The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Programmatic marketing is the key to reaching millennials
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Marie Dalton, marketing director at Connexity.

Brand managers ask if it's possible to launch branding initiatives programmatically but for many companies that's the wrong question. What they need to ask is: 'How quickly can I get good at it?'

Why the urgency? Look no further than the newest employees joining our companies; in the majority of cases they'll be millennials.

The seismic shift rivals the rise of the Boomers

We are living through a seismic shift in demographics. Millennials – the 20 million people who were born sometime in the early 1980's to the early 2000s – are one of the largest generations in the history of the UK. Indeed by 2030, there will be more Millennials than all other generations combined in the US, and the UK won't be far behind. Remember when the Boomers dominated consumer culture? They are now making way for their grandchildren.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

21 April 2015 15:22

You are not a number!
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Charlie Meredith, Managing Director at Time Inc. UK Advertising.

People – I mean real people – are all too easily forgotten. Advertisers and marketers spend so much time thinking about them that they forget who they really are. People are not consumers, target audiences or data segments that can be matched to a set of behaviours, interests, some medical records and an address.

Well okay, we all are. But that's not all we are.

We are individuals, uniquely shaped by our experiences, emotions and intuitions, and more than ever before we are determined to be 'the best we can be'. Self-actualisation is right at the top of the bucket list – in fact, all we hear now are the things that make us feel as though we're trying to catch up in life.


Subjects: Consumers, Brands

17 April 2015 18:02

Social media: Out with the old, in with the new?
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Edward Kitchingman.

Despite the strong performance of rivals such as Instagram, whatsapp and Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are fighting back in the social war.

Social is becoming a more visual medium full of images, gifs and emojis. The growing strength of these image based platforms was highlighted in the recent GWI 2014 Social Report, which found that Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram were the fastest-growing platforms in 2014 and Snapchat the fastest growing social messaging app in 2014.

Facebook, of the eight main networks, was the only platform that had a decline in active usage (a 9% decline globally; 7% UK decline) and that growth has stagnated to 1%. Of course, Facebook has got so big and all-encompassing that it was bound to reach a plateau – and it is still miles ahead of its rivals in terms of active users (1.39 billion to be exact, compared with rivals who can muster 300m at best) and members. With numbers like that, it will remain the biggest platform for years to come, but the grip of Facebook on our daily lives is loosening.


Subjects: Digital

17 April 2015 08:21

'Low interest' categories
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

We had a briefing for a new campaign the other day. It was for a financial product, and it started with an explanation of how it worked. The briefing concluded with 'this is, of course, a very low interest category'.

This is a familiar phrase to any of us who work on finance brands or utilities – the classic 'low interest' categories. And it is often assumed these are 'rational' purchases, implying others are more emotional and 'high interest'. In our opinion, those assumptions are flawed.

We may spend our days understanding the fine details of our clients' products, monitoring closely the competition and advertising, but if we've any sense, we'll realise that ordinary people don't care much about any of that stuff. As far as they're concerned, almost all purchases are low interest.


Subjects: Marketing

16 April 2015 09:36

In Vloggers We Trust
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Ian Samuel, Managing Director Brand Solutions at Rightster.

In its tenth anniversary year, the reach and popularity of YouTube as a media channel has arguably never been greater. The channel has matured considerably in this time and even created its own stars: vloggers with subscriber bases whose circulation figures exceed established daily newspapers. These viewers are highly engaged and tend to consist of millennials, digital natives and many brands' core youth target audiences. It's no surprise then, that many brands have followed these audiences to YouTube and engaged with popular vloggers to collaborate on branded campaigns.

However, a small number of these have not been conducted with the kind of transparency expected in branded promotions. In turn, this has caught the attention of the ASA which has called for more regulation of this energetic and exciting channel, and led to an industry debate around this emerging and powerful engagement method.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

15 April 2015 09:29

Audience participation
Posted by: James Hurman, Founder, Previously Unavailable
James Hurman

Last April, Rob Campbell played a joke. On his blog, the Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai planning head wrote about 'Method Planning™'. This new research methodology was inspired by the notion of method acting, whereby actors literally spend 24/7 in character to more deeply assimilate the motives and psyche of the person they're playing. Rob wanted to explore whether this quest for authenticity would bear fruit for planners looking for more authentic consumer understanding.

"So much of what we 'learn' is second hand," he wrote. "So when we were recently given a project that required us to understand entry-level white collar employees, I couldn't help but take the opportunity to explore the method acting approach… which is why for the last five weeks, one of my planners has basically been living someone else's life."

Leon, a W+K planner, had been sent to Wuhan, a Chinese city, to assume a new undercover life as a clerk in a local bank. He'd had the perfect résumé dreamt up and a temp agency had landed him the job. He shared a flat with three unwitting housemates, eating the same food, living on the same low salary and experiencing the same highs and lows.


Subjects: Consumers

13 April 2015 12:01

Lessons brands can learn from the phenomenon of the superstar DJ: The four strategies behind their success
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

this post is by Matthew Kershaw, Group Marketing Director at Ministry of Sound.

Those of us who lived through the 90s will know that the electronic dance music scene was once a far cry from what it is today. Back then, around the time that the Ministry of Sound opened its doors, DJs had a relatively small following of discerning ravers.

But today, DJs are superseding even pop stars; they dominate charts and festival line-ups, gossip magazines and radio playlists. They are hard to ignore.

During Advertising Week Europe (AWE) panel, In the Mix: What Brands Can Learn from Superstar DJs, Reggae legend David Rodigan noted that, in the past, the DJs main role was to fill the gap before the band got on stage. However, success stories such as Calvin Harris have utterly revolutionized this role; he reportedly earned $66 million in 2014. But how exactly have this new breed of celebrity made its way to the top? And what can brands learn from DJs' rise to fame?


Subjects: Marketing, Brands

10 April 2015 11:04

Account Planning School of the Web 2015: The task
Posted by: Advertising [Planning] School On The Web
Advertising [Planning] School On The Web

Warc has again teamed up with the APSOTW – the Advertising Planning School On The Web.

This excellent initiative, run by a team of senior planners from across the world, poses challenges for up-and-coming planners and marketers. It's a chance to show off your ideas in front of a seriously, seriously senior line-up of judges.

We're lending a hand by carrying and promoting their challenges here on the Warc Blog and hopefully highlighting some of the ideas that come out of them.

You can view the previous challenges we helped out with here, and read an introduction to this latest challenge here.

Now, over to Rob Campbell for details of the new assignment…


Subjects: Marketing

10 April 2015 10:36

Beware bad SEO 'services'
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

"I know they're not a 'big fan' of my blogs. That article they tell me they enjoyed? They probably never even read it." I'm speaking with friend, and blogger, Gemma Cartwright. Cartwright has been blogging both personally and professionally since 2002. She's currently the editor at Popsugar UK, but she's completely fed up with poor approaches from SEO agencies. "It's formulaic and dishonest. Don't fool yourselves – we recognise a template email. Lay out from day one what you're looking for. And know that I'm under no obligation to help you."

Search Engine Marketing is fundamental to digital marketing. I often adapt the old Bill Gates on PR quote saying: 'If I only had two dollars left I would spend one dollar on SEO. And probably the other on pay-perclick (PPC).' But I'm hearing a lot of stories – from brands and agencies – suffering the consequences of poor-quality SEO.

Gareth Morgan, MD of UK-based Liberty Marketing, told me: "Many of the smaller agencies outsource or automate the work they do, so they can charge a lot less." This gains short-term results now, but risks an expensive rankings penalty further down the line. And a quick rankings boost is not what modern SEO is all about.


Subjects: Digital

06 April 2015 11:23

The search for 'truth': Measurement formats in research
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
Peter Mouncey

In the latest issue of IJMR, we are publishing three papers on the theme of measurement formats. The first is a comprehensive literature review, by Callegaro et al, that in addition to summarising 'best practice' in the search for 'truth' in data collection, also identifies gaps in current published knowledge in this field.

In particular, the authors discuss in detail the impact of using a forced-choice versus check-all formats. One major gap identified in the paper is that most research to date in this field covers research undertaken in English speaking countries, with limited cultural range.

However, our second paper on this theme by Revilla, starts to address this gap through research undertaken in Spanish speaking countries, comparing forced-choice and check-all methods in the search for 'truth'. The final paper by Rossiter and Dolnicar explores the theme from a brand-image measurement perspective, arguing the case for applying Level-free Forced-Choice Binary measures when undertaking research in that field.


Subjects: Data

02 April 2015 15:17


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