Note to Ad Creatives: Don’t Let Your Video Skills Atrophy

It’s tougher sledding these days for advertising creatives steeped in the world of broadcast production.  Between the democratization of production and the explosion of new online opportunities for brands–many of them at zero media cost–the game has changed radically.  Clients may not be totally ignoring television, but it definitely has a passe whiff about it.  The TV :30’s strengths and weaknesses are very familiar to advertisers and today, there are so many new areas to explore and leverage.

Tod Sacerdoti, CEO of BrightRoll, wrote a smart piece for Video Insider where he outlines the reasons why all great internet companies eventually buy a video ad network.  This quote pretty much sums up his point, and perhaps not coincidentally, the business plan for his own online video business:

“Video advertising is the preferred ad unit for most major marketers, so as budgets continue to shift, video demand will increase. The research and data are undeniable; video outperforms every branded ad unit on the Web.”

That statement should turn the head of anyone who’s actually paying attention.  Essentially, Sacerdoti contends that the :30 TV spot is not dead, it’s just migrating.  Constantly and restlessly.  Like a great herd of peripatetic bison, video units now travel far beyond the narrow habitrails of network or cable, wandering off to all sorts of corners of the web.

Of course, not all of these video branded video units will be :30’s.  Now they can include :27’s, :33’s or :42’s: essentially any length that maintains a high-level of engagement and breakthrough.  The onus will be on the creators of that content to recognize when their work jumps the shark and becomes self-indulgent or boring.  That’s not an easy task, but then, it’s always been the challenge of video storytelling.

As web metrics and algorithms come together to address issues of scalability and targeting, video production will power back to the fore, albeit in a vastly evolved manner.  The days of big-budget, A-list production are not over, but those types of shoots will become far less frequent for the typical agency.  Instead, lower-budgeted, video-based content shoots will become increasingly prevalent.  Which means once again, smart agencies will beef up their in-house production capabilities, particularly now that high-end finishing tools have become so widespread and cheap.  Because either agencies learn to handle these types of shoots in strategic, cost-effective ways, or they will be outsourced to production companies and even networks like Mr. Sacerdoti…and our piece of the marketing budget pie will shrink further.

No, television is not dead, it’s just diversified.  And evolved.  We better all start doing that too, Darwin.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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