I m p o r t a n c e   o f   e n d l i n e s

The lost art of the endline. What are the most important elements that make a successful piece of video content? Ask an experienced Marketer or Brand Manager and they’ll probably list the music used, the performance of any actor or presenter or how beautifully their product was shot. I wonder how many would mention the endline? In fact, I wonder how many online films even use one?
Endlines are those short statements that you find at the end of most TV ads. Otherwise known as slogans or straplines, they are supposed to sum up both the creative idea within the ad and say something profound about the brand. There are plenty of famous examples. “Vorsprung Durch Technik” is one. “Beanz Meanz Heinz” is another that is donkey’s years old (the best ones do last for decades). I was involved in the brainstorming session that produced “I think, therefore IBM” and a friend who worked in the City (and understood how brand values added to the bottom line of a balance sheet) simply said “Wow. I wonder if they realise just how much those four words will add to their long-term stock value”.
Online video content benefits in exactly the same way. It is also a piece of advertising, as I’ve discussed before. Just because it appears on your PC or smartphone, it still follows the same rules. There is a defined target market for an audience and it presents a branded product or service with some sort of call-to-action. Yet how many of these films use an endline?
The truth is, a good endline is very, very hard to write. It requires not filmmaking skills but advertising copywriting skills. This is not something you’d expect to find in a film production company, so add a little to your budget for a good copywriter to get involved. However, an ad agency or a video content agency should put an endline right at the heart of their creative thinking.
Are there any rules for a great endline? One springs to mind: the endline should not be easily used on someone else’s content. For example, imagine Farrow & Ball needed an endline. “The Best Paint” would be nearly useless as it could apply just as easily for Dulux or Crown. If the line was altered to “The Best Paint. Period” that’s rather better as Farrow & Ball make paint in period colours for period properties. However, both Dulux and Crown have period ranges so the issue is not properly resolved. Sometimes a pun works as it ties the endline into the brand and is much easier to remember. “Farrow & Ball. The Best for your Hall.” If you see a minor stately home at the same time (Hall – geddit?) then the endline becomes unique. However, the other acid test is whether the endline also conveys a benefit. In this case, there’s no stated reason to use Farrow & Ball and the result is just glib. “Beanz Meanz Heinz” is competitive, funny, rhyming and unique.
An endline need not be spoken. Many TV ads do not do so nowadays, and much online video is watched on smartphones with the sound muted (another good reason for not using interviews and commentary in your video marketing strategy). However, a neat summation of what you’ve just watched is very rewarding to the viewer and will make sense of your entire marketing strategy. Look at this launch film for Export Savvy: an online video-training initiative designed to get 18,000 more SMEs exporting via UKTI. It presents exporting as a rite of passage. However successful a business is, it cannot claim to have grown up unless it has started exporting. It is a measure of maturity. The endline simply points out “No one says the UK is your oyster”.
Say no more.

< This film introduces businesses to exporting as if it is a rite of passage. It ends with “No one says the UK is your oyster” to show demonstrate a world of opportunity. (film by chrismugford.com)


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