Curious Jordy

5 Patterns for Persuasive Web Video

This is a homework assignment for a class I’m taking on Persuasive Web Video at Stanford.  (Ok, technically, I’m sitting in on the class as I help out with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab – more on that later!)

The assignment is to:

Find and name 3 patterns you see that related to persuasion.

The challenge here is to find the most interesting patterns. For example, in the Voting video we watched, the use of celebrities is not really an interesting pattern. More interesting is the psychological flow of the video: a) get attention b) boost viewer motivation c) call for target behavior d) make target behavior easy. This pattern could be named: “Emotion-Action Sequence.” Another pattern might be called “Many Voices” = multiple speakers boosts credibility by presenting seemingly authentic points of view.

Here are a few patterns I noticed in the videos I watched:

  • Make The Familiar Strange: boost emotional impact by luring the viewer with a familiar situation and then showing a surprise. For example, The Bags takes an everyday domestic situation that we can all identify with (taking out the trash) and then gives it a twist to reinforce its pro-recycling message.
  • The Reverse: Boost motivation by seemingly espousing the apathetic viewpoint, and then doing an about face. This is employed figuratively AND literally in the Lost Generation video. It’s also present in the 5 Friends pro-voting video. This seems particularly appropriate when targeting a younger audience who may be disillusioned and apathetic about the situation. Mirroring the apathy and then switching to a hopeful viewpoint is a powerful model to follow.
  • Shock and Awe Demo: for example, the Will It Blend series (here’s where they try to blend an iPhone). Boost interest in a product by making use of it in a surprising, shocking, and/or humorous way. Think the recent Pitchmen tv show, where in the season opener the host tests out an insulating product by wrapping his hand in it and then slamming a hammer into his hand. Also, the Extreme Sheep LED Art video promoting Samsung LEDs.
  • Visualize the Invisible: boost motivation by dramatizing something that is not directly visible. For example, Your carbon contribution (black balloons) tries to make viewers more aware of their carbon footprint by representing this nebulous concept with black balloons. This technique is also used in countless ads for things like toothpaste, cold spray – they do a dramatic reenactment of all the invisible microbes and creepy-crawlies that their product ostensibly helps to deal with.

The rest of the class is presenting their patterns this afternoon. More to come!

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