David Blecken
Oct 3, 2016

There's no need to fear 360-degree video

On a recent trip to Tokyo, AOL SVP Michael Hyman offered advice on using a tool with strong potential that most seem too timid to experiment with.

Michael Hyman
Michael Hyman

Based in Seattle, Hyman is the founder and former CEO of Vidible, a video-syndication platform that AOL acquired in 2014. He now leads AOL’s video business globally, and sees 360-degree video as a technology that can help brands and publishers get their messages across in a more immersive way. At the same time, he acknowledges that it is nascent and sees relatively few examples of it being used well.

Most brands are still struggling to get to grips with regular video. How do you suggest they approach the 360-degree format?

The core thing is to understand what type of message you’re trying to put forward. In a way, 360-degree video can be easier for brands to produce. We’re so used to commercial TV that we expect every video to have perfect timing, perfect camera angles etc. 360-degree video is a different experience because you don’t have a single focus or need all that staging. One of the first ads we ran was for a hotel in Amsterdam [NH Hotels]. Instead of carefully composed messaging, it offered a walk-through of the hotel, which I thought was way more effective. It’s a really different tool that opens up possibilities. I wouldn’t suggest shutting everything else down, but I would add it.

It seems wrong to think of it as an ‘advertising’ opportunity—do you agree?

It lets you do advertising in a way that doesn’t have to be so in-your-face. It lets you kind of mix. It’s a little more subtle. We see it as more experimental and experiential, and until the market is super saturated I think it provides an interesting edge.

What are your top dos and don'ts?

You still need a message. I’ve seen some ads where the only message is, ‘Look, it’s 360, we’re cool!’. That approach is really boring. It can work well for things like cars and sports, but could also work well for brands like Coca-Cola because they often find a way to tell a story that’s very human. The key point is that if you have an ad that’s clever, it can translate well to 360, but the medium itself can’t be the be-all and end-all. The other trick is that the timing is a bit different. Because people want to interact with it, you can get away with longer ads. It takes a bit of time for people to interact—a six-second ad would never work. I would say make it real, make it make sense, and don't overuse it.

It’s all about context. People have to be in a format where the content makes sense. When you force an ad to someone in an odd way, people start to fade away. The ad tech companies are always going to push invasive ads and users are always going to look for contextually relevant, clever ads. It’s what separates the great ads from the poor ones.

Standard Chartered and Liverpool Football Club recently brought out a 360-degree video of the Anfield stadium. How much potential do you see for sports sponsors?

I think this lends so much more to a relationship between brands and sports fans. Imagine Usain Bolt running for example—wouldn’t you like to see more clearly what the guys behind him or the crowd look like? I think it’s still under-utilised. People are still not getting how simple this really is. They think it’s more difficult than it is.

Which brands are doing it best?

I haven’t seen any brands doing it really well in the US or Japan. There’s some uptake in Europe. It’s going to come hard—we’re just not there yet.

This article appeared first on Campaign Japan: ブランドは360度動画を臆せずに使ってみよう

Campaign Japan

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