Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Ad Unit Is Only As Effective As The Ad

You have to love media agencies.

Basically, they’re in the distribution business. But, truth be told, they really want to be in the creative business.

God bless ‘em.

Plumbers who want to be poets.

Even the names that they’re giving their new divisions are becoming more creative. Take Vivaki, for instance. It doesn’t seem to matter to The Starcom Mediavest Group that nobody can pronounce it correctly the first time they see it. Or, that they need to include a phonetic spelling next to the name on their website.

To them, it’s creative.

Interestingly enough, Vivaki is now testing what they believe could be today’s most effective video ad format for creative.

Format, mind you. Not commercial. Format. As if how the commercial is crafted is irrelevant to the commercial's effectiveness.

Alan Schulman, a genius when it comes to digital creative, was the creative lead on this Vivaki initiative. He wrote a nice piece about how it’s not the plumbing but the poetry that makes a commercial work, or not work.

Alan believes that good creative has to make you feel, not just think.

Alan, as usual, is bang on.

Hopefully, since he was involved in this Vivaki process, this ultimate video ad format will be able to be evaluated on how well it allows "viewsers" (Alan’s word) to feel.

Of course, Vivaki will no doubt charge advertisers the same amount for this new video ad format whether anybody feels anything or not.

Which should leave advertisers feeling as if they’ve been ripped off.

After all, I’m assuming that this new video ad format, like all video ad formats today, will be able to offer advertisers data as to how well the commercial was able to hold a viewer’s attention.

Will Vivaki charge advertisers for this new format based on these view duration metrics? In other words, the longer viewers watch the commercial for, the more Vivaki can charge.

It's difficult to argue that the longer viewers are engaged in a commercial, the greater the chances are that they’ll be persuaded to buy the product.

Or, according to Alan, to feel something.

So is it Vivaki’s new video ad format that is responsible for more time being spent with the commercial itself? Or, is it the skill of the creatives who crafted the commercial?

I’m guessing that Vivaki will initially take the credit. Until, that is, advertisers ask if they can pay Vivaki based on time spent, i.e., results.

At which point, Vivaki will back down, claiming that they’re in the plumbing business after all. Someone else makes the actual shit.

It seems to me that no matter what number people want to put on advertising, 1.0, 2.0, 20.0, 300.0, one basic principle remains the same.

It’s the creative idea that makes a media format work. Not the other way around.

Which means, Vivaki, you’re still in the plumbing business.

No matter how creative your name is.

(By the way, it’s viva-key. Had it wrong, did you?)

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