As a consumer, I have been frustrated by video advertising. I have seen many that are long on hype but short on fundamental information that could help me reach a to-buy decision.
After watching all those sales videos, both the slickly and crudely done, I think I have accumulated enough expertise to tell magic creators and dealers what we prospective buyers look for in a sales video.
1. Don’t cut and splice the videos so heavily we don’t understand what the product can do. Will the cards change colors and disappear? Will the coin cavort from the left hand to the right and then transform into a donut? Is the close-up shot of feet lifting off the ground owned by a levitating person or by a suicidal magician who hanged himself from a beam in the attic after being frustrated by his Double Lift?
The video should tell the prospect all this and more.
2. Validate your copy with the visuals. If your ad copy claims that your product can make a magician self-levitate up to the ceiling of his house, then the video should show him floating in the ceiling, not just lifting his feet one inch off the ground.
I once read the ad of a trick that intrigued me so much I was on the verge of buying it. The copy claimed the trick could be performed on the street, in broad daylight. Yet when I watched the sales video, the creator spent 1:10 minutes of a two-minute-long YouTube demo driving around town, looking for a warehouse to perform the trick indoor in dim light.
The trick/product may be outstanding, but I didn’t care anymore after watching the video that invalidated the claims of the ad.
3. Perform for lay audiences. I once viewed the video demo of another product that I fancied. In online forums, the creator boasted that his product elicited strong audience reactions. When I watched the video of the performance, the trick indeed blew the audience away. My only gripe was that the audience was made up of magicians.
I always look for tricks that can draw strong audience reactions. One that will make them howl with delight, roar with laughter and gasp audibly.
But the audience reacting uproariously should be made up of lay people, because I don’t perform for magicians. As I said before, magicians have different criteria for appreciating the entertainment level of a magic performance. They love clever props, subtle subterfuges, and difficult sleights, never mind if the presentation is as patently clear as an X-ray film of someone’s lungs.
Lay audiences, however, want entertaining magic and don’t care about methods or what are the inner workings of props or how finger-twistingly difficult a pinky break is.
That’s why, contrary to other magicians’ opinion, I love L&L videos, because they show magic performed for mostly lay audiences. For me, I am excited to add a trick to my repertoire if the trick slays lay people. They are the real judges and jury of how strong magic tricks are in my program.
4.Don’t joke too much during the teaching segment. I understand that an instructional video should also be entertaining. Learning a trick can be dull, hard and even distasteful. A pinch of wit can make learning more fun.
However, don’t overdo the humor bit, as if you are performing stand-up comedy. Remember, I have to rewind the video and watch the explanation over and over to get the moves down pat. Hearing the jokes repeatedly will make me crazy.