Audio an underexploited opportunity

31 October 2014
LONDON: Far from cannibalising radio audiences, new audio formats are growing overall listening hours and can help extend campaign reach for advertisers and improve ROI, a new study has claimed.

The Radio Advertising Bureau undertook quantitative and qualitative research for its Audio Now report to better understand the role of the various audio options in consumers' lives, from streaming and online clip services to traditional radio and owned content in the form of CDs etc.

It found that in 2014, UK listeners were consuming some 1.47bn audio hours every week, a 5.5% rise from 2012. And within this total, broadcast radio listening had "remained more robust than media and music industry forums might suggest". Some 90% of the population, and 88% of 15-24 year olds, tune in to radio on a weekly basis, figures that have remained broadly stable over the past five years.

And when non-advertising audio sources were excluded, live commercial radio accounted for 93% of listening hours, on-demand commercial audio making up the balance. Among the younger audience radio still dominated, albeit to a lesser extent, the proportions being 71: 29.

This is hugely valuable information for advertisers, noted Michael Williamson, head of radio for Carat. "The likes of Spotify, DAX and InStream should be used on most audio campaigns but should be upweighted when targeting younger audiences," he suggested.

The report also identified a number of "need-states" that audio addressed and where live radio and on-demand audio typically played complementary roles. Thus live radio might be the choice when people were looking for a bit of external input, for example in the Lift My Mood need-state, while on-demand audio was the choice when they wanted to be in control, or in the Amplify the Moment need-state.

Williamson noted that this "provides advertisers with nice distinctions when planning audio campaigns".

Radio has long been used for activation purposes by advertisers but the report argued it had a role to play in brand building as well. Not only did it deliver reach, but it created an emotional response, whether through music or phone-ins.

And an analysis of the IPA Databank by Les Binet for the report also revealed that campaigns which included radio had a much higher financial return than those which did not.

Noting that radio accounts for around 22% of the time people spend with media but only 6% of display advertising revenue, the report argued that the advertising business was guilty of underinvesting in audio.

Data sourced from Radio Advertising Bureau, Carat; additional content by Warc staff


Sky explores bespoke ad rates

31 October 2014
LONDON: Advertisers can take advantage of increasingly sophisticated technology to target TV-watching households more closely but that also spells the end of traditional rate cards, a leading industry figure has said.

Jamie West, deputy managing director, Sky Media, told that with a product such as Sky AdSmart, "The conversation has moved on from being a commoditised rate that is transparent for all advertisers to being a bespoke tailored campaign in terms of attributes, and a bespoke tailored cost to discuss on the back of those attributes".

Since AdSmart enables advertisers to select a specific audience or even only show the ad when the defined audience is actually watching, the need to rethink pricing becomes clear.

He claimed AdSmart was gaining traction in local markets, where a business like a car dealership was thinking primarily in terms of products sales and typically comparing TV with channels such as search and direct mail. That meant competing against CPM rates of between £5 and £500.

But West said that the basics of TV advertising would remain – "big brands will want to continue to use TV exactly as they do today", as a brand building medium that offers widespread coverage.

But they could now consider "topping up" a campaign and targeting a particular segment with a different creative execution. "I can only imagine that level of targeting will increase over time," he said.

Another major change he anticipated was the joining up of platforms to offer advertisers a "holistic package that sequentially targets across that platform". That could mean, say, serving three ads in-home, followed by a VOD execution on PC and then a call to action on a mobile when the consumer was near a relevant outlet.

West argued that this approach was "fundamentally changing the role that TV can play within the overall marketing mix".

He also picked up on industry debate about effectiveness and the discussion around visibility, viewability and the impact of bots, declaring that "each and every single campaign in an AdSmart world can be assessed for its effectiveness against whatever benchmark an advertiser wants to measure it against and that is something that not all media can say today".

Data sourced from; additional content by Warc staff


Cross-border ecommerce grows

31 October 2014
STAMFORD, CT: Almost 40% of online consumers have purchased goods from another country, with the US, UK and Germany among those they are happiest to buy from, new research has shown.

Pitney Bowes surveyed approximately 12,000 adults across 12 countries for its Global Online Shopping Study and found that nearly all respondents (96%) had made an online purchase. It argued that the relatively low figure for cross-border purchases highlighted an opportunity for international retailers, especially those based in the aforementioned countries.

And if they are looking for markets to target, Australians were most likely to buy products online from retailers outside their own country (63%) followed by Canada and Russia (both 54%).

Several markets, however, will require some educational work to correct misconceptions, such as the belief that one can only buy online from retailers in one's own country. This was most common in Asia, particularly South Korea, where 21% expressed this thinking, ahead of China (19%) and India and Japan (both 15%).

"Retailers looking to expand their businesses online to international markets should consider the unique mindsets and shopping preferences of consumers in each country," advised Craig Reed, vp/global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes.

The commonest reason for buying from another country was a cheaper price, cited by 68% of respondents. Other factors included availability (46%) and a better choice (38%). Brand names also proved a draw for shoppers in India (52%) and China (34%).

The major obstacles to cross-border shopping were the practical issues of high shipping costs, which 68% thought the biggest obstacle, and additional fees (58%). Long delivery times were also an issue for 42%.

Safety issues too, were a deterrent for many. One third (33%) didn't know if it was safe to buy abroad, with consumers from Japan least convinced in this regard.

More positively, almost half (46%) thought it was safe to buy a product online from a retailer based outside of their own country, particularly those in Australia, Canada, India and Brazil, where more than 60% thought it was safe.

"It's critical for retailers to provide buyers with clarity and accuracy in the online buying process, certainty and transparency in delivery, and competitive pricing," said Reed.

"Once these barriers to consumer confidence are overcome, the opportunities and appetite for buying goods outside their own country can increase dramatically."

Data sourced from Pitney Bowes; additional content by Warc staff


Asia's FMCG growth halves

31 October 2014
BEIJING: Growth in consumer FMCG spending is slowing sharply across emerging Asian markets, down 3.6 points this year, the equivalent of $15bn in lost sales, according to new research.

Figures from researcher Kantar Worldpanel show that FMCG sales growth in the region is expected to be 5.2% in 2014, down from 8.8% in 2013. A further fall to 4.1% is anticipated for 2015.

Much of this is due to a slowdown in China, which accounts for 69% of the emerging Asian market. FMCG growth here has fallen by a third in the past two years, from 15.8% in the year to June 2012 to just 5.6% in year to June 2014.

"Packaged food is the largest element of Chinese consumers' budgets and sales have been particularly affected by the overall slowdown, growing by just 1.8% compared with 16.0% in the 12 months ending June 2012," said Jason Yu, General Manager at Kantar Worldpanel China.

"China´s FMCG momentum will resurge when growth on packaged food spending recovers," he predicted.

China's sheer size skews the overall figures for the region, where some markets continue to perform strongly, including Indonesia. Growth was slowing here too, down 3.6 points in the year to June, but at 15.0% it was almost three times the Asian average. And FMCG growth in India had almost doubled from 3.1% to 6.0%.

Kantar Worldpanel noted that brands launching new products in Indonesia had taken advantage of consumer appetites to try new goods, while shoppers in rural areas had more disposable income and were consequently spending more on consumer products.

Asia, particularly South Korea, was also leading the world in FMCG ecommerce and this channel will become increasingly important for brands, said Kantar.

Already more than half of all South Korean shoppers buy online, while in China, ecommerce is forecast to account for 3.3% of all FMCG sales by 2016. Beverages and personal care products were the categories currently performing best.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc staff


Millennials drive mobile payments

31 October 2014
NEW YORK: US millennials are twice as likely as their elders to regard mobile payments as being easier and more efficient, and are driving adoption of digital currencies, two new studies have shown.

Researcher GfK looked at mobile payments as part of its latest FutureBuy study, which tracks the convergence of digital and bricks-and-mortar activities in shopping across 15 product categories.

When asked if mobile payments are "easier," "faster," or "more efficient," 29% to 46% of Generations Y (ages 25 to 34) and Z (ages 18 to 24) agreed either completely or somewhat . This compared to a range of 18% to 30% for Gen X (ages 35 to 49) and Baby Boomers (ages 50 to 68).

And 38% of those in Gen Z and 34% in Gen Y said that mobile payments are more secure than other payment methods – compared to just 16% for Gen X and 12% for Boomers.

Overall, more than half (57%) of respondents expressed some degree of concern about the security of their personal information with mobile payments, while 37% felt such payments were "more of a gimmick than a major way I pay".

Tom Neri, evp/Financial Services, GfK, expected that Millennials and even younger consumers would increasingly embrace mobile payment methods which would in turn accelerate their take-up by retailers.

"But, to encourage widespread acceptance," he added," financial services companies and device makers will need to come to terms with consumers' concerns about security and their sense that mobile payments may just be a gimmick."

Separately, Accenture polled 4,000 consumers in the US and Canada to find that 40% had used their smartphones to make a payment at a merchant location, up from 16% in 2012.

Once again, Millennials were enthusiastic adopters, with 52% of this group having done so. High income consumers (55%) were the other significant group using this payment method.

The study further indicated that 13% of Millennials and 19% of high-income respondents are already using digital currencies to make a payment at least weekly, figures that will rise to 26% and 32% respectively by 2020.

They would so this even more frequently, the study said, if they had the ability to scan a product for purchase immediately (71%) and so eliminate the requirement for check out. An alternative was a separate checkout line to speed up payment (67%).

Data sourced from Business Wire, Accenture; additional content by Warc staff


Xiaomi rides popular wave

31 October 2014
BEIJING/MUMBAI: Xiaomi has risen to become China's leading smartphone brand and the world's number three in a mere five years and is looking to conclude a major loan arrangement to finance a push into new markets.

New figures from market researcher Strategy Analytics indicate that Xiaomi accounted for 5.6% of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter, up from 2.1% a year earlier.

The dizzying speed of change in the mobile market was further emphasised by a sharp fall in the share of market leader Samsung, from 35% to 24.7% over the same period.

"Xiaomi's next step is to target the international market in Asia and Europe," noted Neil Mawston, executive director, Strategy Analytics. And the Financial Times reported that Xiaomi was set to sign off on a $1bn loan to help it move into those markets it has earmarked, including Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Xiaomi sells millions of smartphones in China through its extensive online and operator channels, a model it has adapted for other markets.

In India, for example, "its strategy challenged almost every set norm of the marketing rulebook" according to Grey India Planning director Ankit Singh, with a series of flash sales on ecommerce site Flipkart, some lasting less than three seconds.

In India, he noted, "online shopping is treated like discount shopping plus convenience" and launching a product online still involved a traditional process of raising awareness through to offering a discount to seal a sale.

Xiaomi's launch, however, had "short-circuited the whole model by cutting down all the intermediate steps and directly making sales". There had been no advertising, no chance to experience the product and no discounts or freebies.

From this, he drew several lessons, including the need to reconsider the role of traditional advertising. Xiaomi's success had come from investment in forging bonds with consumers through social media, with highly active user communities on Facebook for example.

He further remarked that products are now only launched once, as "brand values are shared and transferred instantly across the globe".

And, observing the fate of Nokia and Blackberry, he declared that "the brand has to prove its worth with every new product launch or with every technological innovation".

Data sourced from Strategy Analytics, Financial Times, Afaqs; additional content by Warc staff


Crest enjoys Halloween treat

31 October 2014
NEW YORK: Crest, Procter & Gamble's oral-care line, successfully showed how brands can profit from subverting category norms by "championing", rather than chastising, kids for eating candy on Halloween.

Erica Herman, svp/global strategy at agency Publicis Kaplan Thaler, discussed the brand's award-winning campaign from 2013 year at the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) Strategy Festival.

Typically, she reported, dental-care marketers play the role of "finger-waggers" during Halloween, and discourage children from participating in the ritual of eating the candy collected while trick-or-treating.

Such messaging, however, had clear drawbacks. Firstly, this stance represented the "world's biggest downer" at a time of fun and mischief. And, secondly, this type of output made no impression.

"It absolutely fell on deaf ears," said Herman. (For more, including results from the brand's Halloween campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: Halloween treat: Procter & Gamble's Crest co-conspires with kids and candy.)

For Crest and its P&G stablemate Oral-B – which had both "been protecting teeth and mouths for generations" – a shift in approach was obviously needed.

"Our message had to change … We had been hitting something at a very deep, nasty level by pushing people away from something they want to dive right into," said Herman.

The imperative for Crest and Oral-B thus read as follows: "It's time for you to cross battle lines. It's time for you to be champions [and] cheerleaders for candy consumption, and celebrate the ritual for what it is."

Undertaking a suitable transformation in attitude, Herman continued, would see the brands become "co-conspirators" in celebrating a Halloween tradition.

Such an alternation in perspective, though, did not require ignoring the legacy of these brands, as occasionally eating candy was not the core problem.

"They could do this in very good conscience,"said Herman. "Candy isn't the enemy – not brushing is the enemy." 

With numerous key brand metrics improving as a result of the seasonal repositioning, Halloween 2013 thus proved to be a "perfect teachable moment" when it came to bucking expectations.

Data sourced from Warc


Financial services lead UK search spend

30 October 2014
LONDON: UK search advertising expenditure reached £783m in the first six months of 2014, with financial services emerging as the top-spending category, according to new research.

AdGooroo, a Kantar Media-owned company that measures search marketing in more than 50 countries, examined paid search advertising on desktop and tablet in the UK during the first half of 2014. Mobile search and product listing ads were not included.

The great majority of expenditure – some 95% – went to Google AdWords; the Yahoo! Bing network took just £41m.

Financial services brands accounted for 20% of all spending, at £158m, with price comparison site the leading individual spender. There were four other such sites in the top 20, including (4th), (10th), (12th) and (13th).

But the category with the greatest number of entrants was online gambling, with six. And while its overall spending was lower, at £74m, it had the most expensive keywords.

There were five gambling-related keywords in the list ('online casino', 'casino', 'bingo', 'online casino games' and 'roulette') which averaged a £36.90 Cost Per Click (CPC), the highest of any industry category. The term 'online casino' was the most expensive average CPC at £52.72.

The shopping/classified category attracted £100m in spending, mostly from retailers, with Amazon the most prominent. John Lewis and Asos were the only other two appearing in the top 20.

The branded term 'asos' had the highest average CTR, as almost one in every five persons (18.13%) who searched for apparel retailer Asos clicked a related ad. The term also had the lowest average CPC (£0.34).

There was just one insurance brand in the top 20, Aviva, but insurance keywords saw extremely high competition, averaging 83 advertisers bidding on each term. The top paid search keyword was 'car insurance', on which advertisers spent £7m during the first half of the year.

Tesco is best known as a retailer but its Tesco Bank was the only financial institution to appear in the top 20, which Adgooroo suggested was a sign of "a concerted effort to gain a foothold over its competitors".

Staying with matters financial, 'payday loans' was among the top five search terms in the UK, reflecting both the high level of interest in this growing online finance category and the impoverished state of many consumers.

Data sourced from Adgooroo; additional content by Warc staff


UK regional press turns corner

30 October 2014
LONDON: After years of decline, the UK's regional print industry has detected cautious signs of recovery with one industry figure declaring "the worst is over".

Regional newspaper group Johnston Press reported that the fall in advertising revenues had slowed to -3.4% in the third quarter from -4.6% during the first half. This was in large part due to a 19.5% rise in digital income.

Its portfolio of local news sites was now attracting more than 27m monthly unique users, a 40% rise on the same time last year. And the number of mobile users had doubled to around 6.5m a month.

"We're increasingly confident in saying the worst is over for the regional press," said CEO Ashley Highfield. "We might not be completely out of the woods but the growth in digital audiences, and in fact the performance of print, tells us we'll get there."

Another factor expected to boost figures is a regional advertising partnership struck with satellite broadcaster Sky back in May, which is only now coming into effect. This enables local firms to run highly-targeted TV ads, using Sky's AdSmart product.

Separately, an analysis of data from the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report by Suzy Young, Warc's data and journals director, suggested that regional newsbrands could be "on the cusp of growth".

She noted that the significant growth in digital adpend in this medium over the last three quarters had not been enough to offset the decline in print adspend. But, placing the data in context, Young pointed out that the rate of year-on-year decline had moderated from -15.8% and -26.2% in 2008 and 2009 to an expected -5.0% this year and a predicted -4.3% next year.

Digital adspend revenues for regional newsbrands are predicted to rise 17.4% in 2014 and 8.1% in 2015. Additionally, for the first time since 2004, total recruitment advertising, across print and digital, is expected to post a 5% year-on-year increase this year, buoyed by the recent falls in unemployment.

Thirty million people a week still read regional newspapers and the sector is far from being in terminal decline. "It's certainly feasible that advertising revenues will start to register growth," said Young.

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph, Guardian, MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff


Health could be a core strategy

30 October 2014
CINCINNATI, OH: Around one quarter of consumers globally are committed to health and these are also more likely to be both affluent and more valuable than the average customer a new report has found.

Healthy, Wealthy & Wise, a study from customer science business dunnhumby, looked at customer behaviour across 18 countries in North and South America, Western and Central Europe, and Asia, augmenting dunnhumby's own data with a survey in eight countries that represented the cross section of ranges of health risk factors reported by the World Health Organization.

The report noted that health was rising up the consumer agenda – over the last five years there had been a 38% increase in the overall number of health-committed consumers – and that these consumers were consistently more affluent in all the countries studied.

Even more pertinently for brands and retailers, they were found to be 24% more valuable than the average customer.

These two factors alone made a strong case for companies shifting their health stance out of corporate social responsibility programs and making it a core business strategy, according to Julian Highley, Global Director of Customer Knowledge for dunnhumby.

"The higher priority given to health and wellness by consumers around the world represents a remarkable opportunity for brands, especially considering the significantly higher value that health-committed consumers represent," he said.

Food brands are an important source of information for consumers committed to health: 63% turned to these when seeking guidance, while 53% thought retailers had a role to play here. Just 37% expected government to provide a lead.

Labelling is often a focus of the efforts of food brands to impart information but health-committed US shoppers tended not to trust these, while global consumers were less likely than US shoppers to even look at nutrition labels.

Dunnhumby suggested that brands would do well to focus on influencing health far beyond the label, through a variety of marketing and media tactics.

That could include increasing the number of promotions on healthy products, as 80% of consumers saw this as being a key to changing their bad eating habits. Seven in ten regards the cost of healthy foods as the major barrier to then adopting a more healthy lifestyle.

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content from Warc staff


Facebook ambitious, users indifferent

30 October 2014
SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has big plans for the next ten years, not least "connecting everyone", but users may not be very enthusiastic about the results research has suggested.

In a third quarter earnings call, Zuckerberg reported that 1.35bn people now used Facebook each month with 64% of those doing so on a daily basis. More and more were accessing the social networking site via mobile – 1.12bn each month, and 703m every day.

Advertising revenue had grown 64% year on year to hit $3.2bn in Q3, with mobile advertising accounting for 66% of the total.

Over the next five years, he planned to build "the next generation of services" – Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Search – to "connect billions of people and become important businesses in their own right".

Further out, his ambitions involved "connecting everyone, understanding the world and building the next generation of platforms".

COO Sheryl Sandberg had more modest targets: "One of our main ad protocols is to make ads more relevant" and so improve the user experience while achieving a better return for marketers.

Measurement was key: "A lot of the products that brand marketers are selling are bought in store and so showing that online and mobile ads lead to in store purchases is a hugely important part of our strategy going forward," she said.

Sandberg professed herself "really excited about the engagement we're having right now with brand marketers and agencies" and the opportunities for personal marketing at scale.

But for UK users, at least, the overwhelming emotion associated with Facebook is not so much excitement as indifference. BrainJuicer, the behavioural science agency, used its proprietary FaceTrack system to determine how Britons felt about a range of brands, including Facebook, and concluded that people now took it for granted.

It was intrigued by where the social media giant stood in the survey rankings, surrounded by electricity suppliers and telecoms companies. "Facebook has become – in emotional terms – a utility company," it declared.

The novelty of the site has long worn off, it said, and "we are living in a post-Facebook world".

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


Asia tops consumer confidence index

30 October 2014
ASIA-PACIFIC: Asian countries occupied the top four slots in the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index and six of the top ten, with India leading the way as the most bullish consumer market.

The overall index, based on an online survey covering more than 30,000 consumers across 60 markets, rose one point in the third quarter to 98.

India's index reading of 126 for the third quarter was slightly down on the Q2, while Indonesia had advanced two points to 125. The Philippines was among those registering a sharp drop in confidence, down five points, but it was still a very optimistic nation on an index of 115.

In fourth place, Thailand had surged eight points to 113. China, in sixth place, was steady on 111, while Hong Kong added four points to reach 107, putting it in eighth place.

Some of the larger Asian economies, however, remained well below the worldwide average. South Korea, for one, had slipped back one point to 52, keeping it firmly in the bottom ten and only three places above Italy, the most pessimistic country in the world.

Japan, however, had added four points, pushing its index reading up to 77. Simultaneously, new data showed industrial output growing 2.7% in September, heralding a possible recovery in domestic demand following a near doubling of the country's consumption tax back in April.

The sense of a resurgence in confidence among Japanese consumers was also noted by Milton Pedraza, CEO of New York's Luxury Institute, who said that top-end brands were looking again at this market.

"I think China has slowed down and the protests in Hong Kong and the Russian issues have made brands re-examine their priorities," he told Luxury Daily.

"It is an extremely wealthy country," he added. "I think brands are renewing their strong interest in Japan and not letting it stagnate and reinventing themselves for the more modern Japanese consumer."

Data sourced from Reuters, Japan Times, Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff


India brands in 'safe zone' on digital

30 October 2014
NEW DELHI: The most trusted brands in India have achieved that status through adept use of digital and social, but one industry figure says many brands prefer to remain in their 'safe zone', reluctant to explore new advertising approaches.

One reason for this hesitancy, according to Vinish Kathuria, COO, Digital Quotient, is the number of family-owned businesses in India sticking to their tried-and-tested methods.

So, even though digital is increasingly popular among marketers, that has not yet been reflected in its share of adspend, although Kathuria expected that would change in due course. "In the years to come, the entire pyramid can just get reversed, with digital getting the highest budget share," he told Best Media Info.

The digital community is, of course, sure that brands effectively have little choice but to engage with digital as that is where more and more of their customers are to be found. Sumanta Ganguly, svp at LinTeractiv, described the current situation as one of "volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity" but pointed out that "what is in your hand is to craft your presence better in this era".

And India's most trusted brands have been doing exactly that. Soft drink Maaza, for example, has successfully leveraged an association with regional festivals in the digital environment, communicating in local languages via social. It has also seen young consumers in lower tier cities create social profiles and interact with the brand.

Frooti, another soft drink, has used celebrities on digital to help spark conversations. And, importantly, it looks at all the opinions and ideas that come in via digital touchpoints. "We try and incorporate suggestions and feedback to the extent possible, thereby furthering the trust they (the consumers) have in us," Nadia Chauhan, CMO at Parle Agro, told the Economic Times.

Reckitt Benckiser, the household products business, has set up a digital hub to now monitor real-time conversations and evaluate the sentiments around the Dettol brand on a daily basis.

Nitish Kapoor, managing director of Reckitt Benckiser India, said that digital and social had changed forever the way brands interacted with consumers. "You can no longer force your brand's message on consumers and expect them to get mesmerised by the proposition," he stated.

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


Dos Equis taps Oculus Rift

30 October 2014
ORLANDO, FL: Dos Equis, the beer brand, is leveraging Oculus Rift's virtual reality technology for a new interactive experience celebrating Halloween, and tied to its campaign starring "The Most Interesting Man in the World".

Dolf van den Brink, Heineken USA's president/ceo, and Andrew Bennett, global ceo of Havas Worldwide, discussed this effort at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.

According to Bennett, the "Masquerade" campaign is based around a "whole new platform that we've created - an entirely seamless online video that's incredibly interactive." (For more, including how the brand has made a virtue of limiting its pitchman's exposure, read Warc's report: Dos Equis' "most interesting" insight: scarcity.)

This "immersive experience", he informed the ANA delegates, will also "take the brand to new levels" from an innovation standpoint.

As part of this process, Dos Equis is distributing more than 20 headsets manufactured by Oculus Rift to bars in key markets, including in the Southwest – the site of its US launch, and still a stronghold for the product.

Estimates from Havas Worldwide suggest that between 1,000 and 2,000 people could ultimately engage with the "Masquerade" platform in this way, with one core aim being to drive chatter across social media.

Internet users will also be able to enjoy the experience, and help "The Most Interesting Man in the World" navigate through his opulent, fun-filled manor during a Masquerade party to find his little black book.

By selecting the right options among the choices available to complete this mission, six players can win an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans, where Dos Equis will hold a real Masquerade event next month.

This initiative constitutes the next iteration of "The Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign, which dates back to 2006, and has been instrumental in building the brand's popularity.

By utilising an aspirational – and convention-busting – pitchman, the beer has built strong connections with a customer base that wants to avoid sinking into the background.

"The target consumer for Dos Equis is 21-to-34-year-old males; we call them 'social explorers'. And while they seem very confident, they actually have a very deep emotional fear: being perceived as boring," Bennett said.

Data sourced from Warc


Advertisers want insights, viewability

29 October 2014
BRUSSELS: Brand advertisers believe that consumer insight and viewable advertising are the key to unlocking digital investment, according to a new study.

The latest Metrics and KPIs Bulletin, from digital trade organisation IAB Europe, features new findings from a Europe-wide survey undertaken earlier this year of 700 major stakeholders in the digital business community, including publishers, agencies, brand advertisers, ad networks and measurement companies.

This found that over three quarters of brand advertisers (77%) felt more data about what the consumer was doing online would help attract more brand advertising into digital channels.

And even more (84%) said a move towards measuring viewable rather than served impressions would help achieve the same result.

Publishers, however, were slightly less enthusiastic about these issues, with just 59% feeling data about what a consumer was doing was important and 69% regarding viewability favourably.

The survey further revealed that while brand advertisers regarded traditional branding KPIs as important, they were also keen that metrics around consumer connections were included.

Thus, for example, KPIs such as purchase intent, advertising recall and brand awareness all scored above 87%, as did likelihood to recommend and individual reaction to ad content. Becoming a fan or a follower was less essential, but two thirds of advertisers still thought it a useful metric.

The usefulness of click-based measurements was thrown into further question as almost three quarters of brand advertisers (73%) felt that measuring the average amount of time spent on a web page was an important aspect of defining what constituted contact or exposure.

The validity of such metrics was given an extra boost recently when the Media Ratings Council accredited the 'attention minutes' measurement developed by Chartbeat, a real-time analytics business.

A majority of brand advertisers also wanted data from online audience surveys integrated with other media surveys to provide better cross-media evaluation. Compatability with TV was essential – almost all were looking for this – but only around six in ten thought it was crucial to achieve similar standards for print, radio and outdoor.

Data sourced from IAB Europe; additional content by Warc staff


Marketing confidence remains steady

29 October 2014
GLOBAL: Overall confidence among global marketers remained steady during October, with declines in Europe and the Americas offset by a rise in Asia-Pacific according to the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI).

The headline GMI for the month registered a value of 56.3, virtually unchanged from 56.4 in September. But Europe had fallen back from a September peak of 60.2 to 57.2, still a strong performance, while the Americas dipped marginally from 56.0 to 55.9. Asia Pacific had advanced from 54.5 to 56.4 as the three regions' headline GMI scores converged.

The Global Marketing Index, produced by World Economics, is a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry and which tracks marketers' expectations in three key areas – trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels. A reading of 50 indicates no change while 60+ indicates rapid growth.

Trading conditions across all regions continued to be robust with each area showing strong growth, although once again a decline in the Europe index, down 5.3 points, was countered by an increase in Asia Pacific, up 3.2, while a smaller rise in the Americas, up 1.0, ensured any shifts in the global average of 59.2 were insignificant.

Panellists indicated a rise in the rate of growth in the index for marketing budgets, up 0.7 points to 54.0 in October. European marketing budgets are still rising, but at a slower rate of growth, as the index dropped 3.8 to 54.9. Asia Pacific, meanwhile, continued its strong recovery from a low point in August when this index fell below 50.0; a 3.4 point rise took the region's index for marketing budgets to 55.2. There was also a rise of 2.2 for the Americas index to register a value of 53.5.

The final component of the GMI, the index of staffing levels, stood at 55.6, indicating that marketing departments are still increasing their payrolls. On a regional basis, this index was virtually unchanged in Europe, whereas it fell by 1.1 in the Asia-Pacific region and by 3.7 in the Americas.

Ed Jones, World Economics chief executive, observed that regional growth rates were converging while headline GMI showed strong growth across the world. "Digital and mobile media continue to raise their share of marketing budgets," he added, "while TV is stagnant and expenditure on press continues to fall."

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content by Warc staff


Twitter targets casual users

29 October 2014
SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the microblogging site, is looking beyond its core users and exploring ways of monetising the much greater number of logged-out and unregistered visitors, leading executives have said.

In a third quarter earnings call, CEO Dick Costolo described Twitter's audience as "a series of geometrically concentric circles", with the 284m monthly active users at the centre.

Beyond that was the logged out audience on Twitter-owned and operated properties, which amounted to perhaps twice as many users again, while the third circle consisted of those people reached in syndication via embedded tweets and timelines.

He was confident that the second circle of logged out users, who typically arrived at individual tweets or user profile pages via search or had been directed to the home page via embedded tweets, was capable of being monetised.

"We know what their interest is and that's a key element of being able to target the advertising for them," he said, adding that this was a focus for the advertising team.

CFO Anthony Noto added that a lot of development work had been directed towards profile pages, resulting in an uplift in traffic during the past quarter. He reported an 83% increase in the number of profile impressions, a 77% increase in profile scrolls of the tweets on that profile page, a more than 500% increase in media timeline impressions, a more than 200% increase in media timeline scrolls, an 11% increase in re-tweets on profiles and a 15% increase on favourites on profiles.

"This just starts to highlight how we're scratching the surface on giving these individuals unique content that meets their specific need," he said, "and we'll continue to experiment with the user base to capture the opportunity."

As well as improving the user experience, Noto also stressed Twitter's efforts to improve advertiser ROI with a range of new products, from promoted video ads to an enhanced SMB platform.

"These specific formats allow advertisers to pick the specific marketing tactic or initiative they want and which best suits their needs," he said, and that in turn led to better ROI.

Data sourced from Speeeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff


Apple Pay leads market

29 October 2014
LAGUNA BEACH, CA: Apple Pay has become the market-leading mobile payment offering in the US, according to CEO Tim Cook, with more than one million credit card activations within 72 hours of its official launch.

"Visa and MasterCard – we talked to these guys today," he told the Wall Street Journal's WSJDLive Global Technology Conference, "and they told us that if you sum up everyone else that's in contact-less mobile payments at the point of sale, we're already number one."

In addition to Visa and MasterCard, Apple has signed up American Express and other issuers accounting for around 83% of all credit card transactions in the US.

Given that level of engagement, Cook dismissed as a "skirmish" reports that some retailers, including Rite Aid and CVS Health, had refused to accept Apple Pay at their stores.

Wired noted that major retailers had been developing their own mobile payment app, CurrentC, which links to customer accounts and cuts out credit card companies and their fees. But making the app a success could cost more than any savings they might achieve.

"Shutting out Apple and its user experience expertise isn't about doing what's best for customers," it said. "It's about what retailers perceive to be best for their bottom lines."

In any case, Cook was unperturbed. "We have a lot more to go," he said. "We have a lot of merchants to sign up. We have a lot more banks to sign up. And we have the whole rest of the world. We are only in the US right now."

A tantalising glimpse of the possible future direction of Apple Pay came when Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, indicated an interest in partnering with Apple Pay.

Alibaba's Alipay service has 300m active users and when asked about a tie-up with Apple Pay, Ma told the conference, "I hope we can do something together". Cook also said he was meeting Ma later this week.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Wired; additional content by Warc staff


Asians shun non-mobile devices

29 October 2014
SINGAPORE: In many Asian countries smartphone adoption rates exceed those for computers and a significant proportion of the population is only going online via mobile devices a new study has shown.

Internet giant Google worked with researcher TNS to interview 150,000 people across 56 countries for its report, The Consumer Barometer, and found the uptake of smartphones was greater than desktops in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China and Korea.

"The surprising element to me is how fast things have moved in terms of penetration," said Julian Persaud, managing director, Google Southeast Asia, in remarks reported by Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Thus, for example, smartphone adoption in Vietnam had risen from 20% to 36% in the space of a year, and in Thailand it was up from 31% to 40% while it had doubled to 28% in Indonesia.

Singapore (85%) and Korea (80%) are now among the most smartphone-savvy nations in the world, while Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong have reached 50% adoption rates.

And compared to western consumers, Asians are far more likely to report that a mobile device is the only connected device they own. This was true for over one third of Malaysian respondents and one quarter of Vietnamese.

Lower figures were evident in Singapore (16%), South Korea (14%) and Hong Kong (14%), but these were still comfortably ahead of, say, Germany (7%) or the UK (6%).

"Every Asian business needs to offer a great experience on mobile," stated Persaud. "It's no longer a viable option to ignore the high percentage of consumers who are online on their smartphones."

But much work remains to be done. Even in Singapore, supposedly one of the most advanced smartphone markets, he reported that 88% of consumers encountered some kind of problem when using mobile sites.

Widespread smartphone ownership is changing consumer behaviour, with many now habitually dual-screening. Some 30% to 40% of internet users in Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam now go online while watching TV, with three quarters doing so via smartphone. Eight in ten are looking for things unrelated to what is on the television.

Google said that search was ubiquitous across devices, with the proportion of people looking for such things as car insurance, movie tickets, flights and hotels, far ahead of the US in some markets.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff


Simplicity drives Nissan

29 October 2014
ORLANDO, FL: Nissan, the automaker, is putting "simplicity" at the heart of its efforts to both engage and excite consumers.

Roel de Vries, Nissan's corporate vp/global head of marketing, communications and brand strategy, spoke about this aim at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.

"Our biggest challenge," he said, "is to achieve simplicity out of all the complexity." (For more, including why the auto marque is tapping into sponsorship, read Warc's exclusive report: Nissan's top marketer says advertising needs to move out of the fast lane.)

Reaching that goal is more complicated than ever, as the amount of channels and data available to brands has exploded – as has the number of agencies offering to guide them through the evolving ecosystem.

Despite the relentless maelstrom of activity, however, Nissan remains focused on attaining clarity of purpose and communicating that to consumers with an equal degree of efficiency.

"Never forget one thing: in the end, there is a customer that judges us as brands in an incredibly simple way. The one message that I live by is to try and get very simple and consistent in what we do," de Vries said.

Success in such an endeavour promises to help marketers generate the maximum impact with their output, at a time when consumers are swamped with brand information.

"Over the last ten years, we [have] started communicating so many messages by so many channels using so many agencies that I believe the impact of what we do has often been minimised," said de Vries.

A particular strength that results if a brand secures meaningful simplicity is thus that brands can draw on similar appeals in various markets across the globe.

"We want to ensure – around the world – that people have a truly singular vision of Nissan that we share with them," de Vries said.

"So when somebody says the word 'Nissan' at a dinner or around the office … we want the word 'excitement' to spring to mind [and generate] the feeling that owning a Nissan is a really cool experience."

Data sourced from Warc


Developed Asia wearies of tech

29 October 2014
HONG KONG: Emerging Asian markets retain an enthusiasm for new technology that seems to have gone missing in some of the more mature markets in the region, according to a new study.

The latest iteration of the ongoing Generation Asia study conducted by the Y&R agency looked at attitudes to a variety of issues, ranging from technology to communications and money, in ten markets, including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

A series of infographics in Campaign Asia-Pacific highlighted the extremes of opinion held on these matters among younger consumers, aged 18 to 35. Those in Korea and Singapore, for example, overindexed when considering the statement "Too much technology can make you disconnect from people".

Scores of 139 and 125 respectively lifted them well above the norm of 100. This was in spite of the connected reputation these two territories possess. Indeed, a separate Google survey says that, with penetration rates of 80% and 85% respectively, Singapore and Korea are now among the most smartphone-savvy nations in the world.

In contrast, consumers in Indonesia (71) and China (50) were least likely to agree with the proposition.

That finding was echoed in views about communications, where young Chinese consumers overindexed with regard to the statement "I love sharing my life via social media", registering a score of 131, with Hong Kong residents close behind on 122.

The nations most reticent about social media were Malaysia (80) and Thailand (73).

Even in Hong Kong, however, there was an element of dissatisfaction with technological developments as a high number there worried that "Communicating via IM/SMS is making us lose the art of conversation".

Attitudes to life and money also differed widely across the region. Filipinos stood out in their belief that "Happiness is more important than making money" (115) and were also far more likely to think that "What a brand stands for is a factor in buying its products" (127).

Koreans appeared the most focused on money (80) while Thais were less bothered than others about a brand's values (69).

And while Koreans were most likely to regard making money as more important than happiness, they were also the least likely to see saving as a priority (88), unlike the Chinese who always tried to save every month (115).

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff


Foster's wins IPA Grand Prix

28 October 2014
LONDON: A campaign for Foster's lager, created by adam&eveDBB, has won the IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix, for demonstrating how it restored the brand to market leadership and produced a huge return on investment.

At an awards ceremony last night, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) also handed out a total of nine gold, 13 silver and 13 bronze prizes.

Warc subscribers can read all the winning case studies, as well as the other entrants to the 2014 awards.

The Grand-Prix-winning 'Good Call' campaign, which featured an Australian comedy duo advising UK men on how to tackle relationship problems, helped move Foster's from third to first place for both sales value and volume among lagers sold in the UK retail sector.

Convenor of Judges Lorna Hawtin, Disruption Director, TBWA\Manchester described it as "a real fight back story with a happy ending. The scale of effect versus competitors and the particular contribution of insight-led creativity to this brand's obvious resurgence are truly impressive."

The campaign was one of the most effective ever seen in the beer category by the IPA Effectiveness Awards, generating £32 in revenue for every £1 spent on advertising. That was almost twice as much as its nearest rival, a Carling Black Label campaign from 1996 which managed a comparable revenue figure of £19.27.

In addition to Foster's, golds went to four other commercial brands. These included two auto marques: Renault for the launch of the new Dacia model in the UK, produced by Publicis London and Manning Gottlieb OMD, which achieved the best ever first-year result for a car brand; and Mercedes-Benz for an AMV BBDO campaign that transformed the brand from a staid to a dynamic choice and boosted annual sales by 45%.

Manning Gottlieb OMD featured in another gold-winning campaign, this time for eyewear specialist Specsavers, while Grey London and UncleGrey combined to create the Bestseller storytelling campaign for Danish fashion brand ONLY and achieve an ROI of 53.8.

Along with the Grand Prix, seven other special prizes were awarded. Among these, OMD won the award for the Effectiveness Network of the Year, while Grey London took the prize for Effectiveness Company of the Year.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff


UK adspend up at fastest rate since 2010

28 October 2014
LONDON: Advertising expenditure in the UK grew at its fastest rate in three years during the second quarter of 2014 according to the data from the Advertising Association and Warc.

The latest 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 – showed adspend increasing at 8.5% year-on-year to reach £4,515m for the quarter.

This was the highest growth since the third quarter of 2010, and significantly ahead of the overall economy which was up 3.2% year on year to Q2 2014. The Report revised upwards its earlier full-year forecast, by 0.4 percentage points to 6.4%.

"Growth at twice the rate of UK GDP is quite a headline," said Tim Lefroy, Chief Executive at the Advertising Association, "but the real story is of digital and creative leadership in e-commerce."

The summer World Cup in Brazil also helped, with TV spot advertising surging ahead 10.7% year on year to a Q2 total of £1,118m; overall first half growth of 8.3% is not expected to be sustained for the second half, with a lower figure of 6.7% predicted.

Double digit growth figures were recorded by two other channels as well. Radio was up 17.7% to £119m, and with annual growth projected to be 8.3%, the report said this would be the sector's best performance since 2000.

Internet adspend increased 17.2% in Q2 and AA/Warc anticipated overall growth of 15.1% in 2014. Expectations for mobile growth, however, were moderated down from July's forecast of 75% to 56%.

While digital expenditure has been growing across the nation's news and magazine brands it has not reached sufficient momentum to offset the decline in print.

The trend was especially evident for regional news brands where a 27.9% increase in digital revenues, to £44m, was eclipsed by a 5.2% drop in print, to £280m. Over the full year the report is now predicting an overall 5.0% decline.

A similar picture emerged for magazine brands, with a 10.2% decline for print (to £188m) and a 5.0% uptick for digital (to £66m). Total adspend is predicted to decline 3.3% this year.

National newsbrands fared only marginally better. Print ad revenues declined by 5.0% in Q2 2014 to £296m, with digital adspend up 9.9%, to £48m. AA/Warc predicts a decline of 2.8% for the year.

Among the remaining channels, out of home adspend increased 6.4% to £259m in Q2, with a rise of 3.4% forecast for the year as a whole. Cinema adspend saw year-on-year growth of 5.3% in Q2 to £45m, with growth of 6.7% predicted for the year.

Data sourced from AA, Warc


Chinese brands to storm luxury market

28 October 2014
SHANGHAI: European luxury brands worried about the impact of a slowing China economy may also have to contend with the rise of home-grown luxury brands, as a new report shows the preferences of Chinese consumers are changing.

When Added Value, the marketing consultancy, surveyed 600 "luxury targets" as part of its luxury attitudes study, it found, reported Campaign Asia-Pacific, that 84% agreed with the statement: "In the future, Chinese luxury brands will be just as good as Western luxury brands."

And while there was no timescale for this development, the sense of a tipping point being near came in the statistic that 40% were already buying Chinese brands.

A mere 4% held exclusively to this approach, but 14% bought Chinese brands first while also considering Western ones and another 22% said they bought both international and Chinese brands.

Just over half (51%) bought Western brands first but also considered Chinese ones, while and 9% said they only bought Western brands.

The survey found that respondents had distinctly different views on what luxury brands from the two camps represented.

Thus, Western brands were seen as being expensive, exclusive and reflecting the latest trends.

Chinese brands, on the other hand, were focused on authenticity and a long history, with strong heritage and great craftsmanship.

And of these attributes, authenticity was the most defining element of what constituted a luxury brand, whether Chinese or Western, being cited by 61% of respondents.

After that came customer service (28%), craftsmanship (56%), quality and sophistication (both 53%), great design (52%) and heritage (48%).

Savvy Western brands are already designing products specifically with Chinese customers in mind. Earlier this year, Francis Belin, svp/consumer goods for Greater China at Swarovski, the crystal jewellery and accessories group, told a conference that some brands had a condescending attitude.

"You'd ask people if they're designing products for China, and they'll go, 'No; of course not. We are a French brand. We'll design it and they will buy anything'."

That was, he said, just one of a number of widely held myths about the affluent Chinese consumer. They didn't "want more stuff", he explained, they wanted quality and they no longer defined themselves by logos.

They also wanted a shopping experience rather than just buying online, but, Belin added, the best way to reach them was via mobile.

"We are going to move the whole interface on CRM to WeChat," he said. "They don't want to have the paper thing. They just think with their phone."

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff


Marketers step up cross device campaigns

28 October 2014
NEW YORK: The number of cross-device video campaigns on one platform in the US rose sharply during the third quarter, a new report has claimed.

A study from video advertising platform Videology – Third Quarter US Video Market At-A-Glance – said that more than one third (35%) of all US online video ad campaigns on its platform ran on more than one screen during the quarter, which represented a 59% increase quarter-over-quarter.

In particular, the proportion of campaigns running together on PC and mobile devices increased from 17% in Q2 to 25% in Q3, and those on PC, mobile and connected TV doubled from 5% to 10%.

PC-only campaigns, however, continued to account for the bulk of online video at 60%, while mobile-only took 3% and connected TV-only 1%.

"It's clear that marketers see the value in using data to reach their consumers across the many screens they're interacting with each day," said Scott Ferber, Videology chairman and CEO.

"The growth in cross-screen campaigns validates this trend, and is further proof that advertisers are seeing enhanced performance in reaching consumers across multiple devices," he added.

Videology further reported that 91% of video campaigns had been bought in a guaranteed, TV-like fashion, with just 8% based on cost per action and 1% on dynamic CPM.

In addition, nearly two in five campaigns (39%) using third-party audience verification requested guaranteed delivery, the remaining 61% settling for optimised delivery.

And nearly two in three campaigns (64%) using advanced measurement surveyed consumers for real-time brand metrics to gauge their success. Sales data were used by 23% and cross-screen analysis by 11%.

Almost two thirds of ads (64%), said Videology, were of shorter 15-second spots and news sites were now the primary location for video advertising – their share had more than doubled over the past year, from 15% to 39%.

Entertainment sites were in second place, accounting for 36% of video ad impressions, followed by portals (12%), sports (3%) and women's sites (1%).

CPG was the leading vertical, taking 25% of all impressions running on the platform during the quarter, although its share was down 11 points as more categories started to use video.

Automotive was in second spot (17%), followed by restaurants (10%), financial services (8%), retail (7%), entertainment (7%) and travel (7%).

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Videology; additional content by Warc staff


Mobile programmatic surges in Australia

28 October 2014
SYDNEY: Australia leads the UK on mobile programmatic buying and only lags the US by a year according to a leading industry figure.

Antoine Barbier, global head of mobile product at TubeMogul, the video advertising platform, told AdNews that registered available programmatic mobile video auctions were up by 248% during 2014. "You can really feel that it's picking up here, particularly in the last three months," he said.

Over the past nine months he had observed "exponential growth" in the US programmatic mobile video market "and this is set to happen in Australia", he declared.

"The Australian market is much more into programmatic than the UK market," he added, while "the US is roughly one year ahead of Australia, in terms of the trends around spend".

Barbier pointed out that US spend on mobile had doubled from 2.9% in the first quarter to 5.3% in the second quarter. "It will happen quickly in Australia too," he said.

"As a brand marketer you don't have a choice about advertising on mobile devices if you want to reach these audiences," he continued. And while programmatic mobile video ad spend had yet to follow, he was of the opinion that "programmatic mobile can help brands and agencies making the move to spend more on mobile."

The key, he argued was to provide cross-device offerings, but there was still work to be done in this area.

He was optimistic about the current development of mobile targeting but felt audience measurement still had some way to go. "We simply need third-party auditing here in Australia," he said.

But he was hopeful that 2015 would see changes leading towards the ability to carry out cross-device measurement and from there to contextual targeting.

"People spend their time on games and social and video apps and that is what will drive opportunities for brand advertisers which is what people need to realise," Barbier said, quoting TubeMogul figures showing that 85% of mobile video programmatic ads are placed inside these apps and that 10% of time is spent watching videos on the mobile web.

Data sourced from AdNews; additional content by Warc staff


Brand equity vital to retailers

28 October 2014
NEW YORK: US stores need to focus on increasing the equity of their brand if they are to prosper, according to a new study which demonstrates a strong correlation between this metric and retailer success.

A Nielsen study covering the grocery, mass merchandise, club, dollar, drug and convenience channels connected consumer responses to some 130 retailers to nine key factors to derive the Nielsen Store Equity Index (NSEI). When this was in turn analysed in connection with Nielsen's Homescan data, it found that a retailer's NSEI score had a 68% correlation with a retailer's shopper's share of wallet.

Further, each point of equity within the NSEI resulted in 8.3 percentage points of market share.

With equity being based on factors such as familiarity, connection and loyalty, Nielsen observed that retailers were developing outlets that would resonate at a local level. When it asked respondents to assess this aspect of brand equity it discovered that the list of the top ten retailers included a mix of both large and small operators, some, such as Wisconsin-based Woodman's, having as few as 15 outlets.

These might not be well known at the national level, Nielsen noted, "but are truly loved by the consumers that visit them".

Retailers were also rated on a number of attributes which drive people to stores, enabling Nielsen to determine those which that had the strongest impact on the retailer's NSEI score in any particular category.

Thus, for example, prepared foods were critical to the equity of convenience stores, while club stores needed to have fresh meat and seafood.

Linked to this development was a convergence towards a new size of store in order to meet consumer's changing shopping habits, as they now make more trips to fulfil short-term requirements.

Most obviously, big box retailers are investing in smaller outlets to address this need. But for drug and dollar retailers, Nielsen found that a larger one-stop shop contributed heavily to their equity as they were able to serve both stock-up trips as well as the routine, larger-basket trips.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff


Social insights inspire JetBlue

28 October 2014
ORLANDO, FL: JetBlue, the air carrier, is drawing on insights and data from its social customer service team to consistently find new ways of engaging consumers and build on its brand promise.

Marty St. George, svp/commercial at the company, discussed this subject while addressing the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

And he reported that Twitter, in particular, has become a "very important" customer service channel for the airline. Indeed, the organisation currently boasts nearly two million followers on this platform alone.

"If we were going to talk about a brand being 'human', we recognized social media was an amazing opportunity to actually connect with our customers," St. George added. (For more, including further details of the carrier's brand strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: JetBlue grounds campaigns in bookings, brands and buzz.)

Delving further into this theme, he revealed that the insights into the customer experience gathered via such interactions can help the firm enhance its offering to consumers.

"We have a 'Black Ops' group of people out in our Salt Lake City support centre continually trying to find a way to engage with customers and create better service. And they've created opportunities for us we never expected," said St. George.

An illustration of this idea concerns a specific problem raised by one passenger that had wider implications for company policy.

The individual concerned was carrying a fold-up bike in a suitcase, but JetBlue's official policy is to charge any passenger $100 to transport a bicycle – a stipulation made with the traditional two-wheeled variety in mind.

Having learned of the incident through Twitter, JetBlue examined the policy again, and rewrote it to recognise that fold-up bicycles constituted a separate category – as well as giving the customer their $100 back.

"These are the things that could be missteps in your daily delivery of [the] brand that you wouldn't even know about," said St. George.

"I hate the thought of losing my customer to the data testers, but when they find stuff that we're doing wrong, how can I not take advantage of it?"

Data sourced from Warc


Activity trackers top UK wearables

27 October 2014
LONDON: Health and fitness activity trackers make up 39% of the wearables market in the UK, but smartwatches represent only 11%, the latest industry data has shown.

In total, 420,000 wearable units worth £51m were sold in the UK between January and August 2014 – and health and fitness trackers accounted for 163,000 of them, according to retail tracking firm GfK.

However, despite growing sales, the research firm said wearables are a long way from becoming a mass market and price appears to be the biggest hurdle.

In its online survey of 1,000 smartphone owners, GfK found 28% of consumers believe cost to be the most important issue when buying an activity tracker, Mobile News reported.

Furthermore, nearly half (47%) prefer to buy an activity tracker from a well-known technology company rather than a retailer in the fashion, luxury or sports categories.

This view is shared by consumers in four other markets that GfK covered – ranging from the US (42%), Germany (51%), China (54%) and South Korea (69%).

Turning back to the UK market, GfK found wrist sport computers (which record activity such as running) are the second most popular wearable device (111,000 units or 26% market share), followed by action cameras, headsets and glasses (99,500 or 24%), and smartwatches (46,500 or 11%).

Part of the problem facing smartwatches is that they are still considered "gadgets for geeks", the report said, because they're viewed as being aesthetically unappealing and without a clear function.

However, that may change with a soon-to-be-launched smartwatch from Microsoft and next year's launch of the Apple Watch, the Guardian reported.

In other findings, more than two-thirds (69%) of survey respondents said they would wear clothes or jewellery with integrated activity trackers, with bracelets (33%) and shoes (26%) the most popular overall.

Men are more interested in connected clothes, such as T-shirts, shoes and belts, while women prefer bracelets, necklaces and rings, the survey also revealed.

GfK director Anne Giulianotti said wearable activity trackers have caught on with a small percentage of consumers, but vendors should explain more about the functional possibilities offered by wearables and other connected technology.

"Manufacturers need to think about educating consumers not only about wearables, but about the possibilities of the smart home and smart car – as well as all the other options from The Internet of Things – if they are to convince people that the functionality offered is worthy of the price," she said.

Data sourced from GfK, Mobile News, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff


Social media challenges most firms

27 October 2014
NEW YORK: Even though almost nine-in-ten (88%) of organisations recognise that social media is important to maintain a competitive edge, they face difficulties translating these benefits into commercial gain, a new global study has revealed.

Based on the responses of more than 750 businesses in eight countries around the world, the Hootsuite Social Business Benchmark report found they rarely use data insights gleaned from social media.

Less than half (40%) said they use data gained from social media to improve their bottom line, while 60% said it's a challenge to find actionable use for the data collected.

The online survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Hootsuite, the social relationship platform, and questioned current or prospective clients of Hootsuite in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Despite their concerns about whether their organisations make the best practical use of social media, the report showed the great majority do recognise its value as a means to connect with consumers.

A full 84% said social media can add value to enhancing relationships with existing customers, while a similar proportion (81%) said it provides the means to learn about a company's reputation, and to monitor external communication (79%).

On top of the difficulties businesses face translating social media into commercial action, the report also found that their internal departments do not always work together to make use of it.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) agreed that the number of departments using social media is growing, but almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents whose social media strategy is at least somewhat aligned said that aligning strategy across departments is difficult.

"While social media is a part of everyday life for consumers, effectively integrating social in the workplace hasn't been as easy," observed Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes.

"Nearly all survey respondents agreed that social data can improve the bottom line, yet turning that data into something actionable can be a challenge," he added.

To assist in the task, Hootsuite also announced that it is launching a Global Agency Partner Program, a network of more than 250 global agencies, to provide advice and training about social strategy and technology.

Data sourced from Hootsuite; additional content by Warc staff


Advertising seeks 'righter' answers

27 October 2014
LONDON: Advertising is rich in theories but none can claim to be the sole font of wisdom in a complex world, according to Guy Murphy of JWT.

The agency network's worldwide planning director told a gathering held to celebrate 50 years of Admap – the anniversary issue of which explores the future of brand communications – that this confusion was nothing new, as he reminisced about acronymic ideas such as AIDA and DAGMAR.

"There's never going to be a right answer," he concluded, "just answers that have a greater degree of rightness about them than others."

And despite the range of ideas about advertising and communications, he had noted a creeping anti-intellectualism in the industry, as people started to regard action as more important than thinking, to believe that "thinking holds things up, thinking makes things slow".

That resulted in such nonsensical statements as "thinking just is acting" or "strategy just is doing".

"It's critical that in our industry we give ourselves the space and the encouragement to think," he asserted, "and have that notion of constant inquiry to be able to get to righter answers to be able to give our clients the value that they're paying for."

That was, he argued, why Admap was so valuable – it acted as "a portal for our thought".

Earlier he had outlined six current strands of thinking about advertising (a video of the presentation is available here), ranging from storytelling content to experimental, with his own take on each.

The latter was part of the anti-intellectualism he had observed – don't theorise, just do – but it was also part of the language of the world of technology and Silicon Valley: fail fast, fail faster.

Utility, he noted, frequently contained an element of double bluff from brands that boasted about spending money on the product and not on advertising. "The marketing that they're doing, to say that they're not doing any marketing, is the marketing that they say they're not doing."

Action for good was "CSR on speed", personalisation was "CRM on crack cocaine", programmatic was the spectre of communications being decided by an algorithm, while "there's not a single similarity between storytelling and our content at all".

In a completely unscientific poll of those present at the event, utility emerged as the preferred strategy for the future.

Data sourced from Warc


General Mills uses 'brand champions'

27 October 2014
ORLANDO, FL: General Mills, the food group, is putting "brand champions" at the heart of its marketing efforts, in recognition of the fact these shoppers can become powerful advocates and influencers on behalf of its products.

Mark Addicks, svp/cmo of General Mills, discussed this theme while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference, held in Orlando, Florida.

"At General Mills, we believe behind every great brand there are champions who must advocate, who must create, who must influence others. They're the super-consumers of your category," he said.

These buyers, he continued, need no convincing regarding the merits of a specific product or service. (For more, including examples of this model in action, read Warc's exclusive report: How General Mills muscled up its marketing with a purpose.)

"They're already thinking about brands; they're not thinking categories. They are thinking about brands and where they can go and what they can be."

Understanding such shoppers is key for brand custodians, and contrasts with the "fuzzy and generic" profiling often used in the industry, where targeting can be as loose as "women with a pulse between 18 and 49".

General Mills has thus gathered deep insights into its brand champions – "how they behave, who's in their life, the people around them, their passion points and where the brand can connect to those passion points".

Zeroing in on these customers – or what Addicks described as "putting brand champions at the centre of everything you do" – has significant implications.

"It's really forcing us to rethink our model – all those assumptions we have about what works; how you build a brand; how you build a brand over time; and where you put your money, your emphasis and your focus," said Addicks.

Having already road-tested the brand-champion model with a diverse range of brands, General Mills' marketing chief was able to report positive results.

"The good news is that they are really growing. In fact, they are outgrowing their competition and they are outgrowing their categories," he said.

"It's about all the different things, today, that you can offer and make your brands surprise and delight [consumers] through content, through creativity."

Data sourced from Warc


Three criteria aid ad effectiveness

27 October 2014
SINGAPORE: However appealing creativity may be for advertisers, truly effective campaigns generally show three key criteria, two leading marketing academics have argued.

Ang Swee Hoon and Lee Yih Hwai, associate professors of marketing at the National University of Singapore Business School, said that the makings of an effective, creative ad requires a campaign that is novel, meaningful and connected.

Writing for Marketing Interactive, they identified the latest series of ads for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Singapore as a good example of creative advertising.

The ads, for the Breast Cancer Foundation and created by DDB Singapore, cleverly redesigned the logos of Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to convey a message to women that they spend more time on social media than they do examining themselves for signs of the disease.

Tweaks made to the familiar logos create a "puzzle" that motivates people to take a closer look and then realise that the spoof shows a hand cupping a breast, they said.

Coupled with the tagline "If only you checked your breasts as often", the tongue-in-cheek message is made comprehensible and, just as importantly, it also makes viewers feel good about themselves for solving the puzzle.

This is a good example of an ad that uses novelty to capture attention and generate interest towards the ad, Ang and Lee suggested.

The second criterion – being meaningful – requires ads to convey a message in a logical manner, they said.

In the case of the breast cancer awareness campaign, digitally savvy women would realise that they have been spending too little time on something important while spending far more time on social media.

"The message would have lost its resonance if it had not been meaningfully associated with relevant logos, or if the campaign had used unfamiliar icons," they said.

Finally, the third crucial element is connectedness, or people's identification with an issue, and the campaign fits this requirement because it deals with a life and death issue.

"In a nutshell, creativity for the sake of creativity is to be avoided," Ang and Lee concluded. "Brands and companies should hold their ad agencies accountable for delivering creative that optimise the share of the consumer eyeball, mind, heart and purse."

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Adweek; additional content by Warc staff


Protests may slow HK adspend growth

27 October 2014
HONG KONG: Brands are likely to rein in their adspend in Q4 2014 and to shift it to Q1 2015 because of the influence of the recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, a number of regional agency representatives have warned.

According to Ray Wong, CEO at media buy agency PHD, adspend in the fourth quarter is expected to register 3% growth whereas it would usually exceed 10%.

"Because the current social climate is not suitable for branding campaigns, some of these campaigns have been delayed. The means the adspend would be shifted to Q1 of next year," he told Marketing Interactive.

"Some clients have already said they will not be spending extra ad dollars this quarter," he added.

Recent statistics from admanGo, the advertising intelligence provider based in Hong Kong, revealed adspend growth of 3% to HK$11.4bn in Q3 2014.

But Kevin Huang, CEO of digital ad network Pixels, said 3% is a very low rate of growth for Q3 and that growth during the quarter would typically be about 6% to 10% in an average year.

He said overall market sentiment is likely to be on the "conservative side" for Q4, although he expected digital adspend will exceed 3% in the quarter.

"Despite the political uncertainty, I think digital will overachieve this 3% because digital is the media of choice in light of the Occupy movement, which is all about being on mobile, the web, live streams and messaging apps," he said.

L'Oréal is at least one leading brand advertiser to confirm that it will take a cautious approach to its advertising budget for the rest of the year.

Lisa Wong, director of communications, public affairs and sustainable director at L'Oréal Hong Kong, said: "We have plans for ad expenditure for the rest of the year and will monitor movements in the market and be vigilant."

However, these relatively downbeat comments from local industry practitioners stand in contrast to recent comments from Matthew Wigham, Asia-Pacific head of trading at MediaCom.

He told Advertising Age and also Mumbrella earlier this month that Hong Kong will remain the world's highest per-capita ad market at about $1,000 per person this year, and that the overall market is still set to grow 9% to $7.8bn this year.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff


Snapchat opposes native advertising

27 October 2014
NEW YORK: Snapchat, the photo and video messaging app, has no interest in carrying native advertising because it does not want to "trick" its users, the company's chief operating officer has announced.

Speaking at the GroupM What's Next conference in New York, Emily White claimed Snapchat is different from other "traditional" social networks, which she didn't name, in that it does not want ad placements that disrupt a user's conversation.

"It's getting really confusing to users. They don't like to be tricked," she said in comments reported by Business Insider.

Rather than allowing ads to appear in users' conversations with their friends or as a pre-roll, Snapchat will give advertisers their own space on the app so users can decide whether to engage with them or not, she said.

The first ad to appear on Snapchat was run in the US the weekend before last. It was a 20-second trailer for the horror movie "Ouija" and appeared in users' recent updates feed rather than in their conversations.

White cited the "Ouija" ad for Universal Pictures as the model Snapchat will be pursuing. "[This ad] is a piece of content," she said. "That's a really important point. It's not a pre-roll."

For its part, Universal suggested it was "satisfied" with how its paid content on the messaging app was received and said millions of US users had viewed it, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Referring to the responses of Snapchat users, Doug Neil, Universal's evp of digital marketing, said some of the best responses were from those who were scared by the trailer.

"Some of the best response was being scared by it," he said. "They were being marketers for us, and that's the best of digital and social media marketing. We were very satisfied with the experience."

Data sourced from Business Insider, Los Angeles Times; additional content by Warc staff


Advertising is a System One business

24 October 2014
LONDON: Advertising is a System One business that needs to get better at codifying its learning, according to Rory Sutherland.

The vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK told an audience gathered to celebrate 50 years of Admap - the anniversary issue looks at the future of brand communications  - that Daniel Kahneman, the psychology professor behind the concept of System One (intuitive) and System Two (rational) thinking, regarded advertising as one of the very few System One businesses.

However, said Sutherland, the advertising world was poor at organising its learning for the industry's wider benefit (click here to view the full video of his talk).

"Once we take the things we already know in this business and do what Admap does large, which is actually codify them and attempt to make sense of them, the areas of the decision-making world where we can actually get involved multiply by an order of magnitude," he said.

He wanted to "get the kind of briefs and solve the kinds of problems that traditionally advertising agencies are never asked to solve".

There was, he insisted, a huge opportunity to be grasped if the sector could free itself from some instinctive ways of thinking.

"There's a natural assumption in agencies to go, 'well we can solve this problem, but first we have to redefine it in such a way that the solution involves a lot of bought media'," he said.

An effective solution could be as simple as adding a couple of sentences to a call centre script. When there was a choice, advising that 'most people choose option B' was enough to encourage hesitant callers – "a little bit of herd effect or social default" – to commit themselves and triple conversion rates.

He also urged people to test counter-intuitive things. Look at Red Bull, he said, which cost three times as much as Coca-Cola for a smaller can.

"Nowhere in market research, nowhere in economic logic will you find the inspiration for this decision," he said. "No-one in research will ever say 'there's no way I'm paying £1.50 for a can of drink, oh wait, I will if you give me less of it'."

Data sourced from Warc


Retargeting deters half of consumers

24 October 2014
LONDON: Just over half of UK consumers are put off buying products or services if they see the same online ad over and over again, according to a new survey.

Ad tech business InSkin Media and agency Rapp Media surveyed 1,600 UK adults for their report Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines and found that 55% were deterred by retargeted ads. Just 10% said they were more likely to buy something after seeing the same ad repeatedly, The Drum reported.

While more than half (53%) of respondents said that online ads were of interest on initial viewing, the law of diminishing returns set in rapidly. After being seen five times people found them "intrusive" and started to get annoyed – after the tenth time they had progressed to being angry.

On the plus side, ads viewed on relevant sites – such as a hotel ad on a holiday website – attracted much less ire, even if seen many times.

"The retargeting-genie is certainly out of the bottle, but it's a fine line to tread as brands potentially lose control through a perfect storm of increased automated buying and the spectre of consumer cookie deletion," said Paul Phillips, Rapp's head of media strategy.

"Marketers and planners are negligent if they don't devote more careful planning around frequency caps and other contextual filters before letting the maths men hit the send button," he added.

Timing was another particular bugbear for consumers, as the research showed that most were positive about ads they viewed when they were researching a purchase but that fell off quickly, not just after purchase, as one might expect, but even in the post-research, pre-purchase phase.

"Retargeted ads served after the research phase could potentially do more harm than good," Phillips observed.

The quality of a site was another important factor in the perception of retargeted ads. People were 37% more likely to click on an ad if it appeared on a site they trusted.

The industry had got carried away with retargeting, said Hugo Drayton, CEO of InSkin Media. "It's a powerful tool but it needs to be qualified by more thought and action to ensure it's used effectively," he added. Drayton also warned of the risk of alienating a generation of consumers.

Data sourced from The Drum, MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff


Gen Z wants 'authentic' social media

24 October 2014
PALO ALTO, CA: Current social media are failing to meet the needs of young US Millennials for authenticity and a separate space from parents and employers a new survey has revealed.

The Youth and Online Habits study was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Camp Mobile, an app developer owned by South Korean portal Naver, among 812 respondents aged 13-22. This found that four in five respondents felt people their age shared too much information online.

But most (69%) thought their peers were only "being themselves" a small amount of time, while a broadly similar proportion (63%) admitted they sometimes had a hard time reading "fluff" their friends posted. There was a widespread desire (57%) for greater authenticity in these communications.

The possibility of parents or older relatives seeing material they had posted was an inhabiting factor for 44% of respondents, while 31% took a longer view and worried about the effects of a potential employer viewing it.

Consequently, around two in five (39%) felt unable to be their real self on social media while one third (36%) lamented not having a place where they could express their "real self" online.

"This new research survey supports our theory that there's a cultural shift underway, being driven by Generation Z," said Doyon Kim, General Manager of Camp Mobile. "It shows a preference for online authenticity and more private group spaces to selectively share different information with various subsets of their diverse work and personal lives."

"The moving trend away from auditorium-style social networks to more private group spaces shows there is a real need for a different type of social network and messaging platform," he added.

This conclusion was given added weight by other survey findings: most young Millennials were spending as much (39%) or more (35%) time on social media as a year ago; but two-thirds of respondents said they were sharing less.

"This change in the way the younger generation share information with their peers will affect the popularity and continued use of a variety of social media networks," Kim stated.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff


Yes to ad-supported apps

24 October 2014
NEW YORK: US consumers prefer free, ad-supported apps to those costing money but they also want the ability to filter the companies who are able to advertise to them, a new study says.

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), a consortium of the nation's largest media and marketing associations, commissioned a poll of 1,015 adults which revealed that, of all those downloading apps, six in ten (58%) opted for free rather than paid-for ones.

Just 8% said they would download all of their free apps again if they were required to pay for them, while 46% said they wouldn't download any if forced to pay.

After the obvious issue of cost, respondents also demonstrated a "sophisticated understanding of mobile functionality and content" in their attitudes towards the collection and use of data.

Overall, seven in ten Americans felt that tools offering transparency and choice regarding relevant ads and data collection should be available wherever and however they accessed the internet.

And two thirds wanted those tools to let them pick and choose which companies were bringing them relevant offers.

Lou Mastria, DAA executive director, said the association already provided these options in the desktop environment and would soon do so in mobile as well with the launch of AppChoices, a downloadable tool that will allow users to manage their relevant advertising preferences in mobile apps.

Almost 60% of respondents said they would be more favourably disposed towards those companies and brands that provided ubiquitous, real-time choice regarding their advertising practices using a transparency icon, a feature that is a hallmark of the DAA program.

The emphasis placed on choice is no doubt a consequence of the unhappy experience of being bombarded with irrelevant advertising. By a margin of nearly five-to-one, those respondents who expressed an opinion preferred to see mobile ads relevant to their specific interests.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff


T-Mobile prioritises consumer choice

24 October 2014
ORLANDO: T-Mobile, the wireless provider, is focusing its research efforts on the drivers of choice rather than solely addressing the "wants and needs" of US consumers, a strategy which is helping the firm fuel its rapid growth.

Mike Sievert, the organisation's evp/chief marketing officer, discussed this topic while speaking about the brand's "Uncarrier" positioning at the ANA's 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando.

"It's important not to get obsessed with studying wants and needs," he said. (For more, including how the firm is transforming its category, read Warc's exclusive report: T-Mobile transforms its brand … and revolutionises an industry.)

By prioritising these areas, he suggested, marketers are often seeking merely to support "common sense" ideas with data, instead of truly getting to grips with the motivators shaping shopper decisions in actuality.

This gap is similar to that between reported behaviour, or what buyers say they do, and the underlying factors that finally determine their purchases – and T-Mobile gives more weight to this matter than wants and needs.

"About 90% of market research in a company is a complete waste of money; millions of dollars wasted," said Sievert.

T-Mobile thus turns the usual research formula upside down, Sievert informed the Masters of Marketing delegates.

"What we do at T-Mobile is figure out what drives choice in our industry at the moments of truth," he said.

These moments include, "when somebody's trying to decide, 'Who will I at least consider if I'm going to enter into the market?' 'Am I going to consider T-Mobile?' And, when it's time to decide, 'Who am I going to choose?' That's what we obsess about. That's what we research."

One example of this strategy in action is the seventh iteration of the "Uncarrier" program, which provides full mobile phone functionality as long as a consumer has a WiFi connection.

This offering, Sievert suggested, deals with two fundamental issues of primary interest when selecting a network: "Will it work at my house?" and "Is it going to work at my place of work?"

Data soured from Warc


India's niche e-tailers gain foothold

24 October 2014
NEW DELHI: Niche e-tailers in India are using main media advertising to establish both credibility with consumers and a presence in a market dominated by three big ecommerce players.

"The larger sites just act like a shopping mall which sells top brands," said Sanjay Sethi, founder and CEO,, an online marketplace, in reference to Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.

"The three players do not account for the entire industry, nor do they sell everything," he told the Financial Express.

Sharp entrepreneurs are therefore seeking out gaps in the marketplace, from home furnishings to eyewear.

"Consumers go to large sites when they want to buy something as basic as an office chair, but when it comes to decorating her house in her own style then a customer comes to our website as we have a huge collection," said Vikram Chopra, co-founder and CEO,, meanwhile, claims to have cornered the market in bespoke spectacles. "One of the reasons why Lenskart has been able to attract consumers on its website is that there is no other e-commerce player, large or small, which is into custom-made eyewear," stated CEO and founder Peyush Bansal.

There is, however, little advantage in being the sole player in a market if no-one knows about you, hence the importance of advertising for these start-up sites. But advertising is about more than simply generating awareness.

"In India, it helps in gaining the trust of consumers as they still believe that brands that advertise on television and newspapers are more credible," said Chopra.

Financial Express also noted that advertising was helping to boost the valuations of these businesses and so attract funding from investors, an essential component for an inventory-led approach (unlike the three majors which follow a marketplace model).

Ashvin Vellody, partner, management consulting at advisory firm KPMG India, observed that some of the smaller players had tackled the inventory issue by opening bricks-and-mortar stores, either owned or franchised.

Data sourced from Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff


China's consumers fear pollution

24 October 2014
BEIJING: Pollution in China's cities can be so bad that consumers are increasingly searching out products that can help protect them from its worst effects, according to a new study.

The Consumer Trends 2015 report from researcher Mintel, based on consumer surveys in first- and second-tier cities along with assessment of FMCG trendsand contributions from its analysts, identified four "megatrends" that will affect many categories in some way in the near future.

These include, Campaign Asia-Pacific reported, the spread of wearable devices and smart home appliances, the continuing integration of digital across retail, increased use of crowdsourcing, and growing interest in pollution protection.

Mintel reported almost half (47%) of 20 to 49 year olds worried about catching an incurable disease as a result of environmental pollution, while 38% expressed concern about respiratory diseases.

And 40% of the same age group were spending more money on products to protect them from environmental pollution.

The China Economic Review recently noted how officials have frequently declared "a war on pollution" but to little effect, partly because they have taken a piecemeal approach.

The dangers to the population are significant – a scientific study on the leading causes of death worldwide estimated that outdoor air pollution had contributed to 1.2m premature deaths in China in 2010.

Consumers have therefore taken their own steps to cope with the "airpocalypses" that descend on China's cities, buying up functional respiratory face masks. These are now mainstream enough for cosmetics brand Max Factor to have sponsored a pollution mask selfie contest to promote its eye makeup.

Leading fashion designers are tapping into this trend, aiming to turn the unattractive mask into an accessory that can be matched with people's outfits. These have featured in fashion shows from Paris to Hong Kong.

"People are wearing them every day during the winter," Vogmask China Director Christopher Dobbing told Jing Daily. "Before you leave the house you check: phone, keys, wallet, face mask."

Ailsa Gu, Mintel's North Asia insights manager, anticipated more hi-tech developments in the battle against pollution. "In advertising, we'll see more initiatives like billboards that fight pollution, as well as home, office and even shop frontages made from materials that absorb carbon, reflect heat or absorb light to emit it at night," she said.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, China Economic Review, Jing Daily; additional content by Warc staff


Warc launches 2015 Prize for Social Strategy

23 October 2014
LONDON: Warc is today launching the Warc Prize for Social Strategy 2015, a global competition with a $10,000 prize fund, to find the best examples of social ideas that drive business results.

The Prize, now in its second year, looks for examples of marketing or communications strategies that inspire social effects (conversation, sharing, participation or advocacy) and also a measurable business impact. It is free to enter, and open to clients and agencies in any discipline.

"The response to the Prize in its first year showed how important a topic this is," said David Tiltman, Head of Content at Warc. "Once again we're casting the net wide to find the best examples of socially driven strategies that work. The Prize is completely discipline-neutral – we've seen great social ideas emerging from across the communications industry."

The $10,000 Prize fund will be divided between a $5,000 Grand Prix for the world's best social strategy case study, plus five $1,000 Special Awards to the best examples of a long-term idea, use of analytics, channel strategy, not-for-profit and a social business model.

In addition there will also be Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for the highest-scoring cases.

The deadline for entries is 23 January 2015, and the winner will be announced in May 2015. Further details on the Prize, including the entry kit and tips on writing a great strategy case study, can be found on the Prize website,

The 2014 competition received more than 130 entries from around the world, with the $5,000 Grand Prix won by a case study from London agency AMV BBDO and snack brand Doritos. The 'Doritos Mariachi' campaign was a social media-based, content-driven initiative built around a Mariachi 'covers' band, which toured the UK.

Entries to last year's competition have been featured in a new analysis, Seriously Social 2014. This report, written by marketing consultant Peter Field, found that social strategies worked best when they involved multiple channels, and that social media worked better as a support channel rather than as a lead channel.

Data sourced from Warc


Integrate with tech says Sorrell

23 October 2014
LONDON: The future of the advertising industry lies in greater integration with other business functions, particularly technology, according to Sir Martin Sorrell.

Addressing a party thrown to celebrate 50 years of Admap magazine, whose anniversary issue examines the future of brand communications, the head of agency holding company WPP recalled how, after acquiring J Walter Thompson in 1987, he had reintegrated its various specialisms into a full-service agency.

Fast forward to 2014 and the next step, he said, was "to integrate what we're doing not just across the marketing functions but the technology functions as well".

The industry, he felt, had "a spectacular advantage" in that it understood "the touchy-feely stuff". And while that wasn't true of the people on the technology side, "there's a fusion of the two that I think is going to become remarkably powerful and relevant, because we are starting to deal with CMOs, CFOs, CIOs and CTOs".

Noting the recent disappointing financial results from some major advertisers, Sorrell anticipated that the future would bring even more pressures on costs. "So the need to integrate and to think about communications planning in a much broader sense than we ever have done before I think is going to become extremely important," he declared.

The scale of change over his business lifetime had been significant – he observed that "the classic Don Draper stuff" only accounted for around one quarter of WPP revenues, the rest being divided between media, data investment management and digital.

Sorrell also paid tribute to one of the founding fathers of account planning, Stephen King, an early contributor to Admap. He said of a classic paper penned in 1967, Can research evaluate the creative content of advertising?, "A lot of the scientific elements in there are even more relevant today than when he first wrote about them almost 50 years ago".

Data sourced from Warc


Viewability faces major hurdles

23 October 2014
CHICAGO: There is an advertising industry consensus around the importance of viewability on digital and why it needs to become the basis for billing but there remain major hurdles to be overcome, a leading industry figure has said.

Speaking to, Vivek Shah, chair of the IAB and CEO of Ziff Davis, the media company, declared that "We're creating a standard within digital advertising that is different and better than other standards that exist in media – it's groundbreaking and it's unprecedented".

But there are challenges in a shift from billing on served ad impressions to billing on viewed ad impressions and Shah outlined four issues.

First he was concerned that publishers were being asked to make their systems compatible with too many viewability vendors. Fifteen of these had already been accredited by the Media Ratings Council and he said another 15 were in the pipeline.

He compared this situation with ad serving, where there were only two or three players in the marketplace and it had still taken 18 years "to bring discrepancies into a tolerable range".

Second, publishers already pay to serve ads and were then being told to pay a multiple of that to determine if they're viewable – "that doesn't make any sense" .

While he fully expected that this situation would change in due course, "right now you have a very cost-prohibitive viewability-vendor landscape".

Third, desktop was furthest down the viewability road, but even here "routinely 30%, 40% of inventory, for one reason or another, is deemed not measurable". That didn't necessarily mean it wasn't viewable, but simply that the vendor couldn't say definitely whether it had or hadn't been seen.

Fourth, there was a huge hole when it came to mobile, which isn't currently measured. "How can we send you a bill for viewable ads when 40% of the inventory is not even being measured?" he asked.

Despite these difficulties he remained an enthusiastic advocate of viewability and dismissed those publishers who complained about loss of inventory.

"We should lose inventory," he stated. "The inventory that has no opportunity to be seen needs to be pulled out of the supply chain – that's not a debatable element."

Data sourced from; additional content by Warc staff


MillerCoors boosts content efforts

23 October 2014
NEW YORK: MillerCoors, the brewing group, is enhancing its content marketing capabilities, in recognition of the fact this strategy could help reach millennials and fuel their interest in the firm's products.

Stevie Benjamin, the company's senior director/digital media, discussed this subject while speaking at Advertising Week 2014 in New York.

Most brands have an obvious interest in engaging millennials – an increasingly affluent and influential cohort with distinctive wants and preferences.

But this imperative, for beer brands, is overlaid by another compelling piece of information: namely, that 21-34 year olds are currently only responsible for 25% of volume sales in the category.

"A lot of people, when we talk about that stat, are surprised, because they think that's really the bread and butter for beer companies – and it's not," Benjamin said. (For more, including examples of MillerCoors' approach in action, read Warc's report: MillerCoors' new millennial content-marketing play: Drink more beer.)

Engaging with that digitally-savvy audience, however, relies on far more than TV spots – a shift MillerCoors has recognised and moved on rapidly.

"I feel like we're at a little bit of a crossroads as an industry, because – to me – advertising and content are two different things," Benjamin said.

She continued, "I feel like we're at this crossroads of which direction do you go, and what's the consumer going to react to?"

Content marketing seems to provide a compelling answer to this question, as it offers a means of distributing relevant, engaging material targeted at millennials.

"If you think about how competitive it is to really win with this consumer, it does really become all about relevancy," said Benjamin.

So committed is MillerCoors to this area that it has formed an incubator program, and is conducting tests – of varying sizes – with 26 different partners.

"Some of them are much more simple and straightforward kinds of tests, so it's not that we're creating these huge shoots and all this video content," Benjamin said.

Data sourced from Warc


Publishers look to audience extension

23 October 2014
NEW YORK: The proportion of digital publishers using audience extension has risen sharply over the past year, with many expecting it to account for up to one fifth of their advertising revenue in the coming year, a survey has found.

Audience Accelerator, part of Rocket Fuel, partnered with Digiday to survey 228 high-level digital media and marketing professionals to establish how they were meeting advertiser demand. It found that 58% of publishers were using audience extension to serve ads to readers beyond their own pages, up from 38% in 2013.

"The unique value a publisher brings to an audience extension program is their first-party data," said Jinenne Sutherland, director of Rocket Fuel's Audience Accelerator group.

"Strategically leveraging that data across owned and operated sites in conjunction, an audience extension program creates advertising programs an advertiser can't find anywhere else," she added.

Audience extension relies on cookie-technology to track user's browsing activity and detect what they might be interested in. Publishers can tag site visitors with a retargeting cookie, enabling those people to continue seeing ads from advertisers the publisher has provided access to.

Over one third (36%) of publishers surveyed anticipated that this tactic would account for between 11% and 20% of their advertising revenue during the next 12 months.

The trend is being driven by a mix of greater publisher awareness and more demanding clients.

The survey found that publishers were 23% more likely to say they are "very familiar" with audience extension than they were last year.

And there had been a 55% uplift in the numbers including audience extension on client proposals when advertisers were demanding more reach than the publisher could deliver through its own site.

The need to go down this route becomes clear as publishers recounted how half of media buyers and brands said they would spend more with those offering audience extension tools.

There were a couple of areas which publishers felt could be improved on, however, notably reporting and transparency.

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff


Colgate still India's most trusted brand

23 October 2014
NEW DELHI: Colgate continues to be India's most trusted brand according to a new study which also noted a surge in trust for consumer durables brands.

Conducted by Nielsen and reported in the Economc Times, the Most Trusted Brands survey polled 7,200 consumers across socio-economic classifications, age, income and geography asking them to rate brands on four attributes – quality, value for money, whether they would recommend them to family and friends, and whether the brands met their needs.

Personal and household care brands formed the single largest grouping in the top ten. After Colgate, Reckitt Benckiser's Dettol hygiene product was in third position while HUL brands occupied three positions, with Lux soap in sixth, washing powder Surf Excel in seventh and Clinic Plus shampoo in eighth.

Despite the well-publicised difficulties that resulted in a takeover by Microsoft, the Nokia name continues to carry some clout in India, rising from seventh position in the 2013 trust ranking to second this year. But Microsoft has just started the process of replacing the Nokia brand name on phones with Microsoft Lumia.

Food and drink brands took three places in the top ten, with Coca-Cola's Maaza fruit drink in fourth place and Parle Agro's Frooti mango drink in tenth. Nestlé's Maggi seasonings brand crept up from tenth to fifth spot. Bata footwear in ninth place rounded out the leading group of trusted brands.

Some of the biggest gainers in this year's rankings came from the consumer durables sector, where Sony leapt from 124th to 66th, Samsung from 81st to 27th, Philips from 136th to 85th and LG from 94th to 53rd.

Pepsi may be disappointed to feature among the biggest losers, slipping from 12th to 33rd. 

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


Filipino grocery market shifts

23 October 2014
MANILA: Monthly grocery spending in the Philippines has dropped sharply as people increasingly choose to eat in quick service restaurants or buy meals prepared in convenience stores.

According the latest Nielsen Shopper Trends report, which covered 1,783 grocery decision makers aged 15-65 years old living in urban locations, the average monthly grocery spend has fallen 13% over the past two years to a figure of P4,700.

This decline appears in large part to be a consequence of a rapid growth in the habit of eating out. The proportion of Filipino consumers dining at fast food restaurants at least once a week has almost doubled in the past year, jumping from 14% to 25%.

There is also evidence that consumers are turning to prepared meals sold by convenience stores as an alternative to cooking food themselves at home.

Lou-Ann Navalta, Nielsen's Shopper Insights leader in the Philippines, told Marketing Interactive that food brands could not afford to ignore these developments.

"These time-strapped Filipinos are spending more time away from home or in transit and are now more serious about convenient alternatives," she said.

"Food manufacturers in particular should understand that the need for 'ready to eat' or 'quick and easy' is not just a fad that will fade away; it is here to stay."

As well as creating new products to meet consumer requirements, Navalta suggested manufacturers could explore ways of linking up with fast food restaurants and convenience stores as a way of maintaining relevance with these shoppers.

For retailers, location is vital, as the Nielsen report highlighted how consumers prefer to make all their purchases in stores nearest their homes.

And having got shoppers in-store, Navalta observed that "opportunities to trigger unplanned purchases of items are endless".

The report found that while almost nine in ten shoppers claimed to plan their shopping and to stick to a budget, the same proportion acknowledged that they frequently bought more than they intended.

Almost half fell for attractive promotions, with price discounts and BOGOF offers particularly popular.

But Navalta cautioned that such promotions should be "strategically planned with a marketing objective in mind" to avoid harming the category.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff