TBWA\Asia’s Tessa Conrad on YouTube Shorts, Fake Ads, and Marketers’ View of TV

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Tessa Conrad, head of innovation at TBWA\Asia, joins ExchangeWire head of content John Still and CEO Rachel Smith to discuss YouTube Shorts eclipsing long-form videos, the impact of fake ads, marketers' falling interest in TV, and more.

YouTube execs fear Shorts will kill lucrative long-form content

Are the days of long-form content over? How are advertisers getting involved with short-form content, and what else can they do here?

The growth of Shorts, YouTube’s short-form video offering, could eclipse the company’s longer content, senior staff members have warned. According to reports, the TikTok competitor has accrued two billion users since launching in 2021, stealing viewership from YouTube’s traditional, long-form videos.

Long-form videos, which can generate more revenue, may be at risk of disappearing as more consumers opt for bite-sized content instead, executives reportedly fear. Content creators on the platform are also seemingly moving away from longer videos to cater to this trend. YouTube reported a decline in ad revenue across consistent quarters in late 2022 and early 2023, but recorded a 4.4% rise in Q2 of 2023.

Fake Gymbox ad sparks debate over importance of real campaigns

Does it matter if an ad campaign or ad creative is real/authentic? Can fake ads spur distrust?

Gymbox have received backlash after revealing that their latest ad campaign was completely fabricated. The creative, which comprised a headline promoting the fitness brand’s aerial classes on the roof of a double-decker bus, was revealed to be fake, with a purported photograph showcasing the ad being uncovered as an edited stock image.

The stunt has sparked debate over the importance of campaigns’ physical authenticity, with some expressing concerns that fake ads will reduce trust among consumers. One commentator, Grant Hunter, also notes that the furore could be partially because of growing anxiety around AI’s potential to replace humans, particularly in creative roles. 

TV falls out of favour with marketers

Are marketers overlooking TV’s value in favour of the sometimes-called “shiny, new objects” (short-form video and other emerging channels)? Are marketers making sure they are aligned with consumers when it comes to preferred channels?

TV has become less popular among marketers, according to Kantar. The latest edition of the firm’s annual Media Reactions report found that TV has fallen to the 12th most popular channel among advertisers, a steep drop from its third-place ranking last year. The study also found that TV sponsorship has fallen out of favour, and that 2024 will see only 6% of marketers increase spend on the channel. Meanwhile, 45% of marketers upped their spending on TV streaming in 2023.

Kantar’s executive vice president of global thought leadership, Jane Ostler, who co-wrote the report, said that the findings may reflect a widespread consumer preference for streaming over linear TV. This shift, as well as a “lack of innovation”, are deterring marketers from investing in the channel, despite its capacity for mass reach and perception as trustworthy, per Ostler. While  marketers preferred to run their ads on online channels, the report indicates that consumers favour offline channels, including cinema ads, OOH, and sponsored events.