The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

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. 


Subjects: Brands, Marketing, Data

26 March 2015 16:06

Nine, that's a magic number
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

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

"Nine, that's a magic number" or so De La Soul might have sang if they were marketers rather than a New York hip-hop trio. An increasing body of marketing evidence shows that consumers, rather than being rational decision makers, are prey to a number of biases. One of the most interesting biases revolves around the positive impact of prices ending in nine, known as charm prices. For retailers this should be a reason to be cheerful as it means sales can be encouraged with less need for margin destroying price cuts.

At ZenithOptimedia we have run experiments amongst 650 consumers across 6 products, from TVs to bread. For each product we asked about value perceptions. The twist was that we had discrete cells of consumers. Some consumers saw prices ending in 99p, the other groups saw the same good as just one or two pence more expensive. Despite the minor variations in price consumers were 9% more likely to think a brand was good value when the price ended in 9p – this occurred even though the difference in prices was c1%.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

17 March 2015 12:28

The art of not selling
Posted by: James Hurman, Founder, Previously Unavailable
James Hurman

A few years ago, at Colenso BBDO in Auckland, we got a call from Levi's. It was the head of marketing in San Francisco. He introduced himself to our receptionist. She was having a busy moment, heard him say 'Levi's', and put him through to Levi, one of our creatives. Levi came running into the office where I was sitting with our MD and ECD and told us there was a guy from Levi's on the phone wanting to talk to us. He handed us the phone.

The guy from Levi's said he'd seen our work, he loved it, and that he wanted us to make an online film for his new women's product line. He didn't have much money, but he wanted something amazing. And he said that we could do anything we wanted. Excepting doing something illegal or grossly offensive, we would have the decision on what work we made. He wanted our judgment on what was great and what would be seen and shared by his customers.


Subjects: Marketing, Brands

12 March 2015 09:56

Three questions for Asia's retailers
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

Ahead of Retail Congress Asia Pacific, to be held in Singapore on 17-18th March, four members of the speaking line-up shared their thoughts on three of the big questions facing Asia's retailers.

1. How would you define the current momentum of the retail sector in Asia?

Jonathan Yabut | Chief of Staff | AirAsia

"I see it to be robust and progressive heading towards the digital and mobile space. Companies will take advantage of lower retail cost via ecommerce and will find creative ways to overcome challenges in online payment schemes (i.e. lack of credit card or paypal penetration) which I personally believe is a key barrier to realizing a mature online market.

"Meanwhile, this doesn't mean that physical retail will soon slow down. Real estate in Southeast Asia and India is booming. With this comes the explosion of a "mall mania" culture supported by the growing middle class."


Subjects: Marketing

10 March 2015 16:21

Four reasons why the audience journey must be the beating heart of your content strategy
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Sandra Peat, Strategy Director at ONE TWO FOUR.

With the explosion of content, consumers are exposed to more and more messaging from brands, and in their ears, much of it is probably white noise. The ever present challenge is to produce and place powerful content that people want to watch and share, while also delivering on business and marketing objectives. To create memorable moments with consumers and truly springboard the effectiveness of content activity to the next level, there are four key considerations why the audience journey should be at the heart of your content strategy.

Use the audience journey to understand when content is the right solution

The audience journey is a fantastic tool to understand how and where content can be most effective. It is made up of many interactions and experiences, with each one having a different and sometimes a small yet significant impact on an audience's journey.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

06 March 2015 14:09

System 1 good; System 2 bad? Baah! Baah!
Posted by: David Penn, Managing Director, Conquest
David Penn

One of the most powerful insights from cognitive science is the System 1/System 2 dichotomy, coined by Stanovich and West as shorthand for two types of thinking - one fast, resource-efficient and automatic (System 1); the other slow, deliberative and effortful (System 2) . Many in marketing and MR now accept that, because consumer decision making is dominated by System 1, many of our buying decisions are fast, flawed and emotional, rather than slow, logical and consistent. So far so good, but I’m worried that a sheep-like acceptance that System 1 is somehow  ‘good’ for marketing, whereas System 2 is  ‘bad’ might lead us  into some ‘woolly’ thinking about how to measure consumer response.  


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

05 March 2015 10:23

Tapping into the power of positivity
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Nick Bedford, Head of Sales and General Manager at Looking Glass Experiential.

It is a fact widely acknowledged that marketing will be more effective when the audiences are in a positive frame of mind. Many studies have been conducted to investigate in-store purchase triggers, including how far music influences mood and propensity to buy. A US study in 2011 even found that the very act of shopping can actively elevate the mood and make people feel better. Many creative campaigns, such as the McVitie's campaign featuring small fluffy animals emerging from biscuit packets, are geared towards generating this positivity in people.

Less well investigated is the amplification effect of communicating with people at times when they are already likely to be in a relaxed and positive mindset. For example, when visiting shopping centres, shoppers are already primed to receive messages on what to buy. This even applies when consumers are at the airport, before leaving for a holiday, ready to experience new things, but also relaxing and winding down. In malls, our research has found that 51 per cent of shoppers will make a spontaneous purchase on a visit, with average spend per visit in the UK's flagship shopping malls at close to £100. This presents an opportunity few brands could pass up.


Subjects: Marketing

03 March 2015 17:30

Five priorities for media directors in 2015
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Matt Green, senior marketing communications manager at the WFA.

The WFA has a wonderful vantage point on what the world's biggest companies are struggling with in media. Our MEDIAFORUM is a think-tank of contemporaries that discuss their struggles and try to leverage their experience to identify possible solutions.

It's a brains trust of people from the companies that help make pretty much every household name in almost every sector that you might care to think of.

One of our most recent meetings was able to access ideas and insights from all over the world with members of our WFA network in New York, joined by video link from London and Singapore to ensure that we had a viewpoint from senior marketers across the globe.


Subjects: Marketing

03 March 2015 10:40

Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
Faris Yakob

Human beings rarely say exactly what they mean. One of the unspoken rules of being English, as identified by anthropologist Kate Fox, is the 'rule of not being earnest'. The English are constitutionally uncomfortable with too direct an assertion. This is why we love and use irony.

But even our more direct American cousins never say exactly what they mean. No one does. There are so many social and contextual determinants that impact the words we use. What we say, moreover, is accompanied by all kinds of secondary communication which can change its meaning. Irony is an obvious example where the secondary communication completely subverts the nominal meaning. When meta-communication isn't correctly parsed, you get the confusion that sometimes happens to English people in the US. (Or vice versa.)

These secondary communications are called meta-communication and they are an essential part of human interactions. They may be congruent with, or contradictory of, the content. What does a brand's meta-communication say and how does it impact the messages and content so lovingly crafted by its agencies?


Subjects: Brands, Marketing

02 March 2015 16:44

New technology makes old technology redundant
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Returning to work after the festive season, we found ourselves comparing our children's respective Christmas present lists. And we noticed something surprising. Between us, we have three children, ranging from six to 21 years of age. And on all their wishlists, alongside the stuff you'd expect modern kids to desire – clothes, money and electronic gadgets – there were a lot of books. Not e-books, but real, paper books.

And what was noticeable was that all the kids spent lots of time reading these good old-fashioned books over the holidays. Not because they had to – there were plenty of other electronic options – but because they wanted to. One of them even spent New Year's Eve reading a book from the public library, of all things, ignoring her pile of shiny Christmas presents.

Surely not? Aren't books supposed to be dead? Don't kids spend all their time nowadays Snapchatting, watching YouTube and updating Facebook instead? It seems not. On New Year's Day, one of us had the odd experience of being the only one Facebooking while the rest of the family were engrossed in their books.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

13 February 2015 14:01


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