The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

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

The evolution of marketing procurement
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Steve Lightfoot, senior manager – global marketing procurement at the World Federation of Advertisers.

The roots of marketing can be traced back to 1836 when the first paid advertising in a newspaper appeared in France. It goes back even further than that if you consider the brochures and flyers that could be created in the 16th century via Gutenberg's metal "movable type" printing machine.

By comparison, marketing procurement is barely a teenager, and some might argue it still has much to learn. The recency of its origins means the role is still very much in flux.

When you look at WFA membership, around 95% of global marketers have a marketing procurement operation. The average time that this operation has been engaging with marketing spend is between six and eight years (based on a 2013 WFA survey). Only a handful go back more than 12 years.


Subjects: Marketing

24 February 2015 10:55

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

Sharing content across territories
Posted by: Imaad Ahmed, Marketing Director, Warc
Imaad Ahmed

The secrets behind getting content shared are much sought after by marketers across the world. For those with a global remit, one of the major challenges (as with so many areas of marketing) is that what works with one audience cannot be guaranteed to work others. This is especially true with content strategies designed to resonate globally – how possible is this?

Following on from Ian Forrester's recent webinar, "What makes consumers share content across different territories?", I've gathered together some interesting insights from Ian which every global marketer needs to consider. Ian is the Insight Director at Unruly, the video ad tech company.

It's no surprise that different countries consume video content in different ways. The distinction between consumption habits is vital to factor in to content strategies. For example, for those brands targeting the Asia Pacific region with video content, did you know that Japan has the lowest percentage of YouTube views – a mere 19% – versus a 24% global average? This is due to Japan's fragmented social media landscape – local video upload site, Niconico, is the 7th most visited site in the country. This is good for advertisers though. More variety means more competition to secure advertising revenues, which in turn means advertisers can negotiate on price with the various platforms more flexibly than where choice is limited or where a single major player, such as YouTube, dominates.


Subjects: Marketing

19 February 2015 14:27

Understanding the big issues of 2015
Posted by: Stephen Whiteside, Reports Editor, Warc
Stephen Whiteside

Despite the wintery weather afflicting parts of America - or, perhaps, to escape from it - Warc's US reporting team has been back on the conference trail in recent weeks.

One event seeking to cut across some major reoccurring themes we've been hearing about - such as evolving research techniques, big data, the changing face of media and emerging technology - is The Big Rethink, being convened by The Economist and taking place on March 5th in New York City.

It will not surprise readers of The Economist magazine to learn that the conference, based in large part around the rise of "the entrepreneurial CMO", combines a thought-provoking agenda - addressing topics such as neglected global trends, shifting organisational structures and the Internet of Things - with insights from numerous industry heavyweights.


Subjects: Marketing, Digital, Media

18 February 2015 15:37

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

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...

Subjects: Marketing, Brands, Digital

16 February 2015 09:39

New technology makes old technology redundant
Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

Returning to work after the festive season, we found ourselves comparing our children's respective Christmas present lists. And we noticed something surprising. Between us, we have three children, ranging from six to 21 years of age. And on all their wishlists, alongside the stuff you'd expect modern kids to desire – clothes, money and electronic gadgets – there were a lot of books. Not e-books, but real, paper books.

And what was noticeable was that all the kids spent lots of time reading these good old-fashioned books over the holidays. Not because they had to – there were plenty of other electronic options – but because they wanted to. One of them even spent New Year's Eve reading a book from the public library, of all things, ignoring her pile of shiny Christmas presents.

Surely not? Aren't books supposed to be dead? Don't kids spend all their time nowadays Snapchatting, watching YouTube and updating Facebook instead? It seems not. On New Year's Day, one of us had the odd experience of being the only one Facebooking while the rest of the family were engrossed in their books.


Subjects: Digital, Marketing

13 February 2015 14:01

How to use imagery to attract customers this Valentine's Day
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Rebecca Swift, Director of Creative Planning, iStock by Getty Images

Valentine's Day is a major pinnacle event in the UK retailing year, inspiring over £5.4bn in online spend from UK consumers last year (source: Fourth Source). Some £1 in 3 of this is spent online. With a vast amount of potential incremental spend available around this impending calendar date, a range of different businesses will be using this as an opportunity to market and secure a share of this spend. However, creating genuine standout around the event can be difficult, amid a sea of hearts, flowers and chocolates. With the annual celebration of love fast approaching, how can marketers tap into the latest visual trends to effectively to stand out and engage with passion-seeking consumers this February 14th?

Romantic love has the most visual clichés associated with it, often in the form of scenarios: proffering bunches of red roses, drinking champagne, sharing food, hugs and kisses, offering chocolate, a ring, or other jewellery. But more recently we have seen a subtle shift away from the homogeny of clichéd imagery and instead brands are tapping into a more real, evocative and moving way of telling their brand's story.


Subjects: Marketing

12 February 2015 13:08


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