Coke in 'one brand' strategy

6 March 2015
LONDON: In a significant marketing development, Coca-Cola's European division will no longer treat its four Coke variants as separate brands, and will instead bring them all under one overarching strategy.

"We've failed to communicate clearly enough the product differentiation," Bobby Brittain, GB Marketing Director for Coca-Cola, told Marketing Week. "That's a major wakeup call for us. We need to ensure that we are enabling consumers to make an informed choice."

While treating Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and the most recent addition to the portfolio, Coca-Cola Life, as separate products might be thought to ensure product differentiation, consumer research showed that half of consumers were not aware that Coke Zero has no sugar and no calories and many were unsure about the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke.

"When people think about Coca-Cola now there is an immediate jump to the product with sugar in it," Brittain explained to Marketing. "Our ambition is that over time when people think of Coca-Cola they think about the choice that is available to them under that."

Accordingly, marketing will place much greater emphasis in future on making clear the product benefits of the lower calorie options.

"There won't be any of the brand wrapping and positioning – all we will talk about is the product differentiation so that people can understand the choice we're offering."

And while this approach would not benefit the main brand as much as the newer ones, that was not a problem, as Brittain said he was aiming for half of all Coca-Cola brand to come from these lower calorie products by 2020.

"When we tell people and have them understand the choice that's available to them we're convinced they will make more choices more often," he said.

The new approach will roll out across the UK and western Europe from May, although the full integration of Diet Coke into the strategy may take a little longer.

Brittain added: "It's a quarter of our business in Great Britain and too important to potentially disenfranchise people for whom Diet Coke as a brand is important."

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


Consumers sceptical on wearables

6 March 2015
LONDON: Wearable technology may have featured prominently at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona but six in ten UK adult consumers say they have no intention of buying a wearable device according to a new survey.

Experiential agency Fizz commissioned a survey of 2,000 people, carried out by One Poll, exploring attitudes towards wearable technology. This found that 61% of respondents wouldn't buy a wearable device, with most of these simply failing to see the need (37%).

A further 15% dismissed them as a fad, Marketing Week reported, while the remainder were evenly divided between thinking they wouldn't work or would break easily and "other reasons".

"Companies are relying on their brands and the premise that just by bringing something out, people will buy it," suggested Jill Pinner, Fizz founder.

That may well work for Apple, whose devoted fanbase is likely to be attracted to its first smartwatch which goes on sale next month. And it is already by far the most recognisable piece of wearable tech, as 48% of respondents to the Fizz survey were aware of it.

Google, however, has decided that isn't necessarily the case, having pulled its Glass product after years of development, testing and excited media coverage. Although the launch of the Android Wear operating system shows it has certainly not abandoned the sector.

Referring to the most popular form of wearable tech, fitness bands, Pinner observed: "Unless people are heavily into fitness, they need to be told why they need these things."

And not only why they need them but how to use them: when asked what would make them more likely to buy wearable tech in store, 41% of respondents cited the ability to touch the product or try it on. And once again, Apple may have an edge here with its chain of flagship stores around the world.

In-store demonstrations (31%) and expert knowledge from sales assistants (28%) were also important, indicating that there is much consumer education to be done with regard to these products.

"There needs to be better marketing of wearables online, to help people that are researching these products, and that needs to dovetail with the experience in-store," Pinner advised.

Beyond that, she felt the sector needed a "big bang" campaign to properly communicate the benefits of wearable technology.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff


'Media manifesto' guides GE

6 March 2015
PHOENIX, AZ: GE, the industrial conglomerate, is drawing on guidance from an in-house "media manifesto" as it strives to keep pace with the rapidly-changing marketing ecosystem.

Linda Boff, GE's executive director/global brand marketing, discussed this topic while speaking at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2015 Annual Leadership Meeting.

Every year, Boff – who first joined GE in 2003 and assumed her current role in 2011 – closes out the calendar by pulling together a "media manifesto". (For more, including details on six core principles for the firm, read Warc's exclusive report: GE probes six "media manifestos".)

Its aim is to "help GE guide our way toward [the place] where media are headed, what's our place in it, how do we want to behave, what should we look like, and what are some of the [issues] we should keep in mind."

And Boff outlined several of the principles from her "manifesto" for 2014/15 that are helping a 134-year-old company fuse content and context to reach audiences in compelling and unexpected ways.

They included the possibility of using a diverse slate of assets – from retail to connected products – as media, matching content and channels in a more disciplined way, and the importance of not being a "copycat".

Drilling down into one of these subjects, Boff argued that brands are becoming "networks" – a shift driven in large part by the fact they effectively "own" an increasing range of media channels.

"We often talk about a brand as a publisher, a content producer and a programmer," Boff said. "But I think the idea of the brand as a network is taking hold for us."

Such a notion does not mean moving away from successful relationships with media owners, but understanding how they might be supplemented by more direct communications with customers.

"This is in no way to disintermediate the wonderful media companies who we love working with," Boff asserted.

"As a brand today, however, GE reaches four million people and [that number is] growing. We are a social/earned/owned ecosystem.

"Think Facebook. Think Snapchat. Think YouTube. At any given moment, we can talk to four million people."

Data sourced from Warc


New social media ad products launched

6 March 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: The battle for digital advertising dollars continues to intensify as Instagram and Pinterest, two visually based social media brands, have introduced new ad products.

Instagram, the photo-sharing app, calls its new format carousel ads, which, it said in a blogpost, "give brands more flexibility in telling their stories by allowing people who view their ads to swipe left to see additional images and link to a website of the brand's choice".

If they don't want to know more they can simply scroll past the carousel ads in their feed.

Likening them to multi-page print campaigns, Instagram said they had the added benefit of taking people to a website to learn more.

Thus, for example, a fashion company could use the carousel to deconstruct the individual products in a 'look, or a car company could share various different features of a vehicle and provide a link to learn more about the new model.

The product moves Instagram on from being a platform that is just about raising brand awareness and opens up potential for directly generating sales.

At this stage, however, carousel ads will only be available to a limited set of advertising partners and only in the US.

At the same time, Pinterest, the visual bookmarking tool, has refined its own offering to enable advertisers to reach more specific demographics – football lovers rather than sports lovers, for example.

It is also testing a new ad format, using animated pins that move when users scroll as a way of catching their attention.

And, echoing the developments at Instagram, Pinterest is reported to be looking at the introduction a "buy" button to allow users to purchase pinned items without having to leave the site or app.

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


A guarantee for targeted TV ads

6 March 2015
NEW YORK: Audience-targeted TV ads produce better business outcomes than traditional buys, or your money back.

That's essentially the offer being made by Simulmedia, which has pioneered a digital approach to linear TV advertising. "We directly connect ad placements with the business outcomes they deliver to show that properly targeted TV ads have bottom line impact," said Dave Morgan, the company's CEO.

He argued that the current system, whereby marketers only know that their ads are served in a context that promises to reach viewers meeting certain demographic specifications, should be consigned to the past.

"We want to change the media conversation to business outcomes," he declared. "While reaching TV audiences at scale is getting harder, we take the risk out by showing – and guaranteeing – that audience targeting can and will impact sales and revenue."

So sure is he of this claim that if marketers agree to spend $1m via its Audience Network for one month, Simulmedia will guarantee a higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) against any designated target business outcome as compared to their concurrent TV advertising base campaign.

It can do this by matching up TV ad delivery with credit and debit card data for more than 60m households across the US.

"If we fall short on ROAS," said Morgan, "we will make good on the percent of the benchmark that we fall short, in the form of future media credits."

It's a bold step but Morgan maintained that "the best and easiest way to shift the conversation with TV buyers and advertisers from [ratings and demographic buys] to business outcomes was to guarantee the outcome".

The Wendy's Company, owner of the eponymous quick service restaurant chain, is typical of the sort of advertiser Simulmedia wants to attract. Tim Sullivan, vp/media at Wendy's admitted to the Wall Street Journal that much of his planning and buying of TV advertising was not based on business results but classic benchmarks like ratings and reach.

"I like it," he said of the guarantee on offer. "We plan on exploring this more – they must be pretty confident it will work if they are offering these kinds of terms."

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


IP mood shifts in China

6 March 2015
BEIJING: China has never been regarded as a beacon of rectitude in the field of intellectual property protection but the head of a leading internet company has called for better enforcement of existing laws.

"I can't overstate the importance of rule of law," said Pony Ma Huateng, chief executive of Tencent, in remarks reported by the South China Morning Post.

"I have said on different occasions that many of the questions boil down to lax law enforcement," he added.

And while Tencent had taken legal action and won damages in the past, he observed that "it doesn't amount to much of a deterrent", as the penalties imposed were dwarfed by the profits pirates made elsewhere.

"They know very well it's against the law, but since the risk isn't huge they would still do it," he said. "That's why I think punishment isn't stringent enough, and we hope law enforcement could become more rigorous, and punishment heavier."

The Post noted that Ma's own early career was regarded as having been based on "knockoffs of successful products at the time".

It further observed that Ma's current interest in the tightening of IP laws followed his investment in film, TV and music content, including a deal last November with HBO, the US cable network, to distribute its TV shows and films.

At the time that was welcomed by HBO as "a nice counter to the piracy that is going on inside the country".

More recently Tencent has also concluded a new extended tie-up with the US's National Basketball Association.

The Chinese government introduced a revised trademark law last May, when officials were also seen to crack down on pirated video.

But You Yunting, an intellectual property lawyer in Shanghai, told the Post that the authorities were concerned not to overdo such actions for fear they could affect economic growth.

"Copycatting is very common in China mainly because the authorities aren't determined enough to tackle the issue, and court penalties are generally far too lenient, so the deterrent effect isn't there," he said.

Ma also pushed for better use of mobile internet in public facilities, environmental protection, and giving the elderly and the disabled equal access to the internet.

Data sourced from South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc staff


Flipkart diversifies into advertising

6 March 2015
BANGALORE: Flipkart, the ecommerce business, is set to become an online ad publisher as it diversifies into new areas in the search for profits ahead of a potential public listing.

It already carries ads from financial services brands on its site but these are not currently a major revenue generator.

"We know something about the most important decision that a consumer makes, that is purchase," Mekin Maheshwari, chief people officer at Flipkart, told the Times of India.

"What you like on Facebook versus what you spend your own money on – the value of that [latter] data is a lot higher," he added

In addition to selling ads, Flipkart intends to move into the consulting arena, with a new unit working with small and medium businesses to build their brands online. The etailer currently has about 30,000 such sellers on its platform, and aims to more than treble that over the next 12 months.

"(The initiative) is broader than just Flipkart and may not be completely online," said Maheshwari. "We will enable emerging brands in India to carve out their internet strategy."

A third area identified as having potential for generating profits is furniture, where margins range from 40% to 60%.

"We will have an added focus on furniture category on our commerce platform, which we look to build ground-up," said Ankit Nagori, head of marketplace at Flipkart.

But not everyone thought this diversification approach was the right one. "This is a mistake that many Indian companies make: try to become conglomerates that are in several businesses," said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School and director of research at Duke University.

"It has worked for a few old line companies but does not work in the internet space. Here you need to focus and execute with precision."

That view has not deterred a senior Google executive from relocating from the US to India to become Flipkart's chief product officer. "The energy in Bangalore feels like the [Silicon] Valley," said Punit Soni. "It is the opportunity to create the biggest impact and made sense after the amazing journey at Google."

Data sourced from Times of India, TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff


Android tops US, iOS up in China

5 March 2015
LONDON: After losing its top spot to iOS in the holiday quarter of 2014, Android has regained its position as the number one smartphone operating system in the US, but its market share has fallen sharply in the UK, a new study has revealed.

According to the latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, the consumer insights firm, Android achieved 51.9% market share in the US for the three months ending in January 2015.

This was built on good performances by vendors Samsung and LG, although Apple's iPhone 6 remained America's top-selling smartphone with Samsung's Galaxy S5 coming in second.

The Galaxy S5 was also the second best-selling smartphone in the UK with market share of 8%, just under half that of the iPhone 6 at 17.6%. But the UK stood out in Europe as the country where Android's market share has fallen the most.

It fell -7.7% in the UK compared with -4% in Germany and -0.6% in Italy, although there were modest gains in France (0.2%) and Spain (0.4%). Outside Europe, Android fell even more in Australia (-10.8%) and China (-8%).

Across the five largest economies in Western Europe, Android's share declined by 2.2 percentage points year-on-year while iOS rose by 3.2 percentage points.

Meanwhile, the data showed that Apple's iOS reached its highest ever share in urban China where the iPhone 6 alone took a market share of 9.5% in the three months ending in January.

Xiaomi remained the largest smartphone vendor in urban China but was only 2.2 percentage points ahead.

"Leading into Chinese New Year, Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus drove sales to an unprecedented high in urban China," said Carolina Milanesi, chief researcher at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

She explained that iOS's share of the smartphone market reached 25.4%, a 4.5 percentage point increase over the same period in 2014, and that Apple is gaining ground around the world.

"Across key global markets, Apple's momentum generally continued from last month," she said. "Although Android was able to slow down the decrease in share in some countries such as Germany, Spain and France where its sales had started to look like they were in free fall."

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc staff


Online shoppers demand flexibility

5 March 2015
ATLANTA/RESTON: Online shoppers are highly flexible in their path to purchase journey, want more alternate delivery options and easily switch between channels, a new global survey has revealed.

The latest Pulse of the Online Shopper study, a survey of 19,000 frequent online shoppers in 14 countries, is released by global logistics firm UPS and comScore, the digital analysts.

It states that the modern online shopper, especially in Asia, wants alternative delivery locations and more payment options.

Close to half (45%) of Asian respondents – those living in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea – say they would prefer to have their online order delivered to locations other than their home.

A third (33%) of Asians want their order to be sent to a convenient local retail location while 27% expect same-day delivery and nearly half (48%) expect retailers to offer next-day delivery.

American online consumers place more emphasis on free shipping, the report found, and more than half (58%) say they purchase in order to qualify for the incentive.

More than four-fifths (83%) are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery as long as it is free while 68% say a free-returns policy is required for them to complete a sale.

Brazilians take a more relaxed approach to free shipping as over a third (38%) are prepared to wait 11 days or more for their international orders in order to qualify.

However, Brazilian consumers are the most advanced and social in their online shopping habits, the report said. More than half (56%) of their purchases are made online – more than any other market.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds (64%) of Brazilians say their purchase decisions are influenced by reviews or posts on social media.

In Europe, consumers want a compelling online and in-store retail experience, but a majority (54%) prefers to make an in-store purchase. They also like the human touch with 61% saying they prefer to deal with a member of the sales team.

However, it is consumers in Mexico who make the highest percentage of in-store purchases which the report said is related to their concerns about fraud-related delivery.

Data sourced from comScore, UPS; additional content by Warc staff


Consumer goods see shorter lifespan

5 March 2015
FREIBURG: European consumers are now replacing their flat screen TVs much more frequently than before and a similar, though less pronounced, trend is happening with white goods, according to initial findings of an environmental study.

Amid concerns about whether there may be poor use of resources in Europe, the German Federal Environmental Agency commissioned the Oeko Institut to investigate "first-use duration" of various types of household goods.

Covering the period 2004-2012, the study sought to establish whether devices are being replaced even if they're still functioning, if this was because of consumer behaviour, or whether manufacturers are deliberating shortening the lifespan of their products – a concept known as "built-in obsolescence".

Although the full study will not be published until later this year, initial findings suggest there is no firm evidence at this stage of built-in product weaknesses, and this will be examined in greater detail in the second half of the study.

However, there has been a marked increase in the number of TVs being replaced.

More than 60% of functioning flat screen TV were replaced for an upgrade in 2012, but only a quarter (25%) of purchases were made to replace a faulty product.

The average age for a TV being replaced was only 5.6 years, the report found, whereas the average duration of old-style TVs from 2005 to 2012 was between 10 and 12 years.

"Today, more electrical and electronic devices are being replaced even if they are still functioning," said Rainer Griesshammer, an executive board member at the Oeko Institut.

"Technological advances are often the trigger – we see this happening a lot with televisions," he went on, adding that "we are also seeing an increase in the number of white goods being replaced within five years because of a technical defect".

Indeed, the proportion of white goods being replaced within just five years because of defects has increased "noticeably" from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012.

Finally, the report found the first-use duration of notebooks has remained fairly constant and averages five or six years.

What has changed, though, is that only 25% of notebooks were replaced in 2012-13 because of technological innovation and consumers' desire for an upgrade. This compared with a percentage of 70% in 2004.

Data sourced from the Oeko Institut; additional content by Warc staff


Wells Fargo targets 'majority-minority'

5 March 2015
DANA POINT, CA: Wells Fargo, the financial-services group, is refining its marketing strategy to reflect the fact consumer demographics in the US are rapidly shifting towards the "majority-minority".

Jamie Moldafsky, cmo of the San Francisco-based organisation, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Brand Masters Conference.

She reported that, according to 2010 Census data, there are 25 cities across America where cohorts which have traditionally been defined as "minorities" today make up over 50% of residents.

That list features urban centres like New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco. And looking ahead 30 years, Moldafsky stated, this situation will apply to the US population as a whole.

"The world is changing faster than we are," she asserted. (For more, including details of the four "major components" of its strategy in this space, read Warc's exclusive report: Wells Fargo builds total-market insights.)

"So we're working very hard to make sure we're incorporating - in real time - the diversity change that's happening ... [Because] 95% of our business is domestic, we really focus on this increasing diversity."

The messages Wells Fargo now brings to market are thus "inclusive of non-Hispanic whites … Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American and LGBT consumers".

Equally, however, its output "isn't just about addressing the segments: it's about addressing the entire shift in our culture as a result of these segments being included," Moldafsky said.

In providing some further context into this nuanced strategy, she debunked a couple of myths often raised when debating the total-market model.

"When we embarked on this journey, people said, 'So, you're walking away from your segment approach,'" she said.

"Not at all. Success comes both from a fully integrated, cross-cultural approach, as well as individual segment approaches," she said. "It's customised where appropriate and common as much as possible."

Similarly, while it is frequently suggested that such a framework is about saving money as well as driving effectiveness, cost reduction is not a motivator for Wells Fargo.

"We're not looking to take money with the bottom line. What we're looking to do is grow our business and serve our customers and [be] relevant to more customers," said Moldafsky.

Data sourced from Warc


Pessimistic Canadians spend less

5 March 2015
TORONTO: Canadian consumers plan to cut back their spending across many product categories this year, just as they did in 2014, as their outlook for the economy remains gloomy, a new report has warned.

Based on a poll of 1,500 Canadians conducted by the Gandalf Group, the 2015 Bensimon Byrne Consumerology Report found nearly nine-in-ten (85%) believe the cost of living is outstripping their income.

And for the first time since November 2009, more Canadians believe the country's economy is in decline (55%) than believe it is growing (45%).

A majority in every region, except Alberta and the Prairies, believe Canada is heading in the wrong economic direction and citizens in Quebec are the most negative about the economy, both nationally and for their own province.

These concerns have prompted Canadians to try to pay down their debts as quickly as possible, the report said, and consumers are making "a conscious effort" to minimise spending and maximise savings.

Advertising agency Bensimon Byrne says it aims to establish how "macro" issues can affect trends at the "micro" level and its latest Consumer Spending Index, now in its third year, provides unsettling news for marketers in Canada.

A headline score of 100 or more indicates that consumers plan to spend more in the coming year, yet this year's Index score is 90.6. This means consumers plan to cut their spending for the third year in a row.

The Index also contains two sub-indices, each with a baseline score of 50, which track discretionary spending and essential spending, the latter covering taxes, internet, groceries, petrol, auto maintenance, electricity and children's clothing.

This year's essential spending score is 49, just below the baseline, but the discretionary spending score is only 41.6, leading the report to warn that "Canadians plan on decreasing their discretionary spending significantly" despite low interest rates and record-low oil prices.

"They cannot be counted on to consume above their means and fuel economic recovery until take-home wages go up," the report concluded.

Data sourced from Bensimon Byrne; additional content by Warc staff


Yahoo opens regional ad platform

5 March 2015
HONG KONG: Yahoo Hong Kong is launching a new programmatic buying platform called Yahoo Ad Manager Plus (YAM+), which the internet giant expects to tap into the huge amount of data generated by its 4.6m users in the territory.

According to Rico Chan, vp and general manager of Yahoo Hong Kong and INSEA sales, research shows that more than 70% of advertisers in Asia will be buying programmatically in 2015.

Furthermore, programmatic spending will constitute more than 20% of total digital spend, he asserted in comments reported by Campaign Asia.

"We used to offer a managed service for programmatic, where users were segregated into segments and then inventory would be purchased for the Yahoo network," he said.

"Now we can marry our own data with affiliate partners and external sites to extend our reach and insights," he added.

Advertisers will be able to leverage the company's smart data, insights, analytics and premium inventory as well as being able to "aggregate inventory like a trade desk".

Chan said that by coupling first-party data with third-party and mobile insights, "ads will be delivered based on their purchase intent at the right time".

Tumblr, the microblogging platform which Yahoo acquired in 2013, is also introducing a beta version in traditional Chinese and that may become part of the programmatic platform.

Yahoo's plan to introduce YAM+ to the market is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at making it easier for marketers to buy ads and to target different audience segments.

It launched Yahoo Audience Ads over a year ago to give advertisers direct access to its advertising products and, just a fortnight ago, declared its aim of becoming a mobile-first company with the launch of a new suite of tools for app developers.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia; additional content by Warc staff


E-retailers cut coupon discounts

5 March 2015
NEW DELHI: Leading ecommerce players in India, including Amazon and Flipcart, are reported to have made a collective decision to reduce coupon discounting to 20% by the end of this year.

According to unnamed industry insiders who spoke to the Economic Times, the companies want to boost profitability and stem losses generated by recent discounts of as much as 40%.

The global average is 20% and this is the target Indian e-retailers have set themselves, it is said. The sources also revealed that Jabong, Myntra and Snapdeal are among the companies thought to be taking part.

"Many of us have met and discussed on it a while back, particularly about coupons," said a senior executive at one of the largest ecommerce firms in the country.

"There was a time when we were creating market using it [coupon discounting] as an incentive to make people come on board. Now we do think it is time to bring it to normal level," the executive said.

Echoing the remarks, the co-founder of a large online retailer said it was about time ecommerce companies reduce discounts that are hurting their businesses.

"It should happen as the kind of discounts is not sustainable. But unless there are difficult questions from investors, how can there be a correction," the source said.

Nearly all the companies named in the report did not comment, but Snapdeal said: "Since Snapdeal is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers across the country, the pricing decision solely lies with the seller listing the product."

There was a surge in consumer spending during the Diwali festival in October last year, but the amount of discounting has reduced steadily since then and is now thought to hover around the 30% mark. It now appears it may continue its downward trajectory.

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff


Samsung joins mobile payment fight

4 March 2015
BARCELONA: Samsung, the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, has announced its entry into the mobile payment sector, where it will be taking on Apple with a new Samsung Pay service.

The move coincides with the launch of its Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge handsets, which will be the first devices to offer this new payment system.

The Korean company is looking to steal a march on Apple - which injected new life into the sluggish mobile payment market with the launch of Apple Pay in conjunction with its iPhone 6 handset last year - by offering a system that will be usable in a larger number of stores than Apple Pay.

Samsung Pay is the result of the company's recent purchase of LoopPay, a technology that converts existing magnetic card readers into contactless payment receivers. Samsung estimates that will make its system potentially compatible with 90% of existing card terminals, equating to some 30 million merchant locations worldwide.

By contrast, Apple Pay requires in-store payment terminals to be equipped with near field communications technology, a capability that Samsung Pay also has.

"Samsung Pay will reinvent how people pay for goods and services and transform how they use their smartphones," JK Shin, co-CEO of the IT and mobile divisions at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The company has the backing of the MasterCard and Visa payment networks, as well as various financial institutions including American Express, Bank of America, Citi and JPMorgan Chase.

"This is the kind of momentum we need to go from a science project to reality," said James Anderson, MasterCard's senior vice president of shared platform services.

Data sourced from CNET; additional content by Warc staff


Unilever buys into natural skincare

4 March 2015
LONDON: Unilever, the consumer goods giant, is set to extend its reach into the personal care sector with the purchase of REN, a premium British skincare brand in the fast-growing naturals sector.

REN had annual sales of around £40m in 2013, some 30% of which came from its home market with the remainder spread across 50 other countries, offering Unilever an opportunity to grow the brand globally, reported the Financial Times.

According to Vasiliki Petrou, Unilever's senior VP-prestige brands, REN has "an incredibly loyal following, with a unique proposition that no doubt gives it potential for even further growth. Its premium positioning complements well our existing portfolio."

The move is part of a wider strategy by Unilever to boost its presence in the personal care market, where it's seeking to boost its annual revenues up from 37% currently to around two thirds. This ambition has seen the company make larger acquisitions in recent years, such as the 2010 purchase of the US hair and beauty brand Alberto Culver and a deal for a Russian equivalent, Kalina, a year later.

At the same time, Unilever has divested itself of some of its lower-growth food brands, such as Ragu pasta sauce and Wish-Bone salad dressings.

The 15-year-old REN, which is sold in its home market through retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and ASOS, was founded by two brand consultants with no prior sector experience. One of the duo, Antony Buck, was motivated to develop a natural skin care product when his pregnant wife reacted adversely to many of the existing products on the market.

Commenting on the deal, he said it was "time for the brand to go to the next level."

Data sourced from Finanical Times; additional content by Warc staff


Target boosts millennial foods

4 March 2015
MINNEAPOLIS: Target, the retail chain, is prioritising seven grocery categories known to be favoured by millennials, urban consumers and Hispanic shoppers in the hope of boosting its appeal with these audiences.

Products expected to receive heightened attention as a result of this revitalisation effort include beer and wine, yoghurt and granola, coffee and tea, fresh meat and produce, candy and snacks.

Additional areas of emphasis for the firm - according to an article in the Wall Street Journal - include organic, natural and gluten-free foods.

While such items will not automatically obtain greater room on Target's shelves, their status in its displays, marketing and merchandising is set to increase significantly.

Brian Cornell - who was named as Target's CEO in July 2014 - is said to be personally involved in transforming its grocery business, which delivers some 20% of the company's $73bn revenues.

Cornell has previously worked at PepsiCo, Safeway and Sam's Club, and is reported to have looked at stores run by Trader Joe's and Wegmans in considering the way forward for Target.

One objective behind the organisation's desire to spruce up its grocery aisles is achieving differentiation from Walmart, its major rival.

A poll of Target's customers from Kantar Retail, the research and consulting group, revealed that only 18% of participants believed the food sold by the chain reflected what they like cooking and eating.

Moving away from packaged and processed offerings - which are less popular with younger consumers than their predecessors - could be a valuable step in altering perceptions.

Cornell has left no doubt, however, that modifying Target's food business is a long-term endeavour rather than a quick fix.

"We recognise we have a lot of work to do in food," he recently informed investors. "We won't get there overnight."

Enhancing its standing among younger buyers forms part of a wider sharpening in Target's strategic vision, from opening smaller stores to tailoring in-store selections to local tastes and increasing online sales.

Its other recent objectives have included rebuilding trust following a high-profile data breach and boosting the sustainability of its advertising production efforts.

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


Seeding wins for Vita Coco

4 March 2015
DANA POINT, CA: Vita Coco, the leading brand of coconut water, has successfully demonstrated how seeding products with various kinds of influencers can help build awareness and ultimately drive sales.

Jane Prior, Vita Coco's evp/global brand strategy and development, discussed this topic at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Brand Masters Conference.

And she reported that at numerous points in the decade since the brand launched, it has targeted celebrities, sportspeople and influencers to access new markets, spread word of mouth and fuel demand.

One example relates to an early stage in Vita Coco's history, when it was seeking to make headway in several US cities.

In pursuing that aim, it gave field marketers in these urban hubs a single - if difficult - mission: "In your market, let's get the product into the key sports teams," Prior said in describing this goal. (For more, including more strategic tips, read Warc's exclusive report: How Vita Coco seeded a coconut-water brand.)

"We don't care how you do it: just get it done. Whatever it takes, just get it done. But we're not giving you anything except the product … No money. No other opportunities for negotiation."

Despite the obvious challenges related to achieving this objective, the on-the-ground efforts quickly began paying dividends, notably in Boston with the Red Sox baseball team.

"Amazingly, they were able to do it, whether it was through the equipment manager, the security guard at the gate … or people in the front office," said Prior.

The Red Sox players, she added, were soon drinking so much Vita Coco that it became hard to match the demand.

"Our local market manager," said Prior, "was coming to us every month saying, 'I'm out of product! The Red Sox are taking it all!'"

Reaching cultural trendsetters in Brooklyn proved equally beneficial, and this strategy has remained part of Vita Coco's toolkit - as shown by its attempts to connect with members of the television industry.

"By seeding writers, producers, and talent, we've been integrated into segments on 'Entourage', 'Two Broke Girls', 'Hawaii Five-O', 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'Parks and Recreation,'" said Prior.

"Again: none of them paid for; all out of real love for this brand."

Data sourced from Warc


India has 'effectiveness advantage'

4 March 2015
SINGAPORE: Indian brands and agencies lead Asia in terms of proving that their marketing strategies have delivered commercial success, according to a new report from Warc.

The latest version of the Asia Strategy Report, released today, analyses 186 marketing campaigns entered into the 2014 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy. More than 40% of entries were developed in India.

The study found that Indian entries cited more ‘hard' business success metrics, such as sales growth, than papers submitted from other Asian market. Indian papers listed an average of 1.1 hard metrics each, versus 0.8 in other papers.

What's more, Indian strategies were more likely to use sales, market share, or market penetration as success metrics.

Analysis of intermediate metrics (including awareness, buzz and PR value) showed that Indian papers cited 2.0 metrics per paper, exactly the same as the rest of Asia. Indian entries were more likely to use awareness as a benchmark of success, but less likely to look at social media or buzz metrics.

Kawal Shoor, planning head at Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai and one of the judges on the 2014 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, argued that the findings reflected the background of India's agency-side strategists.

“Many Indian planners have a business school background, so there is a natural tendency and ability to connect creative work with business results,” he commented.

“As the industry becomes more competitive, work that results in improvement on hard metrics is valued more, and remunerated better.”

The study also found that, on average, Indian strategies used more media channels than those from other markets, and were significantly more likely to use television.

Access the Warc Strategy report here (Warc subscribers can access the full report; non-suscribers can download a summary version).

Data sourced from Warc


Malaysians move to own label

4 March 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Some 40% of Malaysians purchased more private-label goods in 2014 than they did the year before, with over half of them naming lower prices as the reason for their choice, according to a new survey of the country's shoppers.

A joint study of 843 consumers by Ipsos, the research firm, and SSI, the survey provider, also found that 25% of respondents believed the quality of branded and private-label goods to be on a par.

Some 18% said they still bought private label goods despite believing there was a difference in quality to branded alternatives, claiming that the potential savings made up for the shortfall in standard.

Nearly two thirds (65.6%) of respondents were willing to pay more for quality, while almost half (48.9%) would pay more for freshness and nearly a third (30.3%) would pay more for convenience.

"We inform our clients that their concerns about private-label brands should be directed at consumers who perceive little difference in quality between the two. 

"Our research shows that people are willing to justify paying a premium for better quality products, but the more they perceive less of a difference between the two, brands will start to struggle to keep their existing consumer base," said Katherine Davis, Ipsos's executive director for Malaysia.

Despite a growth in preference for cheaper, private-label goods, 56% of respondents said that their overall expenditure on shopping rose last year, compared to 2013, whilst 27% reported their spending was unchanged and 13% claimed it had fallen.

"The rise in inflation from 2013 (2.1%) to 2014 (3%) appears to have impacted those with an inconsistent or single income the most, as the money does not stretch as far as it used to.

"Given that a large proportion of a Malaysian household is spent on food, inflation may be pushing consumers to consider the cheaper private-label brands and to spend less on non-essentials," Davis suggested.

Data sourced from Malay Mail Online; additional content by Warc staff


Event ads need emotional engagement

3 March 2015
LONDON: After all the hype around the ads developed for the Super Bowl and the Oscars, a sober assessment of big events advertising has concluded that emotional brand engagement is necessary to justify the millions spent.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, the focus of which is big event marketing, Robert Passikoff, president of consumer engagement consultancy Brand Keys, offered little consolation to brands like Budweiser.

"Noble Clydesdales and warm puppies may entertain, but they don't sell beer," he declared.

That assessment was based on a Brand Keys study of the effects of advertising by ten brands during four big events in 2014 – Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, the Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup – and two holidays – Easter and Thanksgiving.

This involved, Passikoff explained, a rather more rigorous approach to ROI metrics than simply counting social media sharing, Likes and YouTube views, something many marketers continue to do.

"A laugh, a sigh, a tweet, a 'like' or sharing of the ad between 'friends' aren't really acceptable returns on the time, effort and money these kind of big events require," he stated.

"What brands ultimately require are high levels of emotional brand engagement to justify the 'big event' investment."

So Brand Keys compared a brand's big event commercial with benchmark brand engagement metrics to establish how well the ad increased or decreased consumers' levels of emotional engagement with the brand.

The metrics derived had been shown, said Passikoff, to correlate "very highly" with positive in-market behaviour and sales.

So while Budweiser's horse and puppies were found to be very entertaining – 54m YouTube views and 19m social shares – they were "not at all brand engaging" as the emotional engagement metric dropped nine percentage points and Americans continued to drink 40% less of the beer than a decade ago.

At the 2014 Academy Awards, retailer JC Penney's effort – When it fits, you feel it – wasn't a hit on social media, registering just 13 Likes and a little over 1,000 shares. But same-store sales rose 6% and revenue beat expectations at $2.8bn.

"An ad that entertains, but does not increase brand engagement levels, usually does not result in positive effects in the marketplace," said Passikoff.

"An ad that engenders high increases in engagement always does. An ad that does both is the most effective of all."

Data sourced from Admap


BA is top UK consumer brand

3 March 2015
LONDON: British Airways, the airline, has emerged as the UK's top consumer brand for the second year in a row, according to the latest Consumer Superbrands survey, with luxury watchmaker Rolex keeping its second spot.

The annual survey, which is independently administered by The Centre for Brand Analysis, was based on the votes of 2,500 adults and a 33-strong council of senior industry figures for a shortlist of 1,500 brands. Factors considered include quality, reliability and distinction.

"British Airways retaining number one spot is a great example of a much-loved traditional brand that has also refreshed, re-focused on innovation and invested to remain attractive and relevant," said Stephen Cheliotis, Superbrands' council chairman.

The BBC rose one place to third, while Microsoft climbed two places to fourth and Nike leapt 11 places to fifth.

Entering the top 20 were retailer John Lewis, toymaker Lego, household appliance brand Dyson, cleaning product Fairy, ice-cream brand Haagen-Dazs and Virgin Atlantic, another airline.

Exiting the upper echelon of favoured UK brands were food manufacturers Heinz and Cadbury, online retailer Amazon, consumer electronics brand Sony, oil business Shell and retailer Marks & Spencer.

Cheliotis observed that, despite the buzz around new media businesses, consumers preferred established brands.

"Younger brands, such as the social media giants, are sitting on the sidelines making little impact as a huge battle takes place among trusted, traditional brands seeking to remain relevant and retain their positions among the brand elite," he said.

There was a mixed reception for the older generation of tech giants: as well as Microsoft, Apple had risen up the rankings, from 14th to tenth, but Google had slipped from seventh to 18th.

Everyday, low-cost household brands were also present in the top 20, including Kellogg's, the breakfast cereal maker, Andrex, the toilet tissue, and Fairy, the detergent. Soft drink giant Coca-Cola was there as well but had fallen from third to 15th place.

Superbrands also ran a separate survey asking 2,000 business professionals to name their top brands, and once again British Airways came out on top, with Apple in second place and Virgin Atlantic in third.

"Its overarching 'To Fly: To Serve' positioning and daily focus on exceptional service clearly continues to resonate with flyers," said Cheliotis, adding that the brand was also "benefiting from recent investments in its planes, lounges, marketing and technology".

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


Brand valuation must change

3 March 2015
DANA POINT, CA: Attempts to value brands are often replete with flaws, limiting their potential impact when it comes to driving improved marketing performance, a leading executive from OgilvyRED has argued.

Joanna Seddon, president of the strategic consulting group, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Brand Masters Conference in Dana Point, California.

"In order to make brand valuation actionable and meaningful, we have to throw out everything we think about brand valuation," she asserted. (For more, including how this activity should be reformed going forward, read Warc's exclusive report: OglivyRED's Seddon champions brand valuation.)

"We have to turn it on its head. It has to stop being a thing, a valuation, a number. That's not interesting. We can't do much with a number."

Part of the problem, Seddon warned, is the discipline's history in "acquisition accounting" – namely, that firms which had frequently overpaid when buying brands were seeking to salvage the situation.

"With a spate of takeovers in consumer packaged goods companies in the 1980s, the acquirers paid large sums of money – large premiums over the assets on the balance sheet – for these businesses," she said.

"Some bright spark had the idea, 'Let's separate brand from goodwill. Let's valuate.' And brand valuation was born."

Characterising brands as "intangible assets" in this way does have some undeniable benefits, but not if the focus is simply on generating a hard-and-fast figure.

"The accountants rushed in," Seddon said, "but all they were after was tax and accounting advantages. All they wanted was a number to record. They didn't really care how they got to it. It was just a number.

"Unfortunately, this idea of brand valuation still persists today. It's enshrined in accounting standards, tax regulations and operational standards.

"It's about a point in time. It's about a number. There is no link to the business. You can't do anything with it. And the accounting bias called 'brand valuation' has carried over into marketing."

Rather than secretive methodologies and obsessing over competing sets of rankings, Seddon therefore urged marketers to profoundly reimagine the concept and purpose of brand valuation.

"It has to become the link between marketing and money, so that we can use it to understand how a brand and marketing drive revenues and profits."

Data sourced from Warc


Google moves into telecoms services

3 March 2015
BARCELONA/MOUNTAIN VIEW: Google is to dip its toe into mobile telecoms services, as it announces its intention to become a mobile virtual network operator in the US.

Unveiling the plan at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sundar Pichai, svp/products, compared the move to Google's development of Android, TechCrunch reported.

"The core of Android and everything we do is to take an ecosystem approach and [a network would have] the same attributes," he said.

"We have always tried to push the boundary with the innovations in hardware and software," he continued. "We want to experiment along those lines."

Consequently he did not envisage Google becoming a major player in this market. "We don't intend to be a network operator at scale," he explained.

The idea was rather "to drive a set of innovations that we think the ecosystem should allow and, hopefully, we will gain traction.

"We will do it at a small enough scale and hopefully people see what we are doing and carrier partners, if they think ideas are good, can adopt them."

An example the internet giant's thinking, he disclosed, is "how WiFi and cell networks work together and how to make that seamless".

At the more outré end of Google's projects, Pichai said that solar-powered gliders capable of providing mobile signals to remote areas were due to begin flying within a few months.

These are in addition to plans to introduce balloons that can stay airborne for up to six months and provide 4G connectivity in areas where it is difficult to build masts.

"These are our access efforts to provide a backbone" to the world, he said: "Cell towers in the sky." 

But it is not neglecting more traditional routes, as Pichai also said Google was going to step up its work building fibre broadband networks in parts of Africa.

Data sourced from Finanical Times, TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff


AOL focuses on mobile video

3 March 2015
NEW YORK: Internet giant AOL is planning "bold moves" in mobile, with video set to be at the heart of its plans for the coming year, according to CEO Tim Armstrong.

Already half of AOL's monthly visitors are mobile, and more than half its ad revenue comes from multiplatform sales, including mobile.

"The future is social, mobile and video, and AOL has a big presence in each of those areas," Armstrong told Advertising Week.

"You've seen us make really bold moves in content, in video and in programmatic advertising – and a huge driver of that is what we expect to happen in mobile," he added.

And what he expects is that within five years mobile operators will be offering 5G connections that run at speeds 100 times faster than current 4G can deliver, with video featuring prominently – taking up 80% of available bandwidth – in how consumers are using their devices.

AOL has acquired a number of adtech and content businesses over the past couple of years, including and the Huffington Post, which are likely to play a major role in his vision for AOL.

"For 2015, the focus is on a limited set of really powerful brands," he said.

Armstrong hinted at what was in the pipeline. "The next step in video for us is the combination of creation and content," he explained.

"We have some products coming out in the first half of this year, which will not only allow people to have a much better experience on mobile with video – in terms of what the players are and the type of content – but also the ability to actually create video on mobile as well."

Armstrong also pointed to Rise, a newly launched live morning news show designed specifically for mobile consumption.

"The core human need that AOL serves is as a content brand, and its ability to help other content brands get to consumers," he stated.

"Consumers today and in the future will have a need for really big content brands to curate the world for them."

Data sourced from Advertising Week; additional content by Warc staff


Philippines retail set to boom

3 March 2015
MANILA: The retail sector in the Philippines is expected to grow sharply in the next few years thanks to a combination of the greater spending power of the local population and an influx of tourists seeking luxury bargains.

Retailing currently contributes around 14% to the country's GDP but that could rise to 20% within the next decade.

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo told the Inquirer that at the end of 2014 GDP per capita was close to $3,000, which was, according to economists, "the take off point wherein you will see tremendous increases in consumer spending".

"The future looks very bright for retailing," he said. And his comments were echoed by Samie Lim, chair emeritus of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), who pointed out that the per capita figure could be much higher in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

Retailers are set to benefit not just from local spending, boosted by a growing business outsourcing industry, but also from tourist spending as the country becomes a shopping destination.

Consul Robert Joseph, chairman emeritus of the Network of Independent Travel Agencies, suggested that more and more luxury brands were entering the market and so changing how visitors viewed the nation.

"Shopping now has become essential to the destination mix," he said, and while many of the brands now present were also available in tourists' home countries, they were cheaper in the Philippines.

The Sun Star reported the experience of Tory Burch, an American lifestyle brand which had set up in Cebu, having noted the booming tourism sector and an affluent expatriate population.

"Cebu's market is vibrant and is fashion-forward," said Audrey Anna Laglagaron, sales executive of ELC Beauty. "We are happy to report that we are performing well here."

The UK government is also promoting investment in the Philippines, with its ambassador expecting more British brands to enter the retail sector. Already Filipino supermarket chains are creating tie-ups with UK retailers and leading coffee chain Costa Coffee is due to open its first store later this year.

Data sourced from the Inquirer, Sun Star, ABS-CBN News; additional content by Warc staff


End near for TAM

3 March 2015
NEW DELHI: After an extended gestation, India's new TV ratings system looks set to roll out from the end of next month, with a number of industry bodies advising members to switch to the service offered by the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC).

This marks the end of a story that began almost two years ago when several leading broadcasters wrote to TAM, the local television rating agency, asking that they be removed from the system. At that time one declared: "This measurement system is broken and we cannot keep paying for it."

At the heart of the dispute was the broadcasters' unhappiness with the way data was collected. 

And now M G Parameswaran, the president of the AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India), has confirmed to Exchange4Media that a circular has been distributed to members urging them to subscribe to BARC data. The AAAI is a stakeholder in BARC, along with the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA).

While TAM is not mentioned by name in this communication, members are advised that "business prudence would require that you review and close off on any of your existing arrangements".

The IBF is understood to have already issued a similar advisory with the ISA likely to do so soon.

The timing of the switch – in the middle of the India Premier League – has the potential to test nerves, and the memory of the problems surrounding the introduction of a new Indian Readership Survey (IRS) is still fresh.

A year ago the new-look IRS had to be suspended less than a month after its launch after publishers complained about "shocking anomalies" in the data.

A cautious Parameswaran said that "any new system will have its own challenges", and that the BARC team was fully aware of these.

"The IRS experience has been a great learning for all of us," he added. "Hopefully we will have fewer challenges."

Data sourced from Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff


Marketing activity continues to rise

2 March 2015
LONDON: Global marketers registered another month of strong business activity in February, the second successive month that the Global Marketing Index (GMI) has increased.

The headline GMI rose 0.4 points in January to reach 58.1, indicating that panellists around the world are experiencing strong growth and buoyant marketing activity.

The Americas and Asia-Pacific regions again performed strongly, building on the gains they made in the previous month, but Europe recorded a slowdown in its rate of growth.

The headline index in February was 55.8 in Europe, a fall of 2.3 points in value, but 59.1 in the Americas and 59.6 in the Asia-Pacific region.

Compiled by World Economics, the GMI provides a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry because it tracks current conditions for marketers as well as their expectations for trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels.

On the first of these measures, trading conditions were strong in each region even though they fell in Europe and the Americas.

The index for trading conditions in Europe fell by 1.2 in February to reach 56.7, the region's third successive monthly decrease. The index was also down 1.2 in the Americas, to a value of 58.2, but it increased by 2.1 in Asia-Pacific to 64.7.

Although the index for global marketing budgets fell by 0.9 in February to register a value of 54.7, this was the 26th consecutive month that the index registered panellists reporting increases to their budgets.

In terms of medium, the index for expenditure on mobile rose 0.5 to reach 73.0 in February, which was a very high growth rate in the resources allocated.

The growth rate of digital was also very high in February with an index value of 75.5, although this was down by 1.3 points on the previous month.

And after four months of falling budgets, the index for TV budgets rose slightly to 50.6, up by 1.5 on the previous month.

Finally, the staffing level index registered a value of 59.4 in February, up by 1.2 on the previous month in a sign that marketing departments are still recruiting. It was particularly strong in the Americas where the index rose 3.3 to reach 62.7.

Commenting on the findings, Ed Jones, the chief executive of World Economics, said: "The Headline Global Marketing Index reading for February indicates that marketers are seeing strong business activity and showing solid growth in all regions with a notable acceleration reported in the Americas."

Data sourced from World Economics, Warc


Call for health content from brands

2 March 2015
LONDON: While almost half (47%) of British consumers say they have become more health conscious in the past 12 months, just 27% feel informed about health issues, and a new report argues that food and drinks brands have an opportunity to fill that gap.

According to a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults by NewsCred, a global content marketing platform, three-quarters (76%) say brands have a responsibility to provide consumers with health-related content and almost two-thirds (65%) say "it's about time" they did so.

Brands stand to gain from the move, the report suggested, because 29% of respondents say such an approach has improved their opinion of brands while 46% believe brands genuinely help consumers by offering more health-related content.

Rising obesity is the number one health issue for nearly half (48%) of respondents and this is the key area they would like brands to address with content.

Over three-quarters (77%) agree that is it "highly appropriate for brands to provide health information" and 70% believe brands should provide health content because they can tap into the expert knowledge they have about their products.

When asked about the types of health content they wish to see more of from brands, information about fat and sugar content (41%) tops the list of respondents' concerns followed by condition-specific information (40%).

Rounding out the top five health topics in demand are disease prevention (37%), nutrition (35%) and age group-specific advice (34%).

However, British consumers seem reasonably content about the amount of information they receive on calories counts – only 26% want more of this content.

"[This] report shows that the opportunity to make a difference to the state of the UK's health gives a new meaning to content marketing," said Shafqat Islam, CEO of NewsCred.

"Progress is achievable by understanding what consumers place their trust in and analysing how you can translate that into trust in your brand – and content."

Data sourced from NewsCred; additional content by Warc staff


Kraft refines the role of data

2 March 2015
PHOENIX, AZ: Kraft, the food group, is using data to provide "context" for its content - and thus attempting to overcome consumers' shrinking attention span by supplying truly valuable and engaging information.

Bob Rupczynski, the company's vp/media and consumer engagement, discussed this subject at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2015 Annual Leadership Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

He stated that the firm "did a lot of things right" in 2014, such as strengthening its infrastructure, tapping deep insights and data, putting differentiated communications into the market and testing sequential messages.

"But from a portfolio perspective," Rupczynski admitted, "we really had a missed opportunity." (For more, including how it is using data to support addressability, partnerships and valuable content, read Warc's exclusive report: Kraft's four points of addressable contact.)

"At the end of the day, the content has to be put into context. With that, context is powered by data - the data about consumers, about where they are, about what they're doing, about where they're spending their time."

Data, under this model, effectively represents a "code" that gives cues regarding the evolving habits, or "culture", of shoppers.

"We can start to understand consumers for how they're feeding their family, how they're connecting around meal time, how they're entertaining their friends," said Rupczynski.

The need to rethink existing strategies results both from changing culinary trends and the developing ways that consumers are using media.

"In the last couple of years, we've watched the human-being attention span drop from 12 seconds to eight seconds," said Rupczynski.

"For marketers, the scarcity of their attention span is a dilemma. We have to do something differently. We have new toolsets. We have new data. We have new everything. And yet we've been approaching it the same way over the years.

"No one ever said, '30 seconds is our way out of here.' But it's not about a transition of 30-second spots to 15-second spots. It's about, fundamentally, actually doing things differently."

And as evidence that it intends to continue doing things differently, Kraft recently announced that Deanie Elsner, its chief marketing officer, will be leaving the organisation as part of an executive shake-up.

Marketing "remains critically important to the company and will move closer to the business operations, in order to sharpen focus and more effectively ignite brand rejuvenation," the firm said in a statement.

Data sourced from Warc


YouTube only 'breaks even'

2 March 2015
SAN FRANCISCO: YouTube, the online video site that Google acquired for $1.65bn, is still not profitable nine years later despite building up a base of one billion monthly users.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed source familiar with the tech giant's finances has revealed YouTube's bottom line is "roughly break-even".

YouTube posted revenue of about $4bn in 2014, which accounted for roughly 6% of Google's overall sales, but it has to spend huge sums on its infrastructure each year.

It also faces a mounting challenge from other online streaming services, such as Amazon and Netflix, at the same time that Facebook and Twitter, which routinely send traffic to YouTube, are building up their own video alternatives.

Another problem, according to analysts, is that YouTube appeals to a narrow audience of mostly younger viewers who are less inclined to buy from ads.

While the youthful audience may appeal to some advertisers seeking to reach them to build brand affinities, the narrow demographic means advertisers typically reach far fewer consumers than they would on TV.

Brian Weiser, an analyst at Pivotal Research, estimates 9% of viewers account for a full 85% of online video views and that YouTube's problem is that "there's a lot of junk" on the platform. "If they want meaningful TV budgets, they need to invest in TV content," he advised.

On top of that, Google is struggling to attract users directly to YouTube and most users access it via a link or an embedded video on another site.

Therefore, Google executives want users to turn on YouTube the way they turn on television, as a habit, where they can expect to find different "channels" of entertainment, the report said.

Executives also have been looking into extending YouTube's subscription services to non-music content, which would be in addition to its existing ad-supported service.

Another revenue stream under consideration is to improve the site's ad-targeting capability and the sources indicated a new ad-targeting system could be rolled out later this year if technical complications can be overcome.

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


Social sharing boosts online sales

2 March 2015
CHARLOTTE, NC: Website visitors who come from social sharing or a social network spend $126.12 on average compared to $116.55 spent by non-socially engaged users, according to a recent report.

That means social and on-site sharing drives 8.2% more spend, but not all social networks convert the same and some social platforms, such as Facebook, are far more effective at generating revenue than others.

These are some of the key findings from AddShoppers, a social marketing apps platform, which examined 10,000 ecommerce websites that used its platform in 2014 and the accompanying data from 304 million unique users.

The average share leads to $2.56 of sales, the report said, but a share's worth very much depends on the site's category – for example, Apparel is more "social" than Medical – and revenue per share varies widely across the sources.

A share via email generates $12.41 per email whereas each pin from Pinterest is worth just $0.67. Google+ is worth $5.62 per share while the report calculates each tweet to be worth $1.03.

While Facebook's share is valued at just $0.80 per Facebook share, sheer volume makes it by far the most popular social platform (73.68%) and it is also top for driving revenue (69.1%).

Twitter and Pinterest also perform respectably as platforms for driving revenue and popularity. Twitter generates 12.11% of revenue and, at 10.1%, is the second most popular platform.

Meanwhile, Pinterest drives 7.73% of revenue and is narrowly behind Twitter in terms of popularity (9.87%).

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest also rate highly for driving traffic to a site, the report found.

In terms of clicks per share, Facebook came top with 1.10 per share, followed by StumbleUpon (0.98 per share), Twitter (0.97 per tweet), Wanelo (0.94 per share) and, in fifth place, Pinterest (0.87 per pin).

Finally, the report said the top five store types that are shared most often are Apparel & Clothing, Entertainment & Media, General Merchandise, Electronics, and Home & Garden.

Data sourced from Addshoppers; additional content by Warc staff


Mondelez drives recall via feature phone

2 March 2015
SINGAPORE: Incorporating Facebook into a campaign aimed at users of basic feature phones in Indonesia and the Philippines helped to lift key brand metrics while taking ad recall to "exceptionally high" levels, Mondelēz International has revealed.

The snack food multinational released findings from a six-week trial that ran in both countries to promote Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate and which marked the first stage of the company's Growth Markets Accelerator Programme.

This mobile marketing joint initiative brings together Mondelēz, Facebook and Carat, the global media network, to reach new consumers in key emerging markets by using the Facebook experience on feature phones, Digital Market Asia reported.

Even though social media usage is high in both countries, smartphone penetration is just 15% in the Philippines and 23% in Indonesia, so the study focused on "feature phone first" campaigns in these markets.

The aim was to identify whether Facebook on feature phones could serve as an effective platform to drive traditional brand metrics, such as recall, message association and purchase intent. Smartphones were also included to provide a comparison.

After reaching over 36m consumers on their phones, most of which were not smartphones, Mondelēz reported "exceptionally high" ad recall for its "joytime" campaign as well as significant increases in message association and purchase intent.

"The great results from this study tells us Facebook on feature phones can serve as an effective platform to positively influence core brand metrics," said Peter Mitchell, global innovations director at Mondelēz International.

"[It] can also serve as an effective medium to reach consumers of more mainstream demographic groups in emerging markets," he added.

Echoing his comments, Doroty Arroyo, senior brand manager for Cadbury Dairy Milk Philippines, said: "This campaign has validated that through feature phones we can reach millions more Mondelēz consumers in the Philippines, opening up the opportunity for us to have connected consumer experiences that integrate mobile to a wider audience."

Mondelēz plans to build on the success of the trial by launching the next phase of the Accelerator Programme in India in a few weeks time.

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff


APAC retail sales soar ahead

2 March 2015
SHANGHAI: Retail sales growth in Asia-Pacific will be the fastest in the world over the next five years and this rapid expansion will make the region's retail sector worth $10.3 trillion by 2018, the world's largest, a recent report has forecast.

According to PwC, the professional services firm, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, retail sales in Asia and Australasia will grow 4.6% this year, rising to 4.9% in 2018, despite signs that China is experiencing slowing growth.

By comparison, retail sales volume growth in Western Europe is expected to be just 0.9% in 2018 and 2.6% in North America, Marketing Interactive reported.

Much of the growth will be driven by China and India, but the report notes that some emerging markets, Vietnam in particular, are projected to post strong growth.

China is expected to record 8.7% retail sales growth this year, falling to 7.9% in 2018, but Vietnam will be not far behind with 8.4% growth forecast for this year and 6.5% growth in 2018.

By then, the report expects strong growth in other markets too, such as the Philippines (5.5% in 2018), Indonesia (5.0%). Malaysia (4.8%), Pakistan (4.3%) and Thailand (4.3%), which will emerge from the doldrums of 2014 when the country is expected to record negative growth of -0.6%.

Meanwhile, India should continue forging ahead with 5.6% sales growth in 2015, 6.2% in 2016 and 2017, rising to 6.6% in 2018.

Not surprisingly, the region's more mature markets are not expected to produce the same levels of growth but the projections for most of them are still respectable.

Australia, for example, should deliver sales growth of 2.6% in 2015 before it falls slightly to 2.2% in 2018 while New Zealand is expected to have sales growth of 2.5% in 2018.

Similar rates in 2018 are expected in Singapore (2.9%) and South Korea (2.9%), but economic weakness in Japan will deliver retail growth of just 0.6%.

Sales volume growth is also expected to slow in Hong Kong, falling from 3.1% last year to 1.3% in 2018.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff


Coke and Unilever top Warc 100 rankings

27 February 2015
LONDON: Coca-Cola and Unilever have been named the world's best brand and advertiser respectively, according to new results from the Warc 100, which tracks annual performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.

The US beverage brand was a clear winner on the brand rankings, scoring 387 points. McDonald's came in second place on 190 points, ahead of Mercedes-Benz on 173.

Meanwhile, on the advertiser rankings, Unilever finished in first place globally on 785 points. FMCG rival Procter & Gamble was second on 576 points, while the Coca-Cola Company was third on 455.

The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year. To compile this year's rankings, Warc tracked more than 2,200 winning campaigns from 87 different competitions.

Elsewhere on the rankings, this year's number one was 'Kan Khajura Tesan', a campaign for Hindustan Unilever developed by Lowe Lintas and PHD in India. Lowe Lintas was also ranked the top creative agency in the world, scoring 213 points, with AMV BBDO second on 191 points.

Commenting on the rankings, Priya Nair, Executive Director, Homecare, at Hindustan Unilever, said: "Kan Khajura Tesan is a great example of creating branded content using an unconventional medium. It has allowed us to build a platform that creates a two way connection between brands and consumers. We are only at the beginning of our journey with building mobile as a marketing medium."

BBDO Worldwide was the clear winner on the agency network rankings, with 1236 points versus second-placed Ogilvy & Mather's 1027 points. Among holding companies, WPP (4008 points) was ranked number one, ahead of Omnicom Group (3943).

Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, while 360i New York was top digital agency.

You can read full 2015 results from the Warc 100 on our microsite. Warc subscribers can also read the full case studies for the winning campaigns, including 'Kan Khajura Tesan', which was ranked number one campaign of the year.

Data sourced from Warc


TV viewing dips in UK

27 February 2015
LONDON: The average daily amount of time UK viewers spent watching TV dipped by around ten minutes in 2014 as the heaviest users of the medium reined in their habit, according to new figures.

Data from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) showed that viewers watched a total of 3 hours 41 minutes of TV every day on a TV set – either live or on playback or on-demand within seven days of broadcast.

Separate data from Thinkbox, the marketing body for TV broadcasters was based on figures supplied by broadcasters themselves. This revealed that 3 minutes 30 seconds of TV was consumed via devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops – mostly on-demand but some via live streaming.

In all, there was a decline of 10 minutes 30 seconds, attributable entirely to a drop in TV set viewing. It fell 4.7% while viewing on other screens grew 17%.

Despite that, TV sets continue to be the UK's screen of choice by some distance: in 2014, 98.4% of all TV was watched on a TV set and most of that took place in the living room.

Putting this into a longer term perspective, TV set viewing was only 0.4% less in 2014 than it was 10 years ago, Thinkbox said. And reach remained high at 94.2% a week in 2014.

That last figure was slight down on 2013 (94.6%), which was explained by the fact that those who were watching the most watched a bit less: the number of viewers who watched over 4 hours a day in 2014 fell by 7.2% compared with 2013.

Most viewing continues to be live – 88% in 2014 compared to 89% in 2013 – with the level of non-live viewing (i.e. playback and VOD within 7 days on a TV set) settling around the 15-20% mark.

But as viewing increasingly takes place outside those seven days – the measurement on which TV advertising is traded – BARB also measured viewing that had taken place between eight and 28 days after broadcast. A more nuanced picture emerged, with the 4.7% decline noted above being reduced to 3.4%.

Younger people watched 7.1% less TV in 2014 but it remains the dominant medium and, crucially for advertisers, commercial TV accounted for three quarters (74.8%) of the viewing of 16-34 year olds.

That was above the national average of 65.8%, meaning that the average person watched 2 hours 25 minutes of commercial TV a day, including 45 ads – seven more than ten years ago.

Data sourced from Thinkbox; additional content by Warc staff


Opacity hinders programmatic

27 February 2015
LONDON: Three quarters of marketers are planning to increase their programmatic brand spend in the next six to 12 months but they are holding off major investments amid ongoing concerns about financial transparency.

A new survey from programmatic specialist Infectious Media polled 30 senior marketers at leading brands across Europe and found that brand marketers were now well aware of the benefits of programmatic advertising, with the opportunity to increase sales seen as the biggest advantage by 75% of marketers, followed by the ability to personalise ad messages and to make use of CRM data (both cited by 65%).

But it also revealed some major barriers to the future growth of programmatic ad spend, chief of which was the "lack of transparency of financials" – an issue for two thirds (65%) of respondents.

"The IAB forecast programmatic would account for nearly half of display advertising last year, so imagine how high it could be in 2015 if transparency wasn't an issue," said Martin Kelly, founder and CEO of Infectious Media.

The complexity of the ecosystem (55%) and lack of appropriate measurements (50%) were the next most significant obstacles to increasing programmatic spend, while a lack of trust in the agency relationship and a lack of transparency of delivery were both cited by 45% of marketers.

Issues around brand safety and abuse of data were mentioned by only 25% of respondents.

While these senior marketers may be aware of programmatic's benefits there were several areas about which they felt the need to become better informed, most notably around how to form a programmatic strategy (85%).

They also wanted to know more about the players in the ecosystem (65%) and how other businesses have been successful using programmatic (55%).

Warc's Programmatic Primer can provide them with an overview, while Toolkit 2015 offers the latest thinking and case studies.

"Brands are struggling to build a programmatic advertising strategy that fits into a wider media mix and marketing plan", said Kelly. "It's up to us as an industry to provide the guidance they need to overcome this challenge."

Data sourced from Infectious Media; additional content by Warc staff


Affluent millennials redefine luxury

27 February 2015
NEW YORK: Over the next decade luxury brands will have to rethink their marketing approach as the millennial generation moves into its peak earning years, according to a new report which anticipates a spending boom in 2026.

In Millennials on Road to Affluence: Mapping a Path to the Next Luxury Generation, Unity Marketing says that this age group is set to become the main customer for marketers "at the high-end and low-end of the market and everywhere in between".

And those same marketers are going to have to "learn a new bag of tricks" to appeal to their very different tastes, attitudes and perceptions.

"They will need to understand that millennials are going to be as different from their parent's generation [the baby boomers] as the baby boomers were from their World War II/Swing generation parents," Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, told Luxury Daily.

She added that "millennials will define luxury in a brand new style and express luxury in brand new ways".

Older millennials are already entering their peak earning period, but Unity Marketing suggested another ten years would pass before their numbers reached the critical mass that would spark a consumer boom.

And at that point they would not be following the conspicuous consumption path of their parents.

Danziger explained that Unity's research had established that millennials on the road to affluence had middle-class tastes rather than luxury ones when it came to possessions like homes and cars.

"What they did aspire to was a lifestyle that gave them time to express their personal passions," she said.

That meant eschewing long working hours and adopting a more modest lifestyle in order to gain time "to goof off and play with family and friends and plenty of vacations".

Brands are no longer regarded as status symbols to be aspired to. Instead, said Danziger, marketers "need instead to focus on inspiration … inspiring their customers to desire their brands as the best-of-the-best and quality that will last and be a true classic".

Warc's Toolkit 2015 also highlighted the role of millennials in the year ahead, noting that even though they were among the most-researched generation ever, many marketers still struggled to find the right way to engage them.

The reverse also holds true, as this generation is the most clued up about the brands it is buying and has high expectations of them.

Data sourced from Luxury Week; additional content by Warc staff


US TV ad revenue slides

27 February 2015
NEW YORK: Media investment agency Magna Global says 2015 will be a worse year for TV advertising in the US than it had previously forecast as spend continues to leak to digital.

In August 2014 it was predicting a decline of 0.9% but it has now revised this to a more significant decrease of 2.9%, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"TV will get a smaller piece of the pie than we previously thought based on our analysis of what happened in 2014," said Vincent Letang, Magna Global's director of global forecasting.

Stripping out events like the Winter Olympics, US ad revenues grew 1.6% in 2014, in part because of an economic slowdown in the first quarter. On the same basis, TV ad revenues fell 0.4%.

Magna Global pointed to ratings declines as one factor at work in TV's poor showing. Letang added that the continued growth of digital media was no longer capable of being fuelled by diverting money from print and radio, so TV budgets were now having to contribute.

Further, some advertising categories with a traditional focus on television had increased their digital investment in 2014 and were expected to carry on doing so in 2015.

Digital media spending rose 15% to $49bn in 2014 to take a 30% share of total ad expenditure and Magna Global predicted that digital and television would have equal shares worth $68bn by 2016.

It also observed the effects of "digital deflation" on US ad growth generally, as digital investment leads to productivity gains and a focus on channelling subsequent budget savings into optimisation rather than further investment.

That was a factor in Magna Global cutting the projected growth of media owners' ad revenues in the coming year from 4.9% to 2015.

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


Mobile advertising surges in Australia

27 February 2015
SYDNEY: Mobile advertising expenditure in Australia more than doubled during 2014, according to new figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The trade body's Online Advertising Expenditure Report for the quarter ending 31 December 2014, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, showed that mobile was by far the fastest growing category as it grew 118% to reach a total of A$762m, or around 17% of all online advertising.

Overall expenditure for the calendar year across all categories reached A$4.6bn, a 16% increase on 2013, although fourth quarter spending was slower, up 7.1% year-on-year to A$1.2bn.

Video also emerged as a category that was starting to take off, increasing 52% over the year to reach A$237m.

But with a value of A$2.3bn, search and directories remained the single biggest category, accounting for half the total expenditure. Its annual rate of growth, however, slowed to 8%, half that of the overall industry.

General display took almost one third (30%) of online advertising expenditure. At $1.4bn, this was a 25% rise on 2013.

There was a similar rise in Classifieds, the final category, where spending amounted to A$0.9bn. This performance was, the IAB noted, better than the global average.

"While we are delighted about the sustained and robust growth of online advertising, we are most pleased that the proportion of expenditure in specific categories is aligning to category shares in the advertising market as a whole," said Alice Manners, CEO of IAB Australia.

"This signifies that advertisers are seeing digital categories as being a comparable investment to their traditional counterparts."

Retail took a 10.9% share of the total display market in the fourth quarter, its biggest share ever and bringing it in line with the retail category's 9.9% share of the total advertising market, AdNews reported.

The finance and computers and communications categories were also becoming more closely aligned with general market advertising spend.

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


China's consumers look beyond price

27 February 2015
SHANGHAI: Price has often been regarded as a key factor in the purchasing decisions of Chinese consumers, but a study has shown that quality is now a major factor for many.

Marketing company Epsilon surveyed 1,000 people, exploring Chinese consumers' definitions of brand loyalty and their loyalty motivations. It found that good quality products/services were the top loyalty motivator, cited by 36%, just ahead of value for money on 35%.

Quality was seen as being particularly important in financial services (40%) and ecommerce (40%), even more so than in luxury (39%).

Good customer services/support were valued by 30% of respondents while brand popularity was an influence for 26%. And despite the boom in ecommerce, a convenient location remained a factor for 24%.

The traditional trappings of loyalty programs were not especially important – things like member-only privileges and rewards for repeat purchase were cited by only 24% and 22% respectively.

In China, said the study, the return on loyalty investment is high: loyalists across sectors were 19% more likely to visit their preferred brands more often and spend more on their favourite brands.

They were also more generous with their private information and more likely to refer products and services to friends.

Among the brands achieving the highest levels of loyalty were Apple and Samsung. The former was highlighted as an example of a brand being adept at integrating online and offline touch points to deliver a seamless customer service experience.

Vivien Deng, China country leader at Epsilon, told Campaign Asia-Pacific, that consumers were especially impressed with the Apple Genius Bar, where in-store employees with extensive product knowledge can offer face-to-face technical support and troubleshoot hardware problems.

They experienced, she said, a level of respect and must-do service attitude that continued to elude retail staff in other sectors.

Separately, Alexander Jutkowitz, chief global strategist at Hill & Knowlton Strategies, has argued that the Apple example signals the decline of the chief marketing officer and the rise of the chief loyalty officer.

Customers return to brands like Apple, he said because "being a loyal fan of the brand reassures them that they are succeeding in being a certain kind of person".

Building loyalty, he added, is hard work that requires brands not just to value their customers but to like them enough to have a conversation every day.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, China Money Network, BRW; additional content by Warc staff


Lowe, BBDO, WPP top Warc 100

26 February 2015
LONDON: Lowe Lintas, BBDO Worldwide and WPP have been named the best creative agency, network and holding company of the year respectively, according to new results from the Warc 100, which tracks annual performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.

The Mumbai-based number one creative agency scored 213 points, with AMV BBDO second on 191 points and Colenso BBDO third on 148 points. Lowe Lintas also had the Warc 100's top-ranked campaign this year, with its 'Kan Khajura Tesan' initiative for Hindustan Unilever.

Rounding out the top five were Ogilvy & Mather New York (136 points) and Grey London (131 points).

Joseph George, CEO of Lowe Lintas India, added: "Warc is an organisation we hold in very high regard. And so this recognition is both extremely satisfying and spurring."

Elsewhere, BBDO Worldwide was the clear winner on the agency network rankings, with 1,236 points versus second-placed Ogilvy & Mather's 1,027 points. Among holding companies, WPP (4,008 points) was ranked number one, ahead of Omnicom Group (3,943) Publicis Groupe (2,552) and Interpublic Group (2535).

Andrew Robertson, President and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, said: "We believe the best work works best. Our goal is to be, and to be seen to be, the network that produces the most creative work that works best for its clients.

"The best proxy we have for measuring our performance against other agencies in effectiveness and the quality of our thinking is award schemes like those that are tracked by Warc. For us, it's very, very important. We aim to win it every year."

Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, with PHD Mumbai in second place. 360i New York was top digital agency, with R/GA New York in second.

The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year. To compile this year's rankings, Warc tracked more than 2,200 winning campaigns from 87 different competitions.

You can read full 2015 results from the Warc 100 on our microsite. Warc subscribers can also read the full case studies for the winning campaigns, including 'Kan Khajura Tesan', which was ranked number one campaign of the year.

Data sourced from Warc


Customer service goes digital

26 February 2015
GLOBAL: Marketers need to adopt their customer service strategies to the new digital reality within the next two years or face losing business a study has said.

Research published by Dimension Data in its annual Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report – 901 organisations in 72 countries around the world participated – reveals that non-voice traffic (digital) is set to rise in 87% of contact centres over the next 24 months, while voice traffic (talking to a customer centre agent on the telephone) will drop in 42% of contact centres during the same period.

By the end of 2016, customers will be using up to seven different digital channels, in addition to the telephone.

"This represents the biggest change in the contact centre business in 30 years, and has profound implications for the way organisations deploy technology to deliver and manage customer service," said Adam Foster, Dimension Data's Group Executive – Communications.

But he stressed that the changes under way did not spell the end for contact centres and the people employed there.

"That's definitely not the case," he stated. "The reality is that their scope has been broadened, and the types of interactions that are happening via the telephone where an agent is required, are becoming more complex and more critical."

Recognising this, Telecom brand O2 trained "Gurus" – knowledgeable and tech-passionate people – to deal with interactions in-store and in contact centres, and while they were hugely successful in delivering a differentiated customer service, they proved costly and had limited reach.

But they did provide the foundation for a move into online video content that offered customers simple and clear instructions on how to deal with a range of common problems and so help reduce churn while increasing acquisition.

Around 74% of contact centres surveyed by Dimension Data predicted that the overall number of transactions would increase, largely fuelled by digital, but the report also said this trend was having a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

Three quarters of businesses recognised that service was a differentiator, but customer satisfaction had fallen for the fourth year in a row.

"Because voice is often the channel of last resort, this is where the moment of truth really happens," Foster observed. 

"If agents can't resolve the customer's call, it will reflect badly on the organisation, and could lead to the search for an alternative supplier."

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff


Google is most popular brand

26 February 2015
KANSAS CITY, MO: Google is the brand people talk about most online, but Disney is the one that generates the most love according to a new study.

Infegy, a provider of social media intelligence technology, analysed more than 800 brands and drew on billions of online conversations from last year in compiling The World's 50 Most Popular Brands of 2014.

Google, the internet giant, claimed the top spot for the second year in a row thanks to volume of conversations, positive sentiment and overall passion for the brand.

Entertainment brand Disney was ranked sixth overall but with an overwhelming 86% positive conversations it led in positive brand sentiment.

At the other end of that spectrum were broadcast networks CNN – which registered the most negative brand sentiment: 52% negative, 41% positive, and 7% mixed feelings – and Fox, where the equivalent figures were 52%, 42% and 6%.

Social media sites Twitter and Facebook took second and third spots overall, with Tumblr in fifth and YouTube in ninth.

Tech firm Apple rose to fourth place, thanks to a peak of chatter in September and October when the iPhone 6 was launched; but total conversations were down 32% compared to 2013, said Infegy.

Tech firm Microsoft, carmaker BMW and sportswear brand Nike rounded out the top ten.

The biggest overall gain came from restaurant chain Chipotle which moved up ten places to number 30, while carmaker Chevrolet saw the biggest decline, dropping 13 spots to number 46.

There were five newcomers to the list, led by Flappy Bird, the only game present, while FitBit saw the highest purchase intent at 36%, highlighting the emerging trend of wearable tech and how important fitness integration is for these devices.

"As the popularity of online and social brands gains momentum, this report shows how the world is changing and how a new generation is interacting with and responding to brands," said Justin Graves, CEO and founder of Infegy.

"Marketers will need to make adjustments to their campaigns and initiatives in order to strategically reach consumers in a positive and engaging manner," he added.

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


Ad control extends to mobile

26 February 2015
NEW YORK: US consumers now have the option to opt out of tracking by advertisers or to restrict which ones can contact them on apps and the mobile web with the Digital Advertising Alliance's (DAA) introduction of two new tools.

AppChoices and the DAA Consumer Choice Page for Mobile Web will supplement AdChoices, the self-regulatory organisation's existing scheme for desktops that allows users to control which, if any advertisers, can collect data for use in interest-based advertising.

"The DAA's ubiquitous icon signals a set of safeguards to the consumer," said Lou Mastria, DAA Executive Director, "among them easy-to-use choice mechanisms which give consumers control over data collection and use in the evolving world of the mobile internet and across mobile apps – just as the icon helps deliver access to those same protections on desktops."

While cookies track users on desktops, Mastria explained the in-app technology would rely on Ad-IDs instead. "In the app world it's slightly different but the technology does hold up," he said.

A poll for the DAA last year indicated that seven in ten consumers wanted tools available that provide them transparency and choice over data collection wherever and however they accessed the internet. And nearly as many wanted to pick and choose which companies bring them relevant offers.

"Bringing greater transparency to all digital venues will both build consumer trust and enhance the efficacy of online interest-based advertising," said Randall Rothenberg, IAB president and CEO.

A fine sentiment, but Advertising Age questioned whether people would actually download the app, which the DAA intends to market through its AdChoices button.

This is served on ads 1 trillion times a month globally, but the magazine wondered how many people even noticed those ads – concerns around fraud and viewability are widespread – and if they did see them, how many registered the AdChoices button or even knew what it meant.

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


Asians are impatient online shoppers

26 February 2015
SINAGPORE: Slow-loading web pages are a frustration for many online shoppers but especially annoying for those in Asia, research has shown.

A global study by Dyn, the internet performance business, surveyed more than 1,400 consumers across 11 countries in North America, EMEA and APAC to understand their shopping preferences, what they are expecting and experiencing.

This found that slow websites and security concerns were the two key factors that affected the potential revenues of ecommerce players, with consumers across Asia-Pacific especially sensitive to these issues.

Few consumers – just 12% globally, falling to 6% in Malaysia – were prepared to wait for slow-performing sites to co-operate, but there were some striking differences in attitude thereafter.

European and American consumers were far more likely to go back and try again later, while the inclination of Asian consumers was to find an alternative place to shop. That was the reaction of more than 60% of respondents in China, Hong Kong, India and Malaysia.

What exactly constitutes "slow" turns out to be around three seconds: that was the maximum time 80% of Chinese respondents were prepared to wait, with more than half those people expecting sites to respond in one or two seconds.

Slow sites also have a greater impact than the immediate shopping experience, as more than 85% of all consumers surveyed agreed that the speed and quality of a website's performance affected their trust in a company.

"Retailers and ecommerce companies are losing sales and the potential of life-long customers because of poor performing websites," the report warned.

And increasingly those websites need to be optimised for mobile, particularly in China and India. The survey revealed that while 40% of consumers globally made at least one quarter of their purchases on their mobile devices, that rose to almost 80% in China and 65% in India.

"The Indian online shopper is maturing fast and has expectations at par with global consumers," Martin Ryan, vice president and managing director of Dyn, told Digital Market Asia

"Ecommerce businesses need to live up to these expectations."

Data sourced from Dyn, Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff


Foreign brands most trusted in India

26 February 2015
Only three Indian brands – Tata, Bajaj and Godrej – feature in the top ten most trusted brands in India according to a new report, as Korea's LG tops the list.

The Brand Trust Report, India Study, compiled by brand intelligence business TRA was based on research conducted among 2,373 'influencer' respondents across 16 cities.

TRA noted that LG, the Korean consumer electronics brand, had shown "a consistent trust legacy" over the years. Its leading position was, said CEO N. Chandramouli, "a result of the brand's tireless focus on providing consumer value".

Not only that, "they have understood the Indian mindset very well and have connected to consumers".

Soon Kwan, managing director of LG Electronics India, agreed: "Localisation goes hand in hand with global flagship products," he said, adding that "Trust is the most important factor behind the success of any consumer brand in the world".

Samsung Mobiles, the Korean phone brand, ranked second, rising 377 places from last year, with Sony, the Japanese consumer electronics business, dropping one place to third.

The leading Indian brands were all conglomerates. In fourth place, Tata was the most trusted Indian brand, down one place from, 2014, while Bajaj, in sixth place, had jumped 40 places and Godrej, in ninth place, had risen seven places.

Finnish phone brand Nokia, now owned by Microsoft, has had its troubles elsewhere in recent years, but it remains a trusted brand in India, steady in fifth place.

Rounding out the top ten were Japanese automaker Honda in seventh, up one place, and two US tech businesses – Dell in eighth, up 46 places, and Hewlett Packard in tenth, down four places.

Overall, the report included 1,000 brands across 270 categories, with food & beverage being the best represented (185 brands), followed by FMCG (150 brands).

Category leaders included Amul (food & beverage), Colgate (FMCG), LIC (banking, finance, savings and insurance), Bata (personal accessories) and KFC (retail).

Data sourced from TRA; additional content by Warc staff


BBDO, Starcom, 360i top Warc 100

26 February 2015
LONDON: BBDO Worldwide, Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago and 360i New York have been named the year's best agency network, media agency and digital agency respectively in new results from the Warc 100, which tracks annual performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.

BBDO Worldwide was the clear winner on the agency network rankings, with 1,236 points versus second-placed Ogilvy & Mather's 1,027 points.

Commenting on the rankings, Andrew Robertson, President and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, said: "The best proxy we have for measuring our performance against other agencies in effectiveness and the quality of our thinking is award schemes like those that are tracked by Warc. For us, it's very very important. We aim to win it every year."

Elsewhere, Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, with PHD Mumbai in second place. 360i New York was top digital agency, with R/GA New York in second.

Among holding companies, WPP (4,008 points) was ranked number one, ahead of Omnicom Group (3,943) Publicis Groupe (2,552) and Interpublic Group (2,535).

On the creative agency rankings, Lowe Lintas Mumbai was number one, scoring 213 points, with AMV BBDO second on 191 points and Colenso BBDO third on 148 points. Ogilvy & Mather New York was the top-ranked US creative agency, in fourth place on 136 points.

The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year. To compile this year's rankings, Warc tracked more than 2,200 winning campaigns from 87 different competitions.

Joseph George, CEO of Lowe Lintas India, the number one ranked creative agency, added: "Warc is an organisation we hold in very high regard. And so this recognition is both extremely satisfying and spurring."

You can read full 2015 results from the Warc 100 on our microsite. Warc subscribers can also read the full case studies for the winning campaigns, including 'Kan Khajura Tesan', which was ranked number one campaign of the year.

Data sourced from Warc


Lowe Lintas tops Warc 100 agency rankings

26 February 2015
LONDON: Lowe Lintas India has been named the best creative agency of the year in new results from the Warc 100, which tracks annual performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions.

The Mumbai-based number one creative agency scored 213 points, with AMV BBDO second on 191 points and Colenso BBDO third on 148 points. Lowe Lintas also had the Warc 100's top-ranked campaign this year, with its 'Kan Khajura Tesan' initiative for Hindustan Unilever.

Other Asia-Pacific agencies making the top 10 were McCann Melbourne (sixth, 126 points) and Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai (seventh, 106 points).

The Warc 100 is an annual list of the world's best campaigns, agencies and brands, based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions in the previous calendar year. To compile this year's rankings, Warc tracked more than 2,200 winning campaigns from 87 different competitions.

Commenting on the news, Joseph George, CEO, Lowe Lintas India, said: "We have had a terrific run on creative effectiveness this year across the globe; and all the accolades have further reinforced our belief in the type of work we want to do and believe in."

Elsewhere on the rankings, BBDO Worldwide was the clear winner among agency networks, with 1,236 points versus second-placed Ogilvy & Mather's 1,027 points. Among holding companies, WPP (4,008 points) was ranked number one, ahead of Omnicom Group (3,943) Publicis Groupe (2,552) and Interpublic Group (2,535).

Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, with PHD Mumbai in second place. 360i New York was top digital agency, with R/GA New York in second.

Andrew Robertson, President and CEO of BBDO Worldwide, said: "The best proxy we have for measuring our performance against other agencies in effectiveness and the quality of our thinking is award schemes like those that are tracked by Warc. For us, it's very very important. We aim to win it every year."

You can read full 2015 results from the Warc 100 on our microsite. Warc subscribers can also read the full case studies for the winning campaigns, including 'Kan Khajura Tesan', which was ranked number one campaign of the year.

Data sourced from Warc