Learning from others’ mistakes


Behind the scenes of a Honda spot
Behind the scenes of a Honda spot

Not all EPKs or Behind the Scenes videos are done for films. They are also done by corporations to highlight a new ad campaign or to present an inside look at the making of a unique spot.

I found one blog article by Brad Schwarzenbach titled, “A Making-Of Video that Doesn’t Quite Make It” about the making of the behind the scenes of the Honda spot “Let it Shine” for the Insight Hybrid. Which brings to mind a quote from Samuel Smiles, a Scottish author who said “We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success.”

I found this article interesting because it described how even a well planned behind the scenes can miss the target audience. This is even more important when doing a film for a brand than for a film. Mr. Schwarzenbach states “It’s the right idea but a terrible execution. It doesn’t try to engage the Vimeo audience and focuses too much on marketing lingo.” This BTS should take a page out of the filmmakers’ handbook. The key to the story is to get the viewer involved. Show the drama, the humor, the unguarded look into the subject’s real personality. The blog goes on to state, “Outtakes! That’s what people want to see: people acting like people….Was there some friction on the set? Did things not work as planned? These are the questions an effective behind-the-scenes video answers.”

As opposed to most behind the scenes produced for film, when producing EPKs for corporate clients, there is always an attempt to market, to influence, to motivate the viewer to act. But there are different ways to present the material depending on the venue. The Honda video did convey a good message, but may have chosen the wrong channel from which to deliver it.

I started with one quote, so to end with another. “Do not learn from your mistakes, learn from the mistakes of others so that you do not make any.” Sean Karsten


  1. Bruce,

    Thanks so much for reading and getting my post about Honda’s Let it Shine campaign.

    I think you are right on. Well-executed corporate behind-the-scenes video is about the humanity of it. It’s endearing. There shouldn’t be a “message,” per se. It’s not an extension of the larger campaign, it’s a fun afterthought, even if it has been thought out.

    This may sound like it trivializes it, and yet, these videos can be very powerful in that by endearing themselves to the viewer, they gain trust and this ultimately can influence buying decisions. Thus making the video incredibly influential.

  2. Thanks for sharing information. I’ve written and shared my thoughts about this on my blog.

  3. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I think your overall ideas are fine but you might want to put a little more thought into your next posts. I say this because it seems like your writing style has gone downhill a bit as opposed to your previous posts. – C.

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