So there’s this video going around the internet called, “Where the Hell is Matt.” A guy doing a wonderful crazy dance all over the world. He seems to be dancing non-stop, from Toronto to Timbuktu, inspiring the locals to join in, backed by a soundtrack for a SiSoMo (Sight Sound and Motion) experience that could rekindle your belief in the human race. I Googled Matt’s profile. Learned that Stride Gum sponsored his video.
Stride Gum? Never heard of it. I linked to the Stride Gum web site, where there was a whole bunch of online content. Then something funny happened. I didn’t have a lot of time. So I went first to a couple of Stride Gum TV spots posted on the site. Intuitively I knew those would be the QUICKEST way to get what Stride Gum is all about.
Those spots were good! Funny, entertaining, 30-second stories all built around the drama of the product. Stride Gum has cool flavors, and the taste lasts so long, Stride has to send out swat teams to force non-stop chewers to spit out the gum, so Stride can stay in business. Thanks for letting me know, 30-second spot! I must try some Stride Gum when I’m next in the States.
So here’s the point. 30-second spots aren’t inherently EVIL. In fact, they have one undeniable virtue. Their creators have fine-tuned the art of getting across a product or brand story in an incredibly short amount of time. And in the best examples of the craft, they tell that story in a way that delights, entertains and rewards viewers for their 30-second investment. No offense to the public relations profession, but show me a PR writer who can do that! The 30-second spot still works incredibly well, when it’s well done, well integrated into a bigger whole, and when I decide, though connections I initiate, the terms on which I want to watch.
Many have said it – Kevin Roberts and Shel Holtz among others — and to them I add my voice. We’re living in the communications age of and-and, not either-or. The “cool” viral video of Matt’s inspired global dance, hand in hand with the “traditional” 30-second, product-focused spot. Only now I’m invited, not forced, to watch it. The 30-second spot isn’t dead. It just needed to find a better way to socialize.