I’ve Heard That: Video Killed the Digital Marketing Star

by | Last updated Jun 21, 2022 | Podcast

On the season two premiere of our I’ve Heard That podcast on the Hurrdat Media Network, host Meghan sits down with Creative Director Max Riffner and Dan Napoli, Head of Creative & Post-Production at Hurrdat Films, to talk about video marketing, film production, and how brands can utilize video as part of their digital marketing strategies.

How does a business start to incorporate video into its strategy?

Riffner: Typically, that process starts with determining the individual goals of the client. Video marketing often feels “sexy” to new clients. They all feel like they need video, but sometimes they actually don’t.

Napoli: Video marketing is really vast—in 2021, video is everything from branded documentaries to TikTok. I’m sure it’s very confusing for clients when they want to take the first step into marketing. We have situations where clients want video because it’s appealing. After all, if you think about it, video marketing really melds together all the various elements used throughout marketing. But it’s a large investment, and it can take a while. For that reason, we always start with the following questions: What are we trying to do here? Who are you trying to talk to? What are you trying to say to them? And how long does this message need to last?

How does budget factor into video marketing?

Napoli: I think of it as a trifecta of budget, purpose, and message. When we get the best results is when we get all three points of that triangle. In the early days, it was this poker game. Clients were hesitant to “show their hand” when it came to their budget. And to be fair, there was also a whole element of the production industry that was like “How much can we get from our clients?” That mentality is gone, and now it’s about the most that we can do to get the most bang for your budget. It’s all about seeing where that trifecta is.

Riffner: Ultimately, we’re problem solvers. And creatively, I think having a budget makes things a little more interesting. If you have an unlimited budget, you have unlimited choices for your video marketing strategy. However, it’s more fun to have a little bit of constraint because you can get some really creative and exciting results out of it.

What’s one of the biggest trends in video marketing today?

Riffner: I would say authenticity seems to be a big trend right now. It was a little controversial after the fact, but the Bruce Springsteen Jeep Ad for the Super Bowl and the Patagonia stuff is in fashion. It’s not being afraid to have a point of view, be authentic, and share what your brand stands for.

Napoli: I think we’re going to see more of the branded documentary. Where a brand is authentically behind it, but the brand or product isn’t the focus. Instead, their point of view is the focus of those documentaries.

Riffner: Also, there are these very specific brand videos, and then there are these “YouTube as a search engine” videos. YouTube results are everywhere. Using video for SEO is a fascinating thing.

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Read Full Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Welcome to I’ve Heard That, the podcast from Hurrdat Marketing that discusses digital marketing trends, tips, and more.

Meghan (00:10):

Hi, everyone. Welcome to season two. I’m so excited to have you guys back. Well, welcome back Max, and welcome, Dan. Introduce yourself. Tell us who you are.

Dan (00:22):

Thanks for having me, Meghan. My name’s Dan Napoli. I’m the head of creative and post production for Hurrdat Films. Stoked to be here, Meghan. I have to say this is definitely the only podcast I’ve been on where the agency director knows infinitely more about me in Japanese cinema and can just school me backwards and forwards on it. So that’s a cool distinction, so yeah, this should be fun. Thanks for having me by to visit.

Meghan (00:48):

Of course. Welcome. I’m so excited because obviously we have your podcast, Real Life. That’s a shameless plug for Real Life because I feel like I know we have in house experts, but I just can’t get enough of that either, so welcome.

Dan (01:02):

Thank you.

Meghan (01:02):

And hey, Max. Welcome back.

Max (01:05):

Good to be back, Meghan. Hi, my name is Max Riffner, I’m the creative director of Hurrdat Marketing. And I work with both Meghan and Dan quite a bit.

Meghan (01:16):

Yeah. So today, two experts in the room, and I want to pick your brains on: How do businesses incorporate video into their strategy? It has exploded and I think everyone, all of our clients say, “I need a video.” And that’s really the kickoff point where we hand it over to you guys. So pretend I’m a client. Hey, I need a video. Where do we start?

Max (01:43):

Well, that typically starts with me getting in the room with them and then trying to figure out what their goals are for the video. One of the good or slash bad things about video is that it’s very sexy to clients. And sometimes they think they need it, and they might not necessarily need it. But for those that do, having a conversation with them, getting that worked out, if we get to the point where it’s like, oh, okay, this does seem like a good idea, I can see kind of a kernel of a story or something that we could share that would be beneficial for your customers, that’s when I get Dan in the room with me. And then we can start talking through that with them. And Dan has his own process that he shares with me kind of down the road. And that’s a good tee off for you, Mr. Napoli.

Dan (02:40):

Thanks, dude. Yeah, it’s certainly easy when it’s collaborating with Max. We’ve been doing it on and off for 10 plus years now.

Max (02:53):

10 years. 13 years.

Dan (02:54):

God, man, it’s just piling it on. No, it is very interesting though because video, it’s really vast. I’ve been doing this in one way or another since 1999. And when I first started in the industry, it meant there’s really a pretty firm line. Okay, there’s entertainment stuff over here, and you put docs in there. And then if you’re a business, you kind of got basically two options. You can do broadcast television spots or you can do what we would refer to in those days as industrials, which are what we kind of see the version now as promo videos. But back in those times, you’re talking about this is going to be on DVD. It’s going to be on VHS. It’s going to be sent to either training videos, or it’s going to be sent to franchises. Maybe if you’re a retailer, you’re jockeying for screen space inside of your same store.

Dan (04:06):

Well, obviously now, fast forward to 2021, it’s everything from branded documentaries to TikTok. And so I’m sure it’s very confusing and very confusing for clients and even sometimes agencies in where stuff goes. And then you have another layer of it’s still very magician like. The people don’t quite know how the sausage is made, if you will. And there’s always … Somebody told me this a long time ago, so I’m stealing this phrase from somebody, but it’s almost the more simple it looks, potentially the harder and the more complex the backend of it is. So you do have a situation where clients or somebody will be like, “Oh, it’s … ” Like Max says, video is very sexy. It’s very appealing because if you think about it, it really melds together almost all of the senses, if you will, or all of the various elements used in marketing. But it’s a large investment, it can take a while.

Dan (05:17):

And like everything, with a good agency, and I know like Max mentioned earlier, it’s like you always start with that. What are we trying to do here? Who are we trying to talk to? What are you trying to say to them? And how long does this message need to last? I think for us on the Hurrdat film side of stuff, even when we’re doing brands and clients, so if Max reaches out to us, it’s like, “How much impact do these video assets or this campaign have to have?” And the more that dial gets turned up, it comes more into our team’s realm of production. I mean, would you say that’s accurate, Max?

Max (06:03):

Yeah, absolutely. And I was just kind of trying to think, a range of projects we’ve worked on together. Probably the lowest end would be the hero background videos for a website, which is actually something that we don’t recommend doing anymore because of site speed. But we did quite a few of those for a couple years there.

Dan (06:33):

Yeah, because it was the hot thing for a minute. Right?

Max (06:34):

Yeah. And then all the way up to a branded documentary, which that’s quite intensive. We sit down and kind of go, “Okay, I’m going to need these screenshots from you. I’m going to need some clip outs, some soundbites for the social team. I’m going to need this, that, and the other.” We try to … I mean, the nice thing about that is we try to, if we know what we’re doing ahead of time or what we’re going to need, we can kind of earmark time for that and get into that. Dan and I can collaborate and say, “Okay, this’ll be great for this.” And it’s a back and forth too because oftentimes, I’m supplying the Chyron graphics or doing art direction on that level. But it’s a nice collaboration. We do touch on story a little bit too. We try to figure out plot points just like you would a traditional novel or film, a scripted film I should say. But yeah, it’s …

Dan (07:45):

Yeah. That’s how … I mean, I’d say that where we start. And again, it’s an interesting thing, Meghan. I don’t know. How much time do you want to spend on each end of that run? Because like you said, that spectrum is so big.

Max (08:01):

Yeah. I paused there for a second. I was like, “How much do I want to get into this?” It could be a several hour thing if we let it.

Meghan (08:10):

Well, I think also, you mentioned objective. But obviously, budget is another major factor in helping us pick the right course for what we’re trying, what story we’re trying to tell and then what channels we’re going to try and tell it through, whether it’s on their YouTube channel or on social channels, or on their site, or any other way. So how does budget kind of factor into it for you too? Because I know on the client end, they’re trying to get their most bang for their buck, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s how we should do it. So what does budget mean for you?

Dan (08:41):

Yeah, dude, those are … You hit four awesome things there, Meghan. I almost think about it like this triangle, this trifecta of budget, purpose, and message. And they kind of go in those three ways. And so my thing too is always … And we’ve seen this in some of the stuff that we’ve worked on. When we get the best results, are if we can get all three points of those triangles. So again, back in the old days, I don’t feel like we see this as much. You guys can speak to it much more. But in the early days when we started working, the early 2000s, it was this poker game. Right? Clients were like, “I’m not showing you my hand, what my budget it,” because there used to be this kind of different dynamic. And we just don’t work in that way now, where it’s this … Because to be fair on the flip side, for clients, there was a whole element of our industry that was on the production side a bit that was like, “How much can we get from them?” And that’s all gone away.

Dan (09:48):

And it’s like, “What is the most that we can do, the most bang for your budget?” Let’s see what that trifecta is. And if you don’t have a nice, balanced triangle, you’ve got some crazy parallelogram looking thing because the story … Or you want this kind of impact, and you want this sort of distribution or whatever, but your budget’s here, then what we would try to do is, okay, let’s get those in continuity with one another.

Max (10:17):

Diagram it.

Dan (10:18):

Yeah. Right, dude?

Max (10:19):


Dan (10:20):

And bring that back in. But we have to know those things because what we’ll always try to do is, okay, if this is your purpose and this is the message that you’re trying to do, or you’re trying to present, that you need to present for your company, here’s … Okay, we figured out a great creative, we figured out a great story. But the budget doesn’t facilitate that. Okay, that happens. How do we, and we feel like we’re pretty solid at this, maintain the essence of what you’re trying to do, at the ewey dewy DNA of what you’re trying to communicate as your brand and scale it then into something that fits into your budget?

Max (11:02):

Scale it and make it so it’s easily repeatable too. So if you do one at a small budget and it has a huge impact, let’s keep it going. Reinvest, double down. I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind. I mean, there is a certain budget threshold I think.

Dan (11:20):

Of course.

Max (11:21):

Where there’s only so much we’re going to be able to do with that. But I don’t think that’s limiting, in fact, I think that makes it more creative for us that-

Dan (11:32):


Max (11:32):

Ultimately, the two of us are problem solvers. Everybody in the agency is a problem solver in whatever they do. But for creatively, I think that’s a little bit more interesting. If you have unlimited budget, it’s like, “Well, yeah, that’s unlimited choices then.” It’s more fun for us, honestly, to have a little bit of constraint because you can get some really creative results out of us.

Dan (11:58):

And we’re both big references guys, Meghan, I know. And we’ll do that a lot of, “Okay, client, give us some reference. Is there a video that you like?” And then the next step to that is always, “Okay, what do you like about it?” Because if it’s like, “Hey, here’s a spot. The Rock’s new Under Armor commercial.” And we’re very good of course at dissecting what that budget is, and be like, “Okay, cool. That’s, I don’t know, that was a half million dollar shoot maybe, whatever.” And then but figuring out that, oh, the client just wants something that feels gritty, that feels authentic. There’s things in there that are created, simply handheld camera shots versus being on sticks. Those are not budgetary constraints, so when we figure out, oh, okay, well, that’s what somebody’s looking for. Okay, how do we recreate that within the framework of their budget?

Dan (12:59):

And Max and I have a lot of … And any time we’re working with a creative director that’s coming from an agency side, that’s who I’m connecting with in that. And Max and I have a pretty good back and forth, so he can make a reference that I’m aware of. And so when you’re kind of trying to collaborate in a creative way for dissecting a piece of client reference, that’s a really nice place to be because you can get some better results.

Meghan (13:35):

Yeah. I think that’s really hard for us to help our clients speak in a creative lingo that makes sense. So we’re saying, “I want it to feel happy.” And you’re like, “Does that mean bright colors? Does that mean uplifting music? Does that mean … ” And so trying to figure out what the objective is and how we’re going to get there, we pass to you creatives to decode.

Dan (14:00):

But that’s super helpful, Meghan. Even just what you said there in that example that’s so … That does inform us. What’s more difficult is, and I know this is an eye rolling cliché term or whatever, but I want it to go viral. I want it to be amazing. You’re like, “Ugh, I don’t … “

Max (14:23):

That’s like saying, “I’m going to write the next great American novel,” or, “I want to be the voice of a generation.”

Dan (14:29):

Yeah. You’re like, “Ugh.”

Max (14:30):

Just restating means it’s never going to happen for you.

Dan (14:34):

But that does help things of like, “Okay, I understand. We want this to feel upbeat.” Another thing I wanted to circle back to that both of you guys had talked about with efficiency and investment stuff sometimes. And again, I know this can be a little bit scary for brands or clients. But sometimes the worst investment is the one and done, is the doing it once, because you can’t necessarily … Or the once, wait and see. You can’t go crazy. But because every time you have to recreate this, it actually will cost you more. What we try to do, so it’s like if we can produce a series of videos, and that we can get multiple assets out of a multiple day shoot, it’s almost like our very layperson reference is like it costs X to turn the machine on. But then once it’s on, you pick up efficiencies in …

Dan (15:36):

So some of that, what that might be is instead of shooting one video, editing one video, putting it out, seeing what the ad spend behind it is, and seeing what it does, is like do three videos because that’s how much we can shoot of this fictitious series I’m talking about in one day. So your production cost isn’t going to go up. Post production will a little bit because you’ve got three edits, but you picked up this efficiency. And then if you can get … We’ll tell clients sometimes, it’s more about farming than hunting. Hunting is that kind of like one, we’re going to do that one. And sometimes that’s the right move.

Max (16:19):

Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes those bigger … Well, especially if it’s a really big project, and that usually means it’s a big budget. But that also means the amount of assets that we get out of that big budget too, it’s not just a video. You know?

Dan (16:35):


Max (16:38):

It’s fuel for your social media, it’s screen grabs that you can use, and marketing materials, printed materials, YouTube clips. I mean, it’s so much more than just that. But yeah, the series, yeah, we’ve talked about that before and been quite frank with clients at times. It’s like, “If you think you want to do more of these, I would do them all at once.” It’s substantially cheaper. It’s sort of like in traditional printing, if you’ve got to stop the press, you’re losing money. You want to keep those presses rolling because it just keeps … You keep making money that way. And kind of the same thing with Dan and his team, well, you got everybody here for the day. Shoot as much as you can. Get as much out of this buffalo as you can.

Dan (17:36):

Well, Max, you brought up a really interesting … And again, this is where we are an augment to somebody like you and your role. A creative director is that person, and when you come in through them, that thinks about that broad release of all the assets that you would get. I mean, we certainly know about it, but that’s something that’s great in coming from creative or coming from the agency about, okay, if we do this, I can also get whatever. Our social team can get two dozen posts from doing high res frame grabs, and then we’ll do social behind the scenes. So I’ll also get … Again, that becomes another way where you mitigate that budgetary cost because it’s not just … Or you get the most value. Yeah, it’s X to produce these video assets, but then you get an entire level. And that’s what’s awesome about digital marketing now. And again, that’s different from the old days when Max and I started.

Max (18:46):

Even just 10 years ago. It’s completely different now.

Dan (18:50):

Yeah. I mean, dude, we were still doing DVDs to clients to hang tag as recently as 2009, 2010. And then you’re talking about lag time. The DVDs have to get pressed somewhere. You have to make a glass master, all of this stuff. And those impediments are gone now, as well as you get all of these other elements. And now you’ve got this packet of assets, Meghan, that the other parts of the agency can do things with.

Meghan (19:21):

Yeah. I think video used to be on its own island, to be honest. As a marketer, it’d be only available to clients with really large budgets. It’d only be for TV. And then I feel like it’s grown into a tool in our toolbox more for strategic purposes in the last year or two, and specifically in the last, it’s hard to say now with COVID time, it’s like dog years. I feel like in the last six months to eight months, YouTube, obviously owned by Google, being a major search engine to help answer questions back in search, like Google pulling in YouTube videos to answer those search queries.

Meghan (20:02):

It’s 100% in marketing wheelhouse of: Does this fit into our strategy? Does making a video to answer that question help us reach our marketing goal? So it’s come so far from being this, hey, nice to have visual storytelling piece, to it meets a marketing purpose because it puts butts in seats, or it helps us achieve more orders, or answers this question and builds brand for our clients. So I guess I feel like as a marketer, it’s become a lot more of a tool for us, but still it’s why you guys are speaking on it. It’s still such an unknown because they’re like, “Hey, can you make us something amazing?” [inaudible 00:20:47]. Maybe.

Max (20:50):

That’s all creative work. In a sense, it’s intangible until it’s real.

Meghan (20:59):

So unpack for us content planning. I mean, if we needed to make a video, what are the elements of it? So you’ve mentioned the actual storyline, but content, talent, what are the elements that one would plan for?

Max (21:16):

Oh, man.

Meghan (21:17):

What’s your checklist?

Max (21:18):

There’s almost two different answers to this too. Dan, go for it from your perspective, almost like a brand perspective. And I’ll speak to more of the YouTube perspective.

Dan (21:31):

Okay. So there is almost two answers. Is it with real people, or is it scripted? Those are really our first, where the fork goes in those two different ways. Regardless, and this is another really important thing I think about video stuff. Unless you just want to let people like Max and myself just run off and go be creative geniuses, which is-

Max (22:07):

You don’t want that.

Dan (22:09):

You don’t want that. If you’re listening to this, you can’t see it, but if you’re watching it, I’m definitely doing the air quotes on that, so please understand the sarcasm there. But we need client participation. We really do. It really is a collaboration, especially so whoever the person is that coined the phrase fix it in post, everyone in production is very mad at that person. We don’t ever want to talk to him or her again. You want to do as much pre production as possible, even if it’s answering questions and stuff like that, because it’s always cheaper and easier to edit paper than it is to reconfigure or get a rough edit back that you’re like, “This is out of this universe incorrect. I don’t know what you guys were thinking.” That’s where time starts going.

Dan (23:00):

So pre production is where we’re going to figure out script. You’re going to figure out questions, talking points, if it’s just simple. Let’s say we’re going to do a branded piece on just history of company, history of company X. Okay, we’re going to want to connect in pre production. We’re going to ask somebody. We’ll do research too, but we’re going to ask them to kind of give us what are those big milestones in the company. We’re going to ask for some casting of, “Okay, who should we talk to within the company to kind of put those interviews together? Who are the best people?” Try to of course get some diversity in all kinds of element if it’s possible, from both people who’ve been with the company a long time, people who haven’t been with the company for a long time, race and gender diversity, if those are all accessible to us on their stuff.

Dan (24:02):

And then you’re going to go through an outline and you’re going to ask clients again for that reference. And even occasionally negative reference is okay, where it’s like, “Hey, so here’s a piece that our competitor did, we can’t stand it.” Or here’s our old piece, we don’t like it. Okay, cool, tell me what you don’t like about it. And we’ll go through that process and kind of get it figured out. Or like, “Hey, here’s a piece that Nike did that we really like the way that they sort of told that story.” You get pre production, you get that all put in place, and then you go to schedule a shoot, and that’s going to kind of be the next thing. And you ideally want to get all of that pre production locked before you ever even schedule your shoot.

Dan (24:54):

Now if it’s the other, I was just talking about this one avenue, if it’s this one with script and actors, you’re going back and forth on scripts, you’re going to get a treatment from us that is like the classic opening exterior shot, a man is confused, whatever our little story is. Then you go through hiring actors, casting, going through that process, and then putting together your shoot. Pre pros also, we’re talking about lighting budgets, lighting needs, figuring out all of those kinds of camera needs, staff needs for shoot day, all of that kind of stuff before we’ve ever even rolled camera. That’s really kind of what goes into it, and then that client participation. We shoot. We start going through rough edits. And we need that back and forth from the client.

Dan (25:48):

The first thing that we put out there is usually … I mean, shoot, Max, we were just going through something like this the other week for us, is what we call just a story cut that’s got almost no visuals, that is just like, “Is the information correct?” Even if it’s intangible information, like it’s our company’s story, are we hitting the right notes, if you will, before we ever … Because we don’t want to distract people with, “Oh, I really don’t like that shot of downtown New Orleans.” Hey, no problem, we can fix that. That’s not what we want to hear right now. Are we telling the story correctly?

Meghan (26:29):

Yeah. I mean, just speaking from experience being on the other side of the camera with you, and then being part of the process when we’ve been filming for clients, all the work that you put in upfront to nail down the questions we’re going to be interviewing people about, and having them at least consider their answers, but have it still feel natural when they answer it on camera. It’s like, “Okay, well, when they answered it that way, we kind of went down a rabbit hole, or it didn’t speak to what we’re trying to get at. So let’s try this again.” And I think just knowing, having that roadmap has given us really, really good results, so that makes sense. That’s the recipe for that.

Max (27:09):

Something else that Dan’s really good at too is making everybody on set, especially those that are in front of the camera, feel comfortable in how he … It’s just a whole skillset that I would just come in hot. Talk to me about this. And Dan slowly pulls it out of you. He’s very soothing. It’s a completely different skillset.

Meghan (27:36):

It’s a talent.

Max (27:37):

It’s definitely a talent to learn how to interview people correctly. And I can see how he’s doing it and what he’s doing. I cannot do it. It was like, “Oh, that’s going to be a great final product.” And then he shows me the final product. I was like, “That’s exactly what I thought it was going to be.” I could not have gotten there. That’s just impossible. Nevermind all the technical stuff, that’s just completely foreign to me as well.

Dan (28:02):

I’ve had some good mentors, and it’s probably the combo of that and the journalism degree. But the way I look at it is if you’re old enough to have had records, or you have vinyl, I approach it like sequencing a record back in the … I mean, you don’t put all four of the radio hits just boom, boom, boom, boom, right out of the gate. It’s you’ve got to kind of ease-

Max (28:29):

I totally did that. My mix tapes were a hot mess.

Dan (28:32):

Yeah. Dude, that’s a way better analogy. Yes, it’s so much like making a mix tape. Yeah, I love it.

Max (28:38):

There was no sequencing. It was just hit after hit. You don’t get a breath. It’s just nothing but rocking hard.

Dan (28:47):

We’ve spent most of our careers, or I’ve spent most of my career doing documentaries and industrials. And so not working with actors, and so even athletes, and it’s changed now because of social media and being influencers. But by and large, they’re not people who are in front of a camera for a living, and that’s a totally different dynamic and approach. So you’ve got to get people comfortable. We try our best to do that. And also, so we might be sitting with somebody who for the first time are like, “Okay, there’s four people. There’s lights in my eyes. There’s cameras everywhere.” What does me, the silly director, always say? Just relax, pretend like none of this stuff is here. Easier said than done. But yeah, so we just try to get folks comfortable and get them talking about stuff they know, and kind of sequence it like a mix tape, if you will.

Meghan (29:47):

Nice, nice. Okay, I have some more questions for you. So tell me about some of your favorite works that you’ve seen recently. And then Max, I want you to touch on some of the trends that are going, that we’ve been seeing in video.

Max (30:06):

So Meghan, is that in the branded agency landscape, or just films I’ve seen recently that I’m into?

Meghan (30:17):

You can share both, but from a marketing side, maybe the branded ones first.

Dan (30:23):

Sure. Gosh.

Meghan (30:25):

Then we do want your picks for the week.

Dan (30:28):

Of obscure, bananas. No, I actually have pretty lame mainstream tastes. I’m sure the two of you actually like much more arty films than I do. So what comes to mind, they’ve been doing this for a long time and their most recent film kind of escapes me, but what Patagonia does. I mean, their films, their documentary stuff is super, super incredible. This is an older film now in that space, but what Red Bull and Burton did with The Art of Flight, I mean, took snowboarding films to an entire … Our guys would joke it opens with this epic helicopter scene. And we’re like, “Well, there goes our whole budget just in their gas tank.” But yeah, those are some really, really good brand stuff right out of the gate that come to mind.

Max (31:33):

I would say authenticity seems to be a big trend right now, not soft selling.

Meghan (31:45):

Yeah, the brand’s not shoved down your throat in either of those.

Max (31:47):

Yeah. And I’m thinking I know it was a little controversial, but the Bruce Springsteen Jeep ad for the Super Bowl, the Patagonia stuff. That’s what I’m seeing. Humor of course is always there and it will always be present. But authenticity is kind of the biggest trend I’ve seen lately. And it ties into I think when we talked, Meghan, about brand. It ties into that. I think people are not afraid to have a point of view, be authentic to themselves and to their brand and what their brand stands for, and share it, and feel comfortable sharing it with people now, their customers specifically.

Dan (32:27):

So I have a question for you two guys then.

Max (32:29):

All right.

Dan (32:30):

From our little sect of the universe, there’s a lot of talk amongst our colleagues and stuff with younger demos, millennials and then even my daughter’s demo, gen Z being very interested in how companies behave out in the world with social consciousness. Do you guys think that we’re going to see more brands developing pieces that speak to that element of their business? Or is this just kind of a moment in time?

Meghan (33:09):

No, I feel like absolutely, all the brands I follow, all the brands I purchase from have all spoken up in this past year, whether it’s on environmental causes, so I think I was just reading Lulu Lemon and recycling, and H and M and returning your clothes there for environmental consciousness, or beauty brands and social justice. How do these things mash up? Well, these brands are finally speaking their voice. And again to Max’s point, it’s really authentic. And you’re like, “Okay, well, if I’m doing business with this brand, I want to know what my dollars are voting for.”

Max (33:47):

I agree. Gen Z is going to be a force to be reckoned with. And they are very conscious about it and they’re very online. And they use Twitter as a weapon for good most of the time. And these companies are, I mean, they’re at least paying lip service to it. But they have to say something. They’re forced into a corner where they have to say something at least. What is positive though too is that these brands and companies are in a lot of cases doing the right thing and are trying to help out. It’s very encouraging. And gen Z’s pretty amazing. I’m really looking forward to seeing them develop into young adults.

Dan (34:34):

I asked that because again, we have colleagues and stuff talking that they’re getting asked to do more. I think you’re going to see more of what we kind of see in the highest end of the marketing threshold until you cross over into the more purely entertainment, but those Patagonia type stuff, the branded documentary, where a brand is authentically behind it, but the brand or their product isn’t the focus. What their, whoever just said it, what their point of view is the focus of what some of this documentary stuff is. And it seems like we’re hearing more people that we know, we’re talking about people getting hired for those types of things. So yeah, I was just kind of curious. I mean, you guys are much more in that mix than we are.

Max (35:27):

Well, Patagonia’s an interesting case too because that’s been built into their DNA from the start. They’ve always been forward thinking about climate and environment, and had some pretty amazing programs in place with their products. Yeah, it’s interesting. I think it’s kind of being separated into two things. This kind of goes back to what Meghan was talking about. I think there’s these very strategic brand videos. And then there’s also these very strategic YouTube as a search engine videos as just something else that we’re starting to see a lot of. In a lot of cases, it involves our SEO team going out and looking for questions that people are asking their clients, or about their clients. And then Dan and I will work up a way to create a video that will answer that question.

Max (36:25):

YouTube results are everywhere. I mean, they’re even in Duck, Duck, Go, which is the private search engine. And they show up near the top. And they give a warning like, “Hey, Google’s going to track you if you watch this.” But it’s there, it’s still there in their search. And it’s in their top results. So using video SEO, I don’t even know quite how to phrase it yet, but it’s a fascinating thing. YouTube as a search engine is a real deal now.

Dan (37:00):

Well, Max, I’m glad you brought that back up because something I wanted to add to it that I think is important for people to understand in that thing is that those types of videos and production values are not mutually exclusive, and are also not necessarily epically expensive. You could still, just to have good lighting, good sound, on those YouTube as question answering video SEO, those, that balance can be struck. I think sometimes people almost pre-censor themselves, if you will, and to say, “Well, it’s just going to this. And so I bet it would be way too expensive to do it correctly, or to use [inaudible 00:37:56].” That’s not necessarily the case. It depends on what that term means. Those are another thing like we were talking about earlier. If you through pre pro, and you can bang out a dozen or two of those in a production day, that becomes a very efficient use of budget.

Max (38:17):

Yeah, because really, we’re spending some time helping them set up the equipment, for them to record themselves, and then for editing. That’s basically it. So it gets to be pretty affordable from a video side. Now on the research side, that might take quite a bit more because you need to figure out what questions need to be answered.

Dan (38:40):

But that’s the right way for something like that. Right, Meghan?

Max (38:43):


Meghan (38:43):

Yeah. So I was going to say that goes back to your point of work through all this in the pre planning before we even turn the camera on. If there’s an SEO objective, or if it’s purely a branding play, but we can squeeze some SEO juice out of it. Great, let’s talk about that upfront so that when you turn the camera on, we already have a game plan. We’re not figuring it out on that time, or in post.

Max (39:08):

Exactly. Any time you can do it pre production is substantially cheaper before you start running the clock on real life.

Dan (39:19):

And dude, Hurrdat’s so lucky, Max, because honestly, dude, there’s not a lot of places that you could literally get illustrated storyboards done in your pre pro, for your pre vis, that you have somebody on staff that can actually draw. It’s a pretty nice luxury.

Max (39:37):

I don’t have time for that, Dan. I can’t draw up your storyboards.

Meghan (39:41):

I guess that goes though back, guys, to everyone has a camera now on their iPhone, or whatever, or could put their little selfie light on and make their own video. But the added value of experts doing it is that there is so much more than goes into the planning and into the thought, the strategic planning before you even turn it on. And those videos have their place, of course, for influencers, on social.

Max (40:04):

Oh, yeah.

Meghan (40:04):

Those are great. And brands can do that, but that’s not, not planned. You’re picking influencers with specific content objectives, so it’s not unscripted.

Max (40:16):

Excessively planned, yes. You’re absolutely correct.

Dan (40:19):

Yeah. You made this reference earlier, Meghan, about you now have this tool in your toolbox, arrow in your quiver, whatever analogy. But it is, and those things all have their place. You shouldn’t look to a production company like us to produce those super fast, disposable, I need to get in front of people right now, but it’s gone tomorrow. And those have their place. We’re not a right fit for that. There’s other things that need more thought behind them, more time, and especially, and I know this is really intangible in a way. But if you want someone to feel something specific and you’re a brand or a client, that’s when you need to work with … I know Bill says it all the time where he’s like, “Your judgements are a little bit different.” Did the hair stand up on the back of my neck? And if it doesn’t, you didn’t do your job correctly. But if it does, you did okay. It’s that kind of deal.

Max (41:38):

That’s where it gets more creative when you need to invoke a reaction like that.

Meghan (41:43):

Yeah, definitely. Okay, well, then we’ll wrap this up with, tell me both of yours. So you just mentioned that videos can make you feel something. What’s the last video that you saw that made you feel something, or ad, or whatever, or that you had to re-watch? I guess that’s my test. I’m like, “I have to rewind this. I need to see this again.”

Dan (42:04):

Yeah, I can’t … I know Max mentioned it earlier. I mean, this is on a big scale. The Jeep ad at the Super Bowl, another one, this is old. I want to say two years old, which probably means it’s seven, but Bill and I watched a really cool … It was I think it was Wrigley’s gum that was like a story through these gum wrappers that was …

Max (42:39):

Oh, yeah.

Dan (42:39):

Remember that? That was very like, “I’m getting verklempt. Getting choked up over here.” That was a really cool piece.

Max (42:49):

I don’t know why I just thought of this, the 2016 MLB commercial congratulating the Cubs with Eddie Vedder singing Someday We’ll Go All the Way definitely made me tear up.

Dan (43:05):

Off that tip, Max, also a more recent one I think, it must’ve been 2019 because it was the season pre COVID. And anybody that knows Max and I know we’re both baseball guys. But the MLB ran an ad, and if you don’t care about baseball, no problem. The shorthand is baseball’s very old and traditional and kind of stuffy. And they ran this ad, like when we were kids, 80s, 90s kids, Ken Griffey Jr. was everybody’s idol, but was a very nontraditional player, just like a little kid, hat on backwards, chewing gum, just having a good time. And so MLB ran the spot where its narration sarcastically … Not sarcastically, but strongly saying all the things that a traditionalist would be upset about. And then it’s like … Or, no, it’s Griffey doing the narration and then it ends up with him just being like, “Hey, just let the kids play.” And it was an ad for the playoffs that year.

Max (44:04):

That was a great one.

Dan (44:05):

That really hit. That really hit hard.

Max (44:08):

Pretty much every baseball commercial, you really have to work hard to mess it up.

Meghan (44:15):

Nice, guys. I’ll have to go find that, watch that. We’ll link to that, share that. Cool. Well, I watched one recently I can speak to.

Max (44:24):


Dan (44:24):

Yeah, dude.

Meghan (44:25):

And I had to share it with everyone because again, that’s my test of I have to re-watch this, and then I have to tell everyone. I guess it worked. And I don’t need this product, so I guess it doesn’t matter. But I’ve been on Zillow a lot lately. And they have a new ad that’s, I don’t know what they term it, but the me ad. Did I share that with you?

Max (44:43):

Yeah. No, you didn’t, but it’s a very good one, yeah.

Meghan (44:46):

My gosh, I had to watch it over and over. So the storyline here is a lady, and it’s Susan, and it’s herself over and over and over again comes into a board room. And she’s like, “Okay, we’re going to sell our house and we’re going to buy this house. Okay. Who has ideas?” And she’s choosing on her doubles of herself. She’s like, “All right, negative me. All right, antisocial me. All right, positive me.” And they’re giving her suggestions and it’s all the emotions you feel as you go through the process of buying and selling a house. And you’re like, “Yeah, that’s me.”

Max (45:20):

That’s awesome.

Meghan (45:20):

Some days she’s like, “We’re going to figure out finances,” or, “Okay, yes, we can do this. I ordered the drapes.” And it’s all the highs and lows. I was like, “Yes.” And then at the end, she’s rooting for herself because she’s using Zillow, me, me, me, like she can do this. I was like, “Yeah, that’s exactly how this feels.” They just totally captured it. I was sharing it because I mean, if you’re buying or-

Dan (45:46):

You just sold a house, right, Meghan?

Meghan (45:47):


Max (45:47):

That’s very timely.

Meghan (45:48):

Well, Zillow’s stalking me obviously because of these ads.

Dan (45:53):

No, but it connects with you. I did think of one more, if I could add, and it’s not sports, which is why I want to add it. I totally forgot about this.

Max (45:59):

That’s good.

Dan (46:00):

I just did not do my homework, dude, F. F for the day. Match.com at the end of last year ran a genius, really hilarious spot, where 2020 is a female candidate on the site.

Max (46:15):

The door prize.

Dan (46:17):

And the devil is searching for match.com and he matches up with 2020 as, oh, it’s the perfect match. And it’s set to almost like a rom com. And he’s like, “I knew she was the right one when she said she loved toilet paper.” And they’re running in slow mo out of a bathroom. And then there’s a followup spot that I’ve only heard the radio on Spotify. But 2021 is now in the dating pool, and they’re sort of disparaging like, “Yeah, I’ve seen that profile. It says, ‘Pretty non-eventful and easy to get along with.'” I thought that was a really, really clever way to not only deal with the pandemic and how much it connects to everyone, but even from a production standpoint. So it’s only a two shot, it’s only two actors, an actor and and actress the entire time. Yeah, I thought those were-

Max (47:16):

Well, a tremendous amount of effects work on the devil.

Dan (47:20):

Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, absolutely. And the effects and makeup, absolutely. But yeah, I thought that was-

Max (47:27):

It was Tim Curry’s outfit from Legend. Wasn’t it?

Dan (47:30):

Oh, yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

Max (47:33):

Pretty much exact carbon copy.

Dan (47:34):

They spent a ton of time getting that correct. But that’s something I re-watched and shared because it was so funny. And then I was like, “Hey, you guys have to check this out.”

Meghan (47:44):

Nice, nailed it. Cool, guys. Well, thank you so much for joining me. Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And I’m so excited, this is the kickoff for season two. So thanks again for coming, yeah.

Dan (47:58):

Sweet. Yeah, that’s for having me.

Max (48:00):

Pressure, right?

Meghan (48:00):

Yeah, I know. Right?

Max (48:01):

I didn’t know we were the kickoff.

Meghan (48:02):

You’re the kickoff.

Dan (48:05):

Nowhere to go but up from here.

Max (48:08):


Meghan (48:09):

Thanks, guys.

Speaker 1 (48:11):

I’ve heard that is a part of the Hurrdat Media Network. For more information, follow Hurrdat on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, or visit hurrdatmarketing.com.

Speaker 6 (48:19):

A Hurrdat Media production.


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