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The Drum @ Cannes Lions 2018: six-second ads are the future but only as part of the bigger media mix

Six second ads are the future of advertising but only as part of the bigger picture. A panel of industry experts on ‘The 6 Second Impact’ panel at Cannes Lions 2018, in association with Taboola, all agreed that while this format is certainly a big part of advertising in the years to come, it’s only a small part of the media mix everyone should be considering.

GSK vice president of Family Nutrition Sara Bland, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda and FCB Brasil chief creative officer Joanna Monteiro expressed that there is plenty for creatives to do when it comes to six second ads.

Monteiro says marketers have to think from the creative perspective first of all. To know that this is different from any other format. “You have to be able to script in a story and engage with your consumer in those six seconds. It’s completely different to what most area used to but it’s possible. You can do a whole campaign in this format with a lot of chapters.”

For Bland, six seconds is part of GSK's media mix and how that connects to different consumers. Most of that work is done in India which, according to her, has made them really think about their mobile strategy in general. She explains: “Six seconds ads are a part of our larger media a mix. It's about what part of the overall story telling you want to do and how we use that to remind people about our brand and campaigns.”

“It is certainly part of the overall media mix,” says Singolda. “We stream about 130 million videos a day. Taboola are slowly becoming a media TV company and have seen that regardless of the length of the video, the most attention comes in the first 6-8 seconds. Even if the video is a minute, it almost doesn't matter. You need to grab the attention straight away.

“It resonates with younger audiences and it will certainly be part of the mix but I don't think this is the only future.”

However, if people are paying for 30 seconds and people are dropping off one fifth of they way in, how can the industry justify the ROI of six seconds?

"What brands are looking for, especially with us is reach and impact," says Bland. "We think about both long form and six seconds. It's really about how I can extend the reach and frequency with the target audience."

The industry has been talking about the 'year of mobile' for more than a decade now but it never seems to come, so surely the advent of the six second ad or short form storytelling will save mobile?

Singolda says that video in general will be a big part of mobile because mobile needs a significant financial growth. "Watching a video on your device is a fairly good experience. It's fast, it's fun, you can watch movies on your phone. Video can save mobile and publishers should get into this business as soon as they can."

Monteiro highlights that six seconds ads don't need to be the only format used, it can be used as a teaser for bigger campaigns. However, the short format tends to be an afterthought and comes after the 30 second ads have been created, with the expectation to be shortened down which creatively doesn't always work out.

Concluding, Singolda says that unless the inudstry watches out and makes sure they measure what they need to, they are going to drive the wrong motivation for marketers. "This is because six second ads tend to have higher completion rates, which is what the industry currently measures and that might be a bad thing to measure in a world where you have a mix of video formats."