Is 6-minute digital film risking brand association?

By | November 10, 2017

When the digital wave started, it created a luxury of time for audio-visual brand expressions. In the 6-minute digital film format, the creative teams and brand custodians were no longer constrained by the 30 – 45 second capping. A result of  high cost of advertising exposure on television.

It gave birth to short digital films, where brand message and experiences were delivered in 300-360 seconds. Every brand wanted to exploit this new opportunity. There was now available all the time to create the mood, lay the message context, build up on it and deliver a consumer engaging revenue-enhancing message. Additional seconds were available if someone wanted to extend it a wee bit more.

Many 30-second experts were caught off guard. They have invested their lives in understanding how to deliver a message in the shortest possible time frame. They had no idea of what to do with the sudden expansion of time that digital films offered. The industry was banking upon them to deliver. It failed to appreciate that it needed a differential treatment and mind-set.

So, the 30-second craftsman graduated to 300-360 seconds.

Now, the films were definitely better crafted. However, many of them failed to deliver the connect for the normal viewer. A viewer that is not a student or professional in the filed of marketing, communication or creativity.

I know most of the creative and strategic minds will laugh at my over-simplified misdirected analysis of the issue with 6 minute digital films.

They will have an array of data and strategic insights to defend every move and tilt of the camera. I respect them for their craft, experience and expertise. I would have appreciated if they were open to, listening to an point of view that is based on live viewing and discussions with real audiences.

I am not questioning their intent and collective boardroom wisdom. A viewer is not privy to the discussion and the strategies. The viewer just has the final product to judge.

The creative guys know it. They have understood the problem but over corrected the deviation.  No doubt, the digital films are films are hugely engaging. The audience is deeply involvement. They get so engrossed that the brand association gets lost. And that is the problem.

Advertising to me is a business proposition.

Hence, it is a waste if the viewer fails to link the message to a relevant brand attribute or cause, it is pure indulgence. The viewer must understand the relationship and get the brand association in the right perspective.

So, when one encounters some really nice work, the natural instinct is to share it with fellow professionals. And if one was missing a point, appreciate the debate.

In few of the films, the brand seems to be incidental, perhaps an after thought. In few of the films, it is just a sign-off reminding the audience who to thank for the experience.

Personally, I like them. They are great examples of story telling. The cast and the craft are almost perfect. But… What about you?

So, take your time, put on your swanky earphones and enjoy the story. And then check your reaction to each one of them.

ORIFLAME. Definitely, it is a beautiful message; a #BeautifulChange. If you dig deep, it dovetails into Oriflame’s vision of ‘being the #1 Beauty Company’ and the mission to fulfil dreams, for people all over the world. Did you get it?

FORD. It is brilliant story telling across three films. Do watch it in the right order. It addresses the rising divorce rate and inserting some hope in the familiar family scene. The treatment is very mature and sensitive. Brand is present throughout the film. However, I have to double-check the brand name before I listed the brand! Good they signed off with the logo. Why take chances?

VOLKSWAGEN. Better of this set. A brand that has long played with father-son relationship and again gets is absolutely right. It is an example of brilliant story telling with a far stronger product presence in the film. Message is communicated beautifully. Because the brand is so easily identifiable, there is less strain on the viewer to associate with the brand.

JOHNNIE WALKER. Dear brother, Keep walking. It is a fabulous piece of work. It is extremely emotive. A very purposive and strong brand association.

And then compare it with another brilliant 6 minute from the brand.

I have placed these in an order of increasing brand association.
That is my take. What’s your take? The question is subjective. Nevertheless, I believe it needs to be raised.

As a creative person, these are films one would want to be associated with. Find conviction and confidence to present to the client and get them approved. The responsibility must extend to ensure establishing of relevant brand associations and messaging.

Do you think as a brand custodian, you would put money behind them? Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. The debate will never end; However, it will be nice to know your POV. And if you have more such examples, please share them with me.