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Progressive offers its take on Facebook's video ads

Matt Kapko | June 3, 2014
What's it like being one of the first brands to use Facebook's auto-play video ads? Progressive and its agency Arnold tells CIO.com the entire experience was easy, liberating and even a 'breathe of fresh air.'

"We all at some level have been there," says Arnold's creative director Sean McBride. "If you think about [insurance] relative to other things in your life, it's kind of insane, right? What else in your life do you operate that way with that level of inertia?"

Progressive Takes a Different Approach, By Design
Progressive's Beamer says the company ultimately wanted to drive engagement to the creative. "This ad is different than anything people have seen from us before, and that's by design," he adds. "We used imagery that will make people stop for a second and look, because the news feed is a crowded place, and they have a choice if they want to engage with the ad."

Those choices and others explain why McBride downplays any concerns that Facebook may be too heavy-handed with creative approval. "They just want to make sure that whatever work they do is worthy of someone's news feed. They don't want it to become a place where intrusive things live or uninteresting things live," he says. "I generally had a really easy experience with them."

Overall, he found the ad unit to be a "liberatingly tidy little box that's a 15-second, visually interesting, simple message." McBride thinks those parameters are more of an opportunity than any limitation. Earning people's attention in a forum like Facebook's news feed can be liberating for creatives, he says.

"It may just up the caliber of what we do because it's in a place where everything else you're competing with largely is information on your friends, or pictures that you might want to see or stuff that you're interested in. So this better darn well be interesting too," he says.

"It means you all have to hold yourselves to a higher standard. You can't sort of pay your way into their attention span," says McBride.

 

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