The dangers of emerging TV ad innovations

Few days go by where I do not find myself discussing some of the most interesting TV advertising innovations and technologies hitting the market. From multi-screen methodologies and emerging social TV endeavors, to new measurement platforms, and hyper-personalization techniques intersecting across differing digital and television silos.

This is why I'm taking a step back for a moment to encompass a bit of a contrarian viewpoint. Our consistently evolving screen media landscape is a double-edged sword. One that allows us to engage in amazing new campaign endeavors, but also one that is causing us to forget and overlook some incredibly crucial concepts. As new technologies and understanding become more widespread, it also becomes all too easy to rely heavily on tech and measurement over historical markers for success and screen differentiators. Below is a list of three contrarian prescriptions to avoid certain pitfalls that have been starting to arise.

Don't: Forget the creative

In the digital sphere, we spend vast amounts of time deciphering data on how to best buy our audiences so that we can effectively expose and evangelize specific brand values. We can focus in on our exact customers, track and measure response, as well as change campaigns in a heartbeat -- abilities all on their way to TV-land with many having already arrived. Our capabilities to analyze data and craft campaigns in hyper-real time means that we often rely heavier on our targeting and directly measureable results rather than viewing the full picture.

The crucial element of that picture is how to best affect the hearts and minds of our target. No matter how great my data dives yield understanding of the target audience or how long a specific viewer interaction may be, it doesn't offer a guarantee for any sort of long term brand recall or retention -- one of the cornerstones of big screen Ads. We need to make sure that while our technologies may become more digitally focused, that our creative stays true to a larger screen. A screen that allows more emotive and compelling formats.
 
Just because our TV ad spots will soon be bought programmatically doesn't mean our creative should be. When it comes to the big screen (or even multiscreen) long-acting creative is king. How many of you out there, can remember Mr. Kool-Aid breaking through a wall, the Jolly Green Giant Ho-ho-hoing, or the Snuggle bear? Can you claim the same with Facebook ads, Google Ads, or even YouTube across your smaller devices? We can remember brand messages that are displayed decades ago for a reason -- emotive creative on the largest of screens.

We cannot let data, technology, and emerging media sources take away from the most important TV ad element -- no matter what TV technologies we bring to the table or how entwined the intersection of TV and digital becomes. The brand message and emotional evocations it provides must be present. Whereas our digital buys can often be less emotive and more quick-fire, a larger screen will also need larger creative. 

Don't: Assume correlated television and second screen endeavors need be united or co-viewed

The heart of multiscreen ad campaigns is cohesive messages across devices. Due to this, we speak a lot with the agency world about how to tie in divisive screens with the larger screen. ACR, social TV, and multi-screen are all words we throw around pretty often in an effort to figure out how to display a brand message as one cohesive experience across multiple touch points. This is also a sometimes futile effort. While trying to unite campaigns across devices, we do not always allow for understanding about the psychology of media consumption. Differing devices will often beget differing needs and methods for ad campaigns. What drives and motivates an action or response on a big screen, can and will differ from tablets and mobile.

People consume ads differently across devices and across platforms. While immersive and emotive experiences may work best on a larger screen, this will not be the case on a mobile device. We need to figure out the psychology behind what messages and experiences work best both in unison across screens and -- just as importantly -- how to launch transmedia styled campaigns across devices that are purposely segregated. 

Don't: Jump on the innovation bandwagon

There is a world of hype and a world of hope that exists out there in the television marketing landscape. "X" second screen app will revolutionize the industry. The "X" platform will seamlessly measure TV commentary and response across platforms. The fact of the matter is that predictive analysis is low and hype is high. We are coming into times that require far more due diligence than ever before. The market is picking up momentum for new television innovations.

OTT, social TV, connected TV, multi-screen are all seeing mass venture, mass R&D, yet with some successes also come misfires. For every technology, product, platform, and service that seems revolutionary today, one will be gone tomorrow.  Already the second screen space is seeing immense fallout due to business driven initiatives superseding audience driven initiatives. Do not fall into the trap. Research, research, research, and then conduct more research. With great options comes the need to engage in even greater due diligence than ever before. Now is the time to look before you leap as options are flooding the ecosystem.

As TV continues to evolve and grow we shall continue to be presented with a multitude of new advertising and marketing opportunities that will make exceptional additions to our toolkits. As this occurs however, we must remember to take even smarter approaches to media then we ever have before. 
 
Zach Weiner is CEO at Emerging Insider Communications.

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