Brands and agencies are increasingly struggling to grab the attention span of audiences, which is down to eight seconds for humans, comparatively lower than even a goldfish.
This was the topic of discussion of experts at Kyoorius Melt, a two-day conference in its fifth edition, who deliberated how marketers of movies and ads are channelising their strategies to grab eyeballs.
A panel including Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy; Sameer Pittalwala, Co-founder and CEO, Culture Machine; Ajit Andhare, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and PG Aditiya, Executive Creative Director, Webchutney, also discussed the issue of skimming and concluded content has to find its place in the memory of the audiences if it can’t fight for attention span.
“Attention span has become a problem mainly because we have too much of content and everybody is a content creator. How you make an ad shareable in today's world and how the communication for a brand leaves a message to a person is a challenge. If your content and your story are good, you will get that engine in whichever format,” said Nayak.
The chances of an ad being ignored in the world that we live in today is far higher than it was yesterday.
Pittalwala, continuing on the same point, said, “Shareability is fairly binary in terms of success. There are chances that you won’t get discovered at all. Even if the content is good, it becomes subjective. And the only way out is to consistently deliver for what you think will build a community. Since that kind of gives you the ability to hedge against the bad days as well and to be able to get loyalty. Build that community and figure out what does that TG likes to watch, what could be shared in that cohort.”
Does attention span from films’ point of view hold relevance just like ads?
Films fundamentally are storytelling without a commercial sort of message, or a brand message attached with it. Movie makers and marketers battle for the highly contested attention span of viewers. Comparing the battle of attention of ads and movies, the panel discussed how people consciously have to invest time to put their attention for a movie whereas ads just land to their screens.
“Ads land up in front of people, without people having to bat an eyelid. At the same time you have to convince the audience to abandon whatever else he is doing, and buy expensive tickets to watch a movie,” said Andhare.
Which is why there is an entourage of marketing campaigns, including teasers, trailers, motion posters, etc, around the release of any movie, he added.
“Attention span is absolutely a problem for us as well. The whole idea of teasers, trailers, marketing campaigns is to get footfall at the theatres. The problem is very much at the heart of the kind of films we make, which is all content-based,” said Andhare.
Quoting the example of Andhadhun, he shared the team had to take a sleeper approach for the same. The movie wasn’t opened at peak, but once it was out, it made a splash. Comparing the same with a goldfish, he said, “Goldfish has another thing other than the attention span, which is a memory span. So for such content, we fought for memory span instead of attention span.”
He said if a marketer is going for the memory span with the content to leave conversations for longer, that's possibly more rewarding experience for any filmmaker, or a product marketer.
Discussing Badhai Ho and Queen and their content, he said such content leaves and becomes a cultural phenomenon and memory to stay there in the minds of viewers.
“Find new ways to be the clown every time, and offer something unique. The problem is if your message is mediocre, then you are abandoning your responsibility and seeing some of the channels to do the work for you, and that won’t work out,” he added.
It is the quality of the content that trumps but the ways content is being consumed also has a huge role to play. And while consuming content, skimming among viewers has also become a major concern for every marketer.
Pittalwala said, “The longer you're able to hold the attention of a user, the better the ability for your channel to be pushed up in terms of the algorithms and in terms of recommendations. So when it comes to skimming, a creator has to come up with a virtuous opium kind of loop where a viewer would keep consuming stuff from your channel.”
And for this creators should have an original way of looking at a problem, and with a point of view for creating new and unique content.
Nayak discussing the problem of creators being copycats, said “Don't sell just connect with somebody. If a brand tries to connect with a person and not with an objective to sell, the shelf life of the brand in that person’s mind would be longer.”
Brands have to have a connection and its own stance to stand up for something, suggested Sameer. Today brands like Coke, Pepsi stand for something, like reducing the amount of sugar in their drinks or Nike standing up for human rights to build that connection with audience. Brands are trying to aspire for higher ideals more so now than ever before, he said.