The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Happy New Year!
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

Tomorrow marks the start of Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations when people all over Asia, and Chinese communities throughout the world, will be welcoming in the year of the sheep/goat. CNY is considered an auspicious occasion - a time to celebrate with family and friends, a time of giving and wishing prosperity to others. It is perhaps the most important event in the Chinese calendar.

It is also a time when brands are most eager to speak to their Asian target audience. This creates a highly competitive and highly cluttered advertising environment which means brands must do something extra special if they are to stand out from the noisy crowd. Smart brands use the New Year festivities to recognise and appreciate Chinese culture and traditions. So which brands are succeeding in this space?

HSBC Australia used Chinese New Year to target Asian consumers in Australia and to reinforce the message that HSBC is a trustworthy bank. The brand affirmed its valued association with the Chinese community through a fully integrated campaign that featured e-DM and sponsorship of New Year festivals. HSBC also said ‘thank-you’ to its customers with a culturally relevant gift – a form of 'guanxi' – which would resonate with the target audience. This achieved a 463% YOY growth in term deposits, eclipsing the campaign target by 290%.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Consumers

18 February 2015 14:39

Brands should harness the power of social proof
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Richard Shotton, Head of Insight at ZenithOptimedia.

It's not often that marketers turn to the Bible for brand insight. However, this quote from Matthew reflects an interesting occurrence. When consumers know that a product, or even a behaviour, is popular its appeal tends to increase.

Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 13 : 12

The leading academic exploring this bias, known as "social proof", is Professor Cialdini of Arizona State University. In a classic experiment he worked with an American hotel chain to understand what would motivate guests to re-use their towels. He persuaded the chain to randomise the messages in their rooms encouraging re-use. His control message, which reminded guests of the environmental benefits, encouraged 35% of people to re-use their towels. The social proof message in contrast simply stated that most people re-used their towels. This version, shorn of any rational message, boosted up-take to 44%. This is not a one-off finding. The results from this experiment, have been duplicated in environments ranging from restaurants to iTunes, from weight gain to tax returns.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

10 February 2015 13:05

Do you eat your own dog food?
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

The Twitter account @middleclassprob is having a moment. The account retweets Twitter users overreacting to what we now call #FirstWorldProblems. Problems such as when Waitrose runs out of lemongrass. Or your artisanal coffee shop makes your latte wrong.

It's funny and it gives us all some muchneeded perspective. After all, Twitter moaning is indulgent when there are things like Ebola in the world. Yet, if you're reading this, I hope you'll forgive me because I'm going to indulge in some moaning.

I assume that most people reading this work in an agency or business that trades in solving First World problems. Problems such as 'How can I get a closer shave?' and 'Do I need a new phone?' So, not life threatening by any means, yet important to your job.


Subjects: Consumers, Brands

09 February 2015 10:59

Have you specialised yourself out of leadership?
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

An article caught my eye recently, lamenting the high number of marketers in the APAC region who were on the move, looking for new opportunities. The reasons cited were pay, but also poor professional development and too few opportunities for marketers to become CEOs.

We’ve long said that the job of marketing is to drive customer-centered growth – and to do this, marketing leaders need to be able to lead across and through the organisation. This gives marketers a particular leadership challenge, rooted in being insightful about customer behaviour, and getting the organisation to act on this by engaging with customers, across touchpoints, in the best way...


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

05 February 2015 17:56

Don't interrupt people, involve them: Why marketing needs to become more democratic
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is part of the WFA's Project Reconnect, and is written by Simon Kemp, Regional Managing Partner for We Are Social in Asia

The more people are involved in something, the more they engage with it.

This is true in marketing too, and the organisations that succeed in actively involving their audiences and consumers in the creation and development of their brands are best placed to succeed in the long term.

It's perhaps little surprise, then, that 'participation' was one of the 'New 4Ps' that we discovered in our recent research for Project Reconnect (the other Ps were People, Purpose, and Principles).

So what does Participation mean for your brand?


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

22 January 2015 16:42

IJMR Landmark Paper: ‘Messages from the spiral of silence’
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
Peter Mouncey

As we enter 2015, electioneering in the UK has already started, up front of May's general election. Is this going to be a difficult time for the pollsters, especially following on from their perceived performance in predicting the outcome of last September's referendum in Scotland on independence?

All the signs point to a complex situation, with the possible annihilation of the Liberals; the rise of UKIP; the increasing support for the SNP in Scotland, possibly causing Labour a lot of grief; the role of the Green vote. Forecasting the likely outcome looks to be more problematic than has been the case for many years.

One issue that was discussed in the context of the polls conducted leading up to the referendum vote in Scotland last autumn was the impact of the 'spiral of silence' which may have contributed towards the 'no' vote having been understated in the polls. So, what exactly is the 'spiral of silence' effect, and are there ways in which pollsters can try to account for its influence when predicting voting intentions?


Subjects: Consumers, Data

21 January 2015 12:03

Sex, Lies and Survey Data
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Richard Shotton, Head of Insight at ZenithOptimedia.

Much of advertising research is based on listening to what consumers say and then adapting campaigns accordingly. It seems a logical enough approach. However, it's based on the premise that what consumers say and what they do are aligned. Unfortunately there's a growing body of evidence that shows that the two things are often at odds.

Take sex. When heterosexual men and women are asked about the number of partners they have slept with the numbers vary dramatically. A 2013 Lancet study of 15,000 adults found that UK women admit to sleeping with an average of eight partners compared to twelve for men. The scale of the difference is not logically consistent. The most plausible explanation is that men feel a cultural pressure to exaggerate their exploits whilst women feel a corresponding pressure to play it down. Surveys, therefore, tell us more about what people feel they should say than the absolute truth.


Subjects: Consumers, Data

21 January 2015 10:36

adam&eveDDB on how to win at Christmas
Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc
Joseph Clift

Christmas isn't just the busiest sales period for the UK's retailers, it's also the time when they unveil their biggest, brightest and most expensive-to-make ads. And, according to Toby Harrison and Les Binet of adam&eveDDB, the festive period has become British adland's equivalent of the Super Bowl in the US. "It feels like Christmas advertising is where it's hot now," Binet said. "It's the area where everyone wants to compete." To Harrison, "it's become almost an arms race among advertisers – not necessarily to deliver amazing sales, but to deliver on their own brand ambition to 'win at Christmas'."

And they should know. The agency has made many of the past few years' most memorable Christmas ads – most famously for department store chain John Lewis. These TV-led campaigns took the 2012 IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix, having generated over £250m of incremental profit for the client over the years.


Subjects: Advertising, Consumers

19 December 2014 11:24

New Perspectives on Indian Youth
Posted by: Brian Carruthers, Brian is the News Editor at Warc, Warc
Brian Carruthers

This post introduces Warc's new article series 'New Perspectives on Indian Youth'.

India is a young country, both demographically and economically. More than half the population of 1.2 billion is under the age of 25 and if one stretches the definition of young to 35 that encompasses two thirds of the total population. The contrast with other Asian countries is stark: by 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan.

As several of our contributors to this series note, India in its current incarnation was born in 1991, when the then prime minister PV Narasimha Rao initiated reforms to liberalise the country's sclerotic economy, opening it up to trade and investment and dismantling state monopolies, a process that continues today.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

17 December 2014 14:51

Multi-device Targeting – Who, Why, How?
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Paul Lyonette, UK Country Manager at YuMe.

Building strong consumer relationships is key to a brand's success. Persuading consumers that a brand is worthy of their attention – and loyalty – is one of the main purposes of advertising, but this can be a lengthy process that involves numerous touch points. Therefore, brands need to ensure they are targeting relevant consumers and not wasting their marketing budget on the wrong audience.

Today this is more relevant than ever as content is consumed across a wide spectrum of platforms and devices, which creates a fragmented audience that can be challenging to reach. Device switching is now a way of life with more than 60% of online UK adults using at least two devices to access digital content each day, and 40% start an activity on one device and complete it on another. Our own research in conjunction with Nielsen found that households own on average 4.4 devices, with teenagers owning on average 3.2 devices. This further highlights the challenges faced by marketers who need to better understand the channels through which to engage their intended audience.


Subjects: Advertising, Consumers, Digital

24 November 2014 15:34


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