The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Casual Introduction to [data] Planning
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

In general, when talking about the significant increase in structured and unstructured human data and the technologies capturing it, we can take two angles; we can debate over why marketing should use it OR we can try to understand how marketing should use it to deliver sustainable value for brands and agencies.

Today, we see a lot of notes on why marketing should use data. We read that DMPs can help save and make us millions of dollars through frequency capping, retargeting and suppressions. We find that building advanced and ad-hoc segmentations by integrating offline and online data, we can achieve the ideal marketing mix to drive higher ROI.


Subjects: Data, Marketing, Brands

11 August 2016 16:20

Stand Up for Creativity
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

"Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for – where do we fit in this world.
…and what we are about isn't making boxes for people to get their jobs done – although we do that well, better than anybody in some cases.
But Apple is about something more than that. Apple at the core – its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better."

The words above were used in a speech given by Steve Jobs to his employees after his 1997 return to Apple.

Mr. Jobs' carefully selected words suggest he wasn't trying to reinvent Apple, he was simply pushing it back to its core. And the history demonstrates how Apple forever changed the way people communicate, entertain themselves, even the way they absorb information. The application of Steve Jobs belief moved Apple from $3 billion at the start of 1997 to $350 billion by 2011.

I suspect that our industry is going through the same confusion, as Apple was during 1985 to 1997 (the period Apple spent without Steve Jobs and the beliefs he practised).

We have lost sense of direction and suffering from identity crisis.


Subjects: Advertising, Brands, Marketing

10 August 2015 12:40

Welcome to the Age of Big
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).

In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me.

When I hear that Big Ideas are dead and small ideas are ‘in’, I feel genuinely depressed.


Subjects: Brands, Marketing, Data

26 March 2015 16:06

Brand Building in the Information Age
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

Nikolai Kondratiev made a wonderful contribution to economic history with his long wave theory. He argued that the capitalist development was made of long waves. These waves are 45 - 60 years long and represent one cycle of global economic growth. They are successive sine curves highly linked to innovations in technology. According to this theory, technology is pushing the economy of brands into their 3rd wave of development. The first era was led by technological advancement in the production of goods, such as, large-scale plants, the second wave came with the technological advancements in media such as TV, Radio and Print and the 3rd wave, the present one, is led by the advancements in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).


Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Consumers

09 September 2014 17:23

Stand by me
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

How relationships turn successful or end up as a failure? What makes them stronger or weaker? What keeps them together or tear them apart?

Recently, I am finding myself very involved in answering the above three questions. I am not expecting to have a detailed understanding in the near future; however, I think that I am beginning to understand the basics…


Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Advertising

22 February 2014 16:23

Breaking through The Wall
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

'The Wall', probably the best of Pink Floyd's conceptual work to-date and arguably one of the most successful communication strategies ever to communicate brand truth (conceived by the de facto Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters) – both commercially and creatively.

Roger wrote 'The Wall' as a reflection of his own fears, losses and anger with the 'so called' managers of the society, tracing all the way back to the time when he was five months old and lost his father to the war. It's the story of a soul unsettled, a baby left alone, a child who never grew up, a frightened youth; the life of a man who refused to accept the system.

When I diverted my career path from the music industry to become a planner in advertising eleven years previous, it was because I was inspired by the idea of brands driving both 'social and economic progress'. After joining the world of advertising, I was taught that we (ad people) and marketing were in a partnership to achieve the greater good for business and society at large.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

05 November 2012 10:41

You complete me
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

“For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.”
Susan Hill, The Woman in Black

Last week, I went to see a play at the theatre. It was nice to be transported back to the pre-digital, Victorian age, which to a great extent the theatre managed to keep as authentic as possible (aside from the audio and visual effects). Mobile phones off, tablets in their bags, texting on hold and no more status updates, yes – we were as Victorian as the theatre surrounding us.


Subjects: Brands, Marketing, Advertising

22 September 2012 14:42

Talk with me
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

I like reading children’s books. They are full of life, colour and imagination. Last night, I finished reading ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers once more. It’s the story of a boy who finds a lost penguin on his doorstep and then travels all the way to South Pole to return the stranger.  It is, by all standards, a pure story of curiosity and love from a child’s eye. In 2008, the story was adapted into a 24-min film and was first aired in the UK on Christmas Eve.

I recently read it to a little girl and she loved it too, to such an extent that she carried on reading it (over and over again) at short intervals throughout the day.

To their innocence, children carry the most creative brains amongst us all. And the thing I find most fascinating about children’s books is how they engage with children’s creative brains. They are always relevant, timely and acquire complete attention. Instead of talking at them, they ignite the imaginative neurons and talk with them. And of course, if you can connect with the brain of a child, you can connect with any. It’s no mystery why we suddenly change our tone when reading the bedtime story to the little ones.


Subjects: Consumers, Media, Marketing

13 September 2012 10:42

You gotta have faith
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

Recently, I was watching a TV mini-series The Thorn Birds. It was first aired in 1983 on ABC and became the 2nd highest rated TV mini-series in the US in less than 3 days. The series was actually adapted based on Colleen McCullough’s 1977 best-selling novel.

There’s a scene in which Ralph de Bricassart, one of the lead characters talks about belief and faith, saying, ‘Belief doesn't rest on proof or rests on faith’

This made me think of the attitude we take in proving our work to the clients. Don’t we always try to aim to prove that all our ideas are factual? Our entire advertising ambitions are driven by our ability to satisfy the brand owners how factual our proposition is. And I don’t think, marketers are the ones who should be blamed here. When we don’t add faith to our work, how can we expect them to ask or even think about it?


Subjects: Marketing, Digital, Brands

06 September 2012 15:26

Building Brands in a Conversable World
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

People like talking to other people and sometimes their talks also involve brands. However, people don’t talk about brands in a too-good-to-be-missed-life-changing advertising style, but in an open and honest way.

It is critical to understand that talking is natural human behaviour and not something triggered by modern technologies. Technologies are only making sharing, visibility and generation of human conversations more convenient and accessible. Today, what is troubling the marketing world is a tiny element of human conversations, which have been in existence long before digital technologies arose.  A recent report from Google confirms that there are 3.3 billion mentions of brands in a day of which only 5% or 0.16 billion are online.


Subjects: Consumers, Brands, Advertising

12 February 2012 23:55


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