Metalworks bills the technology, called VideoFoundry, as “a simple application that creates multi-variant video advertisements on demand for television and YouTube”. It is aimed directly at marketing teams looking for increased flexibility.
VideoFoundry aims to reduce the cost and labour involved in the traditional process of developing promotional ads for video, and cuts out the role of a video production company. It enables retailers and marketers to tweak their messaging as required in a short space of time using a spreadsheet-like interface.
Metalworks initially created the tool for supermarket retailers looking to produce a large number of catalogue-style pre-roll ads for YouTube. Users are reportedly able to generate high-definition video clips with multiple variations and upload them to YouTube.
For example, Metalworks provided the following clips (note the different product photos, pricing and offer details):
In a statement, Tom Kelshaw, Metalworks’ director of technology, said: “VideoFoundry reduces video production cost to a fraction and allows us to automate and serve hundreds of video ads in variants of language, price and product image.” An unnamed supermarket retailer is currently using VideoFoundry on a trial basis.
Nico Abbruzzese, worldwide director of creative technology for Maxus, said the technology was borne of a "client nag". The standard production process makes it difficult for retail clients to update price points as needed, he noted.
He added that converting a TVC into video content is typically costly and time-consuming. "This tool cuts out the middle man," he said. "We're doing a strong favour to clients. [They] don't have the budgets any more to spend heaps of money to adapt things in such a fast-paced market. Times have changed."
He described VideoFoundry as the application of mechanics to what would otherwise be a human task. "It impacts creative agencies and production agencies, but that's the nature of the game," he said. "Simple is good. We think of technology in a big format but sometimes the technology that solves the small problems is the most relevant. I don't think our clients are very different from modern customers looking for shortcuts in a very fast moving market."