Nisha Qureshi

Trailers for ads. Weird, right? Brands disagree. Here’s why.

Brands are coming up with teasers and trailers around their TVC launches, let’s understand what they bring to the table.

Remember a time when words like “teasers” and “trailers” were reserved for the world of big-screen film releases? Later on, we saw the tech world adapting the concept and saw teasers dropping for the latest iPhones, Samsung Galaxy series, and other such products.

However, the advertising world has also hopped onto the trend. More and more large-scale advertising campaigns are being backed by the so-called ‘teasers’. The Oppo x Wake Up Sid campaign, and Hyundai’s campaign with Deepika and SRK are a few examples.

What value do teasers and trailers offer for ads?

In an era inundated with information and content, teasers and trailers ignite curiosity among audiences. Mithila Saraf, CEO of Famous Innovations, asserts that teasers spark conversations around the ad. According to her, there is a robust correlation between the click-through rates of such campaigns and audience consideration scores.

Teasers and trailers serve as the drumroll that gets the buzz started.
Kartik Smetacek, chief creative officer, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi

Skandaram Vasudevan, strategy director at 22feet Tribal Worldwide, emphasises that the effectiveness of this format is fruitful when coupled with high production values and compelling storytelling.

Adding to this, Kartik Smetacek, chief creative officer, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, says we live in a time when an ad’s success is measured not so much in the sales it generates but the buzz it creates. “Teasers and trailers serve as the drumroll that gets the buzz started. They also help cut through the clutter so the ad registers better when it launches.”

Challenges and how brands navigate the trend

Ad teasers are fairly common in the Western markets. Super Bowl ad teasers are a category of their own. However, one must note that, unlike the Superbowl which is a one-day premium event gathering millions of eyeballs, not every campaign may necessitate a teaser.

However, if the campaign’s overall subject is embedded into pop culture, it naturally lends itself to one. Yet, challenges such as cost, reach, and subject relevance remain.

The more pieces of content you have, the more you have to invest in reaching the audience. Campaigns are quite expensive; brands not only invest in production but also spend equally, if not more when it comes to media. Given this financial landscape, the question arises: to what extent does it make sense for brands to invest in teasers?

"The kind of investment involved in creating a successful campaign could exclude quite a few advertisers initially, for both justified and less justified reasons – it’s not suitable for everyone," he adds.

According to Vasudevanwhile the media costs for dedicated promotion of two pieces of content are significantly higher, with longer content exponentially increases the expenses. This expenditure pales in comparison to the investment in the star power that is prevalent in these commercials. 

I feel that unless absolutely necessary, spending media money on having trailers/teasers does not make sense.
Amit Akali, co-founder and CCO, Wondrlab Network

As per Saraf of Famous Innovations, any teaser becomes worth the money once the main campaign generates substantial chatter. “The Oppo x Wake Up Sid campaign has 5 million views, which is 5 times more than the brand normally gets. Production (trailers) are a part of the same shoot, so it’s not much,” she explains.

Speaking about how Tata AIG solved the media buying challenge, Amit Akali, co-founder and CCO, Wondrlab Network shares, “We didn’t look at our work (Tata AIG) as a teaser, we were already working on the basis of a cultural reality. We knew that there were conversations about Ranbir doing an action film and also about who would be the next cop in Rohit Shetty’s cop universe. We combined the two.”

He says the campaign’s pre-buzz was effectively managed due to the chatter around a possible film bringing Ranbir Kapoor and Rohit Shetty together. Numerous Bollywood news outlets picked up on the rumours, creating substantial buzz. Subsequently, people discovered that it was, in fact, a campaign.

Akali emphasises that the pre-buzz does not have to be a teaser or a trailer, instead, it should be grounded in cultural truth. He asserts that when the topic aligns with cultural relevance, people naturally engage in discussions about it.

“I feel that unless absolutely necessary, spending media money on having trailers/teasers does not make sense. There is a possibility that people who will see your teasers may not end up seeing your ad,” he explains.

Similarly, Vasudevan feels the costs involved in adding a teaser to your campaign can be high. From a production and media point of view, it may not be a one-solution-fits-all formula. “However for brands with the patience to create and invest in this practice, it very well pays dividends much beyond the kind of investments plugged into the campaigns.”

He says while the novelty factor of a teaser for a film can work in its infancy, the common thread behind all the referenced campaigns is the fact that they leverage beloved pop culture moments and bring them to life in a manner that is more content than an advertisement.”

“The format of trailers works, but they only do so because the content is engaging with characters and themes beloved by people. I have my doubts it would work in an everyday scenario,” explains Vasudevan.

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