Monday, July 30, 2007

CW offers advertisers a new short format ad: the 'Cwickie'

Awful name aside, it's not altogether unsurprising that we'd find advertiser innovation from a smaller network like the CW. Formed last year from the remnants of the UPN and WB networks, the CW still has much to prove to advertisers in terms of attracting and retaining viewers in key demographic brackets, and to this end they're willing to part with tradition and try new things. According to this article in Advertising Age, the most recent new thing is old news to those of us in digital out-of-home marketing, the short-short-format ad:

During an airing of "Friday Night Smackdown," Electronic Arts will run three 10-second ads CW has dubbed "cwickies," each of which will appear as the first ad in their respective commercial breaks. But that's not all. The cwickies will be sandwiched by "isolated" ad breaks -- each containing only one EA commercial. One, near the wrestling program's start, contains only a 60-second EA spot. The last, near the end, consists solely of a 90-second EA trailer. Everything leading up to the trailer points to that end piece, where video-game junkies can see never-before-viewed footage from "Madden NFL 08." Thanks to the innovative use of ad lengths and positions, EA can be well assured its commercials will stand apart from the rest of the 30-second pack that evening.
Using a 10 second clip to grab a viewer's attention without encouraging them to change channels right at the beginning of a new programs reflects the evolving viewing habits and typically short attention sp... ooh... shiny.... Wait, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, short attention spans of many folks in the 18-34 demo these days.

And of course by putting together a package deal with EA for some other prime spots and some longer promos throughout the show probably reduces the (perceived) risk for broadcaster and advertiser alike -- one of the big concerns on Madison Avenue, and a frequent reason why many other potentially innovative ad formats never see the light of day.

One thing that particularly excites me about these experiments is that we may start to learn more about short format advertising as more agencies get involved to supply TV and cable with sub 30-second spots. While there are a growing number of people in our industry that are becoming experts in digital OOH creative, there's still much that we don't know about the efficacy of our creative, so more experience and experimentation would be quite welcome.

Tags: digital signage, out-of-home advertising

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