There are two parts to pitching a video client: there is the development of the pitch from idea to concept, and the actual pitching of the concept to the client.
The entire process is shortened to “pitching” but for part 1, we will be discussing just the development of concepts to actually pitch.
If you’re not creating a concept, then please read Part 2 here.
The Main Categories
There are only a few main goals for creating a video for a company. It usually revolves around selling something, but here are the main categories:
- Building brand awareness
- Selling a product or service
- Announcing a new product or service
Building brand awareness is basically every single Coke Cola commercial.
What do polar bears have to do with Coke Cola? Absolutely nothing, but they look cool and cute.
They’re memorable and recognizable with their little red scarves.
Brand awareness commercials don’t necessarily sell any specific service or product, they are there to give the viewer a good feeling about the company. They are usually more emotion based.
Selling a product or service is your most basic category. It is different from selling a new product or service because there is not much explaining that has to be done.
Examples are every car commercial, every clothing commercial, and every restaurant/food commercial.
Announcing a new product or service is actually the hardest to create a concept for, because it involves teaching something new in a relatively short amount of time.
You’re starting from scratch and the audience is not yet familiar with your product. So you have to do double duty by capturing their attention, holding it, and explaining the product.
This will be a majority of your bread and butter. You have to think of something clever that will be a juggling/balancing act.
However, when it is done correctly, you would have earned your fee.
As a good example of a commercial that accomplishes teaching and holding your attention, try watching the Dollar Shave Club video:
So let’s say you have a potential new client, but they have the creativity of a koala. So it’s up to you to think of something clever to sell their product/service.
Generating Ideas: Thinking Outside The Box
How do you think outside the box? It’s simple once you turn it into a mathematical formula.
Thing + dissimilar thing = new thing
Example: tennis shoe + waffle iron = new running shoe soles.
This is how Nike got started in the 1970s and exploded into popularity. They took the waffle iron design and mixed it with the bottom of the shoe to create a new shoe design for runners. They were the first ones to think of such a thing.
What you are essentially creating is a creative comparison.
What is a creative comparison? It’s when you’re comparing two dissimilar things. It’s a new term I just made up because I couldn’t find anything better.
Creative comparison is just a technique or one method of thinking outside the box. It is my favorite method of generating ideas because it’s way easier and a lot more enjoyable than the brute method of just “thinking.”
Here are more examples of creative comparison.
Text messages + online platform = Twitter
DNA + dinosaurs = Jurrasic Park
Gas engine + electric batteries = Toyota Prius
Okay, so you know what creative comparison is, what now?
Pitching to a Potential Video Client
Let us say it’s 2011 and you’re in charge of creating a new video for Snapchat. Here are your next steps:
Step 1 – Take a look at their pitch deck.
Usually, companies will send you a creative brief detailing the company’s ethos and what they want to achieve with their commercial, but this pitch deck will do.
Step 2 – Figure out at least 2 core selling points of the product/service that are unique
“Delete is our default.”
Sharing personal, raw moments.
Step 3 – Generate 10 crappy Creative Comparison Ideas dependent on those 2 core selling points. Go to thesaurus.com, input the main words in the core selling points (delete, personal) and let your mind wander.
Here are five as an example:
- Two Ghosts taking snapchats of each other (a ghost is actually the company’s logo).
- A guy carries around a shredder for pictures after family and friends glance at them.
- A serious biker tough guy sends funny faces to his baby niece, but makes sure his buddies don’t see him.
- A self exploding picture sent in the mail, Mission Impossible style. Starts a house fire.
- A famous celebrity or politician is caught in a scandal (took pictures of himself in the bathroom or something). Wishes he had used Snapchat.
Step 4 – Develop 3 ideas that you know are doable and will be acceptable to the client.
Step 5 – Generate a treatment that describes your concept in a few paragraphs.
Step 6 – Generate a rough cost estimate for each concept.
Step 7 – Organize a date with the potential client to present your concepts.
Step 8 – (Bonus Step) Create a pitch deck of all of your concepts that include pictures and powerpoint like presentation.
If you haven’t already, check out Snapchat’s pitch deck, and you will quickly see how it can be applied to pitching your commercial concepts.
The reason this is a bonus step is because it is not 100% necessary in selling your concepts. 80% of selling the pitch will just be you talking to the potential client.
However, a pitch deck for your concepts will definitely help sell your concepts visually, since you are trying to sell content for a visual medium.
Here are a few examples of commercials with creative comparison:
Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial
You’ve probably seen this commercial before. The reason why it’s so famous is because it compares old, established computers like IBM to be the despotic future of the 1984 novel and the runner is Apple coming to break all traditions and conformity.
It is a symbolically heavy commercial, but it works.
It’s a piece of plastic that you place at the foot of your toilet to aid in your pooping. It’s a new product and a new concept (raising your legs to poop).
How the hell do they sell this? With princes and unicorns of course! It mixes defecating and toilets with a completely dissimilar thing: medieval fantasy.
You don’t know what he’s talking about until the very end. Just watch and find out:
As you can see, creative comparison automatically generates concepts that can be fun, intriguing and that can hold a viewer’s attention.
I hope this helps you in forming creative concepts for pitching a video client. It’s hard being creative and squeezing all of your creative juices for every project, so I know that every little technique helps.
It’s all about utilising efficient methods that give you maximum output and I hope that I demonstrated Creative Comparision to be an efficient method in doing just that.
Giordany Orellana is writing a book on how to start your own video business. He’ll be releasing exclusive new chapters here on Matt’s site, Filmmaking Lifestyle.
Join me in the discussion – hate it or love it, I want to know. Feel free to drop feedback in the comments below. And get this out there and seen by others using the share buttons below.