by Tim Robinson (@burningpoint) With Interactive Advertising Bureau figures showing 77% of online audiences watching online video and a consumption of 87 videos per month, it’s easy to see why more and more brands are putting money into a medium that isn’t locked into a broadcast schedule, trusting to creative content to draw audiences and using social media to promote their brands.

Kevin-SwanepoelAppealing notion

Google Analytics aside,  being able to track the popularity of your content via view counts alone makes the notion of creating OPOV (original professional online video) content an appealing one.

I recently spoke to Kevin Swanepoel, president of the One Club New York and organiser of the One Show Awards and Creative Week New York [and a South Africa expat, nogal], about the new role video is playing in the media landscape.

To give an idea of Swanepoel’s standing in the media world, The One Show is one of the biggest awards shows in the world, encompassing the One Show Awards, One Show Interactive, One Show Entertainment and Creative Week New York. In 2013, The One Show Interactive was judged to have almost twice as many entries than the Cannes Cyber Lions.

Tim Robinson: Kevin, a few years back we saw great use of video strategy by Wieden + Kennedy with their Old Spice live-response videos. What are the best breakout video ideas you’ve seen recently?

Kevin Swanepoel: That’s fairly interesting as, if we look at what the team from Weiden + Kennedy were doing, they reinvented the game then and they’re at it again. This time, as you’ll be aware, the Mayans predicted the end of the world in December 2012. Old Spice saved the day by creating an 8-bit video game with Dikembi Mutombo, one of the NBA’s legendary stars, who used his skills each week to find new ways to stop the world from ending. Each week they released a new game level based on the popular culture of that week.

So, not only were they coding new elements to the game based on current events, but running a finely tuned production by producing new content on a weekly basis. This broke new ground on video-gaming and project turnaround.

Another interesting project was Clouds Over Cuba created by The Martin Agency in Virginia, in conjunction with Tool production house. They have a history of taking massive amounts of data and turning it into something that the audience can interact with.

Clouds over Cuba is an interactive documentary which was created for the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile crisis. They combined real footage and voice to create an alternative reality showing how the scenario could have played out if the negotiations between the John F Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev weren’t successful. The content was featured online and at the JFK Museum in Boston.

Geox is a great interactive wanderlust exploration video that allows the user to take a journey along a timeline through the streets of the wettest places in the world. It includes clickable hotspots with additional journey and product content.

TR: As someone who travels a lot, which cities/countries are making clever use of out-of-home video and have you seen evidence of it impacting culture beyond marketing?

KS: There is currently a huge movement in China to beautify the city through creativity and I know of a conversation that is happening with [the] Chinese government to change the facades of buildings to incorporate more large-format screens that will be interactive and support video. A lot of people in the US would see that as noise and clutter but even places like Times Square have their own beauty, which leads me to a piece that makes interesting use of the billboard video screens in Times Square.

Forever 21 created an amazing interactive billboard which had a model lean out into the street (in the video) and pick up a passerby and drop them into the billboard video so that they became a part of the billboard. While the model’s actions were preprogrammed, the people she was picking up were walking around below the billboard — so it was prerecorded content interacting with live content.

Original credit for the idea goes to Digital Artist Chris O’Shea.

Another unique way I saw a brand making use of screens in windows for retail is the experience TBWA created for Adidas by bringing the window shopping experience to life and allowing windows shoppers to interact with the digital items in the shop window and make purchases — this is a great use of alternative screen estate that would otherwise not be engaging the user in the same manner, as it happened at night when the shop was closed.

I was recently in Atlanta and met with the Razorfish innovation lab. They were showing me an update on the traditional showroom they’re working on. Because big cities don’t have the retail environment to have an actual car in-store, they’ve replaced the car with big screens that allow people to interact with the car — spin them around, tour through the car etc and companies like Audi take this content seriously — they sent Audi technicians to Atlanta to measure the gaps in the doors of the cars on screen to ensure that the measurement and scale was one-for-one between the digitally recreated cars and actual product.

TR: Branded content is a field that the One Club has supported and promoted for many years (One Show Entertainment Awards is in its sixth year now). With apps such as Vine and Instagram, and users easily being able to draw large audiences through original creative ideas, user-generated content has captured a new audience — how are you seeing this influence the branded-content space?

KS: I’ll come back to micro video [Vine and Instagram] shortly. Firstly, regarding branded storytelling, there is a piece that did really well in One Show, One Show Interactive and One Entertainment by Peirera & O’Dell for Intel and Toshiba — they are an incredible boutique shop that have their roots in digital but are kicking ass in the traditional media space.

This particular piece is called ‘The Beauty Inside’. It’s a branded-content film that was created by a traditional director and a cast of actors but, because of the nature of the story, it was handed over to the actual viewers of the story. Peirera & O’Dell created a storyline about someone who falls in love with a girl but she never knows who [he] is because his appearance changes every day — but the beauty inside remains the same.

They then got the audience involved by asking them to write a part of the script and send them a video of it being acted out. These performances were then added into the film and viewers became a part of the story.

What we’re also seeing in the ad industry is a massive growth of channels in which brands now need to be showing their product on. The demand of the dollar is now spread across so many more media channels. So what we’re seeing is brands creating content that consumers want to interact with because the next generation is not only watching Cable TV — I’ve got two sons and, if I look at the time they’re spending watching TV, I think its about one or two hours a week but they are glued to their mobile devices iPad or interacting with their Apple TV.

If brands want to engage with this audience, they need to make sure they’re getting involved in these [media].

Regarding micro video — Vine took off early this year, so at the One Show Interactive we gave the audience a chance to give a six-second Vine acceptance speech. We got some great results from this. I think that, as we see the micro video medium growing, brands that engage relevantly will start to win.

For example, there was an interesting piece recently from BBDO New York for Home Depot which featured Vine videos giving helpful tips on DIY, such a how to use a rubber band on a stripped screw head. This went viral very quickly and suddenly brands are seeing many new opportunities for their products in a more-targeted media space.

TR: The One Club has recently launched the Emerging Directors Showcase… Can you tell us a bit about that?

KS: We’ve started up a platform for emerging directors who [are] in their early years with a couple of projects under the belt and are looking to be discovered. Our jury consists of directors, chief creative officers and executive creative directors from the leading creative houses within the industry — these guys are looking to reward creative standards with jobs at Caviar, Radical Media or RSA films, for example.

TR: Who should we be watching in the field of content strategy/marketing departments, who get bold ideas right? Who is getting interactive/video right at the moment?

KS: Definitely Carero Dell for the stuff they’re doing with Intel and Toshiba, and another group is 180 LA. Their ECD, William Gelner, has done some amazing work for the Sony Vaio.

Vice Magazine is doing some amazing work for the Intel Creators Project. We’re seeing a lot of video around that and, next Year, One Show will be doing an interesting collaboration with Vice and reinventing the way the traditional awards show is seen.

For more on how video and video strategy are being used, visit the One Show archives.

Tim RobinsonTim Robinson has spent 14 years in the marketing, design, digital and TV industry, and currently works with brands wanting to produce content in the convergent media space of digital and video. Robinson contributes the new monthly “Visual Sip” column to, in which he talks to industry leaders about their stories, technologies and trends in the industry — a coffee-break-length conversation about the emerging industry of broadcast on the web and video strategy.


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