Jerry Seinfeld Re-Invented Video Marketing

Jerry Seinfeld had an idea to have a new show that involved vintage cars, chilling with hilarious comedians, and drinking coffee all over America. He did something completely original and created the internet series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Everyone said it would fail-- Starbucks rejected sponsoring the show; “video marketing experts” at Facebook and Yahoo told him he had little chance of succeeding. But he proved them wrong-- in just a few years the show has already racked up over 70 million views, a few Webby Awards, a PGA award and even 2 Emmy nominations. How Seinfeld do it? He has three secrets.

1. Be Human. Look around the web and you’ll find most marketing videos lack the most attractive part of a video: being human. Meaning – there’s no honesty, no vulnerability, no story and no humor. Being human is so powerful in marketing! In our over-abundant world of content, what stands out to people is being a real person. Be honest, be vulnerable, let your humor come out and absolutely tell stories. This is what makes Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee stand out so much. Because it’s not the old way of video marketing with tight scripts and simple plots – this is the new way of marketing with video today: telling your story and being human. Online viewers want to hear real stories about real people.

It’s important to know that when you tell your story and reveal your humanity – it must encompass both sides of the human experience. The success and the struggle. The dream and the doubt. Your passion and your fears. One without the other doesn’t grab us. But when you use both, like Seinfeld, you become irresistible.

2. Constant Movement. In an interview with David Letterman, Seinfeld said that the secret to keep his online audience engaged was having constant movement. “Part of what makes the show watchable is that it’s always moving. There’s no narrative to drive the story. We know what happens. We know they’re going to get coffee. You need a kinetic energy to move it along,” Seinfeld said. “Moving people around keeps them awake.”

The movement can be actual physical movement, changing camera angles, etc. But it can also be much simpler than that. ‘Movement’ also means ‘pacing’. So the way to leverage the power of movement without a big budget is by having consistent pacing.

3. Choose Your Own Path. The most wonderful thing about Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is that there is nothing else like it. I’m sure when most people just heard the title they said, “No, it’s too long”, and when people heard what (doesn’t) happen on the show they said, “Sounds too boring.” And even the video marketing ‘experts’ themselves said 5 minutes would be too long to keep an audience engaged online today (most episodes are 12-20 minutes). And they were all wrong. Because ‘most people’ usually are wrong. It’s the leaders who choose their own path who will ultimately succeed. The greatest success stories are never of copy-cats, but of trailblazers. Of people who pay no attention to the critics, but rather to their own creativity.

This is how Seinfeld re-invented video marketing. By showing the world that you can be human, instead of scripted. And that a well paced conversation or story beats tight monologue every single time. There are over 70 million viewers who agree! The new world of video marketing online is about being personal, honest and yourself. The new world of video marketing means you can make your videos as long or short as you like – because people don’t watch a video based on how many seconds it runs. People watch videos that speak to them. People want to see, hear and feel more from online videos. So let’s create honest conversations with deeper, more human stories in our online videos.

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