Most Testimonial Videos Are Stupid


2-18-2014 | By: Ben Cecil

First, I assure that a junior high schooler didn’t come up with the title of this post.

We’ve been on a crusade of sorts the last few years against typical testimonial videos.  I’m talking about the bland, “I really like company X.  They took care of me” testimonial videos.  The jig is up, people.  Our target demographic knows we would never post video of unsatisfied clients ripping us.  Testimonial videos are not Yelp.  They’re not user-generated.

The reality is that most testimonials you’ll see are not authentic.  That’s why they’re “stupid.”

OK, why even use video testimonials? 

Well, in the beginning, it was about letting someone else brag about our company because we couldn’t.

So, we shoved a camera in a client’s face and asked them to be “honest.”  This was (and still is) a flawed approach that produces no level of authenticity. Why?  Because we made it about us, the brand.  Not about the satisfied client and definitely not about the prospective client—your target.

The solution to all of this?

Don’t create video testimonials.  Tell customer video case stories

There are a few distinct differences between the two.  One is a story (good).  One is not (bad).   But the most important difference is the goal.

With video case stories, the goal is to tell the satisfied client’s story.  Their story.  Not your company’s story.  In fact, your company’s product or service should merely be a supporting character in this story.  The better you bring your existing’s client’s pains(both general & specific) to light, the more likely the video will connect with its target.  Also, it’s imperative that your satisfied client look like the hero as he/she pursued a solution.  After all, he/she figured out the best remedy for their company’s issues.  Your company didn’t. 

Here's an example:


This approach makes for a much more authentic and effective video testimonial experience.

Here’s an analogy.  Your client is King Arthur.  Your product is Excalibur.  How would you tell the story?  From the perspective of the sword?  No way.  King Arthur is the hero.  Magical as it may be, Excalibur is merely a piece of metal.

So, when doing testimonial videos, keep in mind that the satisfied client that you’re interviewing is the hero.

About the Author

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Ben Cecil

Ben is UPG's Strategy Director and has been crafting video campaigns for more than 10 years. Before UPG, Ben spent 7 years in local television, helping cultivate, deploy and measure branding efforts on broadcast and new media platforms. Ben hates boring video and loves chasing around his 2 year old son.

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