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GEICO’S 'Unskippable' campaign and the effectiveness of preroll video

By J.D. Moore
Oct. 13, 2015 at midnight


Quick, think for a moment about that catchy commercial that’s stuck in your head every so often. What made it stick in your head? Was there a compelling piece of music? A lengthy, flashy presentation? A great storyline that was told over the course of two minutes?

Most likely not. What likely caught your attention was a great piece of creative work that paid off its climax within five seconds or less.

In a world with more and more video demand, it’s not just important to get a great commercial. In fact, it’s most important to get the attention of a viewer quickly and keep that viewer engaged with a simple message.

Let me try to illustrate how important this is from a personal perspective: When I tell people what I do for a living, the first thing I hear from friends, family and neighbors on the street is “Oh, you make those annoying videos that come up before the thing I want.”

And that’s true. No one purposely gets on the Internet to watch commercials. Yet, according to Insivia, video is a superior way of getting a message to consumers - in fact, 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading text.

This is why it is critical to get a catchy connection to your audience within the first five seconds!

This is why GEICO’s “Unskippable” campaign is rapidly becoming one of the most effective viral pre-roll campaigns in recent times. The primary focus of the campaign is that the ads are so quickly over, that the message is, in fact, not skippable.

In every ad, whether it be businessmen meeting in an elevator or a cleaning crew cleaning an office, the main joke and tagline of “Savings!” is uttered within the first five seconds of the video.

One of the most popular videos (and arguably my personal favorite) is the “High Five” video, with more than 17.6 million views on GEICO’s official YouTube page - certainly worthy of being called a “viral success.”

But here, the ad shows off how effective the entire video campaign is. The payoff comes quick, with the two friends shouting “Savings!” and jumping for a high-five within three seconds. Their comedic pause immediately after surprises the viewer enough to see the GEICO logo pop up and hear to the sales pitch, including GEICO’s famous “15 minutes/15 percent” slogan.

Within five seconds, GEICO has established the perfect pre-roll, something with humor, effective reach and a strong brand message - exactly what a consumer will allow without feeling frustrated before watching their favorite music video or streaming their favorite TV show.

When done well, such as the videos in this GEICO campaign, pre-roll ads are an effective way to reach new clients and customers.

According to Reel SEO and the Online Publishers Association, 80% of internet users recall watching a video ad in the past thirty days and 46% of users took action on the video advertisement.

Additionally, 26% looked for more information about the subject of the ad, 22% visited the website named in the ad and 12% actually purchased the product featured in the ad!

That’s a lot of business for a campaign that’s getting tons of viral digital video looks.

Let us help you craft your next digital video campaign, and give you innovative creative services that will bring more business to your company.


J.D. Moore is the Lead Video Producer at Advocate Digital Media, a sister company to The Victoria Advocate that focuses on digital marketing

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