Call me crazy, but I seem to be one of the very few video editors who specifically doesn’t do ‘Explainer Videos’. Read on to find out why.

3 Reasons why I hate whiteboard explainer videos.

You know the type of thing I’m talking about; there is a whiteboard or a hand drawing stuff, and as an over-enthusiastic voiceover tells you all about why you need the whatever it is that is being sold, the text appears (in various sizes, different fonts and colours – a veritable graphic designer’s nightmare) and tells you in great detail, or just over and over, why you need what they’re selling.

These things are becoming ubiquitous on the web as a form of advertising, perhaps because they’re so simple and cheap to make. Not that the graphics don’t require work, but a lot of these things are based on stock templates that anyone can use (and so everyone does). The ‘script’ is always very much the same, this is your ‘problem’, this is what we have to ‘solve’ this problem, these are the people who made it, or why they made it and finally why you should care. 

Strangely, the number of requests and postings for jobs creating them is huge. It just blows my mind! I’ve even seen stats claiming that having one of these horrors on your website can increase your conversions (that’s people buying stuff, for those of you unacquainted with the jargon of the marketing world), by up to 100% or more!

Really? Who’s watching these things? I bet it’s not you, or you wouldn’t admit it was!

I will make the distinction here that I’m talking specifically about those whiteboard and text numbers, where a voice drones away telling you what the product is all about, there’s a bunch of motion and some animations which attempt to make it seem entertaining.

Ok so why do I hate them so much?
Reason 1

Simple – they look cheap. They probably are cheap, but boy do they look it! These things are the equivalent of ads on TV full of tacky star-shaped transitions, popping text in various colours (and different fonts – the horror!) accompanied by a rapid-fire, sometimes shouted voiceover “Get two for the price of one!”, “Only for Three Days!!”

They just scream “cheap!” to me. Actually, sometimes they just scream.

Reason 2

They don’t do what you think (or hope) they are going to do. They don’t educate people about your product, and they don’t entertain them either. In fact, if anyone actually watches one of these things end to end, I’d be very surprised if they were not already interested in your product or service, and looking for further detail.

Don’t just take my word for it; here’s a neat article from content marketing strategist Barry Feldman, Explainer Videos are for Marketers Unable to Explain, describing why he thinks Whiteboard Explainer Videos are a mistake, and that the real problem is that they’re being used when someone hasn’t quite been able to work out a ‘value proposition’ for what they’re selling.

His take is that you’re using the explainer because you haven’t quite been able to come up with a one-liner than describes your product or service. My advice? Find one!

Reason 3

They’re BORING. Unless you are selling financial services or ‘get rich quick’ schemes, don’t do a whiteboard video! Your whiteboard explainer is most likely going to look like a ‘get rich quick’ scheme regardless of what it actually is unless it’s been done by some real professionals.

My view? Don’t waste your money. If you want to show off your product or service, show someone actually using it, get an ad agency or creative production house (or Sonic Eye!) to come up with an idea that will show your brand in the best light. You might even spend that cash on getting someone to make an animated explainer video, one with an idea, a script, and some real energy put into it (just don’t ask us – we don’t touch them!).

If not, or if you are looking for an economical option, go for a simple edited piece which talks about your company, has others give testimonials about what you offer, or shows your product or service in a clean, creative way.

Of course, you are free to disagree with my point of view, but that’s why I hate explainer videos, and that’s why I don’t make them. What are your thoughts on the explainer video? Is it a short-lived fad?