Challenging the Short-Form Orthodoxy

Every Social Media Marketer – ODV Digital included – has spent the last decade telling our clients their content has to be short form. Tweet-length copy, 6 second video (RIP Vine). The general wisdom is we all have goldfish brains and the only way to hold attention is to make impact in those crucial first few seconds.

But what does Paris Hilton on TikTok now share with 1960s advertising legend David Ogilvy? A challenge to the orthodoxy: long-form advertising messages can work! Quickframe recently wrote about a 10 minute (!) ad by Hilton Hotels on TikTok, which harked back to the Ogilvy classic Rolls Royce ad, with its 15 paragraphs and 719 words. Both ad formats – 60 years apart from each other – leaned on the idea that if the concept is entertaining enough, with a strong enough hook, then interested parties will consume at least some of a long form message. In particular the Hilton ad is self-referential and funny – fully on brand for the TikTok audience, despite its length.

Amongst our political clients, we’ve seen that longer form videos (such as a bold 12 minute experiment!) can results in shorter average viewing times – some viewers dropped out sooner, presumably because they clocked the total video length and realised they don’t got time for that. But a small percentage (5% of total viewers) did stay to watch 50% of the ad – i.e. 6 minutes. For this small cohort, the depth of supporter relationship built during a 6 minute view is far greater than any goldfish-focused tactic.

Realistically, the 10 minute TikTok ad is unlikely to become ubiquitous. Bite-size will remain the most popular way to snack. But it is interesting to consider the opportunities for supporters who might be ready to enjoy a full meal with you – and perhaps David Ogilvy or Paris Hilton can provide recipe ideas.

See the Hilton Hotels 10 minute TikTok here (maybe only watch the first minute if you’re a goldfish too):

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