The Joy of Six

One of the biggest priorities for advertisers and ad-makers alike, is figuring out the best way for a brand to reach a consumer, while capturing the right kind of attention.

It probably took you about six seconds to read that first sentence, and therein lies the tale.

Cue the 20th Century Fox pre-movie fanfare music

Fox Networks Group just announced they are adopting the six-second, “unskippable” ad, following in YouTube’s footsteps as it tries to cater to its growing number of streaming service viewers.  The ads will eventually debut on linear television, marking the first time a television broadcaster had adopted the new six-second ad format.

This isn’t all that surprising.  There’s been an ongoing evolution of condensing communication into bite-sized, “snackable” content for a while. 


Leveraging our product expertise, Upstream has been on the curve of delivering this type of effective, short-and-sweet creative ever since the race to communicating benefits and technologies in :06 seconds began.  Which is about the time private label brands got more competitive, making product superiority differences harder to discern.

Traditional agencies with traditional creative approaches are not ideally positioned to tackle this new form, so the struggle is real.

The ads may be short, but the stakes are high. P&G’s Chief Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard says by improving the efficiency and the effectiveness of their marketing spending, P&G brands are continually improving productivity to grow users and drive top-and bottom-line growth.

As attention spans shorten and more and more people watch videos on their mobile devices, it seems that six seconds is both long enough and short enough for on-the-go users who appreciate a succinct message.

For Creatives who appreciate the constraint, and for brands who value the consistent results, it’s a pretty good bargain, too.

And that’s the long and the short of it.

Mark Smith is the Chief Creative Officer for Upstream 360 and the father of a teenage daughter.  He stays motivated by the twin powers of doubt and insecurity, while his approach to the work is making it legitimately interesting, shareable, and something people can connect with. 


Mark is also an author of the book Innovation Myths and Mythstakes, available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle and coming soon on Audible.