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Monday, 11.1.04: Micro Minimovies

I keep up my subscription to Fast Company -- an easy read for trends in business and management. In November, it featured 100 ideas that may be emerging for 2005 and beyond.

#52 was "Mini-Soaps." The idea is this: Instead of 30-second commercial spots, a company tells a story (maybe 3 minutes in total) broken into spot-sized episodes, like soap operas. is sponsoring a series called "Office Romances" and is doing one for online dating.

I'm interesting in this because it's a great format for a Cosmopolitan Production. My best work so far was only 2-minutes long.

But didn't Taster's Choice already do this?

But didn't Taster's Choice already do this, with their famous series of ads about the sparks flying between coffee-borrowing neighbors?

I thought commercials were going more "narrative" anyway -- tiny stories, little slices of life, instead of jingles and dancing characters. (Budweiser: Love ya, man.)

I guess everything old is new again.

I googled "micro minimovies" and found a couple references from August 2003. NBC was producing these movies, not as commercials but as entertainment. The purpose was to get you to hang in with their programming for the evening or over a couple nights -- help you make the transition from a hit show to a lame show. I have the sense it didn't get very far. The micro form is aimed at people with short attention spans. My guess is that they didn't realize that "short attention span" also means not holding a thought in your head for a half-hour, waiting for Part 2, while you're watching some other show.

So, I guess the idea is bouncing back to the world of commercials, where anything that gets the product's name buzzing around is worth trying out.

(My search also came up with micro minimovies to download to your video-capable cell phone. A glance told me these were not stories but scenes ["Halle Berry stripping"] from other productions.)



Fast Company "How smart people work"

Taster's Choice. A bibliography about their commercial series

TiVo This: NBC Making Minimovies. E! News Online (8.5.03). Way to keep viewers. One- to 4-minute stories broken into 30-second segments, played across programs -- tiny cliffhangers.

Brad Adgate of Horizon Media is interviewed by NPR's Talk of the Nation (8.19.03) on this emerging phenomenon.


Sales by Cinema. Time Magazine, 11.22.04


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