Today, brands are quickly adopting new forms of video including Instagram and Vine. The upside of these channels is that they have democratized video production and distribution--no longer do you have to have a Coke or Nike production and media budget to create and distribute video.
The downside is that the iconic, memorable campaigns that create, build and sustain category-leading brands are now becoming a thing of the past.
I understand this phenomenon--as a marketer I recognize the need to meet your audience where they live and play. And today, much of our audience lives in 140 character posts with 6-second and 15-second attention spans.
But as we migrate more of our content and communications to posts and updates with which the audience proactively engages, how do we develop the consistency of message and the repetition required to adequately build and define a brand? Are we leaving behind what’s always worked for the unproven but tantalizing “glory” of the next big thing?
During dinner a few nights ago, with “The Essential Michael Jackson” playing as a soundtrack, a close friend recounted how she had recorded, watched repeatedly and mastered every dance step, spin, hop, and hair flick from Michael Jackson’s 1988 Grammy Award performance. That is until her sister recorded “Square Pegs” over the Grammys. (You remember that CBS sitcom, right? Well, unfortunately so does she.)
That moment—maybe 10 minutes--of quintessential Michael Jackson created a lasting and permanent memory and bond for her. Perhaps miraculously, it even made the Grammys relevant during our dinner conversation years later.
But where will we find those brand and content connections today? Brands big (Burberry, Nike, Disney) and small (Dogfish Head Beer) are producing some great content via Instagram Video and Vine. According to Simply Measured’s June report, 14 of the Interbrand Top 100 are using Instagram Video and 7 are using Vine, and that is on top of the 67 brands that already had Instagram accounts.
But as we are inundated with more pictures (1/3 of all pixel real estate on the Web is image content) and now videos, including both long and short form, where will the brand connections be made? Does the coolest brand’s Facebook page or Twitter feed or Instagram video win? Despite the entertainment value, I am not sure that any of these will have the staying power of the old fashioned 30-second spot.
There is both an information overload and a reach problem with the short, short form video now. Only a brand’s followers will potentially see much of this content. And these same people are being inundated with so many more messages at the same time. Despite the entertainment value of social channels and the content they promote, it’s hard to imagine any of these have the delivery (let alone consistent delivery) or the more deeply vested and lasting emotional connection of a 30-second spot. How many six-second or 15-second online videos have the lasting power of that Mean Joe Greene spot? The brief moments do not make lasting memories.
I’m not new
channels and mediums created by the Web and mobile. To the contrary, after that dinner, I pulled up this stellar Grantland column about Michael Jackson’s 1988
Grammy performance. Not only were we able to enjoy 10 minutes of MJ wizardry through the "The Way You Make Me Feel"/"Man in the Mirror"performance, but also the fantastic color
commentary, something we never would have been able to do in the 80s. Now if we can just create a forum and some brand content that will be impactful today and memorable
tomorrow, we may just might find that an online video is worth more than 1,000 words. Right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. That’s why brands should test these new
vehicles but realize they won’t deliver like the tried and true—at least not yet.
Guest blogger David Toner is vice president for marketing at Photobucket, one of the world's largest photo hosting and sharing sites. MediaPost Online Video Daily blogger P.J. Bednarski is on vacation until Aug 7.