This blog isn’t really about video marketing. Instead, it’s a lot more personal. Almost a month ago, on the 8th of June, I read about the suicide of Anthony Bourdain. And to honest, the news hit me hard. Even though I haven’t had any personal contact with him, I always considered him as a personal hero. To me, he was a source of inspiration on how to create honest and entertaining content. In this blog, I want to reflect on the video marketing lessons I learned from reading his books and watching his shows. But above all, I want people to read this and realise that mental health is important. We as people should be able to talk about this without taboos. But first, let me share the video marketing lessons I learnt from reading and watching Anthony Bourdain.
As an author
People who know me, probably know I like food. To be honest, I’m a self-proclaimed foodie and would try almost everything that put on a plate in front of me. I like to eat food, watch food television and read about food. As such, Anthony Bourdains’ book ‘Kitchen Confidential, Adventures of the Culinary Underbelly’ was one of first book I picked up. As soon as I read the first few pages, I remember being shocked, appalled, proud, interested and inspired at the same time. In fact, I’ve been encouraging everyone around me to read it.
The language in the book was raw and honest. There were no secrets or attempts to make thing look better than the are. The transparency and honesty made his words credible. It made me trust his judgement and advice. That was probably one of the first video marketing lessons I learned: be honest. There is no substitute for honesty in video content. As such, I try to avoid studio settings in my videos. Your clients are real people, so be honest with them.
As a television presenter
Everyone who knows about Anthony Bourdain knows about his food travel shows. Much has been said and written about it, but there is one episode that that really got to me. It’s the first episode of season 7 of No Reservations. The full episode is available on Netflix if you want to watch it in its entirety. Anthony and his crew visit Haiti just after it has been struck by earthquakes and hurricanes. In one of the scenes, Anthony decides to buy food for all the starving children around him. A decision made with the best intentions in mind, no-one wants to see children go hungry. Let’s hear from the man himself as he explains how that worked out:
In this clip, Anthony reflects on his decision to feed the hungry. In the full episode, he and the crew didn’t shy away from showing what actually went down. It was honest television. It shows the struggle of real people and the consequences of your decisions and actions.
The main thing that I actually learned from this scene is pro-active reflection. It is one of the main video marketing lessons that I use almost every day. I realise that our video marketing industry differs from producing television content, but pro-active reflection on the content you create and the responsibility that comes with it is not something to ignore. Next to the pro-active reflection on his own actions, Anthony Bourdain always showed respect to the guests in his show. As you can see and hear in this video, he did really put all effort in creating an environment that puts his guests at ease.
This suicide comes at a time where we see an overall increase in suicides across multiple countries. Both the US and the UK, as well as other countries like the Netherlands are reporting on this.
It is a difficult topic to talk about and you might not recognise depression in others. As people, I feel that we should be able to have an open and honest conversation about mental health without judgement. In this case, Anthony Bourdain left a daughter and girlfriend behind. As such, I can’t imagine what they are going through.
Here in the UK, there luckily is an organisation that can help you if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts. If you are in a difficult situation, please don’t hesitate to call the Samaritans.. Alternatively, if you are looking for ways you could help, please go to the Samaritans website as well. They always need volunteers that can help people in difficult times.
Some final thoughts
To me, Anthony Bourdain will always be an example in the way I want to produce content for our clients. I’m truly sad that he is no longer with us, but I will take his inspiration and will work hard to create honest video marketing content.
Many thanks for reading my thoughts,