How Can Star Wars Teach Us About…Explainer Videos?

Explainer Videos

Let’s imagine, for a moment, that your product or business is a big film that’s ready for release. Let’s imagine that it’s Star Wars. You know you’ve got a great product on your hands – but how do you let everyone else know? Well, of course, via the almighty trailer.  

(And by the way, do you know why they’re called trailers? Once upon a time, they used to follow (or trail) a movie – until everyone began diving out of the theater to get to their cars before everyone else.)

Trailers have proven so popular that over the years they’ve had their own half-hour cable TV shows and now rule the Internet. A great trailer can make or break a film. We the audience know that if, say, the trailer to a comedy isn’t funny, then neither is the ninety minute film it was edited from. So understandably, you’ll need a trailer too.

But a great trailer…? Here are some of the elements it contains because you’ll need them too.

A commanding voice over.

Features of the product.

Descriptions of the players

Special effects

A sound track that builds as the ‘story’ does

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the one for Star Wars. The original. Before anyone outside of George Lucas’ family knew what it was. We’ve got it right here for you

Star Wars – Episode IV – Trailer (original 1977) from Rip Media Group on Vimeo.

Wow. Amazing right?

Amazingly bad.

The trailer has a very slow start. In fact, the pacing throughout is terribly sluggish. It keeps returning to a large star-field with the Star Wars logo coming towards us at…well, I know snails that move faster. The action shots are just that; lots of lasers blasting away. We’re not given much more. 90% of the shots are taken from confined spaces. Where’s the scope?

And when they tell us “it’s a big sprawling space saga of rebellion and romance,” what are we seeing? That same, static star-field! Show us, don’t tell us! “Aliens from a 1,000 worlds” says the voice over (who sounds like he’s waiting to go back to sleep) – over a shot of ONE alien on ONE world.

And the music! Where’s John Williams’ stirring, epic soundtrack when you need it? I mean he wrote the damn thing for Star Wars – they couldn’t use it in the trailer? It couldn’t have been more appropriate. Are you looking at the epic light sabre duel between Darth Vader and his buddy Obi Wan? Well then you’re listening to music that limps along like a wet noodle that’s somehow gotten wetter than all the other wet noodles.

So yes, it’s over 35 years old and lots has changed since then. Faster editing, more dynamic music and voice, etc. BUT. Just because you’ve got a phenomenal, world-changing product on your hands doesn’t mean that automatically translates to a great trailer – or great advertising. It takes a lot more than a great product to put a great promo together.  You need the right team. The right team with their heart in the right places.

That team needs to have creativity and use these elements:

The Experience

Good advertising focuses on the buyer’s experience. That’s what’s on our minds when we produce a video for you.

Create A Buyer Profile

We need to know who you’re trying to speak to so we put together a profile of who they are.


This stands for: Keep It Sweet And Shareable! With attention spans getting lower all the time, we’re all about grabbing your viewer from the start.

The Story

We give your video a three-act structure of exposition, conflict and resolution. They work for movies so they should work for you too.

The S.T.U.F.F.

The five most powerful “buying” emotions are:  Sexy, Touching, Unique/Unexpected, Funny and Fear. We work with you to decide what’s best for your audience (once we’ve determined who that audience is!).

Imagine what that Star Wars trailer would have looked like had all the above elements been taken into consideration!

So to recap; just because you’re sitting on something like the power of Star Wars doesn’t mean any old sales reel will get you the force you need to sell it. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Rip Media Group.

The rules of parody allow us to use this meme…we are actually large nerds and love Star Wars and all its lessons – including this one…