Advertisements as Audience Attractions
With the Didja.com
announcement last week by NBC, it's become apparent that many large companies believe more and more that the "ad is the video content / the video content is the ad" - or in other words, that commercials can draw audiences. When Didja launches in 2008, it will join several other major media companies' efforts around creating destinations around advertising content including Turner's Very Funny Ads
, The Publicis Group's soon-to-launch and supposedly "sweet as heck - please excuse the pun" Honeyshed
, and a number of smaller players including the original adcritic.com (now creativity-online
Several well known examples have emerged of highly viral and engaging video content spreading across the internet that just happens to be advertising, eg. Dove "Evolution
" (by Ogilvy & Mather / Toronto, it won a Cyber Lion at Cannes) or the Nike Ronaldinho "Touch of Gold
". Some people trace the roots of this phenomenon back to the innovative and influential BMW Films
efforts first released in 2001 or even to what was referred to (at least jokingly) as an AOL commercial, the movie "You've Got Mail". But will the audiences come?
Honeyshed, for one, has garnered a lot of attention, and it seems to me that they will attract an audience. Of course, the raw numbers won't be on the scale of a general-interest site like metacafe or YouTube, but niche audiences will come. The widespread TV commercial skipping / time-shifting capabilities of Tivo notwithstanding, some television ads still give me the chills, like the Jordan XX1
campaign of last year, or find their way randomly into conversation like the seven year itch of the "wassup
" ads from Budweiser.
Regardless of how many raw visitors these sites attract, I think that it's a very beneficial development whenever great content, no matter what the intent, is allowed to flow and flourish online. Of course there are long term considerations around monetization and around industry ramifications, with The Screen Actor's Guild wondering how to make sure that actors are compensated properly just an example. But it is a good thing that the content will be out there and more readily available.
The monetization question, as always, will be a little trickier. I think that the right long term approach for these video advertising showcases, as well as for other niche content publishers, will be to syndicate their content to many different video channels (eg. YouTube etc.) while employing a metrics and measurement capability that meets their needs as the publisher, as well as the needs of the distributor and the brands. I, for one, am very excited to see how it will all play out.