Video Marketing: Tik Tok Edition

Video Production Blog

Is the next frontier in social media video marketing right for your brand?

As your resident Gen Z content marketing specialist, I find it only fair that I impart my wisdom on one area of the video marketing universe that I have gotten to know quite well: Tik Tok.

Tik Tok is undeniably the it-girl of social media platforms for a plethora of reasons. Mainly, it is its aptitude for feeding users endless content on every subject you can imagine that keeps them hooked. But the question remains: with Tik Tok still being relatively new, is it worth it for your business to try to use it for marketing? Allow me to lay out the keys to Tik Tok advertising success so that you can see if it’s for you.

Deciding What to Post

Tik Tok’s paid advertising hasn’t really taken off yet. To make an impact with users, brands are making their own accounts to generate organic content. This gives brands more creative freedom and the ability to save valuable money on ads. However, generating organic content can be very time consuming.

 Leveling the Playing Field

Any video posted organically is at the mercy of Tik Tok’s algorithm. This means that videos from accounts of all sizes have an equal chance of going viral. The algorithm levels the playing field, but in that same vein, it can also hide your videos.

Appealing to the Audience

Videos that are less produced tend to come across as more authentic. This requires effort in capturing the nuances of a “genuine” product video. Companies may turn to influencer marketing to accomplish this instead, which presents its own set of hurdles.

 Staying On-Trend

Tik Tok users best respond to on-trend and engaging content, incorporating a joke or a popular sound in a way that isn’t forced. This can be a great opportunity for your brand to go viral and reach a large audience, like these big names. However, to pull it off, someone needs to have a handle on what is popular at all times.

Now that you know the lay of the land, you can weigh your options and see if its worth it to expand your horizons or allocate your resources elsewhere. It’s all about what’s best for your brand!


Video Livestreaming 101

Video Production Blog

Tips from Video Production Veterans on how to Make the Most of Your Livestream

As a marketing agency specializing in video production services for two decades with customers at all corners of the country (and the globe, for that matter). Therefore, we’ve been facilitating professional-grade virtual livestream video long before COVID. Now, thanks to a growing scope of audiences that pandemic-era connections allow us to reach, more people are utilizing livestreaming for customer engagement and connection, corporate videos, even virtual business events. So, if you’re new to this whole thing, we’ve got you covered with some tried and true tips.

 Getting Started

Pick a Platform

For large scale or more professional corporate video streams, we recommend a made-for-streaming platform such as Panopto, Vimeo, or Kaltura. For more casual streaming or to reach a certain audience, social media video streaming may be the way to go.

Start Spreading the News

No matter what platform you choose, make sure you let your target audience know when and how you plan to livestream in advance, so they can tune in!

Getting Ready!

Set the Scene

To hold attention, you’ll need to consider what will make your livestream as aesthetically pleasing as possible. This includes:

  1. Lighting. Ensure there is appropriate front lighting to make the subject look good and that the backlighting doesn’t make the subject of your video appear dark.
  2. Background. A simple, nice background is ideal. Make sure it is clean and minimal, so not to draw focus off the subject.
  3. Clothing. Make sure you’re not choosing anything too busy or flashy, but try not to directly match your background either!
  4. Microphone. Testing…1,2,3! If you’re using any sort of microphone (which we suggest, they’re available for pretty cheap at the most basic form) make sure you test the mic beforehand, and also have some indication of which mics are on (or off) at all times to avoid some…uncomfy situations.
  5. Music. If you choose to use background music, keep your livestream from getting flagged by ensuring that the song you choose is royalty free. There are great sources to find appealing, free music online!


Some streamers recommend having a backup account where you can tune into the live stream from a secondary source, just to make sure everything is running smoothly from the audience’s perspective.

The Main Livestreaming Event


Depending on the platform/occasion, you can engage with your audience, facilitating questions and shouting out viewers who comment. Or, if you know the audience cannot communicate back to you, you can include some comments about that specific occasion…anything to keep them tuned in as long as possible.


We also recommend making a few notes, just to keep you on track. Rehearsing doesn’t hurt either. And don’t forget: look at the camera, not yourself in the monitor or screen!


Once its over, obtain a recording for your socials or for later reference. And… and voila! There you have it. Don’t worry, if you need a little extra help, you can always let us know! Now that you know, happy livestreaming!






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Super Bowl ads make digital splash

Would we really be an ad agency if we didn’t discuss the commercial victors of Super Bowl LII? The options were anything but limited. For a full review, check out Ad Age’s break down.

Meanwhile, we will be showcasing the digital buzz surrounding the ads provided by the partnership of Ad Age and iSpot.tv, a real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics for more than seven million smart TVs.

Below are a list of rankings that give particulare weight to earned online views and social impressions. iSpot’s data shows that Super Bowl ads generated more than 84 million views across Facebook and YouTube on game day alone; a bulk of that being nearly 51 million of the unpaid/earned views on YouTube. Engagement (including mentions and shares) with those ads also generated about 805.7 million social impressions during the big game.

Game Day Totals


TV Ad Impressions


Earned Online Views


Social Impressions






Show Promos

Top Ads by Digital Share of Voice

Excluding movie trailers & show promos

1 Doritos & Mountain Dew: Battle

17.26% Digital Share of Voice

Doritos Blaze Image

Key Stats
TV Ad Impressions: 72,634,205
Earned Online Views: 1,143,039
Social Impressions: 78,315,883

2 Amazon Echo: Alexa Loses Her Voice

12.49% Digital Share of Voice

Amazon Echo Image

Key Stats
TV Ad Impressions: 81,225,165
Earned Online Views: 8,045,717
Social Impressions: 4,527,919

3 NFL: Touchdown Celebrations

 11.28% Digital Share of Voice

NFL TD Celebration Image

Key Stats
TV Ad Impressions: 69,280,322
Earned Online Views: 464,842
Social Impressions: 20,522,569

4 Pepsi: This Is the Pepsi

 8.09% Digital Share of Voice

Pepsi Song Image

Key Stats
TV Ad Impressions: 64,827,355
Earned Online Views: 3,932,985
Social Impressions: 5,639,978

5 Tide: It’s a Tide Ad

5.45% Digital Share of Voice
Tide Ad Image
Key Stats
TV Ad Impressions: 67,198,290
Earned Online Views: 763,721
Social Impressions: 26,747,404
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Advertising agency creates reality TV show

Room 2 Grow Logo

As Hollywood continues to set up shop in Pittsburgh, a local advertising agency is taking a crack at the reality TV biz

Apple Box Studios partnered up with a local artist and his wife to create the pilot episode of Room 2 Grow, a new reality TV series that shot in November and will be ready for distribution March 2018.

Christopher and Stacy Galiyas tried for several years to have a child. They finally found success through a local fertility clinic. And when it came Reality TV stars Chris and Stacy with son Arrowtime to learn the gender, they made it count. This life chapter sparked the idea behind Room 2 Grow, the half-hour reality TV series that takes the gender reveal phenomenon to the next level. Christopher is the creative visionary. Stacy is the voice of reason who keeps it all together while balancing work, family, and her husband’s non-stop schedule.

Each episode will feature a new couple with a story to tell. They will discuss their journey, overcoming life challenges, how they met, and the excitement of their newest family addition.

Helping the soon-to-be parents through the uncertainty of starting a family is the inspiration for the work that follows. Christopher and Stacy are the only ones aware of the baby’s gender. They aren’t just turning a room into a nursery.  They are transforming it into a magical and poignant space filled with meaning.

This show can be featured on a wide variety of networks such as, A&E, Bravo, HGTV, Lifetime, and other family channels. We are creating the pilot now and will soon be pitching it to networks.

This is much more than a home improvement show. Room 2 Grow is about the bonds of family, our hopes and dreams for the future and the opportunity of a lifetime.


Room 2 Grow is produced by Apple Box Motion Arts, LLC

Principal photography: November 2017 in association with Apple Box Studios Inc.

Available for Distribution: March, 2018

©2017 Apple Box Motion Arts, LLC

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Biggest Ad Campaign Fails of 2017

Before we kick off with what 2018 has in store for advertising, let’s review some of the 2017 marketing disasters

We bet you instantly though Pepsi and Kendall Jenner. And you wouldn’t be wrong. That was indeed one of the biggest campaign fumbles in the past decade. But let us joggle through your memory and bring to light a few other flub-ups that would like to be forgotten.

Pepsi/Kendall Jenner

Trying to use Black Lives Matter to sell sugary soft drinks shouldn’t sound like a good idea. And it wasn’t. In Pepsi’s Content Creators League commercial, the model ditches a photoshoot to join a march happening on the street. Jenner saves the day when she hands a police officer a can of Pepsi. It was crucified on social media, mocked on SNL, and ultimately pulled from air. Advertising agencies seized the opportunity to say something like this would have never happened had a shop been involved. (And they’re right). PepsiCo Global Beverage Group President Brad Jakeman left six months later to form a consultancy, and told Ad Age the spot was “the most gut-wrenching experience of my career.”


People were not lovin’ the McDonald’s U.K. Filet O’Fish campaign. A commercial from Leo Burnett showed a young boy sorrowfully asking his mom about his deceased father. After a long minute and fifteen seconds of the boy learning he’s the exact opposite of his dad, it’s revealed they shared a McFavorite for the Filet O’Fish. Hook line and sinker for the haters who said this was exploiting bereavement to sell sandwiches.

Big Tobacco

This campaign fails worldwide. Big Tobacco agreed to run anti-smoking ads on TV for the first time since 1971 as a consequence of the cigarette industry’s master settlement agreement. The campaign began in November and are the least convincing you will ever see. Plain black text on a white background with mandated warnings.

Fragrance Ads In General

Granted some aren’t awful, but Chanel may have been huffing something other than perfume. Its Gabrielle fragrance campaign shows Kristen Stewart unraveling herself from a cocoon of sheer to then punch through a wall of diamond-like substance all to the soundtrack “Runnin’ (Lose It All)” by The Naughty Boy. Aren’t they paying women in Hollywood enough these days?


Click here to see AdAge’s full article with more campaign fails.

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Video Production: Sound Editing vs. Sound Mixing

Exploring The Art of Sound Editing & Mixing

Who watches the award shows and says to themselves: “I have no idea what any of these categories are?” You are not alone! Other than Best Supporting Actress and Best Director, many Oscar and SAG award categories are not self-explanatory. As a video production agency, we thought we’d break down one category we do know a thing or two about: sound mixing and sound editing. (Yes, technically these are two separate categories. You caught us!)

The difference between sound mixing and sound editing may be obvious to a group of people who frequently dabble in post production but we understand we are not the majority. So in honor of award season, here is one category explained. The rest you need to figure out for yourself.

Sound Editing

For Michael Bay-esque blockbusters sound editing can involve more than one person. The lead sound editor is in charge of deciding what you hear in movies, but there are several different roles involved with finding, recording and picking the right sounds for a movie. A sound editor is also in charge of choosing the right sound effects, dialogue, ADR, foley effects and music, as well as assembling all of the pieces into the film’s final cut. After all the elements are in place, the next step is mixing and blending levels,

Here are a few of the Oscar nominees for Best Sound Editing:


Sound Editing Oscar Nomination for LA LA LAND

1.) La La Land

Sound Editing Oscar Nomination for DEEPWATER HORIZON

2.) Deepwater Horizon

Sound Editing Oscar Nomination for SULLY

3.) Sully


Sound Mixing

Sound mixing is another post production process, but it occurs after sound editing. The sound mixer tweaks levels on every audio file, which affects everything the audience hears including dialogue, sound effects, foley effects and the score.

Here are a few of the Oscar nominees for Best Sound Mixing:

Best Sound Mixing Nominee ARRIVAL

1.) Arrival

Best Sound Mixing Nominee ROGUE ONE A Star Wars Story

2.) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Sound Mixing Nominee HACKSAW RIDGE

3.) Hacksaw Ridge

What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

*information for this blog was pulled from “Sound Editing vs. Sound Mixing: What’s The Difference” (Premium Beat blog)

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3 Best SuperBowl Ads of 2017

Boxers Discuss Best SuperBowl Commercials

We couldn’t call ourselves an ad agency if our staff didn’t gather together on February 6th to discuss the wins and the losses. And we’re not talking about the game.

This year, the line-up of brands attempting to make a name for themselves included humorous, heartfelt,  and (a few) political messages. Not everyone achieved what they set out to do, but we do have to give them accolades! The SuperBowl is filled with some pretty tough critics with some of the biggest critics coming delivering feedback to some Pittsburgh companies. The first Pittsburgh company with SuperBowl controversy was 84 Lumber and their “Wall” ad. Rejected by Fox for being “too political”, 84 Lumber achieved a national attention for being told to revise their SuperBowl spot. Demonstrating the toughness proclaimed in their name, 84 Lumber created a slightly “less political” spot, but still encouraged the audience to view the original on a separate site. After a few “minor” web issues, the site is up and running and 84 Lumber gained the brand recognition they were searching for.

84 Lumber’s SuperBowl Spot (Part 1 & 2):

84 Lumber SuperBowl Ad

GNC was also in SuperBowl spotlight, but they did not get the same happy ending as 84 Lumber. Unaware that being placed on the NFL’s list of banned substances would prevent them from submitting spot, GNC was not able to achieve SuperBowl glory this year.

Without further ado here are our favorites … and not so favorites of SuperBowl 51:

3 Favorite SuperBowl Ads:

Christopher Walken and Justin Timberlake for Bai SuperBowl Ad

1.) Christopher Walken & Justin Timberlake for Bai

The perfect blending of the old and the new. With their classic 90s twist on a new product, Bai earned it’s way to the top of SuperBowl ad list.

Avocados are delicious SuperBowl Ad

2.) #AvoSecrets | Avocados from Mexico

You don’t have to “agree to disagree” about how awesome this ad was! If their message was “avocados are delicious”, it was received loud and clear.

Mr. Clean SuperBowl Ad

3.) Mr. Clean

Let’s face it ladies: your fantasy is a husband willing to assist you in house chores. Using their already well-recognized brand, Mr. Clean mopped its way into our list of top SuperBowl ads.

3 Not-So Favorite Ads:

Not So Favorite SuperBowl Ad from Mobile Strike

1.) Mobile Strike

Raise your hand if you don’t understand what video ads are doing in the SuperBowl!

Not-So Favorite SuperBowl Ad from Turkish Airlines

2.) Turkish Airlines

Although we love a good Morgan Freeman, cameo this one was a little lost on us.

Not-So Favorite SuperBowl Ad featuring Olivia Munn for Towel Drop

3.) Olivia Munn: Towel Drop

Again, just because you can use a celebrity spokesperson, doesn’t mean you should.

Honorable Mention:

Honorable Mention SuperBowl Ad from Getaway Car

Getaway Car: It’s Not Surprising

Okay, okay, we know this aired the day after, but, after you watch it, you’ll see why we thought it should have aired during the big game!

What do you think? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!


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Optimize Your Video Production quality

You Must Watch Before You Proceed:

Dr. Bob Wagstaff Orabrush inventor video

Two big words in video are production and value.  What does production value mean?  Often there is a negative financial connotation associated with that phrase, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a lot of money has to be spent.  It’s nothing tangible or monetary, you just know it when you see it.  There’s this great fear that you need a high budget to get production value out of your video.  It’s just not true.  Video production and value can be masked by intelligence, preparation, and hard work.  And it can most certainly be masked by creativity.  It’s possible to make something stylish and attractive, yet affordable.  There are plenty of great examples of work done affordably that give the impression of high production value.  And they can come from a video company right here in Pittsburgh.  It doesn’t have to be Hollywood or New York.   Our advice is watch films and videos.  Watch them closely.  Mimic them.  Emulate them.  We benchmark every video project we work on with our clients.  It’s a valuable form of communication.  Sometimes you can’t describe a transition, or an effect.  Find the videos that can represent your vision and let them guide you, ultimately making them your own.

5 Commercials With Low Budgets & Amazing Production Value

The original OraBrush video

1.) The original “OraBrush” YouTube commercial that made this product a house hold name. If you don’t remember from the first video, we’ll reiterate: this video cost a couple of HUNDRED dollars.

Humorous video showing production value at its finest and lowest cost!

2.) This company had humorous take on their low budget and it landed them over a million views in 2011 … and it’s still going!

Embrace Life, always wear your seat belt commercial

3.) This UK low-budget advert won the Gold World Medal at the New York Festival of International Advertising Awards. The competition in this category included Starbucks & Nike.

Blendtec commercial

4.) Demonstrations are the best way to show off and Blendtec made its way into our newsfeeds & timelines by showing how nothing (not even Justin Bieber) stands up to the indestructible power of his product.

OK GO video on treadmills

5.) After borrowing treadmills from a treadmill company, OK GO found success with this awesome music video and killer choreography. All for the low low price of … well, we’re not really sure, but it can’t have been much!

On the opposite side of the video spectrum, we’ll throw out two more words – double rainbow.  We all most likely know what that means.  If not, Google it.  It will take you 3 seconds to get in on the joke.  Regardless, production value can be thrown out the window if you have the right gimmick, gag, or just good timing.  Viral videos oversaturate already oversaturated social media & web sites.  But, they are harmless & they are here to stay.  People can’t get enough of them.  They hit some nerve.  I guess it’s human nature to share, to create, to vent, to be bored, to participate, to be honest, to connect, to express, to inspire.  All qualities we would never want to extinguish and all goals we try to achieve while creating.  So while we continue to look for production value out there, there are many more double rainbows.  If the desired result of your creation is accomplished, it doesn’t matter which.

Do you know of any amazing low budget commercials? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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Video Production Projects

Apple Box Studios is pleased to share commercials produced for our client, Northwood Realty Services. As a video production agency, Apple Box is committed to creating stunning motion pictures that help our clients get noticed in the market place.

Check Out The Videos:


Video Production Project



Video Production Project

We had a great day on set with the Northwood agents playing themselves and our film crew:

On Set Memories:

Apple Box Video Crew on set of shoot

To see more samples of our work, visit our Facebook page!


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“Henry” Wins A “Henry” Tourism Award

We are so thrilled to share the news that Apple Box’s tourism video, “Henry Brings Business to Tampa Bay”, has received a “Henry” in the Flagler Awards for Tourism Advocacy.

Check Out The Video:


Produced for Visit Tampa Bay, this short animated video details the multimillion dollar impact convention business has on the Tampa Bay economy. The Flagler Award recognizes the best work by the states destination marketing organizations. The highest honor in each category is called a “Henry”. This is the first time in Visit Tampa Bay’s history that they have won this award.

Visit Tampa Bay Awards Ceremony

The video is based off of the original tourism video Apple Box produced for Visit Pittsburgh, which also received a Silver Telly Award in 2013. The Silver Telly is the highest honor at The Telly Award and less than 10% of entries are chosen as winners.

Watch The Original Tourism Video:

VisitPittsburgh Tourism Video


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