Commentary

Classic Videos Offer Advertisers Cultural Currency

  • by April 16, 2007
As advertisers and their agencies continue to ponder how to best capitalize on the daily eyeballs rushing to video platforms like YouTube and others, one of the many questions that looms large is, what's the correct ad model for reaching these online "viewsers"?

Pre-roll? Post-roll? Banners only? Consumer-generated commercials? Agencies copying consumer-generated commercials? Many theories abound.

It's an important question, because once you get past the most popular, most viral, most watched videos that cause scores of people to rubberneck on YouTube each day, dig a little deeper and you'll find there's tremendous opportunities to reach re-aggregated fan cultures around classic video performance content.

Say you're a music fan, like most people. You're likely to find, as I did, that there are literally hundreds of performance-oriented videos from classic rock bands, to pop singers to some of the greatest jazz performances ever captured and posted by... well, fans.

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What's so amazing is that that these clips have likely gone from populating some rabid fan's private collection of VHSs collecting dust on a closet shelf to anyone willing to search and reconnect with their affinities for bands gone by -- from obscure live performances of KISS, Queen and Black Sabbath to performances by the Bee Gees and Barry Manilow.

Now put your marketing hat on. In our quest to match the attributes of our client's brands with contexts that match, one can't help but see an enormous opportunity here. For starters, just think of all the classic songs you got annoyed hearing as the central idea of a television campaign -- from NIKE's "Revolution" to Starbuck's re-lyricing of "Eye of the Tiger." Now, imagine that rather than hijacking those songs for our television commercials, we respect the content for what it is/was and draft off its new ease of availability.

The trick is to decide which classic video performances of which classic artists best represent your brand attributes -- and only pre-roll those! Sort of brand attributes meet band attributes meets contextual video serving.

Once you begin to ponder what scaling your brand attributes against online content attributes can yield in terms of reaggregating clusters of target consumers, you can see why a Google/Doubleclick/YouTube triumvirate is such a powerful convergence of capabilities.

For creative agencies who are already producing custom :10 and :15 contextual pre-rolls, rather than simply cutting down TV spots for the Web, the possibilities to develop pre-rolls that are both scalable and contextual against classic content are really cool to ponder.

Think of the cultural currency to be gained by male shampoo brands pre-rolling videos from hair bands. Or Harley-Davidson pre-rolling Southern rock bands. Some might call it brand-attribute tagging, others might just call it contextual serving, but from where I sit, I call it cultural currency for current brands courtesy of classic content.

I guess if we can just solve the digital rights issues, we might actually have a sustainable new ad platform to create for. When can we start?

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