Testimonial Advertising

This television commercial was captured and edited from the patients own words.

Working with director Tom Mescall on this project, we ran a two camera shoot with five different patient groups. Hearing their first hand from-the-heart stories, of the struggles they went through prior to bariatric surgery and the changes in their life since, made for some wonderful footage and commentary.

It is about the moment.

Using two cameras when conducting interviews is wonderful, and three might even be better. It isn’t just about having different framing, it is about having the cameras move and keep framing visually interesting. Having one play it safe leaves only one to have fun with. Still, it seems that there is always a moment captured where it all comes together, where the spontaneous voicing of a real situation brings an understanding to the eyes, where a genuine emotion is conveyed beyond the words spoken.

Authenticity in advertising is critical to reaching people at a place where they believe what they see and hear. A rehearsed script rarely comes across as anything other than what it is, and loses much in that reception. Typically, authentic advertising is based upon a testimonial or other proof of worth. These stories are best captured in a video interview.

The video interview process is much more than simply showing up and asking questions. Research is needed beforehand to discover the intent of the organization, their manner of achieving those goals, the nature of the volunteers and employees and many other factors. Similarly, knowledge of the public perception is important, particularly that part of the public that is the demographic target of the video.

Using real people in advertising requires a unique skill set of the interviewer. Having the knowledge of the research noted above, the interviewer must be able to ask questions in a manner that invites the person to discover in their own way the answer. Often, the same question may be asked in a couple of different ways to achieve similar answers that are spoken in different tone, wording, or facial expression.

It is a debatable point as to whether a pre-interview helps or hinders. I fall on the side of hindrance. By experience I have found that the first conversations with a person about their company or organization are the most candid, the least prepared, and the most effective at capturing a person in the real moment of their enthusiasm. A prepared interviewee is one that often hesitates to find the “right” words they thought they wanted to say when. Spontaneous interview responses yield genuine responses.

Support for this thinking comes from most of the late night talk show hosts. They rarely visit with their guests before the show, wanting a more candid and spontaneous interview.