Who Put Out the Garbage?

Sometimes you get into a rut: you hold on to stuff and keep accumulating more. Pretty soon, your place starts looking like a “Sanford and Son” TV episode. That’s OK. We all do it, but there comes a time when you need to purge all the stuff you’ve been hanging on to. It sounds easy, but let’s face it: it stinks. Apart from sticking needles in your eye, cleaning up your old, unneeded stuff is about as painful as it gets.

In our “no need to hide our stuff in the closet” digital world, we escalate that bad habit to a new level. Why? Because no one in our lives will know how much digital garbage we’re squirreling away. Video is no exception.

“What video?” you ask. “I go to YouTube and watch a video, and it’s not on my hard drive. No muss, no fuss.

I’m not talking about the physical or digital space taken up on a hard drive. I’m talking about the massive amount of irrelevant video on the Web itself. So much video we have to sort through just to get what we want.

Some more organic solutions to the problem have become evident. Online video has broken into several categories that in one way or another have a marketing angle to it:

  • Sponsored: This refers to those lovely 15 seconds of advertising before you see what you wanted to see. This is an old practice that’s moved into new model solutions. It just makes me cringe when it happens. The lowbrow sponsorship tags belong here, too. Face it, a tag graphic on a video is equivalent to a splash graphic in the physical world.
  • Integrated: This is when the video and the interactivity are part of the brand and direct experience. Think of ShaveEverywhere, Mealtogether.com, and Durex. There’s lots to learn here, and in some ways, an overindulgence in this direction can lead to too much time spent online. Maybe that’s not so bad.
  • UGC (define): Is there a marketing angle here? Banner ads, yes. Even better: context-driven messaging. Imagine watching that Chris Crocker “leave Britney alone!” video and seeing an ad for teen depression or a tabloid subscription? This is the hardest area, as the context can have such a wide field of interpretation that your ad could be sadly misplaced or just plain old inappropriate.

After we synthesize video down into those areas we feel better, don’t we? Don’t get too comfortable. There are so many other subcategories that could be marketing opportunities for an emerging idea, but it will take time and a good bunch of creative minds to work it out.

Nonetheless, we are still overloaded with video and without an idea of how to make it more marketing-friendly — away from the ad-frienemy (define) model we have now.

Yet in all of this, the basics are essential. Just using video for the sake of using it isn’t a good reason. Not using it because of the cost is even worse. You don’t want to become part of the vast heap of poorly produced video all over the Web that will come back some day to haunt you.

When you plan a campaign, try to understand the true value and relevant use of offers that leverage video at its best before committing them to the Web.

Meet Dorian at ClickZ Specifics: Online Video Advertising on July 22, at Millennium Broadway in New York City.

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