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YouTube and D&AD combine for Film Hack - but what is it?


By Stephen Lepitak, -

March 2, 2016 | 5 min read

In a bid to explain how YouTube can be effective as an advertising platform, it has teamed up with D&AD to challenge a number of agency creatives to create ads in competition with each other. Ant Hill, industry head, creative agency partnerships for Google UK answers The Drum's questions on the challenge that has been set.

The Drum: What is Film Hack?

AH: Film Hack is YouTube’s annual film making contest for creative agencies. In partnership with YouTube agency teams will compete to create the best possible ad creative designed for YouTube’s TrueView ad format.

The Drum: Who is involved this year?

AH: The creative agencies taking part this year are BBH, J. Walter Thompson, Grey London and Ogilvy. This year Film Hack is also being held in partnership with the D&AD.

The Drum: How did you choose the agencies to compete?

AH: We invited our biggest agency clients where we have lots of mutual brand responsibility - but also allowed other agencies join on a first come first served!

The Drum: What have they been challenged to do this year?

AH: This year, the task is simple. The teams have been challenged to make a TrueView film to further a key mission of the D&AD...

The brief: The creative industry needs more diversity of thought. However, employment opportunities within advertising and design are too often restricted to a privileged few.

● Only 14 per cent of UK Creative Directors are female - 2015 Creative Equals Report

● Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees make up only 8 per cent of those at the most senior levels across the advertising industry. This rises to 10.8 per cent in creative agencies but drops to 2.9 per cent at media agencies according to the recent IPA Diversity Report.

The problem starts in colleges as young people of all backgrounds make choices about their future. We need to get a creative career onto their consideration list early, and encourage them to work with the D&AD to explore their options.

The Drum: What are you looking for from the winning entries?

AH: Our esteemed Judges - Andy Sandoz (D&AD President), Laura Gregory (Founder, Great Guns), Martin Stirling (Director, Partizan films) and your good self (Stephen Lepitak) will be judging the films qualitatively; based on the merit of the idea and on how well they are crafted for the specific (and brilliant!) TrueView advertising format.

In a new twist this year, we’ll be factoring data into the judging mix. On top of creativity, each film will also be judged quantitatively on how engaging and memorable the ads were to the people who viewed them. With YouTube Analytics we’ll be looking at the view-through rate ( per centage of people who watch to the end of the ad or 30 seconds, whichever comes first) and ad completion rate (what per cent of people watch to the very end of the ad). We’ll also be able to get results for Ad Recall using our Brand Lift study (do people exposed to the ad remember it, and which brand it was for?)

This creates a really interesting balance between subjective judging on creative craft, and how an ad actually performs out in the real world.

The Drum: How will they benefit?

AH: A huge part of Film Hack is helping agencies understand more about YouTube’s creative parameters. But, of course, points mean prizes so ...

The winning team members will receive an annual membership to the D&AD, a signed copy of the 2016 D&AD annual as well as the opportunity chance to present their story and film as part of the incredible D&AD Festival programme.

The Drum: What is your best content tip when it comes to creating an ad for YouTube?

AH: Remember, the power is in the viewer's hands so make those first five seconds work really hard!

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