Visionaries: Online Video in a Cross Media Enviroment

Chris_MaierEffective advertising is like politics; nothing ever happens on accident!  A successful campaign is planned in the marketer's mind to take advantage of opportunities cross-media exposure present; consumers are then able to experience brand engagement opportunities in different forms and hence via multiple mindsets.

Savvy marketers understand individual media have unique key brand building functions and, when consumed holistically, create a synergy where the value of the sum exceeds the value of the individual parts.  Each medium brings a distinct value to advertising and further elevates the branding effect when chained together.  With this thought, to maximize the value of multiple media consumption, made-for-television creative must be built and considered differently compared with made-for-web video creative.

Millward Brown has conducted over 300 in-market cross-media campaign evaluations and, with it, has deduced the following key learning about television and online:

  1. Television is understood to be a powerful reach medium; brands that take advantage of television's ability to create a cinematic effect (audio and visual build up for a powerful ending) tends to provide a perception of grandeur for the brand
  2. Online is more content driven and provides information; the medium critically provides greater chance of engagement through possibilities of a dialogue over one-way communication

Importantly, the brand must consider likely differences in consumer mindset when viewing specific media, for example, where in the path to purchase funnel a consumer is when he is passively watching a television commercial versus when he voluntarily selects to view an online video.  Hence, the consumer's mindset is a key factor in developing appropriate advertising tactics. Dependent upon the campaign goal- whether it is simply bringing the brand into consumer consciousness or, on a deeper level, driving positive perceptions- the creative itself must be properly designed to account for each medium's unique selling point. More, importantly, each medium leverages prior media exposure from other media touch-points.  The proliferation of online video, therefore, has invariably raised questions of how well made-for-TV copy stands up when viewed on the Internet.  Re-formatting television creative for the digital realm is a straightforward and cost-efficient manner to increase the number of eye-balls. However, additional preparations and understanding of the consumer's mindset at exposure must be adequately considered.

In many cases, a consumer engages online in an information-seeking manner- in a hyper lean-forward environment- compared with the lean-back experience of television.  Crucially, the highly cluttered digital experience affords a brand less chance for consumers to view advertising in full flow: often online advertising has but a split second to draw attention and, if missed, the creative will be lost in cyberspace.  Without a consistent, frame-by-frame application of a brand logo, for example, the split second the advertising is noticed is rendered useless from a brand awareness-raising standpoint. One key learning is that the final epiphany shot (fully revealing the brand), so often used to perfection on television, has less impact online.  At least, then, online copy should have a consistent brand logo accompanying the video throughout, whether it is embedded into the creative story or as a companion back-drop.

Repurposed TV ads more effectively impacted awareness, while made for web content impacted persuasion more effectively.


Production Format


Millward Brown Dynamic Logic has proven online video is an effective creative format typically outperforming simple flash and rich media formats at the first exposure.  Further, a recent analysis of online video shows re-purposed television advertising is effective at impacting brand awareness; specifically made-for-web video advertising exhibits a stronger effect on persuasion scores such as brand favorability and behavior intent.

What are the key best practices associated with moving made-for-TV to web-based video or creating online-specific web video?

  1. Encourage consistent inclusion of a brand logo, frame-by-frame
  2. Avoid over-reliance of final "killer" epiphany shot to reveal the brand
  3. Ensure the video can stand up minus the use of audio
  4. Consider shorter creative iterations to account for lower online retention


Television and online video copy, when viewed together, can strengthen positive association with a brand in a synergistic manner.  Understanding the nuances of the consumer mindset when consuming television versus the Internet plays a major role in determining how to effectively create creative for each medium and hence, how successful the brand communication will be.