On the surface it seemed pretty modest, but Dukane Corp.'s YouTube video announcing the company was pulling out of NPE2009 was a groundbreaking piece of filmmaking a plastics company using a video to deliver major news directly to the viewers watching on computer screens or cell phones.
Certainly President Barack Obama is using the Internet to communicate with millions of people. But here was Chuck Clark from a maker of plastic welding equipment doing it!
The Dukane video came out in March. That was followed by a video featuring Steve Maguire explaining why Maguire Products Inc. and Novatec Inc. were doing the same thing.
In the future, more executives will use videos to make all types of major announcements. The reason both videos work well is simple. They allow a top executive to fully explain a difficult decision, directly facing the camera with all the subtle nuances, voice inflections and body language. It's believable.
The video styles are different, although they make same key point: Given the tough economy, each company is using the money they would have spent at the show and putting it into new-product development.
The Dukane video is smoother. Dressed in a blue dress shirt and red tie no suit coat Chuck Clark, president of Dukane's Intelligent Assembly Solutions Division, walks into what looks like the Dukane lobby and explains the decision.
The camera stays focused on Clark, alternating between closeups and longer shots. Clark walks toward the camera. Then the scene shifts to the plant, where Clark explains how Dukane will redeploy its resources toward applications- and product-engineering activities.
Steve Maguire's video debut is simpler, just him talking into the camera. But it's effective, straightforward communication he's a hands-on inventor and processing guy. Maguire makes some interesting points about the psychology of trade shows. He talks bluntly about the economy and the tough choices of what to cut veteran employees, new product development, or a trade show exhibit.
Just because I'm highlighting these videos certainly does not mean that I think it's great that some companies are not exhibiting at NPE. But speaking as someone in the business of communication, it's the mechanism for delivering the messages that is so interesting to me.
Neither clip is Steven Spielberg. What these pioneering plastics industry videos represent is the use of a fast-growing digital medium as a channel for straightforward, business-to-business communication that aims to explain an important decision and to try to blunt or preempt the inevitable rumors and the nasty spin from competitors.
Bregar is a Plastics News senior reporter based in Akron, Ohio.