Video Ads – No Soap Opera…

Soap operas, the daily melodramas stereotypically watched by bored housewives, the unemployed, the elderly and the ill, i.e. people who have free time to watch television midday, get their genre name quite literally from soap. Soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers and Colgate-Palmolive were amongst the original sponsors of the daily, then radio, shows. The format evolved over time, and now soaps, as they’re known colloquially, have become a staple of Camp Culture and are no longer exclusively sponsored by sudsy vendors. Interestingly they’ve even become savvy at marketing themselves with online video, as this blooper clip released to YouTube clearly proves:

The Bold and the Beautiful CPGs

Soap, and soap related products are considered part of the consumer-package-goods (CPG) category, i.e. the staples of households. They are in their essence, as staples should be, reliable, consistent, and conventional. So while soap companies led the way in creating the Soap Opera format way-back-when, these mega companies have remained fairly conservative over the years, investing their advertising dollars in traditional, proven media.

Yet, according to an article I just read in Advertising Age:

“[The] consumer-package-goods category doubled down on the medium and became the largest category in online video in 2009…. Indeed the largest spenders in video are starting to resemble the largest spenders in TV, such as Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Unilever.”

CPGs are traditional by nature but Online Video provides big incentives to change

The CPGs, are, by their very nature somewhat late adopters, and have only recently joined the world of online marketing. But the article goes on to describe how a change of mind is beginning to take place, even in the most traditional of industries:

“To me, it is where the consumer is,” said Ritu Trivedi, managing partner at Mindshare Interaction, responsible for Unilever’s media planning. “It gives you a palette everyone is used to – sight, sound and motion. They engage with it a lot more than words. You can talk about hair products much more easily in the video format than in text.”

One of the biggest draws, for big advertisers is the fact that video, unlike television can be almost entirely measured and quantified. Advertisers are guaranteed that consumers will see their videos. They also are able to decipher exactly how many times each video has been viewed. This kind of information is gold for advertisers.

Relocation or a true conversion to online video?

There is still, of course, a long way to go, as the world of online video is still in its infancy. CPGs for the most part are simply reallocating television ad spends and formats to video, instead of having a separate budget for the medium, one dedicated to ad content specifically created for it.

That, however, based on results and a proven track record, is likely to change in the future. And the future, in the online world, tends to happen much sooner than we think…