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Digital Transformation Brand Strategy B2B Marketing

How to create hot ‘video ad porn’ for YouTube

By Max Kalehoff | vice president marketing

January 27, 2022 | 5 min read

Some product categories make for seductive advertisements. Vacations, luxury automobiles, fashion, consumer tech, food, spirits and even porn all play to our primordial and material desires. The products inherently appeal to us in a visual, sensual way. But what do you do when you’re selling something decidedly unsexy like cleaning products? Realeyes’s Max Kalehoff offers four sultry solutions.

Flames coming out of the computer

How can so-called ‘boring’ product brand ads be made engaging for viewers?

While some product categories make for good ‘video ad porn,’ others are more challenging. For example, tax and legal services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and household cleaning goods. These products can associate discomfort and inconvenience, and the need to do arduous tasks.

Regardless of product category, almost every brand relies on the power of human presence in its advertising. Doing so puts a human face on otherwise indifferent items and instills relevance and comfort. Humans, through product interaction, also provide a vehicle in which to demonstrate product utility and benefits.

To better understand how non-seductive (or boring) product brands can appeal more, we performed a viewer attention and emotion analysis on major brands in the $35bn household cleaning supplies market. We used attention artificial intelligence (AI) and facial coding to measure second-by-second US viewer response to seven brands across 42 video ads on YouTube, including on mobile and desktop. Brands included Bounty, Cascade, Clorox, Dawn, Finish, Swiffer and Tide.

What did we learn?

1. People don’t like watching other people struggle with unpleasant tasks

While humans draw attention to ads, and product demonstrations convey the value of household cleaning brands, advertisers must consider that people don’t like watching other people do arduous, unpleasant tasks – especially when it’s people struggling to clean using inferior competitive brands. Actors demonstrating the pain of cleaning can dramatically reduce attention to the point of never being able to win back the audience – up to 25% in some cases.

2. Human presence lures attention

We found that human presence increased attention 5% on average. Some brands, including Swiffer, figured out how to leverage human presence while evolving beyond the tired quick-cleaning demo clichés by showing products in action without human interaction, but concluding with the human experiencing the benefits of cleaning.

3. Product demonstrations involving arduous tasks should be brief

Unlike many other product categories, viewers are emotionally receptive to cleaning brand messaging in shorter bursts. Demo the clean-up fast; make it look effortless. Encoding scores, which reflect emotional response while paying attention, increased by 40% for ads that lasted six seconds versus those that lasted 15 seconds.

4. Mobile and desktop environments demand different creative to lure viewer attention

Lastly, our analysis showed that mobile and desktop environments need their own unique, tailored creatives. Video creative viewed on mobile, compared to desktop, struggled to gain attention and drive an emotional response. The average Realeyes Quality Score for creatives viewed on desktop was 4.8 out of a possible 10, significantly higher versus the same videos viewed in a mobile environment at 3.8. Still, mobile is an essential part of the media mix, enabling brands to reach their consumers at the right time and place, with the right message. Lesson: mobile creative should emphasize brevity and benefit. Most important, test and monitor creative performance against each device environment.

While our analysis focused on the household cleaning products industry, the insights are directly applicable to other less flashy, utilitarian product categories. The answer is not how do you make an unsexy product sexy. Instead, advertisers must ask themselves: what is the right mix of human presence, product interaction and benefit? The job of the creative is to capture attention, retain attention and encode the brain with your brand message.

Max Kalehoff is vice-president marketing at Realeyes.

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