I’ve written before about structuring and writing marketing videos to target specific demographic groups. It’s one thing to write about it and another to do it so I thought it may be useful for those of you trying to do just that to talk about a recent video I made and just how and why I went about making the video. I’m going to write about how to plan a video for a very specific audience, how to engage with that audience and how to use the language of the moving image to create demand for your product.
I had to make a video that was specifically targeted at children. I know what you’re thinking, “Selling toys and sweets to kids is easy and what else could it be?” But it wasn’t toys or sweets. What I had to sell to children was… education. The client I was working for was a music school that teaches children to play in several bands, groups and orchestras of differing abilities and standards.
I’m going to break the process down into two parts; the initial challenges and issues I faced when planning the video and the questions I asked and answered in order to provide solutions.I'm going to write about how to plan a video for a very specific audience... children. Click To Tweet
What Were The Challenges?
The customer had several very specific needs and issues that had to be dealt with.
- What was the aim of making a video? The customer was a very well regarded weekend music school. Their aim was to recruit a new generation of students from amongst school pupils who were just starting to learn musical instruments or who were just having their taster sessions.The school has several different bands/orchestras based around player ability and while they are excellent now, the school needs to introduce young players into their junior and learner groups so that they can be trained and taught and progress through to the more senior groups.
- What was the product that the video would be selling? The product that the school is selling is the education of children in music, and the experience of playing in big bands/orchestras.
- Who were the target audience? I assumed, before my first meeting, that the target audience would be parents who were interested in having their children learn music. However this was not the case in the primary instance. The main audience would be primary school children themselves.
- How would the video be viewed? While the video is available on-line and will be viewed by parents, the main method by which it would be distributed would be directly to schools for pupils to watch during an assembly. The challenge therefore was to sell the effort of learning a musical instrument to primary school children.
Before I talk about my solutions I want to ask some questions, and give some brief answers.
- Is there anyone who already successfully sells to my target audience? Yes. Sweet and toy manufacturers do it all the time.
- What do primary age children want to be? They want to be older children.
- How do adverts and trailers on children’s tv work? They work by using enticement. They show the excitement and the fun of the product/show. They often show older children using the product. They use a blitz of colour and fast images to drive attention to the product/show.
These are the briefest forms of the answers that were reached after a lot of research… a lot.
How Did We Fulfill The Client’s Needs?
A Story For Children
The story I constructed for my pitch to the client was simple. I wanted to show the younger children enjoying their playing. I wanted to show them progressing and I wanted to show the older children having a great time. This would give our target audience a set of people to relate to and a set to aspire to. I wanted the children to tell of their experiences in their own voices so the narration would be kept to a minimum and the story would be told via interviews with several of the children of all age groups at the school.
Making The Video Look Appealing To Children
I planned for the video to be bright and fast paced with as much movement as possible (not easy when the main feature of the video is people sitting and playing musical instruments). This involved using animated backgrounds and borders for the video and using animated stills of musical instruments to emphasise the beat of the music. I viewed hundreds of TV adverts aimed at children and studied the editing techniques used, how colour and movement informed the structure and how children were portrayed to convey happiness.
Shooting A Video With Children
The first thing to consider is that permission would have to be sought from every child’s parents or guardians to appear in the video. Whatever group your video is aimed at, those appearing in the video must give their written permission for you to use their image, unless they appear in a public location and are not the feature of the video.
Next I had to write some simple questions that would elicit useful responses from the children for the interviews. I chose three. “What do you like most about playing in the band?” This would establish that the kids have a really good time while they’re at the school. “How has playing in the band helped you?” The answers to this question gets the message across that it is easy to learn when having fun in a group. “What’s the most fun part of playing in the band?” This lets the interviewees get excited about their favourite thing and that excitement is visible and contagious.
The last thing I had to get into the video was some action. I knew I would have lost of shots of the bands playing and lots of interview footage, but how would I get some movement? The solution I came up with was to get some volunteer musicians from the middle age range of the school, old enough to be confident but young enough to be relatable to the audience, and get them to play out in the corridor. I asked them to wave their Musical instruments about and to run past the camera and to dance with their instruments. These elements became part of an abstract cutting rhythm that was not part of a narrative but much more of a montage sequence that ran throughout the video.
Reports back from the school suggest that the video succeeds in engaging the children and gets them excited about the prospect of playing with larger groups of musicians. The proof is in how many requests the school have had from children wanting to join. The planning for this video involved a lot of research and thought, and the shoot was much longer and more complicated than for a normal business advert but to target any demographic group successfully that is what’s required… and the end results were worth the effort.
Having looked at what I did in a practical situation, here are three points to bare in mind when targeting children with a marketing video.
- Keep your audience entertained. Make your video as short and as visual and as quick paced as you can.
- Give you audience a single clear message. In the video above the message was simply “Come and join us!”
- Give your audience something to aspire to. I concluded that young children want to be older children and so gave them older kids to look at, older kids that they will want to be. You may give them a collection, or an experience or a set of skills, but whatever it is give them something to which they can aspire.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to make comments or share your experiences.