Will TikToks and Reels become the TV ads of the future?
At the Festival of Marketing, delegates heard how brands can tap into the massive surge in interest and participation in short-form video, and still remain relevant
In a media landscape where a 15-second homemade video on TikTok, Instagram Reels or Triller can generate millions of views, how does a brand evolve its voice and stay on trend? How can marketers tap into this massive surge in interest in short-form video while remaining relevant and authentic in their communications?
That was the question posed by Oliver Lewis, founder of News UK’s influencer marketing agency The Fifth and The Fifth Talent, on day three of the Festival of Marketing. He reminded viewers that getting their approach correct is becoming more challenging, due to the massive proliferation of popular user-generated content on social platforms competing for attention with traditional channels.
SPONSORED BY The Fifth
BACK TO top
BACK TO HUB
watch ‘Keeping it Reel: How to tell your brand story in 15 seconds’ at the Festival of Marketing on demand
Find out more about how to use short-form video in marketing. Watch The Fifth’s session, ‘Keeping it Reel: How to tell your brand story in 15 seconds’, at the Festival of Marketing on demand now.
“Brands have to work so much harder to stand out now… to capture the public imagination and maintain loyalty they are partnering with social talent and influencers who already have audience attention and loyalty within their audiences.”
Content creator Helen Anderson summed up the creative choice available to short-form video makers. They can either choose to utilise the creativity opened up by the
vast music library within Instagram’s new Reels product, or cede a little creative control and instead come up with their take on a TikTok hashtag challenge.
For her, storytelling always starts with the music, and creatives need to look for tunes that have natural editing points, which allow a mental storyboard to unfold. If you can feel a music video coming on when you hear a song, Anderson’s advice is you are well on track to making a successful short video.
To underline the point, Lewis then showed two 15-second videos from online fashion retailer ASOS, which have delivered 1.8 billion views – or “brand impacts” as he calls them. The key, he believes, is how the retailer has used “sonic branding” to “capture the cultural zeitgeist”.
Creative collaboration is essential
For Becky Owen, head of branded content at Facebook, which owns Instagram, the power of short-form video is unleashed by brands that realise they must collaborate and bring in talent from the platform as creative directors.
“[Marketers] don’t ‘get’ the genesis of trends, sometimes we don’t understand the dance moves,” she said. “If you want to set a trend, you need to lean into people who get it. Bring them on and consult with them. Bring in talent that understand editing, understand the dance, understand how this works and create a format other people can replicate.
“You’re automatically educating all the other talent you can work with and then it’s something the UGC community can adopt.”
While the Festival of Marketing session had started by conceding the point there is still “a very important place” for long-form video, it ended with a question about its future. Has short-form video disrupted video marketing to the point where it is now the new way to run television adverts?
Owen’s take was a simple observation of why her gut feeling is telling her short-form video is here to stay, and why it is likely to be highly disruptive. “These things launch and we never fully understand the potential of them,” she said.
“Technology and Gen Z are probably going to help us lead the way. The one thing that gives me a spidey sense to say [short-form video will become predominant] is ‘high fashion’ brands have adopted this and they’re notoriously cautious when you look at digital-first media. If high fashion are here, we have disrupted.”
The take-out for delegates was clear. Fifteen-second user-generated video is a massive opportunity, so long as brands understand they are not always the best to tap into this latest trend alone. They need to form collaborations that will deliver compelling creative as well as keeping a brand relevant.■