Saturday, 23 February 2008

Using Web 2.0 video sites for testing new programming / ad creative

An interesting after effect of the Hollywood writers strike is that studios are looking to find new ways of testing new TV program concepts.

Since the 1950's pilot shows have been the prominent dipstick test for new programmes. Writers submit scripts to the studios and a variety are put into pilot production. If a pilot is deemed to be successful it will be commissioned to a full series run. Studios are now looking more seriously at ways of using online (particularly social networking sites) for testing and the success of online programmes like Quarterlife has shown that there may now be an viable alternative to expensive pilot production.

Web 2.0 video sites also provide a good way of getting feedback on TV ads.

Various brands have used YouTube as a way of testing creative or enhancing existing campaigns. Sony have experimented with Bravia creative - from allowing the original 'balls' ad to be uploaded, to promoting viral content for the paint ad, to launching the bunnies / Playdoh creative online before it ran on TV.

Other brands like Sobe Life water have brought their TV creative to life by extending the story with longer, online video (see the clips at

Specsavers are running black and white footage of Edith Piaf singing 'Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien', but they have added cheeky subtitles implying that she is singing that she wishes that she had gone to Specsavers for some cheap glasses.

On the face of it the ad seems like an irreverant continuation of the long running 'should have gone to Specsavers' campaign. However, comments show that there is another aspect that may have been overlooked. The comments focus on the questionable taste of using a deceased persons image for commercial gain and think that it is especially poor taste as Edith Piaf suffered blindness as a child - food for thought before the campaign is further extended / played out in new channels like radio and a good example of how online communities can be used as consumer focus groups.

As online video channels develop, then they will become more commercialised and safer places for corporate experimentation. Interested to hear of any other examples of brands using online video innovatively.

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