If an agency is pitching for new business, a talking head show reel is a good way to promote your products, talent and services in a short and creative video clip. It is to act rather like a ‘dating agency video' to encourage clients to want to meet the people featured on the talking heads. But…
Are advertising agencies in South Africa taking advantage of this creative outlet to promote the quality and breadth of their services? It seems that their agency counterparts in the UK have been doing this effectively for some years according to the AAR Group, which handles client/agency relationships.
The AAR comments that an effective ‘talking heads' should be relatively simple with limited use of effects and graphics. Although there are no hard and fast rules it is essential to keep the video short, make the subject interesting to the client and use your creative flair to make it more memorable. If it does not show the quality of your work with impact and style, it will be quickly dumped by the client. A good reference point is documentaries, not commercials. The best documentaries tend to be gimmick-free but factual and impactful.
“The stars of the show are the people of the agency and the agency's work,” says Johanna McDowell, MD of South Africa's Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS).
“The talking heads should come across as humanly as possible and invite the client to imagine they are working with the agency's staff. Too many special effects could be counter-productive and clients might not get a feel for the people behind the creative output of the agency,” she says.
Often agencies over-emphasize their awards, but in reality clients are more interested in marketing results than awards. The talking heads should highlight to the client the benefits that will be yielded by working with the people of the agency.
“However, featuring the use of creative work is an important ingredient in the mix as it illustrates to the client the key selling points of the agency and show how the agency's work and expertise can produce results where possible,” says McDowell.
Finally there is a lot of preparatory work when producing the talking heads, and hiring a director to take care of the visual side can free up time for the agency to concentrate of the interviews and creative theme of the video. “It is important for the director to get to know the people, familiarize himself with the agency's work and delve into its culture to capture the essence of the agency and its talents,” she continues.
Over the past 12 months, the IAS has been showing UK agency talking head reels to IAS agency subscribers in South Africa.
“We think that these talking heads have been eye-openers for our subscribers here and we are so grateful that our partners, the AAR, were able to source these from their agency subscribers for our agencies here.
“Accurately marketing an ad agency is a real art and is worth the agency's investment”, concludes McDowell.
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