Warc launches 2015 Prize for Social Strategy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Data sourced from Warc

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Integrate with tech says Sorrell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Data sourced from Warc

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Viewability faces major hurdles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data sourced from Beet.tv; additional content by Warc staff

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MillerCoors boosts content efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data sourced from Warc

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Publishers look to audience extension

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff

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Colgate still India's most trusted brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filipino grocery market shifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff

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Social media works best in a supporting role

22 October 2014
LONDON: Social media works best when operating as one of an optimum number of marketing channels and typically not as the lead one, according to a new Warc report.

In Seriously Social, marketing consultant Peter Field analyses case studies from the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, a global competition for examples of social ideas that drive business results. The competition defined social strategy as any activity designed to generate participation, conversation, sharing or advocacy.

He concludes that there is an ideal number of channels that can be used alongside social: deploy too many and resources become dissipated, but using too few can weaken the multiplier effects of multi-channel campaigns. Field puts the magic figure at around eight.

Which partner channels to choose will depend on the business effects being sought. Thus, short-term effects tend to favour online display and mobile while long-term ones benefit from channels such as PR and TV.

Field also compares the outcome of campaigns where social media takes the lead role with those where it does not and finds that the former fail to achieve the same uplift in terms of business effects; this is especially true if marketers are looking to achieve long-term effects.

And while this was the case whichever social channel was in the lead, he noted that Instagram was a possible exception, appearing, on the basis of limited data, to enjoy a superior performance across all timescales.

"It is not wise to think of 'social media strategy' in isola¬tion," says Field. "It is best to devise a brand strategy capable of driving power¬ful social effects, led by whichever channel is most appropriate for the brand strategy, and then supported by social media activity."

Peter Field will be discussing his top five takeaways from this in-depth analysis of the world's most effective social media campaigns in a webinar on Wednesday 29th October at 3pm, GMT. More details and registration are available here.


Data sourced from Warc

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Advertising guides mobile purchases

22 October 2014
GLOBAL: Mobile users around the world have an ambivalent attitude to advertising but a new survey shows that a majority admit they use it to make purchasing decisions.

A report on the mobile internet from mobile advertising network BuzzCity surveyed the attitudes to advertising of 5,100 respondents across 25 countries. This found that people frequently held favourable and unfavourable opinions at the same time – just as many had positive (60%) views of advertising as had negative (59%).

Despite these mixed emotions, over three quarters of mobile surfers (77%) said they had used advertising to make purchasing decisions. Nearly 1 in 4 (21%) did so on a daily basis, and almost 1 in 5 (18%) on a weekly basis. A further 20% acknowledged ads influenced purchase decisions sometimes, maybe monthly, while for another 18% it was only a few times a year.

"The mixed feelings mobile users have towards advertising indicate their high expectations as connected consumers" said KF Lai, BuzzCity CEO.

Those expectations included being timely and relevant. Around one third of respondents said that they saw the same ad too often (35%) and that there were too many ads (34%). And one in five (22%) felt the ads they saw were not relevant.

"If there is a threat to mobile advertising it will be advertisers' indifference to the consumer's wants," Lai suggested.

Accordingly, advertisers needed to vary the message and format of ads: the report recommended, for example, looking beyond banner advertising to other rich media and video formats.

And publishers also had a positive role to play here, selecting their advertisers in such a way as to minimise the annoyance and irrelevance of any particular advertisement.

For the future, Lai felt that advertisers would no longer be able to afford to work digital channels as independent media but would need an integrated digital approach across devices.

Data sourced from BuzzCity; additional content by Warc staff

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Digital strides ahead

22 October 2014
NEW YORK: US digital ad revenues continue to reach new highs, growing 15% in the first half of 2014 to reach $23.1bn, according to the IAB, while a separate report from AOL Platforms suggests that media buyers are increasingly shifting TV budgets into digital video.

Latest figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a digital trade organisation, show mobile making great strides, surging ahead 75% year on year to a total of $5.3bn. It now accounts for 23% of all digital spending, up from 15% in the first half of 2013.

It has achieved this largely at the expense of search and banner ads, both of which increased only slightly in dollar terms – by around 4% – resulting in their share of the total slipping from 43% and 19% respectively to 39% and 17%.

Banner ads form the largest part of display-related advertising, followed by digital video (6% of all digital), sponsorships (2%) and rich media (3%).

"Digital screens have become vital tools at every juncture of the day," said Sherrill Mane, svp/Research, Analytics and Measurement, IAB, as she observed that it was now the norm for consumers to be living online. "It is no surprise that brand dollars have followed this growing movement at a steady clip," she added.

That shift could be approaching a long-heralded tipping point, as a study for AOL Platforms revealed that 40% of media buyers are planning to transfer resources from broadcast to video over the coming 12 months.

"I'm surprised that number isn't 90%," said Rob Reifenheiser, North American head of media at media buyer Essence Digital, who argued that there were many reasons to have digital video in the media mix.

He expected that in future more and more TV and video budgets would come from the same bucket. "I would call it a video-neutral approach," he explained. "You have one line item, which is your video, and from there you triangulate what the right mix is, especially when you look at reach potential."

Data sourced from IAB, AOL Platforms; additional content by Warc staff

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Online TV audiences grow

22 October 2014
SAN JOSE, CA: Online TV consumption is growing fast in the US thanks to a variety of platforms and the supply of premium content, a new report has said.

The Video Benchmark Report from software company Adobe analysed online video and online TV viewing trends, based on aggregated and anonymous data from more than 1,300 media and entertainment properties using Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Primetime.

This found that TV consumption across devices had leapt 388% from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, while the number unique monthly viewers had increased 146% over the same period.

While that consumption was fragmented across a number of platforms, two in particular were establishing themselves as relevant: gaming consoles and over-the-top (OTT) devices saw their share almost triple, to the point where Adobe suggested they were "becoming the new desktop in the online TV space".

Another significant development was that Android apps surpassed desktop browsers as access points for watching TV online. They now have a 20% share, still some way behind iOS apps on 51%.

The precipitous decline of desktop browsers, whose share of online TV access roughly halved to 19%, highlights the speed at which this sector is developing.

"Consumers' content consumption habits are changing rapidly," said Jeremy Helfand, vp/Primetime at Adobe. "Viewers expect seamless, more personalised viewing experiences across an ever-increasing number of devices, and broadcasters, media companies and advertisers must transform their digital strategies to optimise the viewing experience."

The amount of online TV content watched per viewer grew by 55% year on year and there are now 105 US TV channels powering more than 300 online TV sites and apps.

And that content growth was in part driven by movies, which, for the first time, passed sports content. Movie networks saw the strongest gain in viewing frequency, the report said, a 125% increase from an average of two movies a month to 4.5. 

Sporting networks, in contrast, grew just 31% to 4.2 sporting events a month.


Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff

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Target bounces back

22 October 2014
ORLANDO: Target, the retailer, has seen its core brand metrics return to the same levels as before a major data breach last year – a process aided by its decision to refocus on the customer.

Jeffrey J. Jones II, the company's evp/cmo, discussed this theme while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.

"The metrics that we look at every single day – including things like 'favorite retailer' – are back to pre-breach levels," he said. (For more, including a detailed account of the company's response, read Warc's exclusive report: How Target rebounded from data breach and image immolation.)

Jones revealed that thinking about the breach – details of which emerged in December 2013 – left him feeling something "between a cold sweat and sick to my stomach."

Credit card or personal data for more than 100m people was affected, and Jones reported that the fallout had resulted in 150bn media impressions across the globe.

Alongside the damage to Target's brand, the firm has faced a financial burden – as shown by the fact the costs associated with the incident hit $148m in the second quarter.

"But I can tell you that it gave Target two choices: surrender or fight. And we decided to fight," said Jones.

"This challenged Target in many deep and important ways, including the relationship we have with our guests."

Indeed, the impact of this realization took the company all the way back to basics, and made it reconsider what its tagline – "Expect more. Pay less" – really meant.

"We'd been spending way too much time on the 'pay less' side of the equation," said Jones.

"The power of this brand – the power of this idea – is when those two thoughts are connected."

One example of that process in action has involved rolling out products which are made available exclusively to Target by manufacturers.

Introducing a range of successful digital initiatives, from rejuvenating its web and mobile presence to launching apps, has also formed a core part of Target's strategy.

Data sourced from Warc

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China's retailers need digital agility

22 October 2014
BEIJING: Online retail sales in China are growing more than four times as fast as overall retail according to official figures, and the traditional retail sector is going to have to develop greater agility if it is to keep pace with consumers.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that in the first nine months of the year retail sales were up 12% year on year to 18.92 trillion yuan, while online retail sales had surged 49.9% to 1.82 trillion yuan during the same period.

Spending was also running ahead of increases in income. The Bureau said that per-capita average disposable income in the country stood at 14,986 yuan for the January-September period, up 10.5% on the previous year, or 8.2% in real terms after deducting price factors.

Online now accounts for almost 10% of all retail sales and its growth shows no signs of slowing. As a consequence, a new report from Forrester Research argues, business agility is now a top priority for Chinese retailers.

"Internet companies are disrupting the retail industry in China and the growing online population of metropolitan Chinese consumers and resellers is adding fuel to fire," said Charlie Dai, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research.

"Traditional retailers need to focus on pervasive business agility and accelerate their customer-oriented digital business transformation through agile O2O architecture," he added.

What this means in practice is that they should develop a unified data platform that can help them provide a consistent online and offline customer experience. "An agile application framework leveraging predictive analytics, social platforms, and gamification is the key to pervasive customer engagement and high-performance ecommerce," according to Forrester.

At the same time they ought to explore how they can collaborate with others – manufacturers, resellers, independent software vendors, service providers – using cloud solutions to mutual benefit.

Finally, while a reliable infrastructure design is clearly vital for traditional retailers venturing into ecommerce for the first time, they should also consider making it scalable to allow for continuous business growth.

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

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Diwali spending surges

22 October 2014
HYDERABAD: India's consumers are growing in confidence and expect to spend significantly more during the current holiday period than they did last year.

A survey of more than 1,200 working professionals by ArthaYantra.com, the online personal finance advisor, found that 73% planned on spending between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000 during Diwali 2014. This was a marked increase from 2013, when most professionals were spending between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000.

While all age groups and income levels anticipated an increase in spending, this was most marked among the 35-to-45 year olds, whose spending intent was running at between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000.

The survey also highlighted a shift in what was being bought, with more consumers this year inclined to buy gifts for friends and family, rather than clothes and fireworks which dominated in 2013.

ArthaYantra.com described the changes as "tectonic" in some cases. For example, among those with an income of less than Rs 5 lakh, the intent to buy gifts for friends and families had increased from 8% in 2013 to 44% in 2014.

It further argued that the Diwali advertising campaigns being run by online and offline retailers were not having any significant impact on purchase decisions but were simply changing the purchase channel.

On the ground, retailers are already reporting a strong festive season. According to Nilesh Gupta, managing partner of consumer electronics chain Vijay Sales, there has been a 20% to 25% increase in demand, with a lot of interest in the latest iPhone.

"We are seeing people are willing to spend money and this is all due to the good sentiments," he told CNBC-TV18.

Rakesh Biyani, joint managing director, Future Group, agreed that "the uptick is very strong – there is no question about it". But he declined to put a figure on it and sounded a note of caution, with several days of the holiday still to come before it ended in mid-week.

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

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Good causes boost social media impact

21 October 2014
LONDON: Using cause-driven social campaigns can be more effective than using social-driven brand story campaigns, according to a new Warc report.

Seriously Social, an analysis of social-driven case studies by marketing consultant Peter Field, indicates that linking a brand with a broader purpose or cause can be a powerful approach and can lead to better long-term results than story-led strategies.

In the report, Field analyses case studies from the Warc Prize for Social Strategy, a global competition for examples of social ideas that drive business results. The competition defined social strategy as any activity designed to generate participation, conversation, sharing or advocacy.

Field was able to compare the impact of campaigns that associated a brand with a good cause, with the impact of those that built a story around a brand.

He found that media usage for cause-driven campaigns was more strongly focused on online, WOM/earned media and traditional advertising channels (excluding TV). Brand story campaigns, in contrast, made wider use of media channels and, as they were more likely to be short-term campaigns, included much more activation.

These patterns had an impact on subsequent effectiveness. "Cause-driven campaigns are more strongly associated with business effects," Field stated, a finding that became even clearer when stripping non-profit campaigns out of the calculation.

The business effectiveness of cause driven-campaigns was found to increase markedly over time, whereas that of brand story campaigns did not.

"Again, this is a reflection of the short-term outlook of the latter group," Field said, who suggested that conclusions about effectiveness drawn over a period of less than six months would underplay the true strength of cause-driven campaigns.

In fact, not only were cause-driven campaigns better at delivering business effects they also generated greater numbers of brand effects once the non-profits were removed from the equation.

Peter Field will be discussing his top five takeaways from this in-depth analysis of the world's most effective social media campaigns in a webinar on Wednesday 29th October at 3pm, GMT. More details and registration are available here.

Data sourced from Warc

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Consumers confident in online delivery

21 October 2014
LONDON: UK consumers are increasingly confident about the delivery of online shopping, with almost half saying they will order Christmas gifts with less than a week to go, but they will hold retailers to blame if the goods do not arrive.

These findings emerged from the latest eCustomerServiceIndex results from eDigitalResearch and online retail association body IMRG. In 2013, 34% of online shoppers were willing to risk placing an order online with less than a week to go until Christmas Day, but this figure has now risen to 47%. The 13 point rise in 12 months indicates how consumer expectations of delivery have changed in a short period.

In particular, 53% said they would feel comfortable in placing an online order as late as Wednesday 17th December, while 32% were prepared to push the date to Saturday 20th in the full expectation of receiving their items before Christmas Day.

The survey results, said Derek Eccleston, commercial director at eDigitalResearch, emphasised the need for retailers and couriers to have a comprehensive logistics strategy in place. "Year after year, we've seen retailers increasing push their last ordering dates closer to Christmas Day itself and it's important for retailers to ensure that they see through on these promises," he said.

In the past, 18% of consumers surveyed reported that online gift orders had failed to arrive in time. Of these, 41% placed the responsibility on the retailers, while couriers and the Royal Mail each attracted the ire of 14%.

Ecclestone noted that it was vital to deal with such circumstances appropriately and cited the example of Appliances Online which provides takeaway dinners to customers if an oven delivery fails to appear on time.

"Properly managing situations and responding promptly when things do go wrong with deliveries … will be key for retailers in ensuring that consumers are not left frustrated and disappointed this Christmas," he said.

Data sourced from eDigitalResearch; additional content by Warc staff

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CMOs pressured on digital ROI

21 October 2014
NEW YORK: Most chief marketing officers report that they are under greater pressure than five years ago to deliver measureable ROI in digital and mobile but many find it difficult to do this.

The 2014 CMO Digital Benchmark Study, from Leapfrog Marketing Institute, surveyed 91 executive-level marketers at major companies – 72% of respondents worked at organisations with 3,000 or more employees, nearly half of them controlled marketing budgets of over $25m – and found that 93% felt the burden of linking their marketing efforts to financial results.

But all too often their businesses lacked the ability to do so, thanks to a combination of internal silos, a resistance to change and limited expertise.

Fred Ehle, managing partner of consultancy BrandApart, which worked on the study with Leapfrog, told Advertising Age that consumers were adopting new technologies around mobile at a faster rate than companies and that corporate structures were a major factor in the inability of marketing departments to keep up with their consumers.

"There's a siloed nature of corporations in general, and it gets heightened when you work beyond the typical functions you've done in the past," he said.

And one of the characteristics of a siloed organisation is a reluctance or failure to share data and expertise. When asked about the integration of digital and offline marketing communication channels in providing a path to purchase, only 40% of respondents were able to say they had achieved even this much.

A mere 4% reported that their internal omnichannel capabilities were very well developed.

The executives surveyed felt that their websites, data tracking/analytics and mobile were the most important capabilities at their disposal but at the same time these were revealed to be frequently among the least-developed.

Thus, for example, one third of senior marketers were unable to use data tracking and analytics to track sales.

Ehle suggested that marketers develop case studies that demonstrated success in data, mobile or digital. And executives from the different departments within a company – finance, IT, marketing, for example – needed to develop better communications between them while coming up with agreed metrics to link marketing to sales.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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Hong Kong protests hit luxury brands

21 October 2014
HONG KONG: Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are not only hitting current sales of luxury brands but may require them to rethink their entire marketing approach in future.

Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, claimed that luxury sales had plummeted up to 40% during the recent Golden Week holiday at the start of October.

Luxury watchmakers are particularly vulnerable – as much as one fifth of some leading watchmakers' revenue comes from Hong Kong – and AFP suggested that retail sales had declined by up to half in recent weeks.

French luxury firm LVMH did not put a figure on the effects of the protests but did say they would have an impact on its quarterly results. "We have already noted some negative impact on activity in duty free shops in the third-quarter," said group finance director Jean-Jacques Guiony. He reported fewer shoppers in downtown stores as the ongoing protests had disrupted travel plans, especially by large tourist groups.

While brands are grappling with the short-term impact of the (so far) four-week long protests, the more prescient will also be considering the long-term implications.

In the South China Morning Post, financial writer Peter Guy argued that the protests had changed assumptions about youth, whose aspirations evidently did not necessarily include joining the ranks of the wealthy and powerful in Hong Kong's high society.

In fact, that latter group was in danger of becoming an irrelevant object of contempt, a development that would "dramatically affect how luxury brands engage their next generation of customers".

Today's university student is likely to be tomorrow's luxury customer, Guy said, and their values had to be understood. They had more enlightened beliefs than their elders and would decline to be part of a "social-climbing circus of envy".

Prestigious brands, from fashion to wealth management, will need to rethink how they engage this new demographic, he asserted.

Data sourced from South China Morning Post, AFP, Fashion United; additional content by Warc staff

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Mondelez says planning must evolve

21 October 2014
CHICAGO: Planners must tackle "business challenges" rather than focus solely on "communications challenges" to thrive in the new marketing ecosystem, according to a leading executive from Mondelez International.

Eliza Esquivel, vp/global brand strategy at the snacks company, discussed this topic while speaking at the Strategy Festival 2014 organised by the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies).

And she outlined a "huge problem" for planners to address, in the form of proving their value beyond simply delivering creative.

"If we, as planners, exist solely to serve the creative work – to brief it in and help sell it in – we're in trouble," Esquivel told the conference audience.

"In fact, this self-belief among planners is the single biggest threat to our existence." (For more, including more insights about the changing role of planning, read Warc's exclusive report: Mondelez strategist challenges 4A's Strategy Festival to light creative fires.)

That is because "communications challenges" are only part of a much wider set of "business challenges" now facing clients.

"Whenever a planner walks into a client meeting as a planner, they are seen as someone who spends money, not makes money," Esquivel said. "That is what ultimately disempowers us all. That's what needs to change."

Achieving such a transformation is growing in importance at a time when brands are rolling out ever-increasing amounts of content – but also as the quality of this material does not always match the quantity.

Many planners, Esquivel suggested, are guilty of exhibiting "bystander syndrome" when faced with this situation, giving the impression they are "just too posh to push".

Consistently providing innovative solutions to business problems promises to remedy this perception, and enhance the status of planning across the board.

"As a client, I can tell you creativity is the hardest thing for us, but it's the thing we desperately need the most," said Esquivel.

Data sourced from Warc

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Radio leads social media interaction

21 October 2014
SYDNEY: Radio generates a higher level of social media interaction with its audience than any other medium in Australia, according to a new report which also highlights the ability of social media to strengthen the relationship between a listener and a station.

AudienScope, a quarterly national online survey of radio behaviour carried out by researcher GfK, is based on responses from 1,250 listeners. The Q3 2014 report found that 61% of radio listeners had interacted with a radio station's social media page during the previous month, but only 52% had done so with a TV page; the proportion dropped to 36% for newspapers and 33% for magazines.

The main reason for taking to social media was to supplement the listening experience with visual material – 44% of respondents wanted to see videos and photos from a radio show.

Reading about or commenting on music-related content was also popular, with 42% doing so, while similar actions around non-music content, such as celebrities or current affairs, were cited by 39%.

This engagement resulted in a strengthening in the relationship between listener and station for around half (52%) of those taking part, whether that was talking more to other people about the station or simply spending more time listening to it. 

Unsurprisingly, it was younger listeners – one in three of under-25s – who were most likely to be active on radio's social media pages.

And, in a further finding, reported by Mumbrella, young people were found to be twice as likely as older listeners to be influenced by radio competitions and promotions. "This is something that seems to resonate with younger listeners whether it is a cash giveaway or the opportunity to meet a celebrity or go overseas," said Morten Boyer, general manager of GfK media.

He added that the survey had also sought to discover if there was anything that drove consumers to listen at different parts of the day. "Being entertained was the leading reason in every timeslot that people listened to the radio," he declared.

Data sourced from GfK, Mumbrella; additional content by Warc staff

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Showrooming drops off in US

21 October 2014
NEW YORK: US consumers are more likely to engage in webrooming than showrooming, as a new report indicates the latter activity falling out of favour during the past year.

Researcher GfK surveyed shoppers in 17 countries and 15 categories for its 2014 FutureBuy global study of shopping habits and preferences and found that incidents of smartphone showrooming – seeing a product in a store, then buying it online from another retailer using a smartphone – dropped from 37% in the US in 2013 to 28% this year.

Webrooming, on the other hand, where consumers buy in a store after researching a purchase online using a smartphone, was carried out by 41% of respondents.

Among the various age groups, only Generation Z was more likely to showroom more than webroom, and even then not by much: 39% v 34%.

The greatest differences came among Generations X (43% v 29%) and Y (46% v 32%), both of which were 14 points ahead when it came to webrooming. For Baby Boomers there was a 12 point gap (30% v 18%).

Across the 15 product and service categories studied, 44% of US shoppers reported combining online and in-person shopping activities, up seven points on 2013. And this behaviour was percolating down from big ticket purchases to lower priced categories, including beauty and personal care (reported by 39% of shoppers), lawn and garden (29%), and food and beverage (22%).

For those shoppers making their purchases in a bricks-and-mortar environment, the main drivers were the ability to see and feel before buying (58% preferred bricks and mortar, versus 9% online) and to get products sooner (53% v 16%). When online was the preferred purchase avenue, saving money (61% v 28%) and ease of purchase (53% v 24%) were deciding factors.

"The big takeaway from this year's FutureBuy study is how dynamic the shopper environment has become," said Joe Beier, evp/Shopper and Retail Strategy at GfK North America. "We are seeing double-digit point changes in metrics designed to measure relatively foundational behaviours, such as omnichannel and devices used to shop."

Brands needed to build out an up-to-date and nuanced shopper insights platform, he warned, otherwise they were "simply in 'hit-or-miss' mode in execution".

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff

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Global adspend up 42% on 2004

20 October 2014
LONDON: Global adspend has increased from $362bn in 2004 to $512.9bn in 2013, a rise of 41.7% over the past decade, according to new long-term analysis published by Warc.

The Global Ad Trends report draws on data stored in Warc's adspend database, which tracks advertising expenditure for main media across 88 individual markets going back to 1980.

The last ten years have seen major shifts in the allocation of advertising budgets by media channel and global region, the report shows.

Despite some gloomy predictions for its future relevance, TV remains the biggest advertising medium globally with 40.8% share of total adspend, having recorded overall spend of $209.5bn in 2013. The channel registered significant growth of 55.7% since 2004.

Over the same period, internet advertising spend grew from $15.5bn in 2004 to $120.4bn in 2013, an increase of 675%. This equates to a ten-year rise in share of global adspend from 4.3% in 2004 to 23.5% in 2013.

This rapid expansion for internet has come at the expense of the print sector – inclusive of both newspapers and magazines – which has seen total advertising spend fall by $41.1bn over the last ten years to just $116.4bn.

Both newspapers and magazines saw their shares of total global adspend roughly halve since 2004.

Turning to the remaining media, both out of home and cinema maintained their overall shares of global ad revenues since 2004, with marginal increases of 0.2pp and 0.1pp respectively.

Out of home accounted for total spend of $30.2bn in 2013, while cinema – the smallest advertising channel measured – registered just $2.5bn. Radio, with advertising spend of $34bn in 2013, saw a decline of 2.0pp overall from 2004.

Looking at advertising budgets by region, North America remains the biggest spender, accounting for 33.6% or $172.2bn in 2013, but saw a drop of 11.1pp since 2004.

Europe traditionally has been the second biggest region for ad budgets, but in 2012 – challenged by rapid growth in China – it was overtaken by Asia-Pacific. Europe accounts for 27.2% of global adspend ($139.4bn) with Asia-Pacific on 27.3% ($140.1bn).

The three remaining global regions – Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East – account for just 12% of global adspend between them, although this is a significantly higher proportion than the 4.1% recorded ten years' ago.

Data sourced from Warc

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UK leads European online shopping

20 October 2014
LEEDS: British consumers are almost twice as likely to shop online as their French counterparts and they shop online nearly three times as much as consumers in Germany, a new study has revealed.

Now in its fifth year, the latest Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey from Hermes, the multinational consumer delivery company, found 27% of UK consumers shopped online over the past three months.

This compared with 14% of French consumers and just 10% of Germans, according to responses from 4,000 consumers in the three largest economies of the EU.

Furthermore, a full 42% of UK consumers said they plan to increase their online shopping spend over the next year compared to 30% of French respondents and 28% of Germans.

British consumers were also found to be more likely to increase the range of retailers they will shop from. Almost three-quarters (73%) expected to expand their retail horizons compared to the French (64%) and the Germans (58%), the survey found.

This growing willingness by European consumers, especially those in the UK, to put their trust in online retailers appeared to be underpinned by three main trends.

Consumers have responded to improvements in delivery services across all three countries, increased adoption of mobile devices has made the experience easier, and a free and reliable returns policy is important too.

Almost twice as many UK consumers (23%) said they shop regularly on a smartphone or tablet as do Germans (11%) or the French (9%), although a laptop was used more by all three nationalities.

Commenting on the findings, Hermes CEO Carole Woodhead said that online retail is continuing to grow "at a prolific pace" and welcomed the investment the sector has made in good delivery options, which has helped to boost consumer confidence.

"It presents online retailers with a huge opportunity to continue to expand their customer base and increase revenue," she said.

Almost coinciding with the release of the Hermes findings, Amazon revealed the launch of its first same-day delivery service in the UK, the Financial Times reported.

Branded "Pass My Parcel", the US ecommerce giant will use Connect Group, the newspaper distributor, to deliver packages to more than 6,000 locations, including 500 newsagents and convenience stores.

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

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US programmatic adspend will double

20 October 2014
NEW YORK: Programmatic adspend in the US is expected to grow exponentially over the next two years, rising from just over $10bn this year to $20.41bn in 2016, according to new analysis from eMarketer.

The research firm examined dozens of data sources and conducted interviews with more than 50 ad agency executives to reach its conclusion.

With growth of 137.1% in 2014, programmatic adspend will top $10bn this year and will account for 45% of total US digital display adspend this year.

It is then projected to rise another 47.9% in 2015, valuing it at $14.88bn and representing 55% of the total display ad market, before rising a further 37.2% in 2016 when programmatic will account for 63%.

"Programmatic advertising has gotten a lot of hype in the past 12 to 24 months, but it's finally fair to say that today, holdouts on participation are proving the exception, not the norm," said Lauren Fisher, an eMarketer analyst.

"2014 has proven a pivotal year, and with the majority of infrastructure now laid and testing well in progress, we'll see programmatic ad spending explode from 2015 into 2016," she added.

Much of the growth is coming via the mobile channel, eMarketer said, and this year mobile will account for 44.1% of all US programmatic display adspend, or $4.44bn.

Mobile is also expected to overtake desktop as early as next year, taking 56.2% of all programmatic adspend in the country.

Another trend highlighted in the report is the growing impact of programmatic direct as a transaction method.

Growth is currently driven by real-time bidding (RTB), which accounts for 92% of programmatic adspend this year, but RTB's share is expected to fall to 58% in 2016.

The space will be filled by programmatic direct – the hybrid model between the traditional direct deals and the new automated deals – and it is forecast to account for the remaining 42% of the US programmatic market by 2016, or $8.57bn.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian ecommerce to hit $6bn in 2015

20 October 2014
GOA: The Indian ecommerce market is expected to grow 70% to $6bn in 2015, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in Asia-Pacific, a new industry report has forecast.

Valued at $3.5bn in 2014, ecommerce is coming from a relatively low base in India yet it is growing at 60-70% every year, according to Gartner, the IT research firm.

At less than 4% of the total retail market, ecommerce has plenty of room to grow and, as the adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices continues to increase in the country, then so will mobile commerce, the report said.

Mobile commerce represents less than 5% of total digital commerce at the moment, but 30% of traffic to ecommerce sites comes from mobile devices.

This is a reflection of what Gartner identified as a "rapidly growing ecosystem to engage customers on mobile".

Praveen Sengar, research director at Gartner, said digital commerce is at a nascent stage in India, but the market is maturing as companies continue to invest in the development of their digital platforms.

"The digital commerce platform market is maturing; incumbent vendors are investing in building out their commerce platforms, and those in adjacent areas, such as search, order management and marketing – both through organic development and acquisition," he said.

B2C ecommerce dominates the Indian digital market – B2B being mostly limited to organisations using online channels to improve integration in the supply chain.

However, Gartner warned that the profitability and viability of B2C ecommerce is being put under pressure by limited internet penetration, low digital commerce volume, multiple payment models, logistics and fulfilment challenges.

"The biggest challenge is getting the business digital commerce strategy right and adequate investments in people, process and technology to engage with customers across channels which has been ignored by Indian enterprises so far," the report said.

Data sourced from Gartner; additional content by Warc staff

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Content strategies fall short, ANA finds

20 October 2014
ORLANDO: An "astonishing" number of marketers have not yet formalised their content strategy and distribution processes, Bob Liodice, president/ceo of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), has revealed.

Liodice discussed this subject while speaking at the organisation's 2014 Masters of Marketing conference, held in Orlando, Florida.

During a keynote speech at the event, he cited research conducted by the ANA and McKinsey, the management consultancy, showing that considerable room for progress remains in the content arena.

"An astonishing 84% of marketers do not have a formal content strategy and distribution process," said Liodice. "As such, their content supply chain is not properly managed." (For the full story read Warc's exclusive report: ANA sets new standards for marketing ecosystem.)

Until such an objective is achieved, the hyperbole surrounding content marketing is unlikely to be translated into the results desired by practitioners.

"Content is sexy to talk about, but there is a limited view about its tie to the organization," added Liodice.

The debate about the current limitations observable in the content space fed into wider learnings that emerged from the ANA/McKinsey analysis, which were collectively described as the "Three Cs of Disruption."

Understanding the second of these issues, in the form of establishing a broader model of the "customer experience", could - among its many benefits - help enhance fledgling content-marketing regimes.

The third "C" stands for "complexity", an issue that was raised by 86% of marketers as a force for disruptive change in the industry.

"However, only 67% have responded with adequate investment," Liodice informed the Masters of Marketing conference audience.

Building on this theme, the ANA's president/ceo reported that data and analytics often remain a work in progress for brand custodians, too.

"Nearly all marketers say that making data-informed decisions is foundational to more effective marketing," said Liodice.

"Yet more than one-third of companies are still not using data to make decisions. And almost half don't have the right analytics in place."

Data sourced from Warc

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ANZ companies lag on big data

20 October 2014
SYDNEY: Companies in Australia and New Zealand have been warned that they are failing to capitalise on the possibilities offered by big data analytics, after new research found only a fifth of the firms have a big data strategy.

Based on the responses of 150 enterprises in both countries, the Forrester Research study for Dell, the US IT firm, found that only 22% of respondents are currently implementing or expanding corporate strategies to harness big data, ZDNet reported.

Even among those using big data, the technology is employed only for very specific purposes, such as fraud detection, compliance, risk management and marketing ROI.

Forrester researcher Tim Sheedy, who presented the findings at the 2014 Dell User Forum A/NZ event in Sydney, expressed surprise that Australia and New Zealand seemed to be so hesitant considering they are both risk-averse economies.

"We tend to make data-centric decisions, so I was surprised that when you're trying to make data-centric decisions, you're not using that data more effectively," he said.

"It's one of the big trends, it's happening everywhere," he continued. "Every day there are more opportunities to analyse data and make better decisions. But I was surprised that more people didn't have a strategy to deal with that."

While companies in the region make good use of other technology, such as cloud infrastructure (81%) and network security software (87%), it appears they're lagging behind other markets when it comes to big data.

IBM recently conducted an international survey of almost 1,500 decision-makers from what it called "pacesetter", or technically advanced, companies and found 70% considered analytics to be an integral part of the decision-making process.

Covering 15 industries in 13 countries, the IBM Business Tech Trends Study also found 60% planned to increase their investment in analytics by more than 10% over the next two years.

Data sourced from ZDNet, IBM; additional content by Warc staff

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Millennials like in-store expertise

20 October 2014
CINCINNATI: The great majority of US millennials would welcome the opportunity to take part in loyalty programs that offer in-store sessions with a consultant or specialist, a new survey has revealed.

LoyaltyOne, the Ohio-based loyalty program consultancy, polled 1,034 young US adults aged 18-29 about how they would respond to such offers across a range of sectors.

The grocery sector stood out with 84% of respondents saying they would be likely to shop more often with a grocery retailer that offered a session with a nutritionist or chef as part of their rewards or loyalty program.

Close behind, almost four-in-five (79%) said they would be tempted to shop more at a clothing store that offered a loyalty program allowing a session with a stylist.

A similar move by an electronics store offering a session with a technician or software expert would entice 77% of the survey respondents, the survey found.

And 69% would welcome tuition from a plumber or other tradesman if offered the chance by a home improvement store. Meanwhile, 68% would be inclined to shop more at a cosmetics retailer if offered a session with a makeup artist.

"Marketing to millennials successfully will depend on how well retailers meet their unique needs," said Fred Thompson, retail practice leader at LoyaltyOne.

"Offering sessions with a consultant or expert in the field helps to develop a meaningful relationship between the retailer and shopper, which leads to increased engagement, loyalty and, ultimately, profitability," he added.

Data sourced from LoyaltyOne; additional content by Warc staff

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Warc names Innovation Prize shortlist

17 October 2014
LONDON: A total of 28 entries have been shortlisted for the $10,000 Warc Prize for Innovation, which recognises the best case studies worldwide that used innovative thinking to deliver tangible results.

The full shortlist of entries – received from a record 98 submissions – can be viewed on the Prize website.

Now in its third year, the top winning entry will receive the $5,000 Grand Prix while a further five Special Awards of $1,000 each will be chosen by a distinguished panel of judges.

Made up of senior client-side marketers and agency-side strategy experts, the judging panel is chaired by Peter Espersen, Head of Community Co-Creation for the LEGO Group, and the outcome of their picks will be announced at an event in London in December.

Shortlisted entries come from 12 countries this year – including the UK, Australia, China, India and Brazil – and, for the first time, the shortlist features five entries from the UAE and three from Peru.

Coca-Cola has four entries in this year's competition for campaigns ranging from China to the Middle East while Mercedes-Benz and SmartLife, the non-profit organisation from the UAE, each have two.

Several major brands have been shortlisted – including Audi, Samsung, Unilever, Vodafone and Westpac – but other innovative campaigns come from less well-known organisations.

These include, among others, the University of Engineering and Technology from Peru and the Victoria Responsible Gambling Foundation from Australia.

Data sourced from Warc

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Agency teamwork best serves clients

17 October 2014
LONDON: The creation of integrated teams across the WPP agency network has not diluted the individual agency brands nor undermined their performance, Sir Martin Sorrell has said.

As chief executive of the world's largest advertising network, responsible for a family of more than 350 companies, he has outlined how WPP's pioneering collaborative 'Team' model enhances client service.

Writing in the 50th anniversary edition of Admap, which is concentrating on the future of brand communications, he explained that the initiative brings colleagues together from across the WPP network so that clients can access the best talent.

In an article entitled "The future of the agency service model", he added that WPP clients are also able to work through a single point of contact, a global client leader, who is supported by country and regional managers.

They marshal resources and foster collaboration for the benefit of clients while helping them to identify new local business opportunities and potential investments. In addition, they support efforts to attract and retain the best talent.

Another initiative that demonstrably enhances client service, he said, is WPP's Worldwide Partnership Programme, an internal awards scheme established in 1997 that encourages collaboration across companies and disciplines.

"Critically, every case is endorsed and signed off by the respective client as adding value to their business," he emphasised.

A recent example includes work by JWT, MediaCom and other agencies on behalf of Capita and the British Army. This proved to be successful because, in the clients' words, they "were able to trust the team to collaborate at all times, irrespective of internal operating company boundaries".

While cost-effectiveness is another benefit for clients in the current financial climate, Sorrell said the main value of cross-group teams is to provide clients with access to a broad pool of talent and resources.

"The primary attraction of the model is that it offers a much simpler route to a much broader range of talent, services and resources than dealing with a large number of unconnected agencies," he said.

Turning to the challenges and opportunities that digital presents to the industry, Sorrell did not underestimate the extent of the transformation ahead – it will be inexorable, unpredictable and indefinite, he said – but expressed confidence that the industry will manage and adapt.

"We're not new to this, and adland has navigated the Google revolution pretty well to date," he said. "It has also been remarkably robust throughout the longest recession in living memory."

Data sourced from Admap

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Alibaba to take Singles' Day global

17 October 2014
SHANGHAI: Singles' Day, an unofficial Chinese holiday on November 11 and the world's single biggest shopping day, is about to go global under plans announced by Alibaba, the ecommerce giant.

The annual sales event is significant for China's ecommerce vendors and Alibaba last year sold a record 35bn yuan ($5.7bn) in just 24 hours, Want China Times reported.

This figure dwarfed last year's Cyber Monday sales in the US which amounted to $2.29bn, itself a record for US e-retailers.

Building on the attention brought on by its recent $25bn IPO, Alibaba wants to turn Singles' Day into a worldwide shopping festival and intends to use its English-language AliExpress platform to assist with this task.

Wang Yulei, the CEO of Tmall, Alibaba's B2C site, outlined the company's plans in an article on the Sina Tech website, with excerpts translated by Tech in Asia.

"This year for Singles' Day, our core keyword is globalisation. Starting from this year, future Singles' Days will definitely not just be for consumers in a particular region, Singles' Day will be for the whole world.

"In the past there was only the traditional method of creating a domestic brand, opening retail shops and sales channels, and it was a long process. But with the internet, this can be accomplished quite quickly.

"So that is our goal for this year's Singles' Day: the first step is globalisation," he said.

Alibaba will co-ordinate activity across Tmall, Taobao and its other ecommerce platforms, and has secured the confirmed participation of more than 200 overseas vendors from more than 20 countries, Wang said.

Singles' Day started off as a joke in the early 1990's when students from Nanjing University chose November 11 as its date because 11/11 resembles four single people.

However, as TradingFloor.com pointed out, making 11/11 a day for a global shopping spree might be seen as inappropriate in some Western countries because it coincides with Remembrance Day.

Data sourced from Want China Times, Tech in Asia, TradingFloor.com; additional content by Warc staff

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CBS and HBO plan streaming services

17 October 2014
NEW YORK: HBO and CBS, the US TV networks, have both announced plans to launch stand-alone, online streaming services to US households that have high-speed internet access but no pay-TV service.

Speaking at an investors' conference organised by parent company Time Warner, HBO's Richard Plepler said viewers would not require pay-TV subscription for the service, USA Today reported.

Those 10m households represent "a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped," he said. "It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO."

"There are 80m homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them," he asserted.

Meanwhile, CBS's new "CBS All Access" service will provide live programming as well current and past shows on-demand at a cost of $5.99 per month.

The live service will start off in 14 US markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco, with more expected to follow.

According to the New York Times, these developments mark the arrival of "à la carte TV" much faster than many in the media industry expected.

"Everybody is talking about it. It is an important part of our future," said Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS Corporation.

"Our job is to do the best content we can and let people enjoy it in whatever way they want. The world is heading in that direction."

The announcements follow news that Netflix reported lower-than-expected global subscriber growth of 3.02m in the third quarter, which caused its share price to drop by 27%.

"HBO and ESPN are the two main reasons why people have cable and satellite TV," James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, told Associated Press.

"The whole industry has eyed them for years nervous that one day they would decide to do exactly what [HBO] said they'll do in 2015. We don't know until we see pricing and packaging how rapidly this will force a change in the way pay TV operators work, but it will definitely force a change," he predicted.

However, breaking away from the cable and satellite providers may force HBO to incur additional expenses, Associated Press said, such as having to build up its own customer service and marketing departments.

To date, those responsibilities have been managed mostly by the pay-TV providers that include HBO in their packages.

Data sourced from USA Today, New York Times, Associated Press; additional content by Warc staff

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Newcastle Brown targets the news

17 October 2014
NEW YORK: Newcastle Brown Ale, the beer brand owned by Heineken, ranks being "in the news" among its top targets, as this strategy constitutes an effective and efficient way to drive views of its digital content.

Quinn Kilbury, brand director for the imported beer in the US, discussed this subject while speaking at Advertising Week 2014 in New York.

And he reported that when targets are set for the product's content marketing, impressions are given far greater weight than securing a certain number of views.

"We want to be in the news. And from the news come the views," he said. (For more, including details of how the brand has moved almost exclusively to digital, read Warc's exclusive report: How Newcastle Brown Ale brewed up a digital success story.)

Newcastle Brown Ale has proved adept at achieving this goal, as exemplified by an attention-grabbing initiative, featuring actress Anna Kendrick and former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, around this year's Super Bowl.

Its tongue-in-cheek campaign aimed to "hijack" the conversation by discussing the over-the-top Super Bowl spot Newcastle Brown Ale would have made if it had the money – lampooning many adland clichés along the way.

"We don't want to spend a ton, and if you spend a little bit on the right celebrity who fits the brand tone and fits the brand voice, you're much more likely to get the earned impressions you're looking for."

In all, the program yielded more than 600 organic media placements and generated in advance of one billion impressions.

Further recent efforts have included offering a $1 cheque to 50,000 people signing up to follow Newcastle Brown Ale on Twitter, and proposing America may have turned out better if Britain won the Revolutionary War as part of the "Independence Eve" campaign.

"You have to do something that people want to see. You have to do something that's entertaining, that doesn't feel like a commercial. That's the choice people have to make," said Kilbury.

"There is a lot of good advertising out there, but there are also a lot of stereotypes that we like to make fun of and have fun with.

"And so that is basically what our campaign comes down to: is how can we find the darker side of advertising, and have a little fun with that?"

Data sourced from Warc

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Hong Kong responds to wearables

17 October 2014
HONG KONG: The market for smart technology wristbands and other wearables in Hong Kong is likely to grow as consumers become increasingly health-conscious, representatives from two US tech firms have forecast.

But keeping the product uncomplicated and easy to use will be at least as important as the marketing underpinning their adoption, argued Yolanda Chan and Salina Wang in comments to Marketing Interactive.

Chan, the vp and general manager Asia-Pacific at Fitbit, a San Francisco-based activity tracker, said most consumers using smart wristbands in Hong Kong are early adopters who are very health-conscious or keen on sports, but the technology could appeal to a wider consumer base as long as it's kept simple.

"If the software is easy to use and you can easily share information through the platform with your friends to encourage and challenge each other to work out, you can gradually build a community of people using the wearable device," she said.

She noted that a number of big players, such as Apple, are beginning to enter the market and this is encouraging smaller operators to take part too.

"Suddenly, big and small brands alike are starting to feel there is business to be done in this market and they are starting to flood in, she said. "When brands like Google, Samsung and Apple are willing to invest in the industry, other manufacturers see it's worth investing in."

Wang, who is head of Asia-Pacific for global marketing and B2B at Oregon Scientific, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based IDT International, agreed that simple functionality is the essential formula to win over new users.

"People are increasingly lazy, which is why things need to be easy to use. Sometimes, the more functions your product has, the more complicated it becomes," she said.

"You simply need to offer the most basic functions, such as recording how many steps you walked today, how many calories you burned and how many hours you slept for," she added.

For Wang, the market for smart wristbands in Hong Kong will continue to grow and she also saw great potential for marketers to be able to use them to promote special offers and incentive schemes.

"It can be a pretty good marketing tool, especially with notifications built in," she said.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff

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Brands lag consumer expectations

17 October 2014
BOSTON: A gap between the perceptions and expectations of digtal consumers and senior marketers has been highlighted in a recent report, which identified five areas of disconnect.

Consumers and brand marketers do not see eye-to-eye on mobile, social media, real-time ecommerce, omnichannel capability and brand loyalty, according to the "State of the Customer Journey 2014" report from Kitewheel.

The customer engagement firm based its report on the responses of 382 US consumers, who self-identified as being tech-savvy, and 209 senior-level marketers.

It said real-time ecommerce presents a "huge opportunity for brands" because 91% of consumers feel an "in the moment" offer might influence their purchase.

However, only 32% of marketers have the tools in place to deliver on this "real-time" promise and most offers arrive too late to make a significant difference.

Just over three-quarters (76%) of consumers use mobile devices to compare prices and read reviews while shopping, the report found, but half (51%) of marketers are not managing mobile apps as a consumer touch point.

Over two-thirds of the consumers surveyed expect a response to tweets directed at a brand, but 45% of marketers say their company would be unlikely to be able to respond to every social media interaction.

Finally, nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers believe loyalty programs should be a way for brands to show consumers how loyal they are to them as a customer, yet two-thirds (66%) of marketers view loyalty programs from the opposite perspective.

Data sourced from Kitewheel; additional content by Warc staff

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Marketing optimism remains bullish

16 October 2014
LONDON: Optimism among UK marketers remains buoyant as the latest IPA Bellwether Report reveals budgets have been revised up for the eighth consecutive quarter.

The Q3 2014 IPA Bellwether Report, researched and published by Markit Economics on behalf of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, has shown a net balance of +12.6% of companies registering an increase in budgets.

Although this figure was lower than +20.4% recorded in Q1 and +15.2% in Q2, it still marked two years of continuous growth for UK marketing budgets and was the third highest level in the survey's history.

"The third quarter upward revision to marketing budgets was the third largest recorded since the survey began in 2000, exceeded only by the upward revisions already seen in the first two quarters of the year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit and author of the report.

"This represents a remarkably positive picture of companies gaining confidence about the economic outlook as the year has progressed, ploughing more money into budgets that had already been set higher at the start of the year.

"At this rate, 2014 is panning out to be the best year for growth of marketing spend in the survey's 15-year history."

Spending on internet marketing was again revised higher than any other Bellwether category and stood at +14.5% in Q3, fractionally down from +14.7% in Q2.

Within this, search recorded a net balance increase of +9.4%, which despite being the lowest since the Q4 2013 survey, still meant there have been positive results over 21 successive quarters.

Spending on main media advertising was not far behind, recording a net balance upward revision of +9.2%, down from +11.5% in Q2.

Other Bellwether categories to record growth included events (+7.8%), direct marketing (+2.1%) and PR (+1.0%), but there were budget reductions for sales promotions (-1.1%), market research (-1.7%) and other (-4.7%).

The survey also reported a net balance of +38.6% of companies indicating they had grown more optimistic about their own financial prospects (up from +37.5% in Q2) and for the wider industry (+30.4%, down from +33.0% in Q2).

The results, coupled with other encouraging data about the UK economy, led the Bellwether to predict adspend growth of 7.0% in 2014, although it expected adspend to fall to 3.8% in 2015 because of an increased chance of higher interest rates.

Commenting on the report, IPA director general Paul Bainsfair, said: "Two years of continuous investment in marketing budgets, coupled with sustained confidence, has enabled the industry to innovate and diversify, and crucially, to drive business growth."

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff

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Twitter offers bank transfers

16 October 2014
PARIS: Groupe BPCE, one of the largest banks in France, has joined forces with social network Twitter to allow its customers to make financial transactions via tweets.

The service will be run by S-Money, the bank's mobile payments division, enabling Twitter users to link their accounts to BPCE's existing money transfer service.

Although the arrangement is not a formal partnership, Twitter is allowing BPCE to incorporate its social network and it forms part of Twitter's wider aim of exploring new revenue streams, the New York Times reported.

Just last month, it started testing a "buy" button on tweets sent by selected brands, musicians and non-profit organisations in the US.

Under the agreement with BPCE, customers will be able to transfer up to €500, or about $635, via tweets but the service will be available only to those with French bank accounts and all of the Twitter messages will be open to public view.

The free service will be used mostly for crowdfunding, charity fundraising and pooled payments, such as gifts for friends, said Nicolas Chatillon, chief executive of S-Money, in an interview with Bloomberg.

He said it will be "easy, rapid, secure and free of charge" and that retweets will be blocked for security reasons.

S-Money currently has about 100,000 users in France and Chatillon is hopeful that the Twitter facility will help to expand the product's appeal, especially among younger users.

Twitter is not the first social network to expand into banking services. Rakuten Bank in Japan offers a similar service via Facebook and Apple announced plans last month for a mobile payments service via its new iPhone 6.

The development comes as Euromonitor International, the research firm, predicts that the increasing sophistication of mobile banking apps and their rapid uptake by consumers could soon take mobile payments mainstream.

Writing in Mobile Payments Today, Michelle Evans, a senior analyst at Euromonitor, said the UK, in particular, has emerged as a "hotbed for mobile payments".

Euromonitor estimates that UK consumers, on a per capita basis, will spend $824 via mobile payments in 2014, with almost 80% coming from purchases made on tablets.

Data sourced from New York Times, Bloomberg, Mobile Payments Today; additional content by Warc staff

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US millennials are more upbeat

16 October 2014
NEW YORK: US millennials, especially those of Hispanic descent, are more optimistic than they were last year about their country's future, according to the US segment of a new global survey.

The second Global Millennial Survey commissioned by Telefónica, the Spanish telecoms company, questioned just over 6,700 young adults aged 18 to 30 in 18 countries, including 1,000 millennials in the US, half of them Hispanic.

It found an average of over half (51%) of young American adults believe their country's best days lie ahead compared to 44% in last year's inaugural survey. This opinion is shared by 58% of Hispanics and 49% of non-Hispanics.

Overall, 89% are "generally optimistic" about their futures and 43% say they're "very optimistic" compared with 35% last year.

However, they have concerns about the economy and society that go beyond their individual interests. Over a quarter (26%) view the economy as the most important issue facing the US today and 77% believe wealth inequality is growing.

Corruption (47%), political leadership (38%) and the education system (38%) are perceived to be the biggest barriers to the country's growth.

And they believe that equal opportunities for all (32%) and a strong education system (28%) are the key to domestic growth.

While more than half (59%) are satisfied with the education system, two-thirds (66%) are concerned about its affordability, although quality of teachers (53%) and quality of curriculum (52%) also worry them.

Turning to their adoption of technology, the survey found US millennials own more mobile devices than last year.

Nearly four-in-five (79%) now own a smartphone (up from 70%), 56% own a tablet (up from 37%) and 58% use these devices primarily for entertainment.

When it comes to deciding on whether to buy a technology brand, more than a third (34%) say commitment to sustainability and social impact is very important.

The adoption of mobile devices by this generation is mirrored elsewhere in other parts of the world, the survey found.

Among young Brazilian adults, 78% use smartphones and 42% use tablets while the statistics for millennials in Western Europe are 84% and 40% respectively, Telecompaper reported.

In Brazil, smartphones are used for social networks (68%), news (60%), phone calls (57%), text messages (56%), online videos (51%), posting videos (40%), making videos and taking photos (37%), playing games (31%) and streaming videos (30%).

Smartphones are used by nearly a quarter (24%) to make a financial transaction and by 20% to make a purchase.

Data sourced from Telefónica; additional content by Warc staff

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Heineken USA innovates on mobile

16 October 2014
NEW YORK: Heineken USA, the brewing group, believes that native and programmatic advertising can both play an increasingly important role for brands as they seek to reach consumers via mobile.

Ron Amram, the firm's senior media director, discussed this theme while speaking at Advertising Week 2014, an event held in New York. And he suggested contextualised native advertising has great potential on mobile.

"What we're finding - and this is kind of an evolution that we have to undergo as marketers: the more customised your creative is, [the more] you have to leverage the native ability," he said. (For more, including a case study featuring the Desperados brand, read Warc's exclusive report: Heineken USA's mobile marketing mandate: Stop the thumb.)

"If you are not understanding why your ad is a perfect fit for a consumer in a specific context, then you're not talking to them in that specific instance, and it's not going to be as relevant and as effective."

Native is especially powerful as a brand-building tool - a trait which appeals to Heineken USA's natural impulse towards "upper-funnel media buys" that enhance core marketing metrics.

"For us, there's a huge opportunity there, because – specifically with mobile – there's the element of personalisation." Amram continued.

"So, you're adding geography and passion, because the mobile device is so personal. You're adding so many other touchpoints to the consumer that other media types don't have."

Programmatic advertising – which involves the automated buying of inventory based on the profile of individual consumers – is another emerging opportunity for marketers on this channel.

One advantage of that model, according to Amram, is that it makes the purchasing of media much less "opaque" than previously. Such a benefit will become more apparent as programmatic spans across a growing range of media.

Additionally, an automated strategy in this space can allow brands to operate intelligently, at speed and, ideally, at significant scale on mobile.

"If it's combining all of those three things all together, the transition will probably happen very quickly," Amram predicted.

These two trends, in tandem, also point to a clear movement towards delivering personalised messaging to a brand's target audience on wireless devices.

"The media now – from a programmatic sense, from a native sense – allows you to do that. So if you're not leveraging that with your creative, you're holding back the impact of your campaigns," said Amram.

Data sourced from Warc

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Australia veers from APAC confidence

16 October 2014
SINGAPORE: Consumer confidence across Asia-Pacific has grown to its highest level in more than 10 years, although sentiment is notably downbeat in Australia, a new bi-annual survey has revealed.

According to the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, 12 out of 16 Asia-Pacific markets recorded positive sentiment while experiencing some or significant improvement over the past six months.

Collectively, the region posted 68.3 Index points in the first half of 2014, up 6.9 points since the second half of 2013, where 50 is used as the benchmark for neutral sentiment.

Myanmar (94.1 points), Indonesia (94.0 points) and India (89.1 points) recorded the region's highest consumer confidence scores while Bangladesh posted the highest rise, climbing 25.9 points to 66.4 on the Index.

Consumer confidence in Taiwan also increased by a large margin, rising 24.9 points to 57.6, and Thailand posted a double-digit rise of 14.6 points to 86.6.

Singapore saw a 13.2 point increase in consumer sentiment to take it into positive territory with an Index score of 60.6 points and consumer confidence also rose in New Zealand, where it climbed 10.8 points to 65.8.

However, Australia stood out with an Index score of just 37.2 points for the first half of 2014, representing a fall of 12 points since the end of last year.

This would appear to chime with findings in a global survey from research firm Nielsen in July that found consumer confidence in Australia had declined to 85 on the Nielsen measurement, the country's lowest score since it began measuring global sentiment in 2005.

Pierre Burret, head of delivery, quality & resource management for Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at MasterCard Advisors, welcomed the survey results and urged emerging markets to continue their efforts to innovate.

He said: "The region's overall optimism for the future is an encouraging sign, and demonstrates the importance of continuing to innovate with partners in emerging markets like Myanmar, India and Indonesia, in efforts to drive economic growth."

12,574 adult respondents from 27 countries across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa took part in the survey, which was conducted between July and August 2014.

They were asked to give a six-month outlook on five key economic indicators – the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market, and quality of life.

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff

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Traditional media holds Asia's rich

16 October 2014
HONG KONG: Even though digital media consumption is on the rise in Asia-Pacific, traditional media is still the preferred first source of information for affluent consumers, a new survey of 10 regional markets has revealed.

According to the Affluent Asia Study from research firm Ipsos, traditional TV channels have a reach of 61% among the affluent while print has a reach of 32%, Marketing Interactive reported.

These figures rise to 66% and 42% respectively when digital content is added, said Ipsos, which questioned 18,830 people earning at least $43,000 per year.

Its survey did not include mainland China, but covered 13 cities in the 10 markets of Hong Kong, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

Ipsos found that TV is still the most popular medium for news (39%), entertainment (47%), sport (47%) and finance (27%), and that the internet – excluding mobile websites – only dominates as a source for travel information (40%).

Print is the second main source for news (23%), joint second with the internet for finance (26%), although it lags behind for entertainment (12%).

CNN is the top news source in terms of monthly multi-platform and daily, weekly and monthly TV reach, the report said. It reaches 34% of Asia's affluent, followed by BBC World News (24%), CNBC (16%), Channel NewsAsia (13%) and Bloomberg (12%).

In terms of monthly reach, CNN scores 27%, followed by BBC World News (18%), CNBC (12%), Channel NewsAsia (10%), Bloomberg (7%), Sky News (5%), Euronews (4%), Al Jazeera English (4%) and RT (2%).

CNN also beats BBC World News in its monthly reach on websites and apps (9% versus 5%).

Elsewhere, Google enjoys more reach among Asia's affluent than any media brand, Mumbrella reported. Nearly three-quarters (72.3%) say they used the search engine over the previous month.

YouTube followed with 63.7% and then Facebook (63.1%), Yahoo (49.4%), MSN (17.4%), Skype (23.9%) and LinkedIn (13.7%).

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

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Women influence alcohol brands

16 October 2014
CHICAGO: American women are increasingly influential for the alcoholic beverages market and, in particular, young women and those from ethnic minorities will shape the future of the industry, a new report has stated.

The "2014 Special Trends in Adult Beverage Report: Women's Purchases and Preferences" comes from Technomic, the food and drink industry insights firm.

It says women are more likely than the general population to spend more on adult beverages than last year (30% versus 19%) and they are also more likely than the general population to try out new beverages to drink at home (42% versus 35%).

Furthermore, women are more likely to "take cues" when deciding what to order and are influenced by menu descriptions (39% versus 29% of the general population) and samples (32% versus 26%).

"Men are traditionally the target of adult beverage marketing initiatives, but women truly are influencers," said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at Technomic.

"We find women are increasing their knowledge of adult beverages, open to promotions, interested in trying new drinks and eager to share their discoveries with others," she added.

Not surprisingly, younger women are shown to be more open to trying beers and strong ciders than older (35+) women, but the report also found women from ethnic minorities consume more alcoholic drinks than white women, who are also less likely to order spirits.

Among women aged 21 to 34, the most popular drinks consumed on-premise are domestic regular beer (71%), imported beer (66%), domestic light beer (64%), flavoured malt (62%), craft beer (58%) and strong cider (54%).

By contrast, for women aged over 35, domestic light beer is the on-premise alcoholic drink of choice for 38%, followed by domestic regular beer (35%), imported beer (34%) and craft beer (30%).

Data sourced from Technomic; additional content by Warc staff

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Global wealth rises to $263 trillion

15 October 2014
ZURICH: Total global household wealth grew by 8.3% to $263 trillion from mid-2013 to mid-2014 and is forecast to grow 40% to $369 trillion by 2019, according to a new report from Credit Suisse, the investment bank.

The US, the world's largest economy, is expected to remain the world's most affluent country with more than $114 trillion in wealth by 2019, but wealth in China and India is expected to grow rapidly at 11% and 9% a year respectively over the next five years.

With the release of its fifth annual Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse predicted that the share of wealth from emerging markets will likely reach 21% by 2009, or $76.4 trillion, and China alone will account for nearly 10% of total global wealth.

There are currently 34.8m millionaires in the world, up 164% since 2000, and their number is expected to swell by 53% to 53.2m by 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) individuals – defined as people with at least $50m in assets – stands at 128,000. The US accounts for almost half (49%) of this group, followed by China (6%), Germany (4.3%) and the UK (3.6%).

China today has as many UNNW individuals as all of Europe had in 2001, the report said.

The report defines net wealth as the value of financial assets plus real assets, such as property, minus household debt. This means an individual needs just $3,650 to be classed among the wealthiest half of the world's population.

On this basis, Switzerland ranks as the country with the highest average wealth per adult at $581,000, followed by Australia ($431,000), Norway ($359,000), the US ($348,000) and Sweden ($333,000).

These rankings change, however, when median wealth per adult is calculated. By this measure, Australia is ranked as the top economy ($225,000 per adult), followed by Belgium ($173,000), Italy ($142,000), France ($141,000) and the UK ($131,000).

Credit Suisse also highlighted that wealth inequality has increased since 2008, especially in emerging economies like China and India.

"Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth," Credit Suisse said in comments reported by the International Business Times.

"In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world's wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets," it continued.

"We expect to see a big improvement in the position of emerging economies over the next five years. Asia and particularly China will account for the largest portion of newly created wealth among the emerging markets."

Data sourced from Credit Suisse; additional content by Warc staff

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John Lewis reveals UK shopping habits

15 October 2014
LONDON: Over half of the customer traffic to the website of John Lewis, the UK department store chain, comes from mobile devices, overtaking PCs for the first time.

According to the second annual John Lewis Retail Report, which analysed its own customer transactions over a year to July 2014, the convenience of mobile shopping also encourages customers to make purchases in the early hours.

Online sales between the hours of midnight and 6am rose by almost a third (31%) over the past year, Marketing Magazine reported, although 70% of all sales still take place in physical stores.

Looking at these overnight purchases in closer detail, men tend to log on to buy formalwear between 1am and 2am while parents shop for nursery items at about 4am. Meanwhile, women shop for shoes and handbags between 5am and 7am.

While mobile has become increasingly important, the report said the ability to mix and match purchase channels and delivery options is now the norm.

John Lewis said at least 50% of purchases have an online characteristic while almost a quarter (23%) of its customers research online and then buy in a shop. Convenience and personalisation are also becoming more important, the retailer said.

Separately, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced that total retail spending in the UK was 0.8% lower in September than the same month a year ago.

This was the steepest fall since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions, which the BRC said was caused by unseasonably warm weather and declining food sales.

However, the BRC and KPMG, the business services firm which co-authored the report, remained upbeat about prospects for UK retailers in the months ahead.

"One warm September doesn't ruin a Christmas and retailers on the whole are on a firm footing as they enter the all-important final quarter," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG.

"The winners will be those who have invested in their systems and carefully managed their stock levels to give themselves the best shot at a successful Christmas," he added.

Data sourced from John Lewis, Marketing Magazine, BRC; additional content by Warc staff

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Google rebrands its delivery service

15 October 2014
WASHINGTON DC: In a direct challenge to Amazon, Google is rebranding and expanding its same-day delivery service to three more American cities, and will offer customers products from nine brands, the tech giant has announced.

Starting on Tuesday 14 October, the rebranded Google Express – launched a year ago in California as Google Shopping Express – has been made available to consumers in Washington DC, Boston and Chicago, the Washington Post reported.

It previously served only the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and parts of New York, and it is expected to provide a similar service to AmazonFresh.

Customers of AmazonFresh receive free delivery for purchases of more than $35, as long as they pay a $299 annual membership fee. Under Google's offer, customers will pay $10 a month, or $95 a year, for same-day orders over $15.

The service, which used to be free, also offers new shoppers three months of free membership. Non-members will pay $4.99 per order for purchases of at least $15.

Google Express will offer goods from nine brands – Babies "R" Us, Barnes & Noble, Costco, Giant Food, Guitar Center, L'Occitane, Sports Authority, Staples and Walgreens – many of these are already online advertising partners of Google.

The service is a natural extension of the company's interest in providing easy-to-use technology to connect businesses with consumers, explained Brian Elliott, head of Google Shopping Partnerships.

He said: "We see places where there are long-term needs in the market to create really great user experiences, where given our tech know-how and our reach with users, we can help make these things happen for merchants in a way that would be very hard for them to do on their own."

Data sourced from Washington Post; additional content by Warc staff

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Amazon teams up with Future Group

15 October 2014
MUMBAI: Ecommerce in India is about to enter a new phase after Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, announced a strategic alliance with Future Group, the Indian conglomerate with interests ranging from fashion to food.

In a statement announcing their partnership, Amazon India and Future Group said they would be able to leverage the best of consumer insight from the online and offline world and create an omnichannel approach to serving customers.

Once launched, customers on Amazon.in will be able to access the largest online stores of Future Group fashion brands, such as Lee Cooper, Converse and Indigo Nation, Inside Retail Asia reported.

Customers will also benefit from rich product content, secure payments, fast delivery and easy returns on the Amazon platform, the companies said.

In addition, Future Group's portfolio of more than 40 brands and 10,000 unique styles will be sold exclusively via the Amazon platform.

Amazon.in will also partner Future Group brands to promote existing and new brands, explore co-branding opportunities and accelerate new product development in categories which are currently not served by retailers, they added.

Kishore Biyani, CEO of Future Group, attributed the success of both companies to their insights into customers and their willingness to innovate.

"The bottom line in each of our retail success stories is 'know your customer'. Insights into the soul of Indian consumers – how they operate, think, dream and live – help us to innovate and create functionally differentiating products and experiences," he said.

"Partnership with Amazon, which obsesses to be earth's most customer-centric company, will enable us to leverage their strengths, investments and innovations in technology to reach out to [a] wider set of consumers across India," he added.

Data sourced from Inside Retail Asia; additional content by Warc staff

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FMCG brands expand in SE Asia

15 October 2014
BANGKOK/HANOI: Unilever and Nestlé are to expand their operations in Thailand and Vietnam respectively, the two European FMCG giants have announced in separate statements.

Unilever plans to increase its investment in Thailand by 8bn baht ($246.6m) to take advantage of the country's growing middle-class and its access to the Asean free-trade zone.

Speaking to just-food, the company said its planned expansion will be underpinned by five sustainable business growth strategies.

It aims to build brand loyalty through "constant product innovation" and to use digital marketing to strengthen its relationship with its customers.

Third, it will continue to invest in its production base in Thailand while also seeking to enhance its relationship with retailers. And, finally, it will work on developing the skills of its local staff.

Unilever Thailand will open a new head office in Bangkok in December that will cost 2.6bn baht. It is also investing in a new warehouse (2bn baht), a new ice cream cold room (1.5bn baht), while expanding its personal care plant (1.2bn baht) and its food processing plant (700m baht).

"This is the biggest investment for Unilever Thailand in the past 20 years," said Supattra Paopiamsap, chairwoman of Unilever Thailand, in comments reported by the Bangkok Post.

"Thailand is a strategic country for Unilever globally due [to] its good geographical location, which can serve as a hub for the upcoming Asean Economic Community, while the number of middle-class consumers here can reach 50m by 2020," she said.

It comes as Nestlé, Unilever's Swiss competitor, announced that it will spend 35m Swiss francs (about $36.5m) to expand its Milo chocolate malt beverage factory in southern Vietnam.

That would double the company's production capacity at its Binh An plant in Bien Hoa City and strengthen its presence in the country's growing nutritional beverage sector.

Wayne England, chairman and CEO of Nestlé Indochina told Tuoi Tre News that the company has "a long-term vision and a firm belief in the potential of the country" because of its "young and dynamic population, expanding consumer market, and favourable business environment".

Data sourced from just-food, Bangkok Post, Tuoi Tre News; additional content by Warc staff

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Gillette looks 'beyond the face'

15 October 2014
MIAMI: Gillette, the shaving brand owned by Procter & Gamble, is putting digital content at the heart of efforts to "grow beyond the face" in the US.

Daniel Ordoñez, the svp/corporate strategy for Procter & Gamble in Panama, discussed this subject when speaking at the Festival of Media LatAm 2014.

"Gillette is growing beyond the face," he said. (For more, including insights into men's changing habits, read exclusive Warc's report: Gillette brings Latin American shaving culture to US.)

The impetus behind this idea has emerged especially strongly in Central and South America, where many men now shave their chest, back and areas further below the neck.

While these habits are not yet as widespread north of the border, Ordoñez reported that they are gaining traction. "It's a trend we're beginning to tap into in the US," he said.

At the product level, offerings like Gillette Body Razor are "designed to go where face razors aren't". And the brand's marketing has, necessarily, been tailored in a similar fashion.

By way of an example, Gillette has uploaded online content which can answer the types of question typically posed by curious American men, such as "How do I shave my chest?"

"We didn't just put a television ad on YouTube," Ordoñez said. "But digital was the place to tell men how to shave their chest, how to shave their groin area. We needed to find a place for our message."

Just as with any nascent category, providing educational and instructional content regarding the concept of "manscaping" is an essential part of Gillette's strategy.

"Access to information will mean more informed decisions. In [the] past, men have operated on autopilot," said Ordoñez.

Data sourced from Warc

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Search engines 'fail' to highlight ads

15 October 2014
WASHINGTON DC: Leading search engines in the US – including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft – have been accused of making it difficult for users to distinguish between ads and organic search results.

An article in the Wall Street Journal has suggested that the three leading US search engines have done little to comply with a requirement issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they do more to highlight ads in search results.

Mary Engle, the FTC's associate director for advertising practices, wrote to 22 search sites in June 2013, warning them that they risked misleading consumers because of a "decline in compliance".

She specifically urged the search sites to include more prominent shading for ads and to label them "explicitly and unambiguously".

However, the article went on to say that Google now simply displays a small yellow "Ad" label next to some paid links while the shading of ads on Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing search results "is nearly imperceptible".

The Wall Street Journal also included "then and now" graphics of search results to illustrate how ads are being labelled.

"Consumers are being tricked," asserted Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group.

All three main search engines responded to the accusation, insisting that they clearly distinguish ads from organic search results.

Yahoo said it believed its "practices in displaying search results to be consistent" with FTC guidelines. Microsoft said it had "instituted clear labels to distinguish ads from organic search results".

Meanwhile, Google said it has "always prominently labelled advertisements".

Mary Engle declined to say whether the FTC is considering enforcement action or if it has taken up the issue with the search engines concerned.

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

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