It’s A Long Story

Marketers experiment with longform ads

Although young people are often criticized for their increasingly short attention spans, longform content is nonetheless resonating today across many forms of media and entertainment. This trend towards immersive material has even made its way to the advertising space as of late, with many brands releasing spots that span several hours.


Last fall, Doritos released a new product in Canada containing two types of chips in the same bag: habanero and guacamole. To promote the offering, called Collisions, the brand conducted a 12-hour Periscope broadcast featuring dozens of objects colliding with one another after being fired from cannons. The public was invited to vote via Twitter on the objects they’d like to see collide, with the ultimate selections including marbles and porcelain plates, a pie and a baseball, and a laptop and a watermelon. Cannons went off every hour on the hour, and the effort proved to be a smashing success.


Leading up to the holidays, food company Jimmy Dean released an 11-hour YouTube video featuring a pan of sausage sizzling atop a Yule log. The ad, which merely showed meat cooking beneath a festive fireplace, was intended to be over-the-top in its simplicity in order to amuse viewers and make their mouths water. Moreover, given the popularity of Yule log videos and ones of people cooking meat (namely bacon), the brand sought to combine the two trends. After patiently staring at the screen, people were rewarded with a clickable coupon for Jimmy Dean products.


Like Jimmy Dean, Lagavulin Whiskey released a long Yule Log ad to celebrate the season, albeit a much shorter one. The spot lasted 45 minutes and featured comedian Nick Offerman sitting in front of a fireplace, sipping scotch and calmly gazing at viewers. While watching the same scene for nearly an hour may sound boring, the ad generated much excitement, particularly among fans of Parks and Recreation, who could appreciate the reference to Offerman’s character, Ron Swanson, and his love for the drink. The ad also follows Offerman’s involvement with the brand in a web series called, “My Tales of Whiskey.”