Casey Neistat (pronounced ‘nice-tut’) is kind of a funny looking guy. He has a YouTube channel with around 140,000 subscribers. He’s also a very successful filmmaker – entirely self-taught, shooting videos on his iPhone and editing on an iMac. So he’s living proof that a successful filmmaker doesn’t need a RED camera running post-production on a custom – built MacPro (it would be really nice though).
So Mercedes-Benz hired Casey, a guy from New York who does Op-Docs for the NY Times about bike thieves, to make them a car commercial.
He openly admits to not having any idea about how to even begin making a car commercial.
But the one he made is pretty sweet.
So what can we learn?
1. The Value of Behind the Scenes.
People like looking under the hood. Whether it’s taking a tour through a brewery, standing on a factory floor, or even just peeking behind the curtain at a concert, we all like to see what makes various things tick. That’s why so many people like Instagram and Twitter – companies can easily post a ‘behind the scenes’ snapshot that give them a glimpse into the lives of celebrities and brands. Fans don’t care if it’s super high-quality, they just like the scoop. Sure, Mercedes-Benz could have just thrown their Casey Neistat commercial up on their site and played it on Hulu a couple million times, but they gain a more dedicated and curious audience with Casey’s 4-part video series.
2. Money (and budgets) Talks.
Not many of us have Mercedes-Benz money to roll around in. But the commercial was shot on Canon 5D Mark IIIs and little point and shoot cameras, with what looks like a minimal crew. The Bonneville Salt Flats run a bit pricey, at $250 a day for film shoots, but overall the commercial has a gritty, low-budget feel to it that other glam-tastic, slick car commercials lack. The beauty of a budget that gives just a tiny bit more is remarkable. It opens up time and resources for travel, variety, and it gives the filmmakers the extra security to try something new and different.
3. Branding. Branding. And more branding.
The Mercedes-Benz logo appears about 9 times in the space of a minute. Casey appears in half of the 50 shots that make up the commercial. This inextricably links the Casey Neistat cachet to Mercedes-Benz – a formerly stuffy, expensive car brand with former lofty and forward-thinking tag-lines like “Engineered to move the human spirit” and “Fast Forward to Tomorrow”. Now, Mercedes-Benz features Casey as their poster child for “Sometimes in life you just have to say YES.” A filmmaker with a ‘fly by the seat of his pants’ approach, Casey created the perfect commercial with the right mix of youthful energy and spontaneity – a magic bullet for any car company struggling to appeal to a younger demographic.
So video marketers – we learned today that people like to see how things are made, we learned that a little bit more money goes a long way, and that branding – putting a face on it – humanizes everything. Now go do something spontaneous – like calling V3 Media Marketing for all your video needs and desires. Or skateboard behind a car. Your call.