Facebook launches new video sharing tab: “Watch”

Facebook is rolling “Watch” out to a limited number of people in the US. The official launch date to the rest of the U.S. has not been disclosed, but will precede international expansion. Users with access will see a TV-shaped Watch button in the bottom navigation bar of Facebook’s main app that opens the new video hub.

While Facebook has offered video for years, it typically appears in the news feed when liked by friends. In this case, people can specifically seek video content and subscribe to it. The similarities to YouTube are obvious, but the usage of the Facebook platform is quite different, so success will require a behavioral change.

Facebook admits that “we’ve funded some shows” as examples, but notes that these are only a small percentage of all the available shows. “We want any publisher/creator who is interested to be able to create a show in the future,” a Facebook spokesperson told Tech Crunch. “So there will be hundreds of shows at launch, and we’ll hopefully scale to thousands.” Original content developers will be compensated; earning 55% of associated ad revenue.

Why It’s Hot: Alphabet seems unstoppable, with core offerings such as Google Search, YouTube, and less so, Doubleclick Ad Exchange, commanding a huge share of their respective categories. These platforms are not always marketer or agency-friendly. Their privacy policies are among the most restrictive. Their brand safety solutions are less customizable than others. Their technical support is notoriously slow to respond. Their products are limited and prices are high. Competition, even when offered by another media behemoth, gives marketers more options to test and may lead to positive changes at Alphabet/YouTube.

Snickers Puts the “Video” in Video Games

 

Knowing that videos tend to run the risk of being skipped, Snickers developed a way to keep viewers engaged by developing video game videos.

In line with their “You’re not you when you are hungry” campaign platform, the first features a school-bus driver whose hunger has turned him into a WWE wrestler with incessant road rage. In the second, a hungry tennis umpire has transformed into a whining rockstar.

In both scenarios, a series of Snickers bars float across the screen towards the character’s outstretched hand, but the viewers must click the pause button at the correct moment to help the characters grab them.

If they’re successful, the WWE wrestler calms down into a bus driver, and the musician morphs back into an umpire. If not, they’ve got nine more tries to get it right.

Why It’s Hot:

  • Smart and entertaining way to engage viewers when consuming video
  • It’s another example of how platforms, such as YouTube, are flexing to service creative ideas led by agencies
  • Shows the growing trend of choosing to develop platform-digital-specific work rather than “copy and paste” TV commercials, which generally don’t perform as well

 

Gone In 6 Seconds

Australian retailer Myer hosted a flash sale using YouTube’s six-second pre-roll ad slots.

The 6 Second Sale ads feature more than 100 Myer products with discounts greater than those available in store and online by 5%. Viewers have only six seconds (the length of the pre-roll ad) to secure the deal being offered, with those that manage to click on the offer in time are taken to a pre-populated shopping cart on Myer’s site.

The campaign created using Google’s Vogon –  customization tool that lets brands create unlimited variations of the same ad by changing the text, audio or images. The targeting used in the 6 Second Sale ensures no YouTube user will see the same ad twice.

The 6 Second Sale is being promoted through Myer’s website, social channels, catalog and print.

Why It’s Hot

-It merges shopping impulse with a platform experience that times out in a very short amount of time

-Leverages scarcity to heighten the need to buy and drive sales

-Great example of a brand “hacking” a platform to drive a campaign

 

 

Someone Please Buy This Guy’s Car!

Last moth, Eugene Romanovsky posted an ad to sell “my best friend,” his 1996 Suzuki Vitara on YouTube. This absolutely amazing video has amassed over 3.9 million views and reportedly two thousand offers to buy his car.

Eugene’s “adventures” with the Vitara include evading the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, thundering down the desert dunes alongside Mad Max and the War Boys convoy in Mad Max: Fury Road and diving into the depths of the ocean to swim with sharks.

In case you’re wondering, Eugene is Creative Director/ VFX Supervisor/ Head of Motion GFX dep. at Gravity – an international Creative, Design, Animation and Effects group, situated in sunny Tel-Aviv, Israel.

Why It’s Hot

Just because your objective is simple—like selling a car—doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box and have fun!

 

Google Training Ad Placement Computers to Be Offended

After seeing ads from Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart appear next to racist, anti-Semitic or terrorist videos, its engineers realized their computer models had a blind spot: They did not understand context.

Now teaching computers to understand what humans can readily grasp may be the key to calming fears among big-spending advertisers that their ads have been appearing alongside videos from extremist groups and other offensive messages.

Google engineers, product managers and policy wonks are trying to train computers to grasp the nuances of what makes certain videos objectionable. Advertisers may tolerate use of a racial epithet in a hip-hop video, for example, but may be horrified to see it used in a video from a racist skinhead group.

That ads bought by well-known companies can occasionally appear next to offensive videos has long been considered a nuisance to YouTube’s business. But the issue has gained urgency in recent weeks, as The Times of London and other outlets have written about brands that inadvertently fund extremists through automated advertising — a byproduct of a system in which YouTube shares a portion of ad sales with the creators of the content those ads appear against.

This glitch in the company’s giant, automated process turned into a public-relations nightmare. Companies like AT&T and Johnson & Johnson said they would pull their ads from YouTube, as well as Google’s display advertising business, until they could get assurances that such placement would not happen again.

“We take this as seriously as we’ve ever taken a problem,” Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, said in an interview last week. “We’ve been in emergency mode.”

Over the last two weeks, Google has changed what types of videos can carry advertising, barring ads from appearing with hate speech or discriminatory content.

It is also putting in more stringent safety standards by default, so an advertiser must choose to place ads next to more provocative content. Google created an expedited way to alert it when ads appear next to offensive content.

Google’s efforts are being noticed. Johnson & Johnson, for example, said it had resumed YouTube advertising in a number of countries. Google said other companies were starting to return.

To train the computers, Google is applying machine-learning techniques — the underlying technology for many of its biggest breakthroughs, like the self-driving car. It has also brought in large human teams (it declined to say how big) to review the appropriateness of videos that computers flagged as questionable.

Essentially, they are training computers to recognize footage of a woman in a sports bra and leggings doing yoga poses in an exercise video safe for advertising and not sexually suggestive content. Similarly, they will mark video of a Hollywood action star waving a gun as acceptable to some advertisers, while flagging a similar image involving an Islamic State gunman as inappropriate.

Armed with human-verified examples of what is safe and what is not, Google’s computer systems break down the images of a YouTube video frame by frame, analyzing every image. They also digest what is being said, the video’s description from the creator and other signals to detect patterns and identify subtle cues for what makes a video inappropriate.

The idea is for machines to eventually make the tough calls. In the instances when brands feel that Google failed to flag an inappropriate video, that example is fed back into the system so it improves over time. Google said it had already flagged five times as many videos as inappropriate for advertising, although it declined to provide absolute numbers on how many videos that entailed.

Source: NYT

Opportunistic Content 101: Toys R Us Giraffe Cam

“April the Giraffe” – a wildlife park’s pregnant giraffe, April, is set to give birth any day now, and the internet is watching. Toys R Us has capitalized on all the eyeballs by sponsoring the zoo’s live feed of April. The buzz has come in the form of genuine excitement and anticipation as well as conspiracy theories.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClnQCgFa9lCBL-KXZMOoO9Q/live

Why it’s hot: Toys R Us saw the simplest of opportunities – a basic sponsorship getting their brand name and logo in front of hundreds of thousands of people who likely fit within their target demo – and seized on it quickly, having to do little more than pony up the cash to support the zoo. It remains to be seen if the whole thing is truly organic, or if it’s a PR stunt orchestrated by Toys R Us, the zoo, and/or Doubletree Hotels whose local franchise has also placed advertising on the giraffe’s dedicated landing page.

The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Brand Saftey Crisis

The ripple of the video giant’s woes has gotten so great that some have predicted the impact from major brands could cost YouTube $750 million. Seemingly, there are some that are happy when such a kink in the armor is exposed, but there are myriad of stakeholders, each with their own perspective. With that amount of money – as well as brand reputation and confidence – at stake there are going to be some winners and losers, and here they are:

WINNERS

Old-fashioned publishers

These are the classic media players who started losing their lunch the second Google started owning the internet. One could imagine publishers grinning ear to ear, thinking, “Told ya so. Quality content isn’t so easy.” They can can make a more convincing case that knowing the content and the audience actually is still important.

This issue can resurface a shift to high-quality, direct-bought content, where brands have the most control but pay a premium for it in some cases.

Streamers

Anyone selling streaming ads is in a good position – including Sling, Dish and even TV networks. Hulu, Roku, TV networks and anyone with a digital video platform will be showing off their highly curated content. These new shows and programming will look pretty good to anyone with a heightened interest in knowing exactly where their messages will appear.

Tech tools & 3rd Party Verification Partners

Brands have called for digital platforms like Facebook and Google to clean up the media supply chain and to be more transparent with data. The brand safety issue on YouTube is yet another bit of leverage to force more cooperation.

Independent third parties like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat and others will find more brands at their doorsteps looking for ways to ensure their ads appear near quality content.

The agency

One of the most important roles for agencies was helping brands make sure their ads didn’t show up in the wrong place by intimately knowing the targeting, brand safety protections and best practices of each channel. Well, now those services are increasingly valuable.

LOSERS

Net neutrality

When the Trump administration makes further moves to undo net neutrality, as many anticipate based on current momentum repealing FCC consumer protections, Google’s ability to defend it in idealistic terms could be undermined by all the talk about serving ads on terrorist video.

Programmatic

It took a long time for programmatic to stop being a dirty word. Programmatic advertising was once considered the least controlled, lowest quality ad inventory at the lowest price. In part, brands could start to pull back from blind, untargeted buying without transparency.

YouTubers

YouTube has said that part of its solution is to implement stricter community standards, and that could mean more bannings and ad blocking from their videos, impacting their earnings.They could be quicker to cut a channel at the smallest offense now that brands are watching closely.

Advertisers still on YouTube – this is a tricky one to classify and it’s too early to say. We’ll have to see how the video platform reacts over time to increasing pressures to allow verification partners and data trackers access within the garden’s walls.

Why It’s (Still) Hot:

This topic will continue to be important to the brands we represent, aim to represent and even those far from us that are faced with the same decision to either stay the course or sit it out. There is a lot of money moving around on media plans, a lot of POV’s being routed and a lot of reps working overtime to reassure teams of buyers/planners that they are taking brand safety very seriously. Often it’s not the crisis that defines a company, but what they do in the aftermath. Some are hopeful that this is a definitive crack in the ‘walled garden’-  but even if it is not, we’re all hoping for a better, safer platform at the end of this tunnel…a world where once again clients can be irked by their premium pre-rolls showing up prefacing water skiing squirrels and dancing cat videos instead of terrorist rhetoric.

YouTube Brand Safety Issues Threaten Sales

If some of you haven’t heard the news yet, a handful of HUGE brands have completely pulled the plug on spending with YouTube, amid a growing international controversy concerning ads running in tandem with extremist content on the platform. This content includes videos promoting terrorist groups like ISIS, hate speech, gory videos, and other unsavory content.  Brands refuse to re-instate spending until the video site could assure their spots wouldn’t run near offensive content.

Examples of advertisers that have pulled out domestically and/or internationally are big players like Verizon, AT&T, GlaxoSmithKline, JPMorgan Chase, Ford Motors, McDonald’s UK, and Johnson & Johnson.  To this point in time, YouTube (owned by Google) has been one of the difficult partners out there, who don’t allow 3rd party ad verification partners in to monitor brand safety.  Instead, they bring their own proprietary tools.  DoubleVerify circulated an email to clients on 3/23 stating that the issues of advertisers running next to unsavory content could have been avoided if 3rd party tools were allowed.

Why It’s Hot

This raises so many thoughts/questions about brand safety and how to handle situations like this from an agency perspective.  Our team has been singing the praises of 3rd party ad verification partners for a long time- they police sites and make sure that advertisers are truly protected.  So, I have to ask:

1.)  Are self-policers like YouTube worth running on?  Given this news, how much has their credibility been shattered?

2.)  Were the advertisers doing anything in regards to brand safety before, or was this truly the fault of YouTube not monitoring the content of their site closely enough?  With a pharma client we work on, YouTube has confirmed that we’ve run in safe content because we’ve been so stringent from the start…

3.) Are there implications for a brand (think, from a PR perspective) if they choose to continue to run on YouTube, given this news?  Should brands join the movement of pulling spend JUST to join the movement and make change happen, or should they stay the course (if they’ve been confirmed to be running on brand safe content only?)

Source 1
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Google Takes on Cable!

 

Google just joined the “skinny bundle” TV war with YouTube TV, a paid subscription service that streams a slew of premium broadcast and cable networks to your mobile device, tablet, computer, and anything with Chromecast.

Just $35 a month gets you six accounts and access to live TV from more than 40 providers including the big broadcast networks, ESPN, regional sports networks and dozens of popular cable networks. Subscriptions include cloud DVR with unlimited storage, AI-powered search and personalization, and access to YouTube Red programming.

YouTube TV joins a growing wave of services, including Dish’s Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and AT&T’s new DirectTV Now, with a similar web TV offering from Hulu expected soon. And like these other options, unfortunately, YouTube still has some holes with its offering.

Big networks like CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox, are on board, but several premium channels, like MTV and CNN, aren’t. You can add content like Showtime and soccer for an added fee, but some content comes with restrictions. If you’re a pro football fan, for example, you’ll have to watch games on your TV or computer because the NFL’s deal with Verizon made it off-limits to your mobile device. And no matter what you watch or what you watch it on, you may see ads.

The company won’t say when the service launches, but says you can expect it in the US in the “coming weeks and months.”

Why It’s Hot

While the offering is new, and we don’t know what they’ll bring to the table in regards to advertising opportunities, this is a smart way for YouTube to gain more ground with quality content and reaching cord cutters (especially ones that are on a budget!).  This is especially pertinent to one of our clients, as we’ve seen higher ROI on TV-like experiences vs. the traditional YouTube or other video buys online.  It will allow us to diversify where we find video content.

YouTube launches its own streaming TV service

YouTube, the most popular video service on the web that recently announced it streamed one billion hours per day, is now launching a live TV service called YouTube TV. The offering will mix live-streams of broadcast and cable television programming with the wealth of online video found on YouTube. The service will exist through a new YouTube TV site and a new YouTube TV mobile app.
For $35 a month, subscribers get all four major networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX — and about 35 cable channels, most of which are owned by their parent companies, such as ESPN, Bravo, the Disney Channel, and Fox News.
That price covers six accounts, so each member of the household can have a personalized account that offers recommendations tuned to their taste. roll out in the next few months. The service will arrive first in major markets.

Why It’s Hot
Some of the features included with a YouTube TV subscription are:
• DVR-style recording for your favorite shows with unlimited storage space in Google’s cloud.
• Works with Chromecast, Google Home, computers, iOS and Android phones and tablets
• Watch up to 3 concurrent streams at a time

YouTube is trying to reach a generation that is increasingly unfamiliar with linear TV and will never buy into traditional cable TV. Connected TV viewing grew by 65% last year and advertisers are eager to get into OTT because it promises the quality and engagement of television with the enhanced targeting of digital. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki calls it the evolution of television, and a bid to “give the younger generation the content that they love with the flexibility they expect.”
And marketers can’t ignore YouTube. YouTube remains the key online video provider, with its massive audience and wealth of information on the viewers who are watching, and with its parent company Google, which handles about 93% of all online searches, the potential of the platform cannot be ignored.

How I Got Ripped Ads

In this Programmatic Insider article, John Matavelli recounts an excruciating experience with a 5+ minute, unskippable, programmatic video spot for “Ripped Abs”, viewed on his television set on YouTube via Roku. He goes on to share the details of his investigation into how such a terribly interruptive advertising experience could exist. YouTube tells him that the ads should be skippable, but there is a glitch. The “glitch” though, has not been quickly fixed, and angry tweets have stimulated a flood of suggestions to install an ad blocker. These have generated more angry tweets, claiming that YouTube has worked around the ad blockers. This is bad for all of us.

Image result for ripped abs cartoon

Why It’s Hot: More than half of digital media, like the referenced YouTube ad, is purchased programmatically. “Programmatic” enables marketers to reach people across many channels, with incredible precision, reach and efficiency. At its best, it delivers personalized, valued experiences that bring people and brands closer together. However, programmatic media appears across thousands of environments that we do not control, which makes QA challenging. Bad experiences are out there. We need to be vigilant about identifying and avoiding them.

We use a host of technologies to protect clients’ investments and the users’ experience, but they’re not foolproof. We each need to be immersed in media; experiencing ads just like the people with whom we want to connect. We need to constantly consider the line between attention-getting and intrusive, and stay on the right side of it.

 

Reverse Content Strategy

Andrew Wong and James Thompson created an algorithm that seeks videos fitting specific criteria: uploaded within the past week, with generic file names (IMG1234 or WMV4321) as titles, and zero views. The result is a fascinating glimpse at the mundane, perplexing, and oftentimes ordinary events of everyday life. Try to not watch it for hours at a time.

The site only plays a few seconds of each video so it feels like flipping the pages of random books and reading a couple of lines before you’re off to the next one.

http://astronaut.io/#

Why It’s Hot

The concept goes against all good strategy best practices. Instead of surfacing the most-viewed, most valuable and well-categorized content, Astronaut.io shows us the polar opposite side of the spectrum. Nevertheless, the results are fascinating in a really odd, amateur and unpolished way.

The Power of Six Reaches YouTube

YouTube released a new pre-roll format this week known as Bumper Ads. These pre-roll ads are similar to traditional TrueView Ads on the channel, except that they last just six seconds. The new format is optimized for mobile, where users have shorter attention spans.

Not only are these ads optimized for mobile viewership, but they also present an opportunity for brands to test which format is most successful and engaging. Recently, Audi and Atlantic Records launched Bumper Ads that featured select shots from its longer TV spots.

YouTube has found from early tests that these short-form pre-roll ads perform best when paired with TrueView ads. They are a great complement to the traditional ads as they are optimized for mobile and drove strong lifts in the upper funnels of ad recall and awareness when targeted towards those who had previously seen TrueView preroll ads. The TrueView ads have been found to perform best in lower funnels.

Why It’s Hot: These shorter pre-roll ads could be a great solve for advertising on mobile, as they cater to the short attention spans of mobile users. It will be interesting to see how brands use these Bumper Ads to retarget their key audience on mobile. There is opportunity with these ads to develop smart re-targeting strategies to reach users effectively and across platforms.

 

The Battle Continues: Google Reacts to Facebook’s Latest Video Announcements

buying-cheap-boxing-gloves-online

This week, just one week after the F8 conference that was so highly focused on Facebook’s commitment to video, Google has made two large announcements concerning its digital video tools.

This week, YouTube and Oracle Data cloud announced that they would begin tracking sales data for select CPG campaigns to connect the power of YouTube campaigns to in-store purchases. Google announced that early tests showed 61 percent of skippable YouTube ads (TrueView ads) generated significant sales increases.

This Gatorade TrueView ad generated $13.05 in sales for every dollar the brand invested in the ad and also generated a 16 percent lift in new buyers who viewed the ad versus those who did not, according to Google.

Also this week, YouTube released its 360 degree feature to creators and brands—kicking off with a T-Mobile sponsored stream of the Coachella festival. This releases comes just a week after Facebook’s announcement of its 360 video and live content hub, demonstrating the growing trends and interest in publishing live content to users.

On the other side, Facebook and Instagram released a beta program this week for interactive video ads, which would allow users to explore products deeper or even be directed to quizzes simply by hovering over a CTA button in the corner of the video. On mobile, the interactive features are available by swiping on the video and going to a landing page. This new format has proven to increase engagement rates significantly.

Why It’s Hot: As YouTube and Facebook go back and forth to claim dominance in the digital video space, both are opening up new features to brands. There is now more opportunity for brands to livestream content to viewers as well as more engaging videos. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see which platform can out-innovate the other, and what new capabilities are most effective for brands.

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/google-wants-prove-its-video-ads-drive-offline-sales-brands-170903

http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/youtube-takes-facebook-360-degree-livesteaming-brands-and-creators-170893

www.adweek.com/…/brands-can-now-create-interactive-video-campaigns-facebook-and-instagram-170889

 

Humor and health do not mix. (Or maybe it’s what we need!)

Sickness, disease, health in general, is anything but humorous. Attempting to make a joke or take health lightly is an approach all of us — especially brands — know can be a dangerous strategy. While no Biopharma company would get near humor as a marketing strategy, another sector of healthcare is attempting to break the mold.

One sector of healthcare has evolved from minor-league marketing to full-fledged competitive strategies that boast of new doctors, new equipment, new specialties. You see it on billboards, local TV, even on the radio with the same strategy: ” Our hospital is the best at  (fill in the blank)!”

Yet humor has been used to differentiate many brands — and the current hospital strategies seem functional at best. One hospital network in the Northwest, GroupHealth (recently purchased by Kaiser Permanente) used humor in a recent TV and YouTube campaign to acquire new patients — and it worked!

Why is this hot? In the ever-changing healthcare marketing landscape, hospitals were always the laggards. Traditionally, they did not as a category advertise they just let patients come to them. Now, to be competitive they are becoming more innovative than Biopharma companies in many ways — even innovative in using acquisition strategies alien to their “culture”. And using humor is almost heresy! Yet, it works. GroupHealth set themselves apart and has been successful.

The maturation of any sector is always interesting to watch — the marketing learning curve for healthcare as a whole is occurring in fits and starts. In this case, one hospital is starting to break new ground. Laughter is healing.

 

Social Media Platforms Exploring their Roles in Presidential Debates

On Sunday, NBC partnered with YouTube to host the third Democratic Debate in South Carolina. This isn’t the first debate of this election to include a partnership with a social media platform, as the previous Democratic Debates were hosted by CBS News and Twitter, as well as CNN and Facebook.

In 2012, YouTube brought us the first live streaming of the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates on YouTube through ABC News’ YouTube Channel. While streaming, they also included commentary from other partners such as BuzzFeed, the Wall Street Journal, and Univision.

For this debate, it appeared they tried to integrate further with questions from their pre-filmed questions from their YouTube stars and Google Trends search data was shared before commercial breaks to inform viewers as to what people were searching for, as it related to the debate. As of Monday at noon, the debate had received 1.5 million views on YouTube, but YouTube’s role was largely criticized.

The Google Trends data fell flat in how it was shared, as a slide before and after commercial breaks, and it seemed to only draw attention to the fact that Twitter was not a part of their Google empire, as it would have been a much more natural fit.

The questions by YouTube stars were forced as well, and fit only as a plug for YouTube itself. At one point, they aired a cartoon to explain climate change in a lead up to a question, which many critiqued on Twitter (again, a more natural fit).

dem-nbc-debate-screenshot-640x480

 

Why It’s Hot: 

Every social media platform is trying to push to own real time and live streaming is getting bigger by the second. This effort by YouTube is an attempt to further it’s position in that space, but their integrations seemed a bit forced.

As all the major platforms push to be an outlet where people can be connected to real events in real time, it’s vital they consider the strengths of their platform and how people naturally use them, rather than half hearted integrations that only show they don’t fully grasp how their service is valuable to consumers.

Netflix signs social media star for scripted series

As a recent “cord-cutter,” my family and I have found more programming on Hulu, Netflix, SlingTV, Kodi, AmazonPrime, ChannelPear than we could watch in a lifetime. Good programming, too. Many of the Golden Globe winners earlier this week were not from network TV programming but from Prime, Netflix, and others.

YouTube is also part of the cord-cutting phenomena. My 6-year-old son can attest to that as he watches Minecart Dan talk about Minecraft playing strategies for hours at a time. We have to rip the tablet out of his hands. Dan and others rack up millions upon millions of views and make big bank with advertisers and content companies.

Well, it appears that social stars and over-the-top programming such as Netflix are joining forces. Netflix just signed a deal with YouTube star Miranda Sings for a scripted series. It will be Netflix’s first scripted series using a social media star, and one of very few examples of social stars crossing over.

Miranda has more than 5 million followers on YouTube and averages around 1.5 MM views per video. Some of her videos have received as many as 17 million views.

The series will be called Haters Back off.

Why It’s Hot

It further shows how the lanes between social and mass market TV are continuing to blur. As more and more people cut the cord and use their ubiquitous access to broadband to stream whatever they want, the paradigm of who the content creators are and what platforms are in demand and being used continues to be in flux. Advertisers will need to keep pace with these changes if they want to continue to reach their target markets.

 

Revlon pivots from me to us and owns LOVE

Revlon has had it’s ups-and-downs over the decades — in fact its stock had dropped precipitously over the last decade. Like many in the beauty industry, they used the same cliché beauty/make-up advertising. The focus always was: me. Even Maybelline’s new campaign — ‘No maybe’s” which celebrates a woman’s individual beauty, still uses all the cliché beauty ‘cues’ we are used to seeing.

Revlon deploys a new focal point: us. With the “REVLON Love Test” (https://youtu.be/F9JrNEHj558)  they have re-positioned beauty in terms of your relationship, not just yourself. They went from “me” to “us”. A brilliant, simple and genuinely charming strategy. Their YouTube channel has a core campaign video of several couples (below), and works hard at being genuine. Then Revlon goes a level deeper into each individual couple experience. The video below has over 7 million views in one month.

Why is this hot? Not only is it a smart creative strategy pivot from a self-centered view of beauty to something bigger than self, but they coordinate multi-channel campaign with real finesse: a highly engaging Web site (loveison.com), they offer several ways to draw you in and keep you engaged with the brand: a photo share that may be shown in times Square, a sweepstakes, a love test, and more.

Revlon loveison 2

Revlon love test sweeps 12.4

They just donated $1 million to a charity.

Revlon 1 $$ for lovie is on

They treat this seriously with a nice splash of silly. Very human — meaning genuine, authentic and emotional — and very smart marketing.

Do Humans Respond to Life or Death? Aetna “Give 11 minutes” Positive Reinforcement Anti-smoking Campaign.

Do humans react to negative or positive stimulation to change behavior? Are we more motivated by death or life? This is a huge unanswered question for the entire healthcare industry, mostly around patient non-adherence and the resulting negative outcome. One area where a massive amount of negative motivation has been used is around anti-smoking TV campaigns. Anti-smoking campaigns are famous for their outrageous, attention-grabbing technique of demonstrating the death-related implications of smoking — anyone recall the famous actor, Yul Brynner anti-smoking ad he did right before his death? (https://youtu.be/JNjunlWUJJI) But does it work? As behavior-minded marketers, do we need to really consider how re-framing a topic through the positive versus the negative makes a great impact?

Aetna launched their own anti-smoking campaign a year ago using positive, almost joyful reinforcement of why people should quit. Now they have expanded it with a

multi-channel, highly social campaign called “Gain more time — Machine 11.” The video tells the story best. Basically, you put in a cigarette and get a paper scroll that tells you that for every cigarette you don’t smoke, you gain 11 minutes of life…then they introduce you to a “life” event.

Why is this hot? Aetna, as a major insurance company, knows that the smoking population has a enormous impact on health and cost control. What is amazing is that they turned the behavior-change model on its head by reinforcing living — and why you should live then actually demonstrating it. This is brilliant and emotionally viral — you watch this video and you get it. The positive nature is so joyful you have an empathetic moment. Then they created a Tumblr-based site to pull you in and deepen the engagement with curated and Shared content.

http://aetna.tumblr.com/tagged/11mins

HS aetna 11 minutes campaign 11.13

H Sauce aetna tumblr 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Doctors be Doctors! So says Rapper Dr. Zubin (With Over 1 million views!)

HSA 11.6. Dr Zubin photo

This post is about the Affordable Care Act. Or maybe it is about one doctor, Doctor Zubin. Like all major legislation, the ACA is complex and has it’s detractors and advocates. In some cases, one person can be both. Case in point: nearly all healthcare professionals agree that it is great that eventually the entire healthcare system will be tied together electronically — which will help lower costs, create healthier more empowered patients and allow doctors and others to coordinate patient care at a level no one could ever imagine.

That at least is the theory. The reality is that Electronic Health Records — the first step in Connected Health (my post of last week) — are a debacle. Hospitals and doctors offices keep installing and then throwing them out. One major criticism is the User Experience — but that goes beyond the interface. UX in this case is that doctors are trained to observe and engage with a patient, not look away and peck on a laptop keyboard. In other words, EHR’s are getting in the way of doctors being doctors.

HS EHR Use 11.6.15One doctor — Dr Zubin — is sick of it. What has he done? Gone on YouTube and taken on the broken healthcare system in musical rap videos and is trying to ignite a cause campaign to change healthcare. He has over a million views. As he states on his YouTube channel about his most recent video:  “EHR’s suck. Let’s make ’em better. Go to http://LetDoctorsBeDoctors.com and tell the IT and government folks what’s up. And check out http://zdoggmd.com for lyrics, behind-the-scenes dopeness, and all our other videos. Please SHARE…or the machines win.”

Why is this hot? First, it is radical that a doctor would create such a cause and bring it to life so creatively and publicly. Second, his use of social media, YouTube, multi-channel integration, is brilliant. Last, kudos for his boldness. He is taking on his entire industry and profession and broken many unspoken rules in his profession — decorum, keeping opinions private, even going against his own hospital employer! But I think his own video on October 19th on EHR’s speaks for itself:

 

YouTube Red

YouTube recently introduced YouTube Red, a membership service that allows users to pay a price to skip all the ads that interrupt one’s viewing experience. In addition, Red members can save videos to watch offline to a phone or tablet. The membership extends across devices meaning anywhere you sign into YouTube, including its recently launched Gaming app and new YouTube Music app announced last week. Lastly, YouTube Red also works with Google Play Music, so subscribe to one and automatically get access to the other.

YouTube announced it has plans for YouTube Red that go beyond an ad-free listening experience. The company announced it is planning to amp up the offerings of the YouTube Red Service in the future by broadcasting new original shows and movies from some of their biggest creators. You can read all about Originals coming to YouTube Redhere.

Currently, the service costs $9.99 a month and is available for a free one month trail for U.S. residents. (But don’t worry the ad-supported free service will still be available.)

Why It’s Hot 

Offering an ad-free service for a membership fee is certainly nothing new but it is interesting that YouTube made the decision now to offer this type of access. As an advertiser it will be interesting to see how ad prices on the platform are affected as more users switch over to membership status. Beyond the ad free offering, the evolution of YouTube Red including plans for original series is something we should all be following. Is this another way that a platform is supporting user behavior of cutting the chord and attempting to compete with the other services that speak to the increasing number of chord shavers? TBD …

Wendy’s Challenges BBQ Fans To #CrackTheMasters In Interactive Video Ads

Wendy’s is taking a shot with a new integrated interactive effort promoting limited-time pulled pork menu items. Wendy’s wanted to go beyond the lean-back experience that video ads typically offer, and therefore conceived of a “choose your own adventure”-style creative called #CrackTheMasters.

The resulting video, which is appearing in organic and paid placements on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, introduces viewers to three pitmasters with differing styles: Sauce Master, Smoke Master and Hip Master.

As viewers watch, they’re asked to choose a master to try to “crack.” After making their selection, they’re shuffled to another video featuring the chef they’ve chosen. They must then choose how to convince the master to share his secret recipe. The approaches users can choose from correspond with the three sauce options Wendy’s is offering with its pulled pork sandwich and pulled pork cheese fries: sweet, spicy or smoky.

Once an approach is chosen, a new video — featuring the pit master’s reaction — plays. Viewers are either told they’ve “cracked” the master, or they’re offered the opportunity to try again. With three pitmasters and three different approaches, there are a total of 13 videos to watch for the full experience.

 

Why It’s Hot

Many digital video ads are either not compelling enough or are targeted too broadly to get most viewers to watch more than the first 5 seconds. By creating an interactive experience targeted to “barbecue-interested” users and millennials, Wendy’s is enjoying positive social engagement, over 300K views on YouTube, 490K views on Facebook and several thousand likes and shares in under two weeks.

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Gatorade Puts Audiences Behind the Plate as Bryce Harper

Leveraging Google’s YouTube 360 platform for creating immersive brand experiences, Gatorade is giving users a chance to step up to bat and get in the mind/body of MLB Nationals star Bryce Harper.

 

Audiences who watch the branded experience are dropped into the world of Harper as a virtual reality imagination of what it’s like to go to bat in a baseball game. The inner monologue, the lights, the warping of time, and of course sponsorships. The Gatorade team used a 14-camera rig to create the real-time video/CGI engagement.

Why It’s Hot

Gatorade demonstrates the power that engaging content marketing can have. Brands can embed themselves into meaningful, powerful experiences… not just float around the periphery as an advertiser that gets in the way of a person’s interest. Gatorade succeeds because they created something visceral that grips viewers, surrounding them with subtle brand experience that suggests what it might be like to use, experience or benefit from the product… without ever directly saying it.

Via AdAge

YouTube’s Mobile Redesign Aims to Boost Watch Time Even More

YouTube has three top priorities: “mobile, mobile and mobile,” according to its boss Susan Wojcicki.

On Thursday, the longtime Google exec took the stage at VidCon in Anaheim, Calif. — think Comic-Con for the digital video crowd — to unveil a new look for YouTube’s mobile site and apps. In place of the existing single-screen design that features a curated feed of videos based on what people have watched as well as what channels they subscribe to, the redesign adopts a three-paned look that’s supposed to make it easier for people to find new videos to watch — and add to the time they spend watching YouTube, which is already up 60% year-over-year.

Now when people visit YouTube’s site or open its Android app — and soon on iPhone — they’ll see a new home screen that curates videos based on what people have watched, including organizing recommendations into playlists. A second screen will show the latest videos from the channels that people subscribe to, though if people really don’t want to miss a channel’s latest uploads they can now sign up to receive notifications when a new video is posted. And a third screen will house the playlists a person has created, videos they’ve watched before and the videos they’ve uploaded.

Additionally, the updated apps and mobile site will support vertical videos, potentially a big boon to the Snapchat-led trend that has agency execs describing it as the first mobile-native video format.

Why It’s Hot

Benefits for Consumers: The new layout is bringing the content that people already like, like subscriptions, to the forefront.  Reco’d videos will have strong visibility as well.  It’s also easy to access videos they’ve posted on their account.

Benefits for Brands: For brands that have channels, this new layout will allow users that have subscribed easier access to reaching the channel, which could lead to higher channel traffic.

Source: http://adage.com/article/digital/youtube-debuts-mobile-redesign-vidcon/299662/

YouTube Launches 360-Degree Video Ads

Bud Light became the first advertiser in the United States to launch a 360-degree video running in YouTube TrueView ads. The company’s ads for its “Whatever USA” campaign focus on three events that took place during a takeover of Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. Bud Light’s immersive ads drop you right in the middle of the action, including a performance by Diplo, the welcome parade, and the “Turn of An Era” 1920s themed party.

There are opportunities in this video content tool for a variety of brands. Realtors, for example, can use the format to highlight the interior of a home. Car manufacturers can show off the inside of an automobile. Advertisers like Coca-Cola, Nike and Bud Light can create memorable and immersive branded experiences.

Chrome, Android and iOS support the feature, which originally gained support from Google in March. Users can navigate through the 360-degree video by clicking on the wheel at the top left of the image with their mouse if on a desktop, as well as tilting their mobile phone up, down, left, and right.

Why It’s Hot

According to Google, these 360-degree video ads have higher view-through rates than standard video ads. For example, Coca-Cola’s 360 video had 36% higher view-through rates than standard videos. With the implementation of new technology on YouTube’s platform like 360-degree videos as well as virtual reality (i.e. Google Cardboard), there is even more potential for brands to connect with consumers in meaningful ways.

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Facebook Fights YouTube With Big Data On What You Watch Unmuted, Full-Screen

Facebook announced a News Feed algorithm change that will show you more videos similar to ones you expand to full-screen, un-mute or opt to watch in HD, even if you don’t Like, share or comment.that will show you more videos similar to ones you expand to full-screen, un-mute or opt to watch in HD, even if you don’t Like, share or comment.  It works like YouTube does in the sense that it makes recommendations and suggests more content similar to the viewed videos or monitoring how long you linger on certain posts & videos.facebook-video

 

Why It’s Hot?
While YouTube owns the video market currently, Facebook has an edge over it in that it’s a feed with a gigantic user base addicted to it. Facebook is already covering massive ground with social, political, financial engagement. Now, if it successfully captures and sustains the video market, one of the very few things keeping it from becoming the be-all, end-all on the internet is the search engine market. It is very cleverly attracting different user-bases and the rate at which they are going, it wouldn’t be surprising if Facebook becomes the new Google.

 

Allstate Makes Trying to Skip an Ad, an Ad…

allstateskip

I’m sure you’re all like me, and rarely make it more than the 5 seconds usually required before skipping a pre-roll ad.

Well, Allstate released a brilliant (subjective judgment, but in my opinion) way to basically keep you from skipping its pre-roll ads last week. As usual, once you get 5 seconds in, you’re offered the option to skip the ad, but if you do, rather than actually skipping the ad, you’re presented with an array of torturous situations – for example, I got nails on a chalkboard. So, naturally, you basically end up watching the ad or closing your browser window.

Why It’s Hot

I haven’t seen any data on point, but I’d imagine the percentage of users who skip pre-roll ads on average is pretty high (and the percentage of users who skip Allstate/insurance company ads even higher, which shows impeccable self-awareness on Allstate’s part I might add). And Allstate actually seems to have found an entertaining/fun (albeit deliberately annoying) way to get you to watch its ad. While some people will probably just close their browser window, even still this is probably something you’ll remember, and all Allstate really needs you to do is remember their name and that they did this. Just an interesting way to use a common user behavior to your advantage, and turning an otherwise negative result (from an advertiser’s standpoint) into a [potentially] positive one.

Unfortunately, you can’t embed the ad itself, but if you want to see what I’m talking about, you can check it out on Allstate’s site.

Volvo Makes Pre-Roll Ads…Wait For It…Interesting By Matching Ads To Videos

It’s estimated that 6 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every month. And with all that video comes what feels like 12 billion hours of frustrating, irrelevant pre-roll. But what if the pre-roll ad seemed to know what was about to come next? Wouldn’t that be more compelling?

While discussing how to make pre-roll more interesting, Grey Canada and media agency Havas hit upon an idea that did just that while also cleverly showing off the 60 new attributes of Volvo’s new XC60. Rather than great a single—or even a handful of—ads to run on YouTube, the creative and media agencies came up with “6 Billion Hours,” a campaign that matches a video’s theme to a car feature to witty effect.

So, for instance, someone looking for storm-chasing videos would see a pre-roll clip related to the XC60 rain-sensing wipers. Interested in footage of Vine’s most famous twerker, and the pre-roll would encourage you to stop shaking the junk in your trunk (literally) with its grocery bag holder. And if you were one of the 40-plus million to take in what it’s like to walk through NYC as a woman, you’d be met with a video that touts the XC60’s Rear Park Assist Camera with the line “See what’s creeping behind you.” Watching the increasingly unstable antics of Justin Beiber? The car’s City-Safety Auto Braking was accompanied by “Make him stop.”

Check out the video here: https://vimeo.com/130566547

Why it’s hot:

In all, the campaign was so successful for Volvo that Scissons says the agency is now looking for other car nameplates within Volvo with which to replicate the concept. While the content will change for any new iteration, one thing is likely certain based on Scisson’s experience with “6 Billion Hours”: we’ll probably see more of the Biebs. “Justin Bieber was an easy target.”

YouTube to Unveil Mobile App and Website for Gaming

Gamers rejoice! YouTube will be launching its first gaming platform via mobile app and website. The platform, called YouTube Gaming, is slated to debut later this summer in the United States and United Kingdom. It will feature more than 25,000 games — each with their unique Internet page and profile.

Albeit users will not be able to actually play their favorite games, they can navigate through their profiles and enjoy related content that has been carefully curated.

Read the full article here.

Why It’s Hot:

The new gaming feature will prove to be extremely lucrative for advertisers and marketers. Advertising is supported across both channels (mobile and website), so marketers will be able to tap into their demographic in one, saturated niche.

YouTube Adds Click-to-Shop Buttons

YouTube is tweaking its commercials to be more like interactive infomercials.

A month after YouTube added interactive cards to its skippable TrueView ads, retail advertisers can now use those card overlays to include product information, images and links to purchase a product on a brand’s site. They can also use these ads to remarket to people who may have checked out a product on a brand’s site without checking out.

For YouTube, the move is a recognition that people are turning to the Google-owned video service to learn about products they’re considering buying.YouTube claims there are more than 1 million channels on the video service focused on product reviews and that views of product review videos have increased by 50% year-over-year.

YouTube_TrueViewShoppingMobile  YouTube_TrueViewShopping3x2

Why It’s Hot

YouTube’s addition of the click-to-shop feature will likely attract more advertisers with “brand response” goals- those that want to educate customers on their brand/product while also driving sales. So far, this feature has already proven to work for one advertiser: Wayfair tested a shoppable TrueView ad against a standard TrueView ad and found that the shoppable version delivered 3x more revenue.

In addition, YouTube is now allowing TrueView for Shopping ads to retarget users that have already checked out products on a brand’s site, providing a great way to find users that could response well to the brand’s video and end up converting.

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