Why movie advertisement clips are called “trailers”

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When it comes to marketing a product, advertising a product or services is crucial because the existence of it needs to be made known to others, especially to the public. If a product or services is not advertised to the public, the existence of it may not be known to the public and it might not bring any expected success to the industry. Advertising helps the most to attract attention of the intended customers to buy or to have the right goods and services rather than selling a non-advertised product. In this way, advertising is believed to inform the potential customer about the features and functions of the product in a clear way( clickz. com, 2007; gizmodo .com, 2010).

A good advertisement will also create the brand identity where when people see something related to that advertisement video, they will be reminded of the product which gives a huge impact on the market of the product. There are few stages of advertising to let people aware of a product existence in Figure 1.



YouTube has become a big first advertiser to inject their messages to the video frame which allows video frames to allow users to click and select content on its side. The latest marketing techniques in YouTube are where they have newest offerings like dubbed in video ads, which is a clickable advertisement overlay. At first, the advertisement will be tested for several days or weeks, the advertisement product which consist of slightly animated bars at the bottom which covers 20 percent of the entire video frame from a given clip. The advertisement will start 15 seconds after the clip is initiated to play. YouTube product manager, Shiva Rajaraman said that “The field of where the Participating content owner will be significant, but unfortunately decline to unidentified the number or the estimated volume of the advertisement impressions where YouTube expects to give the media buyers under the new program. He also mentioned that the main goal of YouTube in advertising is to support the advertisers and in other word, to support any size-campaign. By clicking on the advertisement overlay, the advertisement pauses its current video and pops out one or more other experienced brands that can be choose between. One of the newest creations is where a new advertisement clip generated over the current video in progress. This is done with a player within player technique. The product manager, Shiva, also said that almost 76 percent of the users who click the Newline’s “hairspray” advertisement viewed the entire advertisement(clickz.com,2007;gizmodo.com,2010).

Other than that, there is another option where flash based interaction where users are welcomed to navigate to an interactive menu. Such unit was created by warner bros, where we can flip through selected album covers. YouTube is believed to make 3 billion minutes of video each month which means, there are a lots of advertising opportunity is available. YouTube made a decision on not to insert advertisements in any partner content that will allow users to embed on  other different sites, such as BlogSpot’s and Myspace web pages. YouTube introduces an advertisement skip button on 2010, where users can skip the 30 second advertisement and the idea was to skip the advertisement if an advertiser’s commercial is not captivating enough, then the users will skip the advertisement and therefore, Google doesn’t charge anything to the advertiser (clickz.com,2007;gizmodo.com,2010).





Movie trailers occur at the beginning of the film but at the end of it because the advertisements are known to splice directly on the end of the reels so that the trailer shows the actual film. But compared to those days, movie trailers are shown at end of the movie clip. The author now describes why this was done by advertisers in that era.(adage.com,2013;straightdope.com,2014).The example of first movie trailer, which was advertised in the theatre, was on November 1913, and it was produced by Nils Granlund, the well knows advertising manager of Marcus Loew theatre. The clip was the musical intended clip “The Pleasure Seekers” where the advertiser includes short clips rehearsals made in the background for the musical video. The idea later was followed by routinely after the films all the time. Another example was the late cartoons and serials that will end at the climatic period, which makes users to watch the next episode continuously to know the full story of what will happen next. Therefore, this way of advertising was really a big success at the beginning phase of advertising market (todayifoundout.com, 2011; straightdope.com, 2014).

After some time, movie phase didn’t took a long time to realize that full film advertisement will be much effective if it’s showed at the beginning of the movie rather than showing it at the end of the movie clip. By 1930s, the switch was made to advertise trailers at the beginning of the movie.  After the switching, the term was changed to ‘previews’ from trailers although some English spoken audience still using the old term (straightdope.com, 2014).

The common trailer format of today’s advertisement trailers include a very three simple formats; first, to set up a right premises for the story; second is to highlighting the main plot of the story which will be shown in the trailer; lastly everything joined with a powerful music at the background accompanied by the right visual montage of suspenseful, emotion, humorous moments or action packed, all depend on the film type (adage.com, 2013; straightdope.com, 2014).

One of the most famous trailers of non-montage was the movie titled “psycho’ by Alfred Hitchcock  where at the end of the trailer, he will be in bathroom and then he throws back the curtain and reveals Vera Miles, who then gives a high pitch scream and then the title of the movie “psycho” fills the screen. At a part of the movie where Janet Leigh was not available after some time for some reason and thus, Hitchcock put a custom wig on Vera Miles who played as the sister of Marion Crane and used her to imitate at the shower scream part of the trailer. This was completely unnoticed by many for years later (todayifoundout.com, 2011; straightdope.com, 2014).

In today’s trailers, most of it did not appear anywhere near the movie or the soundtrack of the movie because they were made long ago even before the movie’s release date, most likely a year earlier in advance. The most important part is done at the end where films are given to the music composers to add music and to make it a perfect trailer.(straightdope.com,2014)

Movie trailers are known to mislead at some point but sometimes they go in the opposite direction by giving away some key plot points and some twists. This will increase the commercials aired when the time the movie is opened on the 1st week. Although trailers mostly consist of clips from the movie itself, it is often inevitable. In Figure 2, is showing an example of preview to be showed at the beginning of the trailer (straightdope.com, 2014).


Figure 2: Beginning of the trailer


The author now will talk about the importance of context in a trailer. For an example, in an action movie, we may preview a random fighting scene between two characters, where one of it happens to be a good friend of the hero at the beginning. This may not be a part of the trailer until we realize after watching the full movie. This is when we realize that this particular scene was a foreshadowing about the betrayal which will occur in the later part of the movie. In a related situation, this could happen with DVD menu introduction screens which include montages or clips of footages from that particular movie or episode, which potentially reveals the context of the movie even before viewer, have got the chance to watch the full movie. When these plots are revealed, it creates a spoiling effect before the viewer views the film but since the viewer might possibly watch a trailer few day before watching the full movie which would give them a chance to forget about the things from the trailer. On the other hand, viewers are moments away from full movie when they watch the menu introduction clips or scenes. A picture in Figure 3 below, is showing an example of cartoons from a trailer which shows what’s coming next continuously.


Figure 3: Example of cartoons from a trailer which shows what’s coming next.


Every day, an average of 75 million people just in U.S watch videos online and streaming videos goes viral about 40 billion videos every month. The author now talks about The 4 rules to make an advertisement clip go viral.

The video must evoke emotions. This is the most important aspect we should know when creating a video together with the intention to make it go viral which includes sad, education, controversial in some cases. This would bring up some sort of emotion and this is what helps the video to begin taking the path to viral spreading. An easy example, when a friend tells you a funny joke or a story, you would pass that joke to some other friends because you want others to know this and to make them laugh too because it’s funny and entertains people. This is what exactly happening on the internet now when people starts to share a video (advertisement in this case) and it’s important to mix some true emotions into your videos (contentmarketinginstitute.com, 2014;convinceandconvert.com, 2014).

Brands image should be portrayed, but without being too much promotional. When a video gets successful, most likely it’s the first time the public hears about that company and mostly if it’s a start –up business and this is for a reason because the video needs to be ooze the brand’s personality and contents but without making a ‘hard sell’. A good example is given below and it’s one of the most viral videos ever produced. The video highlights information and at the same time, the video is hilarious. The company didn’t show much of on the looks of the products but reality. The male in that video explains why people should buy the ‘DollarShaveClubs’ shaving blades and why we have to spend more on shaving blades. By looking at this video, consumers will think what’s good and bad and choose a wise selection. In Figure 4, is showing an example of viral video of the ‘DollarShaveClub’ (contentmarketinginstitute.com, 2014; convinceandconvert.com, 2014; inc.com, 2014).


Figure 4: An exmple of viral video of the ‘DollarShaveClub’

You must have a proper marketing plan.

Many companies viral advertisement happens because of its luck but we shouldn’t take this risk. It’s also hard for a video to be spread when a product or service is opposite to something uploaded that’s uploaded for entertainment purposes. Now days, many companies commissions videos without understanding that not most of them are going to end up successfully because your advertising video should be great for sure, but importantly you also need a good marketing idea in that video to attract viewers which will later viewers will share to others and thus it becomes a viral video for some time. A well established and maintained company might find marketing easier compare to start-ups because big companies already have a great social media following. For instance, the ‘Coca-Cola’ company got almost 55 million Facebook fans and thus their videos will go viral much faster (contentmarketinginstitute.com, 2014; convinceandconvert.com, 2014).

Another thing is that no matter how your initial marketing strategies like YouTube advertisement looks, the video itself should be at its best to catch attention of others in the media. It is believed that there will be a time where your video will be stopped from being shared or the number of users searching for the content may go down, but you must be sure that doesn’t happens too fast (contentmarketinginstitute.com, 2014).



Other branding efforts/strategies must be in place in that video

The main reason why we commission a video is because we want to see the results out of it, and it’s a waste if you invest most of your money in an advertisement video intended to go viral, but operation and marketing efforts are out of whack. For example if you have a successful video where thousands of visitors comes to your website every day and  you have a 10 to 20 year old website and you don’t include any online ordering system, it’s  believed that you would lost a good revenue and tonnes of customers. We should also use other marketing effort in order to maximize our return on the investment. The DollarShave club is a good example on how things are done properly at the beginning stage. Facts says that within the 1st 24 hours the video going live, the video have received up to 5,000 subscribers and also 1000 of customers paying up online and signup as a good result. Marketers also should include brief description and some few tags under the video description to make the video to be much more effective to be viral (contentmarketinginstitute.com, 2014; convinceandconvert.com, 2014).




Figure 5: The digital usage seems to be increasing compared


Figure 6


Figure 7


Figure 8: The differences between advertising video via online and via TV


Based on the authors personal reflection, I would say that advertising via a video will give a great impact on marketing since everyone globally uses internet helps to make the video go viral and everyone knows about the product or services. We can create a channel in YouTube and upload the videos. The page should also include other videos regarding the product or services where viewers can check other videos out at the same time which will increase the marketing plan.

The videos should also be included with proper related hash tags and information at the video description box, which is to give viewers a hint on what’s the video, is about. Advertisers should also include web content together in the video description box, example like adding the website “URL” on the description so that interested viewers can grab this opportunity to get to know more about the goods and services and thus increase the product or service marketing. Advertisers should also engage the community on their channels and interact with the public. For example, they should reply comments commented by viewers so that the other viewers know that the channel is active and trustworthy.

Advertisers also no need to spend too much time and money on just making one advertisement’s video. Although the author can say that almost 50% of the chances that the video would go viral are based on luck, the other 50% depends on the hard work of the advertisers on how they organize the structure of the entire advertisement plan.

Next the author also learned that when an advertising video is published, it is important to not stress too much on the exterior of the product but talk about the information and the proven facts about the product. The author also learned that the video advertisement preview in online is more a marketing strategy than advertising it on a TV because the author learn that people now days are intended to use more of internet for entertainment and other purposes rather than watching movie.

Finally, the author would like conclude that either its online or via normal TV channel, video advertising makes a lots of impact on the product and services because compared to pictures and just text information, videos will gain much attention and the commentary behind the video makes it just perfect and understandable and every advertising company should include video advertising in their marketing strategies.




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Content Marketing Institute, 2013. Video Content Marketing: 4 Elements of An Effective Strategy. [online] Available at: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/03/video-content-marketing-effective-strategy/ [Accessed 23 Sep. 2014].

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Inc.com, 2014. 9 Irresistible Viral Marketing Videos. [online] Available at: http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/9-irresistible-viral-marketing-videos.html [Accessed 22 Sep. 2014].

Photobucket, 2014. FlapjackFan125’s image. [online] Available at: http://i729.photobucket.com/albums/ww293/FlapjackFan125/NowNextThen.png [Accessed 23 Sep. 2014].

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One response to “ Why movie advertisement clips are called “trailers” ”

  1. ftleow says:

    Kabbilah, my comments are:
    – the selection of content is suitable to explain the background info about the advertisement, but more examples or supporting materials are needed to support detailed study
    – no description on how you will design your own artwork after this study?
    – please add the caption and figure number to all figures
    ‘we’, ‘they’, ‘i’,
    – please use 3rd person writing style
    – lack of citation in the paragraphs

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