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Creating ads that people choose to watch

Gone are the days of audiences sneaking off to put the kettle on during a commercial break. Nowadays, people’s eyeballs stay glued to their computers and smartphones 24/7, especially when an ad pops on. Why? Because brands are offering content (ads) so extraordinary, that people want to watch.

Millennials simply don’t want cable or free-to-air anymore, they’ve turned to (mobile) online videos. This is clear as 50% of YouTube watch time is from mobile and 14% percent of Hongkongers only using smartphones to go online. What’s more, year-on-year growth of YouTube content uploaded is 70%. That said, just creating any old video ad doesn’t guarantee success, especially with so much choice.

Brands have keyed in on three sure-win concepts that are rocking the online ad world: localize, mobile and comedy.

Take for example PARKnSHOP’s ‘2015 百佳食得鮮買得抵’ ad which entertains first and sells later. The ad uses locally-created cartoon pig, McDull, to tell a powerful and touching story about mothers’ daily sacrifices, while flawlessly selling the brand. Going beyond the normal 30s TVC, this was one of the top video ads during Q2 2015.

McDonald’s ‘相逢何必曾Big Mac’ video ad racked up a million plus views and topped YouTube Q2 2015 Ads Leaderboard with its local and relevant content. Using nostalgia to take viewers back to the good old days, this ad artfully and playfully sells the Big Mac.

Last but not least, with billions of mobile users coming online soon with many from Asia, brands are creating great content for mobile for discerning ‘new audiences’ that is just as good as original ‘must-see’ content.

And remember, it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun.

Dominic Allon is managing director of Google Hong Kong.

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