The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Welcome to the Age of Big
Posted by: Waqar Riaz, Cheil Worldwide
Waqar Riaz

Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).

In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me. 


Subjects: Brands, Marketing, Data

26 March 2015 16:06

We need to talk about Edward
Posted by: Neil Dawson, Chief Strategy Officer, Europe, SapientNitro
Neil Dawson

In the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations, the debate about mass surveillance, government secrecy and the appropriate balance between national security and information privacy raged on at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

"Hiding In Plain Sight: Anonymizing the Internet" was one such discussion – and the alluring title, combined with promotional imagery featuring the iconic "V for Vendetta" mask, attracted a full house.

The conversation was both lively and wide-ranging. Everybody has opinions and nobody has answers, making it a perfect intellectual storm. Host Ian MacDowell, a creative technologist at argodesign – and, more intriguingly, a former bouncer – began by wondering whether proposing this topic could make him the subject of unwanted NSA attention.


Subjects: Digital, Consumers

20 March 2015 20:08

YouTube: Popularity does not equal Profitability
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Paul Kasamias, Head of Biddable Media at Starcom MediaVest Group.

After Google acquired YouTube in 2006, the world's foremost video site has gone from strength to strength, bringing in $4b in revenue in 2014. With numbers like these, it may be a surprise to learn the video site has always been a loss-making business for Google.

A staggering 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The cost of the streaming infrastructure to cope with this demand exceeds the revenue YouTube generates.

It is also worth considering how users access YouTube. It has been reported that 50% of YouTube's views come from embedded videos on third party sites. This includes portals, news sites and social media. If a large portion of traffic is not entering the site at the YouTube homepage, this impacts Google's ability to monetise homepage formats and other deals contingent on visitors. Users viewing videos outside of the YouTube platform are also less likely to watch and discover additional videos, giving a further threat to monetisation. Furthermore, recent research has shown that 9% of viewers watch 85% of online videos. This suggests that the viewing audience on YouTube is in fact quite niche and therefore harder to monetise than may first appear.


Subjects: Digital

18 March 2015 09:24

Nine, that's a magic number
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Richard Shotton, Head of Insight at ZenithOptimedia.

"Nine, that's a magic number" or so De La Soul might have sang if they were marketers rather than a New York hip-hop trio. An increasing body of marketing evidence shows that consumers, rather than being rational decision makers, are prey to a number of biases. One of the most interesting biases revolves around the positive impact of prices ending in nine, known as charm prices. For retailers this should be a reason to be cheerful as it means sales can be encouraged with less need for margin destroying price cuts.

At ZenithOptimedia we have run experiments amongst 650 consumers across 6 products, from TVs to bread. For each product we asked about value perceptions. The twist was that we had discrete cells of consumers. Some consumers saw prices ending in 99p, the other groups saw the same good as just one or two pence more expensive. Despite the minor variations in price consumers were 9% more likely to think a brand was good value when the price ended in 9p – this occurred even though the difference in prices was c1%.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

17 March 2015 12:28

Agencies on agencies: A roadmap for the future
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Matt Green, senior marketing communications manager at the WFA.

For much of the year, the WFA's MEDIAMFORUM features clients talking about how they manage or plan to manage their agencies in order to secure better results and an improved relationship.

At Deutsche Telekom's offices in Berlin the tables were turned for the last MEDIAMFORUM of the year. We invited three agencies to reveal their vision for the future and to discuss some of the big themes that have emerged in recent years and are potentially preventing the client and agency relationship from becoming the powerful business partnership it could be.

Representatives of CROSS MEDIA, Havas Media Group and ZenithOptimedia created a panel with a diversity of company backgrounds to provide a range of opinions as to what agencies should be doing in the future:


Subjects: Advertising

13 March 2015 12:29

The art of not selling
Posted by: James Hurman, Founder, Previously Unavailable
James Hurman

A few years ago, at Colenso BBDO in Auckland, we got a call from Levi's. It was the head of marketing in San Francisco. He introduced himself to our receptionist. She was having a busy moment, heard him say 'Levi's', and put him through to Levi, one of our creatives. Levi came running into the office where I was sitting with our MD and ECD and told us there was a guy from Levi's on the phone wanting to talk to us. He handed us the phone.

The guy from Levi's said he'd seen our work, he loved it, and that he wanted us to make an online film for his new women's product line. He didn't have much money, but he wanted something amazing. And he said that we could do anything we wanted. Excepting doing something illegal or grossly offensive, we would have the decision on what work we made. He wanted our judgment on what was great and what would be seen and shared by his customers.


Subjects: Marketing, Brands

12 March 2015 09:56

The rise of the online video stars
Posted by: MEC

This post is by Millie Thakker, a graduate at MEC.

As more of us carry the technology to create videos wherever we go, it is no surprise that online video will become the fastest-growing form of advertising.

Smartphones, iPads, Google Glass… nowadays it is easy to make a video and almost all of us carry the capability with us wherever we go. Online video advertising has grown 86% this year (The Guardian, 2014) with over 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube a minute and 6 billion hours of video being watched a month (YouTube, 2014). It is no surprise that people and brands alike are increasingly turning to video content to promote themselves.


Subjects: Digital

11 March 2015 11:53

Three questions for Asia's retailers
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

Ahead of Retail Congress Asia Pacific, to be held in Singapore on 17-18th March, four members of the speaking line-up shared their thoughts on three of the big questions facing Asia's retailers.

1. How would you define the current momentum of the retail sector in Asia?

Jonathan Yabut | Chief of Staff | AirAsia

"I see it to be robust and progressive heading towards the digital and mobile space. Companies will take advantage of lower retail cost via ecommerce and will find creative ways to overcome challenges in online payment schemes (i.e. lack of credit card or paypal penetration) which I personally believe is a key barrier to realizing a mature online market.

"Meanwhile, this doesn't mean that physical retail will soon slow down. Real estate in Southeast Asia and India is booming. With this comes the explosion of a "mall mania" culture supported by the growing middle class."


Subjects: Marketing

10 March 2015 16:21

The only number you need to know: Fit-for-purpose sample quality measures in the internet age
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
Peter Mouncey

I'll let you into a secret – maths was NOT my strong point at grammar school. I never really got the hang of algebra, and the maths teacher I had for several years did little to stimulate interest and understanding in his students. However, going to college changed all that. We had a young, inspirational lecturer for statistics, and suddenly the fog lifted, and I got the point of it all. Enough to say that I achieved a high mark in a maths related field for the first time in my life. I was weaned on texts such as Moroney's 'Facts from Figures', and for research methods, Moser and Kalton's 'Survey Methods in Social Investigation'.

So, when I first worked in market research, as part of Fred Johnson's team at the Gas Council, I never thought of myself as a statistician, but I felt I knew the principles and theory of sampling – high quality research design being crucial to the major studies we used to help our internal clients forecast demand, such as the Peak Load Survey for energy consumption and the then AGB Home Audit for measuring appliance ownership.

Then, further on in my career, running market research at the AA, quality survey design was crucial for measuring demand for roadside services, new products and developing the Members Satisfaction Index that transformed the quality of service delivery in the mid 1990s. Quality research design was also crucial to measuring trends in motoring expenditure, published each quarter in 'Drive' magazine, and in supporting the AA's public policy activities – including the replication of the seminal study by Colin Buchanan, 'Traffic in Towns' (1963) which we undertook in the 1980s. Representativeness was key.


Subjects: Data

10 March 2015 10:05

How to drive in-store purchases test effects of ad exposure on in-store neural responses for a major North American retail corporation
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post details research by Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Neurons Inc. He is a speaker at the Neuromarketing World Forum in Barcelona March 25-27.

Little is still understood about the actual in-store purchase process, and research is often limited by traditional research methods that rely on conscious self-reports. While traditional market research methods only allow recording of actual purchase and customers' self-reports about the reasons behind their choices, neuromarketing methods allow better assessment and understanding of key unconscious processes underlying consumer choice. Here, we report the result of two consumer neuroscience studies that explore whether in-store decisions can be traced to immediate neural responses that precede conscious deliberation.


Subjects: Data

03 March 2015 12:43


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