Tuesday, May 26

You Should Hear the Casey Kasem Podcast Version

Is it just me, or does Ad Age eventually cram everything Dotcom into a broadcast model to comprehend it? Even though Viral Videos are soooooo 2007, they launched their weekly Viral Video Top 10 Chart for tracking online video popularity.

This allows agency Creatives to keep track of which clients allow their agencies to produce video beyond standard TV spots. Let's be honest, the main reason creatives enjoy creating online videos (with the intent to go viral) is because they are allowed to actually be creative. No 30 second limitations. No procurement battles over Director costs. No 6+ months of animatic testing to wring every last drop of brand effectiveness out to them.

This newfound Viral Video Freedom is quickly being pulled back into the traditional mindset. Used to be that viral videos = cheap production. Which in term = low risk. Which in term = minimal expectations for performance.

Got a viral video on Youtube with only 30,000 views? No worries, look how funny it is! And how cheap compared to broadcast! Plus it finally gave the client marketing team a reason for IT to unblock FunnyOrDie.com.

But now viral video production values are growing. The guerrilla-style hand camera video -- shot by a couple Art Directors -- is now more polished and has a soundtrack (and more often an actual Director). What used to cost $30,000 to produce now costs $300,000.

Measurement like Ad Age's charts give marketers the data to start comparing the total views with these rising costs. It won't be long before a Media agency starts assigning TRPs to them, jargon which brand managers actually understand. At which point the game is over. Because TRPs and CPMs quickly lead to direct comparisons with 30 second prime time slots. Which leads to marketers needing to justify viral video effectiveness. Which leads to consumer testing and guaranteed online impressions. At which point you've completely lost track of the initial purpose for the Wild Wild West known as Viral.

This doesn't mean that long-form online video is dead. I'm sure the Creatives will find another reason for an extended stay at Shutters on the Beach. Although after the 3rd round of viral video animatics, they may be pining for the days when 30 second spots were king.

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