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13 posts from January 2013

31 January 2013

The Festival of Media Asia 2013 shortlist is out!

By Cream Editorial

The much awaited Festival of Media Asia Awards 2013 shortlist has finally been revealed. This year, the festival received an impressive 500 entries from across the region. The shortlist has 117 campaigns from more than 10 markets. The Festival of Media Asia covers all of Asia and Australia.

Continue reading "The Festival of Media Asia 2013 shortlist is out!" »

30 January 2013

Thigh will be done… a leggy new advertising strategy has hit Japan

Group of girls with ads on their thighs

Women in Japan have the opportunity to reap the rewards of using their thighs as an advertising space for brands and companies. A girl’s zettai ryouiki – which translates roughly as “absolute territory” – is apparently the highly coveted space that lies between the bottom of her mini-skirt or shorts and the top of her knee-high socks. The brand seeks to recruit girls over the age of 18 who have a presence on one or more social networking sites (SNS). To earn their commission, they must wear the stickers for eight hours over the course of a day, and then post photos of their new ‘accessory’ on their preferred SNS. And this intriguing new combo of guerrilla advertising and social media has been popular – around 2,800 Japanese women have registered, with an average of 330 friends on Facebook. Popular campaigns have thus far included promotion of Green Day’s latest album.

Behind the News:

The logic behind this marketing technique – summed up in this article with the headline “Where the Eye goes, the Ad goes” – is nothing new… beautiful women have been used to promote goods and companies since the dawn of advertising. The appeal of this “absolute territory” in Japan can be linked to depictions in Japanese anime and manga, and such is its popularity that it even has its own Facebook page with almost 3000 followers. The brand sees it as a sort of ‘win-win’ situation for both the girls and the brands they are showcasing. The former can earn money, set trends and receive what could be euphemistically described as “positive” online attention. The latter, for their part, are able to leverage the marketing potential of social media platforms in a decidedly original fashion, possibly even achieving viral success (one participant has 8,000 followers on Twitter). While similar tactics might draw criticism in other markets, this does at least provide ordinary women with a means of making easy money in a way that they find cool, empowering and fashionable. Though in many countries, there’s no escaping that the weather – rather than social attitudes – will be the deciding factor in the power of the human billboard…

What do you all think? Offensive, resourceful, sexy, trendy or just plain weird?

It's just good advertising, strong communities and Bob Dylan


Bob dylan
Dylan: Knew a thing or two about publishing

Online publishing, for all the technology it relies upon, has been unusually slow to innovate when it comes to advertising. It's almost as if the standard IAB units were carved into stone and there was a collective agreement that these sacred specifications would remain untouched.


But, like Dylan said, "the times they are a-changing". After years of being locked into publishing platforms that could only cope with these IAB standards, new technology means publishers are starting to move away from the IAB units. It's not been an easy ride. Developments like click-word models were very difficult to sell to publishers who faced vehement opposition from editorial staff. But if we go for another Bob reference, you've “Gotta Serve Somebody" nicely encapsulates the feeling that advertising serves advertisers and viewers, not editors.

Love it or loathe it, click-words are a good example of how (some) publishers are willing to take risks. Ad formats that are new to the user come with added curiosity value, and with curiosity comes investigation. Ironically, online advertising needs to work on it's own advertising. When I speak to publishers, I don't talk about an expandable unit, I just show them Say Media’s ad units, and demonstrate how cool they actually are.

Different forms of advertising that are more unusual are being embraced by publishers a lot more than they were in the past. For their part, viewers like to see different, more visually exciting elements on a web page - which is hardly surprising given that they've largely been clicking on 68x468 pixel banners for the past 20 years. Ad units that don't fit the traditional models do really well.

But innovative advertising is only as good as the viewers who can see it, and that's where audiences are key. A group that can benefit from this are local media owners - they're the ones with strong community audiences. Larger national newspaper titles have spent the past five years struggling with paywalls - an issue that just doesn't exist in the local news landscape.

Paul Hood is Digital Director at Archant, one of the UK's largest independent media businesses, active in the fields of regional news, magazines and websites. He knows better than anyone that competition in the news media space that Archant operates in is particularly fierce. Using London as an example, there are at least five prominent news media brands dedicated to delivering news and sport information to a London-centric audience.

Paul Hood
Paul Hood, Archant Media

Across the London region Archant publishes 16 newspaper titles, each with its own website,” he explains. “The question we asked ourselves was, ‘How can we leverage our high-quality local coverage of London’s biggest news and sport stories and bring them to a wider pan-London audience?’ Our answer was to create a new, digital-only news media brand and focus on addressing the gap in the market.”


The result was London24.com: a London-centric news media proposition produced exclusively by knowledgeable, local, London-based journalists. Local freesheets do a great job of catering to the commuter – the top national and London news stories are well-packaged and presented to give a good overview. But there was no news media brand covering London from the local angle.”


In February 2011, London24.com was launched. Eighteen months later, it is No. 2 in the market and is on track to be profitable by 2013.

Local community based titles like London24.com represent the ultimate examples of how powerful the combination can be when you have engaging advertising built around relevant, compelling content. Engagement rates on regional UK press are close to 2%, which stacks up very favourably against an average of 0.8%.

What becomes obvious from this stat is that community and special interest sites are hotbeds of engagement, which is strong incentive for media owners in this space to focus on their core audiences and avoid the temptation to dilute their audience as they attempt to increase it with more middle of the road content. An engaged community equals more passion. This sentiment is embodied by "Point-Of-View Publishing" – the key to success for the media companies of the future.

By Jason Lydiate, Head of Business Development, Say Media

29 January 2013

Young Asians: your chance to get awarded at The Festival of Media Asia 2013!

By Cream Editorial

The Festival of Media Asia 2013 is now calling for entries from Asians below the age of 30 for the Rising Star Award that will reward the brightest young talent in Asia.

Continue reading "Young Asians: your chance to get awarded at The Festival of Media Asia 2013!" »

The real secret to premium content

Say POV Venn image, POV and digital publishing

"Yeah, everyone's not me."
Carrie Matthison, Homeland

Premium is becoming an overused word like amazing (is that sandwich really amazing?), or a misused word like literally (most people are "literally" using it wrong). Just because a company uses the word premium to describe its product – it doesn't make it original, high quality, distinctive or even valuable to the consumer. As any fan of HomelandShameless or even,Gigolos will tell you, Showtime is definitely a premium cable channel, worth every extra dollar you spend for entertainment. Any car owner who spends more at the pump for premium gasoline understands higher-grade fuel means better engine performance.

But for every real premium experience, there are plenty that aren't. An entrepreneur in Malaysia has launched a premium coffee served at luxury hotels in Asia and the Middle East, that sells java to connoisseurs for $50 a cup. The "premium" refining process? The coffee beans are fed to Thai elephants, plucked from the pachyderms' dung and, then, prepared for roasting. Makes you reconsider any grumbling over paying more at Starbucks.

The same holds for premium content. Almost every publisher believes their content is premium. And yet, too often a premium content experience for readers means articles about a topic you care about surrounded by stories of moisturizing jeans and cross-dressing virgins.

The definition of premium should be overhauled before this awesome term literally becomes irrelevant. At a basic level, premium content must have a point of view, tell a compelling story and be visually engaging. Depending on the intended audience, premium content can be a recipe for whole-wheat blackberry scones on 101 Cookbooks, a list of the top 10 epic tech gadget failures on ReadWrite or a DYI for a sequin bracelet from Honestly...WTF. The quality of the content is determined by something that's too often taken for granted: reader engagement. Not pageviews or clicks, but real engagement. Did the reader leave a comment? Were they moved enough to "like" it? Tweet it? Pin or share it? If they did, that engaging content deserves the title of "premium."  

Provocateur Jane Pratt of xoJane has mastered the art of reader engagement. The loyal audiences at Sassy and Jane magazines are as responsible for establishing Jane's no-holds-barred editorial style as she is. It’s not unusual for a story on xoJane to elicit hundreds of enthusiastic reactions. Jane created a viral tsunami when she asked readers to submit pictures of themselves when they first wake up, resulting in hundreds of entries, participation by Courtney Love and major media coverage. By making her readers part of the story, Jane ruled social media before it was even called that.

Every publisher and brand online looking to be considered premium needs to determine the value of the relationship between content and reader. That is the only way the true essence of premium can remain pure and doesn't become a matter of quantity over quality. As digital media becomes more fragmented and increasingly personalized, premium content is signified by its intrinsic value to the reader and its ability to motivate someone to take action. It means rethinking the idea that bigger is better for brands, and embracing the power of environments where people are talking. It’s the  choice between screaming one’s brand message at half-million bustling pedestrians in Times Square or addressing a captivated audience 5 percent the size in Madison Square Garden. 

The highest rated show currently on network TV has an average of five times the viewers of the season two finale of Homeland. And no disrespect to those wacky nerds Leonard and Sheldon, they entertain millions of people each week. But, do they elicit any morning-after, water cooler talk about their latest hi-jinks at a Star Trek convention?  Not likely. Now try bringing up Carrie, Brody and Abu Nazir in conversation, and like that coffee from Malaysia, that's some premium ... stuff.

Thom Allcock is the publisher of Style for Say Media.


25 January 2013

Sky, sun and fun: Skytweeting with Paddy Power

By Cream Editorial

Last year in September, Irish bookmaker and betting services brand Paddy Power took ambush marketing to new heights, quite literally! And here’s the story behind the story.

 The brand used skywriting as a tool to post tweets high up in the sky in Chicago just above the Medinah County Club at the time of the Ryder Cup tournament. The aim? To motivate Europeans to cheer for their team. The cheeky brand did so by fuelling the US-Europe tussle at the golf matches through sky tweets cheering European players, and taking none-too-subtle jibes at American golfers.

Continue reading "Sky, sun and fun: Skytweeting with Paddy Power" »

24 January 2013

Awards open for Asian start-ups!

By Cream Editorial

Budding Asian entrepreneurs, who had winning business ideas but hadn’t found investors/partners to back them up, can now breathe a sigh of relief. The Festival of Media Asia 2013 is all set to launch the concept of M.A.P. (Media Accelerator Programme) in Asia, after a proven successful launch at the Festival of Media Global 2012.

Continue reading "Awards open for Asian start-ups!" »

23 January 2013

Have you ‘scratched’ on social media yet?

By Cream Editorial

After ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’ and ‘Share’, the new buzzword on social media might just be ‘Scratch’. Ad agency Saatchi Tel Aviv has rolled out an exciting social media game for mobile phones. The app is called ‘ScratchMatch’, which was developed after an internal contest in the agency, about ideas for mobile applications.

Continue reading "Have you ‘scratched’ on social media yet?" »

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  • 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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