Click and collect gathers pace

26 November 2014
LONDON: Ahead of an expected surge in online Christmas shopping, online retailers are setting up more collection options for consumers worried about missing a delivery or it not arriving on time.

A report from consumer magazine Which? revealed that one in ten online shoppers in the UK last year had problems with late deliveries and 20% of those had been put off ordering online again this year, the Scotsman reported.

"It's a sorry state of affairs when people are put off buying online because they have had their fingers burned by dodgy deliveries in the past," said Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director. "Retailers need to get a grip and make sure delivery services are first class, first time."

Four in ten of this "burned" group were instead turning to click and collect or choosing to have items sent to another address. They were also taking the logical step of ordering earlier.

Amazon, which already operates a range of collection options, including lockers at London train stations and a 'Pass my Parcel' service at newsagents and supermarkets, has extended its coverage yet further by signing up to the Royal Mail's Local Collect service, thus enabling consumers to choose to pick up from any one of more than 10,000 post offices.

Catalogue retailer Argos has also joined the trend pioneered by grocery chains to offer collection points at London tube stations. Its first Argos Collect store has just opened, with the format aiming to take advantage of the increase in digital sales – some 43% of all sales are now online, 22% mobile – and to widen its audience to include customers in areas where it does not have any stores.

"Digital shoppers are increasingly demanding improved choice, convenience and speed in the fulfillment of their online orders, especially via click and collect," said John Walden, chief executive at Argos parent company Home Retail Group, in remarks reported by Marketing Week.

The size of this market is large and growing, with consultancy Deloitte predicting that click-and-collect sales will reach £2.5bn over the Christmas period.

Data sourced from Scotsman, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


Cinema ads are effective but …

26 November 2014
LONDON: Cinema is a more powerful and emotionally engaging medium for brands than television according to new research, but it lacks the everyday reach of the latter.

A study for Digital Cinema Media (DCM), a cinema advertising supplier, tested ad campaigns running in cinema and television at the same time with a sample of 1,200 people.

The research suggested that the ads shown in cinema screens were eight times more effective at making a brand stand out than television.

And cinema audiences were four times more likely to be emotionally engaged than a television audience.

Recall figures were higher as well: viewers exposed to cinema ads were twice as likely to recall a brand as those who had viewed the TV ad. And when shown an unbranded still from an ad, three times as many cinema goers recalled which brand it was for when compared with TV viewers.

"These research findings are beyond conclusive: cinema advertising is doing something very different to people's heads than other media," said Simon Rees, CEO, Digital Cinema Media, in remarks reported by MediaTel.

"Maybe we're stating the obvious," he added, "but the sheer impact and engagement of watching an ad on the big screen means cinema is the medium of choice when it comes to strengthening a brand, delivering key messages, increasing awareness and attracting new customers, especially amongst a desirable, hard to reach target audience."

His balloon was deflated by Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, who said the findings "need some perspective".

Cinema audiences have been growing over the past five or six years, with the proportion of the UK population going at least once a year up from 64% in 2008 to 75% today. But, Clay noted, TV reaches 93% of the population in a week.

"Cinema advertising is great but it is an occasional treat for most people and most advertisers," she said. "TV is a major part of everyday life and the foundation of the biggest brands. So cinema is a great addition to TV advertising but in no way is it a replacement."

Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff


Addressable TV set to take off

26 November 2014
NEW YORK: Addressable TV, currently less than 1% of the total value of TV adspend, is poised for take-off but one leading industry figure has cautioned that it's not for everyone.

"(In) 2014, I see a marketplace that has essentially gone from zero to $300m of spend," Tracey Scheppach, evp/precision video at agency Starcom MediaVest Group, told She reported that SMG had done more than 70 campaigns with 30 clients and "we're seeing amazing results in terms of efficiency".

She expected that the market was going to get rapidly bigger as more cable operators introduced addressable options over the coming months – addressability being dependent on the software installed in set-top boxes to ensure that ads are only shown to the households the advertiser wants to reach.

"We still haven't cracked the code on the broadcast side yet," Scheppach said, but ultimately that would not be a problem: "Video will all be IP-delivered in the end, which means it will all be addressable in the end."

Addressable it may be but there remain practical difficulties to overcome, as Michael Bologna, president of Modi Media, part of GroupM, explained to Ad Exchanger.

"At the end of the day, it's challenging because you have to determine who is your real customer segment, then you have to match data against subscriber files and determine what percent of the universe is that segment but it's got to be done across five cable systems who all use different technology, data sources and back end."

After all that, it was quite possible that the effective CPM might compare unfavourably with a regular TV campaign. "There is waste in television and addressability doesn't make sense for every advertiser," Bologna said.

"If your target audience isn't small enough and the cost of your product isn't high enough, national television still is and always will be the most efficient way," he added. "Addressability is really about refining targets and minimising waste."

Scheppach had a more expansive outlook, however, expecting that addressable would benefit everyone from the biggest advertisers, with particular targets in mind, to the smallest whose limited budgets had previously prevented them getting onto television.

"If you have creative and you have a strategic target, in the end I think addressable is going to work," she concluded.

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


Impulse buying takes a hit

26 November 2014
NEW YORK: Three quarters of Americans have made impulse purchases, sometimes pricey ones, according to a new survey, but a separate report suggests that this behaviour is increasingly a thing of the past. polled 1,000 adult consumers and found that 75% had made an impulse purchase, with 16% spending upwards of $500 and 10% more than $1,000.

The emotional state of the buyer was a major factor in the decision to purchase, with excitement (49%) the most frequently cited reason, ahead of boredom (30%) and sadness (22%). Anger (9%) and intoxication (9%) were also mentioned.

Overall, equal numbers of men and women reported impulse buying, but men tended to buy bigger and be less sober while women spent less and were sadder.

Gail Cunningham, vice president and spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Consumer Credit, said that retailers took advantage of this habit.

"That's why the end-cap displays and checkout lanes are so enticing," she said. "We don't realize that we need that magazine or candy bar until we are only minutes away from paying, yet they often make it into our shopping carts."

Yet, such items are appearing there less often than before, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, which argues that "intentionality" has taken hold of shopping.

The End of the Impulse Shopper noted a "lingering frugality after the trauma of the financial crisis" but said there had been a deeper shift in shopping habits, driven by the web. Time-pressed consumers were doing more online research before heading off "on a mission" to stores where they buy only what they came for.

The Journal observed how families in the Milwaukee area set out armed with a shopping list and did not deviate from it, despite the temptations retailers placed in their way. Walmart's Better Together approach, matching items that sell well together, is one reaction to this trend.

Another has been to invest in smaller neighbourhood stores, especially as consumers are tending to visit stores only when they run out of items like cereal or toilet paper.

David Guenthner, Walmart's senior director/global customer insights and analytics, admitted to a recent conference that online purchases had affected impulse buying but added that shoppers welcomed the click-and-collect service as they could then pick up any items in-store that they might have forgotten to buy online.

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


Mobile video hits Indian mainstream

26 November 2014
NEW DELHI: Mobile video is fast becoming the medium of choice for consumers in emerging markets to watch music, movies and TV shows, according to a new survey which says this appetite is particularly strong in India.

Vuclip, a mobile video on demand service, surveyed more than 12,000 people globally, with four fifths of respondents coming from India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It found that 67% preferred mobile as their primary method of viewing such content, with men (70%) more keen than women (56%).

But in India these figures were significantly higher. Some 74% liked to watch mobile video content, including 77% of men and 66% of women. This level of popularity indicated, said Vuclip, that mobile video had moved beyond a few early adopters and was fast becoming mainstream.

When it came to intent to spend more time watching mobile video in the future, India was more in line with the global average. Fully 85% of men and 75% of women around the world – 85% men and 77% women in India – said they planned to increase the time they devoted to this activity.

But buffering of videos is a major constraint for consumers in India and more than half (55%) were willing to pay for a more seamless experience. Again, this was broadly in line with the global experience, with 54% of men and 49% of women saying they would pay to download videos and view them uninterrupted by buffering.

"It is only natural for consumers to expect an unbuffered viewing experience in their primary method of consumption," said Arun Prakash, COO of Vuclip. And he also highlighted a desire for relevant, high-definition content and simplicity of payment methods.

As regards the latter, 66% of respondents in India preferred to pay for mobile video via their mobile carriers.

For the former, the survey showed that users in India explored content across a lot of diverse interests from horror movie trailers, Bollywood, the prime minister's speech, a tiger attack at the Delhi Zoo, and devotional content inspired by all the festivals being celebrated across the country.

Data sourced from Business Wire India; additional content by Warc staff


Catalogues keep their clout

26 November 2014
SYDNEY: Catalogues remain a valuable tool for reaching Australian consumers, six in ten of whom say these are the most effective advertising channel in influencing their purchasing decisions, a new report has said.

According to the 2014 Annual Industry Report from the Australasian Catalogue Association (ACA), catalogues have more influence on shoppers than television, email or the internet. It reported that 62% of Australians were swayed by them, ahead of television (52%) and press advertising (40%).

Catalogues also placed far ahead of personalised direct mail (29%), email marketing (25%) and social media advertising (17%).

Kellie Northwood, ACA executive director, drew attention to the disconnect between consumers' and marketers' views of what was influential. Some 69% of marketers ranked email marketing as the most influential channel, followed by TV advertising (56%) and personalised direct mail (54%).

"This [disconnect] is confirmed by the fact that of the top five influential channels ranked by Australians, three have experienced declines in advertising spend over the past year," she told B&T.

Overall, the report said that catalogues reached 19.6m Australians every week, which was more than the comparable figures for newspapers (16m), magazines (13.8m), free-to-air television (13.5m), commercial radio (9.7m) and pay TV (8m).

And engagement was high as catalogues, leaflets or brochures were regularly kept in the home for future reference by around six in ten consumers who could spend up to 30 minutes reading them during the course of a week.

A similar proportion were moved to visit online stores after doing so, highlighting a trend for online retailers to use offline methods to attract shoppers. Across all age groups, print catalogues were preferred to the online version. While this was most obvious with older consumers, even the younger ones were opting for print by a wide margin.

Among 25 to 34 year olds, 58% read print but only 12% read online, and for 14-24 year olds, 46% still chose print with less than 10% going online to view a catalogue.

Northwood expected that there would be an increasingly sophisticated level of engagement with consumers via catalogues in the future. "Augmented reality technologies are challenging marketers to think beyond the physical and engage consumers within a multi-channel and content-rich experience," she said.

Data sourced from ACA, B&T; additional content by Warc staff


Coke adds to FIFA pressure

25 November 2014
LONDON: FIFA has received a new blow as one of its leading sponsors, Coca-Cola, issued a thinly veiled threat in response to the global football organisation's handling of corruption allegations around the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

"Anything that detracts from the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup is a concern to us," a spokesman for Coca-Cola told The Sunday Times.

"The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner."

The "conflicting perspectives" comment relates to the row that has blown up after FIFA declined to publish the results of an investigation into claims that bribes were made in order to win the right to host the World Cup.

Instead it issued a summary document which was then disowned by the author of the original investigation.

Earlier this year, major sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Adidas, BP, Hyundai, Sony and Visa, all expressed their disquiet at the "negative tenor" surrounding FIFA after it awarded the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

At that time, industry experts commented on the unusual step of brands commenting publically on these issues. Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing and sponsorship at Brand Rapport, told Marketing Week that brands were anxious to protect their reputation and image.

"CSR is now so important to brands that any of their activity or related activity such as major sponsorship programmes require monitoring and public comment," he said.

Coca-Cola is only too aware of how its association with the event has the potential to turn sour. An ESOMAR paper outlined how, when protests about official corruption swept Brazil in 2013, the World Cup had been drawn into the argument. 

As a sponsor, Coca-Cola was implicated in the anger so it took steps to rethink its role in the discussion around the World Cup. It decided on a quick adjustment in course and implemented a communication campaign addressing the theme of the social unrests which produced positive results.

While Coca-Cola is the first brand to openly criticise FIFA, it is not the only one to still have concerns – Adidas has indicated it will talk directly to FIFA about the report and McDonald's said it was monitoring the situation.

Data sourced from The Sunday Times, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


Digital key to Xmas shopping

25 November 2014
LONDON: Digital will play a significant role in Christmas shopping this year, with two thirds of shoppers planning to spend 50% or more of their gifts budget online and ecommerce predicted to account for half of all sales growth according to two new reports.

The first finding came from a survey of 500 UK consumers by Accenture, the consulting firm, which also revealed that a similar proportion (67%) would do most of their Christmas shopping at online-only retailers.

Mobile is increasingly important, with one third of consumers surveyed (34%) believing that shopping with a mobile device will lead to better discounts and will help them compare prices while in a physical store.

And price is the major factor for shoppers: 93% said discounts were the primary driver of purchasing decisions related to their holiday shopping and 32% planned to set aside cash to take advantage of special offers.

Further, Britons appear to be becoming more comfortable with digital retail tactics, with 82% saying they were already using, or would definitely use, or are willing to try, mobile services that offer them real-time promotions and offers as they shopped in store.

"Mobility is having a dramatic impact on shopping in the UK," said Fiona O'Hara, managing director/Retail, Accenture UK & Ireland. "It is critical for retailers to make it seamless for consumers to trade on mobile applications by incorporating social media and mobile technologies into their stores and multichannel environments."

A separate report from rival consulting firm Deloitte predicted that ecommerce would take 13% of retail sales, up from 12% last year, and half of the seasonal sales growth. Overall it anticipates that digital technology will affect some £15bn in sales, whether directly through purchases or indirectly via price comparison and product information.

Ian Geddes, Deloitte's head of retail, told Marketing Week that omnichannel was the way ahead. "Those retailers that have invested in developing apps may now find that if these are only optimised for use as a separate channel, rather than an integrated part of the shopping experience, they will not be fit for purpose," he said.

"Just as physical retailers have benefited from the growth of click and collect, " he added, "technology investment in-store will increase the number of shop visitors who buy and how much they spend, as well as help join the online and offline worlds.

Data sourced from Accenture, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


Aussies ahead in dark social

25 November 2014
SYDNEY: Marketers need to look beyond social networking sites and consider how they can exploit dark social, especially in Australia where more clicks are generated on privately shared content than in any other world region.

A global study by RadiumOne, the advertising software business, reviewed social, sharing data from 9,000 people globally and analysed its sharing data across 900m monthly online unique users for a period of one month.

Overall, sharing on dark social – i.e. copying and pasting website links into email, text or instant messages – was found to be three times more common than sharing on Facebook. (Although, AdNews reported that RadiumOne was not able to access or include shares of content through the Facebook mobile app, which suggested that "a significant volume" of shares on the platform were not included in the data.)

The report said that Australia shared more content online than other regions, but much of this was not publicly visible. Some 95% of Australian respondents were sharing via dark social, the second highest of any region; and 35% said they only shared this way.

But Australian recipients were clicking through on those links far more enthusiastically than anywhere else: dark social accounted for more than half (53%) of all clicks from shared links, more than three times the global average of 16%.

"Dark social is one of the most valuable sources of social insights and intelligence because it represents the genuine interests of sharers and their targeted recipients," said Kerry McCabe, managing director for RadiumOne Asia Pacific, in remarks reported by B&T.

"It's a critical piece of the marketing puzzle, particularly for prospecting, and until now has been a large blind spot for advertisers and publishers," he added.

Across some 23 categories, retail, travel, technology, automotive and entertainment emerged as the content most shared via dark social.

One business that is increasingly focused on this area is Universal Music. Marketing director Nathan Thompson explained how, for example, it wraps its content from artists in a shortened "" URL from RadiumOne which allows the music label to follow how users are sharing and with whom.

Universal also claims to have improved the performance of its programmatic media campaigns by 300% through use of dark social data.

Data sourced from AdNews, B&T; additional content by Warc staff


Bud faces down craft beer threat

25 November 2014
NEW YORK: Budweiser, the beer brand, plans to reverse falling sales by focusing exclusively on a younger demographic which is driving the current trend for craft beers.

"This is a very considered, long-term view of what will turn around the brand," said Brian Perkins, vp/marketing, Budweiser at AB InBev.

But the challenge it faces was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal report which noted how volume sales had declined from 50m barrels in 2088 to 16m last year, as light beers, including Bud Light, had taken an increased market share and as craft beers had proved increasingly popular with younger drinkers.

The latter now account for some 15% of this age group's out-of-home purchases and are one reason Budweiser is frequently no longer on tap in bars. According to AB InBev, more than four in ten (44%) of drinkers aged 21 to 27 have never tried the brand.

Consequently the beer brand will be moving away from a rather old-fashioned marketing approach, as exemplified by its use of Clydesdale horses in its seasonal advertising and Fleetwood Mac in its Super Bowl ad last year, to sponsoring food and music festivals.

Earlier this year, for example, it sought to recapture relevance among twenty-something beer drinkers with a series of short films featuring artists appearing at the Made in America concert, a three-day event in Philadelphia, telling their life story and the crucial turning points, which had then been delivered into the Facebook news feeds of millions of potential Budweiser drinkers.

A more contemporary message for Christmas will feature twenty-somethings looking into the camera and calling out friends' names as a voiceover asks " "If you could grab a Bud with any of your friends these holidays, who would it be?"

But a former executive cautioned against alienating core drinkers in rural America. "If you try to be too young and too hip, you lose your base," said Tony Ponturo, previously a senior marketing executive at Anheuser-Busch.

But distributors welcomed moves that meant even if Budweiser wasn't a first choice it was at least "in the purchase tent."

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


Hispanics spending less this holiday

25 November 2014
BOCA RATON, FLA: Four in ten Hispanic consumers plan to spend less this holiday season than last year and most will be shopping in-store rather than online, according to a new report.

The Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative survey polled 500 Hispanic consumers and found that 29% said they would spend more money this year, while 31% intended to spend the same amount; 40%, however, were spending less.

That last figure rose sharply as income fell, with 55% of those earning less than $25,000 reported they would spend less this holiday season. Just 13% of Hispanics with income over $75,000 were going to spend less.

"This means Hispanics with more discretionary income will be the driving consumer force this holiday shopping season," said Monica Escaleras, director of the FAU BEPI.

The sums involved are relatively modest, with most (71%) intending to spend less than $500. A minority of 8% will spend more than $1,000.

And, perhaps reflecting that, cash is likely to be the top method of payment. Some 59% will pay this way, while the remainder will utilise credit or some other form of financing.

The survey also revealed that Hispanic consumers prefer physical stores to online shopping by a two to one majority (67% v 33%), although 30% did indicate they would do most or all their shopping online. One third had no intention of straying online at all.

Again, income was a determining factor, along with age, as Escaleras noted "49% of respondents earning over $75,000 say they plan to do the majority of shopping online, while 45% of respondents over 55 said they will do no online shopping".

A separate survey of 1,000 Americans from Bond Brand Loyalty found holiday gift budgets were up on 2013, at $770. It said that two thirds of consumers planned to shop at their favourite retailers, and that 42% would use loyalty points to fund their shopping.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff


Etailers told cut marketing, not margins

25 November 2014
NEW DELHI: The business model adopted by India's booming ecommerce businesses is leading to increased pressure on brands, especially in fashion, where leading e-tailer Myntra is reported to be demanding bigger discounts from its vendors.

The Economic Times reported that margins of between 28% and 32% had been increased to between 36% and 38% with some weaker players being asked for 40%.

Observers suggested that a business model that seeks to attract buyers with deep discounts might be incompatible with achieving profitability.

Fashion websites, for example, have reported that many online shoppers start their purchase journey from couponing sites; Myntra, for example, estimates that affiliates drive as much as 15% of its overall transactions.

One unnamed head of a foreign fashion label argued that ecommerce companies needed to put their own houses in order, by creating supply chain efficiencies and cutting back on their marketing and staff costs, rather than looking for more discounts from brands.

"A lot of manufacturers are hooked to the volume drug," said another." Now, Myntra is saying give us bigger discounts otherwise we won't do volumes from you or even block your products."

Amazon has been accused of similar practices, with one report earlier this year accusing it of "muscling" brands in the fashion and cosmetics categories, by seeking direct distribution deals, with sales via third-party resellers restricted in return for greater promotion.

It appeared that only those not affected were prepared to go on the record. J Suresh, CEO of Arvind Lifestyle Brands, said Myntra had not approached him for bigger margins.

"We are only concerned they don't undervalue our brands by discounting," he said. "We ensure that doesn't happen and it is part of our agreement."

Mukesh Bansal, CEO of Myntra, claimed to have "an excellent and mutually profitable relationship with our brand partners".

He added that the business had built very close relationships with the major fashion through "very close collaboration and trust".

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff


Grainger puts emotion into B2B

25 November 2014
ORLANDO: W.W. Grainger, the industrial supplies group, has successfully shown how business-to-business marketing can use deep insights and emotion to engage customers.

Victoria Morrissey, the company's director/brand strategy and advertising, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.

"We're an industrial supplier," she told delegates. "Do you know what that means? It means we don't make anything. And everything we sell you can buy somewhere else, and probably for less money." (For more, including more details of the firm's strategic focus, read Warc's exclusive report: Grainger taps the power of emotion.)

More specifically, the firm sells over a million products, be it pool tables, office chairs or batteries, and its customer base spans organisations from oil rigs and hospitals to government buildings and coffee shops.

"It's a commoditised market and … suppliers are seen as incredibly interchangeable; there's not a lot of differentiation," Morrissey said.

Achieving some kind of deeper resonance in a price-sensitive world promised to be challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

Grainger's clientele were often time-poor and resistant to marketing, too, meaning they would be hard to reach and engage.

The company's research revealed that its target audience shared some core characteristics: they were problem-solvers, experts and saw themselves as "coaches" and "mentors" for junior employees.

Given their process-driven mindset, pure "squishy-emotional" messaging would not be sufficient to make an impression, Morrissey suggested.

Rather, Grainger created a series of online videos where an experienced hand taught a younger staff member the ropes, while also highlighting the obstacles its customers faced on a daily basis.

"What is more emotional than making people know that they're keeping America running and keeping people safe?" said Morrissey.

As a result, the firm witnessed an improvement in numerous key brand metrics, including those defining it as a trusted partner, not just another name on a long list of suppliers.

Data sourced from Warc


Bank brands must avoid the 'doom loop'

24 November 2014
LONDON: Almost all UK millennials are ready to change their bank but one chief marketing officer has warned against getting pulled into a "doom loop" of discounting to attract new customers.

A study from the Rufus Leonard agency, which surveyed 1,000 18-34 year olds, found that 99% were prepared to switch banks, with 12% saying it would take as little as a free monthly coffee to persuade them.

"The key finding is that existing banks and money brands are seen merely as a safe store for their money and somewhere to move it around," Iain Millar, head of innovation at Rufus Leonard, told The Drum. "It's a transactional relationship, involving no brand loyalty and its value is judged on price alone."

But there were some incentives for this group to stick with a money brand, notably sustainability, which one in three rated higher than the digital experience. And many remained wedded to a more traditional banking experience with six in ten (59%) visiting their local branch at least once a month.

Miller observed that millennials would make up three quarters of the workforce in the next ten years and that financial brands needed to address their concerns.

He saw a gap in the market for a money brand that was capable of building "a new kind of relationship that inherently builds trust, loyalty and lasting value for millennial customers".

Over at TSB, the bank that came (back) into being after parent Lloyds Banking Group was forced to sell off 600 branches as a condition of accepting state aid, chief marketing officer Nigel Gilbert was critical of the role of marketing has played in banking in recent years.

"The covenant of trust when I started out has been broken completely in banks," he told Marketing Week, adding that "the bank itself hasn't really respected the discipline of marketing" as the focus had been on selling rather than promoting values.

Short-term incentives such as discounting for new customers, he argued, simply attracted promiscuous consumers and alienated existing customers.

"New people will churn because they are promiscuous and the other people will churn because they are fed up," he said. "That means you're in a doom loop."

To break out of that, bank brands need to have meaning, value and purpose, he said. That created advocacy and attracted people at a higher value which was a far more sustainable growth strategy.

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


Mobile can build brands

24 November 2014
LONDON: Mobile advertising, often regarded as a direct response medium, is capable of lifting brand awareness by up more than 50% according to research.

Havas Media Group and Sky Media combined to analyse real world campaigns from finance brand Nationwide and pizza outlet Domino's alongside a lab-based control test featuring the Birds Eye frozen food brand.

The aim was to look at the best way of measuring mobile effectiveness in the absence of cookies and the results showed, MediaTel reported, that brand awareness increased by 54% after mobile consumers had seen ads from the aforementioned businesses.

And combined brand perception across all three brands showed a 13% uplift from the non-exposed to the exposed group of respondents.

The lab tests featured native mobile ads, not currently widely served, and these were found to be "more relevant and engaging" than standard banner ads as they caused less irritation but still achieved strong cut-through.

Formats and creative that were fun and had interactive elements were also more likely to cut through and drive action.

While much of this is within the purview of the advertiser, the mood and mindset of the consumer is not but this can be a major factor in driving message absorption. The research found, for example, that call to action increased by 70% for those who were more enthusiastic and excited at the point of ad exposure to the Birds Eye banner.

"There is no question of the importance of mobile devices to consumers which in turn translates to brands, making research into mobile effectiveness never more important," said Sorcha Garduce, digital insight director at Havas Media.

Brands "can utilise mobile advertising as part of their communications strategy to influence both 'soft' and 'hard' brand metrics, moving consumers along their brand journey," she added.

Sky Media's head of futures, David Fisher, advised brands to consider using more advanced high impact and native formats. "This research is evidence that exciting new format opportunities in the right environment can deliver vastly enhanced brand metrics," he said.

Data sourced from MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff


Google explores ad alternative

24 November 2014
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Google, the internet giant which derives most of its income from advertising, is trialling a new micro-subscription product that enables web users to view certain publishers' sites without advertising.

Called Contributor, Google described it as "an experiment in additional ways to fund the web". Users are invited to contribute between $1 and $3 a month and when they visit the sites of participating publishers they will see either a pixel pattern or a thank you message where they would normally expect to see an ad.

Publishers will not miss out on any ad revenue, however, as the set-up is designed to pay them the going rate for those advertisements that are hidden. Effectively the account of a Contributor member matches what would have been the winning bid on Google's DoubleClick Ad Exchange, with Google continuing to take a slice of the action.

A Google spokesperson explained to Gigaom that readers or users would be able to support only those websites and publishers whose sites they visited frequently.

"It's a positive development as long as it's a fairly negotiated arrangement between Google and the publishers," said Jason Kint, CEO of the Online Publishers Association, in remarks reported by DigiDay.

Ten publishers are taking part, including Mashable, The Onion, Urban Dictionary, WikiHow, Science Daily and Imgur. Google explained that for the beta version it wanted to start small and see how much the feature was used.

For publishers, Contributor appears to offer a useful alternative option to the extremes of paywalls on the one hand and being totally dependent on advertising on the other.

But micropayments in any form have yet to find favour with media outlets, as the perception persists that they are awkward to operate and that, in the words of Clay Shirky, web users "don't like being nickel-and-dimed".

One advocate of micropayments claims, however, that, given a choice between these and paywalls, readers much prefer paying for specific pieces of content and that this also encourages browsing so making it more likely they will become a regular paying customer.

Data sourced from Google, DigiDay, Gigaom; additional content by Warc staff


CPG brands tap location

24 November 2014
NEW YORK: Consumer packaged goods brands are successfully utilising location-based marketing strategies to drive increased footfall and visit frequency at retailers, new research has shown.

Mobile ad network Verve, which earlier this year launched a programmatic direct platform for location-based mobile advertising, analysed more than 200 campaigns across a range of CPG categories including household products, food and beverage, personal grooming and pet food. It noted a 219% increase in mobile spend between 2012 and mid-2014, thanks in large part to location-based advertising, MediaPost reported

Using a sophisticated combination of data, which included location, traffic patterns, demographics and transactions, CPG brands were able to target custom audiences and generate a 74% increase in foot traffic and 56% lift in visit frequency for retailers.

In some cases the results were even more dramatic, as demonstrated by specific campaigns for battery and beauty items which aimed to drive foot traffic to a particular retail partner.

The use of location-based awareness campaigns led to a 154% increase in foot traffic and 182% visit frequency to the same retailer, compared with non-location-aware creative ads.

Up to now the use of location-based marketing has largely been the preserve of retailers and auto dealers, but it is growing fastest among CPG brands.

"We see CPG advertisers have great success transitioning time-tested shopper marketing strategies to mobile through location-based audience data and proximity targeting," Tom MacIsaac, CEO at Verve, told MediaPost.

At a recent conference, Scott Martino, marketing analytics lead at Mercedes-Benz USA, outlined how location-based marketing could be an especially powerful tool for automakers, not least as most people visited a dealership at some point, whether researching or buying a car.

Not only could targeted content be served to consumers on a forecourt but "if we understand that advertising drove them to physically walk onto a dealership, that's a win for us," he said.

Beyond the dealership there were other opportunities, such as targeting people who had attended an event sponsored by the brand.

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff


China to lead APAC ad market by 2016

24 November 2014
MUMBAI: Advertising revenues in the Asia-Pacific region are set to pass $121bn by the end of this year according to a new report which sees the market growing at 5% in 2014 and at 5.7% in 2015 and China taking the top spot in 2016.

Media Partners Asia (MPA), a provider of information services, made the predictions in Asia Pacific Advertising Trends & Database 2014-15 and offered a longer term projection, suggesting that net advertising would increase at an average rate of 4.5% a year out to 2019.

The top six advertising countries in the region will be Japan, China, Australia, Korea, India and Indonesia, although the order will change, as China is expected to overtake Japan in 2016 and India to move ahead of Korea by 2017.

MPA executive director Vivek Couto noted that "ad spends from large multinational advertisers softened through much of 2014, partially offset by spends from domestic advertisers but this has dampened growth across Southeast Asia and other key markets".

Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand all reported reductions in adspend, helping to slow Southeast Asia to 1.2% in 2014, although spending here is forecast to come back strongly next year, at 7.5%.

"Multinational advertising demand may return but weakness across global emerging and developed ad markets may exert downward pressure on Asia," Couto said in remarks reported by

MPA suggested that TV's share of the advertising market had peaked in 2011 at 42.9% and was now on a slow downward trend. It anticipated TV would account for 41.6% of adspend this year and 40.7% by 2019.

If foresaw an especially challenging future for the medium in certain markets, notably Japan, Singapore and Korea.

Digital, meanwhile, will continue on its inexorable upward trajectory, as its share is forecast to increase from 23% in 2014 to 31% in 2019.

The report noted that digital had already overtaken TV to be the largest advertising medium in Australia; by 2019, this situation would be replicated in China, Korea and New Zealand. Other markets – India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for example – would see digital's share rise double or treble from the current figure of between 6% and 8%.

Data sourced from; additional content by Warc staff


Kraft uses mixed multicultural model

24 November 2014
MIAMI: Kraft, the food group, is taking a flexible approach to multicultural marketing, mixing more traditional strategies and total-market communications depending on the needs of specific brands.

Diane Tielbur, senior director/consumer insights and strategy at Kraft Foods Group, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

And she argued that total-market advertising, currently a hot topic among brand experts, is "one of many inputs" which must be considered. (For more, including the role of creativity in this area, read Warc's exclusive report: Kraft's case-by-case total-market strategy.)

Drilling down into this theme, she recommended that marketers assess a wide range of factors while formulating their tactics.

"When you think about it from a brand perspective, a brand manager looks across general market, and Hispanic, and other multicultural [models] to determine where they should spend their next dollar," said Tielbur.

The needs and characteristics of its product lines also have be weighed up by executives seeking to fuel growth among different customer segments.

"If a category is at a high penetration – and a brand is at a high penetration – they can feel more confident about spending that next dollar," continued Tielbur.

"But it's a combination of live measurements and understanding the category and the brand."

Using an example of comparing Hispanic shoppers with the general market, Kraft's experience is that it is beneficial to determine if they are "in a similar place" in a given sector.

"If they are – and after you talk with them and really get to know them – you have a much better chance of taking a total-market approach," she said.

However, where there are clear points of distinction, then, "You really have to have two different messages to talk to your consumer," she told the ANA delegates.

Data sourced from Warc


Hong Kong millennials reject stereotype

24 November 2014
HONG KONG: Received wisdom about Hong Kong millennials is wide of the mark, according to a new report which finds them to be hard-working pragmatists who dislike superficiality and arrogance.

Communications agency Text100 surveyed 1,000 Hong Kong residents aged 18 to 33 and said that, far from being frivolous and chasing a celebrity lifestyle, they had matured into a generation of level-headed consumers. They are now far more likely to prefer a life as a successful entrepreneur than a Hollywood celebrity, while many are happy as they are.

Most described themselves as liberal and tolerant (58%) and a similar proportion identified themselves as trusting and open (57%). And while their counterparts in the US and UK disliked rudeness and stupidity, Hong Kong millennials were more likely to be annoyed by superficiality.

Another area where they differed from Western millennials was in their relationship with visual media. Half of respondents shared photos on social media and 43% video, significantly ahead of the equivalent figures for the US (37% and 36%) and UK (34% and 31%) and more than twice the proportion (20%) who shared text.

And where they were sharing was also important. Facebook and YouTube were widely used, but Instagram was found to almost twice as popular among this age group in Hong Kong as in western countries.

Further, one quarter spent more than an hour a week using video chat on their mobile devices.

"For marketers the implications are clear," the report concluded. "Pictures and moving images need to play a key role in any marketing campaign aimed at the Post-80s generation."

It also highlighted a crucial local platform where millennials spent time: more than half of respondents (55%) used, which is the third most popular media site in Hong Kong, ahead of Twitter, for example. In fact, half this age group spent no time at all on Twitter.

The research went on to identify six distinct personas based on the level of their digital engagement and online activities: Digital Shoppers, Digital Voyeurs, Mobile Cultural Pioneers, The Digital Conservative, The Emerging Technocrat and The Passive Sharer.

Data sourced from Text100; additional content by Warc staff


Marketing confidence rallies in Europe

21 November 2014
GLOBAL: Global marketing confidence remained steady during November, with that in Europe picking up after the previous month's dip and Asia-Pacific falling back slightly according to the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI).

The headline GMI for the month stood at 56.5, a marginal monthly increase of 0.2 points. Europe had moved up from October's index figure of 57.2 to 58.1, while Asia-Pacific slipped from 56.4 to 55.9 and the Americas remained unchanged on 55.9.

The Global Marketing Index, produced by World Economics, is a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry 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 were strong across the board, with both Europe and Asia-Pacific recording rises to take their indexes for this metric back above 60. In the case of the former a 1.9 point increase to 61.4 was a welcome counter to the 5.3 point decline recorded in October; for the latter, a 2.1 point rise to 62.1 continued the strong performance of the previous month. The Americas was steady on 59.0.

While the overall index for marketing budgets remained in positive territory, it eased down 0.6 points to stand at 53.4, marking the 23rd successive month that panellists have reported rises in the amount of resources devoted to marketing.

The greatest optimism was to be seen in Europe, where the index rose 1.1 points to 56.0, reversing the trend of the previous month. But the Americas were down 1.5 to 52.0, and Asia-Pacific was edging close to the point at which marketers report falling expenditure, as its index dropped 4.3 to 50.9.

The final component of the GMI, the index of staffing levels, stood at 55.9, slightly up on October, and indicating that marketing departments are still adding staff. Regionally, the index rose 1.5 in the Americas and 0.8 in Asia-Pacific but slipped back 0.5 in Europe.

Ed Jones, World Economics chief executive, remarked that the figures showed strong business activity and solid growth. "The only media increasing their share of advertising budgets in all regions were digital and mobile," he added.

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content by Warc staff


Smartphones drive m-commerce

21 November 2014
LONDON: The rapid uptake of smartphones by UK consumers over the past five years has been accompanied by a rise in m-commerce so that more than half of smartphone owners now browse for items on their device and more than one third go on to buy.

According to the latest research from eDigitalResearch, consumer confidence in the mobile channel has followed the same path as that seen earlier in e-commerce, with people starting out with small, low-value purchases and progressing to larger, more expensive items. Overall it has grown by 666% in the past five years.

Smartphones have quickly become an integral part of the shopping journey, as 54% use them to browse and 36% to buy, with clothing and footwear the items most likely to be bought this way.

"Smartphones have had a fundamental effect on all shopping journeys, not just online, but in store as well," said Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch.

"Our tracking over the years has revealed that over one third (36%) of consumers now use their mobiles when out shopping to check product and customer reviews alone."

It was not too fanciful to suggest that soon every transaction could involve a mobile device at some point in the shopping journey. "It signals the importance for retailers to optimise every part of their customer experience, from online to in store," stated Eccleston.

And that need can only become more urgent as the introduction of 4G leads to faster connection speeds and consumers becoming even more reliant on their mobile devices.

Developments such as Beacon technology also promise to transform the mobile experience, with more than half (54%) of smartphone owners open to receiving personalised messages from retailers.

"Beacon technology has the ability to drive the m-commerce revolution onto the next level," said Eccleston. He described the facility to deliver such content to smartphone owners as they wandered past a store as "the final piece of the jigsaw when it comes to multichannel".

Data sourced from eDigitalResearch; additional content by Warc staff


Coke exploits health trends

21 November 2014
ATLANTA: Coca-Cola's shift of its marketing focus away from larger packaging formats towards smaller ones as it seeks to take advantage of the new priorities of US consumers is paying off according to a leading executive.

The company has diversified in recent years into other areas such as water and fruit juices to take account of changing tastes, and has introduced a series of new products – Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Coke Life – to address concerns around issues such as sugar content. 

"The health and wellness trend has set up, almost teed up, a tremendous opportunity for the Coca-Cola brand with our smaller packages," Sandy Douglas, global chief customer officer/president, Coca-Cola North America, told a Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference reported by Seeking Alpha.

"Consumers love it," he said, reporting that purchase intent for the new 7.5 ounce mini-can was up 25% among mothers compared to the standard 12-ounce can. "It takes away issues that moms have with our brand," he added. "Waste, too much [product], those are problems that people have."

Douglas conceded that the way two litre bottles and 12 ounce cans had been promoted for the past 30 years had resulted in some commodification of the category. "In the middle is where the consumer trend is happening," he said.

Looking across the grocery landscape he observed that diet and frozen products were struggling as consumers were increasingly heading for the Fresh section when in store.

That had been the inspiration for the recent introduction of Coke Life, sweetened with cane sugar and stevia, and with one third fewer calories.

"You'll see it in stores now in glass bottles," he said. "Premium priced as close to the natural section as we can market it."

And this trend is no short term-fad – Douglas expected it would continue and explained that "we see Coke Life as a platform". Far from being a finished product, he said the formula would be continually refined to reduce the number of calories and improve the taste.

Data sourced from Seeking Alpha; additional content by Warc staff


Bigger malls better for China

21 November 2014
HONG KONG: Chinese shoppers may have taken to online shopping with alacrity but they retain an enthusiasm for bricks and mortar, preferably larger malls, a study has shown.

CBRE, the commercial real estate firm, questioned over 11,000 consumers in 11 major countries across the Asia-Pacific region for its report How We Like To Shop. This found that affordability, cleanliness and security were among the factors shoppers of all ages valued most in a shopping centre for all age groups.

"The key message from consumers is clear – landlords and developers need to get the basics right," Jonathan Hsu, director of CBRE Research for Asia Pacific, told Jing Daily.

And within Greater China – which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as the mainland – the report said that shoppers overwhelmingly preferred to visit large malls.

Two thirds (66%) of respondents in this market liked to shop in a mall with at least 50 stores. Around one in five (22%) chose smaller shopping centres while 12% stuck to street shopping.

And those people going to big malls also expect to see big shops rather than a profusion of small outlets. "Bigger means better" for this region, the report said, as it noted the growth in flagship stores in recent years.

It recommended mall owners should "focus on providing a well-rounded experience to their customers" including a good mix of retail tenants and a broad selection of food and beverage outlets.

The region's consumers have also observed an increase in entertainment facilities along with more events, performances and exhibitions as mall owners seek to offer a "retailtainment" experience that drives footfall and increases the amount of time shoppers spend at the venue.

In the future, 80% of survey respondents said they would continue to shop as often or more in a physical store. But an even greater proportion – 85% – said they planned to shop online more than they do now.

"Retail landlords will have to integrate this platform into their overall strategy to remain competitive and, ultimately, to survive," said the report.

That meant developing innovative ways to reach consumers. Sebastian Skiff, CBRE's executive director of retail services for Asia, suggested using big data techniques to track "likes" and "check-ins" on social media in order to formulate a tailored marketing strategy.

And shopping centre apps with special offers and contests could boost user engagement and help build customer loyalty.

Data sourced from CBRE, Jing Daily; additional content by Warc staff


Clorox expands multicultural brief

21 November 2014
MIAMI: Clorox, the cleaning and household goods group, is making sure that multicultural marketing is now "everyone's responsibility", a goal forming part of the company's evolving total-market strategy.

David Cardona, the firm's director/shopper marketing, category advisory and multicultural capabilities, discussed this theme at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference.

"We've been embracing and talking about total market for the last year-and-a-half," he said. (For more, including how the firm is implementing this idea at the brand level, read Warc's exclusive report: How Clorox developed a total-market strategy.)

More specifically, the organisation – which has a portfolio including Glad bags, Brita water filters and Kingsford charcoal – has dispersed the responsibility for multicultural messaging across its brand teams.

Adopting and implementing this model promises to fuel a total-market mindset among its marketers, with extremely beneficial results.

"It's about finding the most relevant, efficient way to communicate to your target," he said.

Successfully tapping into the potential advantages of this model, Cardona continued, requires incorporating deep multicultural insights throughout the marketing cycle.

"We've basically enhanced our business planning process in order to make sure that we are thinking about multicultural much, much, much earlier in the process," he said. "It all has to start with the beginning."

Previously, Clorox had a "separate and siloed" approach to consumer segmentation, which posed problems in terms of developing cohesive strategies.

"When you added them all together, we ended up with 11 segments. And they were not necessarily connecting to each other very well," said Cardona.

By streamlining its internal operations, Clorox has overcome many of the prior issues. But Cardona also emphasised that success in total-market communications is always a long-term "journey".

"It's not an easy thing. Otherwise, we all would have cracked the code from the get-go," he said.

Data sourced from Warc


India's online shoppers to treble

21 November 2014
NEW DELHI: India's ecommerce boom shows no signs of abating, according to a new report, despite many consumers expressing unhappiness with their online shopping experience.

Google India's study of online shopping growth was based on a survey of 6,859 online buyers and non-buyers across 50 cities. It predicted there would be 100m online shoppers by 2016, up from the current figure of 35m, and the industry would be worth around $15bn, Indian Express reported.

Most of this will come via mobile, which Google India MD Rajan Anandan said was "driving growth in every single internet product entity".

Shopping queries from mobile, for example, had grown from 24% in 2012 to 57% in 2014. The report also noted that seven in ten respondents in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities planned to buy online during the next 12 months; in addition, women buyers typically spend twice as much as men in Tier 1 and one in four is already buying on mobile.

The motivations for shopping online ranged from practical – 65% cited convenience and 64% the range of products available – to prestige – 60% opted to buy online in order to improve their social status.

But there are some major hurdles that ecommerce businesses will need to address, as 62% of buyers were unhappy with their shopping experience and 67% complained about the complexity of the returns process. Among non-buyers, 55% said they didn't trust the quality of products sold online.

Delivery needed to be improved, agreed Sahil Barua, CEO at Delhivery. "Older models of distribution do not work any more," he told Pitch. "We need to simplify processes and also see what mobile can do for the supply side."

The industry needed to act now if it was to satisfy the expected growth in shopper numbers, said Nitin Bawankule, Google India industry director for e-commerce, local and classifieds. "Improved customer experience across all touch points, easy to use mobile apps can create a strong pull for non-buyers to shop online in Tier I and Tier 2 cities," he added.

Data sourced from Indian Express, The Hindu, Pitch; additional content by Warc staff


Canadian marketers lag on programmatic

21 November 2014
NEW YORK: Less than 10% of marketers in Canada are comfortable using programmatic buying, with seven in ten being either unaware of this concept or simply having heard of the term.

When AcuityAds and Marketing Magazine surveyed 522 marketers across Canada, they found that 34% had not heard of programmatic, and almost half of the remainder (49%) rated their understanding as "very poor".

A similar proportion (45%) said their brand was below average or lagging behind on programmatic execution.

"There just aren't many marketers in Canada who would describe themselves as black belts in programmatic buying," observed eMarketer.

That lack of understanding was the main factor holding back investment in programmatic. Almost one third of survey respondents (32%) cited this as a major impediment.

"I'm not surprised," Frederick Lecoq, svp/marketing for FGL Sports and Mark's at Canadian Tire, told Marketing. "We digital marketers haven't done a proper job educating our organisation and peers to make programmatic buying easy to understand."

Other obstacles to investment were more closely linked to the mechanics of programmatic, including worries over whether premium content really was premium (31%), whether ads were being viewed by the right audience (29%), whether ads were being placed on inappropriate sites (26%) and transparency over how money was being spent (25%).

The survey also found that agencies were further down the programmatic road than brand marketers, who often appeared happy to leave decisions on this subject to agency staff.

On average, programmatic-aware marketers estimated their brands were committing 15.9% of their digital spend to this activity, a figure predicted to almost double, to 30.9%, by 2017.

Earlier this year Warc published The Programmatic Primer: A Marketer's Guide to the Online Advertising Ecosystem, which aims to bring some clarity and understanding to this area.

Author Ted McConnell warned that the fact trading is automated would in itself bring few benefits, as success is down to how marketers use data.

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


Family is an idea, not an institution

20 November 2014
LONDON: The notion of what constitutes a family is evolving far beyond the traditional average of mother, father and 2.4 children, with most Britons now believing that one size no longer fits all.

The Future of Families, a study of 4,000 people across the UK by media agency OMD UK and publisher Time Inc, UK highlighted the changes taking place, as 19% of respondents chose to include friends within the family sphere and 36% brought their in-laws into the circle. And 29% even viewed their pets as part of the family.

Overall, half of those surveyed believed that there simply wouldn't be a stereotypical family structure in future.

And just as the definition of family is altering, so too are the roles within it. In particular, parents were found to be sharing more of the day-to-day responsibilities and decision making than they did when a similar survey was undertaken in 2008.

This was especially true in the fields of childcare and upbringing (up from 54% to 67%), working and earning money (up from 34% to 41%) and shopping decisions (up from 24% to 33%).

Financial burdens abound, with two thirds of respondents concerned about the cost of living and one third worried about making the rent or mortgage payment each month.

But these same pressures, the report said, "have triggered the development of broader, more powerful family support networks", with, for example, two thirds of grandparents being called into action as childminders on a weekly basis.

People have also adopted cost-saving mechanisms as part of their everyday life. Thus, some 60% of mothers said they had swapped products to save money, up from 47% in 2009. And 63% of women were budgeting more carefully, compared to 43% in 2009.

The other major change in the past five years is the prevalence of technology in the home. Parents understandably worried about the sharing of personal information (68%) and privacy (67%), but most (78%) thought technology was not domestically disruptive and could even bring families back together in the living room, to watch movies on demand or to watch live TV events and tweet about them.

"It's encouraging to see that family is as important as ever - government, businesses and brands should take note of its changing face, behaviours and needs in order to effectively communicate with families across Britain today and in the future," said Lynne Springett, insight director, Time Inc UK.

Data sourced from OMD UK; additional content by Warc staff


'Unstoppable' programmatic surges

20 November 2014
LONDON: UK programmatic spending has leapt ahead during the first three quarters of 2014, according to latest figures, as it begins to extend to higher quality inventory.

Data from Standard Media Index (SMI), which captures information directly from leading media buying agencies, show year-on-year programmatic advertising spend up 61.6% during the first three quarters and by 49.5% during the third quarter.

Alberto Leyes, director of business development at SMI, told Marketing Week the growth of programmatic was "unstoppable". By next year, he said, some of the bigger media owners in the UK could be selling almost half their inventory this way.

"Advertisers and media owners originally used programmatic to buy and sell unsold and low-quality inventory," he added. "Now the premium and high-quality inventory is starting to be sold through programmatic too. It's here to stay and is expected to keep growing over the next few years."

While programmatic was moving ahead the overall market was marginally down during the third quarter, as the expected post-World Cup hangover kicked in. Over the year as a whole, adspend was up 4.6%.

Digital spending continued to increase at the fastest rate, up 12.7% for the year and 3.7% for the quarter. Television also performed well, up 6% for the year and 7.3% in the quarter, as it played an increasingly central role in multichannel advertising strategies.

Print spending carried on falling: newspapers were down 18.9% in the third quarter and magazines 10.1%. But SMI reported that online advertising on some of the UK's leading newspaper websites was up significantly: by 40.1% at the Guardian, 37.5% at Mail Online and 34.9% at the Telegraph.

Among digital publishers, Twitter registered the greatest growth, up 81.7% for the year to date. Facebook's 21.1% uplift was small by comparison. But Leyes did explain that SMI only measures social media spending that goes through agencies, and much of their inventory is actually sold direct to advertisers.

Warc's UK Expenditure Report, produced alongside the UK Advertising Association, found digital adspend on newsbrands was up 17.8% yoy in Q2 2014.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


China leads in digital innovation

20 November 2014
HONG KONG: Marketers around the world have much to learn from what is happening in China, according to a leading industry figure, who regards it as leading the field in terms of digital innovation and O2O.

Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Michael McLaren, global CEO of MRM/McCann, enthused about digital developments in that country. "The China digital landscape in unbelievable," he said. The innovation he saw taking place there was "truly world class".

One reason for this may be that Chinese marketers are less set in their ways of thinking than their counterparts in more developed markets, as consumerism has really only taken off there in the past six or seven years. Consumers are similarly open to new ways of doing things.

"I think there's a receptivity to innovation in that marketplace that is not something you see everywhere in the world," McLaren observed.

He singled out phone manufacturer Xiaomi as an example that any brand anywhere could learn from, particularly its engagement with users, with feedback encouraged and the lessons learned incorporated into new products and product upgrades.

That effective use of social and digital could, he suggested, be successfully tied in with a more traditional media approach. But, he added, "there's no one playbook. You have to make some educated bets on what you can do and do them very well".

Another area where he saw China setting the pace was in O2O, with digital technology being integrated into many aspects of everyday life, from the use of apps to hail taxis to paying for items in-store using a digital wallet.

"The guys who are going to be nimble are the guys who are going to recognise that it's the marriage of digital and physical [that brings success]," McLaren said.

He added that digital technology was "probably only at the black-and-white TV stage" of development and was going to become ever more sophisticated.

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


Mobile becomes America's first screen

20 November 2014
NEW YORK: The average American now spends almost three hours a day on a mobile device, pushing these ahead of television for the first time, according to a new analysis.

While time spent on TV has remained constant, at 168 minutes, for the past three years, Flurry, the mobile analytics business, charted the rise of time spent on mobile devices, from 109 minutes at the start of 2012 to 162 minutes at the beginning of this year.

Over the past nine months, time spent on mobile devices has increased a further 9.3% to reach 177 minutes. "As of September 2014, it is a new world in the American living room," declared Flurry.

There is of course an overlap in the time spent with these devices: Nielsen has reported that 86% of US smartphone owners use their smartphones and tablets while watching TV, and nearly half do so daily.

Earlier this year eMarketer noted that consumers were already spending more time online than on TV, and that more time was being now spent on the mobile internet than on the desktop as smartphones and tablets reached "critical mass".

Flurry attributed the latest development to the growth in mobile apps helping people do everything from staying fit and organised to checking sports scores. It was, it said, "only logical that they would turn to their phones more often than their TV sets".

And while this appeared to be true – time spent on the mobile web remained flat – it was not the leading apps that were driving the increasing time consumers were spending on mobile.

The top 25 apps, ranked by time spent, had seen a mere 1% increase in time spent with them (from 69 minutes to 70 minutes) during the first nine months of the year, while the rest had registered a 21% increase (from 70 minutes to 85 minutes).

Mobile overtaking television was a big moment for the app industry as well as the mobile industry, said Flurry. "Most app developers didn't know back in 2008 that they would be building the next generation of TV channels. Many consumers installing apps also didn't know that they were tuning in to new TV channels."

Data sourced from Flurry; additional content by Warc staff


Australians embrace VOD

20 November 2014
SYDNEY: Half of connected Australians, from all walks of life, are watching professionally produced film and television video content via the internet, a new study has revealed.

A report for government agency Screen Australia – Online and On Demand: Trends in Australian online video use – explored trends in current online video use, including barriers and drivers to using different platforms and the kinds of content viewers are seeking once they get there, based on a series of focus groups and a survey of more than almost 1,600 Australians aged 14 and over.

This found that 50% of Australian internet users were watching movies and televisioncontent online, although this accounted for only a small proportion of overall viewing which remains wedded to broadcast TV and cinema or DVDs.

Online viewing is for everyone, with students to older women, empty nesters to young male urbanites watching video online," declared Graeme Morrison, CEO Screen Australia.

"We can only expect the number of online viewers to grow with greater awareness, new services and better access developing in response to market demand," he added.

People were drawn to the convenience of VOD but didn't expect to pay much for it, the report said. Catch-up TV services and ad-supported services such as YouTube were the most popular and the most used.

The uptake of paid services remains low, with only 13% to 16% of VOD viewers currently subscribing to services or paying to download TV or movie content.

Around 30% had done so in the past or would consider doing to in the future. Almost six in ten respondents indicated they had no internet in paying for content.

That situation may be about to change, however, as Australia's existing cable and streaming services have been revising their pricing packages ahead of the launch of Netflix in the region, which is now planned for March 2015.

Richard Freudenstein, chief executive of cable subscription service Foxtel, told The Age that the market was "going to be very competitive" and "noisy". He did not expect that any company offering subscription VOD would make any money out of the service in the short term.

Monetising content will be the major issue to address, according to Morrison, who noted that "the shift in audience behaviours has largely already occurred".

Data sourced from Screen Australia, The Age; additional content by Warc staff


Toyota adapts multicultural model

20 November 2014
MIAMI: Toyota, the automaker, is anticipating the future growth of the multicultural audience by revolutionising how its agencies work together to reach various consumer groups.

Edward Laukes, vp/performance and guest experience at Toyota Motor Sales, USA, discussed this topic while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) Multicultural Marketing and Diversity Conference.

Given that the cohorts traditionally defined as "minority" segments are set to make up the majority of the American population by around 2050, Toyota believes a "new-mainstream" strategy is the best long-term solution.

This marks a move towards total-market communications, supported with specific messaging aimed at Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American or White Non-Hispanic shoppers as necessary. (For more, including further details of this refreshed approach, read Warc's exclusive report: Toyota makes "total market" a primary marketing driver.)

For its agencies – a roster including Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, plus multicultural specialists like Conill Advertising, Burrell Communications and interTrend Communications – that has required embracing a new approach.

In formalising this idea, Toyota created the "Total Toyota" – or T2 – model, under which its shops will work together in a more integrated way throughout the marketing cycle.

"Before we created T2," Laukes said, "we had separate development paths … across each of our partners.

"This created separate creative briefs and separate media plans, along with separate production and media budgets and completely separate go-to-market plans."

"This is how we've done it for years. And, frankly, it was very successful. But it was – and is – not sustainable."

While the brand's agency teams have now achieved heightened integration from a strategic perspective, Toyota is determined that they continue to represent their distinctive cultures and perspectives.

"To be clear," Laukes said, "T2 is not a new business entity. All of our agencies retain their identity and their staffing. They work together in collaboration with all the Toyota agencies."

It has also, he continued, "enabled four creative directors from four agencies to work together to create the strongest idea."

Data sourced form Warc


Americans in tech-life balance fail

20 November 2014
BOISE, ID: Most Americans believe they have a healthy tech-life balance but in reality most can't go more than two hours without feeling compelled to check their phone or email a new survey has shown.

An independent survey commissioned by Crucial, a maker of computer memory products, polled 1,000 adults aged 18 to 65 about their use of technology and its impact on their personal and professional lives. This found that one in four became stressed by going longer than 30 minutes without access to their electronics devices as they lived with a fear of missing out.

The disconnect between how Americans see their relationship with technology and the truth was evident in the lengths to which men would go in order to stay connected.

Three quarters claimed to have a balanced or very balanced tech-life ratio, but 84% admitted to having checked a mobile device in inappropriate circumstances, such as while driving, in a movie theatre, at a funeral or during a child's play/recital.

Additionally, one in five acknowledged that they would rather go without a car than give up technology for a week, while 16% would forgo showering for the same length of time.

And 12% said they had lied about the amount of time they had spent on their mobile device.

Women too thought they had achieved a tech-life balance but they were more likely to feel guilty about the amount of time they spent checking their devices. They were also more sceptical about the role of tech, with almost six in ten (62%) fearing for the art of verbal communication and four in ten (39%) worried about the adverse impact on people's posture from continually looking down at their phones.

The millennials surveyed were, unsurprisingly, the most connected, but they didn't always welcome that. Three in ten (31%) – more than any other age group – wanted to return to a time when people were not constantly connected, a finding possibly not unconnected to that fact that one third admitted that technology had been the cause of an argument with a significant other.

Quite apart from the social fallout, technology-induced apprehension was also driven by the technology itself, with one third of respondents reporting they had to wait longer than five minutes for their devices to load or stat up.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff


Mobile saturation imminent

19 November 2014
STOCKHOLM: Ninety per cent of the world's population over six years old will have a mobile phone within the next five years a new report has claimed.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report, from the eponymous telecoms company, predicts that the number of mobile subscriptions will grow from the current figure of 7.1bn to 9.5bn by 2020, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%.

Smartphone subscriptions are projected to grow three times as fast, at 15% CAGR, to reach a total of 6.1bn in 2020. This is being driven in large part by the increasing affordability of smartphones in developing markets, which means they are set to overtake global feature phone subscriptions within two years.

During the third quarter of 2014 alone, there were 110m new mobile subscriptions globally, with Asia-Pacific accounting for almost half of these and Africa almost one quarter.

India saw the largest number of net additions, at 18m, followed by China on 12m and Indonesia on 5m, the rest of Asia-Pacific contributing another 17m. There were also 26m new subscriptions across the African continent.

"The falling cost of both data usage and handsets, coupled with improved usability and increasing network coverage, are making mobile technology a global phenomenon that will soon be available to the vast majority of the world's population, regardless of age or location," declared Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Ericsson.

And as smartphone penetration deepens, mobile video traffic is expected to continue to grow dramatically, increasing tenfold by 2020 to account for 55% of all mobile data traffic.

In 4G-dominated networks mobile video already constitutes between 45% and 55% of mobile traffic as the quality of video streaming has improved and as flat rate data plans enable users to watch video without fear of incurring large bills.

The report also looked at what a 5G future could mean. In addition to enhanced mobile broadband, it envisaged "mass market personalised TV" as part of a fully networked society.

Data sourced from Ericsson; additional content by Warc staff


VPNs a threat to digital ads

19 November 2014
LONDON: The increasingly widespread use of virtual private networks (VPNs) to access the internet, especially in developing markets, poses a threat to digital publishers' collection of data that can be used to target advertising.

Research firm GlobalWebIndex surveyed 170,000 individuals spread across 32 countries for its new report, The Missing Billion, which explores how passive web analytics have skewed understanding of the global internet population. It argues that trends in VPN usage, device sharing and mobile-only access mean that hundreds of millions of internet users are effectively invisible in traditional internet studies.

Its own research suggests that there are around 410m people worldwide using various software and technology to help them mask their true location and to remain anonymous while online.

In part this is about overcoming restrictions imposed by governments and media companies, whether China's ban on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or US sites limiting access to TV shows to US users.

The survey revealed that 50% of the total simply wanted access to better content while 28% were looking to access news and social networking sites.

"It's definitely an issue," agreed Steve Carrod, co-owner and director of consulting at Digital Media Performance Group. "A major international broadcast client of ours sees 90% of traffic to its Chinese service supposedly come from the US due to VPN use," he told DigiDay.

"It affects their ability to personalise content," he continued. "It also skews conversion data for things like subscriptions, email signups, or any key conversion point."

In Indonesia, the proportion of online consumers using a VPN stands at over 40%, while the figure is over 30% in other major emerging markets including Brazil, China, Mexico, India and Turkey.

The report further estimated that the prevalence of device sharing in emerging markets – for example, 38% of Brazilian users only go online with a shared device – had resulted in 417m internet users not being counted.

"International markets are a missed opportunity for some companies," said Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex. 

"This issue with Web analytics might leave some to believe America is dominant in terms of Internet use, that foreign markets are still 'emerging' on the Web. In fact, they have huge digital populations and a hunger for quality content."

Data sourced from GlobalWebIndex, DigiDay; additional content by Warc staff


WOM drives $6tr spending

19 November 2014
HOLLYWOOD, CA: Word of mouth, both online and offline, is responsible for driving $6tr of consumer spending every year, new research has shown.

The Return on Word of Mouth study was organised by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and based on econometric modelling of sales and marketing data provided by participating brands – including AT&T, Discovery Communications, Intuit, PepsiCo, and Weight Watchers. This found that online and offline consumer conversations and recommendations accounted for 13% of consumer sales.

And despite digital making inroads into most aspects of people's lives, off line word of mouth remained more important, driving two thirds of these sales compared to online's one third.

"Intuitively, we know that a consumer recommendation is going to be a powerful contributor to brand sales, but this is the first time a rigorous study has quantified that impact across a range of product and service categories," said WOMMA President Suzanne Fanning.

"We hope this research will lead marketers to elevate the role of word of mouth, both online and offline, in their marketing plans," she added.

Happily for the world of advertising, word of mouth was also found to amplify the effects of paid media by 15% as consumers spread advertised messages. But most of the time WOM worked separately from these, based around such things as product or customer service experiences, public relations, owned and earned digital content and referral marketing.

Researchers also established that an offline word-of-mouth impression drove at least five times more sales than a paid advertising impression, and as much as 100 times more for higher-consideration categories.

And the impact of such recommendations typically happened much closer to the time of purchase than traditional media, often within two weeks.

"Word of mouth is an area that begs for more deliberate decisioning and planning from marketers, as it works hand-in-glove with paid media," said Nancy Smith, president of Analytic Partners, one of the research consultants on the project.

Her colleague Alice K. Sylvester of Sequent Partners, added that world of mouth could be "incorporated into marketers' econometric models and managed with the same level of knowledge as advertising and promotion".

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


Viewability rates fall

19 November 2014
NEW YORK: More than three quarters of video ads were played to completion during the third quarter, according to latest figures, but only one in five was actually in view to the user.

The Q3 2014 Media Quality Report from Integral Ad Science, a provider of digital advertising intelligence, assessed the online ad industry on four metrics – TRue Advertising Quality (TRAQ), brand risk, viewability and ad fraud – and included benchmarks for video for the first time.

The fact that overall video completion rates were much higher than viewable video completion rates was, said Integral, "indicative of significant frequency of autoplay and of disruptive user behavior, such as scrolling videos out of view as they are playing".

Overall, 30% of video impressions were deemed viewable, as measured by the standards laid down by the Media Ratings council, i.e. in view for two continuous seconds.

This was lower than that achieved by display which recorded viewability figures of 53.4% for Publishers and 36.7% for Networks & Exchanges.

The latter figure, MediaPost noted, marked a new low in 2014, as display viewability rates – with 50% of the ad being in view for at least one second – had been running at 51.3% in the first quarter, falling to 45.3% in the second.

And, if one extended the standard to a more realistic figure of five seconds, only 21.6% of display ads could still be described as viewable; at 15 seconds that fell to 12.5%. Again, both these figures were down on the preceding quarter.

Fraud in video was also higher than display with an average of 15% versus 3% for Publishers and 13.7% for Networks & Exchanges.

Integral's TRAQ score, based on a combination of factors, including viewability, fraud, clutter, brand safety and professionalism, stood at 561 for video. This meant, Integral said, that overall media quality for video was lower than for display inventory, which registered TRAQ scores of 675 for Publishers and 540 for Networks & Exchanges.

And, putting these figures in context, MediaPost observed a "downward spiral" over the course of the past 12 months, with the score for Networks & Exchanges having dropped from 597 in Q4 2013 to 578 in Q1 2014 and 576 in Q2 2014.

Data sourced from Integral Ad Science, Market Wired, MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff


Perception of private label picks up

19 November 2014
SINGAPORE: Consumer perception of retailers' private label products is improving across Asia according to a new report, but this positive sentiment has yet to translate into an uplift in sales.

For its 2014 Global Private Label Report, market researcher Nielsen polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries, exploring their views on private label quality, value, assortment and packaging.

It found that 84% of Vietnamese and 83% of Thai respondents had improved perceptions of store branded products, the highest in the region and well above the global average of 71%.

But even though private label products have been available in the region for some 25 years they have yet to make any significant inroads into sales. Value share is highest in Singapore at 8.1%, around half the global average of 16.5%.

The figures for Hong Kong (5.1%), India (4.5%) and Taiwan (3.1%) are low but they are further advanced in this regard than China (1.3%), Thailand (0.8%) and Indonesia (0.6%).

"Asian shoppers are strongly brand loyal, and retailers have not invested enough in private-label marketing programs to persuade shoppers to trust its quality," said Peter Gale, managing director of retailer services, Nielsen Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

"Many Asian retailers have virtually copied and pasted the European model without dedicating the groundwork necessary to build loyalty," he added. "Just launching new private-label products is not going to drive significant growth unless retailers address the fundamental issue of shopper demand properly."

The difficulties for retailers are evident in the finding that Asia-Pacific had the highest percentage of respondents (58%) who believed name brands are worth the extra price – 10% higher than the global average, 20% higher than North America and 26% higher than Europe.

Nearly six in 10 respondents in Indonesia (59%), the Philippines (58%) and Thailand (56%) believed they risked wasting money by trying new brands and instead they preferred to buy the trusted brand advertised on TV every week, especially now that it is increasingly offered at a discounted price.

But Gale also noted that Asian consumers were slowly "building a repertoire of private label products that they like and will buy again, even at a more expensive price than a branded alternative".

There was, he suggested, an opportunity to tailor private label ranges to local tastes and drive trial and build loyalty over time.

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


Australian business neglects YouTube

19 November 2014
SYDNEY: Most Australian companies are failing to make an impression on YouTube, the video sharing channel, with many neglecting it and active users generating only small viewing figures according to a new report.

Chimney Group, the video producer, looked at the top 1,000 companies in Australia for its YouTop100 study examining how efficiently they used their YouTube channel and found that just over one quarter (28.2%) had updated it in the past year.

Among the top 100 active channels – ranked on efficiency, or the total number of views in the past 12 months divided by the total number of videos on the channel – the average number of views per video was 22,426, but 61% of companies had fewer than 1,000 views on average.

Less than 10% posted a video every week, but frequent updates were not necessarily the way to achieve success, The Australian reported

It noted that, in efficiency terms, some of the more prominent users of the channel, such as Toyota and ANZ Bank, were languishing in the lower reaches of the rankings, at 88th and 69th respectively.

The top five most successful users of the channel were found to be Apple, ExxonMobil, Nestlé, Air New Zealand and Bank of Queensland.

"We knew Apple would be up there because they have a nice, synchronised strategy," said Lee Ritson, CEO Chimney Group Australia

And while the presence of ExxonMobil was a surprise, Ritson suggested this was because "they were posting videos about future-proof technology which would be interesting to the scientific community".

Nestlé, meanwhile, was posting international content which was being watched, while high-quality and entertaining posts from Air NZ and Bank of Queensland had also performed well.

Investment in video works well for some companies, but for the remainder there may be a question mark over an approach that takes money away from more traditional advertising.

"There's huge room for improvement in digital broadcast strategy," Ritson declared. "A lot of the content that was getting posted was getting minimal views. One solid piece would do better."

He suggested that companies should think of posting a video to their channels on at least a monthly basis.

Data sourced from Chimney Group; The Australian; additional content by Warc staff


The Cosmopolitan finds winning formula

19 November 2014
NEW YORK: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the luxury hotel and casino, draws on three core marketing principles as it seeks to stand out in one of America's most competitive geographies.

Angela Wise, vp/marketing at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, discussed this topic while speaking at a recent conference.

And she reported that the high-end resort, which launched in 2010, occupies a distinctive position on the Strip, as it is an independent operator up against major players including MGM and Caesar's Entertainment.

The first principle feeding into its marketing strategy thus reads: "We didn't want to follow culture, we wanted to lead it," said Wise. (For more, including the company's aim to create a new media channel, read Warc's exclusive report: The Cosmopolitan Hotel and United Airlines find a new way to engage flyers.)

"This was really an opportunity for us to not emulate what was being done, but to really find our creativity and drive that home."

Many properties in Las Vegas, for example, have specific theme and styles, or else are "really defined and proper in some ways," according to Wise.

"So, for us, it was finding a way to really let our independent spirit shine, and be more highly design-driven and stylistic, and trying to find that kind of spirit."

A related goal covers The Cosmopolitan's second core aim: "to have a unique point of view". Understanding the needs and preferences of its sophisticated audience – which it calls the "curious class" – is part of this process.

"Once you can tap into the consumer's desire for authenticity, we felt like that was a really great place for us," Wise said.

Innovating in the communications field is another priority, as achieving meaningful engagement is a particular challenge in Las Vegas.

"We're going to have a lot of fast-followers; if something works, everyone wants to tack on. So the idea about continually innovating and investing was really important to us," she said.

"Consumers can have anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 messages that are inputted on them on a daily basis – and certainly, if you're in Las Vegas, you're at the top end of this."

Data sourced from Warc


UK shoppers plan prudent Xmas

18 November 2014
LONDON: Almost half of shoppers in the UK intend to keep a tight rein on their Christmas spending, as habits inculcated over the past few years of economic downturn become second nature.

For its new report – WindowOn … Spending Habits – shopper research agency Shoppercentric surveyed more than 1,000 adults and found that 44% of UK consumers said they needed to keep to a strict budget this year. And 29% agreed that the economic downturn had taught them to be careful and they wanted to keep it that way.

Further evidence of the continued straitened circumstances of the nation came in the statistic that only 5% of those surveyed said they had more money available this year and would be spending more than last year.

"The powers that be may be telling us that the UK is in growth again but our research shows 60% of UK shoppers are still experiencing rising costs while their income remains static and a further 14% are dealing with a job loss or pay reduction," said Danielle Pinnington, managing director at Shoppercentric.

But she expected that shoppers would be not be depriving themselves, rather "using their carefully honed savviness to make their money stretch further".

With that in mind, two thirds of shoppers (65%) said they would choose the channel – online or in-store – that gave them the best price.

And just as many expected to make gift purchases in store (78%) as online via desktop or laptop (77%). Further, some 19% planed on buying via a tablet and 14% via their smartphone.

In addition to possible price factors, another major reason for shopping online was imply to avoid the crowds – 47% expressed this sentiment. But slightly more (50%) were prepared to brave the hordes to ensure they got the right present.

One in five (21%) also refused to shop online amid worries a present would not be delivered on time.

Pinnington argued that the rise in popularity of click & collect would help to drive more shoppers in-store. This, she said "presents retailers with a huge opportunity to really lay on the ambience, and roll out the tempting displays to play to their strengths and encourage incremental purchasing.

"If they could tempt each of those customers to pick up just one extra item in addition to their parcel collection, retailers will be able to deliver a seriously big uplift in sales," she said.

Data sourced from Shoppercentric; additional content by Warc staff


McDonald's profits from insight

18 November 2014
LONDON: Customer research has been at the heart of the consistent UK performance of McDonald's, the fast food business, its chief executive has said.

"One thing I did when I joined the business in 2006 was to really dial up the investment in consumer insight," Jill McDonald told the Daily Telegraph.

Back then she was the chief marketing officer and she recalled the problems the brand was facing following the Super Size Me documentary which had questioned everything from nutrition standards to advertising methods.

That film had not presented a balanced view, she said, "but it was a bit of a wake-up call in terms of needing to do better about communicating to consumers the quality of our food and the truth about our food".

Her success in that regard is evident in 34 consecutive quarters of sales growth, the Telegraph noted.

"[A]bsolutely number one is get closer to your customers and get superior insight, that's a real competitive advantage," she declared.

The other arm of her strategy has been to "invest in what is going to make the difference to them [customers] and what is going to drive additional visits".

So in the six years leading up to the London Olympics in 2012 restaurants were refurbished and food quality made a priority. The value of the latter approach was demonstrated during the horsemeat scandal which swept the UK in 2013, with supermarkets, food manufacturers and rival burger chains finding traces of horsemeat in their products.

The resulting uproar "wasn't great for the industry and it wasn't great for Britain", said McDonald. "However, we were in some ways pleased because it gave us an opportunity to demonstrate really tangibly what a strong and robust supply chain system McDonald's has … It gave another reason for customers to trust us."

As well as staying close to the customer, McDonald's has developed the ability to react quickly to changing food fashions, such as introducing smoothies and frappes.

"What we are pretty good at is fast following," said McDonald. "We see a trend and are able to democratise it – so give great quality, more convenience, and at better prices than the competition."

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph; additional content by Warc staff


Facebook pushes brands to pay

18 November 2014
MENLO PARK, CA: In response to users, Facebook is to reduce the number of promotional posts that appear in their news feeds from brands whose pages they have 'liked'.

The company announced that from January it was introducing "new volume and content controls for promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from Pages".

According to the announcement, as part of an ongoing survey, Facebook had asked "hundreds of thousands" of people how they felt about the content in their news feed and discovered that users wanted less promotional content – meaning fewer promotional posts from Pages they liked rather than fewer ads.

And Facebook also highlighted three particular types of post that people found annoying, including those that simply pushed people to buy a product or install an app, that pushed them to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context and that reused the same content as ads.

"Most of the stuff we listed, like sweepstakes, probably doesn't fall in the category of great content," Brian Boland, Facebook's vice president for ad products, told the New York Times. "We're responding to what people want to see."

Rejecting a suggestion that Facebook simply wanted to make more money from advertising, he said that "an ad maker doesn't want to serve content to people who don't want to see those posts".

The volume of material now being published means that some users could have up to 15,000 new items to see, so Facebook's algorithms are already filtering content to the detriment of brand posts, whose organic reach is estimated to have slipped to somewhere between 2% and 8%.

As the Wall Street Journal noted, advertisers will hardly be surprised by this latest development but they "have to be pretty annoyed that they spent all that time worried about accumulating lots of fans, who now they have to pay to reach".

But Jan Rezab, chief executive of social media analytics firm Socialbakers, said the focus on quality was correct. "Brands with high-quality content, like Red Bull, or ones with high engagement, like Harley-Davidson, will still reach their fans," he said.

Data sourced from Facebook, New York Times, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff


Consumers confused by green claims

18 November 2014
MARIETTA, GA: Consumers are confused by many of the green claims made on product packaging, especially those which are technical, generic or simply involve a logo with no context, a study has found.

For its Claiming Green report, UL Environment, a business offering certification, validation and testing services, surveyed 1,017 consumers in the US and Canada, and generated almost 42,000 head-to-head comparisons of green product claims in the DIY, electronics, personal care and cleaning categories.

The claims were divided into three types – certified claims, legitimate claims and problematic claims – depending on how well they met the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides.

Certified claims performed best across all product categories, being chosen 54% of the time when put through a head-to-head comparison with problematic claims, which were chosen 24% of the time.

When legitimate claims were matched with problematic claims, they came out ahead, but by a narrower margin, being chosen 39% of the time to problematic's 35%. And in two categories – DIY and personal care – problematic claims were even chosen ahead of legitimate claims.

Respondents were also asked if they would pay up to 10% more for a product with third-party certifications, a question which produced a 58:42 split in favour of this proposal.

Drilling down further, respondents then viewed a list of potential claims in different categories and chose the ones they'd be willing to meet a 10% premium for. At this point, 70% chose at least one certified claim, while 59% chose at least one problematic claim and only 44% chose at least one legitimate claim.

This demonstrated, said UL Environment, that "consumers assign real value to third-party certifications", and products carrying these marks were "likely increasing the perceived value" of their offering.

But how that matter is presented remains an issue: a logo with the certifying body's name and no explanation of what it meant were poorly received, for instance. Consumers also reacted negatively to claims with overly technical or generic language.

"As purchasers become more sophisticated about product claims, successfully communicating green claims is more important than ever to a company's brand and reputation," said Lisa Meier, UL Environment's vice president and general manager.

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


Sports tops Aussie TV tweets

18 November 2014
SYDNEY: Australia's reputation as a sporting nation extends beyond the arena to the sofa, as new research shows Australians to be among the world's most enthusiastic users of Twitter when viewing sport on television.

Nielsen, the measurement business, partnered with the microblogging site to monitor social TV conversations across Australia and found that sports generated 36% of all TV-related tweets. This was well ahead of the next two subjects for tweeting: reality shows and current affairs each accounted for 20% of tweets, then came news (16%) and drama (6%), The Australian reported.

"We seem to be over-indexing in sport," said Danny Keens, Twitter's global chair of television. "It's definitely bigger in Australia than it is in the US. It's a lot bigger than what we thought it would be."

The data showed that, during October, there were more than 1.2m tweets related to TV programs which generated more than 97.5m impressions.

The five highest rating programs in terms of Twitter engagement were the National Rugby League grand final and the Bathurst 1000 touring car race, followed by the finales of three reality shows – The Block, The Bachelor, and The X Factor.

Keens noted that all five were locally produced, as were all the related tweets. "It opens up huge opportunities for us to continue to work more closely with the broadcasters and the production houses here," he said.

Subscribers to the new metric are understood to get access to real-time analysis of what people are tweeting about across all TV shows, while the study is to be expanded to include data on which brands viewers are tweeting about, according to Scott Gillham, Nielsen head of Twitter TV Ratings.

"Being able to measure and evaluate TV programs by their social engagement allows networks to better understand audience reactions to their programming, while offering advertisers and agencies another element in evaluating where to place media spend and the impact of those placements in driving earned media," he said.

Data sourced from The Australian; additional content by Warc staff


SMEs key to Indian luxury market

18 November 2014
NEW DELHI: Consumer confidence in India has grown in the wake of the election of a new government earlier this year, and while opinions are divided on what that means for the luxury sector, there is a greater consensus on the importance of small business owners.

"[Brands] are going out of their way to reach out to consumers who have the money but [are not familiar] with luxury products, such as SME owners," Neelesh Hundekari, partner at consultancy A.T. Kearney India, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

"It is acknowledged by every [industry player] that SME owners are the segment with the highest potential, and all luxury products now target that segment," he added.

Hundekari further advised "micro-segmenting" that market, breaking down the owners by, for example, region and ethnicity, in order to more precisely target potential buyers.

Some observers regard the recent upbeat economic mood as being positive for the luxury sector, but others are more cautious.

A recent analysis by Euromonitor International, for example, noted long-standing issues around the availability of suitable retail space and skilled retail staff, as well as the high customs duties on imported products.

Many luxury consumers are value conscious and opt to shop overseas, according to Hundekari, with the result that the Indian luxury market will experience "explosive growth", of the sort seen in China until recently, unless customs duties are rationalised. Restrictions on foreign direct investment would also have to be eased.

That being the case, he suggested luxury brands needed to be "really sharp and smart" in their marketing and retail presence and to look to keep stores small, and not necessarily in luxury malls, in order to minimise overheads.

One example of a brand being smart in its marketing approach is TAG Heuer, the upmarket watchmaker. Puneet Sewra, marketing director for India explained to [Impact] that "breakthrough marketing helps when you have a small media budget".

When it announced film actor Ranbir Kapoor as a brand ambassador, the event took place at the home of the annual Formula One Grand Prix and featured stunt performances and the actor himself parachuting in.

"To create noise, you need to create talking points, something that people can remember and relate to," said Sewra. "We reach a selective audience and attempt to create a lasting memory by what we have done and not because they are seeing our ads 20 times a day."

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, [Impact]; additional content by Warc staff


Bank of America drives branding change

18 November 2014
ORLANDO, FL: Bank of America, the financial services group, is showing how to transform a business and brand in the connected, socially-conscious age by drawing on the insights of experts ranging from political leaders to community activists.

Anne Finucane, the company's global chief strategy/marketing officer, discussed this subject while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Florida.

In detailing how the firm has revolutionised its approach – a process summed up by the tagline "Life's better when we're connected" – she outlined the diverse mix of stakeholders it has called upon.

"The think tanks [and] the academic institutions elevated our thinking," she said. (For more, including how BoA has reconnected with consumers and its employees, read Warc's exclusive report: Repositioning Bank of America: From Main Street and Wall Street to Capitol Hill.)

"And then we went to see politicians, both in Washington and in their home states, to talk about what we were doing in their home state about lending, investing, foreclosures, loan modifications, employment."

Another cohort Bank of America reached out to was community leaders who were tackling challenges like affordable housing and rejuvenating deprived areas – problems it has the power and muscle to help tackle.

"We had to talk to community activists, and they were not going to be satisfied with marketing phrases: they wanted real data and real evidence," said Finucane.

In a bid to formalise such principles on an on-going basis, BoA has established a National Community Advisory Council featuring 24 senior figures from the social, cultural, spiritual and political worlds.

One of the main responsibilities of this body is to assess the bank's strategic direction and new products through the lens of their potential impact on major issues facing society.

"They challenged every decision we made. We brought to them product decisions for what we were doing on foreclosures and loan modifications – they challenged us," said Finucane.

Going to such lengths has reflected both the magnitude of the obstacles that Bank of America was up against as a result of the financial crisis and its commitment to thoroughgoing change.

"We needed to … demonstrate value to all the audiences that you can imagine, all the constituencies that any one of us deals with us: multinationals, elected officials, influencers in the US, Asia, Latin America, Europe; our customers; and, probably, at that point, most importantly, our employees," Finucane said.

Data sourced from Warc