The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Marketing's eternal obsession with youth
 
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
 
Richard Shotton

One of the longest-standing criticisms of advertising is its unhealthy fascination with youth. The majority of campaigns target the under 55s and a disproportionate number of brands focus on the under 35s.

Why are marketers so obsessed with targeting the young when older groups tend to be wealthier? According to the Daily Telegraph the over 50s account for 40% of the population but hold 80% of the wealth. Not only are older groups wealthier but they are also growing in number: data from nVision shows that there are 11m over 65s, an increase of 17% versus 2003.  

Bob Hoffman, one of the most insightful advertising commentators, is scathing: "There is only one type of person confused enough [to ignore the over 50 market] – a marketing person".

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Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

20 August 2015 15:43

Retail marketing: When it comes to building loyalty, it's the brand product manufacturers that have the edge
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by José Carlos González-Hurtado, President of IRI International.

Even the most price-focused brands have come to understand the importance of customer loyalty in recent years. Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair – once famous for its stark approach to customer service – recently credited its 25% profit increase to the "enhanced customer experience" it now offers. Discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl have also realised that low prices are no longer enough to keep customers returning.

Many FMCG retailers still have a long way to go when it comes to making customer loyalty a priority, however. As margins are eroded, price wars break out and online retailers and discounters rise, growing sales by building and sustaining a base of loyal customers is critical. Yet retailers are failing to make use of the rich consumer data they have ready access to, applying it primarily to inform short-term price and promotions activities.

FMCG product manufacturers, on the other hand, have spent years building strategic, analytical and consumer-focused organisations, with the aim of long-term retention of their hard-won customers.

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Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

18 August 2015 10:37

What marketers can learn from the world's most incompetent bank robber
 
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
 
Richard Shotton

McArthur Wheeler’s infamous career as a bank robber was short-lived. He robbed two Pittsburgh banks on single day in 1995 – but didn’t keep the money for long. Rather than using a mask, as tradition dictates, he had the misguided idea of rubbing lemon juice on his face. He mistakenly believed that since it was used in invisible ink it would prevent security cameras from recording him. The police caught Wheeler on the day of the robbery and he was soon sentenced to 24 years in prison.

The story of the failed robbery is of interest to marketers as it inspired two Cornell psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, to come up with an important insight into human behaviour.

Illusory self-belief

The psychologists wondered how such an inept criminal could think that he had the necessary skill to successfully evade capture? More importantly they decided to test whether this lack of self-knowledge was widespread. They recruited students to take a series of maths and grammar tests and then asked them to predict how well they would do compared to their peers.

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Subjects: Advertising, Marketing, Consumers

14 August 2015 16:03

Are 'skinny' services the next media trend?
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Sam Farrand, account/planning director at the7stars.

BT is attempting to buy EE for a reported £12.5bn. The deal, should it go through, represents the latest move within the utilities industry to shore up a company's position across multiple products, bundle them up and sell customers a suite of services.

Big money acquisitions only represent the crest of the wave: Sky offers its customers TV, a phone line, broadband and mobile; Vodafone provides Spotify Premium as part of its higher price contract bundles; and even energy companies such as Southern Electric are now offering products as diverse as broadband on top of power supply. In short, bundling is big business.

However, in the media world there are hints of a very different future, one where content is being actively 'unbundled', with veteran market-disruptor Apple leading the charge. CBS CEO Les Moonves views Apple as 'trying to change the universe' – the universe in question being the traditional satellite or cable subscription TV model.

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Subjects: Advertising, Consumers, Digital

13 August 2015 15:04

The alternate futures for mobile payment
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Tim Spenny, Vice President of GfK's Financial Services team in North America, specializing in Mobile Payments and FinTech.

The ability of Mobile Payments to keep consumers happy hinges on whether the big players will play nicely together. If they do, Mobile Payments will be a boost for both retailers and consumers. If they don't, Mobile Payments could become a messy land-grab, with retailers favoring brand-exclusive Mobile Payment systems and making life much more complicated for consumers.

Picture this: you're in the department store. Your basket is nearly full. There's just one last pair of pants to look at. And what's that? A discount for it pops up on your phone. Bargain! The trousers are coming with you. And it's time to go. You wave your phone at the checkout – that was easy! – and everything's paid for. Loyalty points rack up for everything you've bought. And you head home, mission accomplished.

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Subjects: Consumers, Digital

11 August 2015 15:58

How marketers can use gamification to engage consumers
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Juha Koski, founder and MD of Madbid.com.

With the UK eCommerce sales reaching £38bn last year, there's stiff competition to find new ways to attract customers to a website or app, keep them engaged while there and ultimately to encourage their return.

To achieve this goal, increasing numbers of companies are turning to gamification as a way of creating a more entertaining and fun shopping experience than that offered by traditional eCommerce sites such as Amazon and eBay. The end goal is to better engage with and reward customers – and drive sales.

By contrast standard loyalty programs tend to focus on the very last stage of the consumer decision journey (i.e. the purchase) but crucially leave out and ignore everything that occurs beforehand.

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Subjects: Digital, Marketing, Consumers

10 August 2015 14:38

Valuing Rugby World Cup 2015 Sponsorship: A 5-step guide to sponsorship event measurement
 
Posted by: Guest blog
 
Guest blog

This post is by Chris Pinner, sponsorship analyst at Synergy Sponsorship.

It' now only a matter of months before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks-off and sponsors start to see a significant return on investment … at least that' what they hope.

If you already know whether their event sponsorship endeavors will be likened to a World Cup win or group-stage knockout then you can stop reading now. Otherwise, this 5-step guide to sponsorship event measurement should help you understand how to deliver, measure and evaluate a high-ROI event sponsorship of any scale.

So, using Rugby World Cup 2015 as a case study, let' outline an approach which could help…

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Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

03 August 2015 17:24

The power of localised copy
 
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
 
Richard Shotton

The Guardian have just released analysis into the performance of 300 brand campaigns that they have carried.  Their conclusion, drawn from surveys amongst their 3,000 strong reader panel, is that making ads contextually relevant significantly boosts effectiveness.

The Guardian’s data shows that when ads run alongside relevant web editorial readers are nearly 20% more likely to feel positively about the advertiser and 23% more likely to think that the message was relevant to them. The impact of context was just as strong in print where ads are 20% more likely to be seen as relevant to the reader when alongside related content.

There are plenty of ways brands can be relevant beyond tailoring ads to editorial though; ads can be adapted according to mood, weather or timing for example. However, perhaps the most interesting form of contextualisation is regionalisation. Its value lies in its simplicity. Whilst obtaining accurate mood data is difficult, tailoring a message to a city is cheap and reliable.

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Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Consumers

31 July 2015 16:49

China's new strict ad laws
 
Posted by: Edward Bell, CEO, FCB Greater China
 
Edward Bell

If you step back from the buzz of the day to day, there is a palpable sense of things 'tightening up' across China. The raging trade in property – the national obsession that has created more wealth in China than any other endeavour – is now bound by regulation. The much-publicised 'war on corruption' is an attempt to close up the back channels that have defined how China used to work.

And, more recently, we've seen that the welcome mat, once rolled out to multinational corporations in China, has been all but rolled up. The uneven application of anti-trust law is another hoop through which brands must jump. But until recently, amid the tightening of laws and adding of hoops, on the TV screens we were able to watch a TV ad that earnestly told women that with the ready application of a cream, their breasts would grow bigger.

This has, in the spectacular fashion of China, now changed. In one fell swoop, a whole raft of unchecked advertising practices will, by 1 September, be outlawed. The country with 300 million smokers has banned cigarette advertising. Advertising in and around schools is out and functional claims now need to reach a higher standard of proof. That probably spells the end of the breast enlargement cream business.

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Subjects: Advertising, Marketing, Consumers

28 July 2015 14:23

Advertising's obsession with youth
 
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB
 
Mythbuster

When we started in advertising in the late 1980s, the 'Grey Consumer' was a hot topic. The proportion of older people in the population had begun to rise, and many were surprisingly affluent. These trends were forecast to accelerate as the Baby Boomers turned into 'Empty Nesters'. Soon we would all be chasing the 'Grey Pound'.

But fast-forward 35 years, and we seem more obsessed with youth and Millennials than ever. Those demographic forecasters weren't wrong. The proportion of young people has indeed fallen and the proportion of older people has increased in most developed markets: in the UK, the over-45s outnumber 16-24-year-olds by 4 to 1.

These over-45s are more affluent too – accounting for some 50% of consumer spending and an even larger share of wealth, with these proportions climbing steadily, even throughout the recession. Young people, however, are having a tougher time. Debt, soaring housing costs and high unemployment mean young people in developed economies have less money to spend nowadays – and the recession hit them particularly hard.

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Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

23 July 2015 10:18

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