Despite a few glaring examples to the contrary, I don’t think anyone could argue with the effectiveness of trailers when it comes to marketing. It’s often the only way that the general population becomes aware of new movies coming out. And as the art of cinema advances, the technology to get people pumped just gets better and better.

But, perhaps, there is one other medium that’s surpassed it in terms of effective trailers. And that, is video games.

Often created as a wholly unique cinematic, video game trailers manage to summarize and excite an audience for a product that’s often more than five times as long in length as the average movie. All without spoiling any of the major story beats.

A few notable examples include Bethesda’s upcoming Fallout 4.

And the extremely popular 2013 game Bioshock Infinite.

Both of these utilize, and demonstrate, a common rule of storytelling that a lot of movie trailers seem to misunderstand, which is “Show, don’t tell.” In these trailers there are very few lines of actually spoken dialogue. And yet just from contextual cues and a healthy dose of mood enhancing music you can immediately infer information about the world and the main characters.

There’s a lot to learn from this, in regards to not only trailers, but also to products in general. We live in an increasingly image-oriented world, and the ability to make people understand the core of something with one glance will make or break sales.

If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website:

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