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who killed quibi?

Much like the electric car was killed before its time, Quibi’s blip on the radar screen of life is a shocker for some of us. Yes, the sad news recently broke that Quibi is calling it quits after a mere life of infancy and the failure to take hold in culture despite deep investment in the promotion of the platform — nearly $2 Billion, in fact.

If you didn’t hear about it, Quibi was the first of its kind short-form content platform for people on the go. Literally whole episodes in 7–10 minutes and meant to be watched on your phone, conveniently called—a Quibi.

Covid changed all that — allowing people to sit at home and power through long-form series on platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Lounging in PJ bottoms and a new top from Walmart (according to their surge in sales for tops without bottoms), the rest of us rode out the Spring Covid season sticking to our usuals with an occasional CBS or PBS thrown in there.

And while Quibi came out swinging with a big idea and even bigger budgets, it failed to stick. Perhaps the biggest problem with Quibi? Its commercials were better than the show themselves.

One of the most brilliant dramatizations within advertising we have seen in the last few years was the arresting and vivid reimagining of time blocks through the lens of a Quibi.

Their commercials screamed with hilarious moments where someone was caught between a rock and a hard place, but realized the time they had left was just long enough to watch a Quibi.

Whether it’s a man just bitten by a zombie who has just enough time to watch an a show before we turns into a zombie himself, or a commander in chief who must choose between wasting the last few minutes of life before an asteroid impact or watching “2, maybe 3 Quibi’s”each dramatization was clearly showcasing a new way to look at our time. I even found myself starting to joke with my team about brainstorming a new idea within a Quibi. What they had, conceptually, was sticky seemed perfectly timed.

Besides being sidelined by Covid, Quibi’s haters suggested that the price was too high for the limited content it delivered. Some online articles cited the failure to adapt quickly and pivot when the rest of the world was being forced to do so. Like all platforms, there’s a tipping point when they reach pinnacle power and content, but Quibi never never got even close.

Our POV? Something similar will be back when the world is ready for it. Like experiential marketing that’s been put on hold but will be rising from the ashes in a new and curated way, or timeless traditions like blowing on a cake at your birthday—a form of Quibi will someday be back.

So who killed Quibi? Was it market forces or the failure to adapt? The world may never know.

Either way, it’s a great reminder that brands rise and fall and their lifespan is shrinking within the post-modern subscription-based cancel culture. Gone are the years of yesterday where a Sears & Roebuck will rule the world for 100 years. To stay alive, you have to be nimble, flexible and equal parts substance and sizzle.


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