Monday, December 24, 2012

Business History Hazards: Part 2

A colleague sent a link to a 40th anniversary video done by a business. "You'll like this," he said. I didn't. Why?
1. Too anonymous. I couldn't tell who made this business anniversary video. I had to look them up later on Google. Turns out that many companies have their name (it's a fairly common word). I narrowed it down to a large design agency. An agency that can't brand itself accurately doesn't inspire confidence.
2. Too cavalier. The video consists of rapid-fire clips from the last 40 "Best Picture" Academy Award Oscar (R) winners. Amazingly, it offered no credits at the end. I had to wonder whether the filmmaker had obtained permissions or licensing. I doubt it (would have cost a fortune). Fair use? They still should acknowledge their sources. Woody Allen is generally not amused to see people freely using pieces of "Annie Hall."
3. Too tasteless. The theme was 40, as in 40 cheers, 40 kisses, 40 tears, etc. The clips included 40 shots (as in gunshots) and 40 ka-booms. In light of recent tragic events, I'd have edited these out.
4. Too long! Six+ minutes. I hung in only to check the closing credits. See point #2.

I'm not identifying the filmmaker or providing the link here, since I'm not that much of a curmudgeon. It was posted on Vimeo, however, which hints that this video was not made public but was used at an internal event. Maybe it was a big hit as an event opener during a gala dinner. But we all know that anything posted on the Web will migrate.

Moral of the story: When celebrating a business anniversary, it makes sense to identify yourself and the materials you draw from. And why not tell your own corporate story? Or at least weave a bit of your particular workplace drama into the general mix?

From all of us at ... Happy new year!

Part of an occasional series of cautionary and exemplary case studies