The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Corporate psychopaths?
Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
Faris Yakob

Corporate personhood has a long-standing basis in law. Indeed, the idea that the corporation is a separate legal entity from the people who own it and work there is the foundation of corporate law. Companies don't automatically get the same rights as people (because they aren't people), but it starts them along a metaphorical pathway.

The idea became very divisive following a Supreme Court ruling, ironically called Citizens United, which sought to remove caps on individual political contributions, and corporations argued similar protections.

The idea that corporations are 'people' is the core idea of modern branding, based on an insight Stephen King gleaned during focus groups for detergents. Humans anthropomorphise everything, including brands, appending personality traits to inanimate objects. King leveraged this observation into one of the great insights in advertising: the brand construct can function like a personality construct; people like different constructs for arbitrary reasons, and; this is malleable through advertising. So psychological attributes were built into brands and briefs.


Subjects: Brands

01 May 2015 17:06

Are we over-the-counter culture?
Posted by: Eaon Pritchard, Strategic planning consultant, Australia
Eaon Pritchard

What follows is an excerpt (and slight expansion) from a section of a talk I gave at the inaugral Google 'Firestarters' event in Melbourne last week.

The theme was 'Adaptive Strategy for an Adaptive Age'.

In this particular section of the talk I speculated around some of the external cultural factors that have implications for strategy (rather than discussing specifics of strategy or process and the like).

To illustrate I called upon two important texts in particular plus a snippet of a recent interview in the Observer with Don Letts – legendary DJ, film-maker, Rasta punk and musician with Big Audio Dynamite – and the significance of the performance given by KLF at the Brits in 1992.


Subjects: Consumers

28 April 2015 10:01

Market Research Summit: Interview with Rhea Fox & Steve Wills
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by the Market Research Summit.

The Market Research Summit 2015 team talked with Rhea Fox, Head of Research with eBay UK and Steve Wills, Director of The Insight Academy, to find out more about the new approach they are proposing to prove Return on Research and Analysis, which they will be discussing at Market Research Summit 2015 on 19 May.

First of all, how have you two come together to work on this project to create a methodology for measuring Return on Research and Analysis?

SW: We run a best practice community, the Insights Management Forum, which brings together 25 major companies to focus on different issues and eBay is one of our members. We set the Forum up 10 years ago and one of the first projects we agreed to look at what how to prove ROI on insight – it was the holy grail back then and it's still the holy grail now. In recent years, we have seen companies get better and better at it – we've been working with Rhea at eBay who has particularly taken this cause to heart and created real progress.


Subjects: Marketing

27 April 2015 17:24

Are marketers just too timid to embrace System1?
Posted by: David Penn, Managing Director, Conquest
David Penn

Are the traditional tools of market research – surveys with explicit, direct questions – still up to the job of measuring brands in the new era? The explosion of new understanding about how the mind works could not have been foreseen by the founders of market research, back in the 50s, but modern practitioners have less excuse for still using more or less the same approaches. Traditional (System 2) methods still dominate: researchers still ask direct questions (and people still answer them), but any marketer or MR professional with even a smattering of knowledge of recent developments in mind science would surely ask: Is that all there is?


Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Data

23 April 2015 10:49

If it's not love, then it's the bomb that will bring us together
Posted by: Eaon Pritchard, Strategic planning consultant, Australia
Eaon Pritchard

For a time during World War II, the chances of a member of US bomber crews actually making it back from any given mission were on the side of slim.

The nature of the work meant that bombers were out for a long time; they were massive cumbersome planes visible from a long way away, and their ability to do serious damage if successful meant they were the number one targets of both the guns on the ground and in the air.

For the bomber crews, each subsequent mission piled up the odds against them making it back this time.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

22 April 2015 12:31

Programmatic marketing is the key to reaching millennials
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Marie Dalton, marketing director at Connexity.

Brand managers ask if it's possible to launch branding initiatives programmatically but for many companies that's the wrong question. What they need to ask is: 'How quickly can I get good at it?'

Why the urgency? Look no further than the newest employees joining our companies; in the majority of cases they'll be millennials.

The seismic shift rivals the rise of the Boomers

We are living through a seismic shift in demographics. Millennials – the 20 million people who were born sometime in the early 1980's to the early 2000s – are one of the largest generations in the history of the UK. Indeed by 2030, there will be more Millennials than all other generations combined in the US, and the UK won't be far behind. Remember when the Boomers dominated consumer culture? They are now making way for their grandchildren.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital

21 April 2015 15:22

You are not a number!
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Charlie Meredith, Managing Director at Time Inc. UK Advertising.

People – I mean real people – are all too easily forgotten. Advertisers and marketers spend so much time thinking about them that they forget who they really are. People are not consumers, target audiences or data segments that can be matched to a set of behaviours, interests, some medical records and an address.

Well okay, we all are. But that's not all we are.

We are individuals, uniquely shaped by our experiences, emotions and intuitions, and more than ever before we are determined to be 'the best we can be'. Self-actualisation is right at the top of the bucket list – in fact, all we hear now are the things that make us feel as though we're trying to catch up in life.


Subjects: Consumers, Brands

17 April 2015 18:02

Social media: Out with the old, in with the new?
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Edward Kitchingman.

Despite the strong performance of rivals such as Instagram, whatsapp and Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook are fighting back in the social war.

Social is becoming a more visual medium full of images, gifs and emojis. The growing strength of these image based platforms was highlighted in the recent GWI 2014 Social Report, which found that Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram were the fastest-growing platforms in 2014 and Snapchat the fastest growing social messaging app in 2014.

Facebook, of the eight main networks, was the only platform that had a decline in active usage (a 9% decline globally; 7% UK decline) and that growth has stagnated to 1%. Of course, Facebook has got so big and all-encompassing that it was bound to reach a plateau – and it is still miles ahead of its rivals in terms of active users (1.39 billion to be exact, compared with rivals who can muster 300m at best) and members. With numbers like that, it will remain the biggest platform for years to come, but the grip of Facebook on our daily lives is loosening.


Subjects: Digital

17 April 2015 08:21

'Low interest' categories
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

We had a briefing for a new campaign the other day. It was for a financial product, and it started with an explanation of how it worked. The briefing concluded with 'this is, of course, a very low interest category'.

This is a familiar phrase to any of us who work on finance brands or utilities – the classic 'low interest' categories. And it is often assumed these are 'rational' purchases, implying others are more emotional and 'high interest'. In our opinion, those assumptions are flawed.

We may spend our days understanding the fine details of our clients' products, monitoring closely the competition and advertising, but if we've any sense, we'll realise that ordinary people don't care much about any of that stuff. As far as they're concerned, almost all purchases are low interest.


Subjects: Marketing

16 April 2015 09:36

In Vloggers We Trust
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Ian Samuel, Managing Director Brand Solutions at Rightster.

In its tenth anniversary year, the reach and popularity of YouTube as a media channel has arguably never been greater. The channel has matured considerably in this time and even created its own stars: vloggers with subscriber bases whose circulation figures exceed established daily newspapers. These viewers are highly engaged and tend to consist of millennials, digital natives and many brands' core youth target audiences. It's no surprise then, that many brands have followed these audiences to YouTube and engaged with popular vloggers to collaborate on branded campaigns.

However, a small number of these have not been conducted with the kind of transparency expected in branded promotions. In turn, this has caught the attention of the ASA which has called for more regulation of this energetic and exciting channel, and led to an industry debate around this emerging and powerful engagement method.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

15 April 2015 09:29


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