By now, we all have a pretty good idea of what a bad testimonial video looks like. SNL has ripped the tactic to shreds in their phony advertisements for Activia, Lincoln, and most recently the Amazon Echo. Let’s face it, there is something inherently hilarious about a bad testimonial: bad actors hamming their way through promoting a product they surely haven’t used is a perfect recipe for satire. However, one would be rash to write off the testimonial’s efficiency based on the most cringe-inducing examples of them, because successful testimonial videos are all around us.
When we scroll down to read reviews on a product, when a politician brings on a “civilian” to endorse their platform, when a friend recommends a new restaurant in your neighborhood: testimonial videos are everywhere! Not to mention, they’re extremely effective when done tastefully. Here are some things to keep in mind when constructing a powerful testimonial video:
Keepin’ It Real
You don’t need actors to deliver an effective testimonial video! People aren’t stupid, so you’re not fooling anyone by passing off shiny happy actors as everyday people. Let the customers or users of the product do the talking, and the sincerity will shine through, trust us! Testimonial videos should not be entirely scripted pieces, they should convey authenticity first and foremost; so, letting people be their true selves is the key to driving the point home.
There are two techniques ASL uses to make everyday people feel comfortable on camera. The first is having the interview subject look off camera at the person asking them the questions. Having a producer with an easy, kind face for the subject to look at can make a huge difference in delivering a conversational, human piece.
However, some clients, really want their subjects to look into the camera to better connect with their audiences. In these situations we use an Interrotron, which is a technique made popular by famous director Errol Morris. We’ve used an Interrotron on shoots such as the one pictured here on our shoot with Lincoln Financial. The Interrotron allows the subject to look directly into the camera, but actually see the producer interviewing them. It uses the same technology as a teleprompter but instead of displaying a script to be read, it displays a video of the interviewer, delivering that human connection, all the while connecting with the audience.
Every User Has a Story, Story!
It really helps to think of testimonial videos as mini-documentaries. Where commercials are the flashy feature films reliant on electrifying performances, testimonials gather their power from letting the story unfold naturally. You aren’t going into shoot a testimonial video with a full script, but rather an outline, some questions, and a flexibility to let the story tell itself.
Focus On the Facts
Once the outline is in place and the story is beginning to unfold it’s essential to highlight the facts being presented. A massive advantage of testimonial and case study videos, are their presentation of objective criteria. With the facts in place, the testimonial video can build a level of trust in the viewer that can’t be built in the traditional commercial video format. That connection between the subject of the testimonial and the viewer is so crucial: they must feel a shared experience that allows that trust to take shape.
Package It Up, Make It Pretty
So we’ve talked already about the different sizes and shapes that testimonial videos can come in: from campaign endorsements to product reviews to friendly recommendations. If testimonials are so prevalent, why put in the time and effort to display it in video form?— Well, a testimonial video can touch on the same points as all the former examples, but shows the results in the most professional, clean, and direct package possible. At ASL, we want our testimonial videos to bear the assurance of a friends’ recommendation with the aesthetic sharpness of a cutting edge advert. Through intimate interviews, lean editing, and vibrant visuals, we like to craft stories that grab and inform the audience from a position of honesty and trust.
Contact ASL Productions today to discuss creating your testimonial video.