Media: Double Standards - Has 'carousel'opened the doors to online film?

Jimmy Maymann and Jason Goodman discuss what makes film advertising work, why it can be so engaging and just where virals and online film can take us.

JIMMY MAYMANN - CHAIRMAN, GOVIRAL

- What does the success of the Philips "carousel" commercial tell us about the future of film advertising?

It took the prize at Cannes not because it was made for online, but because it succeeds where many ordinary ads fail - it draws viewers in voluntarily, engaging the user in a creative and gratifying experience that they want to share with others. Film advertising is evolving with the media landscape and this change has only just begun. TV channels are fragmenting and moving to digital formats and, driven by great user demand, online video viewing is continuing its explosive growth year on year.

- Can commercial TV and online film work together and how?

Mainstream TV still provides a reach that online can't match - primarily because of its ability to push content to users. Online, on the other hand, can reach a savvier and younger audience, and it delivers strong results because users can pull content and share it with each other. Because of the nature of the online world, it will also help push creative standards for TV. One way to develop this now is by launching films online first to capitalise on the pull potential before cultivating them with mainstream formats such as TV and electronic outdoor.

- Are production standards a problem with viral film activity?

We welcome advertisers and creative agencies pushing production standards forward as increased broadband allows increasingly rich online experiences. "Carousel" is obviously raising the bar in this area, but on a more general level, it's just as much about pushing the standards of the concepts and tonality of our creative work in order to engage users.

- What's the most creative piece of advertising you've been involved with recently?

The gaming industry has given us good examples of commercials that succeed in connecting with their core audience by evolving concept, tonality and creative standards. We distributed Battlefield's Bad Company, Fifa Street 3 and Tiger Woods "walk on water", which are all excellent examples of this.

- What are the benefits of watching a film ad online or via a traditional TV set?

When talking about benefits for an advertiser, it all comes down to how the users perceive the creative experience. In the online world, users initiate the experience themselves. All our studies point towards increased engagement and effectiveness as a result of the way commercials are distributed and viewed in the online world.

- How accountable is your model for advertisers?

In many ways the online world provides much deeper feedback for advertisers. We can tell you exactly when, how and where users saw the content - how they rated it, what they said about it and if they shared it with someone else.

- What innovations should we look out for from you in the next few months?

The ways we can distribute and measure films online are evolving rapidly right now. User interaction is another interesting area, where many exciting opportunities are still unknown to many advertisers. So, let's just say you should ...

- If you were to direct a film, who would star in it?

Ewan McGregor.

JASON GOODMAN - CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ALBION

- What does the success of the Philips "carousel" commercial tell us about the future of film advertising?

It sets a new benchmark for creativity online and proves that the medium has not only the opportunity of user interaction but it also has all of the creative potential entertainment qualities of broadcast media.

- Can commercial TV and online film work together and how?

Well, they have to. There isn't a choice. It's like asking whether the sun is going to come up in the morning. The fact is that players in the commercial TV businesses will have to adapt, acquire new craft skills and work out new ways to make money as well as deal with competition from a raft of new players who are very comfortable working online. It's the reality for the entire advertising category.

- Are production standards a problem with viral film activity?

They don't have to be a problem if, as with "carousel", it was designed from the outset to be optimised for the web. The mistake is to spend all your time optimising for widescreen cinema rather than what it looks like on an iPhone. You still hear too often, after the TV production process is complete:"Oh, how do we get this online?"

- What's the most creative piece of advertising you've been involved with recently?

We created the Skype Nomad, which has had amazing natural viral growth. It was more like creating for 33 days than any TV advertising we've ever done. More than a million unique users engaged within four weeks and we had no paid-for media, just "social" distribution. That's the real proof of creativity online.

- What are the benefits of watching a film ad online or via a traditional TV set?

The great opportunity online is still about drawing people into an interactive experience. There is a generation or two of people who all love naively clicking on stuff and seeing what happens. The mobile application culture is fundamentally changing what is normal media behaviour. Watching ads online needs to lever these norms, not impose old 30-second constructs on the here and now.

- How accountable is your model for advertisers?

The chance to collect data and measure it has been there for many years now - but you need a robust and efficient methodology and experienced team that genuinely cares about data. It's exciting times as the best of the brand and direct marketing model collides. I'm happiest when you can see the success of creativity in the numbers.

- What innovations should we look out for from you in the next few months?

I'm excited about the many open application programme interfaces that allow us to create useful, branded applications. Great brands don't just entertain, they make people's lives easier or better. Creating useful branded communications is what makes it really viral.

- If you were to direct a film, who would star in it?

Al Pacino.

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