October 26, 2023

10 timeless promotional videos and what you can learn from them

What makes a successful promo video? Borrow ideas from the best with these promotional video examples.
October 26, 2023

10 timeless promotional videos and what you can learn from them

What makes a successful promo video? Borrow ideas from the best with these promotional video examples.
October 26, 2023
Vivian Tejeda
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Where traditional ads often rely on quick, creative messaging to sell a product, promotional videos focus on generating awareness and informing audiences by tapping into the strengths of video as a medium.

Promo videos are well-worth the investment to create as these versatile video assets can often be reused across your website, social media, emails, and ad campaigns.

The best way to learn how to create a powerful promotional video is by analyzing examples from successful brands. So here are some of the best promotional videos from over the years, along with tips to help you produce your own.

What is a promotional video?

A promotional video—or promo video—is a short video created to promote a specific product, feature, service, event, or offer. The goal is to capture a viewer's attention, generate interest, and prompt a specific call to action—whether it’s clicking through to a landing page, signing up for a newsletter, registering for an event, claiming an offer, or making a purchase.

Types of promotional videos include:

  • Product demo videos showing how a product works and highlights key features
  • Explainer videos summarizing complex services in a simple, engaging way
  • Event/Webinar videos teasing what to expect at an upcoming event or share highlights from past events
  • Tutorial videos explaining how to achieve a specific outcome using a product
  • Testimonial videos featuring happy customers sharing what they love about a product  

And pretty much any marketing video with the goal of driving awareness and sharing information about a specific offering from a brand.

That said, let’s dive into some promotional video examples that prove why this content is essential in any video marketing strategy

10 promotional video examples you can learn from

1. Apple: "Shot on iPhone"

Apple's "Shot on iPhone'' campaign focuses on the product's capabilities by featuring content created using specific iPhone features—in this case, Action Mode. 

This promo video combines elements of testimonial, demo, and tutorial videos, making it immediately relatable and authentic while conveying to viewers: “You can do this too.” 

Putting the iPhone in the hands of customers who are also “extreme camera operators”, Apple lets us compare what the final result looks like with and without Action Mode’s stabilization through a series of real world use cases.

2. Google: "Year in Search"

Google's "Year in Search" brings people together with a video about our collective experiences, emotions, and need for connection. 

Curating search trends that shaped a year under a single theme of personal change makes the everyday questions we type into Google seem all the more significant. The music and imagery act as an inspirational backdrop for what could easily have been a list of search trends, showing and not telling us how many of life’s big changes begin with a Google search.

3. Budweiser: "Puppy Love"

Budweiser's "Puppy Love" is a stellar example of harnessing storytelling, emotional engagement, and high-quality production to create a promotional video message that stands the test of time.

The Super Bowl ad was originally launched in 2014 and skillfully taps into universal emotions by showcasing a touching friendship between a puppy and a horse. This strong emotional hook engages viewers instantly and creates a positive association with the Budweiser brand.

The promo video also takes advantage of a tight narrative arc to share its message from the jump. Quick cuts and seamless transitions keep viewers invested, while the soundtrack pulls at our heartstrings. For a beer brand, this storytelling approach is far more impactful than just listing out features.

4. IKEA: "The Wonderful Everyday"

IKEA's "The Wonderful Everyday" campaign is a brilliant example of bringing brand positioning to life through video. The promo video elevates IKEA from a mere furniture retailer to a company that sees the magic of everyday life. This emotional connection helps people feel good about choosing IKEA for their home needs.

Skillful use of lighting, background music, and clever cinematography make the everyday items look extraordinary. This is a stark contrast considering the straightforward, no-frills style typically associated with IKEA.

Above all, the promotional video is relatable to a broad demographic—from young adults setting up their first home to older couples looking to downsize or update their living spaces.

5. Amazon: "Alexa Loses Her Voice"

Amazon's "Alexa Loses Her Voice" Super Bowl commercial nails the delicate balance of being funny while also selling the features of a product. 

The ad presents a worst-case scenario, ironically suggesting that celebrities like Cardi B and Gordon Ramsay could never replace Alexa. This clever framing not only entertains but also educates the viewer about Alexa's useful features in an engaging way. 

Humor combined with a star-studded cast made this promo video a hotbed for social media discussion, extending its reach beyond TV. The underlying message is clear: Alexa is irreplaceable, and its features are becoming as iconic as the celebrities who could never replace it.

6. John Lewis: "The Long Wait"

Though over a decade old, John Lewis's "The Long Wait" video is worth mentioning for its use of a timeless storytelling technique: setup and payoff.

The narrative structure sets things up with a young boy waiting impatiently for Christmas leaves you to assume it’s the prospect of getting presents. Various scenes marking the passage of time keep the viewer waiting eagerly along with him. The emotional payoff at the end where the kid can’t wait to give his parents a gift—which is a twist most of us wouldn’t see coming—leaves audiences with a warm feeling towards the brand. John Lewis is about more than just holiday shopping, but also the joy of giving.

7. Burger King: "Whopper Detour"

Burger King's "Whopper Detour" video starts as a typical fast food commercial, but quickly breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer directly with instructions to order a Whopper at McDonald’s. It’s jarring in the best way.

The video promotes a special offer to get a Whopper for only a penny if you order it through the Burger King app while near a McDonald's. This bold move is less about selling burgers and more about positioning Burger King against its biggest competitor in a tongue-in-cheek way, while also driving app installs and word of mouth buzz. 

The success of the campaign hinges on effectively at capturing attention and clearly explaining how to claim the offer, which this promotional video nails.

8. Audi: "Let It Go"

Audi's "Let It Go" ad is another example of emotional resonance through video marketing. This time with Maisie Williams singing the iconic song from "Frozen." 

The song choice isn't random—it's a metaphor for letting go of outdated technologies and embracing an electric future. The lyrics take on a new meaning for viewers as Maisie Williams drives past a closed gas station and other symbols of the old world. 

Together, the music and imagery cast Audi as a pioneer willing to let go of the past and embrace a more eco-friendly future.

9. Nike: "Dream Crazy"

Nike's "Dream Crazy" ad featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernickis a rallying cry for ambition, encapsulated by the phrase, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." The promotional video is a montage of stories from athletes who have overcome many challenges, implying that Nike gear can help you push your limits.

Nike takes a bold stance by featuring a controversial figure, showing that the brand is unafraid to stand by its values. It’s more than an ad for athletic gear. It’s a statement about inclusion and not limiting your dreams to fit the mold.

This promo video takes Nike’s products out of the store and into the middle of broader cultural conversations with shots of various athletes pursuing their passion while sporting the iconic Nike swoosh.

10. Apple: "Welcome Home by Spike Jonze"

We couldn’t end this list without featuring yet another brilliant example of a promotional video by one of the best storytelling brands around: Apple. 

Its "Welcome Home" promo video, directed by Spike Jonze, is more art than ad. Apple uses intricate choreography and dynamic set changes to depict the transformative power of music played on the HomePod. No dialogue is necessary—the visuals alone convey the product’s impact.

This promotional video ad doesn’t just sell a smart speaker; it sells an experience and a feeling of joy. Apple masterfully uses the medium of dance and music to convey how the speakers can change a space and mood.

The sheer quality of the production—from the creative set designs to the flawless dance moves—elevates the Apple brand to new heights. It highlights Apple’s commitment to aesthetic and functional excellence, emphasizing those brand values as a talking point.

How to create a promotional video

1. Choose your video editing software

The right video editing software can turn even a screen recording or footage filmed on your phone into a professional promo video, especially if you want to go the DIY route.

Helpful features for promo video creation include: 

  • AI transcription for generating accurate text transcripts of your audio and video content automatically
  • Screen recording to easily capture your camera or entire screen while recording audio from your microphone or computer 
  • Storyboarding functionality to plan and script your video in the same place you edit
  • Stock media library for adding music, video footage, AI voices, sound effects, and images—most of which are free to use for commercial purposes
  • Remote recording to conduct remote customer interviews and turn them into testimonial footage or voiceovers
Product image of the SquadCast and Descript integration

Descript offers everything you need from a promo video maker, including templates, transitions, effects, voiceovers, collaboration features, and more in an AI-powered editor that’s as intuitive as editing a doc.

2.  Develop a script and storyboard around a clear narrative

Creating a compelling promotional video starts with nailing down your core message and intended call-to-action. Lay out a storyboard for your video idea to align your content with your overall product marketing strategy. 

Descript’s online video editor makes this process easy by offering a toolkit tailored to both beginners and experienced video editors. Scenes can be created with a simple forward slash (/) to break your video down into parts to make planning and editing your promo video easier.

Descript example of segmenting video into smaller clips

3. Plan, shoot, and edit the video

Once you have a solid storyboard and marketing strategy, it's time to dive into the practical aspects of video production

Selecting the right locations, casting actors, and assembling equipment are crucial steps for creating a high-quality promotional video. While shooting, focus on the trifecta of great video content: good lighting, clear sound, and well-framed shots.

As always, film more than you think you need. The real magic happens in the video editing stage post-shoot.

The new Descript: A new way to make video. A better way.

Promotional videos FAQs

What makes a great promotional video?

A great promotional video holds your attention while relaying the brand's message. It connects emotionally, inspires action, and is short—the typical promo video is less than two minutes long. 

What are the benefits of promotional videos?

Promotional videos have many benefits and objectives, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Engaging viewers and customers
  • Telling stories effectively
  • Creating memorable viewing experiences 
  • Increasing conversions 

How do you make a good promotional video?

The process to create a good promotional video is simple:

  1. Craft a narrative and storyboard
  2. Record your footage and voice overs
  3. Choose great video editing software
  4. Edit your video
  5. Share your promo video
Vivian Tejeda
Vivian is a content marketer who loves writing, creativity, and is obsessed with the art of storytelling. Her free time is taken up by learning golf, reading books, and touching grass.
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10 timeless promotional videos and what you can learn from them

Promotional Videos

Where traditional ads often rely on quick, creative messaging to sell a product, promotional videos focus on generating awareness and informing audiences by tapping into the strengths of video as a medium.

Promo videos are well-worth the investment to create as these versatile video assets can often be reused across your website, social media, emails, and ad campaigns.

The best way to learn how to create a powerful promotional video is by analyzing examples from successful brands. So here are some of the best promotional videos from over the years, along with tips to help you produce your own.

Our full-featured video editing tool is as powerful as it is easy to use.
Look for our all-in-one audio & video production that’s as easy as editing a doc.

What is a promotional video?

A promotional video—or promo video—is a short video created to promote a specific product, feature, service, event, or offer. The goal is to capture a viewer's attention, generate interest, and prompt a specific call to action—whether it’s clicking through to a landing page, signing up for a newsletter, registering for an event, claiming an offer, or making a purchase.

Types of promotional videos include:

  • Product demo videos showing how a product works and highlights key features
  • Explainer videos summarizing complex services in a simple, engaging way
  • Event/Webinar videos teasing what to expect at an upcoming event or share highlights from past events
  • Tutorial videos explaining how to achieve a specific outcome using a product
  • Testimonial videos featuring happy customers sharing what they love about a product  

And pretty much any marketing video with the goal of driving awareness and sharing information about a specific offering from a brand.

That said, let’s dive into some promotional video examples that prove why this content is essential in any video marketing strategy

10 promotional video examples you can learn from

1. Apple: "Shot on iPhone"

Apple's "Shot on iPhone'' campaign focuses on the product's capabilities by featuring content created using specific iPhone features—in this case, Action Mode. 

This promo video combines elements of testimonial, demo, and tutorial videos, making it immediately relatable and authentic while conveying to viewers: “You can do this too.” 

Putting the iPhone in the hands of customers who are also “extreme camera operators”, Apple lets us compare what the final result looks like with and without Action Mode’s stabilization through a series of real world use cases.

2. Google: "Year in Search"

Google's "Year in Search" brings people together with a video about our collective experiences, emotions, and need for connection. 

Curating search trends that shaped a year under a single theme of personal change makes the everyday questions we type into Google seem all the more significant. The music and imagery act as an inspirational backdrop for what could easily have been a list of search trends, showing and not telling us how many of life’s big changes begin with a Google search.

3. Budweiser: "Puppy Love"

Budweiser's "Puppy Love" is a stellar example of harnessing storytelling, emotional engagement, and high-quality production to create a promotional video message that stands the test of time.

The Super Bowl ad was originally launched in 2014 and skillfully taps into universal emotions by showcasing a touching friendship between a puppy and a horse. This strong emotional hook engages viewers instantly and creates a positive association with the Budweiser brand.

The promo video also takes advantage of a tight narrative arc to share its message from the jump. Quick cuts and seamless transitions keep viewers invested, while the soundtrack pulls at our heartstrings. For a beer brand, this storytelling approach is far more impactful than just listing out features.

4. IKEA: "The Wonderful Everyday"

IKEA's "The Wonderful Everyday" campaign is a brilliant example of bringing brand positioning to life through video. The promo video elevates IKEA from a mere furniture retailer to a company that sees the magic of everyday life. This emotional connection helps people feel good about choosing IKEA for their home needs.

Skillful use of lighting, background music, and clever cinematography make the everyday items look extraordinary. This is a stark contrast considering the straightforward, no-frills style typically associated with IKEA.

Above all, the promotional video is relatable to a broad demographic—from young adults setting up their first home to older couples looking to downsize or update their living spaces.

5. Amazon: "Alexa Loses Her Voice"

Amazon's "Alexa Loses Her Voice" Super Bowl commercial nails the delicate balance of being funny while also selling the features of a product. 

The ad presents a worst-case scenario, ironically suggesting that celebrities like Cardi B and Gordon Ramsay could never replace Alexa. This clever framing not only entertains but also educates the viewer about Alexa's useful features in an engaging way. 

Humor combined with a star-studded cast made this promo video a hotbed for social media discussion, extending its reach beyond TV. The underlying message is clear: Alexa is irreplaceable, and its features are becoming as iconic as the celebrities who could never replace it.

6. John Lewis: "The Long Wait"

Though over a decade old, John Lewis's "The Long Wait" video is worth mentioning for its use of a timeless storytelling technique: setup and payoff.

The narrative structure sets things up with a young boy waiting impatiently for Christmas leaves you to assume it’s the prospect of getting presents. Various scenes marking the passage of time keep the viewer waiting eagerly along with him. The emotional payoff at the end where the kid can’t wait to give his parents a gift—which is a twist most of us wouldn’t see coming—leaves audiences with a warm feeling towards the brand. John Lewis is about more than just holiday shopping, but also the joy of giving.

7. Burger King: "Whopper Detour"

Burger King's "Whopper Detour" video starts as a typical fast food commercial, but quickly breaks the fourth wall to address the viewer directly with instructions to order a Whopper at McDonald’s. It’s jarring in the best way.

The video promotes a special offer to get a Whopper for only a penny if you order it through the Burger King app while near a McDonald's. This bold move is less about selling burgers and more about positioning Burger King against its biggest competitor in a tongue-in-cheek way, while also driving app installs and word of mouth buzz. 

The success of the campaign hinges on effectively at capturing attention and clearly explaining how to claim the offer, which this promotional video nails.

8. Audi: "Let It Go"

Audi's "Let It Go" ad is another example of emotional resonance through video marketing. This time with Maisie Williams singing the iconic song from "Frozen." 

The song choice isn't random—it's a metaphor for letting go of outdated technologies and embracing an electric future. The lyrics take on a new meaning for viewers as Maisie Williams drives past a closed gas station and other symbols of the old world. 

Together, the music and imagery cast Audi as a pioneer willing to let go of the past and embrace a more eco-friendly future.

9. Nike: "Dream Crazy"

Nike's "Dream Crazy" ad featuring NFL player Colin Kaepernickis a rallying cry for ambition, encapsulated by the phrase, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." The promotional video is a montage of stories from athletes who have overcome many challenges, implying that Nike gear can help you push your limits.

Nike takes a bold stance by featuring a controversial figure, showing that the brand is unafraid to stand by its values. It’s more than an ad for athletic gear. It’s a statement about inclusion and not limiting your dreams to fit the mold.

This promo video takes Nike’s products out of the store and into the middle of broader cultural conversations with shots of various athletes pursuing their passion while sporting the iconic Nike swoosh.

10. Apple: "Welcome Home by Spike Jonze"

We couldn’t end this list without featuring yet another brilliant example of a promotional video by one of the best storytelling brands around: Apple. 

Its "Welcome Home" promo video, directed by Spike Jonze, is more art than ad. Apple uses intricate choreography and dynamic set changes to depict the transformative power of music played on the HomePod. No dialogue is necessary—the visuals alone convey the product’s impact.

This promotional video ad doesn’t just sell a smart speaker; it sells an experience and a feeling of joy. Apple masterfully uses the medium of dance and music to convey how the speakers can change a space and mood.

The sheer quality of the production—from the creative set designs to the flawless dance moves—elevates the Apple brand to new heights. It highlights Apple’s commitment to aesthetic and functional excellence, emphasizing those brand values as a talking point.

How to create a promotional video

1. Choose your video editing software

The right video editing software can turn even a screen recording or footage filmed on your phone into a professional promo video, especially if you want to go the DIY route.

Helpful features for promo video creation include: 

  • AI transcription for generating accurate text transcripts of your audio and video content automatically
  • Screen recording to easily capture your camera or entire screen while recording audio from your microphone or computer 
  • Storyboarding functionality to plan and script your video in the same place you edit
  • Stock media library for adding music, video footage, AI voices, sound effects, and images—most of which are free to use for commercial purposes
  • Remote recording to conduct remote customer interviews and turn them into testimonial footage or voiceovers
Product image of the SquadCast and Descript integration

Descript offers everything you need from a promo video maker, including templates, transitions, effects, voiceovers, collaboration features, and more in an AI-powered editor that’s as intuitive as editing a doc.

2.  Develop a script and storyboard around a clear narrative

Creating a compelling promotional video starts with nailing down your core message and intended call-to-action. Lay out a storyboard for your video idea to align your content with your overall product marketing strategy. 

Descript’s online video editor makes this process easy by offering a toolkit tailored to both beginners and experienced video editors. Scenes can be created with a simple forward slash (/) to break your video down into parts to make planning and editing your promo video easier.

Descript example of segmenting video into smaller clips

3. Plan, shoot, and edit the video

Once you have a solid storyboard and marketing strategy, it's time to dive into the practical aspects of video production

Selecting the right locations, casting actors, and assembling equipment are crucial steps for creating a high-quality promotional video. While shooting, focus on the trifecta of great video content: good lighting, clear sound, and well-framed shots.

As always, film more than you think you need. The real magic happens in the video editing stage post-shoot.

The new Descript: A new way to make video. A better way.

Promotional videos FAQs

What makes a great promotional video?

A great promotional video holds your attention while relaying the brand's message. It connects emotionally, inspires action, and is short—the typical promo video is less than two minutes long. 

What are the benefits of promotional videos?

Promotional videos have many benefits and objectives, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Engaging viewers and customers
  • Telling stories effectively
  • Creating memorable viewing experiences 
  • Increasing conversions 

How do you make a good promotional video?

The process to create a good promotional video is simple:

  1. Craft a narrative and storyboard
  2. Record your footage and voice overs
  3. Choose great video editing software
  4. Edit your video
  5. Share your promo video

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