Every summer has its own story.
And what a summer it’s been for traditional media companies and platforms to come up with new ways to interrupt the consumer, even though everyone in the industry knows that interruptive advertising is dead.
Here’s what Fox and YouTube executives cooked up over the summer barbecues:
The Six Second Ad!
Cue Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada:
“Florals. For Spring. Groundbreaking.”
Over the past two months the headlines have celebrated the “ground-breaking, industry first, innovation” with the”six second” ad.
Let me state the obvious:
Everyone involved is taking the path of least resistance, in part because that’s what humans do, but also because it’s the way the system was setup.
It appears that the executives know a little about the history of TV advertising, because they went from the 15 second add straight to the 6 second ad — see the the 10 second ad is how it all started. The system was designed over 76 years ago when Bulova became the first advertiser to air a commercial July 1, 1941. NBC affiliate WNBT aired this 10 second spot before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies, displaying a Bulova watch over a map of the U.S., with a voice-over of the company’s slogan “America runs on Bulova time!”
The Bulova commercial was the world’s first legal television commercial and cost the Bulova Watch Company a whopping $9.00 USD.
As the system developed, more and more ads started playing between shows. Consumers didn’t mind though, because it was one of the only ways for them to learn about new brands and their features and benefits.
The broadcasters and the brands controlled when, where, how, and what consumers watched and they know knew it. Boy, how times have changed.
I applaud the executives for coming up with least invasive ways to annoy consumers, but it’s still not enough. But hey, get those dollars while you can. Who cares that the consumer now controls when, where, and how they interact with brands, right?
Let’s take a look at the headlines and quotes about the new six second ad formats that consumers are supposedly clamoring for.
All of the quotes show that no one is thinking consumer first.
Fox Sports introduces 6-second TV ad spots to NFL programming as attention spans get shorter – CNBC
Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads. 2018 is the turning point toward snackable spots – AdWeek
Let’s continue with the quotes from industry leaders…
“When the six-second ads are placed in unique positions, it has the potential to gain even more attention than a traditional unit.” Eric Shanks, Fox Sports President
“We believe our ‘power packed’ six-second ads could play a bigger role in our creative asset mix in the near future,” said Ramon Velutini, vice president of marketing at Duracell, in a statement.
“It’s an innovation that’s more cross-screen than others because there’s already, certainly in the digital world, a huge amount of six-second advertising that’s going on out there,” said Dave Penski, who oversees media investments as chief executive of Publicis Media Exchange Americas.
“The format allows us to continue on our quest to reach a younger demographic.” What’s so unique about this format is the way you distribute it. You have to think about these six-second videos in succession. It’s a frequency play.” said Candace Cluck.
“They force you to be more focused,” commented Theodor Arhio, a global director of creative and content for the Omnicom.
And one of my favorites:
“You can really get to a level of poignance and a level of human connection that you cannot get to even in a 15-second spot,” said Maud Deitch, part of Instagram’s creative department.
WTF. Let’s review.
“It’s an innovation. A level of poignance. Force you to be more focused.”
Here’s my quote, which is focused on the consumer. I know, groundbreaking.
“Marketing as interruption is over. Consumers now control when, where, and how they interact with brands. It’s time brands stop interrupting what consumers are interested in and become what they’re interested in.”
When have YOU said or ever heard a CONSUMER say:
“What I want from brands is more snackable spots?” — never.
86% of consumers skip ads. You know, why, because they they can.
The annoying pop-ups, tiny mobile banner ads, tv spots that are all about features and benefits, and all of the other interruptive advertising that isn’t delivered at the right time, right place, and right screen is annoying. What’s even more annoying is that the people pushing the six second spot know it.
So, back to my original question: When are three second ads coming?
Brands, let me save you the millions of dollars you spend on creative and content that interrupts consumers.
If you want to be relevant, you need to start thinking like a media company and publisher, and add value to the consumer first.
Kind of like back in 1956, when the soap operas As the World Turns and The Edge of Night, both produced by Procter & Gamble Productions, debuted as the first half-hour soap operas on the CBS television network. If you don’t know the history of brands producing content, where they were part of the story naturally (not an integration), and owned the IP, look it up.
Why are you throwing your money at an industry full of ad fraud, consumers who download ad blockers, who have multiple screens, and hate interruptive advertising?
Premium branded entertainment, not just an integration into someone else’s programming, but your own – can win the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers. I’ve done it over and over for both media companies and global brands several times.
Brands have the unique opportunity to stop renting audiences and own them. While your core business isn’t the same as a “media companies” you can still market like one. You can transform marketing from a cost center to a revenue center and own the IP.
That’s right, brands are the new (or old) producers. And it’s working. In my next post, I’ll share all the examples of the premium brands films, documentaries, and TV shows I’ve produced for and with brands, that are produced FOR consumers.
And yes, traditional marketer who was taught to yell at the consumer about brand features: they check off all of the traditional marketing needs, drive sales, and create revenue,. Brands like Marriott, GE and Mattel, and the obvious Red Bull.
Yes, attention spans are getting shorter, but let’s stop shortening interruptive ads, think consumer first, and give them what they want. Content. They are hungry for it. And they will eat it up. And brands can provide it. Consumers don’t care where content comes from, as long as it informs and/or entertains them vs. interrupting them.
“Marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second.”
Let me be clear: Consumers understand that brands need to advertise, you just need to do in the right way that doesn’t interrupt an experience. There are many ways to promote your brand that aren’t interruptive in nature. Branded entertainment (again, not an integration into someone else’s show — but content where the brand is a character and naturally part of the story, should make up a big part of your overall marketing strategy.
The consumer is king and the six second add isn’t innovative. It’s interruptive.