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5 posts from June 2016

25 June 2016

The hot topics dominating Cannes Lions 2016

The yearly arrival of Cannes Lions is hard to miss. La Croisette transforms into a Silicon Valley outpost with super-sized ad tech yachts lining the French Riviera – perfectly demonstrated by Terence Kawaja’s Cannes 2016 yacht LUMAscape – and rosé consumption skyrockets.

This week, when they weren’t battling with Wi-Fi issues or pausing to Snapchat, the world’s leading advertising and tech experts were discussing the trends tipped to transform the industry in the next 12 months.

So which topics stood out? Here are four key takeaways:

‘Bad’ advertising is dead

Ad blocking was everywhere — discussed by everyone from Piers Morgan to Iggy Pop. But this year we moved from simply talking about the problem to looking at solutions, and it seems the industry is determined to stop the technology arms race of blocking software and anti-blockers by eradicating bad ads.

Discussions cited one of the chief causes of consumer dissatisfaction as the growing volume of irrelevant and intrusive ads, and emphasised the importance of delivering quality. It was almost universally acknowledged that targeted ads can evoke positive responses, but only if the industry raises its game.

Attendees agreed that marketing must be focused on adding value to the user’s digital experience, with suggestions to improve relevance including the use of mobile location data to build a complete picture of individuals and ensure marketing messages can be adapted to them in real-time.

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20 June 2016

The brands went in two by two… hurrah! hurrah!

From Laurel and Hardy to Batman and Robin, Lennon and McCartney to Wallace and Gromit; sometimes two heads are just better than one. We’ve grown up in an era where collaboration has made for some of the world’s greatest art - be that through comedy, film, music and TV.

If you transfer that knowledge into a retail environment, strategic brand partnerships can be a highly effective way to create stand out and achieve key business and sales goals for both parties involved. The power of co-branding allows you to combine the best elements that two brands have to offer and presents a unique opportunity to expand customer bases. There’s also the obvious Coca cola opi cost-saving advantage.

The most successful cross-brand promotions must present clear synergies, be relevant and complementary. Brands that share the same potential audience or audience mindset can work really well together. Take Coca-Cola and O.P.I teaming up to create a line of nail lacquers inspired by a range of Coca-Cola’s most popular drinks (Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta etc). The overarching idea linked to both brands ‘delivering happiness in a bottle’. Both have a core teen target audience so working together gave them a fresh and exciting way
to engage with this demographic. A definite win win for both. 

With any cross-brand promotional activity, the trick is to offer a unique experience to customers, something they wouldn’t ordinarily be accustomed to. In a retail environment, supporting the activity with large visual POS materials and in-store merchandising can be an eye-catching way to draw people in with compelling promotional offers.

Mondelez is a great example of a confectionery brand leading the charge in this area, most recently bringing together two of its most powerful brands – Cadbury Dairy Milk and Daim pieces – following the success of its Milka Oreo bars. Why did it work so well? Existing awareness of both individual brands enhanced the likelihood of trial and combining the two flavours offered consumers the chance to experience something new and exciting.

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17 June 2016

Brands are becoming like people… but unfortunately the kind we hate

Sense

At some point in your life you’ve probably heard something along the lines of “if companies were people, they’d be psychopaths”. This always used to strike me as a touch unfair, as obviously this is a classic case of comparing apples with oranges. However, unfair or not, this perception has been confirmed by a recent piece of research* into opinions on brand behaviour held by 2,000 members of the British public.

What doesn’t help is that the apples have started to behave like the oranges, as in recent years brands have increasingly encroached into what might be seen as “human” space. An obvious example would be their prevalence on social channels, which were designed to bring people (not brands) together, and thus has seen many of them attempt to employ friendly and personal behaviour to fit in with their new surroundings. This “matey” approach has filtered through into wider advertising in the shape of “tone of voice” and “brand personality”, and when combined with a constant thirst for “engagement” (rather than simply awareness and comprehension) has left our relationships with brands far more “intimate” than in the old days of one-way ad spots.

The catch for brands in this new paradigm is that if you want to play by human rules, you’re going to be held up to human standards, and this is where things become tricky for them.

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14 June 2016

The dark side of content marketing

Blog 1I recently came across a post on Facebook that was generating a lot of traction. No wonder – it linked to a story revealing a way to beat online casinos.

The rich narrative explained how Rob Lawrence, 28, was spilling the beans about his money-making strategy “to piss off the online casinos who shut his accounts”. He’d been told about the lucrative system from an uncle, a former casino employee now serving time in prison.

The first thing that raised alarm bells was the use of links in the explanation of how the scheme worked. You won’t find this in the original ‘Evening Mail’ story above because the strategy page it linked to has been removed, but you will find it in this other version of the campaign posing as a blog – there are several across the web.

Under ‘Step1 – Where to play’ it says: “The casino that let me get away with the most was Bwin – you’ve probably seen them advertised on the footy.” The word ‘Bwin’ was hyperlinked, which struck me as odd, but I carried on reading – I was curious to discover how the casinos could be beaten.

The game was roulette, and the advice was to pick a “rare event”, such as five of the same colour coming up on consecutive spins – the probability of which is 2.78% (on a roulette table with a single ‘0’). Once this happens, the recommendation was to bet on the opposite colour. So after five blacks in a row, you should then bet on red – and vice versa.

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10 June 2016

Innovative Ad of the Week: Bombay Sapphire ‘Free the Spirit’ (Germany)

Bombay 1

BBDO Düsseldorf has put the spotlight on Bombay Sapphire with the world’s first holographic message in a bottle – a new innovation that lets the Spirit speak for itself.

With more and more gin brands entering the market, it’s getting harder for brands to stay visible and stay on top of barkeepers’ minds, said the agency. As such, it has cast the spotlight on the Bombay Sapphire to engage the gatekeepers to its consumers – the barkeepers – with a limited edition pack that carries a holographic message in a bottle.

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