As advertising dollars continue their upwards trend in being spent on ‘digital content’, we at Projucer are still puzzled by brands duplicating their TV advertising assets online. By doing this, they are knowingly or unknowingly committing two crimes: one is that they are following the worn out approach of TV - frequency over originality - in a vastly different medium than the ad assets were originally made for. The second is that they are not at all taking advantage of said medium.
Which is to say that a majority of key decision makers within brands are seemingly happy with the solution of reach and frequency when pitched it by their agency, or internal marketing team; rather than custom, memorable and entertaining executions, including those beyond a pre-roll. When approached with opportune bespoke content opportunities, surprise surprise, they are unable to invest in making content specific to the platform. Now I’m not saying it isn’t being done - it just needs to be done more.
People are over TV ads. The same people hate seeing TV ads online. Why brands and media agencies aren’t taking advantage of the skip function and the hyperlink click-through enabled in every pre-roll asset on YouTube is a question worth asking. Why they aren’t investing more into using digitally published bespoke ad content as gateways into actual transactions is just plain bizarre.
Truth is, the decision maker probably thinks that because of the large spend committed to the traditional production and media placement of that particular television ad asset, it should be jammed onto every nook and cranny imaginable during the campaign period. So even though the end justifies the means, we’re not entertained.
On the flipside of this coin, we are seeing it start to happen in this landscape of digital flux. Some consumer brands – particularly in the food/bev, travel and music industry - are slowly becoming more aware of the ‘new’ content opportunities in creation and distribution. They are beginning to dedicate spend in their budgets to invest in calculated risks across digital platforms - particularly with video at the core, and with a direction that still matches the overall brand or marketing strategy for that period. Interestingly in our experience, this activity is being led by both young executives closer to Gen X & Y, and experienced operators being led by their curiosity towards what is emerging.
The purpose of branded digital video and its connection to social is to entertain and achieve positive brand awareness across a large engaged consumer base. Some go further to integrate and offer transaction opportunities too. However, the ultimate bonus for brands is that you are able to own the media for yourself and control it as you see fit as opposed to ‘renting’ media space to execute a traditional advertising campaign.
What we’re also seeing is a shifting focus towards the creation of Australian content for Australian viewers in the space. The messaging is still pushing product or service, but it treats the viewer as a part of the brand’s interests, as opposed to just another consumer they want to shake down for a sale. If BuzzFeed were a brand’s idea, it would be a perfect example here, and US growth in this area points to what will follow here soon. Pedestrian TV has grown its sales force due to a demand for brand interest in being associated with home-grown video and editorial. Media agencies are developing original, localised content. Brands are aligning their identities with our identity. And it’s nice to see. But there needs to be more of it.
Lately we are only working with companies and brands that are open to changing and finessing their budgeting process to allow for more flexibility in their marketing/brand consideration spend. We speak to more and more every week. This step in the ‘digital flux’ direction allows more leeway and opportunity to be involved with experiential or experimental projects that may surface throughout the year; and ultimately they benefit with assets that are quick to market and offer value - sometimes in perpetuity - in the digital eco-systems of YouTube and other platforms.
Brands like this are not just committing less of the crimes I mentioned at the beginning of this article; they are becoming pioneers of all sorts of unique Australian content creation and are demonstrating that this platform is becoming an increasingly effective method of building a stronger brand identity and a culture of consumer loyalty. There are less of us here than in the UK or the USA, so spending some traditional money in trying a new angle to be recognised is actually a damn good idea.
With the new financial year here, now is the perfect time to consider looking at integrating your brand into a unique content project, whether it be one you create collaboratively or one you see existing in the marketplace. Reach out. Be interested. Say yes to pitches you intuitively like. Odds are the consumer will like it too.
Co-founder and managing partner