Video Marketing Success Stories: When to Use an On Camera Host for Your Video Marketing

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Here’s another fun Video Marketing Success Stories with my friend Andy Glickman where we talk about the value of On Camera Hosts to help with your Video Marketing message.  Here are some of the primary takeaways from our discussion (which you can read and watch at the bottom).

  • There’s a great time and use for an on camera host, but it’s got to meet three particular criteria for when to use an on camera host because there’s a lot of good, but there’s a lot of danger when it comes to using an on camera host. 
  • If you’re talking about creating a marquee video, you really want to make sure that the host is authentic, personable.  Do they like talking to the camera? Are they really involved and engaged in your product or service that people like watching?  
  • Consider turning your on camera host into a satisfied customer by letting them try out the product before hosting the video.  That often leads to more authentic performances.
  • It’s also smart to audition and rehearse judiciously.  Don’t just trust that the actor’s going to come in and know everything. Make sure that they know that script back and forth and they have the feeling and emotion in there too. 
  • If you have a client who makes odd talent suggestions, such as how good their brother is at hosting, you can fall back on your experience when it comes to casting and talent. 
  • All in all, using an on camera host is about your brand voice. If your brand voice is full of life and experience, then an on camera host can meet that standard and that look.

Here’s an example of how we used an on camera host to deliver and unique tone to a brand that otherwise could come across as dry.

If you want more information on how Rip Media Group can help you determine if an on camera host is right for your brand and tone, visit us at www.ripmediagroup.com.

Video Transcription:

HOST:  Hi everybody. Welcome to Video Marketing Success Stories. I’m Andy Glickman, your host as always, and with us is frequent guest, CEO and Founder of Rip Media Group, Maury Rogow.  Maury, thank you for joining us. 

MAURY:  Always great to be here. Thank you for having me. 

HOST:  Oftentimes we like to take a look at the video marketing industry, check out some trends, see what’s working, what isn’t, talk about some projects. We often talk about some Rip Media projects when we have Maury, but today I wanted to talk about some general themes or practices involved with video marketing that we see. 

One thing in particular I noticed a lot of companies specialize very specifically in on-camera hosts. They provide the host – whether it’s an actor or somebody within their company – to serve as the spokesman for a company. 

I wanted to talk to you about the use of an on-camera host – when it’s a good time. Sometimes maybe it’s not such a good idea. What can you tell us?

MAURY:  I think there’s a great use for your on camera host, but I think they’ve got to meet three particular spots for when you can use an on camera host because there’s a lot of good, but there’s a lot of danger when you’re talking about using an on camera host. 

So I’ll say if you’re talking about creating a marquee video, which is your main landing page video on your main homepage or a keynote address, something that’s going to be seen by a lot of people and you have to make a great first impression, you really want to take a good, good look at is the person that is your host authentic.

Are they personable? So when I say personable, I mean are they basically attractive to the camera? And I’m not saying attractive like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Anniston or whoever. What I’m talking about is does the camera like them and do they like the camera? 

Do they like talking to the camera? Are they engaging? Are they really involved and engaged in your product, your service and so forth so that people like watching them? It’s not a looks thing. It’s a comfortability thing on camera. 

The other part of that that’s really big is they’ve gotta be authentic. They’re playing a character, they’re playing a host. Typically, you’re going to find an actor or maybe somebody at your company, right? That can be great too, because they’re probably passionate about what you do. They’re probably really knowledgeable about it. And that can be really great. 

But think of this. If that person leaves the company, now here’s the dangerous part.  The person leaves the company. What happens then? Now they’re representing your brand and they work for a competitor or they’re out of the industry or something like that happens. 

Or if you go and you hire a host, which is a really good idea, hire an actor. I mean, we’re sitting here in Hollywood, so there’s actors, literally everywhere we walk around. So if you get a great actor, they might have some rights and usage issues.  They might all of a sudden get the big movie role they really wanted, and then their contract terminates with you and you can’t use them anymore.

You can also get lucky in that you got them on a five year agreement and now they’re in the next Avengers movie, and what a great win that would be. But you’ve got to look at those agreements and see what the usage rates are. 

So when you think about a host, you think about Ryan Seacrest or Jimmy Fallon, right?  So if there’s a show you’re doing, you want to go as high end as you possibly can. But there are those danger spots.  

So those are my quick thoughts: it’s a marquee video – you got to go big.  You got to really make it look amazing; the person has to be personable; and authentic would be my three rules for getting a host. 

HOST: Is there anything you can do in production when you’ve lined somebody up, let’s say somebody outside the company, so they’re unfamiliar with the product or the service, is there anything that you could do in mid production to prepare them? 

MAURY: Sure. We’ve done a few things in that case. So it’s very important to me as the owner of a video marketing agency to make sure that these people are authentic. So every time we’ve done this, and if you look at our website and the different examples or our customers’ websites, you’ll see people that are really speaking authentically. 

I have the customer send the product out at least 30 to 60 days ahead of time. And even if we’re using actors, we actually had them go online, do a little bit of a quiz. Like if it was a nutrition product, we had them use it for 30 days. And then they are literally legitimately very happy. There’s a level of comfort and not just acting as a host. They are truly now a testimonial and a happy customer. So that’s one way to do it. 

Another way to keep the authenticity high is to make sure that you’re having really rigorous auditions. Now this has really helped us and it’s come back to bite us. So I’m gonna give you a good story and a bad story. 

So before we realized that we had to do not just a day or two of callbacks but also rehearsals, so we had the two actors playing hosts come in and do just a little snippet of their piece to make sure everybody the advertising agency and the customer were happy. The hosts came back in and did English and Spanish versions.  They did about a page of dialogue, everybody felt comfortable, and they went away.

There was this little nagging feeling in a couple of us and we talked about afterwards, “Did they know just that page or all the pages because what they did was just a part of the whole piece?”  There was a lot of copy because we were doing I think 8 or 12 videos with them. 

Well the next day when the hosts came in, it turns out they had only learned that one page. The rest of that production day was very, very difficult with somebody feeding a line and them repeating the line back once in English, and then in Spanish. So that was really difficult. 

So you have to be rigorous. Don’t just trust that the actor’s going to come in and know everything. And this goes all the way up the line. We’ve had television actors come in and the same thing happen. They think, “Well, there’s going to be a teleprompter there. It’s going to be just fine.” Don’t believe it. The teleprompter can fail, the power can go down and there might be a problem. Anything can happen. 

So just make sure that you’re testing that person and they know that script back and forth and they have the feeling and emotion in there too. So rehearsals are paramount, extremely important. So you know the audition, the callback, rehearsal, and maybe even more rehearsal.

HOST: When you have those moments when the client makes a selection or has a recommendation for somebody, if that doesn’t jibe with your feelings, if maybe you don’t have the same judgment of those people, is there a way that you can deal with that delicate situation?

MAURY:  That’s a great question. You’re getting into client relations and how close your relationship is with your customer and how much of an authority you are. 

If you really take the tack that you’re an expert and you really know what you’re doing and that your opinion really matters and they trust you, then the conversation should be pretty easy. 

You can just say what you know and what you see or you’ve seen, and that you want something that’s here and you feel like this is here and there’s a gap in between. Is there a way that you think it could be solved? Hopefully they can come up with the idea that, “Hey, that gap could be solved if we get somebody else.” 

But those can be pretty difficult conversations, especially as somebody says, “My brother is great at this.”  Or my niece or my cousin, that kind of thing where there’s a personal referral. That’s where you can run into problems.

HOST: When we think about certain styles of videos, like product demonstrations, even if it’s just a short, one minute product demonstration, those seem to work well with a host. Can you think of any other specific styles of video where a host is literally more recommended than others?

MAURY: I would say it’s not a product or service. It’s really your brand voice. If your brand voice is really full of life and full of experience, like GoPro cameras or outdoor living or it’s surfing or that kind of thing, then yeah and on camera hosted can meet that standard and that look, and that voice really makes a difference.

So it’s really more about your brand voice than the product or a service because you have the conservative level and then you have the really fun level that you can come in with. And I always get back to what we call it, the STUFF.  There has to be the “STUFF”, which is sexy, touching, unique, funny or deliver fear. One of those has to be involved and incorporated into your script and the experience that you’re delivering. That’s really what matters most. And if a host can deliver that and you feel like the story is suited best for our hosts or the delivery is suited best for host, then that’s where it becomes obvious. That’s when you know you want one. 

We had a commercial bank that really is known for having an audience in the 48 to 65 year old range, wealthier male type. That’s what they told us. 

So we wanted to show something that was aspirational. So we took that male, we aged them down a little bit because people typically buy what they want to be, not what they are right now. And if you’re looking at how they sold the lowest rate or the best terms, that’s not really very sexy. It doesn’t really sizzle and resonate. 

So we took an actor, asked him to help us out here and we had him do what we call a walk and talk. So we had them go through, and we added a lot of personality. This brand went for it. They loved it because everybody in their industry at that time was very, staid, very conservative. And they said, “We’re going to stand out. We’re going to be the one that shines.”

It was great that they bought in on this and it was right around the time before a video came out for Dollar Shave Club, and after Dollar Shave Club there was another called Pooh Pourri and a couple others that really hit the mark. 

So we had an on-camera host, but living the product, walking through offices, walking through a warehouse while really hitting the product on the head. But in such a snarky, fun and funny way that added a lot of personality. It really took off and for our customer, this video really took off for them. It went viral in their industry. 

So we’ve got hundreds of thousands of views and then we also pitched the idea of having the actor do breakout sessions. So the marquee video and then some smaller videos that really broke out the products. And those also got hundreds of thousands of users. And from what we were told, it resulted in tens of millions of dollars in new partnerships in business for this commercial.

HOST: That’s a great success story.  Once again, I’d like to thank you for your insight and guidance and hopefully, the audience at home can take a little something away from Maury Rogow’s advice. Maury is CEO and Founder of Rip Media Group, Los Angeles’s top video marketing companies – just voted top video marketing company last week. Thank you again for joining us Maury. 

MAURY: Thank you very much for having me.  

HOST: If you want more information on Rip Media Group, check them out at ripmediagroup.com where you can see samples of their work, and check out their blogs for even more tips. This has been Video Marketing Success Stories. I’m Andy Glickman. Thank you for joining us. Bye Bye.