When we first began to replicate reality at reasonable resolution, it was such a novelty we confused it with the real thing.
Famously, early moving pictures of trains speeding towards the camera would frighten audiences so much they would leap from their seats. Orson Welles' War of the Worlds radio broadcast sent the populace into paroxysms of hysteria.
When everything you experience is real, you assume reality. Jean Baudrillard predicted the counter position – when more of existence was mediated than not, as a 'hyperreality', where we can't tell the difference between illusion and everyday experiences.
We now consume media more than doing anything else, including sleep. The illusory power of verisimilitude is still strong – the suspension of disbelief when watching film, the sense that the camera can't lie – but the modern media literate knows to trust nothing he or she sees. Photoshopped, framed, edited and excluded, all media is susceptible to manipulation, in manifold ways. The assumption of truth becomes the suspicion of falsehood.
McArthur Wheeler’s infamous career as a bank robber was short-lived. He robbed two Pittsburgh banks on single day in 1995 – but didn’t keep the money for long. Rather than using a mask, as tradition dictates, he had the misguided idea of rubbing lemon juice on his face. He mistakenly believed that since it was used in invisible ink it would prevent security cameras from recording him. The police caught Wheeler on the day of the robbery and he was soon sentenced to 24 years in prison.
The story of the failed robbery is of interest to marketers as it inspired two Cornell psychologists, David Dunning and Justin Kruger, to come up with an important insight into human behaviour.
The psychologists wondered how such an inept criminal could think that he had the necessary skill to successfully evade capture? More importantly they decided to test whether this lack of self-knowledge was widespread. They recruited students to take a series of maths and grammar tests and then asked them to predict how well they would do compared to their peers.
This post is by Sam Farrand, account/planning director at the7stars.
BT is attempting to buy EE for a reported £12.5bn. The deal, should it go through, represents the latest move within the utilities industry to shore up a company's position across multiple products, bundle them up and sell customers a suite of services.
Big money acquisitions only represent the crest of the wave: Sky offers its customers TV, a phone line, broadband and mobile; Vodafone provides Spotify Premium as part of its higher price contract bundles; and even energy companies such as Southern Electric are now offering products as diverse as broadband on top of power supply. In short, bundling is big business.
However, in the media world there are hints of a very different future, one where content is being actively 'unbundled', with veteran market-disruptor Apple leading the charge. CBS CEO Les Moonves views Apple as 'trying to change the universe' – the universe in question being the traditional satellite or cable subscription TV model.
The Atticus Awards went live on warc.com today. They are a selection of winning papers which are open exclusively to professionals working in WPP companies. They honour original marketing thinking.
I've surfaced a selection that I think deserve a special mention. Themes explored include best practices on successful brand migration across Western and Eastern markets, the cultural dynamics driving change in the global luxury market and a guide to effective mobile advertising.
This post is by Alex Kuhnel, Chief operating officer at Kantar Media TGI.
There has been much hand wringing recently in the digital advertising industry over the threat posed by ad blocking, as new software is launched promising to block ads on mobiles. Advertisers and trading desks worry how much take up will this witness and how they can fight back.
At the same time, a debate has been going on about whether the content of programmatic ads is up to scratch when compared to the quality of other types of advertising.
In fact, both worries tap into a deeper truth about programmatic, which is that cookie-based advertising's promise of targeting a browser regardless of where they are online, disregards the all-important match between an ad and the environment in which it appears. The weaker the connection between advertising and context, the less receptive the consumer is likely to be.
This post is by Karl Weaver, CEO of Data2Decisions.
Change is a good thing. It forces us to think differently and re-establish the norms we take for granted. For the creative industry, data and technology has been an explosive catalyst for change, forcing the uncomfortable debate about whether data and creativity can work together to produce not only more effective, but more emotionally engaging creative work. There were early distractions as the data ‘geeks’ and creatives were pitted against each other, but thankfully the debate about whether data helps or hinders creativity is nearing completion. The two worlds have well and truly collided and we are finally ‘doing’ the collaboration we’ve been talking about for so long. The results so far have been very promising.
Take artificial intelligence for example, one of the most exciting, if not frightening collisions of data, creativity and technology we’ve seen yet. The technology has advanced in leaps and bounds throughout the past decade, with investors pouring millions into robotics companies now bringing interactive and emotionally intelligent robots to consumers on masse. Earlier this year, Robot Pepper, a humanoid robot with the emotional capacity to understand and communicate with humans went on sale in Japan. Creators Aldebaran Robotics sold out 1,000 units priced at £1,107 each in less than a minute. The demand is real and the possibilities endless.
The Guardian have just released analysis into the performance of 300 brand campaigns that they have carried. Their conclusion, drawn from surveys amongst their 3,000 strong reader panel, is that making ads contextually relevant significantly boosts effectiveness.
The Guardian’s data shows that when ads run alongside relevant web editorial readers are nearly 20% more likely to feel positively about the advertiser and 23% more likely to think that the message was relevant to them. The impact of context was just as strong in print where ads are 20% more likely to be seen as relevant to the reader when alongside related content.
There are plenty of ways brands can be relevant beyond tailoring ads to editorial though; ads can be adapted according to mood, weather or timing for example. However, perhaps the most interesting form of contextualisation is regionalisation. Its value lies in its simplicity. Whilst obtaining accurate mood data is difficult, tailoring a message to a city is cheap and reliable.
Tim Broadbent, the world's leading authority on the elusive subject of advertising effectiveness, recently died after a long battle with cancer.
A memorial service to honour and celebrate Tim Broadbent’s life will be held at 11.30am on Wednesday 30th September 2015 at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8AU.
This will be followed by a reception from 12.30pm at St Bride Foundation, Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ.
If you would like to attend please RSVP by Friday 4th September to email@example.com
If you step back from the buzz of the day to day, there is a palpable sense of things 'tightening up' across China. The raging trade in property – the national obsession that has created more wealth in China than any other endeavour – is now bound by regulation. The much-publicised 'war on corruption' is an attempt to close up the back channels that have defined how China used to work.
And, more recently, we've seen that the welcome mat, once rolled out to multinational corporations in China, has been all but rolled up. The uneven application of anti-trust law is another hoop through which brands must jump. But until recently, amid the tightening of laws and adding of hoops, on the TV screens we were able to watch a TV ad that earnestly told women that with the ready application of a cream, their breasts would grow bigger.
This has, in the spectacular fashion of China, now changed. In one fell swoop, a whole raft of unchecked advertising practices will, by 1 September, be outlawed. The country with 300 million smokers has banned cigarette advertising. Advertising in and around schools is out and functional claims now need to reach a higher standard of proof. That probably spells the end of the breast enlargement cream business.