Marketing Video Creative Adoption Cycle

A common pattern emerges with the introduction of new creative ideas in marketing video:
hype, copy, fade, bounce-back and then… die. 

gydes-video-hype-cycleEach time Instagram introduces a cool new filter every photo you see for the next few months ‘creatively’ employs that new filter… until something new comes along. That’s the idea here.

The concept being introduced is time-honoured and is consistent across virtually every creative discipline. It goes like this:

  1. Initial Hype:  Someone introduces a cool, new creative idea or approach that generates a lot of attention.
  2. Inspired Imitation. Then, everyone copies that idea. The twist, of course, is that everyone adds a slightly new element to make their version ‘unique’ in some new way.
  3. Early Death. After a relatively short period of time, interest among key industry influencers and leaders fades. The key taste-makers have already moved on. The cool kids follow suit.
  4. Echo-Hype. An aftershock of new interest arises from late adopters and is briefly bolstered by slow-to-react media and trade-publications.
  5. Moving on. Then, the creative idea runs its course… and we’re on to the next shiny object.

Content creation is derivative in all creative disciplines. How many popular songs are built on the same four chord progression? How many times can we watch the same basic movie with new actors?

Marketing Video creation is no different. We passed through the ‘shallow depth of field’ era and the ‘shaky camera’ epoch and are currently entrenched in the ‘slow motion’ revolution.

The more popular the trend, the more likely it is to have a label and to get media attention. Some notable examples:

Flash Mobs.

Remember back between 2008 and 2010 when the video ‘stunt du jour’ was getting a whack of people to show up in a public place and start dancing (or pillow fighting, or singing… or something). You can just imagine the creative folks in agencies and businesses at that time, all earnestly debating which new flash-stunt might garner the most attention (and cause the fewest injuries…).

This is my all-time favourite flash mob video. It had the three key ingredients required for success: (1) a great idea; (2) great Music; and (3) great reaction shots showing you how cool this thing was.  With 40 millions views and a ton of press coverage, T-Mobile did very well with this promotion. If you tracked all of the flash mob videos on the chart above, this one would be at the apex of the initial hype section.

Lip Dub

(‘Lip-Dub’:  A combination of ‘lip synching’ and ‘audio dubbing’ in case anyone was interested in the etymology of this abomination of a phrase).

The slope of the ‘moving on to the next thing’ curve is flatter with this type of video than most. I suppose singing and performing is just hardwired in most of us. ( Not everyone should be allowed to dance however... )

Cities, retirement homes, small businesses, universities… pretty much any organization with a penchant for theatre, still employs lip dub as a technique to showcase… fun and… wicked lip dubmanship skills.

Some things just won’t die.

The video above, created by the students at The University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) in 2009 was ground zero for this phenomena. There were lip dubs before this video and there will always, always, be lip dubs after it… but this is the one that should receive the most credit (blame) for this phenomena.

Mannequin challenge

“Bullet time” filming is a term that refers to the ‘stop time’ sequence from the matrix where the camera moves around an object (like a bullet or a guy spilling his beer… although “spilled beer time” doesn’t sound nearly as cool) that is ‘frozen in space’ – it gives the appearance of stopped time.

This Alessia Cara video made this idea go mainstream and we’ve been seeing sports teams, universities, businesses and anyone with a camera and free time reproduce it ever since.

Harlem Shake” was another brief, but painful, ‘thing’ that mercifully avoided most business application.

The Ice bucket Challenge is another video craze that raised a great deal of money for a great cause… but inevitably followed the path of the marketing video creative adoption cycle.

Can you think of a creative trend in marketing video that follows the same creative adoption cycle? Let us know below.

Jimm Fox


Jimm has been working in video and marketing for the last 25 years agency side, client side and in video production.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.