Aishwarya Ramesh
Social Media

Facebook hosts its inaugural Thumbstoppers Summit

Facebook India, today, hosted the inaugural Thumbstoppers Summit — intended to act as a platform in Asia for creativity in mobile video advertising. The Summit was attended by representatives from the advertising and marketing fraternity, including chief creative officers of creative agencies, creative professionals and numerous brands. Also present were Bollywood directors Kiran Rao and Zoya Akhtar, and rapper Naezy.

The Summit opened with a keynote speech by Ajit Mohan, managing director and vice-president of Facebook India, who talked about the future of video in India, and how Facebook and its family of apps are driving curated video experiences, and enabling social video in the country. Mohan shared that beyond just video experiences, there are almost one billion stories shared across the Facebook family of apps – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — and that stories were becoming an equally important place for storytelling and advertising. Launched in May, Facebook Thumbstoppers has pushed the advertising and marketing community to create short-form mobile video ads that are built for the medium rather than adapted from other formats. According to Facebook, the whole point of a ‘thumbstopping’ video is that it has the potential to evoke emotion in less than 10 seconds.

Ajit Mohan
Ajit Mohan

Since its launch, Thumbstoppers has seen creative agency — Wunderman Thompson, film director and producer Kiran Rao, and ad-filmmaker — Prakash Verma make videos across various themes.

Speaking about the initiative, Sandeep Bhushan, director and head, Global Marketing Solutions (GMS), Facebook India, said, “Video is central to our vision for India, and how we are building for people, communities and businesses in the country. From In-stream on Facebook to Stories on Instagram, there are multiple video ad formats on Facebook that can be used by both large and small businesses to reach their consumers, and drive the desired business results. Thumbstoppers is the most effective way to do storytelling for mobile video advertising, and it’s been heartening to see the marketing and advertising industry create and produce such ‘thumbstopping’ work in just five months.”

The Summit also served as the concluding event for the Thumbstoppers Challenge, which invited members from the creative and advertising community to submit their short-form video stories with the aim of inspiring creative professionals, brands, and agencies to build for mobile as a medium. The Challenge saw more than 3,500 entries from across the country. Of these, 60 entries were from brands from across verticals and industries with six films from Dove, Sofy, Vodafone, Unilever Sustainability, and Royal Enfield making it to the top 16 films that were recognised and unveiled for the first time today.

Sandeep Bhushan in conversation with Zoya Akhtar
Sandeep Bhushan in conversation with Zoya Akhtar

All 16 winning films have been directed by ad-film maker Prakash Verma and the top four winners stand a chance to travel to Cannes next year. Kavita Nair, chief brand and tigital Transformation officer, Vodafone Idea, said, “The ubiquitous reach of mobile phone makes it a very powerful tool for marketers. It gives brands more options to engage with customers, hence, making mobile marketing a medium that brands can no longer afford to ignore. Thumbstoppers is bridging a key gap in the industry by inspiring creative talent and brands to rethink storytelling for mobile. We are extremely thrilled that Vodafone is among the top Thumbstopper films that got recognised today.”

The top four winners, in no chronological order are Rachita Kotwal from FoxyMoron in the category ‘Products We Love’ for the film ‘Fathers should be a part of their daughter’s menstrual journey’, Samriddhi Shah from Wunderman Thompson in the category ‘Breaking Stereotypes/Social Causes’ for the film ‘Just because home makers don’t earn, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected’, Shib Nath Sen from Wunderman Thompson in the category ‘Start A Habit’ for the film ‘Peeing on roads!’ and Swati Subramanian from Leo Burnett in the category ‘Little Big Moments’ for the film ‘Divisive behaviour in our society towards people with different orientation/preferences’.

The other 12 winners across the four categories are Akshay Seth and Ashok Karkala from Ogilvy, Nuzhath Enayath from Wunderman Thompson, Gitanjali Bhattacharya from Interactive Avenues, Anirudh Venugopal from Dentsu Webchutney, Yashaswini Singh from Wunderman Thompson, Chhavi Sahni from Ogilvy, Austin Dsouza from Ogilvy, Ravi Shankar Mishra from ADK Fortune, Rashmi Yadav from Dentsu Isobar, Akshay Seth and Chinmay Raut from Ogilvy, Sunetro Lahiri from The Glitch and Keshav Nagpal from The Glitch. Thumbstoppers is an industry-first program in partnership with agencies such as Wunderman Thompson, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, McCann, MullenLowe Lintas Group, and Dentsu Aegis Network.

Over the past five months, workshops have been held and almost 1000 creative professionals have been trained from across 56 agencies to help drive effective business results (with the creatives) for their clients, and cater to wider consumer sentiment. The panelists at the Summit spoke on different facets of storytelling. Sandeep Kohli, executive director, personal care, Unilever, and Kavita Nair spoke about ‘Brands in Culture: Thumbstop to future proof creativity’. Kiran Rao spoke about ‘Storytelling with Impact for Social Good’, and also unveiled two new films for Facebook Thumbstoppers on Facebook’s Blood Donation feature. Launched in 2017, the Blood Donation feature on Facebook connects people willing to donate blood with opportunities nearby. People can sign up as donors on Facebook, and get notified when blood banks in their area post about their blood requirements.

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