How to Commemorate Solemn Holidays the Right Way with Video

A few weeks ago, we published our 2018 holiday guide on how to have fun incorporating an entire calendar year’s worth of holidays into your video marketing plan.

While most holidays are typically about celebrations, there are some that take on a more serious tone. Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day are examples of nationally recognized holidays with meaning that goes deeper than just a three-day weekend.

So can you still create videos for a serious holiday? Absolutely. However, it requires a lot of tact and special care to make sure what you create doesn’t come off as tacky, inappropriate, or disrespectful. It’s all about the execution, so striking the right tone and balance between art and ad is key.

Here are our recommendations for a handful of tasteful and powerful ways to commemorate and pay tribute during some of the year’s weightier holidays.

The short answer – create a serious video. That’s a pretty broad oversimplification, but when creating a video for this kind of occasion, you really want to take your subject matter seriously. This is not the time to get clever or go for jokes. Whichever holiday it is, you want to give it the reverence it deserves.

The key is to pick subject matter and video types that effectively showcase the meaning of each holiday. Some of the best video types for telling compelling stories in this category include:

  • Testimonials, where you let a subject share their own story in an interview setting.
  • Educational, where you tell a story that educates the viewer.
  • Day in the life, where you spotlight a subject and follow them around and let their environment and experiences inform the story.
  • Thank you, where you tell the story of your customer-client relationship by thanking them for supporting you.

In each of the above example video types, your goal should be to focus on telling stories that relate to the holiday in question – not your company.

That doesn’t mean you have to pretend you didn’t make it – on the contrary, you can and should be highlighting customers, employees, or other relevant community members to your business, as long as the story being told is one that fits with the theme of the holiday.

For example, if you’re creating a testimonial or day in the life video in anticipation of Memorial Day, you would want to interview a customer or employee who has lost a loved one and let them tell their own story their own way. Or if you’re creating a thank you video that coincides with Veterans Day, thank the veterans in a heartfelt and meaningful way.

For holidays like Veterans Day, a day honoring those who have served our nation throughout every branch of the military, video marketing can make a powerful statement – if done correctly.

Instead of creating something even remotely promotional, try creating a tribute video to honor Veterans working at your company, in your family, or throughout the country.

A tribute video is a video meant to highlight a particular subject without selling something, and could be as simple as a shout out or as in-depth as a heartfelt docu-style testimonial.

You can create your own tribute video by setting up interviews with your staff to discover any active-duty or retired military personnel among them or their loved ones. From there, find out how open your team is to sharing their stories or their families’ stories to commemorate them as a tribute for your video.

No matter the content, the goal of a tribute video is to pay tribute to a subject – and in no way promote your products or services. By trying to sell a customer through co-opting a holiday, you’ll most likely lose them. Based on the level of offense, that could mean for good.

Remember – you are not the focus, so leave you out of it as much as necessary.

There are plenty of creative ways to incorporate important and serious holidays into your video marketing plan, as long as your goal is to create something authentic and true to the spirit of the holiday. Your aim should be to honor the day – not make more sales.

That being the case, there are plenty of things we suggest you DON’T do when creating this type of video. We compiled a simple list of them here for an easily referenceable reminder. We know your intentions are good – but it’s always smart to double check yourself.

  • Capitalize on a national tragedy with a promotional sale.
  • Use a happy and celebratory video on a very serious occasion.
  • Try to be clever with tacky marketing gimmicks.
  • Shoehorn an inauthentic story together if you don’t have one.
  • Create a video if you’re uninformed on the significance of the holiday.
  • Start a conversation with your followers with the intention of trying to sell them.
  • Be inconsiderate of the subjects in your video.
  • Use cheesy, overly serious music that doesn’t fit the subject matter.
  • Feel like you need to create something just to be trendy.

This last one is very important – while we’re talking all about how to create a video for important serious holidays, don’t feel like you need to go out and make anything just to be trendy. It’s okay if you don’t have anything to say. Sometimes thoughtfulness means not using video at all.

With the high-speed pace of information exchange online these days, it’s easy to feel behind and get anxious if you aren’t involved in every trending conversation. But not everything is about us – sometimes, all anyone wants on a holiday is to be around family and friends. They aren’t waiting around at home all day wondering what their favorite companies have to say about this or that. And that’s okay – we don’t all need to have something to say about everything.

However, brands have created powerful videos to coincide with important holidays before, and will continue to do so. It’s all about having tact, taste, and an emotional connection to your story. Like any good filmmaker makes a film, you have to care about what your video is about. If you don’t care, it’s okay. Just don’t fake it. Sit this one out.

Grant Harvey

Grant Harvey