September 26, 2014

Whiskey and Phones

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

TV Ad Dollars Are Shifting
to Web Videos 
The companies that provide consumer products and services are always on the look out for creative ways to market their goods.

Television ads used to be at the top of the ladder.

Then, viewers started recording programmes and fast-forwarding through commercials.

Enter product placements - a Coca-Cola cup here, an iMac there.

Now, though, a key group of consumers - youth aged 18 - 35 - are watching less television altogether, be it live or taped and are spending increasingly more time with other media devices - phones, tablets, game consoles and computers.

The changing nature of media consumption has led some brands to adapt again, this time becoming the producers and sponsors of their own content. (You'll want to read on: I'm about to share two great videos!)

Take the case of a 6-minute video short called "The Gentleman's Wager" starring Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini. It tells the story of two men on a beautiful old wooden sail boat, one of whom vows to win the boat from the other 'with a dance'. This short film, which was released about six weeks ago and already has nearly 10 million views on YouTube, is presented by Johnny Walker Blue Label. And while it contains some product placement - a bottle of whiskey in key scenes, the clinking of glasses, the company's name and logo in the title and credits - this well-produced tale doesn't feel like an ad at all.

Another interesting example is a music video for Ellie Goulding's "How Long Will I Love You". Produced by Notting Hill and Enduring Love director Roger Michell, the two and a half minute short was shot entirely on a Nokia Lumia 1020. There are shots in the video of the singer or her boyfriend texting each other or filming someone with a Lumia phone, but aside from that, the branding is low-key.

In a series called "Life Meets #Lumia", Nokia has teamed up with other young celebrities to promote the phone. Former American Idol contestant Tim Urban is said to use the OneNote app to record 'snippets of a melody' or jot down lyrics, while Danny Williams - who acted alongside Clint Eastwood in 'Trouble With the Curve' - uses the Lumia 1520 to shoot video auditions.

Making a video like Michell's "How Long Will I Love You" is certainly not as simple as just pulling a phone out of your pocket. It's professionally produced and it took a team to do it. Yet the raw footage all came from a phone. Amazing.

And what is equally amazing is the creativity that these companies have shown. They understand that new media is about producing content that provokes conversations, both online and off. And there's no better way to do that than with a great video.