Creativity loves constraints. So it’s no surprise that :06 ads have unleashed a tidal wave of creative, innovative storytelling. Here, Google Creative Director Ben Jones shares tips on how you can deliver big impact in a tight format.
When YouTube unveiled bumper ads early in 2016, creatives didn’t necessarily greet the news with ticker tape parades. Thirty seconds used to be the standard, and then there were 15-second cutdowns. Now we’re expected to tell a story in six ticks?
Yet having reviewed (literally) hundreds of bumper ads over the last year, I’ve been thrilled to see how creatives have taken the six-second constraint and made it fresh. They’re treating bumpers as a whole new canvas—one ripe for innovative, memorable storytelling.
One of the exciting aspects of a new canvas is that no one has a formula for it yet. While there isn’t a checklist for the perfect bumper ad, these are four proven tips to help make your ads better.
Advertisers and creators are conditioned to fit a lot into :30. There’s usually time for a little story, some product info, maybe an offer, a tagline, and branding. When you’re working in :06 though, there isn’t time for everything. So rather than trying to do a little of everything, do one thing well.
Bumpers are designed to reach viewers in moments when they’re receptive to a quick, focused message. That makes having a single, simple purpose for your ad absolutely key. And the discipline this requires can actually help make the ad better.
Your purpose may be a product feature or a single joke. Once you’ve decided on that one thing you want to communicate really well, you can limit your creative mandatories to just those things that will help it along.
Remember the context for your viewer: They’ve clicked on a video and are waiting to watch it. As your ad starts, it can take viewers a moment to orient themselves. Many of the most effective bumper ads I watched began with a striking visual that the story was then built around. A single subject or visual signal can also immediately clue viewers in that they’ve stepped into your brand’s space for a few moments. These simple approaches help you avoid the temptation to cram too much into the opening, which may confuse viewers.
Effective ads also leave viewers with a clearly expressed final thought or call to action that’s given enough time to sink in. I call this “sticking the landing,” and more often than not, it requires more than a fraction of a second to accomplish. Two seconds is a good length to aim for.