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Business, Politics, and Authenticity

Peter Leyden, one of four panelists who spoke at our event, Online Video: Social Media Integration, in November, provides the ultimate example from the 2012 presidential campaign of why authenticity trumps high production values for video.

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“Business can learn from politics,” says Peter. He points out that a video shot surreptitiously on a cell phone had even greater power than the $390 million spent by Karl Rove over the course of the campaign.

Peter was involved in the first generation of politics on the internet from 2004-2008. Web videos made a big difference then and have become even more important since. During the 2012 Presidential campaign, about 3 billion dollars was spent on traditional, hard sell television ads; but ultimately the most successful video was the one filmed by the “help” at a Romney fundraiser.

Video is unparalleled in its ability to capture authenticity. And even though the quality of the Romney fundraiser footage was poor, it had a tremendous impact due to its authenticity. Peter mentions that if the same person who filmed the video would have written a blog post, or taken a photo instead, few would have believed it, or taken it seriously. The placement of the camera makes you, the viewer, feel like you are at the same fundraiser and helps “sell” the material much more than an expensive endorsed advertisement.

What should businesses learn from politics?  That you can spend a lot of money to sell your marketing message and have high production values, but these will not help you if the video is not authentic.