Aishwarya Ramesh

Facebook partners with creative agencies to create 'thumbstopping' content

Thumbstoppers is an initiative by Facebook that wants creators to tell stories in less than ten seconds...

Facebook India, in partnership with India's leading creative agencies (Wunderman Thompson, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, McCann, Mullen Lintas) has launched 'Thumbstoppers' - an initiative that encourages creativity via short-form mobile video content to put a new spin on storytelling for mobile advertising. Thumbstoppers is part of a larger initiative that Facebook India is undertaking with these agencies. Titled 'Creative Playground' Facebook India is partnering with the agencies to provide them with insights that can help them leverage the platform to provide better ad solutions.

Facebook partners with creative agencies to create 'thumbstopping' content

Facebook invites users to create ten second scripts for their thumbstoppers initiative

Facebook partners with creative agencies to create 'thumbstopping' content

A sample of a ten second script created by Wunderman Thompson

At the beginning of the launch event, Sandeep Bhushan, director and head of global marketing solutions (GMS) at Facebook India had a short presentation to explain why the brand chose this mode of storytelling. During the presentation, he explained that smartphone usage and internet availability has reshaped consumer behaviour. He pointed out that compared to a desktop feed, people consume as well as recall content up to 41 per cent faster on mobile. Bhushan took an example of a print ad and explained that the same text would not work on television and that content being produced for television might not work on digital. He also stated that attention spans are declining and traditional advertising formats of 60 and 30 seconds don't work well on mobile.

Facebook partners with creative agencies to create 'thumbstopping' content

The top 4 entries will have a chance to be sent to Cannes film festival

Facebook partners with creative agencies to create 'thumbstopping' content

From left to right, Sandeep Bhushan, Rajdeepak Das, Senthil Kumar, Garima Khandelwal, Sukesh Nayak, Ashish Chakravarty

Ogilvy's chief creative officer Sukesh Nayak also added that 10-15 second ads have become more relevant in recent years with the advent of IPL and shorter ad-break slots.

The Thumbstoppers initiative sees the participation of Nayak, Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer Wunderman Thompson India, Rajdeepak Das, chief creative officer at Leo Burnett India, Garima Khandelwal, chief creative officer, Mullen Lintas, and Ashish Chakravarty, executive director, and head of creative at McCann Worldgroup (India).

In partnership with Facebook, they will support the skilling of their teams, helping them understand and think mobile-first and execute short-form videos more seamlessly. Thumbstoppers will see experts from Facebook visiting top agency offices in the country to empower them with the required skills and education to create effective short-form video campaigns for their clients. They will also judge the entries of the Thumbstoppers Challenge that Facebook is rolling out.

The Thumbstoppers Challenge is an open invitation to submit short stories on the brief of driving behaviour change in less than ten seconds, by July 12. The winners of the Challenge will be announced in August and they will get to travel to Cannes next year. Facebook will also produce the top 20 films. The key partners on this initiative will serve on the eminent jury for the Challenge along with Gaurav Jeet Singh, general manager, media, South Asia at Unilever India and Rashi Goel, VP consumer communications, media, and CRM at Nestle.

At the launch, Bhushan also said, "Advertising on Facebook has driven significant business results for all our advertisers - large and small. The opportunity now is to drive the impact even harder with storytelling built for mobile. Facebook's Thumbstoppers is our partnership with the creative agencies to inspire and showcase short stories that evoke emotions in under ten seconds."

While it may seem like this style of storytelling is limiting, Rajdeepak Das had an interesting point to make. He stated that Facebook's tools – GIFs, emojis and the 'reaction' buttons - have all been ways to visually tell stories and communicate messages without having to say much. At the event, Facebook also released a few Thumbstopper films to illustrate the possibilities of this new format of storytelling. The films were created by Wunderman Thompson and covered a wide spectrum of human behaviour.

Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, Wunderman Thompson, said, "It takes only a few seconds to show support, break down barriers, display kindness, start a movement or express that love has no boundaries. Our campaign, created to launch Facebook Thumbstoppers, is a mobile kick-starter of sorts. The idea is to demonstrate that storytelling can happen in a short and sweet span of 10 seconds. Exploring this telegraphic short format in the mobile medium is important because of decreasing attention spans and growing impatience. Each of these films tells a story that has some underlying purpose or human truth in it. Much like advertising for brands, these films also use drama, emotion, suspense and humour to tug at your heartstrings."

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