Video: The No.1 choice for brands wanting to tell consumers a story.

My argument would be that video is the most powerful creative format that you can employ, because it combines sight, sound and motion to most closely resemble the way people experience their everyday lives. The different emotions and personalities that can be achieved by using different music over the same pictures is marked, and it is my belief that no other creative format can offer more story-telling power. My idea is that if a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks a million.

If I wrote a thousand words trying to describe what just a brief glance around my office revealed to me the chances of two different people getting an accurate picture, or even a similar picture is remote. That’s because everybody’s imagination and previous experiences are different and that would cloud the way you interpret my words. In fact everybody that read my words would have a different version of the office in their mind’s eye, and if you are a brand then you don’t really want everybody walking around with a different perception of your brand story in their head!

For over half a century television and cinema had the power of video to themselves, but now with faster internet connections, more and more people are watching video over the internet and indeed on mobile devices. As Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi put it in his fantastic book Sisomo “The future is on-screen”. Sisomo stands for Sight, Sound and Motion by the way.

Here is a hypothetical scenario to test my theory. You have a magic wand. You are the Harry Potter of the media & advertising world, and with one thrash of that marvelous stick you can instantly make the 1m people you want your brand to talk to the most do one of the following things:

Read a newspaper title of your choice. Your magic wand can’t make them look at your advert within that newspaper any more or any less than they would ordinarily, but you can be assured that they will pick up a copy of the newspaper that your advert is placed in.

Walk past a 96 sheet poster site. Again, similar rules. Your message will be on that poster site, but your magic can’t influence the consumer to pay any more or any less attention that they ordinarily would.

Read a particular magazine. Always the same rules. You have an ad in the mag, but the consumer will not be influenced any more or less, or pay any more or any less attention than normal.

Listen to a radio show. You get an ad, they notice or they don’t.

Watch a particular film at the cinema. You understand the rules by now. You’ll get your spot run before the film starts, but you’ll not be able to influence how much attention is paid.

 Watch a specific television programme. You get a spot in the centre break, but the consumer acts in a totally normal way in terms of noticing and attention span.

Watch a piece of video content on their PC. You have a 15 second video pre-roll placed before that content, which they must watch in order to view the free video content.

Open an app on their smartphone. As the app launches, you have a 15 second pre-roll that plays before the user can get to the free content.

I could go on and on. But if you imagine that the cost of creative was no barrier, and you had the requisite talent to make the very best advert possible to run in any of the above media channels, which one would you chose?

My formative years in media were spent working with newspapers, but given the magic wand described above, I would choose the creative medium of video every time. I’d seriously think about TV, and would get close to choosing the big screen, dark room experience of cinema, but for the attention span and impact, I would settle on a short video pre-roll to run before a premium app launch on a smartphone. The most persuasive creative format on the most personal media channel.

Before I get pulled up by people working in other mediums, I know of the all-important ‘media mix’ and that all media have their relative strengths and importance’s to a media schedule, but if you were to choose only one in a hypothetical world then it is my opinion that video will give you more bang for your buck, or more pull for your pound.

2 Thoughts

  1. I agree, video can be very powerful.

    From my perspective I’d really like to see more creativity from the agencies for this in order to make sure the video suits the channel you are placing it on.

    I’m finding that the easy option is to use a 20″ TV ad as pre-roll, but the way it is consumed is very different (context, device, engagement levels) that we could do so much more with this space to make it more effective for our brands. There needs to be a way to balance production costs with the relative media value though.

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