Advertisers Need Some Social Media Adjustment

It should seem a no-brainer that different ad environments demand different kinds of ads. But there are slow learners. After years of online video, some advertisers still throw their TV commercials online, unaltered, though that dunderheaded custom seems to have abated.

Still, on social sites and mobile apps, a lot of advertisers just don’t get it.

This topic came up a lot at Advertising Week. On one panel, as reported by,, Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer explained,  “We have to really identify how do consumers engage with every single platform and then what is the creative experience we need to give them. But it also has to look like one brand because people have 5,000 ads coming at them every day and that's 10 times what it was just 10 years ago.”

That sounds difficult, put that way. But the concept seems clear enough, and with all respect to Pritchard, adapting ads to platforms seems labor intensive perhaps, but far from impossible. Frank Ambrose, media director at Heineken USA put in this way in the piece:  "You get the three-second audition. If you are relying on the 14th or 15th second to do the heavy lifting of the ad, it's not going to work."

To put it in Heineken terms,  an advertiser gets one sip. Not everybody’s going to drink the whole bottle.

At MediaPost’s OMMA Video day, also held during Advertising Week, Twitter gave a presentation that featured Nick Childs, Initiative’s chief creative officer, who show by word and example just how difficult, and just how simple, fixing an ad for social and mobile can be.

The biggest takeaway seems so obvious: Given just a few seconds to get your point across, Childs advises advertisers to flash that logo quickly. Not only does that do a good piece of business--even the fastest thumb probably can’t beat that quick visual--but it can also set up a different vibe. An unusual message from a familiar advertiser may have a lot more impact if we know the sponsor is seemingly going off script.

That may mean an advertiser might need to authorize several different versions of the same ad. But Childs says, it’s probably worth it.  I can’t believe this is any deep, dark secret. And yet, apparently, it doesn’t always happen.

After his presentation, I asked him why every advertiser wouldn’t prepare ads with the logo upfront, just for those Twitter and other social media uses.  The answer seems to be that some advertisers just don’t want to. But what a strange place to draw a line in the sand.

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