June 23, 2006 Now here’s a concept that just might work. Using the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival as the backdrop, Holland’s Spotzer Media Group announced a ready-to-air concept for video commercials. Spotzer intends to pioneer this radical new approach to video advertising that will enable clients to rent and run a professionally designed and produced advertisement for as little as Euro 500. Videos can be personalised for the client by Spotzer, create a media plan online and actually purchase and book air or media time on-line or have the video commercials prepared for use with websites, narrow casting networks, cell phones and other mobile devices such as mp3 players. It's not an entirely new concept, as our colleague the Red Ferret points out, with SpotRunner having launched in the US earlier this year.
Clients will be able to select "off the shelf" a pre-produced video commercial which they can then personalize through the company's state of the art production facilities. Advertisers will also be able to create a complete media plan and purchase air or media time through Spotzer. Clients will be able to complete the entire process online through the group's website (www.spotzer.com) in less than 30 minutes.
Spotzer’s business is designed to make it fast, easy and affordable for local European businesses to advertise with video on television, websites, narrow casting networks, cell phones and other mobile devices such as mp3 players.
Spotzer is led by Thed Lenssen, one of Europe's most highly acclaimed commercial directors, and John Mezzina, former Young & Rubican creative director and co-founder of Mezzina/Brown, a New York based agency. Lenssen has directed commercials for Heineken, Philips, Volkswagen and many others and is the founder of The D-Films and Snoep Films, both based in Amsterdam. He has won numerous awards including three Cannes Lions. Mezzina's former clients included RJR Reynolds, Allied Domecq, Goldman Sachs and Intel. Mezzina also founded FreeRide.com, an innovative Internet advertising company.
"As a result of digital technologies and the rapid proliferation of new media, advertisers across Europe can now buy highly desirable spots on an extremely local basis," explained Lenssen. "The rates are remarkable: for example, a 30 second prime time spot on MTV, running only in the city of Rotterdam, costs as little as Euro 25. However, no matter where you are in Europe, producing a commercial suitable for such a spot today still requires an upfront investment of at least Euro 20,000 and possibly much more."
"Based on our long experience making commercials on a pan European basis, we believe there is a huge opportunity to break the barriers preventing local businesses from harnessing the power of video advertising," Lenssen continued. "The key will be providing a library of modularly designed, pre-produced commercials that advertisers can rent from us and then easily personalize with their specific information or branding materials. Our basic license will cost only a few hundred Euros. It will entitle exclusive use of an ad in a limited geographic area and for a limited period of time. Longer or greater exclusivity will be available but will cost more."
The Spotzer commercial library will include category defining ads which can be customized for use by any particular business of the category targeted. The library will also include more thematic or universal ads which can be customized for use by businesses in a variety of categories.
"By spreading the cost of production over multiple advertisers, in different geographic markets, different industries, and at different points in time," added Mezzina, "we can dramatically lower the cost of advertising for local businesses. We will also greatly increase the ability of local advertisers to experiment with video advertising and with specific messages and medium. The quality of the video ads available to local businesses will improve as well."
"In the same way that companies such as E-Bay and Google have shown that the aggregate spending power of the "little guy" is enormous," said Lenssen, "we expect to tap into significant new resources for video advertising by empowering local businesses, a segment traditionally ignored by advertising agencies." "At the same time," concluded Mezzina, "by developing a self-service process that clients completely control through our website, we expect to capitalize on growing consumer comfort with accessing services and conducting business transactions online."
Spotzer, which is backed by venture capital, is finalizing plans to roll-out its online services starting in the early part of 2007. The group is focused on several of the largest media markets in Europe and in particular on countries having large populations of local businesses as well as an attractive mix of old and new media selling spots on a local basis.
"Though we have been developing in stealth mode," Lenssen added, "we have already been approached by an interesting collection of potential media partners who seem highly motivated to accelerate the sale of media to local businesses. We believe our ready-to-air model, if executed properly, will prove useful to cable companies and broadcasters as well as emerging media such as narrow casting networks and cell phone carriers. We expect to announce shortly our first distribution alliances."
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