The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Circulation to certification - more than a name change
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Jerry Wright, secretary, and Pedro Silva, president, of IFABC.

The decision we have made to replace the 'circulation' in our name to 'certification', after over 50 years, is not just a trivial one and a bid to keep our well-known acronym the same, though that factor is not to be ignored. Our name change is more than that, but reflects the evolution of media business models worldwide and more appropriately points to an increasingly digital future.

The old institution of the ABCs – Audit Bureaux of Circulation – which the media industry has come to know, love and maybe even fear a little, was no longer fit for purpose. The term 'circulation' has become archaic and synonymous with our print-bound past. It simply does not reflect how the explosion of digital media consumption worldwide has irrevocably shifted or the way that publishers have recognised they must not just engage, but, so much more crucially amidst ongoing economic pressure, make money from new channels.


Subjects: Media, Digital

24 November 2015 15:50

When did planners start calling themselves strategists?
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Heather LeFevre, Freelance Strategist and Speaker for Hyper Island.

On first blush, it might seem silly to investigate the shift from planner to strategist. I mean, who cares? Does it matter?

This shift snuck up on me. I've conducted a survey, The Planner Survey, for eight years and I've always used the two words interchangeably. Until now. Now I believe there is a difference. So much so that my team and I – all volunteers – have fielded the ninth edition of the survey under a new name: The Strategist Survey. (The Survey is open now.)


Subjects: Marketing

19 November 2015 10:45

It's all in a #hashtag
Posted by: MEC

The most effective examples of hashtags in ads have been where they lead the way to a social media campaign, which engage the audience and speak their language.

This post is by Ed Kitchingman, MEC.

We've all seen it, either on billboards, or TV ads, a message slapped into the hashtag, #tweetthisplease as if just by having a hashtag on the ad people will automatically, magically reach for their phone, or laptop and start tweeting, helping the brand, and the agency, deliver that word-of-mouth traction on social.

Real life, though, doesn't work like that. Why would we start tweeting about an ad just because it has a hashtag? It's not the hashtag that will motivate us to tweet, but the creative that hits those right emotional trigger points. An effective hashtag, though, can expand on that conversation to trigger sharing, add context, or channel it in a more meaningful way. What it shouldn't feel like is an afterthought, integrating social into above-the-line campaigns is not whacking a hashtag on to the back of an ad, but using it to place social thinking at the heart of the ad.


Subjects: Advertising

18 November 2015 09:29

Will the industry see red over YouTube's latest offering?
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Andreas Goeldi, Chief Technology Officer of Pixability.

Last week saw the introduction of YouTube Red, a $9.99 monthly subscription service that allows users to watch videos offline, play videos in the background, access exclusive content from YouTube's most prolific creators, and - perhaps most importantly - watch videos without interruptions from advertisements.

YouTube Red's concept of premium content that's only available to paying subscribers emulates the model pioneered by Vessel and other start-ups. This additional layer of exclusivity is clearly a defensive move on YouTube's part to reward its top creators, and prevent them from migrating to other platforms. Facebook's rumoured plans to court top creators will have certainly influenced the decision.


Subjects: Digital, Advertising

18 November 2015 09:19

Emotional insurance
Posted by: Edward Bell, CEO, FCB Greater China
Edward Bell

In some respects, the insurance industry in Asia seems to think it is 1976. The industry is dominated by hoards of insurance agents, as it was years ago. Although they knock on your WhatsApp account now rather than your front door, a human army is still the main distribution channel. And the fear-based strategies that defined the industry's communications are still in use. Cringeworthy ads of concerned, but pleasant-looking insurance agents, with clipboards in hand, stand in the hospital room as tearful family members nod appreciatively that their policy will pay up.

Well, things seem to be changing. Some new brands have entered the market with a direct attack on the establishment. In Singapore, NTUC, a local brand, is trying to drive a wedge between it and the large multinationals with its 'Simple, Honest, Different' positioning. And, in an interesting move that seems to borrow from online dating, they offer a system where you can 'choose your agent' via their online app, where you can view their profile picture and other important digits.


Subjects: Advertising

17 November 2015 09:38

Privacy and the importance of "informed choice"
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

Who owns your data? Who has access to it? How is it being used? Can it, will it, ever be used against you? How is data being managed? And can data ever discriminate? These were some of the important questions raised at a recent debate hosted in London by The Foundation, an independent growth and innovation consultancy.

Information is multiplying and in many ways is making life simpler and more convenient, but, according to Charlie Dawson, founding partner at The Foundation, people are becoming more and more aware that their entire lives can be "captured, examined and publicised" and so "consequences are starting to emerge", he warned.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing, Data

13 November 2015 11:30

The value of brand valuations
Posted by: Brian Carruthers, News Editor, Warc
Brian Carruthers

Brand valuations are bullshit, according to Mark Ritson, associate professor at the Melbourne Business School. And he told an audience at the Festival of Marketing just why this was so, outlining three "sins" committed by those whose business it is to come up with them.

First up was variation: how is it possible, he asked, that they can value the same brands so differently – not just a few millions either way but billions of dollars. There were "outrageous differences", he declared, offering up the examples of Apple and Visa. While the three leading brand valuation businesses – Interbrand, BrandZ and Brand Finance – all agreed that Apple was the world's biggest brand, Brand Z's valuation of $247bn was almost twice that Brand Finance's $128bn. The difference of $119bn was, said an incredulous Ritson, equivalent to the GDP of Belarus. And when it came to Visa, BrandZ's valuation was 15 times greater than that of Interbrand.


Subjects: Brands, Data

13 November 2015 11:09

The New New Thing
Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
Faris Yakob

The New New Thing is a silicon valley idea, enshrined in a fantastic eponymous book by Michael Lewis. The deceptive thing about the future is that it always feels like it's just about to happen – but never does. Not just in the obvious, inevitable, Zen sense. More in the version painted by the philosopher Alan Watts, that the story of life as an endless narrative of progress is ultimately a hoax. It's not that progress doesn't occur – that part is inevitable; change is growth and change is the only constant.

But our concept of 'The Future' is an illusion. There is no moment that delineates the present from the future, and each day, and every day, feels mostly the same. Still, Alan Watts says, we "are conditioned to be in desperate need of the future". The future is the manifestation of our hopes.


Subjects: Marketing

12 November 2015 10:01

Advertising is a risky investment
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the idea that advertising is a risky investment.

Last week we played host to advertising guru Paul Feldwick, who came into the agency to discuss his latest book. During questions afterwards, a planner raised his hand. "Failure often teaches us more than success, so looking back, which campaign was your biggest failure?" he asked.

Paul thought for a bit, then replied that it was actually hard to think of any real disasters. Not because he was infallible, but because it's actually quite hard to fail disastrously when it comes to advertising. This struck us as an important thought. Clients often approach advertising with nervous caution. What if the message is wrong? Or our tone of voice isn't right? Or we alienate customers? Or we go against the zeitgeist? Best delay a bit, do a bit more research, get it perfect.


Subjects: Advertising

09 November 2015 16:56

Warc/AA advertising expenditure summary
Posted by: MEC

All channels, apart from news and magazine brands, saw increases in adspend, with overall mobile adspend in the first half of 2015 hitting the billion-pound mark for the first time.

This post is by Emma Lane, MEC.

UK advertising expenditure reached a record high of £9,424m in the first half of 2015, according to the latest advertising association and Warc Expenditure report – an increase of 5.8% year on year.

News and magazine brands were the only formats to see drops in overall spend, reporting falls of -8.2% and -5.4% respectively. However, digital investment in these channels did see increases year on year, with a 13.3% increase in digital news brands spend and an 8% increase for magazine brands. All other channels saw increased investment, even TV spot advertising, which saw an impressive 7.1% increase year on year despite comparisons with H1 2014, in which the FIFA World Cup took place. This comes thanks to a strong Q1 performance where 11.5% growth was recorded.


Subjects: Data

09 November 2015 16:35


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