Messages On Hold

Best of 2013: Corporate YouTube Videos

I don’t think there’s anything I enjoy more about December than the inevitable “best of insert year here” lists that pop up. Oh wait there is one thing I enjoy more – collating the lists myself!

Here in the Copywriting department, we love poring over the exciting offerings from companies across the world and so we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the Top 10 Creative Videos from companies in 2013.

Some are clever, some are funny and some are downright astounding (here’s looking at you Volvo). While your marketing budget might not stretch to include Jean Claude Van Damme riding atop trucks, these videos still show you what’s possible when you combine the awesome powers of video, the internet and a little left-of-centre thinking.

10. LG:  LG Ultra HD 84” TV Prank

– A very sharable example of the stunning visuals delivered by the Korean company’s new TV.


9. Evian: Baby & Me

– While being borderline creepy, this weird ad notched up an impressive 67 million views after being launched in April.


8. Audi: Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: “The Challenge”

This copywriter found out about this chuckle-worthy video from her Star Trek loving Dad. And if Star Trek loving dads are sharing it, you know it’s hit the nail on the head.


7. CarrieNYC: Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise

– The marketers of the 2013 recreation of Carrie created a unique way to build online excitement about the film and manage to terrify some NYC coffee-shop goers in the process.


6. Dove: Dove Real Beauty Sketches

– A simple, but heart-breakingly effective message is delivered in this video which was shared by women and men across the globe.

5. PooPourri: Girls Don’t Poop

– While the Copywriting Department debated if this product was for real, this video was quietly racking up 20 million views.


4. WestJet: WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving

– A late entry just in time for Christmas, this video demonstrates how easily a video can go viral when you tug at people’s heartstrings – 16 million views in three days ain’t bad.


3. Virgin America: Virgin America Safety Video

– Way to reinvent the wheel Virgin America! I’m going to think about this video every single time I’m on a plane now and wish I was on a Virgin America flight instead.


2. Kmart: Ship My Pants

– Got some news you want to let your customers know about? Make a funny video and get YouTube to do the work for you! Kmart did and boy oh boy did this video get a workout in the Copywriting Department.


1. Volvo Trucks: Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test 6)

– Just watch it. Like right now.


– Sophie

Second Impressions Last

In business, consistency in customer service is essential to long-term success. At Messages On Hold, we do a number of things to impress clients time after time, so they stick around. We’ll suggest message ideas to them regularly, refresh productions with new voices or music if they get a bit old, and even offer to record a new voicemail if we reckon we could improve their existing one. It’s all part of a proactive team effort to make a superb impression every time, while ensuring the customer gets as much value out of us as possible. We’re not the only company taking the initiative though.

A few weeks ago I talked about how I was blown away by the first impression I experienced at a retailer for one of Australia’s leading skincare brands. As someone relatively new to the whole “looking after your skin” thing, I was won over by the attentive but personable assistant and the liberal use of free samples. The second impression I got was just as good!Welcome Back! Doormat

When I needed to purchase more of a product I had run out of, I went to a different branch to last time as it was more convenient. I knew what I was after so I just went to the till and made my purchase. After my last purchase I had been saved in the national customer database. The shop attendant saw the last time I had bought the product, and noticed that I had used it up very quickly. He then recommended that I use the product out of the shower to make it last longer, before generously seasoning my shopping bag with some free samples. He paid attention, got on the front foot and offered me a way to save money.

Sure, thanks to his handy tip I’ll probably be using less of the product in question, but this on-the-ball attendant helped win me over as a long-term customer, and that’s invaluable.

If you want to make sure clients stick around for the long haul and are a source of repeat business, it literally pays to make outstanding impressions beyond the first.

– Magnus

Got My Snickers In A Twist

Humour me for a moment; I want to tell you about Snickers Ice Cream Bars. I heard about them over a year ago through a friend’s social media page. She posted a photo begging her local supermarket to stock them, having tried them elsewhere. A year later I tried one. Immediate convert.

You see, it looks just like a Snickers. But then you bite into it and the chocolate cracks – like a thinly frozen over lake. Your teeth sink into liquid caramel (how it stays cool and liquid is a triumph of modern food science) and as your mouth closes around the bar; refreshing cool ice cream flows over your tongue. It is at once familiar and exciting. On more than one occasion I have offered an unsuspecting friend a Snickers Ice Cream Bar and observed their euphoric reaction as they realize instead of nougat, they’re getting peanut butter ice cream. People… the product is a success

I can’t look at this image without hearing Ave Maria.

I can’t look at this image without hearing Ave Maria.

Now let’s talk about something called Referent Price. How much would you pay for an 8-pack of Snickers Ice Creams? Before knowing firsthand how good they were, I waited until they were on special before indulging. Normally retailing for about $7.50, I got them half-price for $3.75! Now, I had an excellent experience with the product, but in terms of a subsequent purchase, paying double seems excessive – even for the holy Snickers Ice Cream Bar.

Referent Price is the cost that consumers anticipate paying or consider reasonable to pay for a particular good or service. Evidently, my Referent Price has been set too low to pay full price for the product. This doesn’t mean it’s simply too expensive – after all I’ve paid over $3 for a single individually wrapped ice cream! But the psychology of having once paid 45 cents per bar and now having to pay 90 cents overwhelms even the highly positive associations with the product. Had the special price been $5, I may have still bought the product, and the non-special price would not have seemed so high.

Pricing is an art as well as a science and manipulating your customers’ referent price is just one of many things to consider when scribbling a price-tag or running a special.

– Jakub

Video and your marketing strategy: a match made in online heaven.

What was the last video you watched on YouTube? Perhaps it was highlights from the EPL soccer game you missed on the weekend. Maybe it was the film clip for Rihanna’s latest chart topping/scandal inducing hit. Maybe it was even that massively cute video of the emotional baby. Whatever it was, you’re now a member of the ever-increasing online community which is embracing video as a quick, simple and massively effective means of communication. So good on you!

So why is it important to know what YouTube video you watched last? Well I want to explain to you how simple it is to use video as part of your successful marketing campaign.

Let’s have a little look at Pepsi.

Pepsi is a multi-billion dollar company which relies heavily on celebrity endorsement of its product but they’re also fairly cluey about this whole online video thing. In 2012, Pepsi released the first of their Uncle Drew videos. In the video the character of Uncle Drew, an older gentleman, heads down to his local basketball court and joins in a game when someone gets injured. The real kicker? Uncle Drew is actually NBA superstar Kyrie Irving. Uncle Drew’s unwitting opponents are dumbfounded when he absolutely wipes the floor with them. Big deal right? Well the first Uncle Drew video has notched 28 million views. That’s 28 million potential consumers who’ve seen Pepsi’s logo associated with a video they like. When the latest Uncle Drew video was released social media was abuzz with excitement. The video started appearing on Facebook feeds, Twitter feeds, on reddit, everywhere!Uncle Drew

What’s my point? Well rather than spending millions of dollars on paying for advertising that only a determined number of people will see, Pepsi have managed to capatalise on the effectiveness of having your consumers sharing your advertisements for you. Having a consumer share your video adds credibility to it and now 28 million people have cemented Pepsi’s position as a leader in online marketing.

It’s not just corporations jumping on this train. Degage Ministries is an American not-for-profit organisation which aims to help homeless and disadvantaged individuals. They recently engaged the services of filmmaker Rob Bliss to make a video about the transformation of a homeless veteran into a well-presented go-getter aiming to get his life on track. The simple video has now racked up 12 million YouTube views and is making headlines on news websites across the internet. 12 million people now know who Degage Ministries are and Rob Bliss Creative have exposed themselves to an incredibly large audience.

The beauty of video as a marketing tool lies in its simplicity as a medium and its sharability. A viewer only has to move their mouse mere centimetres and click a few buttons to share it with their online network and the credibility this can add to your business is close to priceless. In terms of content, video is a marketer’s dream because it can say so much in such a short time.

So what does that mean for you? Well making videos might not be as simple as sharing them. And that’s where you have to start trusting other people.

Here at Messages On Hold we’re tremendously excited about a new venture we’ve launched called  We’ve been on this video train for a few years now and we want other businesses to start enjoying the benefits of adding video to their marketing strategies.

Our On The Money series of videos which focus on accounting and finance are already being sent out from accounting firms across Australia, helping these businesses tell their clients the latest news in the industry and actually engaging them at a more sophisticated level.

Every business should have something to say about itself and if you can tell that to potential clients through video you never know just how many people might end up seeing it.

– Sophie

Put Your Ear To The Ground

Every morning after I boot up my computer and check my emails, I log onto Twitter to see who’s talking about our company. I do this because I want to be able to respond to potential leads and communicate with customers. In doing this daily ritual, I have found many companies are placing customers On Hold without a professional On Hold production… and the results speak for themselves – literally!

If you’re a business owner and currently place callers On Hold to listen to radio, chimes, or worse yet – silence, you’re in for a not-so-nice surprise. These potential customers are taking to Twitter in droves to complain about your service.

A little bird told me that chimes, radio & silence frustrate callers On Hold

A little bird told me that chimes, radio & silence frustrate callers On Hold

Here’s what some people are saying:

“ABBA, Bon Jovi, Queen, Blink 182, Michael Jackson, and a lot more ABBA. Just a taste of the Ikea hold music #onhold

“Someone really needs to do a remix of the Oregon courts hold music. Then again I think it may already *be* a remix. #onhold

“I dont think I can listen to Beethoven for another 9 minutes! #OnHold

You can bet for every one person voicing their frustration on Twitter, there are another 10 voicing it to their friends and family. That’s word of mouth advertising your business could do without!

Surprisingly, 80% of callers placed On Hold with silence hang up within the first minute. This is why having a professionally written & produced On Hold production is so important. On Hold messages have been proven to keep holding callers happier for longer and it’s easy to see why. If you’re actively engaging callers with relevant information, their mind isn’t on waiting – it’s focused on what you’re telling them!

So, how do you remedy people taking to the internet to complain about their phone experience? You can’t simply stop placing callers On Hold, but you can replace the chimes, music or silence with a professionally written production.

– Lachy

It’s Always Personal, It’s Business

“It’s nothing personal, it’s just business” is a phrase that, unbelievably, still lingers in some modern business owners’ lexicon. The reach of social media, the rapid rate at which consumers can communicate and the speed with which they can congratulate or condemn means that whether you’re in customer service or marketing: business is always personal.

When customers use social media to query or complain, the business is presented with a unique opportunity: to personally engage with this one customer. Studies into complaints made over social media indicate that 50% of customers give a brand only one week to respond to a complaint before they stop doing business with them. The same study indicated that 89% of customers began business with another company after a poor experience. Can you afford to stay silent?

The most common words on a major airline’s Facebook newsfeed.

The most common words on a major airline’s Facebook newsfeed.

It would be unreasonable for a business to completely change their terms of service on the whim of one customer… but prompt acknowledgement and resolution of a complaint online can help a customer to not only forgive the grievance, but flip their view of the company from negative to positive, thereby strengthening brand loyalty.

Another study indicated that after having two-way interaction with a brand over social media, 90% of customers would recommend the brand to others. In developing an emotional connection, a sense of loyalty, between customer and brand, social media is an invaluable and incredibly effective approach.

Still not sure just how “personal” it can be? In 2008, United Airlines were shown just how effective social media can be as a weapon when it was used against them with humiliating and ruthless efficiency. After irreparably damaging musician Dave Carrol’s guitar during a flight, and refusing to reimburse him despite 9 months of negotiations, Dave released a song on YouTube which blasted their business and customer service. The song went viral, and four days after its release, United’s stock had dropped by 10% – an estimated $180 million.

As more consumers choose social media as the means to communicate with the brands they use, the age old adage “it’s nothing personal, just business” should recede from all minds serious about strengthening brand loyalty, and increasing their customer base.

– Kyle

In The Spotlight

At Messages On Hold, each department has its specialty, whether that be writing, sales, voicing productions or keeping the finances in check. But when it comes to customer interaction, everyone is responsible for controlling the variables that make the difference between a positive experience and a negative one. The same principle applies at restaurants.

I love pizza, and I was understandably excited when I got the chance to eat at one of Perth’s most exciting and hyped new eateries, which happens to specialise in this particularly delicious genre of comfort food.

Probably a little too bright for a restaurant interior...

Probably a little too bright for a restaurant interior…

It exceeded my expectations. The pizza was beautiful – wood-fired and topped with fresh ingredients, along with a herby sauce that provided a welcome twist in what is traditionally a by-the-book dish. Even the non-pizza items and desserts were impressive.  What’s more, service was friendly, knowledgeable and casual. In a nutshell, it was all perfect… except for one thing: the lighting.

A single light illuminated our table – and I’m talking a football stadium-esque spotlight, not the ambient mood lighting you might expect from most restaurants.  Bizarrely, the spotlight was angled in such a way that it shone both directly into my eyes and onto my cutlery before reflecting back up into my face.

The restaurant is a casual place, so perhaps high-end ambient lighting would be inappropriate. However, while it might be unreasonable to expect the team in charge of a casual restaurant to be experts in interior design, all eateries should be aiming to deliver excellent food with top service in an environment that’s comfortable to eat in, and it should be easy to do!

If I was in charge, I’d simply think about how I’d want to be treated. I can safely say that “having a bright light shone in my eyes for the duration of a meal” would not be on the list.

I’m a copywriter – I primarily write scripts. But I’m also well aware of the fact that I’m responsible for creating a superb overall customer experience on behalf of my company, which involves far more than writing a quality script… kind of like running a successful restaurant is about more than quality food.

Have you ever thought about the accidental spotlights you might be shining in your clients’ eyes that are dimming an otherwise bright customer experience? What can you do to ensure your customers see your company in the best possible light?

– Magnus

Exceeding Expectations

Outside of my hours at Messages On Hold, I have a little creative side project that occupies my time and I recently ordered some promotional materials for it from a popular print house.

Now, this print house is no louse when it comes to customer service. They have successfully implemented an online ordering system that allows you to upload your own designs and place orders safe in the knowledge that things like overrun bleed lines won’t ruin the batch. You used to have to drive down to the store, talk to a printer representative and even pay a file handling fee. Now it’s done from the comfort of your own home. They also offer predesigned promotional material that you can customise and it’s all competitively priced.  After placing your order, you’re offered significant discounts if you buy something else within half an hour. Very clever. These guys are on the ball… mostly.

My order was for 30 pages of promotional stickers. A week later I had received 2 packs of 10, so I called to inform them of the mistake. The customer service representative was efficient and competent. I explained the situation and she concluded on the spot that there must’ve been an error and that she would send through the remainder of the order.

Do this. Not literally. But also literally.

Do this. Not literally. But also literally.

This company has empowered their customer reps to make these kinds of decisions without looking to a superior. Big tick, Kym Illman would approve. They’re also banking on the fact that they did actually stuff up and I wasn’t just trying to scam them out of another 10 pages. The cost of being scammed was significantly less than the cost of possibly insulting a paying customer. The call wrapped up and I received an email saying the package would be express delivered.

Good job, right? Almost. I was a frustrated customer, they admitted fault and now I’m back to where I started with a little lost time and some mild frustration. Will I go back to them? Maybe… sure they fixed the mistake as soon as they found out about it, but maybe one of their many competitors won’t stuff up the first time. I have nothing to lose by trying someone else.

Instead, imagine if the conversation ended like this:

“Please accept our apologies for the missing pages. We’ll quickly get those 10 pages out to you.  We would also like to send you a further 10 pages for any inconvenience that may have been caused.”

I suspect those extra 10 pages would’ve cost them very little to print and they would’ve likely gained a delighted lifelong customer whose expectations had been clearly exceeded.

When faced with a disgruntled customer, realise you’re being presented with an opportunity. It’s a rare case of someone actively engaging with your business with an explicit expectation. Take that expectation by the horns and run with it. You’ll find delighted customers are great for business.

– Jakub

Trust me, I’m a professional…

Sometimes it can be difficult completely letting go and putting your trust in a professional service – even when you’ve parted with money for it.

For me, this is never more apparent than when I’m sitting in the hairdresser’s chair. Usually I have a rough idea of how I want my hair to look but I’m very particular about my hair so it takes a lot for me to put my trust in someone changing my ‘do. As I’m sitting nervously in the chair though, I relax a little bit when I remember that the hairdressers creating my stylish new look are professionals and they’re there to make me look my best. I know I want a full fringe and a few highlights to take me into summer, but I’m happy to accept they’re going to make me look better than I would if I hacked into my hair myself.

Trusting professionals never hurt anyone, especially Ferris Bueller

Trusting professionals never hurt anyone, especially Ferris Bueller

I’m taking a risk because I’m trusting someone to know better than I do. When we employ the professional services of those around us we’re basically paying them to know more than we do about whatever it is we want them to do.

When my kitchen sink breaks I have to trust that the nice man who’s come to fix it for me knows more than I do about plumbing. When my throat hurts I have to trust that the doctor I speak to knows more than I do about medical science. And when I order a meal I’m going to trust that the professional chefs cooking my dinner know way more about how to cook my pasta al dente than I could hope to.

It’s the same when it comes to marketing your business. You probably have a rough idea of what you want the outcome to be but what’s the point in blindly fishing around, and possibly making mistakes, when you can rely on professionals who can help you reach your goals?

Sometimes people are unsure about trusting a team of copywriters to write their on hold productions, and that doesn’t surprise me. After all, most business owners know their business inside out so it makes sense they’d know best how to explain it. But knowing how to effectively sell your business is a different kettle of fish altogether.

Here in the copywriting department, we want you to rely on our expertise. When you trust us to write your production, you’re trusting that we know how to sell your business and your products effectively… and to be honest, we do! Just like my hairdresser listens to my thoughts on what I want out of my new haircut, we’ll listen to yours on what you want from your on hold production and use our skills as professional writers to give you a production which is going to be as effective as possible. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy your fresh new look… I mean, on hold production!

– Sophie

Aim Carefully, Don’t Over Shoot

I’ve worked in customer service, in a variety of different settings, for many years now and until recently I didn’t really ponder the dynamics of the customer service relationship too deeply.

A couple of weeks back I had the displeasure of shopping at a chain of clothing

“What do you mean you don’t need my help?”

“What do you mean you don’t need my help?”

stores whose staff have been mercilessly beaten with an attitude of “push, push, push” and the result is a flow-down effect on the customer. I entered their store and after about 5 minutes of contented browsing I was approached by a young man whose face was split by a smile that was not reaching his disinterested eyes.

How are you today man?” he boomed in faux-enthusiasm. I replied that I was great and returned my eyes to the racks.

You looking for something in particular, because these are made and designed in Oz” He said at me, while holding up a shirt from a nearby rack and pointing at it suggestively. I replied that I wasn’t and I was just browsing. However, this seemed to be like waving red to a bull – how dare I attempt to browse this store without his input.

Yeah, I get that all the time. Did you know that all those jeans are handmade? You’d rock the mauve ones” He said pointing behind me. I thanked him and told him that I was just browsing – again.

After an awkward silence he exclaimed “You look lost!” and moved far too close to me. I assure him that I was not, and I was exactly where I wanted to be.

Are you sure?” He asked. I repeated that I was fine but I now had a sinking feeling that I will not be allowed free reign of the store without being rude to this “salesman”.

Well, you sure look lost. Hey, you’d look good in one those jackets. I’m thinking you’re a dark blue kinda guy” he says while physically grabbing my arm to drag me somewhere. It was at this stage that I decided enough was enough and told him, in no uncertain terms, that I didn’t want anything anymore and left the store.

I think this kind of persistence is something that, if we’re honest, we’ve all experienced in a sales environment. For me, it drove home the importance of ‘reading’ a customer. Great salespeople will tell you that a good sales pitch gets the sale and a repeat customer. The ‘brute force’ method of mercilessly pushing a product will sometimes get the sale, but it will likely deter the customer from coming back to you because they found the experience to be uncomfortable or intimidating.

By no means should customers be ignored, what I’m trying to illustrate here is that it’s equally detrimental to overshoot in the other direction. A salesman who’s obviously faking his enthusiasm, and covering the customers like his opponent in a footy match is more likely to put off customers than keep them coming back.

– Kyle