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See that picture above?
That’s a screenshot of a pre-roll ad on a Youtube video I was trying to watch in December.
Now see that number on the far left hand side … the one that says 2 minutes 16 seconds … that’s how long the fuckers who made that ad expected me to wait until I could see the video I wanted to actually watch.
How egotistical can you get?
How utterly bloody insane can you be?
Do they really think I’m going to spend longer watching a crap video about a brand/product I have no interest in, than the actual thing I want to watch?
Christ, the opening scene features a pair of slippers.
That hardly constitutes the sort of thing that would grab the attention of the average person.
Even grandma’s would not want to see that and I swear to god they keep the slipper industry alive.
Who made this?
Who sold this?
Who told the client it was a good use of time?
WHEN DID AGENCIES FORGET HOW HUMAN BEINGS ACTUALLY ACT AND RESPOND TO STUFF???
Before anyone on here was born, I worked for an amazing agency called HHCL.
They were true pioneers, but more than that, they were brilliant at understanding what was really going on in cultures and individuals hearts and minds … which is why the stuff we made that people initially thought was mental, was exceedingly successful.
The reason I say this is because years before the internet was invented [well, it was invented, but it was classified to the military or something] there was this thing called the ‘video recorder’.
This machine would play big tapes [another thing you will have to look up] that – among other things – featured movies on them.
You would rent these things from something called a ‘video store’ and it was basically be a massive library, but instead of books, it was full of video tapes.
Anyway, at the beginning of these films would be ads … a bit like the pre-roll on youtube ads.
In the old days, rather than a ‘skip after 5 seconds’ button, you had this thing that allowed you to fast forward past the ads and get to the movie.
People used to do this all the time and yet – like on Youtube pre-roll ads – clients and agencies kept shoving on their products at the beginning of the film.
And this approach carried on for years until the brilliant folk at HHCL – when asked to do something prior to the main feature starting – decided to do something that was devious and effective.
Knowing full well people fast forwarded past the ads, they created a commercial – just featuring words – that was so slow that when the person sped past the ads, they could read what was being said clearly across the screen.
Yes I know you could argue that’s invasive, but it’s also bloody brilliant – but then that’s what HHCL were, bloody brilliant.
They took this approach even further in 1994 by making an ad so deliberately fast that only those who videoed it, could read it:
Sure, it’s sort-of playing on reverse psychology but it’s also mental brilliance.
Yes I know some agencies and clients are trying to do similar stuff these days, but they are still in the minority, which begs the question … with so many people banging on about how innovative the creative industry is and how informed the media agencies are, how come so many seem to operate without any appreciation of what the audience do/want and look for?
Of course, there is a bigger issue as regards making products people want rather than what companies want them to want – but every time I see a pre-roll ad on Youtube, I genuinely want to ring the client up and ask them whether they are insane or just an egomaniac.
I’m not saying pre-roll can’t work, but I am saying if you base your execution on the premise that ‘your brand/ad is so interesting that people will delay what they want to see, just to watch it’, then all I will say is that it must be utterly brilliant on their planet.
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