There are numerous ways to approach video marketing. There’s the explainer video approach, the interview approach, the webinar approach, and there’s the storytelling approach which we’re huge fans of here at SproutVideo. While there are many more, one trend that we have never explored is the idea of disturbing your audience with what we call the “yuck factor”. 

Not sure what we mean? Refer to the viral sensation Dr. Pimple Popper (aka Dr. Sandra Lee) who has millions of social media followers and just debuted her new TV show on the TLC network earlier this year. In the following video, she shares how her embrace of video marketing to both entertain and educate people online has skyrocketed the visibility and business of her practice over the past four years.

In short, sometimes grossing out your audience is the key to success! Let’s take a look at how creatives from different industries have leveraged this approach to video marketing, why it has worked for each of them, and how you might be able to apply these lessons to your own business.

Please note that some of the video examples we share below may be intense so please watch at your own discretion.

Relatability & Help

Plumbing is not a glamorous industry. It’s not something people look forward to spending money on as it oftentimes means something unexpected has gone wrong. It’d be fair to think that video marketing for plumbing services is, therefore, boring or non-existent but you’d be wrong – Opportunity is rife for creating engaging plumbing videos! Why? Because most of us have experienced plumbing issues and it can be an embarrassing situation to deal with, video marketing gives plumbing professionals the ability to showcase their skills and their professionalism in dealing with all plumbing problems, even the most embarrassing ones.

Videos by plumbers can show us that our situation isn’t the most disgusting and they may even be able to show us how to avoid some plumbing issues (or perhaps fix them ourselves) in the future. And, inevitably, when the time comes that a plumbing problem is too big to be handled by an amateur, who do you think will be top of mind for them to reach out to: The plumber who shares loads of helpful, interesting, and yes sometimes yucky videos or the plumber who does not?

When you give your brand a non-judgemental & personable feel in addition to sharing useful content, you become your audience’s go-to source for information. In doing so, you are able to establish your expertise and offerings in a non-salesy way so that when they have a problem too big to handle on their own, they automatically think of you (and trust you). Creating videos that have an “yuck factor” yet are relatable is a winning combination if the goal is to connect authentically with your audience.

Making the Scary or Uncomfortable Less So

There are some topics that tend to bring a feeling of unease to most people. Death, sex, and money are three of them. The emotional components tied to each can make it difficult for people to broach these topics with even the closest of friends and family, much less a stranger. Creating a safe space for people to learn at their own pace can be a smart way for professionals like funeral directors to capture the attention of potential customers and to become their trusted authority figure on the matter.  

Ask a Mortician’s Caitlin Doughty has carved out a name for herself by creating videos in which she candidly addresses frequently asked questions about death in a straightforward way. She also covers death industry topics that people may not know to ask about but that she sees being used against them during the process of handling a loved ones death (think: financial issues). When appropriate, she injects humor and silliness but her main approach is to be unequivocally honest.

So, what can anyone from any industry take from this? No matter your subject matter, trust your audience to be able to handle the truth and share it with them in a respectful yet forthright way. They will appreciate the information and your confidence can inspire them to feel more confident in handling something that they might otherwise not.

Awareness & Emotion

One reason videos with a high “yuck factor” are effective is because they’re shocking. They jar people from their everyday reality, motivating them to act. Because the shock value is lost if people come to expect them, few brands can get away with creating only these types of videos but when used to supplement traditional video, many brands can use these types of video to their benefit.

Non-profit organizations and political action committees are especially good at creating these types of video. For example, most of us only need to hear the first few piano chords of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” to be reminded of the heart wrenching SPCA video featuring lonely and abused dogs…

The key to creating these kinds of videos is to share a story that evokes feelings of sadness or outrage, positioning the viewer as the protagonist that can save the day with a simple act (like donating or voting). If your brand advocates for a cause or has a particular mission-driven marketing campaign, consider creating a video with content and a tone that stands out from what you normally share.

Efficiency & Education

The medical field may be responsible for the rise of the “yuck factor” in online video so we certainly can’t leave them off this list! Sometimes bordering on graphic, medical professionals such as dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and dentists share video for a variety of reasons: to show the symptoms of a condition, to show what what can be expected during and after a particular procedure, and to explain why certain medical actions must be taken to address issues.

These videos function to efficiently share information that would otherwise be difficult to explain to people with no medical background. Like our first example above (plumbing), it also conveys to the viewer, who may feel shame or embarrassment, that their issue is “normal” and that the doctor has the knowledge and experience to address it. In any industry, presenting educational information in an entertaining way creates a viewing experience your customer can enjoy while you subtly promote your products or services.


To summarize, don’t be afraid to show the reality behind your brand. That may not mean your videos have a “yuck factor” like the examples above but showing your “unpolished” can help legitimize and humanize your brand. And if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to share a “gross” video, use it to capture your audience’s attention, make uncomfortable topics relatable, evoke an emotional reaction, and to efficiently communicate dense information in an easy to understand way. 

Have thoughts or questions about creating videos with a “yuck factor”? Share with us in the comments below or on Twitter @sproutvideo!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted March 20, 2018

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