When we look back many years from now to identify the seminal event, the watershed moment where video became the dominant media type on the web, this might be it. To be clear, I am not suggesting that text will ever go away, become meaningless or die (although those certainly make good attention getting headlines…) I am referring to the time when we chose video over text as the most effective way of communicating ideas online. Yes, I understand that context is everything so allow me to elaborate.
Pepsi has chosen not to advertise during this year’s Superbowl but instead is launching a $20 million social marketing campaign called The Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi is encouraging people to submit ideas for projects that will have a positive impact on their communities. These ideas will be promoted online and everyone will get a chance to vote on which ideas Pepsi should fund. It’s a very smart idea. Everyone wins with this marketing campaign. Not only is Pepsi associating it’s brand with a wonderful initiative it will also drive millions of people to learn about, submit and vote on this Pepsi branded project. The residual benefits to Pepsi of this project will be huge over time. Good for them.
People get to vote every month to chose which new project goes ahead. This is where things get interesting. If you go to the Project Refresh Blog you can watch some nicely produced videos that give people an idea of what a $5,000, $50,000 or $ 250,000 project looks like. Without meaning to Pepsi has already set a potential baseline for submissions. Lower down the page they also have some text summaries of other projects but I would bet that the video’s on that page will be viewed in much greater numbers than the text and photo-based summaries. If you were submitting an idea for a project to this contest how would you present it?
Will anyone bother to read a written submission and if they do, will the written submission be as well recieved as the onscreen voice of an impassioned community leader? Well written proposals stand a greater chance of winning than poorly written proposals, no question. Better quality videos also stand a greater chance of winning over poorly developed videos. Will viewers be able to judge effectively between a well written proposal and a poorly produced video proposal? Hard to say.
I’ll give Pepsi the last word from guidance provided in their Refresh Toolkit PDF: “While a video isn’t required, it’s probably a good way to tell the world about your idea.”
If you’re selling an idea online is video a better choice than text?