These are weird times for the advertising world. TV is still where the money is, but the creative momentum has shifted to digital to the point where no one cares about your $100 million spend anymore, though they're fascinated about the gratis thing you're doing on Snapchat.
Mubai, India -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/05/2014 -- This state of flux has swung open the doors for entrepreneurs, usual refugees from big agencies looking to capitalize on new opportunities while their counterparts are riding the TV gravy train to the last stop. What kinds of opportunities? Here are three experimental new models for ad agencies:
The Viral Video Factory
Ask anyone who knows and they'll tell you that it's fairly impossible to create a viral video. Sure, you can try, but no matter how many kittens and half-naked models you include, the odds of success are still long.
Yet the New York-based Thinkmodo has had viral hit after viral hit including "Bubba's Hovercraft," "Flying People" and, most recently "Devil Baby," which have all racked up millions of views.
Thinkmodo cranks out such hits despite a staff of just three. "The challenge of forming a successful agency of our size is that each person has to wear multiple hats, and can wear them well," says James Percelay, former Saturday Night Live writer and co-founder of Thinkmodo. "The upside of being an 'artisanal' hands-on agency that writes, directs, produces, and oversees every detail of its projects is a nimbleness and control that few agencies have."
The only other agency that appears to be devoted full-time to creating viral videos is Contagious, a Los Angeles shop founded in November. Contagious is much larger — there are 20 people on staff — but the company not only make viral videos, but promotes them on behalf of others. The agency's biggest such promotion to date was Turkish Airlines' "Kobe vs. Messi" ad, which was released in December and has since topped 100 million views. Tim Staples, the agency's founding partner, says the secret is to seed would-be viral videos to a list of 8,000 sources, including bloggers, YouTube gadflies and publications specializing in viral content, including Mashable.
Contagious' batting average for viral videos, meanwhile, is a jaw-dropping 50%. Staples says that 70 out of 140 of the company's videos have more than 1 million views. If you consider 100,000-plus views viral, then the percentage is more like 90%. "Good content isn't necessarily shareable," Staples says. By "good," he means high-production. "Just because it looks good doesn't mean it's compelling," he says.
GIFs as Advertising
Another possibly emerging advertising category is GIFs. While most of us think of GIFs as bait for Reddit posts or as a primary means of communication for Millennials, Graham McFarland, envisions GIFs as animated billboards for the digital age.
McFarland's company, the Austin, Texas-based Cinegif, makes GIFs on behalf of clients like John Deere, Coors' Blue Moon pseudo craft beer and the Texas Monthly. Such GIFs start at $95 but average in the $300-$400 range, McFarland says. He claims that his ads get 500% more clicks than a banner ad and 100% more than a Flash ad. (Since Cinegif's ads aren't in Flash, they can be viewed on iOS devices.)
The Internet of Everything
As previously reported, the ad world is transfixed at the moment by the vision of a world of connected devices.
While that scenario hasn't materialized yet, a couple of ad agencies are trying to get out in front of the trend. In March, Doug Hecht, the president and COO of the San Diego-based shop Digitaria spun off Big On Mars, which claims Ford Motor, Qualcomm and GoPro as clients. As Hecht told The New York Times, BOM is designed to help brands address the preponderance of connected refrigerators, smart auto dashboards and wearable devices with the appropriate technology.
BOM has a competitor in this emerging category, sort of. The UK-based Everything makes digital IDs for products. As the video below explains, those IDs might let a washing machine recommend a local service agent when it needs service or allow a pharmaceutical company to produce a smart medicine bottle that reminds you when to take your pills.
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