Six-Second Advertisements

By Evan LaVigne

The six-second video format was fairly uncommon just a couple of years ago. Yet, with cultural phenomenon such as Vine, that ballooned up to hundreds of millions of users at its peak, introduced the world to a new format for creativity. Six seconds pushed people to create engaging content that catered to a fast-paced entertainment model. A system that rewarded quick attention spans of people that want to get their value and get out. While Vine has died, the format lives on taking a new form in advertisements.


The first step towards an industry that routinely utilizes six-second ads are distributors that will implement them. Google started working with six-second ads last year, and both Fox and Facebook seem to be following it. This trend finally affords creatives the opportunity to start spending real resources on working with the medium. YouTube, a major player in the distribution of ads in a digital streaming word, also started allowing six-second spots recently. An approach that makes sense for a platform in which consumers skip ads as quickly as possible.


Some of these top short length ads on youtube were from large corporations like Samsung and Duracell. While these powerhouse brands have a large advertising outreach to adapt quickly to the format, expect to see smaller more niche brands conform to the market in the coming years. If you watch carefully, you’ll see some strategic elements in these ads below.

Galaxy S8/S8+
Corona Extra Canada


Six seconds is quick, but not quite too quick to impress a message upon an audience. Some observances of early ads show that there are some unique elements to captivating an audience in six seconds. Many traditional thirty-seconds or 60-second commercial ads wait to reveal the brand until the end of the spot, as a way to build trust and create attraction towards a product before revealing the brand. Typically, this type of commercial reels in a potential consumer.

However, in a six-second spot, the product or service at the pitch is revealed right away. This front and center placement as seen in the ads above are the focal points of the ad. Which then tends to be reinforced by a pleasant, soothing, or even exciting backdrop to reinforce a feeling towards the consumer. It aims to get the message across quickly, in a sequence that leads with product placement and follows with reinforcement of value. This contradicts the traditional method by being somewhat of a complete reversal of order.

This is just but one method of condensing an ad into six seconds that has appeared as a front runner today. As this trend continues to grow and possibly catch on as a mainstream advertising format, the same creativity that transformed the Vine app from a casual video sharing platform to a giant entertainment media platform will show face. As the advertising industry evolves, so while strategies for the best messaging formula, all in six seconds or less.


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