With shoppable media, it’s a fine line between pleasure and pain

From branded content back to commerce, the arrival of ‘shoppable’ video (executed, for instance, through on-screen annotations allowing viewers to click to buy) signals that video may be the site of convergence of traditional media and digital.

The line betwen getting it right and wrong when it comes to shoppable media is certainly a fine one, with the emerging trend of interactive video and branded content reaping great rewards for some while proving embarrassing failures for others.

A future-gazing report from global digital agency Reactive, ‘Perspectives 2013,’ a compilation of articles on digital ideas and trends to watch in the year to come, features a piece on shoppable media by New York-based designer Katrina Scott.

The article examines the success of Asos’ Urban Tour video featuring street dancers that enabled users to pause, explore and purchase the featured clothing, eventually leading an additional 500,000 men to visit the Asos site. The campaign also scored a coveted Cannes Gold Lion for its effort.

In contrast, department store Target released the branded film Falling for You in 2012. The film had a multi-million dollar budget and featured A-list celebrities, but failed to make an impact on revenue due to its clunky execution and “scant regard for the user’s experience,” writes Scott.

Compounding this was the side-bar navigation, which scrolled articles of clothing, and was essentially an animated ecommerce website ‘attached’ to a video. Users couldn’t engage with either on any reasonable level.

Article author, Katrina Scott writes, “Shoppable Media may be in its infancy, but many signs point to a trend of video as branded content. If an agency is fortunate enough to secure a client with the ambition and budget to pursue the production of a shoppable film, several factors need to be considered.

“It’s essential to understand the purpose and target market, and also to recognise that a traditional approach to both mediums will invariably fail. It requires significant investment in high production values and consideration of the nuances within both forms of media.

“More broadly, it requires an appreciation that traditional advertising and digital media no longer exist independently – a timely reminder of the direction of the industry.”

Reactive has developed a compilation of articles on digital ideas and trends to watch in the year to come called ‘Perspectives 2013’. With input from each of Reactive’s five global offices, the articles within Perspectives will aim to guide marketers around the world on the best investments for their budgets.