How Facebook’s Thumbstoppers narrate the art of storytelling in 10 seconds

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

They are short stories and they move hearts. A stray dog sniffs, lifts up his hind leg and lets go on a car tyre in the foreground. Similarly, a man peeing on the wall in the background succinctly conveys the thought that while dogs don’t have an option, humans do.

Frail ladies in rural attire stand in a line with pots on their heads, silently filling up a huge, pristine bath tub. The message that one bathtub equals daily water for 14 rural families hits home, as does the short video of a man ogling a woman’s cleavage in a public transport, till her male co-passenger willingly pulls down his T-shirt to expose his cleavage.

Not all protests are loud, goes the message, silently conveying the creativity in mobile video advertising.

Welcome to the world of Facebook Thumbstoppers. Launched this May in partnership with six top advertising agencies, the platform aims to bring together the best of advertising and marketing talent and redefine storytelling in mobile.

Social impact

Several corporates have warmed up to the video advertising format, which tell stories in under 10 seconds to invoke emotion in a bid to change human behaviour. Though many of the Facebook Thumbstoppers video turn the spotlight on the ills plaguing society, several brands have also taken to this form of advertising.

Embracing this new concept, DeoLeo Pvt Ltd, makers of Bertolli Olive Oil, decided to spin a creative campaign to extol the virtues of the hashtag ‘The Recipe For Happiness Is Simple’. Marketers and advertising agencies have been making Thumbstoppers films, stories that can stop thumbs from scrolling and evoke emotions. The olive oil brand decided to strike oil and become one of the first brands to engage with the new medium.

The company’s four 10-second Thumbstoppers have been conceptualised by Mirum India, creative and media partners for Bertolli. The aim was to highlight simple instances that bring the greatest joys.

Speaking to BusinessLine about the novel format, Naila Patel, Executive Creative Director at Mirum India, said: “Thumbstoppers as a format is very clutter breaking. In fact, it sits at the cusp of shrinking human attention and our love for stories.”

Since the Italian olive oil brand wanted to make its presence felt in the Indian market, Patel said that the simple brief was to create a warm communication and “help create memorable moments in the target audience. For instance, coming home to your smiling and excited toddler after a long day at work, or going out with the family, or even laughing over a secret joke with a friend,” were some of the moments the brand tried to highlight.

Nostalgic moments

The new campaign banks on distinctive memories: “When your grandmother would regale you with tales from yore as she rubbed oil in your hair; or the smell wafting in after the first rains,” and caters to different generations in the family.

Speaking about the target audience, health-conscious consumers who regularly engage with health and fitness content, Patel said, “Youngsters or young couples who live away from home and cook for themselves were another category we wanted to address.”

But why did Mirum decide on Facebook? “As Facebook is all about moments, we found this to be a perfect fit. The creative vehicle we chose is the Thumbstoppers: extremely immersive, visually-appealing and short. A video that tells stories in 10 seconds was our choice of creative rendition,” said Patel.

Since not many brands have tried Thumbstoppers format, it was up for grabs.

“The format fits perfectly well with our main communication, which is that the recipe for happiness is simple,” added Patel. “The communication is around creating moments with loved ones and not just cooking.”

Published on October 21, 2019
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