It’s a truly momentous occasion when you get to learn from other people’s mistakes, mostly because that means you get all of the lessons and experience without spending a cent (or compromising your brand name). In this article, we look at 3 truly disastrous explainer videos and where they went wrong – so we know what not to do when producing our own.
LESSON 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY AUDIO
Even if you ignore the obnoxiously canned sound effects that pop out of nowhere (and they’re pretty hard to ignore), there’s no denying that the video’s audio quality in general is just this side of grating. Even to the untrained (read: regular video viewer) ear, the voiceover is patchy and full of static. The sign-off even sounds like it changed audio channels or was recorded on a different device and just haphazardly spliced together.
On a whole, the visuals are decent, but they’re not enough to distract you from how objectionably tinny the whole experience was on the ears.
Hence, lesson number one: audio is important. Chances are, that’s where you’re going to be delivering a huge chunk of your message. Don’t go overboard with the sound effects, as they can be distracting when used incorrectly.
If you’re going the DIY route, use decent gadgets to record your voice-over. Anything that cannot block out white noise, static, and minute background noises shouldn’t even be considered.
LESSON 2: THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY ANIMATION
Whereas Chittr’s visuals were decent, Job Search Ninja feels like a negative on a 0-10 scale.
The whole point of animated explainer videos is to grab attention and keep it through aesthetically pleasing visuals. The video lacks all visual appeal and possesses zero charm. The art is blocky, the animation feels like it was done by last-minute by a first-timer, and the overall feel of the video can only be described as “corny” and “half-baked.”
Dialogue is also non-existent, leaving viewers to scramble to read the subs at the bottom while simultaneously trying to ignore the transitions (that subtitles honestly don’t even need).
Art may not be the only aspect of explainer videos, but it’s a pretty huge selling point. The video production company you hire doesn’t have to be a five-star animation company, but it should at least know how to cater to aesthetic. Even simple stick figures animated cleanly (see Dropbox’s first explainer video) can give off a minimalist look that is as charming as it’s captivating.
LESSON 3: THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY SCRIPTWRITING
Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video was a genius blend of satire and sarcasm executed perfectly enough to be humorous, entertaining, and informative. The video gave off the “badass without a care” feel without over-excessive cursing and degrading put-downs. There was only one curse word in the entire script, and it was over and done with in the first couple seconds.
Techboom’s Sonic Box explainer video overuses the word “shit” like it makes up fifty percent of their vocabulary. The beginning starts with a tree and an acorn, and it has absolutely no relevance to what Sonic Box really is and what it offers. The dialogue tries to be witty and sarcastic, but it comes off as simply foul-mouthed and in a horrible mood.
Scriptwriting is another aspect of explainer videos that you don’t want to compromise. Chances are, your product or service may be very similar to other products or services (Sonic Box feels a lot like Dropbox, and already sets itself up for comparison). Your script and storyline is your chance to show viewers how your product is unique, original, and – most of all – beneficial to them. It is not your script writers’ chance to insult every viewer unsuspecting enough to click on the video.