NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- For years, the promise of online video advertising has been just that -- a promise. The reality has been a big disappointment: ads that look and feel like TV, and are repurposed from TV creative, only much more annoying.
The reason for this is twofold: advertisers and agencies were reticent to spend money on new creative for online video, and the video market itself was splintered, and lacked the kind of content advertisers were comfortable with.
But with the TV-upfront market frozen and advertisers looking for lower-cost means to reach consumers, a push is on to try formats that could finally realize some of the potential of online video with targeted ads that engage with real interactivity. "As prime-time audiences decrease, it makes sense to go where the audiences are going," said Chris Allen, VP-video innovation at Starcom USA.
VivaKi, like Starcom a unit of Publicis, is running a yearlong test of different formats for both long- and short-form content known as "The Pool." Earlier this year Reckitt-Benckiser, marketer of Clearasil and Lysol, primed the market with a $20 million budget shift to the web from TV for campaigns on ad networks like Yume, Brightroll and Nabbr.
'Funky transition period'
Meanwhile, a flurry of innovation is taking place across the industry to move marketers away from static pre-rolls and impression-based pricing to different models that take advantage of the web.
"We're in this funky transition period in the industry; the lion's share of what advertisers are doing is repurposing TV creative for video, but some are dipping their toe into new creative and testing new formats," said Hulu Senior VP Jean-Paul Colaco.
The goal here is to lure more dollars online and increase the size of what IPG unit Magna Global estimates will be a $700 million pie in 2009. Nearly 80% of the U.S. online audience watches video, according to ComScore, but the time spent is just 1% of TV viewing, which is a $70 billion market. So an argument could be made that online video is getting its share, but no one here is making that argument, are they?
Here's sampling of some of the latest efforts to reinvent online video ads: