Bumper Ads: How to Tell a Story in 6 Seconds

Today, people have short attention spans. If something doesn’t capture their attention within a few seconds, they will click away to another website or YouTube video, or they’ll change the channel on the TV. To accommodate the notoriously short attention spans of modern consumers, Google has begun offering six-second “bumper ad” capabilities through AdWords, viewable on YouTube. Six seconds isn’t much time to present information to consumers, so you’ll need to use every one of those seconds wisely.


Use one compelling image.

A typical TV or YouTube ad features a multitude of images that tell a story. Consumers might see a happy family going camping, saving a stray dog, and traversing difficult mountain terrain—all to show the benefits of purchasing a particular SUV. But with a bumper ad, you’ll only have six seconds to tell a story. You’ll need to choose just one compelling image. For instance, if you’re advertising health insurance, you might choose the image of a child blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.


Focus on a relatable topic.

Since there are only six seconds in a bumper ad, you won’t have time to explain your ad thoroughly to the audience. You’ll need to choose a topic that most people can relate to. For instance, if you’re advertising paper towels, you might choose to depict a child’s science fair volcano blowing up and making a big mess. This is a classic image that many Americans can easily understand, whether or not they’ve ever done that particular experiment.


Avoid relying on audio or text.

It’s tempting to use audio and text to fill in the gaps in a very short ad. But remember that most people can’t read a great deal of text in six seconds. It’s better to skip text entirely or only use it to depict the name of the company. Similarly, avoid relying on audio to tell the story, as many viewers will be playing the bumper ad on mute.

Since 1978, Film Creations, Ltd. has been helping companies and nonprofits throughout Southern Arizona tell their unique stories. Our video production services include scripting, creative assistance, motion graphics, and green screen capabilities. You can get in touch with our team in Tucson at (520) 624-4444.