Short Marketing Films: The Next Big Thing… or Much Ado about Nothing?

Short films are the rage in marketing today. Considered classier than commercials, these 2-10 minute productions are viewed as soft sell advertising aimed at people that don’t like advertising. They are also intended to be entertaining and engaging.

But, by trying to walk the fine line of being advertising in sheep’s clothing, are they actually creating a genre that is less cost effective than other potential advertising expenditures.

I was involved in a discussion group this week that revolved around these little beauties. I found some of those posted interesting, some banal. Some were compelling, some highly forgettable, some imaginative, some bizarre. Well you get the idea: basically, they ran the full gamut of quality and engagement, just like most other forms of advertising (and like most movies for that matter).

This one, by the way, from Nissan, was one of the best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkYgI1vExBA

(Thank you Heather Young, you can visits Heather’s blog at: http://hyoung4489.wordpress.com/ )

__________

And this one from Coke was also interesting: http://www.hf3.coca-cola.com/

(Thank you, Jacob Ashby; you can see Jacob’s blog at: http://jacobashby.wordpress.com/ )

 Several people in our group commented that they found one or another of the featured films to be interesting, but not enough so to pass along. (In interest of full disclosure, there were a few people who posted a film to their Facebook page because someone they knew would find it interesting, but the prevailing tenor of opinion was more like the previous sentence…)

The fact is that I have seen more spirited discussions and feelings served up around a water cooler about  TV commercials open with their intentions than were expressed about most of these films. I think one of the key flaws to this genre is that in most cases, they are too long to be commercials, and too short to really hold the pretension of having developed a plot.

Personally, I left this discussion with more questions than answers. A few that came to mind (in no particular order) were:

  • Who is the audience? Who is willing to sit through a 2-10 minute film, and why would they do this?
  • What are the key ingredients: engagement, cuteness, outrageousness, nostalgia, need, all of the above or none of the above?
  • Even if engaging, are these films effective at creating brand awareness?
  • Even if engaging, are these films effective at creating transactional sales?
  • If so, how can this effectiveness be measured?
  • Are they viral; can the cost of production be leveraged the way a Super Bowl ad often is?
  • If they meet the above criteria, what is the appropriate length?
  • Are there product or service categories that are better served than others by these films? For example, is level of product engagement a factor to consider? How about level of existing product awareness?
  • Are there better platforms for these companies’ expenditures than hiring top rate directors, actors or animators?

I think the real key here is: Are these films a long term “keeper” in a marketing communications portfolio or are they the next banner ad?

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3 Responses to “Short Marketing Films: The Next Big Thing… or Much Ado about Nothing?”

  1. Zander Says:

    Fantastic post and Exceptional web-site! Bookmarked it too

  2. mtietbohl Says:

    Hi,

    Glad you liked it. This really is a topic worthy of more digging into.

  3. jacobashby Says:

    Hello,

    Glad you found the one I chose interesting. I just remembered seeing it after some search multiple times before movies.

    Jacob

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