 

Your client bumps into you. Do you think they’ll engage with you? 

I’m guessing they will–full bladder and all.

Now imagine they’re on their way to the bathroom, and they encounter you, only you have the face of that kid from high school who they shared a couple classes with, but they aren’t sure if it’s really you, because your face wasn’t all that recognizable in the first place. 

On the plus side, they could engage you and, if it is who they think, they could have a pleasant exchange and perhaps a mildly awkward goodbye. 

But their bladder is still full. And let’s face it, you probably aren’t anyone they know, and did I mention, their bladder is still full?

So ya. They blow right past you. 

And as they’re in the bathroom, they encounter your competition, who isn’t all that good-looking, but they happen to be there right at that moment when your client feels the most relief. They’re now in a good mood. So they strike up a conversation at the sink. Maybe close a deal. And when they come out, they walk past you. Your opportunity has passed.

That’s the role of creative. 

To be Charlize Theron’s beautifully alluring face. 

To start a conversation. 

To be interesting enough and exciting enough to stop us from our all-important tasks and encourage us to interact. 

And I’m not just talking about ‘looking attractive.’ 

Because why else would your client stop and speak with you, if you had Charlize Theron’s face?

Perhaps they’re thinking of sharing a moment with someone who has a life they desire.

Or maybe they’re thinking about how their status is going to bump up a few notches when they tell everyone at work how they met Charlize Theron the night prior. 

Or maybe they share your humanitarian beliefs and admire how you started the CTAOP.

By having Charlize Theron’s face, you stand for something. You are specific. You give your client something to identify with.

What about when you have the face of that non-descript high school kid? You don’t offer your audience a reason to stop and listen to your offer, your value, your good intentions. They’re neither attracted to your promise, nor your content.

The story you’re sharing is the single, biggest variable to inspiring potential clients to take action on your video and enter your ecosystem, with the ultimate destination of being a new client.

Specifically, these stories need to invite instant attention, hold that attention, and create so strong an alignment between the message and the viewer that they take action to experience more.

Stories that resonate with your audience are what inspire action. Marketing tactics, tools, and sequences can facilitate this action, but they are not what spark it. 

True- well-written copy can effectively tell stories, but the creative rarely lives up to its half of its storytelling potential.

As the most visceral, complete, and immediate form of creative, video offers the best opportunity to initiate this conversation. It speaks to us emotionally, as well as logically. It engages us with multiple senses that trigger a physiological response in our bodies. 

In other words, it’s the closest thing we, as marketers, are going to get to having Charlize Theron’s face. 

That was a long explanation. But it contains an important lesson:

Invest in making a powerful, relevant, visceral creative story to match your written messaging, and you’ll be tapping the full potential of advertising. Rely only on the messaging, and your audience likely won’t be interested enough to hear what you’re saying. 

And there you go.

Feeling inspired yet?

In order for my small business clients to create standout videos for their ad campaigns, I teach them to leverage story structures that create emotionally-engaging and effective top-of-funnel videos. I’ve assembled the foundations of this training in my eBook, “10 Video Story Structures: Create Standout Videos to Attract Your Ideal Clients.” Check it out, and feel free to shoot any questions my way!

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