The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Stunt marketing, mobile-first strategies and incentive marketing: Highlights from DMA UK Awards (2014)
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The DMA UK Awards 2014 were recently published on The Direct Marketing Association recognises campaigns that demonstrate how brilliant strategic thought and creative ideas drive outstanding results. There were 61 case studies in total, which Warc subscribers can view here but if you're short on time then I highly recommend the following.

Crimestoppers UK: Putpockets

Crimestoppers, the UK’s biggest crime fighting charity, wanted to raise awareness about pickpocketing. Taking direct marketing to a whole new level, the campaign took a stunt marketing approach by placing leaflets shaped like commonly stolen items in people’s bags and pockets, doing so without their knowledge. The tactic showed in a very practical and personal way how easily someone could be a victim of pickpocketing.


Subjects: Awards, Marketing, Advertising

07 April 2015 16:28

The rise of ambient
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

Recently, I've been looking at some prominent trends in marketing. I've explored the power of partnerships and the increasing use of 'occasion marketing' strategies. This week I turn my attention to the world of media and note the rise of ambient.

But what exactly is ambient media? One definition offered by the Chartered Institute of Marketing points out that ambient was originally known as ‘fringe media’, but now it consists of “communications platforms that surround us in everyday life - from petrol pump advertising to advertising projected onto buildings to advertising on theatre tickets, cricket pitches or even pay slips”.


Subjects: Marketing, Media, Advertising

01 April 2015 10:02

Advertising: Orwell was wrong
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
Richard Shotton

2015 marks the 65th anniversary of George Orwell's death. By the time he died he was living on the remote island of Jura, isolated from a consumerist society that he saw as plagued with problems. For Orwell, advertising was to blame for many of these issues since it inflamed consumer desires for materialistic goods. As he so memorably stated: "Advertising is the rattling of a stick in the swill bucket of society".

Unfortunately, it seems that Orwell is not alone in this view. In a study conducted by ZenithOptimedia amongst 452 students, only 24 per cent thought advertising benefited society. But was Orwell's opinion justified or an example of groundless moralising? Cyril Connolly, after all, wrote of Orwell "He couldn't blow his nose without moralising on the conditions of the handkerchief industry".

At the core of Orwell's argument is the accusation that advertising creates a desire for products that consumers can't resist. There are two parts to this argument. Firstly, let's look at the irresistibly part. Anyone working in advertising knows this isn't true. It's hard to change opinion and harder still to change behaviour. Consumers don't have the Pavlovian reaction that Orwell insinuates as they are aware that adverts are biased. Ads are interpreted with a healthy dose of scepticism.


Subjects: Advertising

30 March 2015 16:14

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

System 1 good; System 2 bad? Baah! Baah!
Posted by: David Penn, Managing Director, Conquest
David Penn

One of the most powerful insights from cognitive science is the System 1/System 2 dichotomy, coined by Stanovich and West as shorthand for two types of thinking - one fast, resource-efficient and automatic (System 1); the other slow, deliberative and effortful (System 2) . Many in marketing and MR now accept that, because consumer decision making is dominated by System 1, many of our buying decisions are fast, flawed and emotional, rather than slow, logical and consistent. So far so good, but I’m worried that a sheep-like acceptance that System 1 is somehow  ‘good’ for marketing, whereas System 2 is  ‘bad’ might lead us  into some ‘woolly’ thinking about how to measure consumer response.  


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

05 March 2015 10:23

Please, don't end ad fraud
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
Darika Ahrens

Two guys in New York have created a programme they say will end ad fraud for good. And it's a real shame. Ad fraud was forcing the industry to re-examine how it measures online advertising. But if this tool works, it may not have to. The software's called Submit Guard and it can tell the difference between humans and internet bots with over 99% accuracy. Internet bots are responsible for fake clicks and views expected to cost the industry $6.3 billion this year.

The creators Eric Weissman and Jose Cotto told Business Insider: "Robots and humans interact with the web in drastically different ways. Robots scroll quickly and make herky-jerky mouse movements – we're able to detect all of that instantly and raise a red flag."

If it works, the software could restore faith in ad reporting again. And that's the problem. It'll be business as usual measuring clicks and views. Last year Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, published research proving how overvalued the click really is: "The more page views a site gets, the more people are reading, the more successful the site. Or so we thought…" Chartbeat analysed the user behaviour of 2 billion visits across the web and found that most people who click, don't read. More than half (55%) spend fewer than 15 seconds on the page they clicked through to.


Subjects: Digital, Advertising

04 March 2015 09:54

A roaming fridge, grassroots activism, launching a brand without TV and telling stories: Highlights from CASSIES 2015
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The CASSIES (Canadian Advertising Success Stories) were published on last week. These awards recognise and reward the business effectiveness of advertising. There were 53 case studies in total, which Warc subscribers can view here.

But if you’ve only got time to read a few I highly recommend the following. Grassroots activism, user-generated strategies, newspaper partnerships and storytelling are just some of the themes explored.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Awards

25 February 2015 14:36

Optimising on Occasions
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

A couple of weeks ago I discussed how partnerships can be a powerful strategy in a marketer’s toolkit. This week I’m putting the spotlight on occasion marketing.

Major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games are an obvious opportunity for brands to make the most of special occasions. But today, the ever-increasing number of events, awareness days, niche interest days, religious and music festivals, provide brands with more opportunities to engage with consumers in new and interesting ways. By optimising on occasions smart brands can engage with consumers on a variety of levels - through emotion, humour, passion or patriotism, for example. Here are a selection of occasion marketing campaigns that stood out for me in 2014:


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

23 February 2015 11:28

Lifestyle brands, margarita flavoured popcorn, growing innovation and useful packaging: Highlights from DBA Awards 2015
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

The DBA Awards were published on earlier this month. These awards recognise design projects that are creatively and commercially effective. There are 63 case studies in total, which Warc subscribers can view here. I've dug deep to showcase a handful of campaigns that I think deserve a special mention.

Vivid: Think Vivid!

How did Vivid, a brand of matcha green tea, successfully enter the highly competitive market of grab and go health-focused drinks in the UK? Aimed at young professionals and keen coffee drinkers Vivid was positioned as a lifestyle brand with personality. The design communicated the benefits of matcha - energy, clarity and mental focus. Clever positioning and a clear target audience helped Vivid achieve £0 to an estimated £600K retail sales value in its first year of trading and helped the brand get listed in a broad range of the biggest healthy living retailers.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

20 February 2015 12:08

Happy New Year!
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
Lena Roland

Tomorrow marks the start of Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations when people all over Asia, and Chinese communities throughout the world, will be welcoming in the year of the sheep/goat. CNY is considered an auspicious occasion - a time to celebrate with family and friends, a time of giving and wishing prosperity to others. It is perhaps the most important event in the Chinese calendar.

It is also a time when brands are most eager to speak to their Asian target audience. This creates a highly competitive and highly cluttered advertising environment which means brands must do something extra special if they are to stand out from the noisy crowd. Smart brands use the New Year festivities to recognise and appreciate Chinese culture and traditions. So which brands are succeeding in this space?

HSBC Australia used Chinese New Year to target Asian consumers in Australia and to reinforce the message that HSBC is a trustworthy bank. The brand affirmed its valued association with the Chinese community through a fully integrated campaign that featured e-DM and sponsorship of New Year festivals. HSBC also said ‘thank-you’ to its customers with a culturally relevant gift – a form of 'guanxi' – which would resonate with the target audience. This achieved a 463% YOY growth in term deposits, eclipsing the campaign target by 290%.


Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Consumers

18 February 2015 14:39


Blog Search


  • 2015
    • April (18)
    • March (21)
    • February (20)
    • January (16)
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010