by Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) Every time I’ve googled marketing or Media trends for 2017, one word has come up overwhelmingly: video.
Beyond the obvious misuse of the word (I mean, in 1985, who would have thought video would still be a trend in 2017?), it struck me that digital has finally offered the proof to what creatives have been saying for a long time: audio-visual communication is what consumers want — messages are better understood and engagement much more likely.
Social platforms are dominating in video advertising revenue, and Google is now looking to add video to its advertising options. As data costs tumble, opportunities to watch are going to be everywhere and make the fragmentation of the TV landscape seem small fry in comparison.
The really interesting part around the explosion of video is that it is the ultimate enforcer of creative and media integration.
Why? Because it breaks the last stranglehold that creatives had in advertising discussions: creating ads as pure art where the argument over content and duration was normally won because there really was no factual counter-argument.
Finally, every piece of video content may be immediately measured, not only in terms of how many times it’s been viewed but, more distressingly for creatives, how long it has been viewed for. I’ve sat in enough meetings where it’s been announced as fact that it’s an average view time of 10 seconds on a two-minute content piece. The disappointment all around is palpable.
Shift in creative mind-set
I don’t say this with glee; as with any good piece of art, ads may take time to be appreciated and not allowing them the time to find their groove could be very much the wrong thing to do. But I think this high-measurement environment does require a shift in creative mind-set and greater consciousness around how the consumer is actually going to react to the piece of work. And, yes, this does mean they need to open their thinking up to what the data says.
I know Leonardo da Vinci didn’t look at the data when he painted the Mona Lisa but he also wasn’t spending other people’s money when he did so. Or using the painting to sell anything.
The creative and media decision in this environment is now one, and the more robust upfront, the better it sets the platform for the right kind of course correction throughout the campaign. What it also does is force creatives to think long and hard around production that allows for flexibility of execution in a cost-efficient way. The days of producing one finished piece of art that needs to magically tick all the boxes throughout the campaign is now too risky an approach. The new norm are executions with options.
Digital is allowing video to kill every other medium and format — including the archaic banner ad. Whether it kills the creative star will be dependent on how well creatives and media work together to ultimately develop the perfect mix of art and science.
Martin MacGregor (@MartMacG) is managing director of Connect, an M&C Saatchi Company, with offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Martin has spent 18 years in the industry, and has previously worked at Ogilvy and was MD of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town. He contributes the monthly “Media Redefined” column, in which he challenges norms in the media space, to MarkLives.com.
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