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Leonard & Jameson: "YouTube has made advertising better"

The Uncommon Creative Studio founders Nils Leonard and Lucy Jameson discuss their favourites from this year's YouTube Ad Leaderboards

Brands such as Apple, Beats by Dre and SpecSavers are making work that has the feel of both scale and cool, is sympathetic to its talent and is immersive. These are modern approaches to creating film that is unskippable. YouTube is a powerful place to do all this, Leonard and Jameson believe. "It's a sandpit where you can experiment and fail".

Part of the joy of the YouTube format, says Jameson, is the scope to create something that people want to search out. Mini-documentaries of five minutes long allow viewers to immerse themselves ever deeper into the content - and can build direct relationships with consumers. Everlane is an example of a direct-to-consumer brand that is making the most of this ability to build intimacy.

YouTube has "made advertising better" says Leonard. His advice for making better work? "We have to get our heads around the fact that people do not like the majority of what we make. They want to skip us. How many other industries are being skipped? Start with that and ask yourself how you are adding to the world, fixing a problem, fuelling a passion. You can enrage people, you can wind them up; whatever it is, just make sure that [skip] button is something you don’t fall foul of."

The shelf-life of creativity is sped up by YouTube and by its constant iterations that brands clamour to copy, It's inspiring, says Leonard. He calls for an end to the "sense of safety around film" and a return to more brave and powerful work. 

"Cultural tensions are a brilliant place to play," agrees Jameson, "and YouTube is brilliant for that because a lot of what’s going on in culture happens there." 

Leonard picks out the the Libresse/Bodyform "Blood Normal" ad as a polebearer for work that sets out to "ruffle feathers and create imagery you’ve never seen before.

"It was amazing as a piece of film and as a conversation." 

See the nation's favourite YouTube ads here

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