For weeks now, we’ve been hearing a new phrase on the lips of the web marketers (specialists in marketing and communication on the web): capsule video. Video, we know. Capsule, we can figure out. The word comes from the Latin “capsula”, which means “little box”. But the use of the words in combination is not so obvious. My initial research led me down a blind alley (the discovery that a video capsule is also the term used for a new technique in endoscopy). On the internet, though, the word takes on a whole new meaning. It means a short video, less than one minute long, used by companies to promote themselves or a product or service online. The aim is to arouse the interest of internet users and create a real buzz that drives up the company’s sales. The use of the word “capsule” is presumably intended to show that the clip is short – a mini video, in the same way that a capsule in its original sense is a small box.
The video can be in a very basic form, with the entrepreneur using his webcam to film himself saying nice things about his product. This “face to face” version is mostly pretty uninspiring. But marketing and communications agencies have now started to jump on the capsule video bandwagon, and are producing high definition capsules every bit as polished as the best adverts. The capsule video is to web 2.0 what the advertising slot is to television.