Online Creative Innovation: Repurposing TV Spots?

I’ve gone back and forth a few times on this one. My opinion has done so many 180s, I think I’ve actually done a half-dozen 360s. The indecision? Whether repurposing 30-second TV creative is the right thing to do online.

From a media perspective, repurposing is very tempting. Just convert that existing, engaging TV creative into a digital format, select a number of highly targeted sites and placements with big-box sizes, deliver the creative using one of the many rich media platforms out there, and presto! You’ve got a plan. You’ve extended the overall reach of the plan and hopefully hit a few of those newly elusive 18-24-year-old males who deserted network TV en mass for online nirvana.

Or, is it a total cop-out to slap a TV spot onto a Web site and call it “interactive”?

I’ve longed for the day when we could bring the truly “rich” elements of sight, sound, motion, and emotion of TV-like execution into online media delivery. But I also feel if users use precious time to tackle a task online, the last thing they want is to be interrupted with 30 seconds of linear messaging about a product or service that, odds are, isn’t even on their radar.

I moved a little closer to a position after attending the “Battle For The Heart” online creative road show produced by Joe Jaffe. Jaffe is passionate about improving the state of online creative. If you’re a creative person with “art,” “writer,” or “director” in your title, get invited to the next show.

The format comprises a guest speaker and Jaffe’s presentation mixed with “creative reels” from several rich media vendors and providers, including Klipmart, DoubleClick, Unicast,, and MSN. The reels showcase creative capabilities and get mainstream creative folk excited about interactive opportunities.

I spent a great deal of time and relationship capital recruiting offline creatives from my agency. I thought guest speaker Stan Richards and Jaffe’s comments were nothing but excellent. But I was completely disappointed with the majority of the vendor reels. Many stripped together a series of TV spots into a music video and called it a day. Excepting Klipmart’s clip, the purportedly best rich media avenues available was a letdown.

Does online creative innovation mean just repurposing TV spots?

Don’t get me wrong. Broadband increased our level of experience with online ads. Core TV creative elements can be delivered online in a compelling way. I just hope it doesn’t mean we’ll just traffic TV spots to the networks, add some spot buys on the schedule, throw in a few Web sites, and call it quits.

I hope to interact with that TV spot. Give me a rich media solution that can pause, rewind, and fast-forward the clip. Let me to click on specific elements linked to content or commerce. Allow me to immerse myself in a multithreaded environment initiated by a compelling, TV-like object that catches my eye and sucks me into a brand experience. Yes, many of these characteristics are quite game-like. That’s the element missing in a linear TV spot.

Are we doomed to blast 30-second pods onto computers? Or do we take the next step? Tell me your side.

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