Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads

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Let the upcoming fourth quarter be known as the incubator phase of the six-second video ad unit, a few industry players echoed in recent days. Next year, they say, it’s go time.

The format has built up buzz since Google threw its stake in the ground when the best examples of its six-second hackathon were highlighted at Sundance in January. Then in June, Fox announced it was on board with six-second video ads. And, at the end of last month, Facebook revealed it was going to work on its six-second ad game during its second-quarter earnings call. Now, brands and agencies are starting to state their motives for getting out in front of the movement. Michelin this week started testing the snack-sized clips on YouTube, the Google-owned video platform that calls them bumper ads.

“The format allows us to continue on our quest to reach a younger demographic,” said Candace Cluck, director of consumer experience for Michelin North America, suggesting that such spots could be ideal for reaching millennials and Gen Z consumers with shorter attention spans. “What’s so unique about this format is the way you distribute it. You have to think about these six-second videos in succession. It’s a frequency play.”

TBWA Worldwide is leading creative for her brand’s six-second spots. “They force you to be more focused,” commented Theodor Arhio, a global director of creative and content for the Omnicom-owned agency who partook in YouTube’s previously mentioned hackathon.

Another YouTube hackathon alumnus, Maud Deitch, attended the event as a creative for Mother New York and had her global-warming-minded work, called The High Diver (see below), honored. She’s since moved on to Instagram’s creative department, which she declined to go into detail about—but she had a lot to say about six-second ads’ potential.
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