Top brands spend billions on interactive video ads


By Gardy S. Swengbe

Chris Roebuck, founder and CEO of Clicktivated Video, published an article in on top brands expected to spend billions using interactive pre-roll video ads, for additional engagement with their consumers. I enjoyed reading an analysis on brands such as Facebook and Tommy Hilfiger, and their plan to increase product placement, eliminate passive video ads and enhance user interface.

Mr. Roebuck included completion rate percentages to highlight the ineffectiveness of pre-roll ads. He writes, “the lion’s share of video spend goes to cheap ineffective pre-roll (currently 60 percent). It generates a 78 percent completion rate, and is five times more likely to be abandoned compared to mid-roll units.”  The decision to include completion rate percentages helped me realize the importance of monitoring consumer behavior.

 “With swipes, taps and custom animations — the possibilites are nearly endless” 

Interactive video ads will transform the way top brands target consumers. Imagine a world where you “actually” enjoy and welcome those intruding ads – – the possibilities are infinite.



Game company addresses their content creator relationships

Insomniac Games,  an independent game developer, published a blogpost for its current and future content creators and how its relationship will be changing. I chose this blogpost because it was written by the company’s Chief Brand Officer Ryan Schneider. I appreciate the casual tone and honesty in the article. A company having transparency with their audience is important and helps maintain a level of trust.

Schneider begins with a little background from the company and the need to address this sort of issue. He writes, “The truth is, we weren’t exactly sure how best to interact with content creators — even though we’ve been content creators ourselves for many years producing our own trailers, podcasts, dev diaries, screenshots, music videos and even community day events.” He refers to the company as “we” and “our” which portrays a much closer internal structure within the company. He takes the time to think about the audience and what they will be asking when reading the article, “If you’re a content creator, how does all this affect you?”

They have “decided to focus on content creators with a minimum reach of around 10,000 on their combined social media and content channels. Videos should regularly generate more than 1,500 views per episode.”

Schneider structures the article into succinct paragraphs, and uses a subheading and bolded words to divide the article and draw attention to the important parts a reader might be skimming for. He knows the audience and is choosing to use a casual writing style. The first sentence used after this subheading is “Here’s the tl;dr part…” While this use of slang doesn’t strictly adhere to AP style, the tone is more personal, which proves to help explain exactly why these changes are taking place. As an independent game developer, writing a blogpost rather than a press release, is a more personal approach to communicating with its audience.

Skift: the future of travel and technology

By Sarah E. Donahue

Skift is a remarkable brand name which comes from the Nordic word meaning “shift” or “transformation,” and the company is all about that idea of transformation: “that shift into the future of travel.” The Skift brand has positioned itself at the center of the global travel industry and aims to be a “homepage” for travel tech information and intelligence.

Skift is the largest industry intelligence platform providing MEDIA, INSIGHTS and MARKETING to key sectors of travel.”

Read more about Skift here:

I chose to delve deeper into a piece titled: “Skift Manifesto: THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL IN 2020” because I am interested in travel and technology, and I would enjoy working for a company like Skift in the areas of design, storytelling, coding, research and content creation.

The Skift website is notable for having outstanding content and design. Word selection, sentence structure and graphic design choice for color, font, and placement work together seamlessly to communicate this Manifesto in a clear, concise and captivating manner. The first page of the manifesto has few, but powerful words:

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.34.48 PM

This page is concise and wastes no time getting to the point.

The manifesto does not limit itself by always being so succinct; in turn it also emphasizes the beauty of words by peppering its paragraphs with unique and colorful word choices as in this sentence:

“Watch out for the rise of Southeast Asia, that cauldron of teeming humanity that is very mobile & very social.”

Skift has met the goals it set out for itself in this manifesto, of creating content that is “smart, sharp, surgical & strategic” and also meaningful.

The redesigned TODAY app – it’s gonna be huge

Huge, Inc. is a digital agency based out of Brooklyn, New York, with offices all over the world. The agency focuses on assisting companies with strategy and branding, in addition to providing marketing, design and technology services to their clients. In this particular article, Huge discusses the process behind creating the redesigned mobile app for the morning television show, Today. The brief article talks about the collaboration between Huge and Today Director of Product, Sarika Dani, in producing the mobile application. The redesign of the app allowed for incorporation of new features including a sleek new look, and “The Digest,” a customized news feed featuring the best moments of that day.

I chose this site because I am a huge—no pun intended—fan of this agency and the work they produce. I had the opportunity to visit a friend working at their Los Angeles office and not only love the content they create, but the work environment they provide and their tagline: “Make something you love.” Not only is the company’s website filled with great content, but I love that the interface, layout and design work are simple yet distinctive and visually stunning.

Phrases like “viewer feedback” and “mobile-native content” in this article indicate that the audience is mostly those interested in app development, brand management, or Huge itself. This article primarily focuses on the redesign of the application, however the typical Today viewer may be interested in this article since it shares some of the new and exciting features available in the mobile app.

The writing in this article serves its purpose—to update the public, whether a regular Today viewer or an app developer, about the redesigned mobile application for Today.  The word usage, flow and simplicity of this article creates a short and to the point, quick read. As someone interested in branding, design and the advertising world in general, I particularly enjoyed reading this article. I learned from reading and analyzing this work that you don’t always need a lengthy article to get your point across in the digital world.

This agency seeks to feed starving people caught in civil war in Yemen

After watching a news clip last night on hunger among war victims in Yemen, I looked for the website of an agency trying to help war victims in the Middle East.  Action Against Hunger is one of those agencies, and this article is one of many on its site aiming to persuade readers to offer help.

The piece is an overview offering a fast inventory of what it calls a ‘devastating humanitarian crisis.’  It explains what workers for Action Against Hunger are trying to do to keep people from starving.  This is a piece that relies on evidence.  For instance, it says that more than 18 million people in Yemen don’t know the source of their next meal. It notes that Yemen is the poorest nation in the Arab world.  To give a sense of the agency’s potential effect there, the story describes its workers as a ‘170-strong team.’ The keyword there is strong, as in we can do it.  Ultimately, this is a fact-based appeal for money and support to save people’s lives.

Do facts work when people are dying?  Can an article on a website prompt us to donate?

At issue is what we call ‘compassion fatigue.’  Experts who study such appeals have lately been suggesting that appeals built around people and their successes can reduce this fatigue — but in Yemen, I suppose, the agency needs more support before it can demonstrate much success.  I thought this last line in the article was its strongest, and I hope readers stayed with the piece to the finish:

Yemen is one of the most forgotten humanitarian crises worldwide. Children and their families need urgent help.

Cold drinks and dry handshakes: How a thriving company came to be

Freaker USA is a quirky company located in Wilmington, North Carolina, that sells one-size-fits-all beverage insulators. Or in its own words, Freakers prevent “moist handshakes and sweaty beverages.” Much like its brand, Freaker USA’s writing is similarly eccentric and gives its readers a glimpse at its personality. As a consumer, I enjoy reading how companies came to be. Not only to hear their story, but to also feel a connection to their products. Don’t you feel better knowing a little bit more about the people who make what you buy? Me too.


Freaker USA shares its story differently from other businesses. The writer replaces the typical, corporate tone with word choices that are fun, exciting and sometimes daring. The passage below is just one, short example of how it communicates its brand to its audience.

“What’s that? You have a baby but you also enjoy bum-wine? Is the FREAKER for you? A match made in heaven, gumdrop. Your little one’s sippy cup can be just as freaked as your 40oz Colt. Also your mom’s wine and your kid sister’s Nalgene and your dad’s beer & the vase you sometimes regrettably send flowers to your ex in.”

Did the writer just call me a gumdrop? Yes. Because that is Freaker USA’s ibrand. Not only does Freaker USA use expressions like “bum-wine,” but it also uses a conversational tone to express that Freaker USA, and its product, is fun.

Being the spirited company that Freaker USA is, it did a spectacular job at telling its story. Not only does Freaker USA inform its reader about what a Freaker is, it also gives you a little piece of the company and its brand  “Freaker USA is a thriving little company filled with joyous little bunny workers.”

As an iMedia student, reading Freaker USA’s story was eye opening. While there are times to be serious, there are also times when it’s okay to be a little quirky.