Keep It Simple, But Not Stupid

Without putting too fine of a point on it, it seems evident that in almost every field of entertainment, simple wins. Which is why the movie industry feared television at its inception--it’s easier to watch at home than travel to the Palace -- and why, to this day, a cable television network located at, oh, say channel 476, is likely to be less viewed than the one that is at channel 4. The latter is just simpler to find.

On the Viral Gains site, Kaitlyn Smith resurrects Millward Brown’s predictions for 2014, particularly two observations: “Smartphones are the only screen that counts for the connected youth of today” and “Video budgets continue to shift from TV to multiscreen.”

Both are big truisms, Smith notes. Mobile ad spending, says eMarketer, is up way over 100% this year, and she notes a Mobile Marketing Association study that finds mobile video ads, as opposed to TV ads, generate the more consumer interest. I would say, cynically, that one should consider the source on that one, but the larger point is that a lot of fingers are pointing in a friendly way at mobile for content.



Nothing could be much simpler than watching video on mobile, even with the limitations of size. It’s so handy. And yet, if you could carry a large TV set around in your pocket without that unsightly bulge, you’d probably watch that instead. The bottom line is that mobile wins much of the time because it’s just...there. And I mean, right there! in your jeans pocket.

The Viral Gains piece allowed me to revisit the Millward Brown predictions for the year we are half way through--I did that using a laptop, happily--and I landed at one I thought made a sweet point relative to mobile: “Multiscreen minimalism delivers much needed tranquility.” Translated, with so many places to look, a quick, strong image that resonates is the best, most practical way to go.

Hence, said Jorge Bueso of the Honduras, who contributed that insight/prediction, a little goes a long way. He notes that in 2013, Corona Beer was lauded as the top Latin American brand for its elegantly simple advertising: “Sunny beach backdrop, sounds of waves gently crashing into each other, the bottle front and center, a sense of tranquility -- minimalism at its finest,” wrote Bueso.

To me it’s all imagination, and all iconography, two good twins of advertising that have a pretty huge role to play with mobile video where time and space is limited. You can see that Corona ad for five seconds, and it gets the job done. “
With so many screens to look at and so many competing distractions, instant recognition via minimalist design is increasingly the aim of great brands,” says Bueso, and this far into 2014, his observation rings true.

So far, the trend is to keep it simple. 
This is actually the year of paring down, it seems to me, when less is going to end meaning a lot more, where sites like NowThisNews and YouTube Nation --a sort of best of the YouTube I, too, rudely and too hastily and way too inaccurately dissed a little bit ago--have honest and obvious utility.

Keeping it simple, it turns out, is anything but stupid.

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