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.
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.
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.
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.
The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy Awards went live on warc.com last week. These awards recognise and reward great strategic thinking in marketing in the region. Idea Cellular, the Indian mobile network operator, won the top prize. There are 80 winning and shortlisted papers in total which Warc subscribers can view here. I highlight a selection of content, mostly from the long tail, that I found particularly noteworthy.
Ian Reynolds, managing director at KBH On-Train Media, explains why an emphasis on advertiser segmentation by behaviour has never been more important.
Socio-demographic groupings have always been the bread and butter of marketing – right at the start of our careers we all learned that this is the basics of targeting consumers. It has been commonplace to make assumptions about people’s propensity to be interested in products based on their age, gender, income or social class.
But have we reached a point where those classifications alone have ceased to be useful? The huge change in the attitudes and behaviour of older people is the biggest prompt for this re-think. With an ever-increasing number of retirees using their new free time to cycle around Europe blogging from a tablet as opposed to stereotypically wiling away their days watching TV, classifying this age group by the date they were born has become meaningless.
The APG Creative Strategy Awards went live on warc.com today. These awards recognise the central role of planning and are dedicated to inspiring the exchange of ideas and expertise on how business can benefit from creative thinking. This Girl Can, a campaign devised by FCB Inferno for Sport England, won the Grand Prix and I've dug deep into the 60-strong case studies to showcase campaigns that demonstrate how to overcome a variety of marketing challenges.
Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the fact that heroes should be perfect.
Last month, we found ourselves at the centre of a heated debate. Our agency was casting for the hero of a new and, hopefully, long-running ad campaign, and the argument centred on what he should look like. The client was adamant that he should be a gym-honed, bronzed beach Adonis, sporting an impressive six-pack and just-enough facial hair. Weren't blokes all desperate to be like that these days? The creative team had other ideas. Their preferred bloke looked like he'd be great company to have a beer with. But Adonis he wasn't; more James Corden than James Bond.
We had to agree with the creatives on this one. Throughout history, from Odysseus to Princess Diana, all the great archetypical heroes have had 'lovable flaws' which draw us to them. Our heroes tend to be far from perfect – but they are all the more strong, engaging and alluring because of it.
The 'tragedy of the commons' describes a situation in which individuals, acting independently and rationally in accordance with their own interests, ultimately end up destroying the resource that sustains them all. Think of many farmers all letting their sheep graze on a piece of common land. As long as everyone controls their flocks, the grass doesn't get totally destroyed and so it grows back and keeps feeding them all. But if one farmer realises he can get fatter sheep by eating just a bit more, and so does another, and then they all do, the grass all dies, and all the sheep go hungry.
In my book, Paid Attention, I suggest that we should consider human attention a finite and valuable resource, one that powers the media-industrial complex, the world wide web, and the technology giants of our time. As a resource, it is approaching a Malthusian moment, and it's all our own fault.
The Jay Chiat Awards went live on warc.com today. The global 4A's Jay Chiat Awards recognise the best strategic thinking in the industry. Great strategies lead to ideas that engage us, move us to action, and even change the way we see the world.
Here's a selection of my top picks.
Mountain Dew: Dew bottle tool
Mountain Dew, a soft drink brand, wanted to regain relevance among its niche skater community target audience in Colombia. On-ground research revealed that skaters in Colombia do not leave home without a 10'' ring spanner in their pocket which they use to tighten or loosen their board screws. This presented Mountain Dew with the opportunity to put utility, via its packaging, at the heart of its campaign. T