That is the sound of this cynical Creative Director offering up a humble golf clap to a brand who hoodwinked me into watching a collective 5 minutes of advertising across two different spots.
Well played Newcastle…well played.
You heavy-handedly introduced your new product to me. And I kept watching.
Not only did you overtly set up a product shot, but you actually called out the fact that you set up said product shot. And I kept watching.
You told me about your brand’s history, about how this product was made, and you even told me how great it was. And still I kept watching.
In fact, when the first 2+ minute video ended, I couldn’t hit play on the second 2+ minute video fast enough. And this got me to asking, “why?”
Well, the easy answer to that is, “it’s on the internet.” And yes, that certainly factors into it. I have the attention span of a gnat. On the off chance that I’m watching live TV, the second the hint of an ad presents itself, I Pavlovianly (yep, that’s a word) go for the SKIP button on my remote control. Of course, the irony in all of that is that while I’m watching those very same TV shows and fiddling with the remote to skip the ads, I am more than likely consuming very ad-like content on any of the 2-3 other devices that my face is buried behind. So again, this got me asking, “why?”
Maybe the reason why more and more brands are taking to the interwebs to share the content that 20 years ago would have been TV advertising is because of the freedom that comes with it.
There’s freedom for the brands and their agencies. For instance, Wil Wheaton revels in the fact that he can drink his beloved Newcastle Scotch Ale on camera —something that couldn’t legally air within a traditional TV spot.
But more importantly, there’s freedom for the viewer. When a traditional 30-second spot airs during tonight’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, I can’t skip it. I can begrudgingly agree to watch it, or I can change the channel. Of course, if I do change the channel, I risk missing Jax’s next moment of vengeance-filled rage…and we know that’s not happening. So I turn to my devices. I find content that I do want to watch, from brands that I like (or think I might like). And if it’s good, I keep watching. And if it’s not, I keep looking. And therein lies the point.
Viewers (or “users” for all you digital folks out there) choosing what they want to watch has created a veritable creative Darwinism for today’s brands. The great creative wins…and in this case winning means engagement.
Any media agency worth its salt can buy you the impressions you think will impress your CMO, but engagement…that comes from great creative. Because while you bought my eyeballs with that 10-11pm slot on FX, the joke’s on you…I was watching a Newcastle ad…on my iPad…because I thought it was funny and I WANTED TO!
Which “ads” that aren’t TV ads are you watching? I’d love to hear about them (because I need to have something to watch when I’m not watching the spots running during my favorite TV shows).