Oh no! … more online video rule-breaking!

I love playing by the rules–they’re so comforting. Over the years I’ve spent mucking about in the swamps of TV and video, I’ve learned a few. And I know they work. But sometimes I find a video that flouts my hard-won rules yet still does what it ought to do. Back in June I wrote about one: To make a remarkable online video, break the rules!

But that was French cinéma, so it doesn’t really count.

About 10 days ago I tripped over another rule-breaker, this one a strictly domestic product. From HubSpot, the emperors of inbound marketing. Playing by the rules, the video should have been short–ideally under two minutes–and it should have conveyed a clearly stated message or two.

No such thing.

This music video comes in at a shade over 4 minutes–nearly certain death in a world where viewers start abandoning videos within mere seconds. (You must read “Understanding Viewer Abandonment Trends in Short-Form Online Video Content.”)

And there’s no analyzable point to the video. It just shows a few dozen HubSpot staffers having some fun. Hey, why don’t you watch a bit of it … and then read on …

Why do I think this is an excellent corporate online video? Because, instead of trumpeting a predictable HubSpot message, like “3,000+ businesses use our inbound marketing software to grow traffic, leads and sales,” it skips over the intellectual, informational level altogether. The lyrics aren’t relevant; in fact, you can get what this video is about by–surprise!–muting the sound altogether. Then you can see the energy and enthusiasm of these HubSpotters all the more clearly. Without the distraction of sound, you can look at their very alive faces. These aren’t corporate drones, no doubt about it.

And that gets to you emotionally.

The result is that you have a good feeling about HubSpot. You start to believe that if you handed them a few wrinkled green ones and asked them to lower your cost per lead or increase your organic traffic, they’d do right by you. You assume they would care about you they way they care about their chair dance.

Can I advise you how to make a video like this? Of course not. Because I’d be giving you rules … and rules are the polar opposite of what we’re talking about.

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