Reporting on MIPTV 2018: What The Advertising World Can Learn From TV Series

A few weeks ago, we were at the MIPTV market in Cannes where our VR project EDF Nuclear Symphony was featured at the innovation hub. On this occasion, we also got to see some of the latest TV series out.

The simplistic idea that one advert is the best tool to promote or sell a product is no longer one that holds water. Technology and an explosion of content has ramped up the competition when it comes to brands making noise and gaining attention. In a world where millions of videos and blogs are uploaded onto the web every day, creating something that stands out and engages audiences is more important than ever.

These past few years, TV series have gained popularity worldwide as a major source of entertainment, and brands are turning to this strong narrative format to hook audiences.

Communicating brand identity

Think of how gripping a great TV series can be. This same series format is being used in advertising to hook an audience around a story. Why a story, and not a product? Because it appeals on a level that simply selling a product can’t. It’s visceral, experience-based and allows people to see how the brand can enhance their lifestyle.

The series format, whether on TV or the web, also enables brands to communicate their values in a natural way.  This approach to visual storytelling presents a big opportunity when getting across not only messages, but the personality of a brand, to actively engage audiences.

Take a look at the web series Future Predictions that we are currently producing for Innovate UK as an example. Within 18 months of releasing the first episode, Innovate UK’s YouTube channel subscriptions increased by 730%.

Extending experiences

Great TV shows are so compelling precisely because we follow the characters. We grow to feel something for them over time. Crucially, it gives people headspace to form opinions of the storylines and characters, and to feel involved.

Series advertising uses those exact same principles. By presenting a narrative experience that unfolds over a number of episodes, viewers have the chance to consider their experience, and share it with other audience members. This is a great way of building active engagement. Ideal for creating the buzz needed in such a competitive brand environment.

Creativity that surprises and delights

Online audiences expect more and being able to delight them with fresh content is the way to increase engagement and brand connection. An extended story with a strong narrative creates the perfect tool to build on those expectations. Showcasing not only brand values, but ingenuity and creativity. Collaborations with well known filmmakers to create compelling series have increased in the past year. For example, Luca Guadagnino’s series Walking Stories done for Salvatore Ferragamo.

Exactly as TV series do, an advertising campaign with a narrative gives brands an opportunity to surprise people with plot twists, and keep their audience on their toes, tuned in, ready to engage, and willing to share their experience with other viewers.
At the end of the day, people are looking for those immersive experiences. By taking what we know of the TV series format, we can develop interactive experiences that appeal, stand out and create connections with audiences.

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