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17 posts from July 2012

31 July 2012

What does the National Gaming Survey mean for the media?

By Rumbi Pfende

It’s time for the much anticipated results of Gamehouse’s annual gaming survey - which commenced in 2009 - to be shared with Cream’s audiences across the globe.  Ever since we commissioned this world first exploration into the gaming market (in collaboration with sector expert research company Newzoo in the Netherlands), the take-up response of the findings by the adverting and media industries have been quite overwhelming.  Quite simply, the research firmly stamps a solid confidence that gaming is one of the most effective and fastest-growing advertising channels ever, to deliver targeted ROI not just here in the UK, but interestingly replicated across other continental countries, echoing its compelling power.  The inclusion of gaming as a standard channel in media plans across European borders - driven by both brands and media planners - demonstrates its power to capture relevant audience segments through non-intrusive and highly entertaining environments.  And this is now a given. 

CityVille on Zynga - Google Chrome 31072012 081804
American gaming giant Zynga is capitalising on the growing UK market 

The most evocative aspect of the 2012 research has been the huge surge in the time and money that UK consumers spend playing on mobile devices, via smartphones, which increased by a mammoth 43% in time spend from last year.  Of these, a significant 45% of all mobile gamers play 3 or more titles each month.  Unsurprisingly, smartphones are the driving phenomenon behind mobile gaming with 75% of gamer usage.  As expected, Apple retains its position as the market leader with over 24% of gamers on the iPhone handset, closely followed by Samsung with 20% share.

However, for me, the most fascinating and significant aspect of the 2012 research focuses on the UK’s appetite for spending money on mobile games with over a third (39%) doing so on their mobile phones.  This equates to a massive 9.2 million Brits – a growth of over 24% from last year – certainly a statistic not to be sniffed at.  The willingness to pay doesn't just stop there, with a massive 67% of mobile gamers buying more than one game per month. 

We have all heard the adage that if the US sneezes, the UK catches a cold and this phrase is consistent with all of the comparable data fields between the two markets, with one notable exception however.  The UK impressively leads the way when it comes to paying for mobile games with 39% versus 36% compared to our American cousins.  This trend is also echoed when it comes to casual gaming, with the UK outperforming the US yet again (UK 29% vs. US 21% ). 

With the UK’s fertile ground yielding such ripe pickings it is no wonder then, that many US-based gaming corporate heavyweights such as Zynga, are now migrating across the pond and opening outlets in the UK to capitalise on this burgeoning market.  Whilst the demand for digital innovation has traditionally been associated with the US, it is refreshing to see that the trend has been reversed with the UK taking pole position now.

So, what does this mean to brands, marketers, advertisers and the media as a whole?  It clearly defines a tangible opportunity for advertisers to hone in and specifically target their key audiences via finely-tuned gaming channels.  Very few other mass media are able to even come close to this level of efficacy and the mere fact that independent research verifies the power of gaming means that brands should utilise this platform as a key part of their communications armoury to raise their ROI to the max.  The choice of gaming as a direct route to market should be prevalent at all times, particularly so, during times of economic hardship where every marketing penny and cent is held accountable.  A straight forward concept of engaging, enthusing and enchanting your customers.  But then some of the world’s best ones are those which are the simplest.

Rumbi Pfende, UK Country Manager, Gamehouse



26 July 2012

Infographic: What your brand colours say about your business

Many of the most well known brands are easily recognisable by their brand colours, the golden arches of the McDonald's logo are a good example and demonstrate that brands strategically use colours to appeal to customers. 

This infographic from Marketo explores what brand colours can mean for businesses. Research has found that different colors provoke very different reactions in people. Marketo choose to use the color Purple for branding because at the time Marketo was founded, purple was relatively un-used. Additionally, purple represents wealth, royalty, and richness which also has associations to leadership and revenue. 



This infographic comes from Marketo 

Smart TVs: making offline as measurable as online?

By Sri Sharma

Online advertising, and paid search advertising in particular, has been held up as the ideal for marketing because of its measurability and the level of tracking it offers. Conversely, offline advertising is inherently difficult to track.

 TV advertising offers a fantastic medium for brands to reach a mass audience and raise awareness of the brand and its product range. However, until now it has not been able to provide the same level of measurability as online. The arrival of smart TVs is set to change that.

The launch of Google TV in the UK, expected over the next six months, along with Apple’s rumoured move to launch its own internet-enabled TVs, mark a pivotal moment for brands looking to recreate the level of measurement associated with online, in a world that was typically known as offline.

Enabling consumers to watch terrestrial TV, surf the web and interact with Apps for TV simultaneously, smart TVs will offer brands with new advertising forms that are more measurable than traditional TV advertising.

Tracking interactions not just awareness

The first additional metric smart TVs will be able to offer brands is the ability to track when a consumer actually interacts with their advert rather than just registering it. At launch, the two biggest opportunities to create and measure interactions are:

  • In-TV app advertising – like the adverts you can see within apps on mobile, such as those from Admob, when TV apps launch, brands will be able to place adverts within the apps consumers interact with on their TVs
  • Targeting on-demand content

Considering how many apps consumers already interact with on their mobiles, including apps for banking, socializing and accessing media, in-TV app advertising could be a huge opportunity for brands. Indeed, it is likely that TV apps will quickly become as integral to consumers’ daily lives as mobile apps are now.

Once TV apps have become part of the daily routine more consumers are likely to remain logged into the apps. This will enable brands to target consumers according to their psychographics as well as tracking the adverts that result in a click-through.

On-demand content offers a similar opportunity to enhance targeting based on consumer demographics as well as the type of content they are viewing. And, with twice as many people watching some programmes on catch-up as they do live (source: Virgin Media), on-demand content is already popular. The introduction of smart TVs, which will make access to on-demand content even easier, will only increase the consumption rate here.

For those brands looking for further proof here, you only need to look at the success brands have already seen on YouTube, which is likely to be a central element of Google TV’s strategy.  Indeed, in the work we did for The Perfume Shop that used YouTube’s targeting tool, YouTube advertising significantly outperformed traditional search. Integrating smart TV advertising data into other channels.

The second key opportunity smart TVs present brands with is the ability to transform the effectiveness of their multi-channel campaigns.

In the US, the Google TV platform enables brands to pass the data from Google TV through to Google Analytics. This allows them to draw conclusions as to the impact each advert had on other marketing channels, including paid search marketing and display advertising.

Whilst this is unlikely to reach the UK for a while after launch yet, it illustrates the potential to demonstrate the impact of TV more measurably. For example, brands will be able to see the impact of TV on other marketing channels in specific locations at particular times. At a time when budgets are coming under increasing pressure and marketers are being challenged to prove their worth to the Board, this can only be beneficial.

No-one knows yet what the rate of uptake will be for smart TVs. However, we do know that data remains key to transforming any brand’s marketing strategy. Smart TVs offer access to a unique data set that could have a dramatic impact on campaigns run across all channels. For those brands looking to harness this potential from day one, now is the time to invest in understanding what data can be accessed and how to use that data to make offline as measurable as online.

 Sri Sharma is the managing director at Net Media Planet



The next generation of consumers

The generation born in the 1990s will be entering the workforce and general consumer age bracket in the next few years. Open to innovation and change and digitally-savvy, their perception of what’s possible is likely to be a great deal less limiting than it was for their predecessors.

 How can marketers ensure that they are still heard above the noise and that their brands make a deep connection with their target audiences? le born between the early to mid-1990s and 2000s, the so-called ‘Generation We’, were placed under scrutiny in a recent study by an independent US agency. In the US alone, there are 62 million Gen We citizens with US$143 billion in purchasing power between them. Marketers, therefore, should be aware of the following truths about them.

1. They’re Not Brand Loyal

Unless you happen to be Apple, endearing iyour brand to Gen We in the long-term won’t be easy. They left MySpace forFacebook. They abandoned Guitar Hero for Angry Birds. And High School Musical became a distant memory when Glee came along. Gen We is more concerned with value and function over brand. Gen X wears Abercrombie & Fitch because of the brand, whereas Gen We will buy from a brand only if its products meet their economic and functional needs. To stay relevant to this audience, brands will have to evolve, demonstrate value, and market in non-traditional ways.

 2. They Expect Brands to Fit Their Mould

A great example of this is how this generation responds to technology and information architecture. Gen X had to learn to click the ‘start’ button to shut down a computer, even though it made no sense to do so. By contrast, Gen We won’t blame themselves or hang around when products and brands don’t perform the way they expect.

 3. They Care About the World

This generation grew up with cartoons like Dora the Explorer, and is the first to experience ‘green’ as a mainstream concept. They’re not going to be a group of tree-hugging environmentalists, but they do care about the world and want to associate themselves with individuals and brands that also care.

Consider the 13-year-old who started his own scented candle business – ManCans (www.man-cans.com) – featuring scents like Bacon, New Catcher’s Mitt, and Campfire. He makes his candles in soup cans and donates the soup to a local food bank. He’s received thousands of orders. Or the 12-year-old who started a mobile dance studio in an old school bus to tackle obesity. After school, Amiya’s Mobile Dance Academy (www.amiyasdancebus.com) travels to kids who can’t afford dance lessons and teaches them everything from ballet to h

 4. They Expect You to Entertain Them

This group expects to be entertained. They have short attention spans and an uncanny knack for processing massive amounts of information. This is a generation that grew up watching cartoons on the handheld video systems in the car. They played with their DS or their parent’s iPhone. And they will expect entertainment from you if you want to connect with them.

 5. They Actually Listen to Their Parents

Gen X parents and Gen We kids watch the same TV channels, wear the same clothing brands and play the same video games – often as a family. This group has a voice in family decisions, and they’re willing to listen and even copycat their parents’ purchasing habits. It’s going to be fascinating to watch this group become adult members of the workforce over the next few years. As consumers, they will force us to think differently to connect with them – making for interesting and challenging times for marketers. 


17 July 2012

Marrying social with mass appeal

By Liz Wilson, CEO of CMW

Like any marriage, the union between brands and social media has its Barack Obama success stories, and its less than stellar moments with real consequences like McDonald’s recent Happy Meal twitter hashtag idea. Moments like this inevitably raise the perennial concerns over social media control for marketers.

Media Strategies’ Social Media Brand Index places Starbucks as the most successful social brand. A company whose above-the-line activity is practically non-existent compared to their social initiatives. By contrast, Nescafe is a company with a strong heritage in traditional TV-centric broadcast campaigns, particularly for its flagship Gold Blend product, yet fails to make an impact socially at 108th.

A recent Nielsen study estimates that just over 90% of consumers’ value advertising across earned media above all other forms. So the obvious question for advertisers is how to marry the emotional immersion of a TV campaign reaching a broad audience with a singular ‘loud’ message, with a more personalised ongoing conversation online.

We all know that TV is the equivalent of the communication loud-hailer – it’s a great way to get a commercial message to a large audience fast, confident that it will resonate with some of that audience. But using social media like this is like wandering over to a table of people you don’t know in the pub joining in a private conversation between friends.

For many brands there’s been an understandable clamour to be early to market for digital. The opportunity to build an individual connection and use it to increase the chances of brand advocacy is real and seductive.

When using the two together, TV is the ideal tool to whet the consumer’s appetite and to set out broadly what a brand has to offer. But the challenge comes when we move from traditional “one big message” communication to a more intimate “many small layers: conversation”.

One brand (happily a client of ours) that’s really understood the reason consumers use social media is Nivea for Men. Their Euro 2012 campaign included a social media element built on the wider above-the-line activity that leveraged the brand’s sponsorship of the England Football Team.

The ad, which featured ex-England internationals Paul Ince, Les Ferdinand and David Seaman, was designed to communicate the brand’s ‘Smooth the Irritation’ proposition and demonstrate the virtues of its Sensitive range. In social media we created an app that acts as a soundboard allowing users to take soundbites from the ad to create a mix against a backing track of their choice. Sharing control of the advertising content and the brand in this way creates a sense of shared ownership with the audience.

Digital offers the chance to build a more intimate brand experience. One that feels personal, but also valuable enough to share with friends and family. Social media apps represent a potent way to build a deeper experience for the consumer and richer data to feed back into continuous improvement of the personal relevance of our work.

Alongside its nationwide TV campaign introducing its new cereal Krave, Kellogg’s targeted its under-served young adult market with a property called the Choc Exchange. This virtual auction mechanism allowed users to earn and spend choc chunks by engaging with the brand – rewards included tickets to events, branded merchandise and other things that the community voted on. So while TV created notoriety and excitment around the launch, ultimately social allowed Kellogg’s to build a community around the brand.

And it’s that kind of community that can encourage sharing and conversation that doesn’t depend on being stimulated by the brand.  Coca Cola’s a great example of setting an agenda for all of their communication involves haring values with their customer. From above-the-line original content, created by established stars like Mark Ronson and Katy B, through to digitally-minded real world activity centred on vending machines and the can itself.

For most big mainstream brands the secret is in helping people find a reason why they want to participate in communication in order to feel a sense, not just of shared value, but also a sense of personal ownership. And that’s a relationship that really is built to last.

16 July 2012


By Mike Woods, Framestore 

We recently partnered with McLaren Group, the Woking-based family of niche high-tech companies that includes Formula 1 motor racing, to launch a brand new media company called McLaren Animation.

Here is the first production, ‘Tooned,’ a brand new media property that debuted with the 2012 Santander British Grand Prix on July 8, 2012, and features digital incarnations of McLaren’s star F1 drivers, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.



12 July 2012

Luxury brands need luxury retail experiences, even in the online space

Jonathan Ross, business development director at FACT-Finder, discusses the steps luxury brands can take to ensure a more rewarding online retail experience for consumers.

Luxury brands have been slow to embrace the internet. Despite the sales potential offered by the online channel, it has taken many years for the luxury sector as a whole to shake off its attachment to high-quality advertising in traditional channels. In fact, many still view it as “not for them”.

However, a recent study by McKinsey and Altagamma, the Italian association of luxury brands, appears to finally dispel the idea that online shopping is the preserve of discounted brands and shoppers looking to pick up a bargain. As far as the luxury category was concerned, there was a nagging suspicion that shoppers needed to experience a tactile relationship with their potential purchases in a way that could never be achieved online.

The McKinsey study surveyed more than 300 luxury brands, 700 websites and more than 2.5m online comments, including those on social media platforms. Digital sales are expected to reach about €15bn in the luxury market by 2016, but the survey also found that use of the internet by consumers for research and price comparison meant that about 15% of total sales in the luxury goods industry are directly generated by digital media. As much as a fifth of store sales (a market worth in the region of €34bn) is said to be directly influenced by the online experience.

As attitudes within the industry have begun to evolve, luxury brands have started to  explore the potential of more sophisticated websites, user friendly shopping apps and well produced video content, as well as daring to embrace social media platforms. This change in attitude is definitely a step in the right direction, and brands that want to make a success of their e-commerce strategies should be focussing on three key areas from now on:

The website

This might sound like an obvious place to start, but luxury brands enjoy a certain degree of freedom that other commercial brands lack. Customers come to a particular brand site because they are looking for luxury, and not because a brand returned highest in Google search results. Once they get there, they should experience the same experience of luxury that the brand would like to identify within a physical store. This means that user experience is key, with intuitive navigation and elegant execution being top priorities. This can only be achieved through extensive testing and feedback.


Closely linked to the idea of a luxury user experience, comes service. Again, this might seem like an obvious statement, but when it comes to e-commerce it is the small details that can elevate the customer experience. The idea of luxury often implies the idea of 'unapproachable', which is never going to work in e-commerce. Shoppers need to be able to feel they can contact you easily if they have any issues with an order. Simple checks can be added in the online purchasing process to help customers ensure they receive the product they are expecting, or easily find the product you intuitively know they need.

Embrace multi-channel

Luxury brands can leverage return on investment through a multi-channel approach. Pulling in data from bricks and mortar retail sites and measuring online click values can help sort online searches effectively. Customer reviews, and even a brand blog to drive traffic to key products should also be considered, even if the idea of using blogs and social media platforms is a more egalitarian method of communication than luxury brands are often used to.

Broadly speaking, the rules for luxury e-commerce are the same as those for more everyday products, but if special attention is paid to the user experience and customer approval rates, luxury brands will be well placed to take full advantage of the exciting growth in the online retail sector.

BRAVES 2012…and the winners are…

Congratulations to the BRAVES winners who were awarded for their work at a red-carpet premier-style event last night, 11 July, at the Vue Cinema in London.   

The BRAVES are the Brand Video Awards. The event celebrated the very best in branded content with an evening at the movies, broadcasting the winning entries live on the big screen.

A full list of the winners, including case studies of the work, can be found below.

Braves header 2


Best Adaptation of a TV Ad

Leave the ordinary behind Jumeirah Group, UAE

Best Video Sponsorship

Hyundai’s New Thinkers index Microsoft - Hyundai, UK

Best Social Video

Great films fill rooms Studio Ouput - Video Store of PlayStation Store, UK

Grand Prix Campaign BRAVES

Leave the ordinary behind Jumeirah Group, UAE



Best Art Direction/Photography

A world made simpler by Xerox Young & Rubicam NY - Xerox, US

Best Brand Channel

XperiaStudio.com LBi - Sony, UK

Best Branded Content (Entertainment)

Chivas consideration Euro RSCG London - Chivas Regal, UK

Best Branded Content (Factual)

Horizons OgilvyEntertainment - DuPont, US

Best Long Form Branded Content

Horizons OgilvyEntertainment - DuPont, US

Best Short Form Branded Content

Bing holiday Rudolph Starcom MediaVest Group - Microsoft, US

Grand Prix Content BRAVES

A world made simpler by Xerox Young & Rubicam NY - Xerox, US



Best Video Service

SocialVibe UK

Award for Technical Innovation

Autonomy UK

Best Video Analytics Solution

Ooyala UK

Best Content Distribution Service

Unruly US



Great films fill rooms Studio Ouput Video Store of PlayStation Store UK



About this blog

  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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