The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Four reasons our keyword obsession needs to stop to protect brand
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Nick Welch, Business Development Director at ADmantX.

Keywords are the most commonly used indicator in the purchase of ad placements. Yet there is a problem with relying on this simplistic mechanic – probability. Keyword targeting relies on the likelihood that a word will retain the same meaning in every relevant environment. But words are shape-shifters; their meaning can vary greatly depending on the context they appear in. As such, keywords can only offer marketers a prediction of what the content might be, leaving its true context ambiguous and increasing the risk of inappropriate placements that can damage campaigns.

In fact, almost one-third of advertisers are concerned about the possibility of their ads appearing alongside undesirable content. So how can advertisers and marketers avert disaster and secure brand safety? One answer is advanced contextual analysis. Powered by semantic technology and Natural Language Processing, it identifies the emotions content elicits and matches ads with precision. Going beyond safeguarding against salacious content, this approach generates greater value for advertising campaigns and gives brands confidence that their investment is protected. Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why contextual analysis offers a more robust strategy to ensure brand safety:

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Subjects: Digital, Advertising

06 July 2015 10:16

Three reasons your business needs responsive web design
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Rhys John, digital marketing executive at Thomas Design.

With higher and higher percentages of the population viewing websites and other forms of media on tablets, phones or netbooks, responsive web design is becoming more of a norm for businesses with an online presence. Making it difficult for customers to view your website on different devices could be more costly than you might anticipate – with design costs far less than the potential loss of business.

Here are the three main reasons to get a responsively designed website:

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Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Media

03 July 2015 11:47

Last word from the East: This girl can?
 
Posted by: Edward Bell, CEO, FCB Greater China
 
Edward Bell

If only young Chinese women had taken to sports with the same enthusiasm as they have for public square dancing, China's sport brands would have saved themselves a lot of heartache and been a lot more successful in inspiring participation. Given the success of Sport England's 'This Girl Can', the question has to be asked 'are China's girls really different from those of the West or are China's sports brands just not getting it?'

Somehow, China's girls have no problem in finding the right excuse to put off the idea of playing sport. They will tell you that they are still 'young and healthy' and 'don't need sport', or 'they are too busy', or, perhaps more honestly, that they just don't want to look like a sweaty rat.

Although it keeps fiddling with its global strategy, Adidas China has held the same line on sport and women for 10 years now. Its strategy has been to position sport for women as a social activity, as seen in recent campaigns – 'In the name of Sisterhood' and 'With sisters, nothing is impossible…'. In the eyes of Adidas, social connection trumps the person performance imperative – a 'sports light' experience that owes more to Sex and the City than a City Fun Run.

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Subjects: Brands, Marketing

02 July 2015 16:49

Who runs the world… girls: Brands and the Women's World Cup
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Luca Massaro, managing director of WePlay.

It is no secret that sports events give brands a huge platform to advertise. We only have to look at the Superbowl back in February and the 2014 FIFA World Cup to see the vast amounts of money that sponsors and those brands wanting to 'ambush' spend on being a part of the conversation.

In a gap year between the men's FIFA World Cup and next year's UEFA European Cup, it may be assumed that there aren't many sporting talking points in between. However, the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada has become something of a major point of engagement for fans and brands this summer.

With the recent success of campaigns such as Sport England's "This Girl Can" and the women's England football team claiming their place in the semi-finals, interest in women's sport is rapidly growing. According to FIFA, the Women's World Cup will reach around 30 million female football players and more than 300 million fans worldwide, while the BBC is broadcasting every game for the first time. The growing interest in women's football since the first FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991, is clearly presenting a big opportunity for brands. Here we look at some the brands already tapping into this growing trend.

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Subjects: Advertising, Brands

29 June 2015 15:02

Don’t worry about your rough edges: Why brands need to be open about their imperfections
 
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
 
Richard Shotton

Which cookie would you rather eat?

If you're anything like the 626 people we asked you'll have plumped for the one on the left. An overwhelming 66% preferred it.

This cookie experiment was originally developed by Adam Ferrier of cummins&partners, who conducted it at Nudgestock with the same findings.

But why? The differences are minor. The cookie on the right is perfectly round whilst the other has a rough edge. Could it be that the small imperfections made the snack more appealing?

A series of academic studies suggests this is a widespread phenomenon. Eliot Aronson, from the University of California, was the first academic to investigate this bias, now known as the "pratfall effect".

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Subjects: Brands, Consumers

24 June 2015 16:27

Six ways to cut ad costs by 19% – and get better ideas
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Goh ShuFen, president of IAS.

We've all seen the Mad Men episode where Don Draper strides into the room and sells the client a complete idea. One client, one agency, one easy decision. Life was simple then, but today, with multiple stakeholders, markets and agencies, companies need a far more disciplined approach to improving integrated marketing.

When the P&G CFO John Moeller announced his firm was looking to drive $500m in savings from agencies, a key area outlined was how agencies integrate.

It was with this thought in mind, we initiated "Integration 40", a fresh look at 40 of the best integrated marketing campaigns and processes from around the world. We reviewed hundreds of campaigns from six continents before selecting the final list.

Along the way, and through our other consulting work on integration, we discovered something else.

Waste.

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Subjects: Advertising, Marketing

24 June 2015 15:35

Creativity, trust and the adoption of programmatic advertising
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Graham Wylie, senior director EMEA & APAC marketing at AppNexus.

I doubt this is the last year that the annual advertising industry gathering in Cannes will be billed as the 'Festival of Creativity'; but with data and technology sharply in focus across the opening days of this year's event, it feels as though creativity is taking on a much broader definition.

Take part in a digital advertising survey from AppNexus, Warc and DDM Alliance, and receive a free pre-publication copy of the final report:

Yet as with all things new, it's hard to get good data about this evolution as it happens. All looks clear in hindsight, but few of us have the luxury of waiting for a few years before deciding how we are going to respond.

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Subjects: Advertising, Digital

23 June 2015 15:32

Retailers need to focus on retail technology to drive footfall
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Gavin Ray, SVP of marketing & products at ip.access.

"The high street is dead", the critics proclaim. Mary Portas walks down the empty street like Will Smith in I am legend; a post-apocalyptic nightmare with boarded up shops and tumbleweed drifting slowly along in the wind. There’s no one about.

Depicting the current high street as some sort of ghost town is perhaps slightly disingenuous. If you consider that 94 per cent of global retail is conducted offline (in the real-world of high streets and shopping centres), it puts into perspective the fact that bricks-and-mortar retail is still alive and kicking strongly.

But there is a problem. Retailers are fighting to unify the shopping experience for consumers moving between these worlds. While 76 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in store, 66 per cent of shoppers have said that in-store delivered messages influence their purchasing decision (Popai), and there-in lies the problem. Two thirds of shoppers clearly see that there is high benefit in making informed purchasing decisions, but not enough is being done yet to provide them with useful and relevant information that will better equip them to purchase particular products in-store like they do online.

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Subjects: Marketing, Consumers, Digital

19 June 2015 17:26

Last word from the East: The end of big luxe?
 
Posted by: Edward Bell, CEO, FCB Greater China
 
Edward Bell

You have to feel sorry for the big luxury brands. Encouraged by years of explosive growth and projections of China becoming the world's largest luxury market, they expanded like crazy, opening dozens of new outlets every year and ever-larger flagship stores. And then in late 2012, President Xi Jinping launched his much-publicised crackdown on 'excess'. Ever since, China's luxury industry has been in a flat spin, dazed and confused, lacking clear direction. Is this the end of the 'Golden handbag'?

The past two years have been a hard landing for luxe. Every brand that rode the rocket of 'official gifting' has come down just as hard. The luxury watch business – which dropped 25% immediately after Xi Jinping's speech – is today 95% smaller than the pre-2012 heyday levels. The Macau watch fair was cancelled due to 'low interest'.

High-end liquor has also been decimated. Baijiu, the strong-tasting Chinese white spirit, once a favourite gifting item, has seen sales drop by two-thirds. Even foreign spirit houses, such as Diageo, that are much smaller in volume, are off 25%.

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Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

18 June 2015 16:53

Are you paying attention? Confirmation bias and how to overcome it
 
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
 
Richard Shotton

A couple of weeks ago, 40,000 people made the arduous journey to Omaha, Nebraska. They weren't travelling to see an NFL or NBA game but to listen to Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger speak. These two fund managers have become billionaires through understanding human behaviour better than any of their peers. Their speeches are peppered with insights into customer motivation, which makes them not only popular but also of interest to marketers.

One of Munger's regular themes is how hard it is to change customer's minds once they're made up. In his vivid phrase:

"The human mind is a lot like the human egg, in that the human egg has a shut-off device. One sperm gets in, and it shuts down so that the next one can't get in. The human mind has a big tendency of the same sort."

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Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

17 June 2015 11:49

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