Stock Footage vs. Original Content

All-too often in this business, agencies reduce video budgets by falling back on stock footage libraries, rather than coming up with original stories and shooting the video content themselves.

While there’s no denying that there is some beautifully-shot stock footage out there, it comes with an obvious drawback: it’s totally impersonal. And for today’s digital audience, impersonal is the one thing you never want to be.

Forget the fact that most of it looks rigid and staged, the real problem is that, by its very nature, stock footage treats brand stories like they are interchangable.

Need to communicate speed and progress? Show a time lapse of traffic. Need to communicate a commitment to the environment? Show some windmills on a verdant hillside. It’s become a joke at this point. Videos built on stock footage communicate ideas, not stories. With no story, there’s no impact.

If there’s no impact, why bother?

The best case scenario, your video is forgettable. The worst case scenario, your video feels cynical and pandering, hurting brand affinity with your existing audience base.

Which brings us to the most important point of all: cost. Unless you really need shots from the heart of the Congo jungle, it’s possible to produce engaging, high-quality original video projects for the same amount of money as using high-quality stock footage. We do it all the time, for brands of all sizes. Everything from startups to Fortune 500 consumer brands.