The decision of whether to display people in product videos can depend on several factors, including the nature of the product and the emotional and social appeal it carries, as well as the potential impact on viewers’ responses. Let’s analyze this decision in light of the insights from the three studies mentioned below.
1. Nature of the Product and Social Presence
The first study highlights a critical consideration when deciding whether to display people in product videos—the nature of the product itself. Notably, the study suggests that the appropriateness and necessity of incorporating human warmth and sociability into product presentation can vary significantly depending on the type of product being marketed.
For products with a strong emotional and social appeal (clothing, jewelry, cosmetic), it is often beneficial to increase a firm’s social presence through visually rich descriptions and images that include people. This approach can positively impact consumers’ attitudinal antecedents to purchase. Apparel is often associated with fun and entertaining shopping experiences, and showcasing how people interact with or wear the product can create a more engaging and relatable narrative.
However, the study also emphasizes that this approach may not apply universally. For instance, consider products like headphones, where consumers’ primary focus is on obtaining detailed product information rather than seeking social experiences. In such cases, the inclusion of people in product videos may not have the same positive effect on attitudinal antecedents.
Consequently, the decision to include people in product videos should align with the nature of the product and the emotional and social appeal it carries. Understanding whether the product lends itself to social engagement and warmth or primarily requires informational content is crucial in making this decision.
2. Impact of Human Presence on Viewer Responses
The second study explores into the intricate relationship between human presence in images and viewer responses. In particular, it explores how the presence or absence of another human in photos of identity-relevant experiences, such as vacations or weddings, can affect viewers’ preferences and likability of the venue or destination depicted in the photo.
The study reveals a nuanced finding that adds a layer of complexity to the decision-making process regarding the inclusion of people in product videos. It suggests that, in certain contexts, the presence of another human in the image can actually diminish viewers’ liking and preference for the featured venue. This effect is mediated by viewers’ perceptions of others’ ownership of the venue.
Therefore, when create ing product videos, marketers should not only consider the product itself but also assess whether the presence of people enhances or detracts from the overall message and appeal. It’s essential to evaluate the relevance of human presence to the viewer’s self-identity, as well as the distinctiveness of the individuals featured in the video.
3. Consumer Contamination and Product Handling
The third study introduces a concept known as “consumer contamination,” which posits that consumers may evaluate products less favorably if they believe those products have been previously touched or handled by other shoppers. While this concept primarily pertains to physical interactions in retail settings, it underscores the importance of maintaining a positive and untainted perception of products.
In the context of product videos, this concept can be extended to situations where showing people handling or using the product may raise concerns about contamination or hygiene. This is particularly relevant for products in categories such as personal care or food, where cleanliness and hygiene are paramount.
When deciding whether to include people in product videos for such products, it becomes essential to carefully consider how to frame and present the scenes involving human interaction with the product. Ensuring that the portrayal of product use enhances trust and maintains a positive perception among viewers is crucial.
In summary, the decision to display people in product videos should consider the nature of the product, the emotional and social appeal it carries, and the potential impact on viewer responses. It’s essential to align the use of human presence with the product’s characteristics and the intended message. Additionally, consider viewers’ potential reactions and whether human presence enhances or detracts from the overall appeal and perception of the product. To make it clear, except for products with a strong emotional and social appeal, eliminate images of symbolic clients. In cases where complete removal is not feasible, consider minimizing their presence.