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Kate Spade Wins at Pre-Roll by Letting Anna Kendrick Be Anna Kendrick

Holiday campaign thrives on bite-size versions of 'Waiting Game'

Kate Spade says Kendrick's unfussy, 5-second spot was a win.

Even with the buzz around this year's glossy, over-the-top holiday advertising, sometimes the simple stuff works best—at least that's what Kate Spade thinks about its new campaign with Anna Kendrick.

Last month, the brand launched "The Waiting Game"—a two-minute video starring the actress, who gets locked out of her apartment after a day of shopping. Four snippets are running on YouTube as five-second pre-roll ads, geared toward mobile viewers with shorter attention spans than people watching on desktops.

Footage for three of those ads was plucked straight from the main holiday spot. The fourth is a video of Kendrick directing people to Katespade.com to check out the campaign.

Kate Spade CMO Mary Beech said the fourth ad performed best out of the short clips, although she didn't have numbers to confirm that. It might resonate with viewers because it feels like an off-the-cuff, user-generated video, which of course has made platforms like Instagram and Vine red hot for brands in recent years.

"Because we know that the ads happen when a YouTube visitor is on their way to watching a video of their choosing, we wanted to experiment with one version of the ad that was shot specifically to take advantage of Anna being such an amazing comedian," Beech said. "She was distinctly able to break that fourth wall and address the YouTube audience directly, delivering a call to action that would have otherwise been a text or a link. It's our brand's voice that allowed us to be able to do that and Anna's unique talents."

Kate Spade also worked with Cinematique and Google to build a shoppable video that lets viewers click on any product in the holiday ad. After watching the video, viewers can choose to purchose those Kate Spade products, see another short video or find a seasonal cocktail recipe.

Kate Spade ran ads across Google's Display Network, targeting sites such as US Weekly, Salon, Food Network and Rolling Stone, which are popular with women.

Battle of the Video Platforms
Both the shoppable and pre-roll videos have reached 20 million YouTube viewers since Nov. 7.

At the same time that Kate Spade is claiming some success with Google video ads, the platform is facing increasing competition from Facebook.

Earlier this year, Heineken ran a campaign on Facebook that reached 35 million users in three days.

"What we're finding is that we have to consider Facebook as the key video partner going forward because not only does it have the reach but the effectiveness," Heineken’s senior media director of marketing Ron Amram told Adweek.

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