Broadcast ads are typically longer than 15 seconds, but as viewing shifts online, where people are skipping or blocking ads, advertisers and media companies have experimented with new ad formats and strategies. This has even come up more and more in live sports, which for years many saw as DVR proof. However now as we engage on more devices and in shorter bursts, messaging for brands becomes more of a challenge.
Mark Cuban had talked recently about live ads as a way to beat the edit, but now the 60 second, and even the 30 second ad, seem to be going to the back burner more and more.
So enter the six second ad on the split screen in live sports. NBC brought the half screen ad, dropped in during challenges in the NFL, early on this season, but even then it wasn’t in the short, very short, bursts that we have seen during the World Series on FOX. It is part of an announced push for the network this month, one which will probably pop up again in the NFL in the coming weeks. Find a brand during a natural but quick break, like a replay, deliver a message fast and easy…maybe it’s with a fast food brand, and get back to the action. It’s over so fast, it’s hard to eliminate.
Wendy’s played the six second game during a pitchers mound visit in the middle innings of Game One. The visual was clear, we knew the logo, there was little video and it was more a table setter than a call to action, but it was different, memorable and for the network, added revenue for a brand already engaged. It also ran no risk for the network to break away from the game and risk missing action. The action, or lack of action, was right there on your screen.
It is also here to stay. We are used to seeing tickers crawl, stats boxes pop up, tracking images move across the screen, with very few hindering the image. In fact there was more buzz about the You Tube TV spot behind home plate as a distraction than the short burst of a split screen.
The six second ad isn’t for everyone; it has to be a brand consumers know or an amazing burst of an image, but if it survived the World Series it will play on in the ad arsenal more and more, even in short bursts.