Connecting with Your Audience and Getting Views for the Right Reasons

Case Study 3 min
Watch a positive example of a Marine video that incorporates humor into a commander's message with a tone that speaks directly to the target audience.

The Combat Center's Commanding General, William F. Mullen lll, and Installation Sergeant Major, Michael J. Hendges, want to give you a message before your liberty period. Credit: YouTube

"Safety First" connects with the Marine Corps audience by speaking their language and using humor to create an engaging and relatable video. The video begins with Commanding General William F. Mullen III stating the purpose, which is to make sure the audience is prepared for the weekend. While the narration uses serious language, the video imagery employs comedy to hold the viewer’s attention as they watch gruff Sergeant Major Michael J. Hendges confiscate and replace commissary customers' items that could lead to an unsafe or unhealthy situation. He ends each encounter by placing a large jug of water on the checkout counter as Gen. Mullen reminds viewers, “Don’t forget to hydrate.”

Despite the message being clearly targeted to Marines, no one featured at the checkout counter is in a Marine uniform. They are all wearing civilian clothing while Marines in uniform are visible in the background walking into the store. This speaks directly to the audience of Marines and their families while humanizing Marines to the public. The use of humor to connect with their audience makes clear why it received over 1.8 million views.

Lesson Learned

Know who your audience is and what they engage with. Use a language and tone that resonates with your audience. That voice might be humor or it might be serious, informational or instructional. Figure out what their language is and use it to gain and maintain their attention.

Take advantage of video as a format to cover tricky subjects. Keep it short and sweet, but get creative.

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