May 19, 2020

The Day of Smarter-Quicker is here

commercial length
Bizclik Editor
3 min
The Day of Smarter-Quicker is here

By: Bernie Pitzel, Creative in Residence, Jacobs Agency

Was Leonard Lavin really that smart?

Let’s look back on a quick watershed moment in my advertising career. Leonard Lavin founded Helene Curtis, a Chicago-based health and beauty company that produced about a billion products. A few of those products were handled by Lee King and Partners, the last of the last-great-Chicago creative boutiques of the 80s, spawning no lesser talent than David Kennedy, of Weiden & Kennedy, and me, to name two. But let’s get back to Leonard.

In the early 1980s, Leonard Lavin was at the forefront of a new media buy: the 15-second spot. Leonard believed that he could pack as much punch in a 15-second commercial as a 0:30, all while paying half the price for media.

The 0:15 spot might have made sense to Leonard, but we creative types considered it a death knell. We were still reeling from the slow, tortured demise of the 0:60. We bid so long to the storyline. How were we going to get all the pertinent info, plus a memorable little tug at the heartstrings or a belly-busting laugh, all squished into 15 seconds?

We quickly learned that an effective 15-second spot was really a long 0:10 instead of a short 0:30. Today it seems like some creatives need to relearn that little tidbit.  Then again, maybe they’ve never been taught.

Fifteen-second spots are quite normal now. And according to Nielsen, they’re 94% as effective as their bloated 30-second cousins. Actually, the bulk of 30s out there seem to go on forever, totally overlooking the consumers’ ability to “get it.”  Talk about TMI. 

Movies have also gone into the “Too Much Info” mode. Did we really need the Lincoln assassination in Spielberg’s Lincoln? Wasn’t the sight of Lincoln doffing his top hat as he walked through his hall and out into the night, the perfect ending? And how many guys did Django need to kill at the end? We got it. Django’s angry. Django Unchained drudgingly morphed into Django Unending.

Sure Budweiser’s Super Bowl winning USA Today Ad Meter spot was a 0:60. But as strong as it was, you could see the ending coming a mile away. Maybe a 0:30 would have left more of us smiling instead of looking for snacks in the last 30 seconds and then smugly nodding when we got to the big reunion.

In reality, most brands try to stuff too many “reasons why” into commercials. Too much of what you might think is a good thing can actually turn into too much of a bad thing.

Twitter, the guardian of brevity, recently released their Vine app which loops easily shared six-second videos. In the right hands, you never know.  

I don’t know who said it first, but I’ve been saying it for years, “The more you say the less people hear.” Bill Bernbach said, “You can’t sell a man who isn’t listening.” And that, in a nutshell, is the point.

Maybe if I had mentioned that point 300 words or so earlier, you’d have been just as smart then as you are now. You would have just been smarter more quickly. And the day of smarter-quicker has long since arrived, right Leonard? 

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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