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Taking the Video Wheels Off

  |  May 11, 2007   |  Comments

Video is fully online. What's the best way for ad marketers to get in on the action?

Talk is cheap. It's easy to discuss video and how it works online, but what about producing it? Yes, money makes it easier. But a lot of money has been wasted on the medium for lack of a little knowledge.

Much of the online video revolution occurred at either end of the execution spectrum. The range is almost pure formula: super-duper epic budgets with top talent and expensive post-production at one end; some teenager with a camcorder lighting a bottle rocket off from his delicate orifice at the other end. (Yes, it's on YouTube. But I'm not including the link.) No matter what money is spent, it ends up online. Anyone can see it for free.

So where do you fit in, and how do you get it done? Whether you're a local business owner who's cranking up the video camera and iMovie or a marketing professional trying to figure out which agency, off- or online, should run your next video project, you've got a big decision to make.

A major factor is media cost, whether it's local cable, online video placement, or something else. You've got to scale production dollars and time to your media budget.

I'm biased, of course, but you should always engage a professional. The do-it-yourself approach can be charming, but often you're only fooling yourself. Not that I'm one to inhibit the inner Kubrick or Spielberg in all of us, but let's crawl before we sprint.

The right venue for your ad is important, and at a local level things have changed. Local and regional online publishers have opened their doors to online video. Though it may seem somewhat expensive, it's a great opportunity for a local merchant to stand out from the competition. Whether it's a full-on media buy or an introductory offer from the publisher, you should always make the most of it and take a measured approach.

If you're thinking of doing it alone, here's a quick video spec so you know what to deliver to your online publisher or local production studio:

  • Uncompressed (define)

  • De-interlaced (define)

  • Square pixel (define), not 0.9

  • Full resolution (define): 720 pixels

  • Full audio tracks embedded in the .mov file (define)

  • No titles

This may seem a little technical, but just knowing this is a good start. You might be turned away if you show up with a camcorder tape, a script, and a bad copy of your logo.

If you're a marketing professional with a new project, and you pick up the phone to call your agency but hesitate about which one to call, you're not alone. Independent production companies are working with Internet agencies to add a layer of polish often not readily available to them.

Full-service agencies (including interactive) are a good bet. Most internal production departments know the Internet is the way a lot of work is going to go. They don't want to be left out of the party.

You're likely to get a great result from a great agency. And you should always judge the depth of your relationship with your partners before you start the advertising Armageddon.

It also helps to know what to expect. This column explains what makes a great rich ad.

The big reason you should be smarter about the whos and whats of online advertising is because none of this is going to get any easier. As complexity increases, developing the most rudimentary knowledge of how to make an online video paves the way for solid, effective use of it in the coming years.

The new online video dilemma is a formidable one when you're spending relatively big money to place the ad. The days of cheap Internet advertising are over. Whether you're stumping to sell local goods or working on an international campaign, video is great, but a great video is better.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dorian Sweet

Dorian Sweet is the vice president and executive creative director of GSI Interactive who leads strategic development and innovation in online advertising, Web development, e-commerce, and customer relationship management programs. His work has brought award-winning online solutions to such clients as Clorox, Miller Brewing Company, GE, Visa, eBay, British Airways, Wells Fargo, Discovery Networks, Motorola, Kodak, Sears, 20th Century Fox, and others.

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