Dogs vs Hogs: Should Your Video Be Entertaining or Educating?

You want an amazing video for your company, right?

Here’s one. Out of all the commercials I’ve seen this year, none of them has managed to provoke a more emotional response. Critics and casual observers seem to agree that this is a memorable, excellent video. It’s emotionally engaging and entertaining. People didn’t just not mind watching this ad. They sought it out. 29 million times.

There isn’t a shred of doubt in my mind that, from a business standpoint, the commercial was a smashing success for Budweiser. They undoubtedly reached more people than they projected, probably saw a spike in brand awareness and product consumption, and as a result will most likely run another ad like this next year.

Who wouldn’t want these results? Is it time for your company to run ads about wayward puppies?

Maybe. Maybe not. The critical flaw of this video is that, despite its appeal, it ultimately means nothing to the audience. It has no reference to the product itself. It stirs emotion for the brand, but says nothing about why Budweiser is better. The video entertains me, but it doesn’t educate me.

I know, we’re unbearable. Nitpicking on this harmless, heartwarming commercial? Especially since many marketers would gladly create the fluffiest, most meaningless video if it led to a big ROI. The bottom line always drives your marketing spend. If it gets results, it’s what you do. What’s more to say?

Just one thing: the product matters. Let’s be real: did you buy more Budweiser after seeing the ad? You enjoyed the video, but did it change your interaction with the product itself? Did it so much as make you thirsty, let alone thirsty for a Bud in particular?

This leads to the big question: is it possible to entertain your audience and incorporate your product?

Yes. 

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This video entertains and educates in equal measure. It’s about Chipotle’s product, but it’s wrapped up (pun intended, sorry) in a memorable story. It stirs emotion, and it teaches about what goes into their burritos. The first part draws me in. The second part sticks with me.

Both of these videos are engaging. Both of them tell stories. But the difference is that Chipotle’s video actually has meaning to me when I buy their product. The video entertained me when I watched it at home. Then, in the restaurant, with a burrito in my hands, the story still has relevance.

When I think Budweiser, I think of puppies and horses. When I think Chipotle, I think fresh and ethically made. Both emotions make me feel good. But which one do you think has more power over my dollar?

We aren’t saying that entertaining your audience is a bad thing, or that your videos have to harp on your product and accomplish nothing else.

We’re saying that you don’t necessarily have to choose.

Written by Joe Lee, Content Marketing Specialist