Once again, we couldn’t let Hollywood have all the fun. For the third year in a row, we’ve hosted the B2B Oscars to celebrate the best marketing, recruiting, and product videos of the year, and we asked you to vote to determine who goes home with the hardware (see the full list of nominees here).
This year, in addition to announcing the winners, we also asked two video marketing experts to add their thoughts on why these videos are such effective examples of how B2B companies can tell their stories, showcase their solutions, and humanize their brands.
Mykim Dang is a creative entrepreneur who has been producing media since 2004, working with institutions including Brightcove, The ICA Boston, Zipcar, Converse, and WGBH. She handles production, cinematography, directing, post-production, music licensing and motion graphics, providing a unique perspective and collaborative approach through every stage of the storytelling process. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Keith Frankel is a creative director and Host of CreativeMornings Boston. Formerly Head of Creative & Design at HubSpot and a reality television producer at MTV, Keith is also currently an advisory board member at AIGA Boston. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
And without further ado, the B2B Oscars go to…
Best Testimonial Video
Winner: Slack “So Yeah, We Tried Slack”
The Experts’ Take
Sandwich Video’s signature blend of humor, sleek but functional motion graphics, and character-driven narrative are irresistible in this year’s testimonial video winner. The go-to agency when it comes to producing explainer videos in the industry, they’ve done a fantastic job of keeping the testimonial honest, interesting, and worth watching. Rather than boring us to death with screen shots, stick figures, and whiteboard animations, Sandwich puts us into the shoes of the people who build and use Slack while combining practical information with spot-on humor.
Wait — so a testimonial video featuring a customer, created by that very same customer… genius. Add to that the perfect balance of uncontrived humor and product information… double genius.
Best Explainer Video
Winner: New Relic “New Relic Insights Live Action”
This video hit the spot with its references to everyone’s favorite movie trilogy while keeping the humor in check with its “supporting cast.” I especially love how they guided us through all the important points any explainer video needs to hit, adding natural breaks and beats to the story, giving us just enough time to absorb the information, but also providing a good laugh.
I mean, it’s okay, or whatever… Sure, I helped create the nominated HubSpot video, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased. Oh — off the record? Anything that combines Keanu Reaves references and copious amounts of food is a winner in my book.
Best Recruiting/Culture Video
Winner: Wistia “The 2014 Rap Up”
A clever twist on the typical culture video. Though it touts itself as a recap of the year, it is timeless in that it captures what it’s really like to be part of the Wistia team. Whether it’s the fact that they live their mission by creating original video themselves, or that they take the time to celebrate the community they’ve built with rollerblading outings, pizza, and craft beer, you know what they are about — and even more, you want to be a part of it all.
Jokes aside, almost nobody does culture as well as my buddies over at Wistia. Their videos always combine unique concepts, unapologetic personality, a funky style, and a transparent touch to make you really get what it’s like in their offices. Watching a Wistia video makes you feel like you’re one of their crew. Also, anyone interested in making videos this good should attend Wistiafest in May. #yesIamspeaking #humblebrag #notsosubtleagenda
Best Call to Action
Winner: Workfront “The Working Dead”
Perhaps my favorite of the entire selection of videos this year, Workfront takes a pop culture reference and makes it applicable to the pain points that they are trying to solve. The trick with these videos is to always make it feel personal and relatable, and they did a great job through humor and attention to detail to craft a message that sticks and also makes sense. There’s nothing worse than when a brand or company latches onto a pop culture reference, but makes no real connection to what it represents. Workfront extrapolated the ideas of feeling stuck or dead in your tracks at work into something applicable and actionable.
I have no idea what the product is, but the humorous video, culturally relevant reference, quick execution, and clear next step has me interested enough to proceed regardless. Restraint is difficult to pull off; this is a good example of ‘less is more’.
Best TV Spot
Winner: Adobe Marketing Cloud “Woo Woo?”
Congrats to Adobe, but I actually think their Photoshop 25th Anniversary spot that aired during last night’s Oscars was better! It commemorated every major product development followed by an unforgettable design achievement throughout the history of movie making. It’s no secret that Photoshop is an essential tool when it comes to creative execution, but to see it all come together through years of film history and magic proved that when it comes to telling a story you can’t do it without Adobe.
This video is outstanding. It does nearly everything well. It’s unapologetic in its humor, accurate in its commentary, clear in its agenda, and successfully combines all of these in a simple, concise way. Now if we could just get them to fix that Marketing Cloud logo.