The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Meta-communication
 
Posted by: Faris Yakob, Co-founder, Genius Steals
 
Faris Yakob

Human beings rarely say exactly what they mean. One of the unspoken rules of being English, as identified by anthropologist Kate Fox, is the 'rule of not being earnest'. The English are constitutionally uncomfortable with too direct an assertion. This is why we love and use irony.

But even our more direct American cousins never say exactly what they mean. No one does. There are so many social and contextual determinants that impact the words we use. What we say, moreover, is accompanied by all kinds of secondary communication which can change its meaning. Irony is an obvious example where the secondary communication completely subverts the nominal meaning. When meta-communication isn't correctly parsed, you get the confusion that sometimes happens to English people in the US. (Or vice versa.)

These secondary communications are called meta-communication and they are an essential part of human interactions. They may be congruent with, or contradictory of, the content. What does a brand's meta-communication say and how does it impact the messages and content so lovingly crafted by its agencies?

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Subjects: Brands, Marketing

02 March 2015 16:44

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:

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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 warc.com 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.

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Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

20 February 2015 12:08

The future of Marketing Leadership
 
Posted by: Brand Learning
 
Brand Learning

These are challenging and interesting times to be in Marketing. The twin forces of technology and a more empowered consumer are making it increasingly necessary for Marketers to lead in a complex and dynamic environment.

Brand Learning’s Singapore leadership seminar, attended by senior marketers across industries spanning FMCG, technology, banking, paints, sportswear and lubricants, discussed the opportunity and challenges for marketing leadership going forward. In a lively and engaging conversation, they shared the issues they face, and how Brand Learning’s new customer-centred leadership framework can help address these.

Three of the themes that emerged are particularly valuable for defining Marketing Leadership now and in times to come...
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Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Digital

16 February 2015 09:39

Do you eat your own dog food?
 
Posted by: Darika Ahrens Grapevine Consulting
 
Darika Ahrens

The Twitter account @middleclassprob is having a moment. The account retweets Twitter users overreacting to what we now call #FirstWorldProblems. Problems such as when Waitrose runs out of lemongrass. Or your artisanal coffee shop makes your latte wrong.

It's funny and it gives us all some muchneeded perspective. After all, Twitter moaning is indulgent when there are things like Ebola in the world. Yet, if you're reading this, I hope you'll forgive me because I'm going to indulge in some moaning.

I assume that most people reading this work in an agency or business that trades in solving First World problems. Problems such as 'How can I get a closer shave?' and 'Do I need a new phone?' So, not life threatening by any means, yet important to your job.

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Subjects: Consumers, Brands

09 February 2015 10:59

The Power of Partnerships
 
Posted by: Lena Roland, Knowledge Officer, Warc
 
Lena Roland

As Warc’s Knowledge Officer I’ve observed some notable trends that stood out in the marcomms industry in 2014 and that will continue to play an important role in brand communications in 2015. I’ll be publishing a series of blogs covering these hot topics over the next few weeks. The first looks at powerful partnerships.

Partnerships are hot! The right collaboration can have a powerful effect on marketing strategy. Aligning with experts can enhance a brand's credibility; the right collaboration can expose a brand to new audiences; what's more, a clever partnership can support that all-important shopper-marketing strategy.

I've dug deep into the Warc archive to showcase a selection of case studies from 2014 that have implemented such strategies to great effect.

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Subjects: Marketing, Advertising, Brands

27 January 2015 10:41

A tale of two pizza joints
 
Posted by: James Hurman, Founder, Previously Unavailable
 
James Hurman

When I was a kid I remember being taken to Pizza Hut. It had the restaurant with the funny shaped roof and the red gingham tablecloths. It was a treat - a large pizza was about $30 and in the 1980s that was a lot of money. I remember loving it. You got spinning tops and little red pencils to play the games on the paper place mat. There were happy waitresses gliding around and a low light ambience that made it feel like stepping into another world. And the pizza was pretty much the most delicious thing I ever got to eat.

Now, when you google 'Pizza Hut' here in New Zealand, the first thing that comes up is an ad that says 'PizzaHut.co.nz - The Home of $5 Pizzas'. That's right, for just £2.50 you can buy a large Hawaiian Pizza Hut pizza. And not on special - that's the regular price, every night of the week.

Today there are no iconic roofs, no spinning tops, no happy waitresses and no gingham tablecloths. There aren't even tables. Every Pizza Hut in New Zealand is pickup or delivery only. They're tiny, cheaply fitted holes in the wall, sparsely staffed with bored-looking people making shitty $5 pizzas.

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Subjects: Brands, Marketing

13 January 2015 15:08

Defining competitors too tightly
 
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB
 
Mythbuster

Recently, we were asked to help an ailing brand. After dominating its category for decades alongside a very similar competitor, recently the brand lost the top spot to its rival. What had gone wrong?

We immediately noticed something striking. Yes, our brand had lost market share to its doppelgänger. But more surprisingly, for years, both brands had been losing market share to a host of smaller competitors which now accounted for a bigger share of the market than either 'market leader'.

Further analysis suggested an explanation. The two big brands had followed identical marketing strategies. In an effort to increase RoI and efficiency, each had reduced marketing expenditure. Each had cut emotional brand advertising in favour of harder selling stuff focused on 'new news'. Each had replaced expensive broadcast media with cheaper digital channels, tighter targeting allowing both brands to reduce 'wastage'.

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Subjects: Brands, Marketing

02 December 2014 16:59

I'm a Celebrity vs. Strictly Come Dancing
 
Posted by: MEC
 
MEC

The two celebrity-based programmes still attract high viewing figures but what do their fans think their characteristics are? Jo Coombes of MEC finds out.

In September 2014, viewers welcomed back the 12th series of Strictly Come Dancing. The show, airing on BBC 1 sees 15 celebrities paired up with professional dance partners to learn a variety of Ballroom or Latin techniques. The Halloween episode pulled in 9.7 million viewers, a 43.9% share between 6.30pm and 8.15pm on Saturday, beating The X-Factor's Halloween ratings by 2.3 million viewers.

Another long-running celebrity-based show which remains to be successful in terms of attracting and engaging a wide viewer base is I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The contestants for the eagerly awaited 14th Series of the ITV hit programme, airing in November 2014 have recently been announced. The show, presented by Geordie duo Ant & Dec finds a group of 12 celebrities forced to live together in a jungle environment for a few weeks, with no luxuries or contact with the outside world. They are given a range of tasks, ‘bushtucker trials' to earn food for camp. The opening episode of the 2013 series attracted a peak audience of nearly 13 million and an average of 12 million viewers.

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Subjects: Media, Brands

28 November 2014 17:03

#MontyThePenguin Vs #ChristmasIsForSharing: The battle of the British Christmas Ads
 
Posted by: Emily Barley, Editorial Assistant, Warc
 
Emily Barley

The big debate is on. Has John Lewis done it again with #MontyThePenguin? Or might Sainsbury's have pulled it out of the bag?

John Lewis has done so well with its Christmas ads in the past that people have begun to anticipate its launch. This year was the turn of a cute little penguin in search of love – lovely, but perhaps not quite as powerful as previous campaigns.

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Subjects: Advertising, Brands, Marketing

14 November 2014 16:22

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