Video Ads No Longer Just for the Elite

It’s no secret why video ads continue to rehash existing offline creative. Recycling TV spots is quick, easy, and, above all, inexpensive. Despite our knowledge that online ad campaigns deserve original content and that it can be more effective than repeating what consumers have already seen elsewhere, many online video ads are uninspired and unoriginal.

Video advertising can be particularly daunting for small and medium-sized organizations, with their more limited budgets and production and marketing resources. Whether to rehash creative isn’t an issue. There’s often no creative to be had at all.

A recently launched service is designed to bridge the gap between the video haves and have-nots and to make it easier for everyone to produce unique video content for the Web. Aditall is a video-ad-building tool that gives marketers access to the assets, technology, and distribution system to create an entire online video ad campaign.

In concept, it’s like a robust stock photography service, the kind every Web and ad designer has relied on at one time or another. Marketers browse Aditall’s thousands of video and audio clips to select the ones most appropriate for their product offering. The company’s patent-pending mixer technology gives users the freedom to combine, edit, and manipulate each ad element.

Advertisers can build an ad in one of two ways. Online ad novices and those with little time to spare, can select an existing professional clip and customize it to their needs. Those itching to experiment can make an ad from scratch by blending clips from Aditall’s libraries of stock audio and video footage (currently featuring about 20,000 video clips and 7,000 commercial soundtracks) with their own graphics and logos. Soundtracks, narration, and text overlays are possible within the Aditall platform.

Then there’s Aditall’s service for content producers. The company offers a social-network-like community designed to help video and film producers monetize their material by putting it up for sale. This is the source of the original content and prepackaged video templates advertisers see when compiling their ads. If they aren’t able to find exactly what they’re looking for, users can post a request for a clip, however specific, to the community of producers with no commitment to purchase the results. Eventually, these job requests will be available to producers through an RSS feed, further expanding the reach of the advertiser’s request.

Once an ad is completed, the advertiser buys the rights to the unique combination of materials within the ad and receives global Internet distribution rights for that content for the next six months. The ad can then be placed online. Currently, Aditall employs the Google AdSense platform to place its users’ video ads in rotation throughout Google’s partner sites. The company is also in talks with ad networks to route ads through them. Alternately, advertisers (or agencies) can download their video files and place them with sites directly, an appealing option for those with an existing media buying strategy and system in place.

Priced on a per-piece basis, the average cost of creating a video ad with Aditall is $300 to $700, the company says, a far cry from the thousands usually required to film unique footage independently. Currently, about a dozen advertisers are utilizing the beta version of the service.

This form of ad development poses an interesting marketing challenge. Here’s an opportunity to craft a highly customized message from existing materials that haven’t been created with your product in mind. “A clip of someone running down the street and falling could become an ad for a running-shoe company, a health service, or a fitness center promoting its indoor track,” says Rodger Wells Jr., Aditall’s VP of marketing and business development. It’s all in how the raw material is manipulated.

While this could produce some subpar advertising, it could also result in extremely inventive examples of online video. For a market that has favored the more wealthy and powerful brands since its inception, video advertising as a whole stands to benefit from this equalizing service, as do the small and medium-sized businesses that have been wanting to try their hand at rich media on the Web.

That said, I hope established brands won’t view this as beneath them. Few advertisers can say they’ve reached the pinnacle of video success with rehashed ads. The ability to create unique ads quickly and easily doesn’t discriminate, nor should marketers who could use a more innovative video presence online.

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