Viva La Creative Revolution

The debates surrounding best practices for online video are certainly getting more interesting by the day. The Online Publishing Association's recent study seemed to buck conventional wisdom's trend towards shorter ads, providing data in support of the branding power of the 30-second spot associated with only two minutes of content. Counterintuitive as it may seem, it is certainly positive news. As with any study, though, the results do need to be taken with a grain of salt, as some very important factors, such as the user experience, weren't looked at in this initial study.

But whichever side of the debate you are on -- pre-roll vs video banners, :15s vs. :30s, traditional models or new, experimental ones -- there are a few things that most everyone agrees on. Video is a powerful marketing vehicle no matter how you choose to implement it, the options and inventory are plentiful, and the creative possibilities are endless. The state of our video union is good, and only getting better.

With data supporting every side of every argument, and we try to set standards and best practices, the voice of the creative community needs to be heard. No matter which side of any video fence you may be on, I'd like to specifically call on the creative community to show us what you've got.

When rich media was first introduced, the technology dictated the creative palette. We broke out of the boarders of our banners, and Flash enabled a whole new level of interactivity, but it was the publishers who set the dimensions and files sizes for you to work with.

As broadband penetration has reached a critical mass, and the pipes continue to get fatter, the potential for "creative creative" only continues to grow. When rich media 1.0 was introduced, it was about eliminating the technical barriers to creativity. Today, the only barrier is our own level of creative ideas. As video continues to become more prevalent, there are new opportunities once again to raise the bar of creativity. Instead of being stuck within the confines of a banner, video allows us to rethink the borders and boundaries of our canvas. When we are watching a video in a media player that is 320 x 240, how are we using the rest of the screen? Additionally, within a short-form video experience, what can we do to engage interested users who are already in a lean-forward mindset and are inches from the mouse button? Hotspotting and drill-down capabilities are just the beginning of what is possible within this interactive medium.

The point here is a simple one. The last creative revolution was dictated by publishers and technology vendors. What could you do, and would the publisher let you do it?

This time around, the creative revolution can be led by the creative community! What a novel concept, don't you think? As we consider new standards and guidelines for video advertising, the creative community should have as loud and strong a voice as possible.

We need to rethink the way we advertise to people online. How do we invite people to engage with our brands when you don't say "click here"?

So today we ask you, the creative community, what would you do without the constraints and confines of a publisher-dictated ad model? How would you build creative around a streamed video experience if you weren't told how long your pre- and mid-roll could be, or what the size of your companion banner was? You don't want to leave it up to the rest of us to tell you what to do, do you?

The technology is there, and publishers understand the need for new ad models if they want to keep users coming back when the same video content can be consumed on multiple Web sites and multiple platforms. So raise your voices, unleash your creativity, and viva la revolution!!

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