Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Difference Between Films of Persuasion and Commercials

In the last post, I talked about “Films of Persuasion.”

Many no doubt rolled their eyes and said it was just a fancier way of saying “commercial.”

Well, yes and no. Mostly, no.

A commercial usually consists of a defined length - :15, :30, :60 and occasionally, :90.

Films of Persuasion do not have a defined length.

Commercials usually are delivered in an intrusive manner. Viewing is forced.

Because Films of Persuasion are longer, they cannot be delivered in an intrusive manner. Viewers must be allowed to opt-in to watch. And, stop watching when no longer interested.

Since a commercial’s job is to intrude, it is constructed in a certain way.

Since a Film of Persuasion’s job is to engage, entice and intrigue, it must be crafted differently.

But the most important difference between the two is that a commercial is created to be delivered to the masses. Therefore the cost of creating that commercial is justified through impressions, or, how many see it.

A Film of Persuasion is created to be seen by a much smaller audience. Therefore, the cost of creating such a film will never be justified by impressions. As a Film of Persuasion will be seen by fewer people, it can only be justified by how long people view it rather than how many.

That’s one reason why Films of Persuasion are longer than commercials. Scale is achieved through time spent with the film, not reach.

Let’s say a 15 second spot gets 20 million impressions. Maximum amount of time that can be spent with the brand is 300,000,000 seconds.

Now let’s say a 60 second spot gets seen by 5 million people. Maximum amount of time that can be spent with the brand is 300,000,000 seconds.

As the number of viewers decreases through better targeting and more opt-in possibilities, the only way to “scale” (or perhaps justify is a better word) the cost of production is through time spent or view duration.

Not reach.

This is why these longer commercials will need to be crafted differently. They will need to be stories that involve and engage the viewer. They will need to look and feel so differently than what we today refer to as commercials, that, they too, will need to be referred to as something else.

Perhaps Films of Persuasion is the not the correct thing to call them.

But, if not, than what is?

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