It's shaping up to be the summer of the six-second ad.
Fox will make its first attempt to replicate YouTube's ad format on broadcast TV, with Mars and Duracell each airing two six-second spots during the "Teen Choice Awards" next month.
It's a surprisingly quick turn-around for Fox Networks Group, who announced during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June that six-second ads would roll out across its digital and on-demand properties. At the time, they also said the format would make its way to TV.
Just two months later, we will see the first iteration of that during the "Teen Choice Awards," which will air on Fox on Aug. 13.
The six-second ads will run as part of shorter, 29-second pods, away from longer 15 or 30-second ads. The top of the pod will open with a five-second intro message telling viewers not to change the channel or get up for a snack because the show will be back in less than 30-seconds. It will be followed by four six-second ads.
Fox will also run six-second spots promoting their new fall shows during the telecast and use it as an opportunity to develop research to show how effective the format can be for advertisers.
The awards show will have traditional breaks along with at least four of the 29-second commercial breaks. Fox expects to sign additional advertisers ahead of the broadcast.
"We like the idea of encouraging all advertisers to use TV advertising and this is a way to do it. The 'Teen Choice Awards' is the right place to launch it because the millennial audience is already accustomed to seeing these ads and attuned to receiving messages in this way," said Suzanne Sullivan, exec VP --entertainment sales, Fox Networks Group.
In addition, Fox is also reducing the national ad load of the "Teen Choice Awards" by more than 20% from last year.
Duracell is using the opportunity to asses the impact of six-second ads on TV, and these type of ads could player a bigger role in the creative mix in the near future, Ramon Velutini, president – marketing, Duracell, said in a statement.
Fox, along with the entire TV industry, is trying to figure out how to improve the viewer experience amid a shift toward consuming content on platforms with limited or no commercials.
Six-second ads are becoming the soup du jour among digital and media companies. The format was first championed by YouTube last fall, and last week Facebook said that it is working with some of its advertisers to develop six-second spots.
But it remains to be seen how common six-second ads will be on TV as sellers and buyers negotiate prices that make it fruitful for the networks, but also not high enough that they are unattractive to advertisers. And plenty will depend on how these early tests perform.