P&G axes agency fees by $500m

27 April 2015
CINCINNATI: Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world's largest advertiser, plans to cut its non-media marketing costs by as much as $500m, the company's chief financial officer has announced.

Speaking to analysts during an earnings call last Thursday, Jon Moeller said the FMCG multinational regards the amount it spends on agency fees as a "significant opportunity" for cutting costs.

He said: "We plan to significantly simplify and reduce the number of agency relationships and the cost associated with the current complexity and inefficiency, while upgrading the agency capability to improve creative quality and communication effectiveness.

"We've seen opportunity for up to £0.5bn in cost savings in this area, along with stronger communication to consumers across all touch points."

In its bid to deliver "more with less", P&G is shifting more advertising to digital media, social, video and mobile, but Moeller emphasised that does not mean digital advertising will replace traditional media. They complement each other, he said.

However, he said non-media savings could be found from "fees, production costs for agencies we use for advertising, media, public relations, package design and development of in-store materials".

P&G's announcement came as it reported worse-than-expected third quarter results with net income falling to $2.15bn compared with $2.61bn a year earlier.

The company is in the midst of exiting 100 brands as it aims to focus on 65 leading core brands, covering just seven categories.

Moeller said these brands would play to P&G's core strengths of consumer understanding, innovation and branding and enable more resources to be devoted to the biggest opportunities.

To date, P&G has made divestitures of more than 40 brands, he said, or about 40% of its overall target. These include some household names, such as Duracell batteries and Camay soap.

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff


Bloggers want better brand content

27 April 2015
LONDON: Although most brands and agencies are aware that bloggers can be powerful brand ambassadors, they are not making the most of the channel because they frequently get their pitches wrong, a recent report has warned.

This is particularly the case when they execute campaigns involving influential female bloggers, only 13% of whom believe brands and agencies know how to work with them effectively.

This was a central finding discovered by consultants Hill+Knowlton Strategies in a survey of 350 "mum bloggers" conducted in partnership with the BritMums blogging community, PR Week reported.

The survey found that, even though 71% of women bloggers are approached by up to 20 brands a week, less than a fifth of these pitches are included in the blogs of 78% of respondents while another fifth do not publish any brand content at all.

The problem is not that women bloggers are opposed to brand content – a full 90% are keen to work with brands – but it is the way they are approached that makes the difference.

Bloggers expect to be treated differently from journalists, they do not want to receive generic press releases and they require brands to read their blogs and understand their interests.

Relevancy is essential to gaining the engagement of these bloggers, who say they want a well-informed approach tailored specifically to them.

"Brands and agencies need to recognise it's not a one-size-fits-all when executing a campaign," said Claire Candler, head of Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Marketing to Mums.

"With personal stories driving the most engagement, brands would be well advised to consider how their proprietary content can translate into a truly authentic and emotional narrative from a blogger."

She continued: "The common mistakes and the extent to which brand communication is misfiring with this audience certainly make for uncomfortable reading.

"Now it's time to play catch-up on working more effectively with these powerful women – both as consumers and influencers – if we're to leverage their ability to unlock the prized 'mummy pound'."

Data sourced from PR Week; additional content from Warc


Streaming overtakes live TV

27 April 2015
NEW YORK: More Americans now prefer to watch streamed programming rather than live TV, according to a new survey, which also found the trend of binge-watching is gaining in popularity.

Over half (56%) of US consumers now stream movies, while 53% stream TV, as compared to 45% of consumers who prefer to watch TV programmes live.

These findings come from the latest Digital Democracy Survey by Deloitte, the professional services firm, and are based on the opinions of more than 2,000 consumers aged 14 and above.

Now in its ninth edition, the report confirmed that streaming is especially popular among younger consumers, who are watching more content on mobile devices than on a TV.

Among respondents aged 14-25, who are described as Trailing Millennials, nearly 60% of the time they spend watching movies occurs on computers, tablets and smartphones.

This is making movie viewing habits "decidedly age-dependent", the report said, although the phenomenon of binge-watching is prevalent among all age groups.

More than two-thirds (68%) of US consumers engage in binge-watching, or watching three or more programmes in one sitting, and almost a third (31%) do so at least once a week.

"Personal viewing experiences and the ability to consume media at your own pace is significantly impacting how US consumers value their content devices and services," said Gerald Belson, vice chairman, Deloitte and US Media and Entertainment sector leader.

"Today, binge-watching, and the ability to watch what we want, when we want, and where we want, is an exciting cultural phenomenon that is shifting consumer behaviours and attitudes towards curating an individual experience."

The report also found that a full 90% of consumers now multi-task while watching TV, but of particular note for advertisers, nearly 75% tend to multi-task more during TV ads.

This suggests consumers pay more attention to digital ads than they do to traditional TV ads, the report said.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (62%) say they would be willing to view ads during their streamed programming experience as long as they can receive discounts, such as lower subscription rates.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff


Amazon trials car boot service

27 April 2015
MUNICH: Amazon has come up with an innovative solution to the problem of missed deliveries and plans to test a new service next month that will deliver packages directly to customers' cars.

The online retailer has teamed up with delivery firm DHL and Audi, the German automaker, to send parcels to Audi-owning, Amazon Prime customers in Munich.

Using Audi's in-care communications system, Connect, DHL delivery drivers will use GPS to track a customer's vehicle and then use a special, one-time, keyless code to unlock the boot, ZDNet reported.

Once a package is safely delivered and the boot is shut, the car automatically locks and the owner then receives confirmation via email.

If the trial proves to be successful, Amazon says it plans to roll out the service to other car manufacturers around the world.

However, Audi isn't the first automaker to explore this technology. Swedish automaker Volvo started testing a goods and groceries delivery service last year and is currently exploring whether it could be improved with an app.

Nonetheless, Michael Pasch, director of EU Amazon Prime, expressed confidence that the trial with Audi will work well for its customers.

"We are working to offer Prime members a delivery location that is always available and convenient: the trunk of their car," he said. "This innovation makes shopping at Amazon even easier and more flexible. It gives customers another way to receive their orders."

News of the development came as Amazon announced sales from North America increased 24% to $13.4bn in the first quarter of the year and that its cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services, achieved growth of 50% to $1.57bn.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive, said the unit was another good example of how the company approaches ideas and risk-taking.

Data sourced from Amazon, ZDNet, Computing, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff


550m digital users in India by 2018

27 April 2015
NEW DELHI: Rapid digital penetration in India will increase the number of connected consumers to 550 million in 2018 and their changing demographic profile is likely to affect future purchasing behaviour, a new report has concluded.

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), significant change will take place over the next three years and this will present both opportunities and challenges for marketers and content providers.

Its report, entitled "Digital India: Insights for Marketers and Media Companies", predicts India's digital user base will include many more women, older generations and people living in rural areas.

Women accounted for 25% of digital consumers in 2013, but the proportion is expected to rise to a third in 2018. This will have an important bearing on Indian ecommerce because women control 44% of household spending.

Similarly, older users have more disposable income and their numbers are set to grow too. By 2018, more than half (54%) will be 25 years and older, up from 40% in 2013

Finally, there will be a significant shift in rural India with about half of all online consumers living in smaller towns and villages, as compared with 29% in 2013.

Rural users are also moving straight to mobile devices, the report found, and some 70% of them access the internet from their mobiles. Overall mobile connectivity in India is expected to grow to between 70% and 80% in 2018.

This changing digital landscape is also likely to pose challenges for content providers, especially TV companies, who risk losing out to online media, BCG said.

This is because it found that consumers who have been online for less than a year spend 30% of their time consuming media on their digital devices, but this rises to 42% among those who have been connected for more than five years.

Kanchan Samtani, a BCG partner and co-author of the report, warned print and TV companies to move quickly to ensure they maintain their relevance in the digital age.

"The question for publishers and electronic media companies alike is one of opportunity," she said. "Can publishers translate off-line print dominance into digital attraction? Can print and TV companies stake out digital territory?"

Data sourced from BCG; additional content by Warc staff


MilkPEP mixes science and stories

27 April 2015
CHICAGO: Finding the right blend of science and storytelling has helped the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) boost sales of chocolate milk in the US by demonstrating its recovery benefits for athletes.

Julia Kadison, CEO of MilkPEP - a consortium of milk processors that funds non-branded national promotional efforts - discussed this subject at the Brand Activation Association's (BAA) 2015 Brand Activation Annual Showcase (BAASH).

After years of positioning the product as a kids' treat, the organisation was able to draw on "a growing body of evidence that showed that chocolate milk was a good - in fact, a preferred - recovery beverage for athletes".

These fitness fanatics are concerned about "what they put in their body", Kadison continued, and thus required hard facts proving that chocolate milk could back up its claims.

"They want to make sure that the science backs it up," she said. (For more, including results from MilkPEP's latest campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: How athletes usurped chocolate milk from kids.)

"Chocolate milk has a lot of benefits and competitive advantages - including the cost and [its status as] the natural source for recovery - so we really felt like we could play in the space."

While the scientific data may have supported chocolate milk's aspirations, telling its story would be vital if the brand was to successfully challenge rival offerings like Gatorade's G3 and EAS.

"The campaign objective was really simple: we needed to get athletes to start consuming chocolate milk post-exercise," said Kadison.

In achieving that aim, the brand has allied with former NFL star Hines Ward and retired speed skater Apolo Ohno, who both trained for eight months for the IRONMAN World Championships, drinking chocolate milk along the way.

"We needed a story to tell. We had to talk about it; it wasn't something that could come across in a few bites or clips," said Kadison.

"We needed some long-form content so we could really tell the story … We needed to also be face-to-face with athletes, so that we could talk to them about exactly why chocolate milk made sense for their recovery."

Data sourced from Warc


Huawei outlines expansion plans

27 April 2015
SHENZHEN: Huawei, the Chinese smartphone maker, plans to more than double its network of stores around the world to 70,000 by the end of 2017, the company's CMO has revealed.

More than half of its 30,000 current stores are based in China, Glory Zhang said in comments reported by cio.com, but she expected the balance to begin to shift by the end of this year.

It plans to build its presence abroad by selling more mid-range and high-end smartphones, which currently account for over a third (34%) of its total shipments, and aims to create a network of retail service centres around the world.

Taking on Apple and Samsung in the US remains a goal and last week David He, the company's president of marketing for its enterprise group, confirmed that Huawei is "continually working" to expand there.

It hopes it can attract US consumers to its new high-end devices, but the company remains stymied by ongoing official suspicion about its alleged links with the Chinese government.

Indeed, the US House Intelligence Committee concluded in 2012 that the telecoms giant posed a threat to national security and advised US firms to seek an alternative supplier.

But the company seems undaunted and nor is it phased by stiff competition from other Chinese vendors, such as Lenovo, Xiaomi and ZTE.

Zhang pointed to its success in the Chinese market and the recent launch of quality devices, such as the P8, which sold out on its launch day in China.

"We've done this for a long time," she said. "We feel deeply that it's easy to make a phone, but hard to make a good one."

Data sourced from cio.com, Wall Street Journal, Phone Arena; additional content by Warc staff


ANA/4A's tackle media transparency

27 April 2015
NEW YORK: The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) are joining forces to take "decisive action" in response to growing concerns about media transparency.

Following a recent - and rather fiery - debate surrounding the alleged pervasiveness of US agencies receiving media rebates, the two bodies will form a taskforce to examine such issues and identify "pragmatic courses of action".

"We are genuinely pleased that the leaders of our industry recognise that transparency concerns - real and perceived - need to be addressed and mitigated," Bob Liodice, the ANA's president/ceo, said in a statement. (For more details on this and other pressing tasks facing the media sector, read Warc's report: ANA pinpoints challenges and opportunities of media evolution.)

"Media transactions have become increasingly complex and our priorities must include recommended practices that enhance the understanding of the transaction processes."

Scheduled to start work in early May and report its findings later in 2015, this expert panel will contain a mix of senior agency- and client-side executives.

The former group features Bill Koenigsberg, president/ceo of Horizon Media and 4A's board chairman, Laura Desmond, global ceo of Starcom MediaVest Group, Irwin Gotlieb, chairman of GroupM Worldwide, and Daryl Simm, chairman/ceo of Omnicom Media Group.

Representing brand owners are Tony Pace, cmo of Subway and ANA board chairman, Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's chief brand officer and the ANA board vice chair, Luis Di Como, Unilever's svp/global media and Nadine Karp McHugh, svp/omnimedia, strategy investments and creative solutions at L'Oréal USA.

Nancy Hill, ceo of the 4A's, suggested that the work of these industry heavyweights would be essential in strengthening client-agency relationships going forwards.

"The taskforce has a very important focus - to ensure that the long-standing partnership between clients and agencies is grounded in trust and understanding," she said.

"The issues that we face can be solved and together we are committed to establishing a framework that will ensure that trusted partnership continues".

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by Warc staff


Consumers use 5 devices when shopping

24 April 2015
GLOBAL: With consumers now using an average of five devices when making a purchase – up from 2.8 a year ago – the need for brands and retailers to offer an omnichannel, multi-screen experience has never been more urgent, a new study has said.

According to the 2015 Connected Commerce study, produced by marketing agency DigitasLBi and based on a survey of 17,000 adult web users across 17 countries, consumers are now starting to embrace wearable devices – 17% own one – in addition to computers, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.

And as they use more devices so too they are becoming more comfortable in moving beyond traditional e-commerce activities on desktop and laptop into mobile commerce (28%) and shopping via tablets (20%).

The survey also showed that in-store pick-up is becoming a particular favourite of shoppers, with 51% taking advantage of click-and-collect services globally, a figure that jumps to 73% in the UK.

"Customers want to save time and money whilst being able to choose from more ways to shop than ever before," said Jim Herbert, CEO of DigitasLBi Commerce. "Mobile is set to fundamentally change the retail experience."

He noted that mobile was increasingly becoming the platform of choice for bargain hunters on the go: "85% of those surveyed now use smartphones whilst in-store; a further 55% of consumers claim that smartphones have changed the way they shop altogether."

Further, 62% of smartphone users said they would be happy to use their devices to pay in-store, and Herbert speculated that the launch of Apple Pay in the US could help make 2015 "the year of mobile payment".

The study also found that social shopping is gaining traction, with 28% of social network users around the world claiming to have purchased an item directly via a social media platform.

Other social elements such as online reviews were also shown to be gaining importance in the purchasing process: 66% of shoppers read them when buying online and 36% when shopping in-store.

A sure way to the consumer's pocket, the survey suggested, is personalisation. Six in ten (62%) respondents said they bought more and/or more often when presented with a personalised retail experience.

Nor was this necessarily limited to online shopping, as 70% also said were more likely to embrace new in-store technologies such as GPS and WiFi tracking if they received customised benefits in return, such as personalised money-off vouchers.

Data sourced from DigitasLBi; additional content by Warc staff


Family food focus misses millennials

24 April 2015
LONDON: Many food and drinks brands are missing an opportunity to reach one in five of the UK's population as new research shows that very few millennials feel that their family-focused advertising is relevant to them.

Creative agency Haygarth and brand insight specialists Flamingo polled 1,000 18-29 year olds and 250 parents. They found that only 11% of the younger age group thought food advertising in general was aimed at them.

Brands appear to be ignoring "the Instagram effect", Marketing reported, as millennials shared images of their food on social media on average three times a week.

The importance of social media was further highlighted by the finding that almost half (47%) cited this channel as a major source of cooking inspiration.

In contrast, 70% of parents had never shared a picture of their food on social media and only 15% were inspired by cooking ideas they found there.

Millennials were also twice as likely as their parents to be attracted to new product messaging, and the importance of the visual element was reinforced as they said attractive packaging design significantly impacted their purchasing decisions.

Novelty was another factor: more than a third (35%) tried six or more new recipes or ingredients each month, compared to fewer than 13% of parents.

Sophie Daranyi, Haygarth CEO, noted that this age group was already spending almost as much as their parents each week on food. "As they progress through their lives and their disposable income grows, the opportunity for brands who successfully recruit them as advocates is immense," she said.

Family-oriented messaging does not just exclude millennials, however, according to Martin Oxley, managing director of online market research provider Buzzback, who pointed out that "there are multiple issues going on with the fragmentation of households and older people living longer".

He told The Grocer: "I suspect that middle group is getting smaller and we should be looking at the peripheral – whether that be millennials, singletons or older people – a bit more."

Data sourced from Marketing, The Grocer; additional content by Warc staff


Human insights drive Coke

24 April 2015
CHICAGO: Coca-Cola's highly successful "Share a Coke" campaign shows the power of tapping human insight rather than focusing on functional concerns, according to a leading executive from the company.

Evan Holod, brand director at the Coca-Cola Company, discussed this subject at the Brand Activation Association's (BAA) 2015 Brand Activation Annual Showcase (BAASH) assembly in Chicago.

And he asserted that "Share a Coke" – which replaces the brand's name on its packaging with popular first names from each country where it is introduced – drew on a core truth about shoppers, not beverages.

"We started with a very simple insight: 'The most special moments in life are the moments that we share with others'," he said. (For more, including the role played by discovery, invitation and storytelling in this campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Marketing drives reversal of Coke sales decline.)

"Compared with 'People like orange-flavoured beverages' or 'People prefer this amount of sweetness', it was a human insight."

Given the primary emphasis was placed upon sharing the Coke experience, so the central premise "was not about names", even though that was the most visible element of this effort.

"Names are on the packages. Names were the tactic. Names were the way that we drove the connection. But the connection itself is the idea. The story that we told through the campaign is all about sharing," said Holod.

"You really won't ever see us say, 'Find your name'; it's always, 'Share a Coke.'"

As Coca-Cola's packaging constitutes an invaluable piece of marketing real estate, so the tactical side of this program helped encourage sharing in a manner that exerted an immediate impact on consumers in stores.

"We knew we had to keep it simple," said Holod. "The idea had to be something that could be communicated in a nanosecond: the moment that you walked by a cooler, it had to communicate."

And in combination, the messaging and tactical activation were perfectly calibrated for the social-media age.

"The idea itself lends itself to social media in a way like probably no campaign in our history," said Holod. "We really used social media to fuel the conversation."

Data sourced from Warc


Publishers need viewability base rates

24 April 2015
NEW YORK: Publishers need to understand the viewability measurement methodologies their vendor uses and establish a viewability baseline rate for use in negotiations, a leading industry figure has said.

"As a publisher, you need to understand what you can deliver, and then what you can bring to market and transact," according to Rob Rasko, founder of 614 Group, which has issued a white paper on this issue.

In Viewability: State of Operations Analysis and Vendor Study, the digital consultancy identifies two major issues it says have limited the adoption of transacting media based on viewability.

These are discrepancies in viewability counts and a lack of forecasting preparedness.

"It's time for a reset of expectations around viewability," Rasko told Ad Exchanger, as he reported that "every single vendor answered that they measure in a slightly different way and count NHT (non-human traffic) in a different way.

"If they're all counting in a different way, how would you expect the numbers would match up?" he asked.

The white paper noted that as 100% viewability is currently unattainable, "publishers and buyers will need to transact their buys based on a defensible viewability baseline rate for each publisher".

It suggested that the viewability base rate could then act as the starting point for all media-buy negotiations, including upfronts.

Separately, David Gunzerath of the Media Ratings Council, argued that while overall viewability rates hadn't improved in 2014, that might be because of the improvements that have occurred in measuring viewability in a wider range of environments.

Measured Rates, or the percentage of impressions for which the viewable status of the impression can be determined, "have undoubtedly improved significantly over the last 12-18 months", he told MediaPost.

He expected that viewability rates would improve further in 2015 and said the MRC was aiming to reduce the variation in viewabilty rates recorded by different vendors for the same campaign to "no greater than 5-10%".

"We think buyers and sellers should focus more on viewable impression counts than viewability rates as the transition from buying and selling on served ads to viewable ads progresses," he said.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, MediaPost, 614 Group; additional content by Warc staff


Aussie TV faces shake-up

24 April 2015
SYDNEY: The Australian TV landscape is changing rapidly as people shift their viewing to digital devices and as free-to-air (FTA) networks come under increasing pressure from pay TV and streaming networks.

According to Justin Diddams, a media analyst with Citi, the fact that Australia has one of the highest proportions of households viewing FTA commercial networks in the world – more than 70% compared to around 30% in the US – leaves it especially exposed to "new entrants and disruptive technologies".

In a briefing note on the sector, reported by The Australian, he forecast that the leading networks, Seven, Nine and Ten, would see annual audience declines of 2% over the next three years, while the associated advertising market, rather than growing at 2%, would be flat.

His comments echoed those of Danny Bass, chief investment officer at GroupM, who earlier in the week told the Australian Financial Review, "There's a point in time the TV model as we know it breaks and a number of market forces this year tell us that it's this year".

In particular, the cost of content is increasing as advertising yields decline, while audiences are fragmenting as viewers have a greater choice of screens and channels.

A survey by Yahoo7 of 1,000 online Australians revealed that 24% now regularly watch their favourite television shows on devices other than television, including laptops, tablets, mobiles and games consoles. And that figure more than doubles – to 52% – amongst 16-34 year olds.

Yahoo7 product and audience director Caroline Casey also noted that the proportion of TV viewing taking place on gaming consoles had leapt from 3% to 8% in one year.

Another area she highlighted was the growing use of smartphones and tablets to watch TV while commuting – some 53% of respondents said they did this regularly.

"It's a pretty significant number and it's an interesting change in behaviour," said Casey.

Data sourced from The Australian, Australian Financial Review, News.com.au; additional content by Warc staff


Agencies demand clearer briefs

24 April 2015
NEW YORK: Agencies and clients continue to have widely diverging views on important areas of their working relationship, namely briefs and compensation.

A new survey – Enhancing Client/Agency Relations 2015 – carried out by the Association of National Advertisers during Q1 2015 revealed that these remained contentious areas. Just 27% of agencies, for example, reported that clients provided clear assignment briefs, while 58% of clients felt they were doing so.

Similarly, their perceptions of what constituted fair compensation differed significantly. Almost three quarters (72%) of clients thought what they were paying was reasonable, but just 40% of agencies agreed.

The need for a clearer agency assignment process was further emphasised by the gap in attitudes around the client approval process, which 54% of clients were satisfied with against 36% of agencies.

Procurement also emerged as a particular bugbear for the agencies in the survey, just 10% of which felt it added value to the client/agency relationship. And while clients were more enthusiastic, the fact that 47% backed it indicated that even they weren't completely convinced of its worth.

There was closer agreement on the development of in-house client resources, which 54% of clients and 47% of agencies thought were becoming a realistic option for clients.

More optimistically, two thirds (65%) of clients reported that agencies work well with other agencies, with agencies themselves were even more bullish – 88% agreed this was the case.

Despite their concerns the majority of both clients (87%) and agencies (86%) felt that the agency was a valued business partner that played an important role in the client's business strategy and in driving business results.

"We are pleased to see that at the core, client/agency relationships are sound," said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA.

And while that was a cause for optimism, he noted that "there are disturbing legacy issues that continue to plague the partnership" which had been further complicated by transparency concerns.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by Warc staff


India QSR sector struggles for growth

24 April 2015
NEW DELHI: International restaurant brands that have expanded into India are struggling to maintain their initial momentum and some are turning to discounts to attract customers.

For example, Yum! Brands, which owns the Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bells brands, reported an 11% year-on year decline in like-for-like sales in the first quarter of 2015.

It attributed this to "continued softness in the overall macro environment and consumer sentiment", although this view stands at odds with the findings of the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index, which has charted a growing optimism, to the point where online urban India consumers were by the end of 2014 the most confident in the world.

The Economic Times noted similar slowdowns at other large chains, including Domino's Pizza and Dunkin' Donuts, both owned by Jubilant FoodWorks, and McDonald's.

Whatever the current situation, Yum! Brands remained positive on the future, as it plans to open more than 100 new restaurants in 2015.

Getting people through the doors, however, is likely to require significant promotional activity. Both Domino's and Pizza Hut, for example, are already running "buy one, get one free" offers on different days of the week, while McDonald's has a cash back offer which can be used on a mobile recharge site.

Coffee chains seeking a similar demographic are also coming up with promotional offers – Starbucks is offering 40% discount vouchers to people buying at certain times – and that, according to one industry figure, is part of the problem for the eating-out sector.

"The QSR and cafe industry is getting into a circular firing-squad formation, trying to kill each other to grab market share, as if this is the only way to grow in an early stage growth market," said Jaspal Singh Sabharwal, partner at Everstone Capital, local master franchisee for Burger King.

He suggested that one factor that had slowed the market was that millennials were spending their money on online deals for fashion and phone products, so leaving less for eating out.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff


Tesco focuses on the customer

23 April 2015
LONDON: While Tesco's headline results make grim reading – its £6.4bn loss in 2014 was the largest ever seen in UK retail – top executives say their focus on the consumer is starting to pay off.

"More customers are coming through the door and they're buying more with us," said CFO Alan Stewart in an interview for Tesco's own employees.

And chief executive Dave Lewis reaffirmed his intention to rebuild trust in the Tesco brand. "Building of trust is something we have to do every day but we've definitely made progress," he said.

In particular he pointed to the in-store experience, with improvements in availability and service that "make us a dependable ally for customers".

He was also keen to promote "price integrity" as the supermarket chain sought to improve its competitiveness in the UK where it has faced a growing challenge from discount chains such as Lidl and Aldi.

The strategy appears to be working as Tesco's YouGov BrandIndex score – which looks at consumer perception of quality, value, reputation and satisfaction – has increased by 6.8 percentage points to 16.9 over the past six months.

Of the changes coming down the line, Lewis advised employees: "Be really good at what you do. And what are we good at? We're good at serving customers.

"Customers will answer 90% of the questions we have for ourselves," he added.

The size of the loss was largely due to one-off writedowns in the value of the company's property portfolio, as customers signalled a move away from doing big weekly shops at out-of-town superstores.

Bruno Monteyne, senior analyst of food retail at investment firm Bernstein, estimates that 20% of Tesco's store space is "heavily underutilised" and there has been much speculation as to the ways in which that could profitably be used.

Ideas have ranged from opening Sports Direct concessions to converting bigger stores into mini-malls, but veteran retail analyst Richard Hyman, founder of Verdict Research, was sceptical.

"Generally these joint ventures, they don't work," he told the BBC, adding that they came out of a position of weakness. The big supermarkets, he suggested, have just got to get better at their core business of selling foods.

And that, in turn, is likely to mean a renewed focus on price. "I think the price war is down the road – it's going to happen," said Hyman.

Data soured from Tesco, BBC, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


Pay more for less ad clutter

23 April 2015
LONDON: Advertisers should consider paying a premium in order to run their ads in a less cluttered environment according to new research.

ZenithOptimedia surveyed a nationally representative group of 750 consumers in order to assess their responses to an audio ad. Three groups heard the ad at the start of a questionnaire and were asked about details from the audio ad and the likeability of the brand in question once they had completed this.

One group heard the ad by itself, a second group head it as one of a break of three audio ads and a third group heard it as one of six, the last replicating a typical commercial radio break.

"The impact of break length on the correct recollection of ad details was marked," Richard Shotton, ZenithOPtimedia's strategy director, reported in MediaTel.

Respondents were one third more likely to recall details like price when the ad ran alone rather than in a break of six ads.

The effects for likeability were less clear, with solus ads scoring just 10% better than when they were in the most cluttered breaks, although Shotton suggested the results may have been affected by the use of a well-known brand which had existing associations.

He compared the UK experience with that in the US, which runs three times as many ads on TV, and the Philippines, which runs four times as many.

Citing Millward Brown research he noted that its average Awareness Index for the UK stands at six, but this drops to four in the US and to just one in the Philippines.

"A little clutter may be a dangerous thing but a lot is lethal," Shotton observed.

There are two possible reasons at work, the first being people's limited ability to retain information, the second being the increased likelihood that people will do something else during ad breaks.

The conclusion is that, where possible, brands should avoid the longest ad breaks and might consider paying a premium "to secure a superior environment".

Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff


Influencer vision pays off for GoPro

23 April 2015
CHICAGO: GoPro, the camera brand, has driven marketing success by working with a highly diverse group of influencers – from athletes in extreme sports to popular mommy bloggers.

Todd Ballard, GoPro's senior director/lifestyle marketing, discussed this topic at IEG's Sponsorship 2015 conference in Chicago.

And he argued that the brand's "family of ambassadors" has a crucial role in consistently delivering the type of aspirational, inspirational material which encourages consumers to buy its devices.

"What's really made GoPro successful to date is finding those taste-makers and those influencers within each market and in specific niches," he said. (For more, including how the brand is tapping user-generated material, read Warc's exclusive report: GoPro thrives on "virtuous cycle" of content creation.)

"It's kind of the inside-out marketing of start with the influencers and let them influence the masses."

With over 130 athletes in more than 35 sporting disciplines – from skiing and snowboarding to surfing – producing content on its behalf, GoPro has been able to provide unique perspective in a wide variety of ways.

"At the top of that food chain are our athletes and all the different properties that we sponsor that help create that aspirational content," said Ballard.

"We are setting the bar in different sports verticals and different lifestyle verticals to really show … what type of perspectives could be caught from a GoPro camera."

Beyond the sporting world, the company's efforts have extended to partnering with musicians, bloggers and many other people able to demonstrate the power of its products.

"As the brand evolves into new areas of family and travel … that can be bloggers or other influential people that we feel will inspire the masses to get their camera, go out and create content – which, at the end of the day, is what we feel really drives marketing better than any company-led marketing initiative," said Ballard.

Effectively leveraging such a broad roster of partners in a manner that is authentic and brings tangible benefits for both sides is no simple task.

"They all come with their own set of challenges – between an athlete and a musician and a mother who is an influential blogger," said Ballard.

But as a brand with ambitions of providing flawless video and photos anywhere from the homestead to half-way up a mountain, GoPro has witnessed the positive results of these efforts play out first-hand on the web.

"We have our users generating and sharing content, and that's what we're inspiring people to do through our ambassadors," reported Ballard.

Data sourced from Warc


US mobile advertising surges ahead

23 April 2015
NEW YORK: Mobile ad revenues in the US surged ahead in 2014 so that they now account for one quarter of all digital ad revenues, new figures have revealed.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Internet Advertising Revenue Report, which is compiled using information supplied by companies selling advertisements on the internet, total digital ad revenues increased 16% during 2014 to reach a new high of $49.5bn.

Mobile advertising advanced 76% to hit $12.5bn over the same period, raising its share of the total from 17% to 25% in just 12 months.

"Marketers clearly recognise that consumers are leading mobile-first lives and are investing their ad dollars accordingly," said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB.

Social media advertising also saw stellar returns, bringing in $7bn in 2014, up 57% on the previous year. David Silverman, partner at PwC US, which prepared the report, noted that social was "a significant mobile activity" and was "driving growth in advertising revenue as consumers spend more time connected".

Digital video grew more than three times as fast as display, of which it is a component part. It was up 17% to $3.3bn, compared with 5% uplift seen in the wider display market which was valued at $13.5bn.

Banner ads increased just over 1% to $8.0bn while rich media registered a 6% uptick to reach $1.4bn. Overall, display's share of the digital market slipped from 30% to 27%.

Search continued to advance at a slow pace, rising 3% to $19bn. It remains the largest digital format but its share of the market fell from 43% to 38%.

Retail advertisers continued to represent the largest category of internet ad spending, responsible for 21% in 2014, followed by financial services and automotive which accounted for 13% and 12% respectively, figures which were the same as in 2013.

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast (December 2014) had estimated a 15.9% rise in US digital adspend in 2014, 0.1pp below the confirmed total. The forecast expects a further rise in US digital adspend of 13.6% this year.

Data sourced from IAB: additional content by Warc staff


Warc launches 2015 Asia Strategy Prize

23 April 2015
SINGAPORE: Warc today launches the 2015 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, with a $10,000 Prize fund for the best strategy case studies from the region.

The Prize, now in its fifth year, is free to enter and is open to brand owners and agencies in any discipline.

"Over the past five years, the Prize has become Asia's leading platform for marketing strategists to showcase their work," said David Tiltman, Warc's Head of Content. 

"The Prize really reflects the growing sophistication of the strategic thinking coming from all over the region."

Further details, including entry kit and entry form, can be found on the Prize website, www.warc.com/asiaprize.

Warc will award Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to the best examples of strategic thinking in marketing in four categories: East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Multimarket for campaigns running in three or more markets.

The best overall paper will win the $5,000 Grand Prix. The 2014 Grand Prix winner – 'Kan Khajura Tesan', a mobile phone service developed by from Lowe Lintas in Mumbai and PHD India – went on to be named the world's best campaign in the annual Warc 100 rankings.

In addition, Warc will award five $1,000 Special Awards for excellence in specific areas which reflect industry feedback on key strategic challenges in Asia.

These include the Market Pioneer Award for creating a new category or market, the Channel Thinking Award for achieving brand objectives using an innovative channel strategy, the Local Hero Award for a challenger Asian brand taking on larger competitors, the Asia First Award for an insight or innovation that the rest of the world can learn from, and the Research Excellence Award for smart use of research.

The Prize will be judged by a group of senior client-side marketers and agency-side strategy experts. The judging panel will be announced in the coming weeks.

The deadline for entries is 16 July 2015, and the winner will be announced in November. All cases that win an award will be showcased in the Asia Strategy Report, a study of smart strategic thinking in the region published after the competition has ended.

Details about this year's competition can be found by visiting www.warc.com/asiaprize. For any other prize-related queries please email warcprizeasia@warc.com.

Data sourced from Warc


Programmatic moves in-house

23 April 2015
NEW YORK: The programmatic pie is getting bigger but agencies' share of the pie is getting smaller as more and more buying is moving in-house, new data has shown.

According to programmatic ad platform Index Exchange, through which some 60bn ad impressions are bought every month, in-house brand spending accounted for 15% of purchases at the end of 2014, up from 11% a year earlier.

At the same time the share of spending by agencies, trading desks and tech company-managed services had all fallen.

"It's absolutely remarkable," Andrew Casale, Index Exchange CEO, told Advertising Age. "It's the only category that hasn't stopped growing."

He suggested that there was an element of ad buyers being frustrated with the approach adopted by ad agencies. "It does appear to be partially motivated by transparency," he said of the in-house shift.

There was, he added, a "desire to get that much closer to the media and reap the benefits that come with it."

Another factor may be the development of simpler buying solutions. Speaking at last December's Real-Time Advertising Summit, Rich Astley, UK managing director at video advertising platform Videology, noted the trend to "single-stack solutions", which was helping advertisers cut out the traditional media-buying agency.

But Astley added that there were still things agencies can provide that many clients struggle with.

"The biggest challenge of bringing it in-house is keeping up with the expertise and the knowledge," he explained. "You need to really work to up-skill your team members and hire people with expertise."

While the share of in-house spending is growing, Index Exchange figures also show that programmatic spending in total is rising so agencies are not losing out in dollar terms.

Casale pointed to financial and CPG as the two particular categories that are leading the in-house push.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff


Ecommerce kills branding

23 April 2015
NEW DELHI: India's fast-growing ecommerce businesses remains focused on price as the way of attracting customers, a strategy that industry observers argue works against building brand loyalty for the longer term.

"Consumers are completely promiscuous and they surf the sites to pick the best price," brand strategist Harish Bijoor told the Economic Times.

"When players will attempt to rise above price to make an emotional connect, then brand building will happen," he added.

Snapdeal has moved in this direction with the recent launch of its 'Dil Ki Deal' brand campaign, which sees the online marketplace attempting to progress beyond a simple appeal to the consumer's wallet.

"We feel Snapdeal today has evolved to take the next step in its communication journey and lay emphasis on the emotional fulfilment it enables for its consumers," said Sandeep Komaravelly, svp/marketing at Snapdeal.

As part of that process, it has recruited actor Aamir Khan as the face of the campaign and Komaravelly felt this association would "go a long way in strengthening our brand across various consumer segments".

Other ecommerce brands are also exploring the use of celebrity brand ambassadors – Myntra with Ranveer Singh, for example, and Yepme with Shah Rukh Khan – but not everyone agrees this is the right approach.

"Celebrity endorsements are like toppings on your ice-cream," said Ashita Aggarwal Sharma, professor of marketing at SP Jain Institute of Management & Research. "They can attract customer attention but are not the reason for them to buy the ice-cream."

For now, price seems destined to remain the most significant factor for many consumers, and will continue to be as long as the online retailers direct plentiful venture capital funds at offering discounts in order to build scale.

The Economic Times noted that the sector is expected to spend around Rs 3,500 crore on advertising in 2015, or about one sixth of the total raised in funding in 2014 and questioned how long this ad boom could continue if businesses weren't making profits.

Data sourced from Economic Times; Campaign India; additional content by Warc staff


Dove, AMV BBDO top Warc 100 long-term rankings

22 April 2015
LONDON: Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' and AMV BBDO are the world's most successful campaign and creative agency respectively over the past two years in terms of performance at effectiveness and strategy awards, according to data from the Warc 100.

In the new Long-Term Rankings Report, Warc combined the results from the first two years of the Warc 100 database, covering 2014 and 2015. The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year.

Over the two years of data covered by the Long-Term Rankings report, Warc tracked 4,018 individual award wins, ranking 2,320 agencies and 2,290 brands.

'Real Beauty Sketches', developed by Ogilvy Brazil was the clear winner of the campaign rankings over the two-year period, scoring 138 points. The global campaign was the only one to achieve a top 10 ranking on each individual year of the Warc 100, finishing 9th in 2014 and 2nd in 2015.

Two Unilever campaigns from India, 'Kan Khajura Tesan' and 'Help a Child Reach 5', finished second and third on the rankings.

AMV BBDO, which was the number two creative agency in 2014 and 2015, topped the long-term creative agency rankings, on 294 points. Lowe Lintas Mumbai in India and Colenso BBDO in New Zealand were ranked second and third. Ogilvy & Mather New York, in fourth, was the top-ranked creative agency in the Americas.

BBDO Worldwide was the top agency network over 2014-15, beating out Ogilvy & Mather by almost 300 points, while WPP topped the holding company rankings.

Coca-Cola and Unilever both topped the Warc 100 brand and advertiser rankings in 2014 and 2015, and therefore finished in first place on their respective long-term rankings, too.

You can read full 2014 and 2015 results from the Warc 100 on Warc's microsite.

Data sourced from Warc


Corporate comms lags in digital

22 April 2015
LONDON: Corporate communications departments' use of digital is generally poor according to an analysis of FTSE 100 companies in which several consumer-facing businesses are amongst the worst performers.

Creative agency Radley Yeldar analysed over 3,750 data points, benchmarking each company's overall performance across the entire digital spectrum, including websites, social media, mobile apps and intranets.

It scored the average "experience", whether engaging and joined up, at 44%. "Content" – delivering content with a clear purpose – was slightly better on 48% while "story" – relaying information in a consistent and appropriate way – returned the best figure of 62%.

The least "digitally mature" names included insurance business Prudential, broadcaster ITV, luxury goods maker Burberry and drinks business Diageo.

At the other end of the spectrum, Marketing Week reported, was brewer SAB Miller, followed by pharmaceuticals giant GSK, oil business Royal Dutch Shell, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce and energy firm BG Group.

Mobile and social appeared to be the major lacunae in corporate comms. The study concluded that more than half of the FTSE 100 were not mobile-ready and lacked responsive websites.

And with yesterday's change to Google's algorithm, with a greater emphasis on mobile responsiveness, it has become even more essential that brands and corporations address this issue.

The state of play in social media was worse, as Radley Yeldar said less than 15% of FTSE 100 businesses sought to engage audiences meaningfully through these channels, although it is arguable as to whether social is in any case an appropriate forum for corporates.

Overall, just 31% were found to be consistently managing content well, in terms of creating and publishing timely material.

"There are people seizing this opportunity for competitive advantage as it's an indicator as to how well managed your organisation is," warned Richard Coope, digital director at Radley Yeldar.

"If you can get to grips with the rapid change in digital, if you can communicate your brand in a clear and coherent way across your digital channels it indicates you have governance, a digital strategy and you are actually trying to attempt business transformation through digital," he added.

His advice was to avoid the latest gimmick and focus on getting the simple things right, such as improving search functions and ensuring a mobile-friendly experience.

"Businesses are still failing to get to grips with the digital opportunity and it's increasingly where the market is, so in the wars of talent, competitors or enhancing reputation, if you are not achieving in digital you leave yourself quite exposed," Coope stated.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


The time is now for location-based ads

22 April 2015
NEW YORK: Marketers finally seem to be latching onto the possibilities of location-based marketing, according to industry figures who expect this to play a more prominent role in mobile advertising in the year ahead.

"The last few years have been about Angry Birds and app downloads, but now the market is finally talking about reaching consumers in particular locations," said Nada Stirratt, recently announced as the new CEO of Verve Mobile, a specialist in this field

"People are going to continue to buy things at a location – more than 90% of commerce is conducted in brick-and-mortar stores," she told Ad Exchanger. "Verve has been evangelising around this for the last ten years, but it's now that the message is really starting to resonate."

Her comments came a week after Foursquare, the location-based search business, announced a new advertising offering called Pinpoint which will enable it to help marketers reach non-users of its app.

By partnering with third-party apps and publishers it aims to get access to consumers' GPS locations, which it can them compare to its own database of places and so add context and build profiles about consumers' real-world behaviours.

"We believe the places you go are the best indication of who you are," Foursquare's chief revenue officer, Steven Rosenblatt, told the Wall Street JournalM. "There's a lot of noise out there about using location data for ad targeting, but we think we can bring quality and accuracy to the market that doesn't exist today."

But Amanda Phillips, head of marketing at Millward Brown, warned that location-based marketing only worked when brands focused on what makes consumers' lives easier or more interesting.

"The power of location-based advertising is not in doubt," she said, relating how a large technology brand had used this method to boost store visits by nearly 100% compared to a control group; and 50% of the exposed respondents had gone on to trial the product in-store.

She told the Guardian that consumers were happy for brands to have location information as long as it was used intelligently to offer them something they wanted and valued.

"The bottom line is that brands that just use this data to support their own interests will simply be ignored," she said.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, Wall Street Journal, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff


Aussie mobile advertising matures

22 April 2015
SYDNEY: Mobile advertising has advanced significantly in Australia over the past year, developing into a medium for brand building and overtaking channels such as outdoor according to a new report.

The 3rd Annual IAB Mobile Landscape Study, from the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade body, was based on in-depth surveys with 350 marketing and media professionals involved in the digital industry and found widespread satisfaction with the channel.

Fully 93% of buyers said they were happy with the results they had achieved with their mobile advertising activities, while 41% of marketers were using mobile advertising as a significant part of their marketing campaigns.

And eight out of ten survey respondents agreed that the importance of the mobile screen was rising.

"The Australian mobile advertising market has matured in the last twelve months," said Alice Manners, IAB Australia chief executive, "with marketers embracing the medium for more strategic brand-focused activities and overall they are using a broader range of solutions."

Banners and social mobile are already used by pretty much everyone, and mobile video will be approaching that level per the coming year, with 93% of buyers expected to include it in their campaigns.

They also anticipated increasing their use of all other formats, including search (up from 77% to 85%), native advertising (up from 50% to 75%) and in-app advertising (up from 50% to 70%).

Programmatic, meanwhile, is growing in importance: two thirds are already using and a further 23% indicated their intent to use programmatic in the next 12 months.

"Revenue has started to follow consumer usage," Manners observed. "In terms of the total ad revenue pie, total mobile ad spend is now bigger than outdoor total ad spend. It's now bigger than magazine total ad spend and it's now bigger than total metro radio ad spend," she said in remarks reported by Ad News.

Data sourced from IAB Australia, Ad News; additional content by Warc staff


HENRYs are the new middle class

22 April 2015
STEVENS, PA: Brands and marketers should be elevating their gaze from the traditional middle class in the US, which has seen its discretionary spending power eroded in recent years, towards a higher income group dubbed HENRYs, or High Earners Not Rich Yet.

These consumers have household incomes between $100k and $250k, twice the level of the traditional middle-class ($50k-$99.9k) and are, according to Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of a new report, Meet the HENRYs, "the 'new mass market' for marketers and brands up and down the pricing scale".

The number of HENRY households is growing faster than the overall number of households – 11% between 2010 and 2013 for the former compared to 2.5% for the latter – although slower than ultra-affluent households ($250k+) which leapt 32.6% during this time.

Danziger highlighted the importance of the combined spending power of HENRY households.

They may only spend half as much as ultra-affluents on luxury and high end purchases, but their significantly greater numbers (24.3m households) mean that the total value of the HENRY market is about four times that of the ultra-affluent market (3.3m households).

"Marketers have historically felt that ultra-affluents were their ideal consumer, but there simply aren't enough ultra-affluents to keep luxury brands afloat in today's market," she said.

"Instead, luxury brands need to broaden their reach to include these consumers. This creates a unique challenge, as they are now competing with mass-market brands that also need to tap into HENRY spending power."

While this group may be better off than almost 80% of US households, they don't necessarily feel that way, shopping less often and spending less when they do.

Danziger argued that retailers needed to give them a reason to come to their stores and to make shopping less of a chore, offering an interesting, engaging shopping experience that can't be delayed or put off.

Data sourced from Unity Marketing, The Robin report; additional content by Warc staff


Sport boosts India's regional TV feeds

22 April 2015
NEW DELHI: India's broadcasters are utilising regional feeds to reach significantly more viewers and offer them a better viewing experience, with sports leading the way in this area.

The clearest evidence so far of this trend comes from Star India's coverage earlier this year of the ICC Cricket World Cup, when, in addition to Hindi and English feeds, it offered Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali options and garnered 653m viewers, making it the highest viewed content on Indian television.

More importantly, the regional feeds contributed over three quarters of the total viewership, the Financial Express reported.

Jai Lala, head of trading and partnerships at media agency GroupM, observed that this was the future for not only cricket but other sports. "The broadcasters know this is the way forward and have started the process with the sport of the nation – cricket," he said.

"Operational and technical challenges have delayed it for a while, but henceforth, regional feeds will rule the game," he added.

MSM trialled regional feeds in 2014, broadcasting FIFA World Cup games from Brazil on Sony Aath, its Bengali channel, and has taken that a step further with its India Premier League (IPL) coverage this year, offering Tamil, Telugu and Bengali options in addition to Hindi and English.

The two broadcasters have taken different approaches when it comes to advertising, however: Star sold ad spots for the Cricket World Cup to regional brands as a separate package but MSM is not doing that, yet, with the IPL.

Lala thought it might prove difficult for the network to get local advertisers for all its feeds in year one, but expected that situation would change by next year when the viewing numbers were in.

"Till then, it's safer to block ad inventory for advertisers which have pan-India presence," he said.

Broadcasters will be keen to offset the additional production costs involved, with separate studios and commentators required for each feed.

"It is an investment," said Prasanna Krishnan, business head at MSM's Sony Six and Sony Kix channels. "But right now we are looking at improving the viewers' experience."

Data sourced from Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff


Dove tops Warc 100 long-term rankings

22 April 2015
LONDON/WASHINGTON: 'Real Beauty Sketches,' from Ogilvy Brasil São Paulo Dove, is the world's most successful campaign over the past two years, according to data from the Warc 100.

In the new Long-Term Rankings Report, Warc combined the results from the first two years of the Warc 100 database, covering 2014 and 2015. The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year.

Over the two years of data covered by the Long-Term Rankings report, Warc tracked 4,018 individual award wins, ranking 2,320 agencies and 2,290 brands.

'Real Beauty Sketches' was the clear winner of the campaign rankings, scoring 138 points. The global campaign was the only one to achieve a top 10 ranking on each year the Warc 100 measured, finishing 9th in 2014 and 2nd in 2015.

Two Unilever campaigns from India, 'Kan Khajura Tesan' and 'Help a Child Reach 5', finished second and third on the rankings.

AMV BBDO, which was the number two creative agency in 2014 and 2015, topped the long-term creative agency rankings, on 294 points. Lowe Lintas Mumbai in India and Colenso BBDO in New Zealand were ranked second and third.

Ogilvy & Mather New York, in fourth, was the top-ranked creative agency in the Americas.

BBDO Worldwide was the top agency network over 2014-15, beating out Ogilvy & Mather by almost 300 points, while WPP topped the holding company rankings.

Coca-Cola and Unilever both topped the Warc 100 brand and advertiser rankings in 2014 and 2015, and therefore finished in first place on their respective long-term rankings, too.

You can read full 2014 and 2015 results from the Warc 100 on Warc's microsite.

Data sourced from Warc


India, Australia top Warc 100 long-term rankings

22 April 2015
LONDON/SINGAPORE: Indian and Australian campaigns have dominated at effectiveness and strategy awards over the past two years, while Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' is the top campaign for 2014-2015, according to a new report based on Warc 100 data.

In the new Long-Term Rankings Report, Warc combined the results from the first two years of the Warc 100 database, covering 2014 and 2015. The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year.

Over the two years of data covered by the Long-Term Rankings report, Warc tracked 4,018 individual award wins, ranking 2,320 agencies and 2,290 brands.

'Real Beauty Sketches' was the clear winner of the campaign rankings, scoring 138 points. The global campaign was the only one to achieve a top 10 ranking on each year the Warc 100 measured, finishing 9th in 2014 and 2nd in 2015.

Two Unilever campaigns from India, 'Kan Khajura Tesan' and 'Help a Child Reach 5', finished second and third on the rankings.

Australia also contributed five of the top 10 campaigns, with 'Dumb Ways to Die' (McCann/Metro Trains Melbourne) in fifth, 'Volunteer to Promote Volunteering' (Leo Burnett Melbourne/SEEK Volunteer) sixth, 'Share a Coke' (Ogilvy & Mather Sydney/Coca-Cola) seventh, 'Fair Go Bro' (Havas/One Green Bean/ Virgin Mobile) eighth and 'Car Creation' (Whybin\TBWA/Insurance Australia Group) ninth.

AMV BBDO, which was the number two creative agency in 2014 and 2015, topped the long-term creative agency rankings, on 294 points. Lowe Lintas Mumbai in India and Colenso BBDO in New Zealand were ranked second and third. Ogilvy & Mather New York, in fourth, was the top-ranked creative agency in the Americas.

BBDO Worldwide was the top agency network over 2014-15, beating out Ogilvy & Mather by almost 300 points, while WPP topped the holding company rankings.

Coca-Cola and Unilever both topped the Warc 100 brand and advertiser rankings in 2014 and 2015, and therefore finished in first place on their respective long-term rankings, too.

You can read full 2014 and 2015 results from the Warc 100 on our microsite.

Data sourced from Warc


Digital drives strong UK ad growth

21 April 2015
LONDON: Digital growth across all channels helped the value of UK advertising increase 5.8% in 2014, the highest rate of growth since 2010 according to data from the Advertising Association and Warc.

Full-year figures from the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report – a definitive measure of advertising activity in the UK, being the only source that uses advertising expenditure gathered from across the entire media landscape – show that UK advertising revenues hit £18.6bn last year.

Internet advertising (+15.0%) and mobile (+58.9%) continued to grow strongly but digital advertising through traditional channels also took-off in 2014.

Broadcast video-on-demand (+15.1%), digital national (+16.4%) and regional (+24.7%) newsbrands were stand-out performers but the upward trend was also reflected in magazines and outdoor.

"It's time to stop thinking of digital as something that lives on the internet," declared Tim Lefroy, chief executive of the Advertising Association.

"In cinemas, outdoor, news, television and elsewhere, advertising is seizing the opportunity of new technology – that trend is transforming our media, driving growth and keeping UK advertising ahead of the global competition."

Mobile now accounts for just over 22% of internet spending on £1,623m (up from a 10% share in 2012) and the report expected this share would increase to just over one third by 2016, with growth rates of 43.8% and 34.2% forecast for the next two years.

TV spot advertising benefited from last summer's football World Cup, increasing 5.4% year on year to reach £4,463m. But growth is expected to slow to 4.4% in 2015 before starting to pick up again in 2016, to 4.6%.

Broadcaster VOD, which advanced 15.1% in 2014, is set to pick up more rapidly in subsequent years, with AA/Warc predicting increases of 17.2% and 20.6% for 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Out of home adspend rose 3.0% last year to pass the £1bn mark for the first time, helped in no small part by a 27.3% growth in digital revenue, which now accounts for over a quarter of the total.

While digital ad revenues had risen rapidly at national newsbrands (+16.4% to £214m), this was not enough to offset the decline in print (-7.7% to £1,156m).

The Report did see an end in sight, however, as continued digital growth was slowing the overall decrease in spending, to -1.8% in 2015 and just -0.2% in 2016.

A similar picture emerged among regional newsbrands, although with total adspend projected to decrease -3.7% this year and -2.4% in 2016 this sector will not have bottomed out by the end of the forecast period.

Total UK adspend is set to grow at 5.6% in 2015 and 5.4% in 2016, by when it will have exceeded £20bn.

"Overall growth of 5.8% last year was the strongest since the start of the economic recovery in 2010," James McDonald, research analyst at Warc, noted. "We expect this to maintain, with one of the best growth periods forecast for more than a decade.

"Two in every five pounds spent on advertising in 2014 were via digital channels. With digital aiding growth across all media, brands and marketers have been chameleon-like in their adaptation to new technology."  

Data sourced from AA, Warc


Consumers expect greenness from brands

21 April 2015
GLOBAL: Three quarters of consumers globally expect brands and companies to be environmentally responsible, with around two thirds claiming to only buy products and services that chime with their own beliefs and values, according to new research.

GfK asked over 28,000 people aged 15 or older across 23 countries about how strongly they agreed with specific statements, and found that few were willing to disagree with the idea that brands and companies should be environmentally responsible.

Only 6% felt brands do not have to be, compared to the 76% who thought the opposite. And around three in ten (28%) said they 'strongly' agreed that brands ought to have a green approach.

And the most vociferous support was to be found in perhaps unexpected quarters: in Brazil 47% strongly agreed, while the comparable figures for Turkey and Russia were 46% and 40% respectively.

The highest overall agreement came in Asia, where almost all consumers in India (94%) and Indonesia (93%) give their backing to the notion of brands' obligations to the environment.

And when it came to their own actions, some 63% of consumers globally said that they only buy products and services that appeal to their beliefs, values or ideals.

Once again the greatest level of agreement was to be found in India, where 94% claimed to only buy such products, well ahead of the next nearest countries – Indonesia (78%) and Ukraine (78%). Indian consumers were also most likely to agree strongly with this (47%).

Clearly there is a disconnect between what people say they do and what they actually do, and at least sometimes they are aware of that.

On the question of personal responsibility, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers internationally said they felt guilty when they did something that was not environmentally friendly, including 17% who agreed strongly this was the case.

And it was 15-19 year olds who showed the highest percentage in this regard, at 18%, indicating greater awareness amongst teenagers than previous generations that protecting the environment is a personal responsibility.

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff


Video streaming beats TV

21 April 2015
NEW YORK: Three quarters of US owners of connected TVs say streaming video offers a viewing experience at least as good as traditional television, while a significant proportion also cite the relative lack of advertising as another plus.

For its new report, The Changing TV Experience: Attitudes and Usage Across Multiple Screens, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) carried out an online survey among 651 adults and subsequently conducted discussions with 13 participants in an online forum.

The results showed, said Sherrill Mane, svp/Research, Analytics, and Measurement at IAB, how "connected TVs and multiscreening are irrevocably altering TV viewing".

One in three adults now owns either a smart TV or a device that streams video to their TVs. And two in five (38%) of those individuals spend at least half their TV viewing time streaming video to their television.

Half of connected TV owners reported that viewing experience was as good as traditional TV while one quarter said it was better.

Greater control of their viewing (cited by 33%) and better selection of content available (29%) were among the factors leading them to this view, but advertisers will also note that half of connected TV owners were streaming content because there are fewer commercials, while 40% considered commercials on these platforms to be less intrusive than standard TV ads.

And the streaming trend is growing fast: over a third (35%) of connected TV owners are now streaming more video to their TV than a year ago. One in four smartphone and tablet owners, and one in five computer owners, said the same.

Meanwhile, one in five adults (19%) stated they were watching less traditional TV year-over-year.

Alongside this, the study's results confirmed an upswing in multiscreening, with 40% of smartphone users saying they have increased such activity over the past year. The rise year-over-year was similar for tablet users (39%), with a solid increase among computer users (28%) as well.

Overall, fully 78% of US adults are now simultaneously using another device while watching traditional TV, with browsing the internet being the most popular activity across devices and smartphones serving as the predominant second screen.

And a significant portion of the actions they are taking relate to the TV shows or commercials they are watching, whether discussing with friends or looking for product reviews.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff


Carlsberg aligns consumer and shopper

21 April 2015
SINGAPORE: Brands need to avoid a "pendulum" approach to marketing, where their focus swings between the shopper and consumer, and instead ensure that insights around both are aligned with brand equity, according to a leading industry figure.

Priyadarshini Sharma, international brand director for Premium Brands, Asia at Carlsberg, explained that the brewer had for some time been investing in shopper marketing, as regulatory issues in various Asian markets preclude traditional ATL approaches.

"It's important for us to be able to talk to our consumers in the only forum where we can reach them – in-store," she told Singapore's Marketing magazine.

"You have less than five seconds to intercept a shopper on a mission, hold their attention and close the sale with your message," she noted, which meant looking at the creative development process in a different way.

But Sharma cautioned that putting all one's efforts into shopper marketing could mean missing out on those consumer insights that help build brand affinity.

Brands, she advised, need to have a balance, "keeping in mind how your path-to-purchase works and leveraging the right insights for each touch-point".

And there should be consistency across those touchpoints – she recalled examples of brands seeking to build a premium image in their advertising but then presenting a quite different picture in-store with poor quality executions or excessive discounting.

"The other thing to understand is that consumer and shopper behaviour is not the same thing, even if you're referring to the same person," Sharma said.

So, for example, enlisting the services of a movie star might be ideal for projecting a certain image for a beer, but driving sales at the supermarket requires a little more: "they need a reminder on the price or chilled availability rather than just seeing the movie star on a poster".

Data sourced from Marketing; additional content by Warc staff


Shell Lubricants taps media flexibility

21 April 2015
CHICAGO: Shell Lubricants has boosted its marketing flexibility via corporate trade – an approach that converts pre-planned media buys, products or other assets into cash and credits to spend on brand programs.

Mark Pyle, brand and communications manager at Shell Lubricants – which boasts a portfolio including Pennzoil and Quaker State motor oils – discussed this approach at IEG's 2015 Sponsorship conference in Chicago.

He outlined various initiatives the company had pursued with The Midas Exchange, a firm that buys assets – from ad inventory, sponsorships or even cars and buildings – from clients, and takes control of placing pre-planned media in return.

One way to use this strategy, he reported, is a "cash deal", whereby the client gets up to full book value for assets in the form of funds which are then directed to new marketing initiatives. (For more, including further examples, read Warc's exclusive report: Shell Lubricants: Making media the new oil.)

Exchanging assets, whether in the media space or physical objects like "old and slow products", for trade credits is another possible application of this approach.

For example, Shell Lubricants has sold $1.2m of its planned cable TV advertising to The Midas Exchange, and used the cash to support an activation at South By Southwest 2014 on behalf of Pennzoil.

Based on guidelines provided by MediaCom, a media agency network owned by WPP, The Midas Exchange then placed over $10m of ads as a component of the deal.

At this stage, The Midas Exchange makes its money by securing better rates than were anticipated in the original media plan. Media guarantees and audits are also put in place for the client, which pays no extra fees.

As these efforts can ultimately outperform the original media plan, it is possible for brands to generate even greater value from their investment through corporate trade, according to Pyle.

"I would have spent ten [dollars] anyway, but now I've got nine dollars of media, I've got the ten-dollar value and I have a dollar left that I can spend on something else," he said.

Such an approach is often seen in the same light as media bartering, a tactic that has traditionally left marketers with concerns about the quality of the inventory they are likely to receive.

But as The Midas Exchange is part of GroupM, WPP's media arm, it can access swathes of trends, costs and futures data, as well as tapping its parent's significant in-house expertise and buying power.

"Typically, barter media is confused with remnant media," said Pyle. "That's not the kind of media we're talking about."

Data sourced from Warc


Gas savings go on groceries

21 April 2015
JACKSONVILLE, FLA: With the US enjoying low gas prices, many Americans are choosing to spend the money they save on filling up their vehicles on groceries instead according to new research.

The latest edition of The Why? Behind the Buy report produced by sales marketing agency Acosta, based on research using a nationally representative random sample of US shoppers via its proprietary ShopperF1rst online survey, highlighted the impact of lower fuel prices on shopping habits.

The effect was most pronounced among millennials, fully 72% of whom intended to redirect any savings on fuel into grocery spending.

Colin Stewart, svp at Acosta, said that consumers had reported saving an average of $67 per month, which was being spent instead on food and groceries, paying bills and going out more.

Brands and retailers could convert those extra dollars into incremental sales, he advised, with a better understanding of current shopper behaviours and purchase drivers.

"Grocery shopping has become a complex, consumer-centric matrix of options as Americans have more choices today than ever before," he added.

The research showed that the average shopper had visited about seven different store locations to buy groceries in the past six months. And while most were still focused on a regular supermarket (95%), "the generational tide is turning with Gen X and Millennial shoppers".

These groups are showing more in drug stores, convenience stores and natural/organic grocers than total US shoppers.

Many shopping decisions are not made until entering a store: around 70% of shoppers make category shopping decisions at home but 55% don't decide what brand to buy until they are in the store itself.

There is a certain degree of brand loyalty but most shoppers (65%) will simply switch if the specific item they want isn't available. One in five will wait until their next shopping trip and 11% will go to another store.

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff


Brands can't ignore net neutrality debate

21 April 2015
NEW DELHI: Marketers cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of the current debate about net neutrality, which observers suggest has itself had an impact on the brands most directly involved.

Brand consultant Harish Bijoor told Best Media Info that Airtel and Flipkart had come close to becoming "the poster boys of the 'biased-net' movement". And even though they had retreated from their original positions, "both brands have a canker on them as of now".

Santosh Desai, MD and CEO of Futurebrands India, agreed that their brand images had been affected but doubted there would be any long-term damage, partly because they were well-established brands and partly because "only a certain portion of their audience has an issue" with the subject.

Ecommerce business Flipkart last week stepped back from talks with telco Bharti Airtel about using its Airtel Zero platform, which would see Flipkart users access its app contents free, the company paying the data charges involved.

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal has meanwhile emailed customers outlining the company's position and affirming a commitment to net neutrality, although campaigners have been quick to dismiss his claims.

Impact laid out the implications for marketers of not having net neutrality, which it said would make things more difficult for brands both large and small.

For the latter, it explained, "there is the prospect of being unable to meet the financial standard set by the giants in your field", which would be able to pay for priority bandwidth.

Larger brands, meanwhile, face taking a hit on ROI and profitability if they have to pay for users' data charges.

"For an international brand, this could get a bit complicated," Impact noted, "as each ISP around the globe will have to be paid in order to ensure that customers always have access to the brand's products, services and content at reasonable speeds at the regional level."

At the same time, it pointed out that new opportunities could arise. If brands were subsidising access to a platform like YouTube, non-ad-supported services like Vimeo could well embrace the option, so opening up new inventory to media buyers.

"Ultimately a brand could end up with a higher proportion of all screen time available to advertisers and the ISPs could spend the incremental revenue and reinvest in providing bandwidth so that consumers have a great experience. That could be a decent value exchange."

Data sourced from Best Media Info, Economic Times, Exchange4Media, Impact; additional content by Warc staff


Brands 'must respond' to Google change

20 April 2015
LONDON: Brands need to get the technical basics right, improve their content and adopt responsive design if they are to make the most of tomorrow's change to Google's algorithm, an SEO expert has said.

Addressing an event organised by the UK's Content Marketing Association (CMA), Britt Soeder, head of owned media at iProspect, the digital agency, said that brands should take into account the fact that people performing searches on mobile devices do not spend so much time reading results as those browsing on a desktop.

"Make sure you have everything that's important in your first paragraph if you can," she advised. (For more, including all of Soeder's guidance for brands, read Warc's report: Three SEO issues every brand should know about: the view from iProspect.)

Google's latest algorithm update, which was announced in a blogpost earlier this year and comes into effect tomorrow (April 21st), is set to include mobile responsiveness as a key ranking criteria – meaning that publishers with non-mobile-optimised websites could see their search performance suffer.

Specifically, websites using responsive design – and therefore look good on screens of all sizes – are set to benefit from the algorithm change.

Soeder pointed out that Google has also offered some general pointers on what type of content is boosted by the algorithm, and what is penalised.

"The user focus is really important," she explained. "Whenever you publish content, make sure it's for the user, not the search engine. Content is king. When I joined the search industry eight years ago, nobody believed that – it was all about buying links. Now it's about publishing something great."

In other words, organic, rather than paid, link-building is therefore the way to go. "Backlinks are still an important ranking factor, though if I had to say if that's going to be the case in 10 years' time? I don't think so," Soeder added.

She also told delegates at the CMA event to disregard SEO myths, such as "keyword density" – that there is an ideal ratio of keywords to content.

"If you've been scared by this, don't be," she said. "There are no given rules on keywords."

According to its latest financial report, $59.1bn of Google's $66bn revenues in 2014 were from advertising. Within the advertising total, $45bn was derived from Google's own websites.

Data sourced from Warc


Mums shift to mobile

20 April 2015
LONDON: Mothers in the UK spend more time on their smartphones than on laptops or watching television, according to new research which also reveals they are doing more shopping online and making use of money saving offers.

For its 2015 State of Modern Motherhood Report, parenting website BabyCentre surveyed mothers with children aged 0 to 8 across five countries – the US, Brazil, Canada, China and the UK – including 1,880 in the UK, of which 953 were millennial mums aged 18 to 32.

It found that the smartphone has eclipsed the laptop as the go-to digital device for this group: 93% are regularly using smartphones compared to 76% using laptops.

Mums are also spending twice as long on this device – an average 2.1 hours a day on their smartphone as against 1 hour on a laptop; this is also more time than the 1.9 hours they spend with live TV.

Motherhood brings with it some changes in attitude towards advertising. Nearly three in five millennial mums said they are now more likely to skip TV commercials.

This particular age group did, however, were more attentive to digital ads. The research found they were 26% more likely than General X mothers to pay attention to digital ads and 51% more likely to pay attention to ads on their smartphones.

Motherhood and pregnancy also shifts shopping habits, with half shopping at different retailers than before, while 60% shopped online more; 44% said they regularly bought things using the mobile web or apps on their tablet.

Six in ten (62%) were also using mobile in-store, mostly to look for better prices. In a related finding, three quarters of respondents said the sorts of ad most likely to grab their attention were those featuring deals, sales or other money-saving offers.

"With millennials making up the majority of new mums, brands and agencies need to think of this valuable demographic as tech-savvy and mobile-first, if they want to earn their interest and loyalty," said Julie Michaelson, BabyCentre Head of Global Sales.

"This means building mobile into the centre of their advertising plans and specifically designing for these platforms, rather than using cut-down television or rich-media campaigns."

Data sourced from BabyCentre; additional content by Warc staff


Red Bull Media House opens doors

20 April 2015
CHICAGO: Red Bull Media House is giving third parties the chance to tap the content expertise which fuels the marketing for its namesake energy drink – an opportunity that has attracted brands like adidas and Nokia.

Alexander Koppel, Red Bull Media House's chief commercial officer – a standalone firm responsible for Red Bull's content efforts – discussed its evolution and approach at IEG's 2015 Sponsorship conference in Chicago.

"What is probably new and worthwhile noting is that we are now engaging – large-scale – in sponsorship and in brand partnerships," he said. (For more, including how storytelling forms the basis of these tie-ups, read Warc's exclusive report: Red Bull Media House opens its doors to brand partners.)

"We're allowing third parties to access a very engaged audience – and what I believe is a very attractive target group."

One operator quick to take up such an offer was adidas, which last year became the first third-party brand to run a campaign on Red Bull Media House's digital properties with its "Open All Winter" initiative.

Elsewhere, Nokia has allied with Red Bull Photography in order to show off the capabilities of the cameras featured on its Lumia smartphones.

Founded in 2008, Red Bull Media House has its own targets – financial and otherwise – to hit. But it is able to draw on many of the strengths possessed by the beverage business it supports.

"In today's world, we're competing for audience and we're competing for advertisers at the same time. We are a true global company, built on the backbone of a phenomenal organisation in 67 countries," said Koppel.

"So it's not separate; it is well-integrated. And I think this is making us unique: it is offering and allowing you as a client – [or] as a potential client or us as a Media House – to access these phenomenal resources.

"What we set sail for is creating an independent media company … Our focus is to compete for audience and advertisers and create phenomenal storytelling."

As an indicator of its success in this endeavour, Koppel reported that the Media House boasts nearly 500 commercial partnerships on the content side alone.

"We have hundreds of clients now globally. We have established a licensing business, a rights business," he said. "So, we're growing the business."

Data sourced from Warc


China's automakers fight back

20 April 2015
SHANGHAI: China's automakers are fighting back against the widespread perception that they are of inferior quality to foreign brands, with a range of new models incorporating local and overseas design to be unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show.

"Chinese manufacturers are managing to improve their product quality and design quickly and make them almost comparable to international brands while keeping their price much lower," according to John Zeng, an industry analyst at market intelligence firm LMC Automotive.

And the strategy appears to be paying off: Geely, which acquired the Volvo brand in 2010, reported the number of vehicles sold under its own brand jumped 57% in the first quarter.

SINA listed similar advances at other Chinese automakers, with February sales at Changan up 78% on the previous year, while Great Wall Motor's Haval brand was up 79%.

Foreign brands have also been losing some of their shine recently, being criticised for overcharging at service centres, while Jaguar Land Rover was accused of knowingly selling models with faulty gearboxes.

Overall, LMC said, Chinese brands now accounted for 43% of the country's light vehicle market, up from 38% at the same time last year.

The new approach being taken by Chinese firms is evident in Geely's Borui sedan, which it will be showing at this week's Shanghai Motor Show. The company described it as a "true international car brand in terms of design", with input from a 200-strong team across studios in China, Sweden, Spain and the US.

Zeng highlighted the price – around 110,000 yuan ($18,000), compared with 170,000 yuan to 300,000 yuan ($28,000 to $49,000) for a similar foreign brand sedan. "That basically is providing the market with a mid-size car at the price of a compact car," he said.

The design process is also working in the opposite direction as overseas brands start to develop models aimed specifically at sections of the Chinese market.

Nissan, for example, will unveil the Lannia, a mid-size sedan it described as its "first product specially created for the youth generation in China." And Volkswagen also intends to show a new model designed for this country.

Data sourced from SINA English; additional content by Warc staff


US TV ad market bright

20 April 2015
NEW YORK: The US advertising market rose only slightly in the first quarter of the year but when the impact of last year's Winter Olympics is stripped out a much brighter picture emerges, new data has shown.

Figures from Standard Media Index (SMI), the advertising data group which captures 80% of the total national ad spend from global agencies, showed that the overall market was 1% up in Q1 2015 compared to the same period a year earlier.

And when it excluded the effects of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, held in February 2014, SMI said that Q1 TV revenues showed "solid growth" in both broadcast (+7%) and cable (+4%).

In particular, advertisers had boosted their spending in the scatter market across both broadcast (+13%) and cable (+9%), with the overall scatter market up 11%.

"A nice uptick in scatter dollars fuelled national TV growth in March, which is certainly a good sign for the health of the ad marketplace," said Scott Grunther, SMI's executive vice president of media.

"The solid growth figures when you remove the impact of the winter games from last year provides reason for networks to be more optimistic heading into upfront season," he added.

SMI's data also showed that, in addition to TV, digital had contributed significantly to the growth of the overall ad market, registering a 23% increase for the quarter in Q1; digital's market share of total ad dollars also jumped five points.

This increase had been driven mostly by ad networks and ad exchanges which rose 39% in Q1, alongside large increases in social networking sites (+41%) and pure play video sites, such as YouTube.com and Hulu.com (+38%).

Automotive, the largest advertising category, remained soft, down -3% for the quarter, while consumer electronics and business services and recruitment both jumped +17% to emerge as the fastest growing categories.

In other media, ad spend on magazines declined by -7% and on newspapers by -2%. Radio was also on the losing end with advertisers dropping off by -1%, but there was better news for out of home as ad revenues rose by +1% in Q1.

Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, based on a weighted average of predictions from various sources including advertising agencies, media companies and industry bodies, expects growth in US adspend of 3.5% this year, with a further rise of 6.0% forecast next year.

Digital is seen to be the key driver this year, with 15.4% growth, while TV adspend is expected to record milder growth of just 0.7%.

Data sourced from SMI; additional content by Warc staff


Mobile banking popular with cognoscenti

20 April 2015
NEW YORK: Mobile banking is increasing popular with those people already using it but few new customers are coming on board a new study says, and few are bothered about using mobile devices to make in-store purchases.

A survey by banking data and analytics service RateWatch gained responses from 711 adult US consumers as it sought to understand consumers' use and views of mobile banking as well as the burgeoning service of mobile payments.

The resulting report, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, showed that, over the past two years, the number of people using mobile banking rose only 2%, but the number of those using it at least once a week climbed from 37% to 45% over the same period.

Overall, around eight in ten financial institutions offer a mobile banking service, but more than one third (36%) of consumers say they are still not using it.

Those who are using these services are more likely to be graduates and to be in the younger age groups. Those aged 18-29 are more likely than any other to access online banking multiple times per day while those 45 and older are most likely to have never accessed online banking.

And it may be some time yet before the ubiquitous phone takes over from the old-fashioned wallet. Just one third of those surveyed were interested in making in-store purchases with their mobile devices.

The features of mobile banking that held most attention were more traditional: checking account balances, transferring between accounts, paying bills and receiving account alerts.

The fact that respondents were also keen to locate ATMs suggests the role of cash isn't about to disappear just yet.

But the report expected that, as long as safety concerns are addressed, consumers would continue to increase their demand for mobile banking.

And as that happened, Kimberly Myszkewicz, marketing manager at RateWatch, noted that "it will become even more crucial for banks to offer mobile services, or risk losing customers to competitors".

"The more a person is engaged in the service, the more likely they are to stick with that institution for other services," she said.

Data sourced from RateWatch; additional content by Warc staff


IPL viewership surges

20 April 2015
NEW DELHI: Two months of non-stop cricketing competition have not dulled the passion of India's cricket fans as viewing figures for the India Premier League (IPL) have surged ahead alongside IPL merchandise sales.

Data from TAM Media Research, the audience measurement firm, show that the average television viewership rating (TVR) for the opening games of this year's season was 4.4, a 42% increase on the figure for the first five games of last year's competition, IPL7. 
And the Financial Express noted that more people were watching games on Multi Screen Media's Sony Max, which carries a Hindi commentary, than on Sony Six, the dedicated sports channel of the broadcaster which has an English language commentary.

Additionally, MSM's new sports channel Sony Kix is broadcasting games in Tamil and Telugu feeds, while a Bengali feed is available on Sony Aath.

This strategy emulates the approach taken by Star India during the recent ICC Cricket Word Cup, when it offered feeds in four languages to attract more viewers and more advertisers.

The enthusiasm for IPL8 is also being felt by sports merchandisers who are reporting significant increases in orders. According to the Economic Times, sales of IPL merchandise are expected to grow 30% on last year.

And while the greatest volume of sales will take place at match venues, most of the growth will come in ecommerce, as fans in lower tier cities purchase jerseys, caps and armbands.

Partnerships between teams and ecommerce sites are helping boost sales. "The tie-up blends well with the customer segment and our target, which is the male in the age group of 18-35 years," explained Vishal Sharma, vp/operations at Shopclues, the official e-commerce partner for Chennai Super Kings.

"This also helps to increase our reach," he said, adding that Shopclues had seen 200% year-on-year growth in orders from tier II and tier III cities.

Data sourced from Financial Express, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff


Mobile leads desktop in UK

17 April 2015
UK: This year will see a tipping point in the media consumption habits of UK adults as the (non-voice) time spent on mobile devices overtakes that spent on desktops and laptops.

The latest estimates of media consumption from insights provider eMarketer indicate that during 2015 UK adults will spend an average of 2 hours and 26 minutes a day on mobile compared to 2 hours and 13 minutes on desktop/laptop.

Since 2011, time spent on the latter has increased by only a few minutes each year, while that spent on the former has leapt ahead between 20 and 30 minutes every year.

Most of the time spent on mobile is with smartphones – 62% in 2015, the same as in 2014 – while tablets make up the majority of the time left. Feature phones are still being used, however, accounting for a consistent seven minutes of the total in recent years.

Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer, highlighted a particular trend that had informed the figures.

"UK adults aren't moving their media consumption habits to digital platforms at the expense of traditional ones; rather, they are adding it to their overall media day," he explained.

"This also holds true for platforms like social media, with time spent via mobile adding to time spent via laptops and desktops."

Taken together, time spent on digital, at 4 hours and 39 minutes in 2015, is now well ahead of that spent on non-digital television, at 3 hours and 12 minutes (a two minute drop on 2014 and a seven minute drop since 2011).

That equates to almost half (48.6%) of the time spent daily with major media. Smartphones alone account for 15.8% of media time with tablets on 8.4%.

And while time spent with tablets will continue to lag that spent on smartphones, the gap is slowly closing: eMarketer said the time spent with them was growing faster than the time spent with smartphones, although the rate of increase was slowing as the tablet market matured.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff


One in ten ads blocked

17 April 2015
LONDON: As many as one in ten digital ad placements are blocked from being served on unsuitable websites according to soon-to-be released research.

Integral Ad Science, a company supplying media evaluation intelligence and technology, said that 11% of ads it monitored in the UK were stopped from appearing on sites alongside content that advertisers deemed inappropriate, Marketing reported.

The issue has gained prominence following a story in the Sun newspaper which said it had found ads for leading brands, including British Gas and O2, on sites "devoted to paedophilia, incest, bestiality and racism".

A recent survey suggested that marketers have not been greatly worried by this aspect of programmatic technology.

When Infectious Media polled senior marketers across Europe in February, they were most concerned about a lack of transparency around financial matters (65%) and the complexity of the ecosystem (55%). Issues around brand safety were mentioned by only 25% of respondents.

That attitude may now be changing given the adverse publicity. As MediaPost noted: "It's one thing to be embarrassed by being seen on a 'paedo' site, it's quite another to realise that your brand name is financially supporting it."

Niall Hogan, the UK managing director of Integral Ad Science, said this highlighted the need to work a content verification vendor, adding that he was aware of "many instances where buyers only choose to use the basic monitoring tool set because they feel that the full suite is cost prohibitive".

But he argued that the full costs were not that much greater and could prevent a much worse scenario.

"We are talking about a difference in pennies in the CPM here, not pounds," he said. "I am sure that each of the brands singled out in the [Sun] article would happily pay a small difference for the full blocking capabilities of the technology now."

The UK's Joint Industry Committee on Web Standards awards brand safety seals to companies that declare and independently verify how their processes minimise the chances of ads appearing next to inappropriate content.

Data sourced from Marketing, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff


Auto buyers ready to purchase online

17 April 2015
NEW YORK: Three quarters of car owners looking to purchase a new vehicle are ready to do everything online, from research to negotiation, financing and delivery, according to a new survey that identifies after-sales as a particular area in need of improvement.

Consulting firm Accenture polled 10,000 car owners in eight major countries – Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and the US – found that 80% percent of respondents in the market for a new car are using some form of digital technology to research their buying preferences.

And some 62% are already initiating the car-buying process online, including consulting social media channels, before entering a dealership.

There appears widespread enthusiasm for taking the digital approach further, as 75% of drivers polled said they would consider conducting the entire car-buying process online.

Accenture said this indicated a need for manufacturers and dealers to increase their focus on online engagement with consumers.

The research highlighted several areas where consumers felt improvements could be made, including making online research easier by delivering more tailored information and offering more virtual demonstrations.

The one thing that consumers around the world were least interested in was having an online chat with a dealer.

This aversion to talking to dealers extended to the showroom itself as more than half of respondents (53%) said they would be interested in using an interactive touch display that provides information on the available models, while 48% liked the option of taking a virtual test drive when there.

One of the weakest links in the digital car-buying experience, survey respondents felt, was the after-sales process. Accenture said addressing this is critical, arguing that poor performance in this area can make or break brand loyalty.

"The impact of the digital customer is becoming pervasive, disrupting the traditional car-buying experience and the competitive landscape," said Christina Raab, global managing director for Digital Consumer Services in Accenture's Automotive practice.

"In order to grow business in this environment, OEMs and dealers will need to pursue an aggressive digital strategy online, in the showroom and in after-sales, while creating a seamless, integrated experience to accommodate all customer needs."

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff


India now a multi-sport nation

17 April 2015
MUMBAI: Cricket remains by far the most popular sport in India, but the growth of the overall sports industry is being driven by football, kabbadi and tennis according to a new report.

The Sports Sponsorship Report 2015, from GroupM ESP and Sportzpower, looked at trends and developments in advertising and sponsorship, and said that the sports industry was worth Rs. 48,069m in 2014, a 10% increase on the previous year.

This increase is largely down to the emergence of various new sports leagues which are driving consumer interest and attracting brands, including football's Indian Super League, the Pro Kabaddi League and World Kabaddi League, the Champion's Tennis League and Indian Premiere Tennis League.

These saw the value of their team sponsorship and franchise fees leap 1,064%, from Rs. 70m to Rs. 745m.

"Sports marketing is finally coming of age in India,” declared CVL Srinivas, GroupM South Asia CEO. "Even though cricket has shown the way and continues to be the dominant sport, newer leagues are helping broad base sports and make it a great platform for brands.

"Digital, especially social media, is helping build a fan following much faster,” he added.

For example, the well-established IPL had over 550,000 social conversations last year the report said, while the ISL had around 200,000 conversations even though it was only in its first season.

But a comparison of sponsorship generated by these two sports illustrates just how far football still has to go to rival cricket in the nation's affections: cricket's on-ground sponsorship stood at Rs. 4,647m in 2014, while that for football was Rs. 500m.

The role of digital will be extensive, as the report noted a blurring of lines between digital and TV with, for example, the ICC Cricket World Cup attracting 25m views on digital.

It also suggested the in-stadium experience would become more social, pointing out that 70% of cricket fans brought a mobile device with them and would likely be using it during games.

Data sourced from IndianTelivision.com; additional content by Warc staff


Apple Watch clocks 6% purchase intent

17 April 2015
NEW YORK: Around 6% of US adults have indicated their intention to buy an Apple Watch, with almost 1m having pre-ordered the device since that became possible a week ago.

Ipsos polled 1,829 US adults online from April 8–14 about the latest addition to Apple's portfolio, and found that men were twice as likely as women to express a clear interest in buying one (9% v 4%).

Reuters noted that these figures equated to possible US sales of 15m in the first year, while analysts' estimates have ranged between 10m and 32m globally.

The highest interest in the Ipsos panel was among men aged 18–29-years-old (34%), and the same group gave the watch the highest "cool factor" at 53%, compared to an average of 42%.

But the most likely buyers were 30–39-year-olds, some 13% of whom said they planned to buy an Apple Watch, compared to 10% of the younger group.

And while iPhone owners were the most likely buyers – 15% of this group intended to buy one – some 8% of non-owners said they would consider switching to an iPhone in order to purchase an Apple Watch.

Van Baker, an analyst at tech research firm Gartner, said it was likely that many potential buyers would wait until the second version of the watch appeared.

"We may see a high level of interest. Apple will sell a few million fairly quickly, but then things might flatten out a little," he said.

Separately, Simon Farthing, head of consultancy at Profusion, the data science consulting firm, cautioned that the combination of wearable tech and data science raised a host of ethical and strategic issues.

Writing in Marketing, he posited a scenario in which marketers could work out, via raised stress levels, poor sleep and a combination of other behaviour, that a couple's relationship was in trouble, and then target them with divorce, reconciliation and dating services.

"Highly targeted ads that leverage very personal information from wearable devices will be one of the marketing industry's biggest ethical challenges and opportunity over the next few years," he said.

Data sourced from Reuters, Marketing; additional content by Warc staff


Aussie outdoor passes newspapers

17 April 2015
SYDNEY: Outdoor was among the strongest performing advertising media in Australia during March and has overtaken newspapers in terms of expenditure by main media agencies.

Latest figures from Standard Media Index (SMI) show that total media agency ad spend for March was up 1.9% to A$653.4m; for the first quarter overall it increased 4.3% to A$1.7bn, Mumbrella reported.

Within that, outdoor advertising in March was 26.1% up on a year earlier at A$68.7m. And over the whole of the first quarter outdoor revenues rose 16.1% on the previous year to a total of A$178.5m, for the first time putting it ahead of newspapers.

The Outdoor Media Association itself recently reported first quarter ad revenues up 22.4% to a total of A$149.4m.

Print media, meanwhile, continued their downward path during March, with newspapers tumbling 15.8% year on year and magazines 19.7%.

Radio also grew during the month, up 12% to A$55.5m, as more people tuned into local commercial radio, while cinema benefitted from a strong movie release schedule ahead of the Easter holidays and leapt 46.8% to A$5.4m.

Television spend was flat, registering a marginal 0.4% increase to A$310.3m, while digital rose 4% to A$133.8m.

The particular interest in television was the elevation of the Nine Network to the top position in terms of advertising revenues. Its 41% share put it ahead of rival Seven, on 37.2%.

This was almost a reversal of the situation a year ago, but Nine's boost may be only temporary, given that it has benefitted from its coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup which Australia won, and from the start of a new rugby league season.

Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, based on a weighted average of predictions from various sources including advertising agencies, media companies and industry bodies, expects the growth in Australian outdoor adspend to be 4.4% this year, ahead of the all-media growth of 2.7%

Data sourced from Mumbrella, The Australian; additional content by Warc staff


Aflac Duck takes flight on social

17 April 2015
AUSTIN, TX: Aflac, the insurance provider, has successfully given its duck mascot a voice on social media – and thus translated the engagement its avian ambassador generates on TV into a range of online opportunities.

Kip Havel, Aflac's vp/communications and content marketing, discussed this subject at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

And he reported that giving its much-loved spokesbird a presence on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has added a significant new dimension to the character.

"You've seen the Duck in quirky situations, you've seen it doing things on TV," he said. (For more, including details of the brand's "Duck dossier" that guides its strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Giving Aflac's Duck a voice on social media.)

"But social and those channels really give us an opportunity to take a look at where the Duck lives, what does it do on a daily basis, and how can you take its humour in ways we never could on TV, and extend it.

"With social media and the ability of the Duck to 'type' its thoughts and take pictures of where it's going every day allows for new areas to be explored. I think we're really just scratching the surface of it."

As the Duck has only said Aflac's name in TV spots over the last 15 years, one extension of its personality has involved vocabulary. And its on-screen antics gave an indication of what form its digital lexicon should look like.

"The Duck is this pop-culture icon who likes to have fun, is a bit witty [and] sarcastic," said Havel.

Having secured over 635,000 "likes" on Facebook, as well as 68,000 followers on Twitter and a fan base of nearly 2,000 people on Instagram, the appetite to hear from Aflac's mascot is evident.

But in order to retain that interest, Aflac must carefully manage which subjects it discusses. "The Duck is not going to speak about healthcare reform. That's not the Duck's place," said Havel.

"We know where the engagement levels are very high is when you see the Duck talking about what it might have had for dinner last night or what trip it is taking."

Data sourced from Warc


'Pet condom' campaign wins at REGGIEs

17 April 2015
CHICAGO: San Francisco's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took the top "Super REGGIE" honour at the 2015 REGGIE Awards for a "pet condom" campaign devised with agency Geometry Global.

Organised by the Brand Activation Association (BAA), the REGGIE Awards are an annual competition seeking to recognise the best campaigns activated by brands and agencies.

The San Francisco SPCA received the top prize for installing what looked like a dispenser of free condoms for pets in a park in its home city.

People using this contraption, however, actually received brochures – albeit in the shape of condoms – talking about the option of spaying and neutering.

In just 36 hours, this effort had attracted 30,000 visitors to the organisation's website, secured 2,500 Facebook shares and generated social buzz in 166 countries – as well as becoming the number one trending topic on Reddit.

Alongside the "Super Reggie", the campaign claimed Gold in the "Best Cause, Green or Corporate Responsibility Marketing Campaigns", "Local, Regional Market Campaigns" and "Small Budget Campaigns – Budget less than $250,000" categories.

It also garnered a Silver in the "Experiential Marketing Campaigns – Budget under $1 million" category.

Bonnie Carlson, BAA President and CEO, remarked that many of the judges had said of the winning campaign, "I wish I had thought of this myself" – the ultimate compliment from very senior agency executives, she added.

The REGGIE Awards were presented on the final night of the BAA's annual Brand Activation Showcase in Chicago, where a total of 70 awards were presented across 23 different categories.

Formerly known as the Promotion Marketing Association, the BAA was founded in 1911 and became a division of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in July 2014.

Data sourced from BAA; additional content by Warc staff