BusinessWeek writes about advertising agencies and their clients exploring the world of online video advertising, such as the clips you can download from websites (Mad Ave Is Starry-Eyed Over Net Video). Losers.
The article goes into how small the current market is, but how major advertisers are excited about moving beyond the traditional 30-second spot.
Activity is frenetic. Lincoln Mercury has ginned up online videos that have the quirky look and feel of an episode of Twin Peaks. American Express Co. (AXP) ran spots directed by Barry Levinson of Rain Man fame. And Converse Inc. (NKE) is drawing viewers to its site with a series of quirky amateur videos hawking its sneakers. Meantime, companies are searching for ways to grab Web surfers' attention with short bursts of video, whether it's an invitation to click on a David Ortiz home run or a banner ad featuring a striptease. Add it all together, and video ads are outpacing the torrid growth in Internet advertising, including search, which according to researcher eMarketer Inc., will expand 33.7% this year, to $12.9 billion.
Ok, so far so good. But then we discover why they are losers.
The biggest obstacle to growth? Not enough Web sites are configured to run video ads, so that marketers often have to book their slots months in advance.
It's a lot of fuss for fuzzy pictures and iffy sound. Click on that Ortiz round-tripper, and the clip looks downright primitive by today's TV standards. So what's special about the Net? Three things: If your finger is aching to click on the home run -- packaged with an ad -- this means the advertiser has targeted and found you. That's vital. Second, in many cases, Web surfers knowingly click on ads. The ads promise entertainment. It is this model -- tracking consumers and enticing them -- that gives Internet video much of its allure. Moreover, online video ads also can be cheap to produce -- often only a fraction of $300,000 to make a standard 30-second TV spot. Even better, popular video ads are e-mailed by the thousands, giving advertisers a free boost, whereas on TV they pay a fat fee for each airing.
Why the heck do you want people to watch television commercials on an internet web page? Idiocy. I mean, that's fine as a secondary distribution mechanism, but you want people watching television commercials on a freakin' television. After all, if we had broadcatching
, then all the things listed as "special" for the internet would be available on a television screen: targeted ads, knowingly clicking and viral distribution. Plus, bonus, it isn't freakin' crummy internet video, it's on a television screen!
Advertisers seem to, sort of, understand some of these differences already.
In this new ad world, it's often better to whisper the brand than to shout it. Why? The key is to create buzz and to spread from friend to friend across the Net. Take Mercury's offbeat soap opera, Meet the Lucky Ones. It was launched online last November to draw a younger audience to its Mariner SUV. Using ads on Yahoo! and more youth-oriented Web sites such as theonion.com, Mercury managed to attract 500,000 viewers to the Lucky Ones site in six months. More than half of the site's visitors were under 45, compared with Mercury's typical 60-year-old customer, says Linda Perry-Lube, Lincoln-Mercury manager for e-business and consumer relationships. While the SUV was barely featured in the ads, two-thirds of the visitors went on to view pages devoted to the Mariner. Mercury attributes some 500 Mariner sales directly to the Lucky Ones site.
Cool. However, wouldn't it be even more cool if people could share commercials television to television? If I found a commerical that was entertaining or otherwise interesting, why shouldn't I be able to tap a button on my TiVo
and add it to my video RSS feed for others to see, or zap it to my brother's TiVo? Why not click on an internet add and have the content added to my broadcatch download que, for later watching when I kick back with the telly? The potential is enormous.
Oh, that's right, Hollywood doesn't like that sort of capability. But, who is actually paying Hollywood? That would be the advertisers, right?
Advertisers should be the ones driving and pushing for internet distribution of video to the television screen. They should be beating down TiVo's doors to get them to add that sort of capability to their systems.
Instead, advertisers are thinking small. Real small. As in crappy, small video via browsers. Losers.