Video advertising

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It used to be that a brand planner or strategist could easily sway corporate officers as to the need for a brand plan – or at least a campaign idea – by taking all company ads and pinning them to the wall.  For good measure one could display brochures, direct mail and other printed pieces. 

Today, the biggest culprit in creating brand disharmony, especially true at small and midsize companies, is the video.  In this social media age, most agree – and you heard the drum beat at Advertising Week in NY the last 4 days – visual selling through video is more engaging and powerful. 

The problem stems not so much from the quality of the videos, e.g., editing, audio, effects, it’s the content.  It meanders. It is not blocked out in serial, logical chunks.  With ads, if you didn’t have a tight strategy you called Ernie the montage artist. With a loose video, you just rely on fast cuts and louder music.

So who is making these videos?  Mostly, it’s inexpensive freelance, 20 something, fresh-out-of college kids with iMacs.  One such young man, who is more than capable, said he’d been to many meetings with large agencies like Ogilvy, where he was instructed to “just do something that gets noticed, that goes viral.”  No direction, no brief.  This is not how big agencies normally operates, but at those agencies on the digital creative side, it happens more than you might think.  As for smaller shops, or in-house marketing departments it’s even worse.

Marketing videos need to do a job but they also much convey a positive, organized brand imprint. With half of marketing videos either case studies or tutorials, brand strategy has a way of slipping away. Branding is always on. Approving videos without a brand planning oversight — and it happens thousands of times a day — is like writing bad checks.  So executive, turn down the lights in your conference room, fire up the interactive projector and start watching all your vids. Then ask yourself what are they trying to say about the company?  Peace.



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Here’s a fresh idea for bold national TV advertisers.  One and done.  Okay, maybe five and done is better.  Create and run TV spots 5 times then take them off the air and move them to the web.  A question many large agencies asked back in the day of the $385,000 TV commercial and still ask is “What is the burn out rate”?  How many times can a consumer can see a TV spot before his/her eyes start to bleed.

In today’s fast twitch media, where clicking is a sport, the burn out factor has grown even more sensitive. This is why sooner or later Geico is going to need to chill.  I was reading today about The Gap and its desire to become more relevant to the younger set – more relevant is a euphemism for sell more – and I’ve also been reading about Denny’s, similarly strategized.  The former will do nice ads and burn, burn, burn them.  The latter is running ads only a few times, then driving people to the web to watch them on-demand, on-desire, in longer form. Denny’s and Gotham get the target’s media habits and will save money. Gap and Ogilvy will not…unless.

Unless they use the new “five and done” model.  Should Ogilvy decide to turn itself into a crafty, creative TV production studio for the Gap it will have a chance. Buy high profile mass reach media and run their ads only a handful of times.  Then move on. Lots of freshies. Story-tell with lots of chapters, a la James Patterson. And it shouldn’t necessarily be a serial story, just a gestalt-y all around the brand strategy story.

Smart shops can create spots at low costs these days. Fast twitch ads, not burn out campaigns, are what the daring will do. That’s what the youth market wants. Peace.

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I’m not a car guy.  My sister knows more about engines than I do, not that there’s anything sexist in that statement (maybe there is.)  I asked my son recently “What’s a Hemi?”  That’s the context.  But I do know advertising and marketing and have an ear for what consumers will like. And the president and CEO of Dodge, Ralph Gilles, talking about his brand and the tres cool Dodge Challenger (in this video) is a winning piece of marketing.  Shot and (perhaps?) concepted by Cobrandit’s Owen Mack, this piece made me want to go trade in my Prius for a Dodge anything. Great advertising makes you feel something, then do something.  In my case the “do” was post to the blog.

Mr Gilles is the absolute perfect salesman for this car and this brand. Just listen to him.  Not a suit, he.  Just a lover of cars and engines and Dodge and, I can tell, people who love cars.  So they will trust him. He’s black, presumably from the motor city, rocking the bald head thing, styling the clothes.  He is very videogenic. And the cars he’s showing are pulsing with power.  As is he — in a very friendly way.

I worked at McCann for a number of years when they would trot out CEOs to walk through the corporate headquarters and tell America that “the road to the future was paved with GM” or some such.  It was suits selling suity cars. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Mr. Gilles can bring back Dodge as long as the cars are good and he keeps talking to the people like this.  Get him on TV and radio.  Show these car designs, spin some Detroit magic, mint some money.  His next Job? The new US Fiats. Peace. 


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There was an interesting piece in the Huffington Post yesterday on the future of video. It’s author, Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, believes in the near future video won’t be offline or online, it will just be.  That is, the video (TV shows, movies, consumer generated, music) we watch will be accessed on multiple devices, on demand, in hi-def.  This, says Mr. Walk, will be the result of improved wi-fi bandwidth (Aluminum foil hats will be big.), mad switching infrastructure and next gen streaming algorithms.

Those “anywhere, anything, anytime” ads of the 90s are coming true, it seems.  Anyway, with all of this video available, the competition will be crazy.  Forget searching for all this video for a minute, let’s think about monetizing the video. There should be two options: subscription and advertising.  The advertising approach will not be based on the television model, with pods of ads running throughout the stream. We are too evolved for that. My guess is there will be a single :30 spot at the beginning of a half-hour program and 60 seconds for an hour long program. Movies will support 90 seconds and user generated content and music video will be free.

This is the word of What’s The Idea. Peace!

Huffington Post, wi-fi, video, video advertising, whatstheidea, whats the idea, Hunter Walk, YouTube,

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