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How to Make a Video Ad: 8 Attention-Grabbing Video Ads & What to Learn From Them

Lights, camera, action! Check out these 8 A+ video ads to learn how to create attention-grabbing marketing videos.

Posted 16 May 2022
How to Make a Video Ad: 8 Attention-Grabbing Video Ads & What to Learn From Them

What kind of advertisements can you best recall from your childhood? Not billboards, radio, or newspaper ads – but video ads.

Video ads tend to stick with us far longer than image or text-only ads, as brands can pair catchy audio with vivid imagery and quick storytelling to evoke the right emotions – and the human brain best absorbs information delivered through these elements.

As a result of this, brands big and small are now investing in video marketing. The latest Wyzowl State of Video Marketing report suggests:

  • 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.
  • 87% of marketers say video has helped them increase traffic.
  • 86% of marketers say video has helped them generate leads.
  • 93% of marketers say video has helped them increase brand awareness.

Plus, running video ads allows you to target your exact audience – meaning you only pay for views from people who are likely interested in your brand’s offerings.

Video marketing clearly has a lot going for it, so if you haven’t already, it’s about time you leverage video in your content marketing and paid advertising efforts. In this article, we’ll look at some examples of excellent video ads and learn some actionable takeaways that you can implement in your own video marketing strategy.

What are the Key Elements of an A+ Video Ad? 

Before we binge the best video advertising masterpieces, let’s do a quick overview of what makes an outstanding video ad.

  • A great story

As you’ll see in the examples below, a memorable ad doesn’t feel like an ad, but rather shows your product/service in the context of an average customer’s everyday life. It moves the marketing needle without being sales-y.

  • A “hook” in the first few seconds

The first three-to-five seconds are all you have to grab your viewer’s attention with a captivating opener. A slow start will ensure your ad gets skipped or swiped.

  • Attention-grabbing with an emotional core 

Your ad should form an emotional connection with the viewer with relatable humor, an inspiring message, or an educational tidbit.

  • Short and to the point 

In this distracted age of dwindling attention spans, it’s best to keep your content crisp. Take only as long as you need to drive the point home, and no longer.

  • Personalization 

Take the time to understand your audience’s wishes and expectations from brands like yours. When running targeted ads on platforms like YouTube, go beyond demographics (age, gender, location, etc.) and psychographics (interests, motives, goals, etc.) to consider where viewers are in their buyer’s journey.

  • End with a strong Call-To-Action (CTA)

Don’t leave your viewers hanging. Tell them what they can do next and spark the desired action.

8 A+ Video Ads to Inspire Your Video Marketing

To help kindle your next video marketing campaign, we’ve curated eight amazing video ads that absolutely killed it. Grab some popcorn and let’s get inspired!

1. “Make Your Next Move” by Squarespace

Let’s start with a slow, cinematic Super Bowl ad from the American website-building and hosting brand, Squarespace. The video stars the award-winning John Malkovich as he “makes his move” from a celebrated actor to a fashion designer.

How does he make his big career move at the ripe age of 63? By building a beautiful eCommerce website with Squarespace. Meant to motivate people of all ages to take that leap, this video is a rallying cry to never settle for anything less than your dreams. You won’t find one negative comment on the video, which goes to show just how powerful and inspirational this ad was.

Key Takeaways:

  • Video ads aren’t just for the top of the funnel awareness stage. This ad by Squarespace solidifies their social proof and helps the brand stay top of mind for people who’ve already heard of or engaged with the company in some capacity.
  • If you haven’t already, create a website that’ll serve as your business’s headquarters on the internet. 

2. “The Technician” by Volvo

Sure, you can portray bold branding with plain text and image ads. But what these formats don’t allow is Hollywood-like stunts. If you want your video to go viral, a stunt done well has massive “like, share, and subscribe” potential.

That’s exactly what Volvo pulled off with one of their Live Test series ads. Each of these Live Test videos shows off the features of Volvo’s trucks with astounding stunts executed flawlessly by professionals.No wonder many of these videos have millions of views and thousands of likes and comments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Brainstorm video ideas that allow you to go bold without causing controversies.
  • Back up your video ads with a strong Public Relations (PR) strategy. Volvo didn’t have a huge budget for these videos, but they sent out details about the stunts to motivate reputable bloggers and media outlets to talk about the videos.

3. “Friends Furever” by Google Android

Google Android’s “Friends Furever’ ad was the most shared and watched ad of 2015, according to Unruly’s Annual Top 20. From February to November 2015, it had garnered over 6.4 million shares across Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere.

Once you watch it, you’ll quickly realize it’s nothing fancy – a mere minute of carefully curated cute clips of animals being goofy. But just like the user interface and overall user experience of all Google products, boy, did this simplicity work for the search giant!

Key Takeaways:

  • Even the most unpretentious and simple ads can be super appealing with the right subjects (such as animals!)
  • With 2.89 billion users, Facebook can make your ad a success, so make sure you share it on all relevant social platforms.
  • Tap into your viewers’ positive emotions (amusement, love, joy) to get in their good books and encourage shares.

4. “Build Your Own Ice Cream Sandwich” by Jeni’s

Another splendid example of simple superiority, this video by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — an artisan ice cream company from Columbus, Ohio — confirms that you don’t need a big budget or fancy equipment to make delightful videos.

The chic dessert brand uses catchy music and “from the ground up” ingredients to ignite the viewers’ interests and get them in the mood for a scrumptious scoop. There’s no denying that seeing food being professionally made is always a feast for the eyes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Basic video editing (no flashy transitions or special effects) that shows your authenticity is loved by audiences.
  • Build your brand’s own subtle style and tone that you want to be known for.

5. “What Most Schools Don’t Teach” by Code.org

While blaming the college education system and resulting student debt might be one of the latest millennial mania, this advertisement from Code.org (a nonprofit that promotes access to computer science education in the US) isn’t just about that.

The message behind this rather long yet successful 2013 ad is that a million of the best jobs in the US go unfilled because only one in four schools teach computer science. Thus, everyone should learn how to code (either offline or online at Code.org) if they wish to be successful and change the world.

Starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and many more big names, it’s no surprise the video has racked up over 15.5 million views and 130K likes to date. These tech leaders and luminaries describe their humble origins in a field that can appear formidable but is essential for success, effectively conveying Code.org’s credo. 

Key Takeaways:

  • If your business is into a seemingly intimidating and/or boring field – say industrial robotics or B2B content marketing – you need to lower the beginner’s barrier to entry with easy-to-follow, welcoming ad campaigns.
  • If you have the budget, including a relevant influencer or two in your video marketing never hurts.

6. “Shubham Banerjee & Intel Edison” by Intel

This ad by the tech giant Intel is one of the five-part “Meet the Makers” mini-documentary series profiling individuals creating exciting new technology using Intel products, including Intel Edison.

In this video, a 12-year-old named Shubham Banerjee tells the story of how he used Intel’s technology to prototype and build a cost-effective braille printer to help more blind people read.

The message behind these inspiring short stories is that with the right tools (such as Intel Edison), anyone can positively impact the world. This video successfully sparks consumer interest in a way that a conventional, product-centric ad would have a hard time doing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Think about the macro effect of your products and services on the community as a whole, and then spotlight an individual’s experience to deliver a compelling value proposition.
  • Whether it’s a cinematic short film or a simple animation using stop motion software, always try to leverage the power of short, uplifting stories.

7. “Web of Fries” by Taco Bell

Who says you can’t make and serve a movie trailer as an advertisement? That’s exactly what Taco Bell did with their “Web of Fries” ad campaign.

In this amusing ad, a typical working-class guy (Josh Duhamel) comes across a “dangerous” conspiracy – a global monopoly of French fry makers that don’t want anyone else to sell fries, including Taco Bell’s delicious new nacho fries.

Once he starts poking around, the situation quickly becomes a pickle as the blue-collar family man has to go up against the “burger people.” The video was a huge hit with viewers who loved the ad’s funny thriller clichés. They also couldn’t get enough of those newly launched nacho fries, as Taco Bell welcomed a whopping 53 million orders in the first five weeks.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you have the budget and team, think of your ad as a complete Hollywood-inspired project you can take from start to finish with full cinematic and jocular freedom.
  • Just like a movie release, schedule YouTube videos to drum up interest in the meantime with supportive marketing such as social media posts, blog content, and emails.

8. “Dumb Ways To Die” by Metro Trains

For this last one, we’ll just let you enjoy the blockbuster video by Metro Trains Melbourne and let the insane numbers do the talking:

  • Over 234.7 million views and 2.5 million likes on YouTube to date.
  • Five grand prizes at the Cannes Lions awards festival.
  • The ad has been credited with reducing the number of Metro train accidents by 20%.

Overall, it’s an entertaining short piece of animation with a strangely catchy tune that, in every sense of the word, wins.

Key Takeaways:

  • Designing your advertisement to reach the masses is always a good idea.
  • The music you use in your video can make or break the campaign’s success.
  • You don’t need to get thousands of Instagram followers or create a Facebook army to make a video a viral success. People will share good content. 

Lights, Camera, Action!

Indeed, that’s pretty much all you need to get started with video marketing today – an inexpensive lighting kit, a mic, a tripod, and a decent camera (your smartphone’s camera can do the trick just fine). Pick any video editing tool and use online tutorials to learn the basics of video editing. Come up with a compelling storyline that aligns with your brand’s mission, and you’ll be ready to produce the next viral video ad.

As platforms like Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts are pushing short-form video content like never before, now is the perfect time to create branded video content for exponential reach and engagement on social media. Take inspiration from these big players and start small. Happy advertising!

Guest Author: Chris Makara

Since 2003, Chris Makara has developed a broad digital marketing background with a focus on SEO, Social Media, Automation and Analytics. He is the founder of Bulkly, a social media automation tool for individuals and small businesses. 

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