Recently, we produced a web video for our client Keep America Safe. This video, titled “The Al-Qaeda Seven” was a central piece in their effort forcing Attorney General Eric Holder to release the names of seven Justice Department attorneys that had previously represented or advocated on behalf of terrorist detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
48 hours after the release of the video, FOX News reported that they had uncovered the names of the attorneys. Their identities were quickly confirmed by the DOJ. This development generated a tremendous amount of earned media for Keep America Safe. Every major cable news channel ran segments about the story and replayed the video in its entirety. In addition to placing Keep America Safe at the forefront of the debate, this media coverage amounted to several hundred thousand dollars worth of free national airtime.
Top conservative bloggers such as Michele Malkin immediately jumped on the issue driving traffic to both the video and KeepAmericaSafe.com. This created a flurry of online activity raising their profile among the conservative grassroots and generating email signups and donations to the group.
Traditional channels also picked up on the story. One week after releasing the video, The New York Times ran an A1 story about Keep America Safe. The article highlighted the video as the focal point of Keep America Safe’s efforts to bring attention to the issue. The online version of the story also linked to the video driving even more traffic.
This high-quality web video was produced in a matter of hours at relatively low cost. Web video is typically free from many of the constraints limiting television spots. Television advertising is still a very effective channel to consistently deliver a message to a wide audience. However, web videos allow you to be more edgy, somewhat more creative, and are often useful for providing a fresh angle to an issue. Web videos can be turned around quickly and are a great format for response ads and for articulating complicating or contrived issues.
If pushed through all the proper channels and timed correctly, web videos can reach a very wide audience. The potential for both earned media coverage and viral spread make web videos an extremely cost effective tool.