Friday, September 28, 2007

User-inputted text populates online promo videos

Not sure it constitutes a trend, but I've seen a couple of nice examples of dynamic text insertion of user-inputted material into promotional videos recently.

The first was (created by digital ad agency Ralph), which Jo showed me a few weeks back. The site (promoting the UK premiere of Dexter on FX) invites you to "give your friend the Dexter treatment". This involves keying in some personal details (name, age, gender, profession) and a message which then get rendered in a faux video news report and emailed to your 'victim' as a link with the subject heading 'This is really weird..." If you really want to freak them out you can also supply their mobile number which will send them a text message reading "Hello Dan. I'm heading to the UK sooner than you might think. Dexter". You can watch the video I received here.

The second was techlightenment's Bob Dylan Facebook app, promoting the release of his latest Best Of album, which allows users to type in ten short phrases which then appear on the cards Dylan rifles through in the legendary video for Subterranean Homesick Blues (which incidentally, just squeezed into my Top 20 best music videos ever). I have to admit I'm both surprised and impressed that Sony BMG is happy for punters to put words in Dylan's hands, opening the door to some potentially undesirable brand associations (I can confirm that the app doesn't have a profanity filter!)

Whilst neither implementation is perfect (both suffer from problems with word wrapping), they're both impressive and an interesting indicator of a likely future direction for promotional videos, which will no doubt soon incorporate user-submitted photos and videos, as well as text, to further personalise the marketing message.

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