Brands “lack confidence” in content creation and must drop TV ad mindset, says YouTube brand propositions chief

Brands “lack confidence” when it comes to embracing online video content creation and are therefore failing to grasp the creative potential of YouTube, according to the video platform’s head of brand propositions Derek Scrobie.

Speaking at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) video conference in London Scrobie said brands must break free of the 30-second TV ad mindset when it comes to online video or risk mediocre results to their YouTube activity.

“It’s strange that brands lack confidence around content because in the last 10 years they have managed to excite us about products – like shampoo – that we really shouldn’t have been excited about. But they have been constrained by the existing formats,” he said alluding to the 30-second TV spot.

He called for brands to move away from the mentality of simply using online platforms like YouTube as a distribution vehicle for TV assets. “Brands tend to think ‘it looks like TV so let’s treat it like that’…

“Most brands just use YouTube to distribute their TV ads, that does create some value, but it doesn’t really maximise the creative canvas that is the platform,” he said.

He urged brands to “go native” and become creators of content rather than just distributors of advertising, and work with popular, established YouTube talent.

“The reality is for everything brands and advertisers tend to do there is someone on YouTube doing it better,” he said.

Brands should collaborate more with YouTube stars who have already built up existing subscriber bases on the platform, rather than attempting to launch with zero views and build from there, according to Scrobie.

Yet to fully embrace the opportunities in the branded content space, brands must relinquish the need to be in control, and work openly and collaboratively with YouTube talent to ensure they don’t alienate the existing subscribers.

He cited Kellogg’s’ YouTube campaign for its Krave brand as a good example, where the brand worked with YouTube star JacksGap which had an existing 2.3 million-strong subscriber base.

“Kellogg's let the creators express the Krave challenge in their own way, so it would accepted by their audience. Brands can get a leg up by going to already receptive, scaled audiences and take some of the guess work out of winning on YouTube,” he said.

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