- A panel of experts at the 2023 NAB Show shared their advice on how to grab a viewer’s attention within just a few seconds or risk losing them to the next reel or a channel change.
- Ideas include: elicit a human emotion, provoke, give the audience just enough to keep them engaged, and keep content authentic to audience and platform format.
- The panel also touched on the impact of AI, agreeing that brands should harness the mass of content creators now able to create polished content using generative AI tools.
Grabbing people’s attention in the first few seconds has become de facto metric for brands and advertisers that applies across mediums from TV to TikTok. When the average person is exposed to as many as ten thousand ads a day, the aim is to hook audiences quickly to generate brand awareness, but how do we cut through the noise and effectively grab a consumer’s attention?
A panel of experts at the 2023 NAB Show took to the stage to share their views in a session entitled “How to Stand Out in a 3 Second World.” You can watch the full session, moderated by Upworthy VP Lucia Knell, in the video below:
Watch the full session, “How to Stand Out in a 3 Second World,” above.
“The three seconds should be inviting someone in, opening the door, and then, like, keeping them on long enough so that they actually stay and meaningfully engage with the content,” said Clare Stein, executive creative director of ATTN.
ATTN has a creative checklist to gauge whether a piece of content is gaining attention. “It’s not a science, it’s not something that we’re like bureaucratically crossing things off, but it can help.”
Stein suggests creating a “curiosity gap” right upfront in the sense of explaining to the audience what they’re going to get in the video, but not giving it all away. “Otherwise, they’ve kind of gotten what they’ve needed, and they can move on. But you also want to show you’re providing some real value to the audience.”
Another best practice is to elicit human emotion as a compelling way to open a video.
“I see a lot of clients who want to open a video with beautiful aerial drone shots to set the tone, and maybe that’s great in a longer-form documentary, [but] that is the worst possible way to start a video [on social]. You need to give the viewer someone to connect with. I think it’s just like human psychology.”
Her third tip is to provoke and surprise. “It’s really hard to break through if you’re not doing something different,” Stein said.
She cites a viral video for Adidas promoting a line of shoes the company had made from recycled ocean plastic. “Our opening clip was a squid trapped in plastic that was really close up, you couldn’t quite tell what was going on. And we had a lot of internal debates of, like, is this a good opening? Like, it’s not a person, we can’t really tell its nature, we can’t really tell what’s going on. But because of that I think it caused people to continue watching the video and ultimately led to its success.”
Chris Di Cesare, head of creative programming at Dice Creates, said that judging the success of a campaign ultimately means “becoming a part of the cultural zeitgeist.”
Added Ian Grody, chief creative officer at Giant Spoon, “When the work that we do is getting picked up in The New Yorker and it’s on the news and people are talking about it on social, that to me is true, meaningful success. It’s success that has resonated in a truly authentic way. And it’s not something that we fool ourselves into believing is success. It’s something that we’ve earned.
“We are building these Trojan horses that contain brand messages,” Brody continued, “but [they] need to arrive in the form of culture that you seek out, that you would pay to watch, pay to attend, instead of the thing that you pay to skip.”
The panel also touched on the impact of AI, viewing it generally as a force to be harnessed. When anyone can generate content in the style of, say, Wes Anderson, or Marvel or Star Wars, then “increasingly the emerging coin of the realm is going to be originality,” says Grody.
“Originality is going to become the most precious commodity in the advertising space, full stop. It’s going to be those people who can really operate at a high level, generating original work that are going to continue to break through as the playing field is levelled.”
Stein said she was excited and interested to see how creative agencies and brands can harness the “decentralization of creativity that exists when anyone can have a voice.”
She added, “One of the trends I really like seeing on TikTok is people making commercials for products and brands that sometimes are funny, and they’re parodies. Sometimes they’re really good.”
Agreeing with this, Grody said, “the fact that so many people who were creatively disenfranchised before now have the opportunity to make the stage and to have their work seen is a wonderful place for brands. [Brands] can continue to elevate co-creation opportunities because now you have all of these potential partners out there who are willing to participate, who are hungry for even more exposure, and brands can be collaborators, brands can be amplifiers.”
In order to do all of this effectively, agencies are advised to populate their team with “people who live and breathe the culture that you end up wrapping that story in,” said Grody.
“I have made it a huge priority, as have other people within the organization, to defy the advertising industrial complex, and reach out to different patches and pluck this incredible Ocean’s 11 of experts with unique passions that are meaningful to our clients. So, when we’re working on Activision, we have gamers on our team. The answer to me is that it all comes down to your people, who you staff, and making sure that you have the right people to meet all of these challenges.”