In this first article, I thought we’d have a quick look at a great piece of video making. Strictly speaking it is not a business video, but it does make one think about what works and why. ‘Castor’ from Sweden, who describes himself as a ‘Rural explorer, Art Director & MGFX artist’, clearly has his finger on the pulse of contemporary media. If you check out his website, theworkofcastor.com, he doesn’t say much. His work has much of the nordic noir about it, and fans of the Bridge or Wallander will get a sense of the familiar. Ostensibly, he’s selling his old car. I have no idea if it really was for sale, or if he really has sold it. But what he has done is come up with an idea and completely commit to it, in the photography, the sound, music and voiceover.
Selling something not very good with relish is nothing new. Roy Brooks, ‘the honest estate agent’ of the 1960s, made a name for himself doing it. Astonishingly, he sold lots of houses with thought provoking descriptions such as “The decor of the nine rooms, some of which hangs inelegantly from the walls, is revolting”. But Castor has taken the genre of the expensive car ad (compare with BMW’s effort), and made something that, I suspect, he himself would enjoy.
Now here’s the key: I’d rather watch a cheap, really well made video for a knackered old volvo than a, no doubt, vastly expensive and thoroughly pretentious one for a car that probably would provide a few more thrills. It’s not rocket science – it’s just fun and entertaining, and you end up marvelling at the idea of someone making a fantastic piece of work to sell a car that is probably worth no more than a few krona.
But hang on, maybe it’s not really the car he’s selling, but himself. So here’s the trick – with about 782,000 YouTube views in the week that it’s been up [nearly 2 million now], he has made something that people not only enjoy, but want to share, simply by thinking a bit outside the old boxy wagon. And no doubt some of them will click through and find out who he is, just like I did. That makes his old volvo potentially very valuable indeed.
It has been sold! You’ve got to wonder for how much, given that the buyer was a large software business. Very large. Rhymes with lycrasoft. A follow up video has been made, entitled ‘Bye my Volvo’ (see what they did there?), which has attracted something like 80,000 views – respectable, if not exactly viral. If you follow it up, you’ll find your way to some promotional stuff for some X-Box game or other.
So is there a moral? Clearly making the original has been well worth it, not just for the successful sale of the car but for Castor’s social media value. But all that has followed has been the result of doing something for a bit of fun. Trying to recreate and strategise it is a whole lot harder. It’s like saying “Go on, be funny!” And what’s going to happen to the Volvo now that it has served it’s purpose?