1 hippopotamus,
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Have you showed your brand yet?

Some marketers are preaching the gospel of the 3-second rule – and not the one that is applied to how long you can delay before eating a biscuit off the floor.

Making sure your marketing is watched from start to finish is no easy feat. If you’re not battling with over 200 million people using ad-blockers, you’re grappling with viewers who are less focused than a goldfish, since the on-demand, digital era has shortened attention spans to an average of 8 seconds. Consumers themselves are feeling the pressures of marketing – the average American is bombarded by 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day, resulting in a headache for audiences, and a minefield of competition for marketers.

With the odds stacked against marketers, a cacophony of tips, tricks and new formats has emerged; all with the aim of ensuring that audiences watch video advertising from start to finish. But do these methods actually work? Or is the assumption that audiences will switch off after 3-seconds producing lack-lustre video marketing?

Old Rules

The Grab and Drop

The 3 Second Rule

It’s best to get in early, according to the new 3-second rule. Advice from many digital marketers states that it’s essential to show your brand within the first 3 seconds of the communication, in order to promote brand recall and deliver the message quickly to a time-poor, and easily-distracted demographic. However, this rule also pushes the defeatist notion that you can simply grab attention for a fleeting moment, and drop it immediately after.

No Skipping

It’s not just marketers that are doing all they can to get their videos noticed – platforms are introducing new formats to guarantee they keep pulling in the advertising dollars. In an AdWeek survey of marketers, 55% cited ‘annoyed viewers’ as the top challenge for digital video ads. Be it shorter pre-rolls and mid-rolls or abolishing the skip button, it’s a constant battle for platforms to determine which format is most effective for their advertisers, and least irritating for their users.

A New Mantra

The Grab and Hold

The 3-second rule makes for cold, abrupt communications. Think of it as the rowdy catcalling of marketing – it grabs your attention for a second, makes no effort to connect, and simply leaves you miffed. Successful brands care about their perception, and recognise the value exchange in their video marketing – they respect their audiences enough to hold and sustain their attention by telling a story, entertaining and educating them, rather than just shoving the brand in their face after a few seconds.

The current rule panders to the notion that as long as audiences see your brand, the rest of your communication is a write off. The real mantra that the creative industries should be chanting is ‘grab and hold attention’ – rather than admitting defeat after 3 seconds.

A recent Ofcom study found that 40% of Brits don’t like online advertising at all – so can we blame them for hitting skip? As an industry, we need to endeavour to create work that excites and entertains just as much as the social content, TV programme or song that audiences are waiting to get to after our ads.

Working in our sector, we’re able to promote some of the most exciting entertainment, brilliant film and television, great music and astounding live events – meaning our audiences are engaged and passionate. While the 3-second rule mainly applies to areas such as FMCG, automotive and finance, there are lessons to be learnt from the entertainment sector.

The Grab
Perfecting the Hook

Stop them in their tracks with thumb-stopping design, and innovative, disruptive creative.

See our full Blade Runner 2049 campaign

Own the space by creating platform-specific content and edits. Make the most of the aspect ratio by populating the majority of the screen with high impact video.

See our full Kong: Skull Island campaign

Know how your audience are consuming and don’t just create one TV spot to be placed on any platform. Meet audience needs by ensuring that content is mobile optimised, and packs a punch with the sound on or off.

See our full Justice League campaign
The Hold
Sustaining attention

Keep them fixated with powerful editing. Telling a story with your content will lead audiences through the beginning, middle and end.

See our full Wonder Woman campaign

Know what makes your audience tick by monitoring fan sentiment, and playing up to the themes your audience are passionate about.

See our full IT campaign

Ditching the 3-second rule can lead to campaigns that inspire and capture audiences, rather than bore and irritate them, resulting in the dreaded skip. At Zero Degrees West, we strive to innovate and engage from start to finish – not just within the first 3 seconds. For the sake of great creative, we’re happy to bend the rules a little…