Shifts in how consumers view advertising led a Tampa video production firm to move away from products and toward purpose. The pivot has proven prescient — and profitable.
Diamond View, a Tampa video production company founded in 2007, has developed a knack for giving viewers of its work all “the feels.”
Founder and CEO Tim Moore, 30, cites “hype” and “inspiration” as the two main themes of the firm’s Emmy Award-winning work. “Making videos that make you feel something that’s emotional,” he says. “Something that gets you excited or maybe makes you cry.”
Brand storytelling is the arena in which Diamond View plies its trade — and judging by the firm’s lavishly furnished, 7,000-square-foot headquarters on Bearss Avenue north of Tampa, it’s a good time to be in that line of work. The firm, with 27 employees, grew sales 43% year-over-year in 2019; Moore declines to disclose revenue figures.
But success didn’t arrive overnight for Moore, Diamond View’s sole owner, who is largely self-taught in both video production and business management. He struggled mightily to find steady work before Rob Elder, the owner of several Tampa-area car dealerships, saw a video Moore made for a bar mitzvah and asked him to shoot some commercials.
“This was before I even had an office,” Moore says. “I was like, ‘Do you mind if I edit in your conference room?’”
‘The problem with traditional advertising is that the younger generation, if you show them anything that's too shiny or sales-y, they just won't look at it.’ Tim Moore, founder and CEO of Diamond View
Elder remains a client to this day, alongside big names like the Atlanta Braves, Duke University, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the University of South Florida.
One key to the success? Moore credits identifying, early on in his life, a greater purpose for his work. At age 15, he went on a church mission trip to the Dominican Republic. A counselor handed him a camcorder and asked him to document the group’s charitable work in the impoverished country.
That experience still resonates today and will continue to guide Diamond View, Moore says.
“The commercials we want to do in the future get completely away from product and focus on purpose. Like, not only what are you selling, but what are you giving back to the world? That’s the story that we're trying to tell.”
It’s an approach also driven by market dynamics. Millennial and Gen Z consumers, Moore says, not only don’t respond to blatantly commercial pitches, but actively avoid them; hence, the popularity of ad-avoidance streaming options like Netflix, Spotify and Hulu.
“The problem with traditional advertising is that the younger generation, if you show them anything that's too shiny or sales-y, they just won't look at it,” he says. “You really need to have disguised entertainment. We’re getting very close to a point where ads are no longer going to be effective.”
With that disruption in mind, the Diamond View credo can be summed up by a tagline the firm developed for its own marketing video: “Advertising wasn’t meant for good, so we created a place where it could be.”
To watch one of its videos is to be awash in powerful, emotional images and music — and that’s by design, Moore says. “We’ve tapped into the artistry [of video], with a lot of storytelling and creative, and that’s become the better part of our business.”
The major challenge, he says, is every client wants something more elaborate and creatively different than what’s come before. That puts a lot of pressure on Diamond View’s staff, but Moore has gone to great lengths to hire top industry talent: One employee moonlights as a tour videographer for rock band Def Leppard.
Diamond View works on a retainer basis for its big clients, like the Braves, who need 20-30 videos per year. The firm’s relationship with the Major League Baseball team has become so tight it opened a satellite office in Atlanta staffed by three full-time employees.
And it doesn’t just show up with a bunch of equipment to film a script produced by the client. Diamond View has, in effect, has become a full-service creative studio that can develop a promotional video from start to finish.
The evolution is apparent in the firm’s first foray into feature-length film production: It’s in the midst of making a documentary about Tampa that’s set to debut in February 2021 to coincide with hype surrounding the arrival of Super Bowl LV.
Don’t expect Moore to go Hollywood, though. “I get asked that all the time,” he says, “But my love is short form [video]. I’m too ADD for the long topics. I like to have the espresso, not the full coffee.”