CANNES/NEW YORK: L'Oréal, the beauty group, has seen success with six-second video ads and believes it may even be able to communicate effective marketing messages in around half that time.

Nadine McHugh, L'Oréal USA's SVP Omni Media, Strategic Investments and Creative Solutions, discussed this topic at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

More specifically, she revealed that six-second ads run on YouTube by L'Oréal Paris Root Cover Up and Maybelline New York had yielded impressive results, and hinted at the prospect of reducing the run time even further.

"I really think we should go lower," McHugh asserted. (For more details, read WARC's exclusive report: Short-form video ads play well for L'Oréal.)

"Is it six [seconds]? Is it five? We're talking about three. I don't know what kind of story you tell in three, but that's important, too, on some platforms."

Experimenting with various video formats promises to assist L'Oréal's brands in getting to grips with which forms of communications will be most impactful among their target audience.

"So, the question is: What's the right amount of time to capture the consumers' attention? How do they want to hear from us?" said McHugh.

"I think that the permission of how we engage with them is going to be different moving forward. So, being able to do six-second commercials, to be able to test the effectiveness of them, is crucial."

But constructing impactful stories across numerous snippets of digital video – complete with the knowledge that this content probably will not be viewed in the same order by every consumer – also poses an unfamiliar challenge to brand custodians.

"Sequencing of messaging is going to be really important, and the size of what that messaging looks like, because it could be six seconds here, and maybe it's three seconds somewhere else – and understanding how that tells the whole story for the consumer in a meaningful way that she is going to want to stay with you, because it's about a value exchange," McHugh said.

"It fits into the overall strategy of the value exchange with the consumer, and it has to be able to deliver the message, which is challenging, because that's not how we're all used to creating content."

Data sourced from WARC