By Ian Darby | journalist

July 28, 2022 | 6 min read

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The creative potential available to brands through TV streaming is vast. New interactive formats that go well beyond the traditional 30-second spot offer advertisers a whole range of impactful storytelling experiences.

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Looking beyond 30-second ad spots can offer advertisers a range of new storytelling opportunities

There was no better place to debate these opportunities than the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, at which the best commercial creativity in the world is honored.

This rising interest in the subject explains why The Drum hosted a panel, as part of its 'Live in Cannes' coverage, in partnership with Roku, the TV streaming pioneer. Joining Sam Bradley, senior reporter at The Drum and co-moderator of the session, were:

  • Jerry Daykin, vice-president, global media, Beam Suntory

  • Kay Vizon, director, Kroger Integrated Media

  • Kristina Shepard, head of agency partnerships and national brand team lead, Roku

The session, 'Streaming creativity – going beyond the 30-second TV ad spot', saw the expert panel explore issues including how TV is evolving to create a stir in the advertising community, ways in which this is driving new integrations and executions across the marketing funnel, changes in audiences’ expectations, and the vital subject of the efficacy and ROI for brands innovating in TV.

Daykin opened proceedings with a point about how TV has evolved to embrace digital storytelling and a range of various communities while doing this.

Beam Suntory, which owns spirits brands including Jim Beam and Yamazaki, has grasped this opportunity, he says: "I think streaming faster is a really, really great opportunity, especially as it gets bigger and bigger for us to do that kind of the job that we used to do with TV, but in more sophisticated ways, like with different targeting, with more interaction and with the ability to follow things up. We have experimented, right from the start of our partnership with these guys [Roku] in saying, 'what should we create that's original and unique for the platform?'"

This experimentation has resulted in new creative formats including ad-funded programming, with Beam Suntory brand Maker's Mark supporting a talk show on Roku hosted by actor and comedian Randall Park. This brand integration also closed the marketing funnel with QR codes to encourage purchase. Roku's Kristina Shepard built on this point with a description of Roku's Brand Studio having the capacity to deliver better targeted, more relevant ads.

"Take your brand, use the talent that we have, and the shows that we've built viewership behind, and actually put your brand into that piece of content," she urged advertisers.

The powerful impact of the pandemic in terms of providing a boost to audiences of streaming services was next on the agenda. Vizon at Kroger Integrated Media, the media arm of the US grocery retailer, explained that streaming is an especially powerful solution for customer-focused organizations, and that Kroger shifted its media spend towards options on streaming channels as consumer viewing patterns changed.

Vizon added that the targeting potential of streaming services sits alongside the ability of ad formats to build brand awareness: "We're still leveraging [streaming] for brand awareness. But then more and more so in the consideration part of the funnel as well as conversions... the ability of being able to target multiple audience segments, beyond the broad audiences that we would target in traditional channels. And it's just opened up some really exciting opportunities."

But how are services such as Roku evolving to work alongside Kroger, which has its own retail media business, to deliver a more personalized and dynamic advertising offering?

Shepard says it's all about removing barriers and integrating with these media operations to enable consumers to click on an ad and buy a product, but also in terms of targeting: "Making sure they're leveraging all of the capabilities that the platform has to offer, which is targeting and interactivity and measurement."

However, it's also the case that the cost-of-living squeeze is putting pressure on marketing departments as well as consumers. What does this mean for businesses such as Kroger, and how can the creative potential of streaming help its marketers?

Vizon said: "Marketing and finance teams are more closely interlinked now than ever before, and we are being held accountable for every dollar that we spend. And it's not just how many impressions did you deliver - did you reach as many people as you thought you did? It's more what is the actual business outcome."

Vizon added that Kroger's marketing team is reporting on these outcomes every four weeks, which means that media spend that delivers results against clear objectives is the priority. "It just requires a lot of getting out there being proactive, socializing the message, but speaking in a language that our finance teams understand," she explained.

Daykin noted that advertising on streaming platforms can also make advertising in his sector much more responsible and nuanced: "We don't just say 'let's make sure we show our ads in the evening', it's 'let's make sure we are adding an evening to someone who we're almost certain is of legal drinking age'. So, for us, digital channels show a real, real good opportunity to do more responsible marketing."

The session wrapped with a point from Shepard that described the ongoing creative opportunity of TV streaming for brands. She outlined a marketing world in which all ads will soon be streamed: "We have this amazing trove of data and content, and measurement opportunities. Let's do good work together, and really make sure that we're getting in front of the audience in a meaningful way to help brands build their equity, as well as making sure we're delivering on the promise that we gave consumers of streaming bringing a better ad experience."

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Roku pioneered streaming to the TV. We connect users to the streaming content they love, enable content publishers to build and monetise large audiences, and provide advertisers with unique capabilities to engage consumers. Roku streaming players and Roku TV™ models are available around the world through direct retail sales and licensing arrangements with TV OEMs and service operators.

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