Top 10 Launch Videos

When you have one big opportunity to make a bold statement about your new product and company… 

Launch videos are promotional videos used to showcase the offerings from a new business or to promote a major business reset for an existing company. They’re meant to announce to the world that you’re not just iterating – you’ve got something vital and new to offer. You may have created a promo video before this one, and you will certainly continue to create new promotional videos after this, but if you’re a new business launching an important new product or service, you’ll likely need a Launch Video to support it.

The pressure is highest with this type of video as it’s launched at the apex of your market opportunity window: your product is finally ready for prime time, all of the indicators are telling that market demand will be there and if you strike hard and well, this video will help you keep ahead of your competition for months.

Launch Videos Defined
Launch video is the ‘main-event’ video created to promote the product or services of a new business.

There has often been some form of ‘Introductory’ video developed for new businesses but we’re starting to see Launch Videos become a standard offering now – at least with technology start-ups.

In 2010, Adam Lisagor started a production company called Sandwich Video. Since then, Lisagor’s company has become the go-to video production company for anyone in Silicon Valley launching a high-profile product or service (as numerous entries below will attest to.)

Anyone still unsure of the importance of these ‘main event’ videos to the long term success of a new product or service, need look no further than the video at the top of our list.

 

Here are our Top Ten Launch Videos:


Brand: Dollar Shave Club {Los Angeles, USA}
Production Company: In-house.

This video is one of the best we’ve seen. Here’s why:

  • We’ve coined an acronym at gydes.com: ‘CV2U’ – which stands for ‘Cool Video to Unicorn’. This video is ranked at CV2U[5]…or, in plain English, a company that went from launching a popular promotional video to being privately valued at over $1Billion in 5 years. I’m confident that this will become the norm for most Launch Videos… 🙂  (I included a smiley face in case anyone thought I was serious… obviously 6 years is a more reasonable time frame to achieve this level of success.)
  • With 25 million views this video was clearly a huge success. Anyone who knows about this company knows about this video. That’s impressive.
  • What separates the first two videos on this list is that they both took a big risk. They didn’t focus on what their product did. They focussed instead on the bigger problem in the market that their product addressed. This is much harder to do well, much riskier, but much more profitable, if you can create a video that hits the market at the right time and with the right message.
  • Follow this link for thoughts and lessons learned from The Dollar Shave Club Video.

Brand: Apple {Cupertino, USDA}
Creative Agency: Chiat/Day

This video aired only once on network television.

  • In February 1984, during Superbowl XVIII, Apple launched this video to introduce the Macintosh line of computers to the world – Apple’s first mass-market computer. This video is considered to be one of the most influential promotions of all time. It also garnered tens of millions of dollars in publicity for the company at it’s launch.
  • The video cast Apple as ‘David’ to IBM’s ‘Goliath’ and positioned Apple as being the only company able to ward off the dystopian future we were all doomed to, by the tyranny of conformity.
  • Directed by Sir Ridley Scott, fresh off his newest movie Blade Runner, this video occupies positions near the top of virtually every ‘best-of’ list in marketing.
  • Jobs was challenged by most of his senior advisors to withdraw this commercial before launch.  He went ahead with it anyway. (One of the reasons why you see so much bad marketing is that the CEO is the individual who has to ultimately approve marketing projects – taste and good judgement isn’t something you can delegate.)
  • And finally, how can one of the greatest marketing videos of all time not be at the top of this list? The Dollar Shave club video had more influence on its company’s ultimate success than any other video, ever. Apple’s 1984 video may well be one the most acclaimed marketing videos in history, but, in hindsight, we can only speculate as to how much influence it ultimately had on the direction and course of the company.

Brand: Airbnb {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

Showing how your service or product works doesn’t have to be boring.

  • While this wasn’t Airbnb’s first video, it was their first high profile video to promote the brand and explain how the service worked.
  • For those of you who know the production company – Sandwich Video – it’s good that they chose a young woman presenter rather than Adam Lisagor (who appears in some way in many of the Sandwich videos) because the presenter helped to communicate the two most important things required for this service to work – trust and safety. Living in someone else’s home isn’t for everyone, so positioning this activity from a woman’s perspective as fun and adventurous… and safe, was very important.
  • This video did more than just show how the service worked. That’s where many marketing videos stop. This video also showed the benefits and positive attributes associated with the service, by having the host appear all over the world in new homes in exotic locales. This made the video both informative and engaging.
  • Great job of editing in this video. Nice pace and just the right amount of ‘clever’ to keep the video moving.

Brand: Lily {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Unknown

The best thing a video can do is make you think “I want one of those!”

  • The structure of this video is very simple and this format works very well. No presenter, no voice-over, just a bunch of field clips of the product supported by on-screen text that explains the key features: auto-start, waterproof, slo-mo, shot follow/tracking, easy transport… what’s not to like?
  • If you have a product that is unique and stands on it’s own you don’t need to overcomplicate it with clever positioning, marketing speak or sales jargon.
  • At over 11 million views this Launch Video really took off! (…sorry).
  • I know I’d be second-guessing the battery life as I heave it off a bridge.

Brand: Slack {Beverly Hills, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

This is both a Launch video and a Testimonial Video:

  • This is one of the better conceived and edited launch videos we’ve seen.
  • The sitcom stinger at the beginning sets the video up nicely. Adam launches into his ‘story’ right away – no time wasted. Adam’s team then take over his story at different stages of the video. That’s a very clever device to keep the video moving forward.
  • The video introduces an appropriate level of humour: Enough to keep the viewer engaged but not too much to distract from the message. This balancing act is tougher to achieve that you might think.
  • The graphic elements do a great job of supporting or explaining the messages being delivered.
  • What makes this video particularly interesting is that it’s both a Launch Video and a Testimonial Video. Adding Sandwich Video’s positive experience with the product into this video adds to the credibility of the message – even when you are aware that Sandwich is being paid to make the video.

Brand: Weblflow {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

This genre of video needs it’s own label :

  • “Napolean Dynamitesque”,”Geek Deadpan”, ‘DQWF’ (Dry, Quirky & Weirdly Fun.)
  • I enjoyed the archetypes introduced in the video: Everyone knows a ‘Robby’ – a programmer who knows just enough about programming to deliver marginal value with maximum annoyance. An interesting client: In this case – The World’s most interesting man… from India,  and the Presenter – who represents everyone just trying to get a website project off the ground.
  • Notice how the screen shots are incorporated in the video. They go to great lengths to keep the flow of the video moving forward, by having the presenter remain onscreen, while the screen shots of the product are being shown. This is a smart device that you don’t see in most marketing videos. It also adds to the production value of the video.
  • This video also tells a story – Chuck’s (the client) story.  It doesn’t just list a bunch of features, it explains how the presenter is building Chuck’s website and what the website does to support Chuck’s business. It’s always smart to ground storytelling in something that the viewer can relate to.
  • Great video.


Brand: Up There  {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

Will Adam ever become overexposed?

  • It’s tough to know exactly when we reach ‘critical Adam mass.’ Another Sandwich Video and another Adam presentation. He’s becoming the Tom Hanks of Launch Videos. You can’t explain why Tom Hanks is compelling in everything he does… he just is. Adam was born with that rare Launch Video Presenter Gene.
  • Here’s the secret Sandwich Video formula: (Don’t tell anyone.) Start your Sandwich video with a great sound track. Get Adam to pleasantly (and almost ironically) introduce the problem, throw in some graphics that illustrate that problem, add in a quick quip, site gag or pun for levity, then introduce the product and explain how it solves the problem. Then add in a few more supporting graphics to highlight the most important features, summarize with a clever reference and…. cut to logo. Done. It’s really that easy.
  • When you’re pitching your idea to a VC, one of the first questions they will ask you is ‘what problem are you solving?’ That’s a good way to think about how you are going to structure your video and this, I believe, is what Sandwich does very well. They clearly and simply show you (not just tell you) the problem, then they clearly and simply show you how the product in the video solves that problem… presented in a style which makes the video fun to watch.
  • There’s also the task of capturing great footage, great editing that suits the pace and tone of the video, finding perfect presenters (assuming Adam isn’t booked) and finding just the right music.

Brand: Notarize {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

Relatable is the new ‘slick’.

  • If you’re going to sell a product that just about anyone can use, then casting a person that just about anyone can relate to is a good idea.
  • This video is verging on parody in that it’s sorta making fun of those over-the-top campy videos you see on cable television. Of course, it does so with enough style and flair that you still feel like you’re ‘in on the joke.’
  • “Virginia’s for lovers, but it’s also for Notaries.” Creating this style of video gives you license to say the dumbest things and get away with it. Okay… it gives you license to try saying the dumbest things… {Turn head slowly to second camera and deliver line with a smirk…}  but getting away with it can be surprisingly difficult. (Wink to camera as we fade to credits.)

Brand: The Grid {San Francisco, USA}
Production Company: Sandwich Video

Simple, yet effective collection of screen captures and graphics.

  • In a departure from its establish ‘geek deadpan’ style, Sandwich delivers a very engaging launch video which makes you want to learn more about the product. This is what marketing video is supposed to do.
  • The script is well written and leads you to believe that something very important and new is going on. This is the high ground that all Launch Videos should strive for (i.e. Apple’s 1984 video). Features and benefits are good, industry disruption is better.
  • The problem I have with this video is that I was so intrigued (a really good thing) that I immediately wanted to see 1 or 10 different examples of how this works in real life but I couldn’t find any examples anywhere (a really bad thing). If you’re going to make a big promise, make sure you can follow-up on it.

Jimm Fox

Founder

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

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