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How video advertisements has changed over time
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Recently I bumped into this Twitter thread which started with a simple quote:
And I followed along with the comments on this tweet and ended up spending almost an hour just watching the attached thread videos. I felt quite nostalgic watching this thread. If you grew up in India in the 80s, 90s, or early 2000s you will understand if you watch these videos. This was the golden age of advertising in India.
But this made me think, what could be the reason they don’t make ads like these as much anymore? What changed?
Growing up in India I remember there used to be so much interest in watching advertisements on live television. In a 30 min TV show, you get to see ads twice and they used to be quite entertaining. When there’s a new cricket series coming in soon, major sponsors used to produce amazing ads which were shown before and during the matches. There used to be amazing competition between who could show creative advertisements.
A very interesting thing about these advertisements was they used to tell a story first and then show the products. Sometimes the only time the product was shown was at the very end and you could relate everything with such good storytelling. Advertisements used to be 1-3 minutes long but they still captured your attention.
I can think of a few factors why, over time, this changed and we ended up not liking the majority of advertisements.
Smart Phones - The advent of smartphones gave access to more personalized data where you could target users with very specific ads very quickly. Targeting with blanket ads would become less efficient since you can show personalized ads now and get more conversions.
Streaming Services - The mass proliferation of paid streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, etc where you don’t have ads reduced the incentives for companies to create amazing advertisements.
Social Media - Increase in usage of social media demanded to the point ads where a user just sees the product and quickly either clicks it or moves in. In this case, brands don’t need creativity, they need placement which gets solved by software and user behavior. It’s all about placement now.
Attention span - Over time attention span of users has decreased a lot, If a user sees an advertisement they don’t have that much patience to see the ad, rather they just quickly switch to their phones till the ad finishes. On Youtube, you can skip the ad after 10-15 seconds so the creator doesn’t have enough time to show their creativity and they had to mostly everything in a few seconds.
Overall there’s no incentive for brands to have creative and longer ads which have amazing storytelling in them. I think there are still some ads being produced for some special events like Superbowl in the US (remember Coinbase’s Superbowl ad? Pretty creative)
Of course, requirements change over time and they have to change accordingly but as a user, I am never excited about advertisements anymore. But I guess that is the reality but I am curious about new ways of storytelling in advertising.
Here are some ads that take me down memory lane.
This Google one is slightly new but really good