Brands like Cartier, Chanel and Dior are producing high budget, superior quality short films specifically for the Internet. Unlike traditional commercials on television where advertisers are charged by the second, publishing — or “airing” — online videos is free on YouTube, regardless of length. Another advantage to online video advertising is that viewers can play commercials whenever they like, so when a funny, bizarre or witty ad catches your attention, you can easily share the link with others.
This has caused a range of innovative brands to experiment with longer online commercials, moving more toward entertaining or engaging their audiences with the brand than aggressively pushing a specific product for a few seconds.
In March, Cartier released a 3:31 long commercial on YouTube called L’Odyssée de Cartier in celebration of the luxury jeweller’s anniversary. They even created a separate website for the L’Odyssée de Cartier film, which was directed by Bruno Aveillan.
“Discover the new Cartier film, a journey between dream and reality,” the YouTube description reads. “For the very first time, Cartier has decided to create a cinema epic focusing on its history, its values and inspiration, its artistic and universal scope.”
In less than four months, the video has been viewed over 15.5 million times. If that stat isn’t enough to show that these long-form ads intrigue consumers, then the comments being left by YouTube users might be. A few examples:
- This was the first time that i didn’t skip an advertisement on youtube<3 This is freakin amazing!!
- This commercial is better than many, many movies I’ve seen. It’s just brilliant, true art. It’s like a dream you never want to escape from.
- Wow! An ad that’s really art.
Two other French brands experimenting with long-form online commercials are Dior and Chanel.
Dior’s commercial — Secret Garden – Versailles — was launched in May and features models Daria Strokus, Melissa Stasiuk and Xiao Wen Ju strutting around, running through, and admiring their reflections inside the Château de Versailles. The film was created by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and is set to the Depeche Mode song Enjoy the Silence. While it doesn’t have a varying story line like the L’Odyssée de Cartier video does, its focus on high fashion — like a moving magazine — has been able to elicit almost six million views.
Karl Lagerfeld opted to go for more of a dramatic angle in his short film, which highlights the Chanel 2012 Cruise collection. The Tale of a Fairy follows a story in a beautiful French estate. Neither the storyline nor the acting are particularly spectacular, but it was an attempt at a new form of online commercial — the video was posted to YouTube in May 2011, making it one of the first luxury fashion brands to experiment with this type of ad.