This article is running as part of a series spotlighting the winners of the Inaugural “Video Marketing Excellence Awards” Presented by OpenSlate and VideoInk. The winners were selected by our panel of esteemed judges, and were announced on VideoInk.
Attention spans are shrinking and, with only 5 seconds or less, to make an impression on a viewer, a brand marketer must get creative on how to grab eyeballs on in-stream ads. And once those eyeballs are fixed on the spot, it’s an even greater challenge to keep them glued as long as possible.
That’s exactly what Defy Media and Crispin, Porter and Bogusky achieved with their VMX Award-winning approach to an in-stream ad for Hotels.com — one that resulted in 79% of the audience watching to completion, and over 5.8 million total impressions. “You have to get people’s attention in such a short amount of time and just about everything feels like it has a skip button. But that can provide a challenge for us creatively,” said Brian Friedrich from Crispin, Porter. So for the “Honest Ad” campaign, Defy and Crispin merged two iconic “characters” that had generated significant followings, on one hand, advertising-native talent “Captain Obvious” and on the other Jon Bailey, the voice of digital video-native Honest Trailers. Honest Trailers is a production from ScreenJunkies, a YouTube channel owned by Defy that has accumulated over 5 million subscribers and driven millions of views against the spoof format.
Defy and Crispin didn’t need Captain Obvious to show them the clear fit for the two characters.
But bringing together two established characters, while obvious in tone and creative direction, wasn’t such an easy task given the complications around advertising against a series that has such a high volume of movie related footage baked into its format.
“[Hotels.com] really wanted to tap into the brand to find a unique way they [could] create an awareness campaign but leverageing what the show does in that tonality and humor. They really wanted to figure out a way to advertise around Honest Trailers which is a tough property to find a way to integrate given the footage from the movie studios. So we created a unique opportunity for them around pre-roll,” said Holden Berlin, SVP of Program Marketing & Development at Defy.
The pressure it turns out was a creative blessing in disguise as it pushed both teams to think and create in a way neither had done before.
The outcome? See for yourself:
Beyond running the campaign as an in-stream ad, the companies also distributed the video via Bailey’s own YouTube channel where the video grabbed 113K views, at the time of entry, and over 170K views to date. Not massive by general standards but when considered in relation to the completion rate, the overall impressions and the traction on a standalone video, the comprehensive marks are a win, at least by Hotels.com standards.
“We firmly believe in building brands through unique and innovative ways. We are not an agency that just does traditional work,” added Friedrich. “We believe in things that we call brand actions, and take what the company stands for and bring that to the real world. We believe in work that is very smart, very simple and very fun. That is how you get people’s attention.”
For more on the campaign, we spoke with Holden Berlin from Defy Media about the campaign: