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Storytelling within branded content was one of the hottest “trends” in video marketing in 2016. With most of the major outlets anticipating an even bigger role for content that takes consumers on an emotional ride through narrative in 2017, we look at one of the reasons why ‘remastered’ storytelling can be so successful.
It’s no secret that branded content has to create an emotional connection and be enjoyable enough to draw viewers in, but when does it become too predictable or repetitive? We’ve all watched a movie and known how it’s going to end before it even started, but we still watch it anyway. Does that mean it’s less enjoyable? Maybe, but when it comes down to views and engagement (the quantifiable elements marketers are looking for), it can still look like a win on paper.
But why do we love it so much? Maybe it’s because we’re programmed to like what we’re comfortable with and what we know. Maybe we just like it because it’s good. Or maybe, because it’s nostalgic. Nostalgia marketing (yes, it is a real thing) is proving to be one of the most powerful techniques for brands when targeting millennials.
A recent Forbes article stated millennials are drawn towards positive memories from their childhood (80s/90s) simply because it makes them feel good. Take that for a scientific and psychological answer.
As the article states, brands can, and should be taking advantage of this, which might be some of the reason we’ve seen so many “remakes” of old movies and TV shows lately. Not only does the millennial population represent one of the most valuable audiences to capture, but it can lead to huge quantifiable wins for marketers.
This begs the question: if superhero brands and Pokemon can reboot successfully, does that open the door for brands to ‘reuse’ some of their older content? Absolutely.
Take Spider-Man, for example. Since the original release in 1977, Peter Parker is now on his third rendition as the webbed hero. That may not seem like a lot, but consider the fact that the previous two renditions both happened in the last 15 years. Why? Because it works. Without sparking a whole other thought of ‘what does original really mean’, understand that the franchise was revived for two reasons: one, because there was a new director who thought a new cast could create a stronger relationship with younger fans; and two, because it was a huge opportunity to make a boat load of cash.
From the video game side of things, Call of Duty is another fantastic example of reusing content. Call of Duty 4 launched in 2007 and revolutionized the online first person shooter genre. This year, the game’s publisher is going back to its roots and is re-releasing a graphically updated version of Call of Duty 4 to bring lost fans back to the franchise.
Admittedly, the path to reusing content or tapping into old characters and habits millennials know and love isn’t easy for every brand. Newer brands may have a hard time trying to find relevance in a Bill Nye the Science Guy reference, but it’s worth exploring if your target audience contains millennials.
While perhaps not quite as effective, younger brands could also explore reusing or recreating older, high-performing content. If your audience loved a particular story, character, mascot or element that you used in an old video, it might be worth your while to find a way to incorporate them into your next project if you’re looking for a boost in viewer engagement.
Ultimately, the major kicker for ‘remastered’ content is its ability to remind of stories we know and love, so we can experience them again in modern technology. This strategy of reusing what already exists can not only drive immense sales, but it is also much cheaper to produce and requires less market research and testing to determine success rates.
As a video production company, we’re no stranger to branded content, and we know that regardless of your brand, product, or company, storytelling will always sell.
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Header image credit.
Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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