Commentary

Broadband Tips For The Traditionally Lazy

  • by September 25, 2007
With TV commercial production still comfortably ensconced within the traditional agencies and viral applications being primarily outsourced to the boutique interactive shops, one can't help but wonder if and when the two competencies will finally meet. Sure, there's a smattering of digital agencies out there that say they can shoot your video for streaming advertising applications, but advertisers, beware!

The world of video production is a slippery slope, and brand equity is a fragile thing to risk on a video pre-roll.

On the other hand, while the 30-second commercial may not be dead, you don't have to twist the arms of very many brand marketers to get them to admit that the $300,000 to $500,000 commercial production budget is right on par with the price of gas these days.  

There's just something about watching that wide shot someone spent five hours setting up through a broadband window that leaves us all wondering, including our clients, if there isn't a better way.

Concept is still king, but don't think only in TV resolution. Let's forget for a moment that the idea of cutting down :30 TV spots to :10 or :15 is the norm in broadband video.  Let us focus instead on what creative agencies need to do to get beyond this.  To begin with, more traditional creatives need to get over the sheer boredom and silent perks of sitting around some exotic location with some one-name director  -- and, instead, begin thinking about shooting for wider story-telling coverage than Cannes coverage.

That means, think about how far you can stretch your concept across short- and long-form scenarios and platforms -- and then go shoot the heck out of it.  Who knows which of your scenes could end up in a VOD buy, in front of a streaming news clip, or even on a VCAST phone? These emerging platforms may not be where you started, but it's time we wake up to the reality that it's where more and more consumers will start or finish.  Love your editors -- you're going to need them.

The harsh reality is that, generally speaking, creatives are in the day-to-day business of building their books and fine-tuning their reels. Few have sat side by side with an interactive creative team to collaborate in the development of much more than the extension of their TV campaigns into banner ads.

That, my creative friends, has got to change. It's high time that linear and non-linear storytelling and creative skill sets got together... and fast!

Creative agency?  Interactive agency? Media agency? Can't we all just get along?

As an industry, we have unbundled ourselves and consolidated our media into quite a corner. While we continue to rely on breakthrough television campaigns and expensive production models to create impact for our client's brands, we also have to find a way out of it before our clients do it for us.

Some already are. Too many divisions of labor in the marketing communications continuum are leaving some of our best creatives blind to integration, our media planners with too few creative elements to deploy, and our broadband video inventory chockfull of cut-down television spots.

The sooner we stop pretending to collaborate while we really just co-exist, and stop arguing over revenue sharing, the sooner we can start truly collaborating on the kind of integrated programs and video production models our clients brands are demanding in the cross-platform world.

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