Social media has turned advertising on its head.
For more than a century, advertisers paid to reach someone else’s audience. Whether it was a newspaper classified or online advertising, the basic model was, ‘Make a cheap ad, and pay someone lots to publish it’.
The old joke was right – ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half’.
Today it’s the very opposite. YouTube and Facebook have bigger audiences than any newspaper, TV channel, radio station or website. Social media is cheap to access, you can choose your audience, and you can instantly see how many people have seen your ad.
Now advertisers can afford to spend big on ad production, and use social media to self-publish their messages.
Many New Zealand craft brewers have been quick to spot this revolution, and moved from passive ads to online videos. And the go-to man for craft beer video production right now is Shaun Cullen.
“Last year 79% of my income came from making videos for brewers. It’s a good day’s work visiting a brewery.”
Shaun’s first wish was to be an actor – that’s him starring as the Dad who’s learning to swim in the Sealord ads.
“I wanted to be an actor and my Dad said get something to fall back on, so I wanted to get a skill set in the industry. I was living in London in the early 2000s and did a course at a place called the New York Film Academy on how to edit video. My first job, believe it or not, was editing adult based content – that was the only job I could get. I eventually got a proper job, and it paid better too.”
Shaun returned to New Zealand in the mid-2000s and became a freelance editor. “I got into the craft beer thing when I was making a video at an Auckland food festival. I bumped into Luke Nicholas and he said, ‘Do you want to make some stuff for us?’, and that’s how I got into to doing videos for breweries. The first was making a video about a fresh hop harvest brew with Luke and David Cryer.”
Most of Shaun’s clientele are Auckland breweries – Epic, Liberty, 8 Wired and others.
“The guys I’ve worked with all have a distinct personality on camera. I worked on a video for the Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse – Kelly (Ryan, Fork Brewing), Luke (Nicholas, Epic), Joe (Wood, Liberty) and Steve (Plowman, Liberty). I interviewed all of them separately and everyone is different – Joe is blunt, Luke is out there, and Kelly comes across like a rock star, a good looking dude with long hair. It all comes across on camera. All of them have different personalities and stories to tell.”
“Luke will often give me a very broad, generic, almost vague brief, like ‘Just make it awesome!’ So I just rock up and tend to shoot as much as I can, then find the story in the edit. I’ll look for an angle – for example, David Cryer is a big comic book geek, and they named the beer Cryonman as a mix of Ironman and Cryer, so why not make something comic-booky out of it?”
“Most of the brewers have YouTube channels, and they’ll post on Facebook as well. If you post a video using Facebook’s video engine you’ll get about ten times as many views as you will if you embed a link to YouTube. The idea is to get as many eyeballs across the video as possible.”
“The advertising landscape has changed a lot. If you’re advertising in a magazine you don’t know how many people have seen your ad. But with advertising on Facebook, you can see exactly how many people have clicked on that ad or video and you know who they are.”
Shaun has just launched an online course on making advertising videos, HowToMakeSimpleVideos.com. He says making video for social media is cheap, fast and “drives engagement through the roof”.
“Most of the videos I do might be six minutes, but I’ve learnt to break them into one or two minute chunks. So then you’ve got four bits of social media content as opposed to one, and that can get you four times as many views which will drive your ad rank up on Facebook. I can do six minutes, all edited and finished with titles ready to go for $2500. Right now I don’t need to advertise. I’m just out there shooting and thinking about how I can make this video awesome.”