The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Four key themes from MEC's Music Week
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Mark Knight, strategy director at MEC.

MEC Access hosted a week-long programme that explored the multifaceted and ever-evolving opportunities that music presents to brands.

In the past ten years, the music industry has changed immeasurably, with declining physical sales, the growth of streaming models and the coming of age of mobile. Around 39% of the music industry's revenue now comes from digital channels and the number of paying subscribers to subscription services rose to 28 million in 2013, up 40% on 2012 (IFPI Digital Music Report 2014). These changes have resulted in greater and more varied brand partner involvement, as music rights holders look to exploit their rights, promote their artists and make up for the shortfall left by declining sales incomes.


Subjects: Marketing

21 November 2014 16:13

How to change the world
Posted by: James Hurman, Founder, Previously Unavailable
James Hurman

In 2010 in Stockholm, an innovative speed camera system was trialled for the first time. It quickly proved to be extremely effective in changing driver behaviour for the better. Much more so than normal speed cameras. The results were published and spread virally, amazing everybody who saw them. Then, after just three days, the speed camera was taken down and put away. It was never used, anywhere in the world, ever again.

That speed camera was part of a Volkswagen campaign by DDB Stockholm called The Fun Theory'. They gamified staircases, litter cans and bottle bins to show how easy it was to change people's behaviour by making chore-ish experiences more fun.

The 'speed camera lottery' was the best bit of the campaign. They took a speed camera and modified it, so that it took a photo of every car that passed, rather than just the speeding ones. Those exceeding the speed limit were fined, just like normal. But those travelling at or below the speed limit were each given a chance to win the money collected from the speeders. They rewarded good behaviour rather than just punishing bad behaviour. And average speed fell 22% to well beneath the speed limit.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

19 November 2014 14:09

Price is in the eye of the beholder
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

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

Recent work by psychologists such as Daniel Kahneman has revealed many insights into how our minds work. Kahneman has popularised the idea that rather than being rational calculating machines we respond to the dizzying amount of information around us by relying on a series of mental short-cuts, or in his terms heuristics. Many of these short-cuts are prone to biases.

One of the most interesting biases is that we struggle to judge scale in an absolute sense. Instead we make relative judgements: we term an item as large or small by comparing it to other items around us.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

18 November 2014 17:22

#MontyThePenguin Vs #ChristmasIsForSharing: The battle of the British Christmas Ads
Posted by: Emily Barley, Editorial Assistant, Warc
Emily Barley

The big debate is on. Has John Lewis done it again with #MontyThePenguin? Or might Sainsbury's have pulled it out of the bag?

John Lewis has done so well with its Christmas ads in the past that people have begun to anticipate its launch. This year was the turn of a cute little penguin in search of love – lovely, but perhaps not quite as powerful as previous campaigns.


Subjects: Advertising, Brands, Marketing

14 November 2014 16:22

'Owning' an equity, repositioning strategies, m-health, reaching millennials and music mnemonics: Highlights from Warc Prize Asia 2014
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy went live on last night. Warc subscribers can browse all 176 of them here. The awards recognise the best strategic thinking in the region - campaigns that demonstrate interesting and original ideas that help a brand meet its objectives. Hindustan Unilever won the Grand Prix award while The Akanksha Foundation, NetEase, a Chinese news portal Pampers, and Gillette were awarded Gold.

I’ve dug a little deeper into the 176 case studies to showcase several campaigns that stood out - perhaps for their innovative use of media, or for successfully overcoming difficult marketing challenges.


Subjects: Awards, Marketing, Advertising

14 November 2014 14:06

Mythbuster: Is it ownable
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the question 'is it ownable?'

Here we go again, we thought. It has happened so many times before. A senior client eagerly anticipates the unveiling of a new campaign idea. The reveal and the slow smile. He really likes it. It will stand out brilliantly – generally and from his competitors. He agrees with us that this will be an intriguing and distinctive tone of voice.

He doesn't even mind that we are not showing the target audience in the ad. But then we show our endline, which sums up the campaign idea and would be used across all our communications. He seems to like that too… at first. Then the moment's pause. And the four-word question: 'But is it ownable?'

It's interesting how often this question crops up. And it's interesting, too, how little it is challenged and picked apart to understand what false thinking might lie behind it. So what does it mean for an endline (or any other brand property) to be 'ownable'?


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising

12 November 2014 14:49

The wonky ladder: when sales and marketing don’t speak the same language
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

The first step in strong sales and marketing partnerships is understanding what each other are talking about. If you don’t have the same definitions of success, then your ladder to success is going to be wonky and possibly dangerous. Here are 5 terms that sales and marketing teams define differently. What others can you think of?

The wonky ladder: when sales and marketing don’t speak the same language


Subjects: Marketing

10 November 2014 10:35

Secrets of the world's smartest creative agency
Posted by: Joseph Clift, Digital Product Manager, Warc
Joseph Clift

Earlier this year, we announced the Warc 100 – our ranking of the smartest marketing campaigns and companies of the year, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy awards. And taking the number one spot on the creative agencies rankings was an agency far from the traditional ad industry powerhouses of London and New York: Colenso BBDO, based in Auckland, New Zealand.

Colenso had an exceptionally strong showing on our ranking of the top 100 campaigns of the year, with work for food brand Tip Top, V, the energy drink and Mountain Dew all making the cut. But how can other agencies learn from all this success? According to Andy McLeish, Colenso's head of planning, replicating this success is a matter of taking risks, establishing clear metrics... and keeping clients' trust.


Subjects: Awards, Advertising, Marketing

29 October 2014 14:13

Sensory marketing, product launches, influencer strategies and avoiding cannibalisation: Highlights from IPA Effectiveness Awards 2014
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The IPA Effectiveness Awards are live on – subscribers can browse all 70 of them here. These rigorous awards recognise advertising campaigns that demonstrate clear proof of their effectiveness. Fosters, the beer brand, took the Grand Prix award while Specsavers, Transport for London and The British Heart Foundation were among the brands awarded Gold.

I’ve dug a little deeper into the 70 case studies to showcase several campaigns that stood out - perhaps for their innovative use of media, or for successfully overcoming difficult marketing challenges.


Subjects: Awards, Marketing, Advertising

29 October 2014 09:09

eCommerce: how to represent your brand well in online stores
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

When has a week gone by for you when you haven’t shopped on line for a brand? For most of us in our team at least, shopping online or using mobile during the shopping experience has become a habit.

From Showrooming (looking at products in store and buying on line), to Webrooming (looking at products on line and then buying in store) to Boomerooming (researching on line, seeing and touching the product in store and then buying on line) we are changing our shopping habits and the implications for retailers and brands is profound.


Subjects: Marketing, Data, Digital

28 October 2014 14:17


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