Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Repurposing’s Lack Of Purpose

All advertisers repurpose TV ads online.

Publishers don’t mind.  An ad buy is an ad buy whether it’s repurposed creative or original.

Media agencies don’t mind.  Their job is to buy impressions.  The content doesn’t really affect an impression, does it?

Ad agencies don’t mind.  Oh, they might originally protest, telling the advertiser that what they really need to do is create original work for the digital marketplace.  And, they’re right about that. 

But when the advertiser basis the amount they’ll pay to create original work on the size of the audience that actually “engages” with their commercial online, well, that’s when the ad agency shuts up.

Agencies get handed large production budgets to create work that will be seen by 30 million TV viewers.

Less so, when the number viewing the commercial is 30,000.

The result?  Ad agencies also go along with the whole repurposing thing.

Leaving no one to tell the emperor that he has no clothes.

What needs to happen?  Advertisers need to stop equating dollars spent on production to size of audience.  Yeah, like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

So, if not that, what?

Agencies and production companies need to find a way to justify their cost of production based on view duration rather than viewer audience size.

The longer the commercial “involves” the audience, the more the agency and production company get paid.

In other words, let share of time rather than share of voice determine how much profit agencies and production companies make.


Yeah, I thought so, too.  Until I talked to some agency bigwigs and high-priced commercial directors.

To the agency heads I asked if they would be willing to put part of their fee in play in return for complete creative freedom on the work itself?  In other words, once the client buys the work, the client is hands off.  The agency has complete control from that point on – casting, music, how many times the logo appears, edit, etc.

After all, the job is to keep the viewer involved.  The longer the spot does that, the better for the advertiser.  And, under this model, the agency.

“Fee in play?  What does that mean, exactly?” would be the bigwigs' first question. 

Simple. The longer viewers are involved in the commercial, the more profit the agency would make.

To commercial directors, I asked if they would be willing to put their day rate – for great directors up to $35,000 a day – into play?  In return, and if they created a spot that kept viewers involved, they could make twice that.

The answers from both agencies and commercial directors were, quite to my surprise, "yes".

In fact, when I’ve asked any “good” creative person if they would do this, the answer has always been “yes.”  Why?  

Because that’s why they’re good.

And, if they are given creative freedom, they, and the work, will only be that much better.

What this model will do is lower the initial cost for creating original work for the smaller viewing online audiences by up to 40%.  If the work works, i.e. keeps viewers involved, then yes, the advertiser will pay more than he would have otherwise.

But guess what?  Every advertiser I talked to about this said they wouldn’t mind doing that.  


Because they don’t mind paying for results.  They don't mind paying for outcome.  What they really dislike doing is paying for effort.

Is this a doable model?  You bet.  View duration data is now easily accessible.  Advertisers, agencies and production companies all seem to be on board.

So, what's the hang up?

A long standing belief in the advertising community that share of voice = share of mind = share of market.  A formula that worked when the advertiser was in control and could force his/her will on consumers.

This isn't the case on the digital platform.

Which is why the formula is slightly different.   Share of time = share of mind = share of market.

The end of result is the same - share of market.

But how we get there is different.

And repurposing creative isn't it.

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