Hello, I Must Be Going. Can Short Commercials Find A Footing?

A few days ago, Cartoon Network said it intends to start an app with 15-second burst of content, specially formulated for smartphone users who might only have that much time to look at material before moving on, to cross the street, or add sugar to their tea, or before they go off to another video. (There’ s a full story Caroon Network story below, in the Around the Net section.)   

Somewhere and somehow, in that 15-second engagement an ad will be inserted. You can count on that. Time Inc. and several pro sports league are investing in a short, short sports service, 120 Sports, that will cut down the sports world into 2-minute slices. NowThis News does that already as do other video sites of all sorts.

I don’t doubt a lot of good info can be imparted in short bursts. And history shows that advertising could do the job in one minute, and then .30 seconds and sometimes .15. Vine ads, in six seconds, presumably are effective.

DVRs made some advertisers more aware of how their message looked whizzing by in fast forward, so they created "messages" that could be gleaned on the fly. So two-second ads seem possible. But preferable?  I don’t think so.  

I’ve been realizing for awhile now that like never before in my life, I can sense just about how long a second lasts. From a lifetime of television, if nothing else, most of us are pretty good at sensing .15 seconds or a half-minute. Breaking it down less than that seems like a special art only a few people learn—TV reporters, for example, learn that mental clock. They really know five seconds.   

Online video has helped us learn shorter time frames by making a counter a part of the frame and in some types of advertising, telling us just how long we have to keep watching before we can ditch the commercial pitch and watch what we’re actually come to the site to see. I still don’t grasp the full advertising opportunity online video provides when it is specifically designed to be very, very short--more inhaled than experienced.  

And it does seem that from the birth of online video advertising, viewers have been made conscious of the time the ad is playing — and the options they have to skip it. That online viewers skip out of slow-to-develop content should be alarming. Those are people who are actually choosing the content, and then they won’t be bothered if things bog down, even just for a moment.

What chance does an advertisement have?

In a much shorter video world, oddly, maybe more messages will get across, because all of them will be so much shorter. While they don’t say much, they at least say it quickly, in which online video becomes nothing much more than a billboard. Is that enough? Are there advertisers enticed by millions of viewers that, essentially, they just have enough time to wave hello to?

pj@mediapost.com
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2 comments about "Hello, I Must Be Going. Can Short Commercials Find A Footing? ".
  1. Ken Anderson from SalesSolutions.us , March 10, 2014 at 5:18 p.m.
    15 seconds to make a sale is not a new concept. 3-5 to get their attention 3-5 to tell them why they need the product 3-5 to tell them how much it costs and the value it ads the difference here is that the ads are selling a virtual product...with little to no way of closing the deal (i.e. putting the product in a shopping cart. That would be a real trick!
  2. David Murdico from Supercool Creative , March 10, 2014 at 5:51 p.m.
    Ha! so true. "Online video has helped us learn shorter time frames by making a counter a part of the frame and in some types of advertising, telling us just how long we have to keep watching before we can ditch the commercial pitch and watch what we’ve actually come to the site to see."