The Case Against Video Narration

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I hate to keep picking on Illinois politicians… okay… that’s not true. I’m perfectly comfortable picking on Illinois politicians. They deserve it on a lot of levels. In this case, it centers on video narration. Small potatoes compared to the state’s $100-billion debt, but a good lesson for anyone producing a marketing video.

It’s a case of… here we go again. DemocratsRepublicans… all doing the same thing and all missing the mark. Videos meant to sell us on them, only we barely get to hear from the candidates themselves.

It’s really quite maddening.

This time it’s a political newcomer, Doug Truax. He’s running for the U.S. Senate here in Illinois and he had a video produced to introduce himself to voters.

The video is over three minutes. That’s long for a web video, but not too bad. For me, video length is all about audience and the video’s purpose. In this case, I think three minutes is fine. Except for this one thing… we don’t hear from Traux during the first two minutes of the video. Instead, it’s your typical political commercial voice.


Why I’m not a fan of scripted video narration

If what you’re after is a carefully scripted message, narration is the way to go. However, if you you’re a business leader, here’s why I think you’re making a mistake. Your perfectly scripted and performed narration sounds scripted and performed.

The best marketing videos are the ones where people don’t feel like someone is selling them something. The video tells a compelling and authentic story. You loose the “authentic” part as soon as the audience hears the narrator.

Even if it’s only on a subconscious level, they know this video has been sanitized for their viewing. It’s no longer them discovering something new. It’s them being sold something.

You know how to stop that? Tell your own story. Go on camera and let your passion show. Drop the script, leave the teleprompter behind and speak from the heart.

That’s how you connect with an audience. That’s how you create a good first impression.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 11 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.