Here’s something I hope other advertisers will take note of. Parle has come up with eight ads of only five seconds in length each, for good ol’ Parle G. Created by Everest Brand Solutions, these ads juxtapose the declining quality of things around due to changes and Parle G biscuits that has not changed in all these years, reports FirstBiz. They appear seems to be made with YouTube in mind, where advertisers have been mostly dumping the same ads they made for TV. YouTube has two video ad formats:

– TrueView: are those ads that can be skipped after 5 seconds. The price of these ads are decided on the basis of bidding.
– SureView (what YouTube calls unskippable pre-rolls): The rates for these non-skippable ads vary depending on the length of the ad; the shortest lengths available for SureView are blocks of 20 seconds and 30 seconds. There used to be a 15 second option, but that appears to have been discontinued.

This being the case, it is not clear which ad format Parle will use for its YouTube campaign, but it would be interesting if it uses a combination of 5 second stories, clubbing, say 3 ads together, for TrueView. So the smart thing would be to use the video compilation of all its six ads (embedded below) in TrueView format. Even if people skip the ad after five seconds, they would have have seen one spot, and Parle wouldn’t have to pay anything for it.

We wonder how YouTube would feel about this, but shorter ads on YouTube would be great. Parle could also create a compilation of four of these five second ads and play them in SureView format, but then that would probably be as annoying as any other SureView ad. It would also defeat the purpose of making such short ads.

Result of TV ad caps?

Apart from YouTube, there is also the issue of reduced time slots for ads on TV channels due to ad caps imposed by TRAI. As per the regulations, broadcasters are allowed to show only 12 minutes of advertising in an hour and they can’t show partial ads either.

Delhi High Court had recently passed on injunction asking TRAI not to take any action against broadcasters, if they exceed the ad-cap enforced by the regulator, while at the same time, asking the broadcasters to maintain records of the amount of airtime on each channel on a weekly basis (more on that here). Now if the final decision is not in favour of the broadcasters all these advertisers will be chasing limited inventory on TV. This means the price of these slots might also go up in the long term. Even in that context such short ads make more sense. We had written earlier written about the impact this policy will have on TV and digital and mentioned that shorter 15 second long ads being the standard, due to the policy.

Not a new trend

The concept of ads that are only five seconds long is not new internationally. Metacafe CEO Arik Czerniak had talked about this way back in 2006, Cadillac had a five second long ad in 2007, Adidas had a similar ad three years back and so did Milk. Mountain Dew meanwhile, had created an ad on Twitter’s short video service Vine and had even used it as a TV spot later on.

Most companies in India have been trying to make ads that would go viral, especially after the success of Vodafone’s Zoozoo ads. However there is no formula for virality so these five second ads can also be considered as the least annoying way of presenting a brand to a consumer.

The challenge with such short ads however is that advertisers don’t have the luxury of spending half a minute setting up the scene for the final punchline. It plays more like an extension of a print ad which too have to deal with the issue of conveying the message in as few words as possible. We’ll need to wait and see how market adapts to such ad formats and how it affects the narration. As a customer this means shorter annoying jingles and ads that are to the point; we could do with that right?

Corrigendum: An earlier version of the story had incorrectly stated that there is a flat fee for Trueview ads.