Industry High Five: An irresistibly charming video from Campfire Collective
Maro LaBlance, founder of the California-based content agency Campfire Collective, has put a new spin on pandemic video content
Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+.
If you work in the outdoor industry, you’ve probably seen about a zillion product highlight videos in the past year coming from brands, sales reps, and agencies—digital substitutes for line showings that would normally take place in person, at trade shows. In the last ten months, since the pandemic began, they have become a near-ubiquitous tool for folks trying to sell outdoor gear in the age of Covid.
The majority of them are—fine. Workable. Forgettable. No shade intended; it’s difficult to engage an audience with a new product when they can’t see it, touch it, interact with it. Content specialists across the industry have tried to solve this problem by shooting short, no-nonsense videos—cutting quickly, often humorlessly, to the chase.
Maro LaBlance, founder of the California-based content agency Campfire Collective, took a different approach with a video she released this week (embedded below). It’s a highlight video, sure, and it hits all the right notes for that purpose: There are studio shots of featured gear, high-level specs, instructions for digging deeper. But the video is also a pure delight to watch. It’s filled with humor and personality, communicating its major points in an engaging way that never spills over into self-indulgence. It’s pandemic PR content done just right.
What makes it special
The secret sauce here is pretty simple: humor. LaBlance says she came up with the idea for the video after watching a lot of uninspiring content that felt painfully self-serious.
“I thought about what was missing, and I decided it was a human element,” she says. “I wanted to create something that replicated the connections people feel at a trade show—the smiling, the hugging, the laughing.”
LaBlance financed the project with donations from the brands featured in the video. They all chipped in to pay her videographer and graphic designer, who helped LaBlance plan, create, and distribute the video. The whole process took less than a week.
“I’ve had a lot of emails back from people saying this was the first video that made them laugh and gave them everything they needed,” LaBlance says.
If you want to create a product highlight video that really sings—that captures a viewer’s attention and holds it until the end—you need to pay attention to the rules of good storytelling. Give the video a hero, a central character, not just a talking head spewing data. Attend to tone, style, and voice. Throw in some twists, turns, and surprises. And if all else fails, at the very least make it funny. We could all use a little more of that, these days.