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5 VHS covers and what they teach us about social media marketing

5 VHS covers and what they teach us about social media marketing

Posted 01st June, 2020 by Sarah

6-minute read

‘What do VHS covers from the 80s and 90s and social media marketing have in common?’. Granted this isn’t the most frequently asked question in the world. However, the answer may surprise you – it’s a lot.

Any child of the 80s and 90s can tell you how important the video shop was to their Saturday nights. Back then, renting a film was the only way to legally watch a new movie after it had finished showing at the cinema.

And it wasn’t just the movie itself that kids looked forward to. It was the whole video shop experience. The ‘Be Kind, Rewind’ signs, the snacks, and the sea of videos on the walls.

Choosing the right film could take hours. Although some video cases made the movie inside seem so appealing that customers couldn’t help but pick it up.

Remind you of anything? Your social media newsfeed, perhaps?

From a video wall to a Facebook wall

VHS covers may be old school as far as marketing and design is concerned, but they are an example of both disciplines at their best.

What was needed to make someone pick up a movie back then, is still what is needed to make your audience click on your social posts now. The media may be different, but the aims and challenges are exactly the same.

When your audience is scrolling through their newsfeed, they are looking for something to capture their attention, entertain them and inform them, so it’s a marketer’s job to feed into that. So, let’s take a look at 5 VHS covers from the 80s and 90s and find out what they can teach us about social media marketing today.

1. Halloween
Vhs Covers Of Horror Movie Halloween

LESSON: Keep it simple

The iconic Halloween VHS cover is a great example of keeping it simple. The front cover has an extremely simple colour palette, with the main image in the centre, immediately drawing the eye. It isn’t muddied by overdesign – it is clean and concise and perfectly represents the title and premise of the film within.

This is how your social media posts need to be. Everything in your designs should represent what you are trying to say or sell. If you over complicate it, you risk pulling focus and ruining the point you are trying to make.

Remember, colour is also a really important factor in your design. It is well-known that colour is used to represent certain qualities. For example, blue is known to represent trust and integrity and red is known to represent passion, power, love and even blood. So be mindful of the message you are sending out with the colour scheme you choose. Imagine if the Halloween cover had pink instead of orange, it wouldn’t quite have the same effect, would it?

2. Stephen King’s IT
Vhs Cover Of The Stephen King Movie It

LESSON: Be disruptive

Subverting your audience's expectations is a really effective way of grabbing their attention. This VHS cover did exactly that. Taking something known to be nice, like a clown, and making it evil is pretty disruptive. It goes against the norm and what we expect, and leaves the audience with questions that they need the answer to. Sounds like a pretty good recipe for social media success, right?

Do something unexpected, go against the norm and create waves. You’ll find that it will help you to stand out on an overcrowded social feed.

3. Alien
Vhs Cover Of The Ridley Scott Movie Alien

LESSON: Design and content need to work together

A L I E N – spelt out in a stark, white-on-black Arial typeface, with an unusual amount of space between the letters. And the tagline, underneath the sinister egg: “In space no one can hear you scream.” Genius. It’s a perfect demonstration of how one sentence when accompanied with the right design can create atmosphere and communicate a complex idea.

Another awesome part of this VHS cover is the 18 certificate. Placed underneath the title as both a badge of honour and a dare. It created intrigue and helped propel this film into the must-watch category. It is the movie equivalent of a call-to-action, that action being – you must watch me.

So think about that. What are you trying to get across on social media? How can your content and design work together in harmony to create something that becomes a must-click on a newsfeed. The design needs to complement both the social message that sits with it and also the content that sits behind it.

4) Jurassic Park
Vhs Cover Of The Stephen Spielberg Film Jurassic Park

LESSON: Create a brand

Like the VHS cover for Halloween, Jurassic Park is a great example of both a simple colour scheme and restraint.

The black background draws focus to that red and yellow logo which really pops on the page. Knowing that this was to be a franchise, the creation of such an iconic logo was smart. Without words, you recognise Jurassic Park from the artwork alone. Every VHS Cover, poster, mug etc shares this iconic logo. It flows through everything.

This is a valuable lesson for social media because ensuring that you create a style of design and tone of voice that will make your work instantly recognisable is important when trying to establish your brand identity.

5. Nightmare on Elm Street Box Set
Vhs Covers Of The Wes Craven Movie Nightmare On Elm Street

Lesson: Make sure it all works together

Having random social media posts on your feed won’t work. Your social posts have to work in isolation, but they have to work together, too. This is where planning and strategy really comes into play. Posting spontaneously, when appropriate, works, but in order to create a cohesive feel to your social platforms you need to plan.

Time to get social

So there you have it, 5 VHS covers that teach us valuable lessons about social media marketing. Can you think of a VHS cover we can learn from? We’d like to know. Comment below or on social with your suggestions.

Categories: Marketing

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