Educational Content: Primitive Technology’s YouTube Channel

Channels like Primitive Technology are perfect examples of how long-form educational content brings a lot of value to viewers. Brands could do the same.

I came across the Primitive Technology YouTube channel a couple years ago through my oldest son, when he suggested we watch a couple videos together.

The premise is fairly simple. A man walks into the woods and, with his bare hands and some rudimentary self-made tools, builds furnace, a house, a pool, etc.


If you haven’t seen some of his creations, I urge you to do so right now.

But be warned, the videos are long. They do not have any spoken word (no one speaks, no voice over, nothing).

But there is a good chance you will be glued to your screen.

It is a mix of the Slow TV trend that started a few years back, with educational content that shows you, in detail, how to perform a certain task.

As of January 2020, The Primitive Technology YouTube channel now has 9,98M subscribers!

What this tells us marketers is that the way information and educational content are shared has greatly evolved and people do crave content that will teach them how to do something.

DIY videos weren’t born yesterday.

But the level at which videos like what John Plant is doing it with Primitive Technology is a testament to long-form educational content and how it can attract massive audiences.

Is this something your brand could be doing? Is there a blind spot in the content currently available to your customers where your brand could be the one teaching them skills and techniques they are looking to learn?

Christopher Keelty has written a very interesting article on the subject and gives more examples of how many YouTune channels are bringing this kind of value to the internet.

It is true, pretty much the sum totality of human knowledge is now available online. But there is a good chance there might be room for you, your brand.

Want to discuss educational content for your brand? Contact an expert at Toast and schedule a consultation with our experts today.

Get ready for TikTok, Reels, and other short-video apps

Short video apps are all the craze, taking the world by storm. Is your brand ready?

At this point, there are good chances you’ve heard of TikTok, a Chinese-based app that has been downloaded 1.5 billion times outside of its domestic market (as of early 2020).


Apps like TikTok are basically video-sharing social networks that are used to create short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos. These videos can run from 3 seconds all the way up to 60 seconds, depending on the platform. Users select a soundtrack (a music clip, the sound from another video on the platform, or recorded sound, for example). This is why you’ll often see dozens, if not hundreds of videos that use the exact same soundtrack, but are “re-enacted” by other users, in their own way (a choreography or specific dance moves are good examples).


But it is not the only app that was born in the Chinese market off the buzz around creating short-video content that can be easily produced and then shared.


Kwai is hot in Brazil, VMate is hot in India and Likee is hot in Russia and Southeast Asia.


Brands are starting to take notice and many have started producing for the platform.


Publishing content on TikTok and similar platforms require having specific narratives, an approach that is different from what a brand might by publishing elsewhere. Your Facebook or Instagram story is a great start, but it might not be exactly what the user base is looking for when spending time on TikTok.


So how should your brand evaluate if there is potential for it on this new venture? First, create yourself an account and spend 5 minutes every day watching what is being published, which memes or challenges or type of videos seem to work well. Follow some brands and look at what they are doing.


These platforms are mostly relevant for consumer goods brands, but there will be other categories that can make their way into it.


If you want to learn more about the sector of short video apps, be sure to take some time to read Wency Chen’s in-depth article on the current state of the various networks being created, including Facebook’s second test in the category with Reels in Brazil (after Lasso failed to make a dent in 2018).


But one thing is sure, create an account on TikTok, spend some time looking at where teens and younger generations are spending a large amount of time. This will allow you to have a better view of what could be possible for your brand.

Would you like to dive deeper into TikTok and short-video apps with us? Contact an expert at Toast and schedule a consultation with our experts today.

YouTuber? New past-time for celebrities?

More and more celebrities are turning to YouTube and generating sizeable audiences.

Audiences on YouTube keep growing.

The reach of the platform is near ubiquitous and has now become the second most popular search engine.

Users from all generations are turning to it to watch content that fit their niche interests, content you would never have been able to see on any other large media organization’s channels.

And celebrities are turning to it and building a “side hustle,” building an owned audience for themselves (although we could debate if an audience you create on YouTube really is YOUR owned audience or if it is still rented eyeballs from a platform).

A Hollywood Reporter article dives deep into this last trend, with examples Zac Efron, Jason Momoa, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

It explains how some of them are currently bridging the gap between a traditional Hollywood star and a digital star.

This is the type of content your brand’s videos will be compared side-by-side with, more and more. How is your brand reacting to this? Could this have a potential impact on your YouTube video strategy?

If you would like to discuss your YouTube video strategy let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

The impact of long-form video content

Long-form video content can have a significant impact on your audience.

At Toast, our clients often ask us how long their content (written, audio, video) should be. Our answer always remains the same: “As long as possible, as long as it stays interesting.”

Their answer to this often comes down to telling us that their audience doesn’t really watch their 60-second content, people don’t watch it to the end, so we should make sure to tighten it all up into shorter content.

“People no longer have the attention span they used to have, so we have to make it shorter.”

That is simply not true.

The brain has not really changed in the last 10 years. What has changed, however, is the offer, the amount of content available to us, which has exploded.

We human beings have an EXCELLENT attention span. We are able to binge view two seasons of Game of Thrones, House of Cards in a single weekend.

When it’s good, we stay.

It is when the level of interest or value you get from content is not there that you tune out.

“With the amount of content at my disposal, there must be something better than that… I’ll stop this and go see elsewhere.”

And your content assets, are they interesting enough? Do they provide enough value?

Of course, your brand will not be the next Black Mirror or Chernobyl, but here lies the real main variable that determines the attention span of your audience: the value that your content brings.

An article, published by the team at Wistia, lists 7 excellent examples of brands that have played the bet (and succeeded) in producing long-form content. Patagonia, ProfitWell, Mailchimp, Airbnb, brands that have found the content angle that attracts and brings value to their target customers and have therefore produced long-form video content on the subject.

And let’s clarify one thing: long-form content does not necessarily equal high production costs. The example of ProfitWell perfectly demonstrates that it is possible to produce longer video content at a low cost.

I invite you to think about the level of attention you are currently seeing in your audience and ask yourself if the value you bring to the table is high enough to stimulate continuous, longer-lasting watching time. And if not, what content could you produce that would do so?

Would you like to analyze which content angles could bring more value to your audience? What is your level of satisfaction of it? Let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Video strategy: looking at Hearst

Hearst Originals goes all-in on video production.


Hearst Magazines is an international media entity with publications such as Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Esquire, but also printed editions of brands such as Airbnb (which we discussed in a previous article).


In early 2019, Hearst, through its Hearst Originals division, acquired the YouTube Clevver network and a production studio in Los Angeles that belonged to Defy Media (a company we had also discussed in a previous article).


These initiatives follow two key hires aimed at increasing revenues and opportunities from the media group’s video production and distribution activities.


The audiences that the group has developed on YouTube, other networks such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook as well as their own platforms are generating more and more interest from advertisers.


In an article published by Digiday, Tim Peterson details the approach and opportunities that are at the heart of Hearst’s video strategy, with several productions currently under development, networks such as Clevver and Delish (in addition to their properties associated with international magazines) and the development of content with high advertising revenue potential.


This article provides a better understanding of the structure that companies like Hearst use to reach and satisfy their audiences, while keeping in mind the ROI and revenue generation dimension.


What do you think of your video strategy? What is your level of satisfaction of it? Let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Video Strategy: A&W + Beyond Meat

A combination of affinity audiences and video sequencing allowed A&W to find its audience.

In Canada, the launch of the Beyond Meat vegetable patty has made a big splash and continues to attract customers to A&W.

The introduction of this product in its restaurants has positioned A&W in the market as a fast-food chain that truly cares about the environment and the food preferences of its customers.

With this positioning in mind, the chain’s marketing team launched its video campaign, in particular on YouTube.

In an article in Think With Google, we discover the approach at the message level, but also part of their YouTube video strategy.

Audience targeting focused on two main vectors:

  1. Green-living enthusiasts
  2. Fast-food lovers

These 2 affinity audiences were targeted by tailored messages (A&W had placed its food truck and offered samples in different environmental festivals, and also in festivals more suitable for fast food), then retargeted by a shorter (6 seconds), more direct message, inviting people to visit a restaurant.

The article and accompanying video provide some additional details on the A&W Canada marketing team’s approach and strategy, but what we can learn from it is how they were able to create messages and creative solutions tailored to the targeted audience, without overspending on production. It is the targeting and insights of the target audience that are at the heart of the success of such a campaign.

If you want to explore the potential of your audience and the video strategy that your brand could have, contact us and schedule a free consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Subtitles: old technology, new uses

Our video content consumption habits have brought up the importance and relevance of closed captioning.

Before Facebook started autoplaying video content without sound in its newsfeed a few years ago, we talked very little about closed captioning.

However, since then, all video projects we produce for our clients are systematically subtitled to allow viewing without sound, as very often these videos are viewed ad hoc in a Facebook, Instagram or other social media newsfeed.

We are a generation of content consumers for whom subtitles are no longer a tool for people with hearing disabilities, but a tool that allows us to view more content in more diverse contexts than before.

No headphones and in a crowded bus? No problem. Insomnia and a sleeping loved one? No problem.

Netflix has also played its part in this movement!

We now very regularly listen to Scandinavian series with the original soundtrack, thanks to closed captions, and many even listen to series and feature films in their own language with the subtitles. Why? Because it ensures that nothing is missed.

Jason Kottke recently asked himself the question, wanting to know what makes subtitles so popular these days. A Twitter discussion ensued and excellent points were raised by other users, which he references in his article.

If captioning is part of your life (personal or professional), I invite you to read Jason’s article, and also Lance Ulanoff’s that he mentions at the very end (where it talks about ADHD in particular). Very interesting!

Happy subtitling.

The Benefits of Long-Form Video Content

It is not true. Our attention span is not decreasing!

Have you ever been given the example of the attention rate of a goldfish when you talk about the fact that people have a very, very low level of concentration since the advent of smartphones?

Well, that’s not true.

The human being has not changed in the last 10 years. Just as it has fundamentally changed very little over the past few centuries.

However, one thing has changed: the offer.

The offer of content, options that we have in our consumption choices.

Every time you spend time on Facebook or any other social network (for example), you can stop at a video or click on an article, but you know consciously that if your choice turns out to be boring, you can start scrolling again in a moment and find something else.

However, your level of attention has not been affected. It is the fact that you know that you have other options at your disposal that makes you less tolerant than before when it comes to content that is not up to par.

If “before” we watched longer before we dropped out, it was because we couldn’t really be sure that there would be other, better options available to us.

This is no longer the case.

And why am I so sure that our attention span has not been impaired in the last 10 years? We are able to binge watch an ENTIRE season of House of Cards in one weekend.

When it’s good, we stay.

And that’s really where the recipe for human attention lies: the interest in staying.

So yes, you can produce longer content if you want. Put more “juice” in it, more meat on the bone. Do a deep dive on the subject.

If it’s good, they’ll stay.

Jenny Mudarri, a collaborator with the Wistia platform, has published an article that promotes long-form video content. She cites a very interesting study:

“[…] a 2017 study by video marketing platform Twenty Three showed that 80% of videos surveyed were under 5 minutes, but those short videos drove less than a third of overall video engagement. The 8% of videos that were 15 minutes or longer drove 50% of audience engagement.”

We have here a study showing that we can look for a large number of views on short videos, but deep engagement is unequivocally evident in longer videos.

And producing longer does not mean producing with larger budgets. Our production teams at Toast have demonstrated this many times to several customers.

If you focus on short content, feel free to consider producing longer video content. The engagement is stronger, and your content more “complete”.

And if you would like to explore in more detail the production of long-form content for your brand, contact us and we can discuss this together.

Fortnite + Marshmello

The latest examples of branded content take the model even further.

In your circle of family and friends, you probably know some Fortnite players. This phenomenon of massive online multiplayer gaming is not about to end!

Epic Games, the company behind this success, aims to transform what is currently a game as we know it, into a communication platform, a huge social network. Fortnite is currently the main means of communication for many young people.

For the older ones in the room, Epic Games seem to be working on recreating Second Life, which could very well work this time, without really wanting to do so initially.

The Fortnite brand recently created content for its player base, content that attracted more than 10 million players at the same time for the event.

10. Million. Players.

How did they do it? They invited, in the game environment, a very, very popular EDM (Electronic Dance Music) artist these days: Marshmello.

If only you knew how this excited my 8-and-11-year-old boys…. (However, we could discuss the dimension of advertising to children in another article.)

The artist did a ten-minute concert, live, which is now also (obviously) possible to watch on YouTube. At the time of writing this, the entire concert had accumulated more than 27M views on YouTube alone.



This is an excellent example of a brand that knows its audience very well and uses an influencer as a lever for co-creating content that will enhance it and demonstrate its ability to “connect” with its consumers.

All this in a game where dance is a key attribute of the online experience. So who is the best floss dancer among you? Yes, floss comes from Fortnite.

This example is taken from a very interesting article by David Bloom on Tubefilter that summarizes a recent panel on brand content that took place as part of Digital Entertainment World 2019.

Bloom goes into a little more detail about this Fortnite+Marshmello example, but also describes several recent examples from Microsoft, Fandango, Dollar Shave Club and some others.

So how could you use your own brand as a content lever for your audience?

If you would like to explore the content potential of your brand a little more, contact us and let us know about your current projects and we could assist you in your efforts to implement a new dimension to your content strategy.

35 content format prototypes, one year, and lots learned at the BBC

The BBC’s innovation laboratory publishes its results and presents the prototypes that had the greatest impact on audiences.

For the past year, the BBC News Lab has been testing a number of prototypes for presenting and structuring content (35 in total!) with the aim of discovering new ways to tell stories and structure the (sometimes complex) information that the public broadcaster wants to offer.

Tristan Ferne, head producer of the BBC’s R&D project, published a very detailed article on the prototypes that had a positive impact (and those that were not well received at all).

This article is a gold mine for any innovative content marketer or content designer wishing to explore new presentation or structure models that can be adapted to the needs of the reader/listener/etc.

I consider that many of these prototypes could be deployed by advertisers and brands.

In the projects that Ferne describes, there are several very interesting explorations on the notion of reader empathy, where the content can be adapted according to the desires of the person who consumes it.

Two of the objectives of the last few months were to:

  1. Tweaking the stories based on each reader’s information needs
  2. Breaking down the news into more digestible bits, helping readers grasp the complexity of various current events

In the article, you will find lots of details about their discoveries as well as about the prototypes that didn’t work.

An article to save, and to bring up during your brainstorming sessions when you would like your brand to innovate in the way it publishes and deploys its content.