Hey, can you give me a second?
Many people say that the attention span of viewers is getting shorter, and as a result marketers often feel pressured to use short-form videos to communicate with customers. There is a continuous search to create the perfect 30-second spot, 15-second cut or 6-second billboard that captures the essence of the brand and rises above the competing video content.
But the reality is that a long video may be the best strategic decision.
First, let’s dispel the myth of the duration of attention.
Now I know we all tend to think we are turning into a society with the attention of scattered goldfish. As it turns out, this is not necessarily the case. A study by Google and Ipsos found that people can – and do – still pay attention. When analyzing customer behavior, 81 percent of video viewing sessions attract people’s attention.
In recent years, research has also shown that most of the viewing time on all devices takes up long video. And the pandemic only served to boost the growth of long-term content.
Because long videos focus on entertainment and stories. If more time, there is room for such subtle fantasies for Burberry.
Or such humor for General Motors during this year’s Super Cup.
Or a story that engages viewers more deeply and meaningfully, like Nike’s well-known Colin Copernicus video.
The long shape also allows brands to showcase their creativity, values and put their product in context.
I read that advertising legend Howard Luck Gosage said:
“Nobody reads the advertisement. People read what interests them; and sometimes it’s advertising. ”
I totally agree with him, and if you replaced “reading” with “clock,” it clarified how people feel about video content today.
Rules of relevance
We all better avoid advertising. “Banner blindness” is real, and we are largely immune to anything that has no personal relevance or interest.
But there is good news for marketers. More and more people are looking for truly entertaining long-format content that is personally relevant to them.
Be it educational (like a TED talk), fun (a tour of the Loire Valley in this new luxury car), entertaining (what will this coffee-drinking couple do next?) Or even a fun look at the evolution of their favorite beer .
It’s all about strategically targeting your audience and interacting with them over time.
We all know the more time someone spends with a brand, the more willing they are to buy. Now I’m not a mathematician, but a memorable four-minute long video is eight times more personal time with your brand than a 30-second ad. Yes, I know it’s not that simple, but you get the point
Whiskey – with a surge of controversy
Elastic has teamed up with Patrick Whitnall, Irene Saris and Kaga Brian at Publicis Content to create a long-term work that marked the 150th anniversary of Jack Daniels. This was disrespectful, controversial and quite relevant to JD’s fiercely loyal audience.
The Publicis team, with the help of a client, skillfully intertwined events and inventions through the 150-year history of Jack Daniels into one bar scene. He then cleverly added some hilarious – and somewhat dubious – historical facts to the mix to speak to the very active JD Facebook community.
The content did its job brilliantly. In the first week, it received more than a million live views, and JD’s Facebook group caught fire like a Christmas tree, with more than 70,750 new fans joining the discussion, showing how engaged people were with the video.
“Vicks – Touch of Care” is an emotional documentary-drama series from P&G, which examines social issues in various communities around the world, focusing on non-family people, caring for others as their own.
We had the opportunity to work with Prodigious and Saatchi & Saatchi Singapore, going to the Philippines to tell the story of Jason and Pamela who come together in the most unfortunate circumstances.
It was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been involved in, as it really connected a wide range of people and became one of the most successful.
The video received over eight million views on YouTube in the weeks after its release … it even sparked a video reaction.
A beautiful idea that really connects on an emotional level, P&G noticed a very high activity of local communities and found a significant audience around the world for these long videos.
Laughed to the point of intimacy
People love to have a good laugh! Light, funny videos are always a favorite – they are easy to use, you can often summarize and “stick”.
When Prodigious Singapore introduced us to Head & Shoulders “Duderuff” last year, it’s time to stretch our comedic muscles with the help of director Yvette Paxinas, otherwise known as PAXI.
In this hilarious mini-cartoon, Mark, our cute hero, suffers from “duderuf”. With an easy approach we could touch on a sensitive topic. And because we had time in the long-form video, the authors were also able to incorporate accurate scientific information in a fun way, making the work very appealing and intimate.
Long video is very good for comedy because it allows you to laugh and act out a whole comedy script. And – like any long-form video – once the premise is created, it’s easy to make 30, 15 and 6-second cuts for digital, VOD and TVC that “respond” to the hero.
Education and inspiration
The long form allows us to consider complex concepts in a more metaphorical and detailed way. Here, brands can educate and inspire audiences … and hopefully create change.
This applies to the Discovery series, which we produced for the biopharmaceutical company AbbVie. A series of short documentaries highlight the importance of medical research to transform the lives of people living with chronic diseases.
The fourth episode of the series is dedicated to psoriasis. It is a skin condition that can be debilitating and change the lives of people living with it.
For almost eight minutes, this complex topic is explained to the audience so that it is coherent and very engaging. The film explores the juxtaposition of advances in technology that are changing our lives online, and how advances in medical research have given patients new life. The film educates audiences and gives an insight into the transformational impact medical studies of the lives of people living with psoriasis.
Long love affair
But a caveat … the most outstanding long work in the world will not get views if no one finds out what it is.
To truly harness your power, a long form must be wrapped up in a holistic company strategy. This includes research, ideas and a constantly optimized omnichannel dissemination strategy that uses the best platforms combined with best practices to truly connect with your audience.
But with strategic use there is no end to the opportunity to create very compelling content, relevant content that really connects your audience. And hey, what about reducing attention? If you’ve read so far, you’ve just helped prove it’s a myth!