The importance of ‘epic’ video advertising in 2019

By Karl Knights, VP Revenue EMEA at 4C Insights

One of the best examples of theatrical video working across channels was showcased during one of this year’s largest global events – the Rugby World Cup.

In the weeks leading into the tournament, O2 launched its 90-second ‘Be their armour’ film. Japanese-style armour, bearing England’s rose emblem, is worn by captain Owen Farrell and teammates who then race into the woods on horseback with their fans proudly by their side.

Complemented by display campaigns across O2 Priority and O2 social channels with support from key influencers, including England Rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson, our data reveals it worked with the desired audiences.

This highly cinematographic ad powered a social lift impact of 194%. This means that from just seven ad spots airing around World Cup matches between mid-September and the semi-final, engagement in the five minutes after an ad nearly trebled with the brand.

As the ‘Golden Quarter’ approaches, brands are already taking note of the efficacy of the ‘epic’ ad in driving real action on other channels – including today’s all-important social shopping channels.

The ‘epic’ ad this Christmas season

Top flight brands have already launched into their Christmas ads with high budget, story-driven video exemplified by the likes of Argos’s ‘Book of Dreams’ ad and Aldi’s ‘Leafy Blinders’.

By now you would be forgiven for thinking these impressive Christmas ads from retailers and grocers have become more like time-honoured tradition than strategic manoeuvres.

Going against the grain, brands including M&S – one of the archetypes of the Christmas ad – had moved away from the theatrics last year to appeal to our wallets more than our hearts. But by focusing more on the product, M&S lost the top spot to John Lewis’s leftfield tribute to Elton John – a 140 second biopic of the artist entitledThe Boy and The Piano’.

It would be easy to assume from this that Christmas dictates a unique, seasonal approach driven by the need to appeal to such a wide audience as the ‘shopper’. But the truth is that the blockbuster ad still plays a hugely important role in today’s cross-channel, always-on world.

Cross-channel is the future, but it has demands

Of course this year’s Christmas ads will have been in the works for many months. Reassuringly, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of 4C Insights in the summer of 2019, showed that nearly 80% of marketers surveyed recognise video – including TV, digital video, social video, and over-the-top (OTT) video – as an increasingly important medium.

And 73% of UK marketers agree that effective use of video can boost business performance in other channels.

However, while it’s clear that the media mix has changed and video has emerged as a critical format, marketers face distinct challenges when it comes to video advertising. Not least because 70% of marketers in the UK admit they aren’t flexible enough with creative or budget to quickly adjust campaigns based on all-important audience insights. And 62% lack centralized technology to deploy campaigns across multiple channels.

In a multi-screen world, video stands out for its ability to deliver rich storytelling at scale throughout the customer journey. For brands to succeed, cross-channel planning should revolve around consumer preferences and budget allocation should be anchored on business results.

Brands looking to do well in this year’s festivities must take note of the lessons they can learn from being topical, emotional and evocative with their advertising. A data-led strategy combined with activation tools that plug in to multiple publishers will enable brands to go from insight to action and make this season truly ‘epic’.

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