Straight and Narrow or Bows and Arrows?: which approach to narrative works best for your video content

One of the best parts about advertising is that you get to engage with people and companies developing state of the art technologies, services, and products. It’s then our job as the advertisers and campaign managers to figure out how to go about marketing whatever they are offering. This can be can be somewhat exhausting and drama filled. So much so that hit shows like Mad Men, have been made about the people whose brains work tirelessly to approach this dilemma.  

Alright, well I am not Don Draper. My life is pretty boring and I don’t have the icy chiseled features of Jon Hamm. I have however, through some trial and error, found some techniques for advertising and marketing that have worked pretty well in producing promotional content. In this post I am going to use some examples from Spirit Animal’s portfolio to demonstrate two different types of video content advertising. We’ll break down the benefits of these approaches, and give you some ideas to consider in finding which style of promotion is right for your product, service, or small business.

Let’s look at these two products, determine what they are, and determine a plan of approach.

The Lil Trucker

L'il Trucker.png

What is it?

The Lil Trucker is at its core a multi-tool, featuring 14 individual tool functions, including a hatchet edge, hammer, glass breaker, folding saw, hex wrench (in various sizes), as well as a variety of other tools, that a dummy like me has no idea how to use. (You can check out their website for the full specs here)


Target market?

Uhhhh I don’t know, outdoorsy dudes? Well, yes. It’s for people who do serious hiking and camping, or who maybe do a lot of DIY wood and metal work. Either way, I know I am not the target audience here. As I briefly mentioned before, I lead a pretty boring life. I write blogs and edit photos for a living. Yeah I like camping, but I can’t think of a single time that I have gone (of the five in my life) where I have thought to be the least bit prepared. I can barely use a screwdriver so an axe with extras doesn’t seem the most appealing.

While this might seem trivial, observations like this go a long way. I have some friends, yeah I know it’s hard to believe, and the majority of them are pretty similar to me, meaning the majority of people around me are also not the target market for this product. So then the question remains how do you find and reach this market? Well, you do a lot of statistical research. You infiltrate outdoors blogs and forums. You can even put some paid promotion on outdoors sites, but this will get expensive quickly. Or you can do what Spirit Animal did.


The Outcome

They wrote and produced a zombie short film that features the Lil Trucker and all of its functions as a fictional weapon of protection. You might think this is strange, but by doing so, they were able to target a larger audience. While not everyone in the audience is the target, some are and will be more willing to share with their friends when you have a kick ass video to show them.

The video went viral, receiving nearly 30,000 individuals views. The Lil Trucker reached its campaign goal in two days, surpassing it by more than five times by the end of the campaign. Now of course I can’t give Spirit Animal the full credit for the success of The Lil Trucker, but I feel confident in saying they gave it a pretty tough nudge forward.

Alright, so that’s a little bit of a different approach, but I wanted to show the more radical outcome first, before moving onto something with a more formal tried and true approach.


The Athena Roar For Good Smart Jewelry


ROAR for Good- Athena Smart Jewelry.jpeg

What is it?

A small circular device, designed as a safety mechanism, that can easily be clipped onto clothing and apparel. It is equipped with a powerful speaker, and if ever the woman wearing it feels threatened they can push a button to emit the loud beeping, notifying other people in the vicinity, and likely warding off any attacker. Additionally the device is connected to an app on your phone and will simultaneously send a signal to assigned contacts letting them know that she is in some sort of danger. This is truly a life saving product.


Target market?

Well I was robbed once, and it left me with some PTSD for a while, but no this product also is not being marketed toward me. This is a product made for women, with the care of research professionals advocating for their safety. It is somewhat like pepper spray, but less intrusive as it is not a weapon in any form.

In short, the answer is women. All of them. Roughly 50 percent of the population.


The Outcome

Before looking at what Spirit Animal did, let’s look at what they didn’t do; not make a video like that of the The Lil Trucker. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why that would have been a bad idea but I am going to anyway. With this product in particular, a narrative demonstrating the effective use of this device would be triggering, insensitive, and offensive. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world where women need to be reminded of their struggle to simply remain safe, which then brings us to the next point.

This product was made to keep women safe. A team of people saw a problem, addressed it and produced something that can help solve it. In this case the real narrative of the development of this product, made by people hoping to make the world a better place is enough to market the product. It was more dire in this situation to demonstrate the purpose of the product, and show all of the work that went into making it.

The Roar for Good, acquired national attention, being featured in almost every major press outlet. It raised more than 300,000 dollars, nearly seven times its original goal.




Alright, so these examples are kind of specific, but breaking this down should demonstrate it a little more clearly. Looking at just the target markets, the Lil Trucker has a narrow target, while the Roar for Good is much broader. The product with a narrower target audience needs to reach a greater number of people in order to gain commerce, while the reach of that with a broad target audience can market more directly. There are a lot of ways to approach this outside the scope demonstrated in these two videos, so if you have question leave a comment. I’ll be happy to get back to you, and if you have a product you’re thinking of making public consult with Spirit Animal to see if you can’t come up with a solid plan of production,

All the best!


Spirit Animal