CANNES — Social platforms have made some big announcements in recent weeks, with both Twitter’s Project Lightning and Snapchat’s 3v Advertising due to usher in auto-playing, full-screen videos.

You might expect that vertically-oriented video would present a challenge to advertisers, who, traditionally, have redeployed ad creative first designed for TV’s landscape screen. But GroupM chief digital officer Rob Norman has a positive spin on the problem – don’t think TV, think bus stop ads.

“I was having a meeting with JC Decaux. the biggest out-of-home (advertising) company in the world,” Norman tells Beet.TV in this landscape video interview. “I was looking at some of their digital (ad) installations. Guess what? They’re in the portrait video format!

“People are (now) having to think ‘portrait’ and ‘silent’ and ‘subtitled’. It turns out, in out-of-home (advertising), in many mobile use cases, people aren’t going to consume video with sound.”

Whilst TV has often provided mobile platforms with the creative they need for video ads, the idea that out-of-home ads – like those seen on bus stops or digital displays in bars and lobbies – is a fascinating one. If social platforms like Twitter, Periscope, Meerkat and Snapchat succeed at advancing the vertical video format, that could recalibrate the tectonic plates of the creative industry.

According to Norman: “Clients have said, ‘Wow, this is kind of interesting, because we haven’t thought about the creative process in that way’. It sounds so obvious, given the nature of the devices.”


We interviewed Norman as part of a series on video advertising at Cannes Lions, presented by true[X].  For more videos from the series, please visit this page.