Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
7 August 2017
The six-second commercial is here as brands fret
It’s inevitable, I guess, watching a six-second commercial on live TV. What with streaming becoming the accepted mode of viewing and Millennials watching YouTube more than anything else. The six-second commercial has come to life.
Fox says it will air those brief ads from Duracell and Mars during this weekend’s Teen Choice 2017 show. They represent another way networks combat the changing viewing habits of all of us, especially those in the younger demographic.
“I’m pessimistic because most advertisers fail even with 15-second, 30-second and even one-minute spots. How the hell they gonna do any better with just six seconds?”
Think about this. Pay TV loses one million subscribers last quarter, according to MoffettNathanson Research. Cord cutting continues, although cable TV remains the market leader.
However, streaming options such as Netflix sport zero ads. Hulu and Amazon Prime limit them with subscriptions. YouTube essentially invented the short commercial. And many brands market 140 characters on Twitter.
What advertisers should do about the six-second commercial
So, it’s the sign of the times, yes? Absolutely. But that also means brands must get smarter with their advertising. Now, it’ll be harder to tell an entire story. For the six-second commercials to be effective, the message must be bold and different – and meaningful.
But I fear that isn’t what will happen. Brands will do one of two things. They’ll either promote deals, like a pizza costing a dime! Or they’ll be overly clever with some sort of humorous take.
The latter wouldn’t be so bad if that angle is a reflection of the brand. However, I can see these just becoming skits. Like something on Funny Or Die. The point of advertising is not to entertain. It’s to create preference. Otherwise, money spent on a six-second commercial is money and effort ill spent.
I’m pessimistic because most advertisers fail even with 15-second, 30-second and even one-minute spots. How the hell they gonna do any better with just six seconds?
Well, they must. We’re already living in a time where networks are clamoring for the ratings services to include delayed, digital viewing. (Such as On Demand.) They know advertisers dismay. Now it’s up to the advertisers themselves to get smarter.
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