Pop Will Eat Itself: Long-Form Ads Jump From Web To TV

It’s no secret that people will watch long-form video ads online. BMW Films proved that long ago, spawning a slew of adland imitators in the process. Today, so many brands have their own “Brand X Films” online that it seems long-form ads were bound to cross over to the TV screen sooner or later. (Which reminds me: can we all agree to stop creating things called (Blank) Films or The (Blank) Project? People do not actually believe the maker of their favorite toilet bowl cleaner has a motion picture division, nor can they be fooled into thinking their insurance company is a mild-mannered do-gooder cleverly disguised as a money-making behemoth. Thanks.)

Sure enough, long-form ads (like this one) are now showing up on TV in places previously reserved for :15s, :30s and :60s. Of course, considering how much the media landscape has changed over the last decade, I’m surprised it’s taken this long, assuming the trend continues and grows beyond the realm of high-margin marketers like Cartier wanting to make the occasional big splash.

The more options for creating cool ads (or branded content, or clunky-new-name-for-ads-goes-here) the better, I say. Thinking about it in Advertising 101 terms, running long-form ads on TV is just another way to stand out for those who’ve already spent the production money and can afford the media buy. To mangle the old Howard Gossage quote, ” The real fact of the matter is that nobody watches an ad. People watch what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” In this case, one that just happens to take up the entire commercial pod. All the more reason to make sure it’s interesting enough to be worth watching, no?

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About Wade Sturdivant

Creative Director/Copywriter at The Richards Group, Wade spent his formative years in Chicago (DDB, Leo Burnett) and has worked on accounts as diverse as BMW, Firestone, Bud Light, McDonald’s, Kellogg’s and the U.S. Army.