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Cannes Forum: Millward Brown’s ‘From 60 Seconds to 6 seconds & 6 minutes’

BBDO Guerrero Chief Executive Tony Harris writes about Millward Brown’s Cannes Forum ‘From 60 Seconds to 6 seconds & 6 minutes’

Apparently, Ogilvy South Africa had commented that allowing Millward Brown to talk at Cannes was like letting a seal hunter into a PETA conference and rightly, this seemed to have rightly rankled with the two speakers from Millward Brown, Daren Poole and Duncan Southgate.

I have to say that I was forced to agree with the research giant on this occasion as they actually provided some interesting insight around the changing shape of time lengths and formats in broadcast media that would have benefitted any creative agency watching.


Their premise is that all communication is around “brand predisposition” – the 30 sec commercial, by their traditional model, centres on the ‘persuasive’ aspect. However, in a world of YouTube and Vine, the other formats can have the same aims of putting consumers in a frame of mind to think positively around a brand – stored away for future consumer action.

Longer formats which ideally are capable of holding interest for around two to three minutes optimally, are all about providing viewers with reward – for the investment of time they made. Therefore, there was good advice about judicious editing and the familiar theme of telling a story well to hold attention.

Shorter formats, such as Vine, are intended to be homegrown and organic and provide resonance for a brand. Here, the advice was to make one point succinctly and avoid any semblance of selling hard. Vine is a format of charm – keep it that way.

All formats can have a role in a brand’s broadcast armoury and I see no harm in anyone deciding to itemise their differing objectives, my South African friends.

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