Video viewers demand choice

2 April 2015
NEW YORK/GLOBAL: A rapidly developing digital video landscape and the growth of social media has encouraged consumers to take more control over their choice of programming, a new survey of global viewing habits has revealed.

More than three-quarters (76%) of global consumers say they "enjoy the freedom of being connected anywhere, anytime" and, while TV remains their screen of choice for viewing most forms of video content, correlating social media interaction is important for at least half of them.

Coupled with the proliferation of new devices around the world, this trend is tipping the scales from video providers to viewers and represents "a huge challenge" for brands and content providers vying for consumers' attention.

These are among the key findings in the Nielsen Global Digital Landscape Survey, a poll of 30,000 online consumers that the US research firm conducted in 60 countries.

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"The media industry must embrace the changing landscape and adapt strategies to fit with a new reality, offering engaging and relevant content that is easily accessible across devices and channels," observed Megan Clarken, evp of Nielsen Global Watch Product Leadership.

Social media usage is a key part of this changing landscape with the survey discovering that more than half (53%) of global respondents like to keep up with shows so they can join in online conversations.

Meanwhile, 49% say they watch live video programming more if it has a social media tie-in and 47% use social media while watching videos.

And this second-screening activity is particularly pronounced in Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, the report found.

For example, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Asia-Pacific respondents and 57% of their African/Middle Eastern counterparts watch live programming if it has social media content.

In addition, approaching two-thirds of respondents in Asia-Pacific (64%) and Africa/Middle East (62%) say they like to keep up with shows so they can join conversations on social media.

"The second, third and sometimes fourth screen is becoming a fundamental extension of the viewing experience," Clarken said.

"While multiple screens give viewers more options, they also give content providers and advertisers more opportunities and ways to reach and engage with viewers," she added.

Also of note for advertisers, the report found that 65% of global viewers prefer to watch video programming live, 63% prefer to watch on a bigger screen than a mobile device, while 67% switch to another channel when an advertisement is shown.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff

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Multisensory marketing is the future

2 April 2015
LONDON: Marketers grappling with the intricacies of media mix modelling may also have to consider how best to create the optimum multisensory mix.

According to Gemma Calvert and Dr Abhishek Pathak, of the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight, if you get that right "you can deliver superior experiences for consumers that far outperform any single sensory broadcast alone – providing huge competitive advantage".

Writing in the current issue of Admap, the focus of which is marketing to the senses, they claim that the emphasis on the visual – the average adult is exposed to upwards of 200 visual advertising messages a day – has led to a situation where most people simply ignore much of what is put in front of them.

Coming from a neuroscience background, they suggest that a cursory few milliseconds of processing by consumers' brains is "insufficient for effective encoding".

But the remaining senses of sound, smell, taste and touch have a greater influence on people's perception than they are conscious of, and by creating novel sensory triggers that typically connect with consumers at a subconscious level, "marketers can cut through the morass of explicit (typically visual) advertising messages to provoke more effective positive brand associations in the minds of their consumers".

The authors further submit that such sensory triggers can lead to consumers' generating their own list of desirable brand attributes, rather than those provided explicitly by the advertiser.

While aspects of this are already understood – make packaging 'loud' and crisps will 'taste' crunchier and fresher – it has been difficult to consciously design a successful multisensory integration since much of this takes place at a subconscious level with the individual consumer.

Marketers have experimented with aspects of this, infusing stores with the scent of pine at Christmas to increase sales, or using slow music to increase spending in supermarkets. And many brands have also developed signature tunes to exploit the value of sound space.

Now neuroscience, the authors argue, can help bring a measureable input into the creation of a multisensory marketing approach, while technological advances such as 3D printing and augmented reality, allow for more effective delivery of sensory experiences.

"In future, if brand owners wish to engage consumers at a much deeper emotional level, build loyalty and differentiate themselves from the competition, they will need to embrace the multisensory opportunities now afforded to them," they conclude.

Data sourced from Admap

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UK brands up their mobile game

2 April 2015
LONDON: Over 80% of the top 250 brand advertisers in the UK have a mobile optimised site, but 10% are running mobile display campaigns without one, a new industry audit has revealed.

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB), a digital trade body, brands are improving their overall mobile offer to consumers, but there are still some gaps in the services and particular sectors are performing better than others.

For example, a full 94% of auto brands have a mobile optimised site – as do 87% of travel brands and 72% of FMCG brands – but the retail sector is lagging behind.

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Only 32% of retailers have a transactional app, up by just 2% since 2013, and this does not compare well considering that more than two-thirds (68%) of the top advertisers in the UK have an app.

However, supermarket chain Tesco stands apart in the retail sector and is identified by the IAB as being one of an elite group of "star performing brands" that scored eight points or more when measured against ten KPIs tested in February.

Among the KPIs on the IAB's checklist are whether a brand has a mobile friendly site (either a separate mobile site or responsive web design on its main site), if the paid search link pushes through to an optimised site, or if a brand's paid search is optimised for mobile.

The IAB classed Disney, toymaker Lego and Spanish automaker Seat as star performers for their mobile optimisation and other arrangements.

Overall, nearly 70% of the top 250 UK advertisers are optimising their paid search for mobile and in the past 12 months three-quarters of them ran a mobile display campaign, according to the report.

However, some brands have no mobile presence at all and, taken sector by sector, this applies to 9% of FMCG brands, followed by travel and retail (7% each), social and political organisations (6%) and tech brands (5%).

Commenting on the report, the IAB's senior mobile executive Mike Reynolds, said: "The audit shows that brands are finally putting mobile as a top priority, which is great to see.

"There are still some gaps though, especially when you consider that brands are spending their budgets on mobile advertising. However, their shop fronts still aren't optimised for mobile.

"Over the next 12 months, I foresee that brands that have achieved the basics of mobile will focus on building on the quality of their mobile presence."

Data sourced from IAB UK; additional content by Warc staff

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Era of the smart home approaches

2 April 2015
KIRKLAND, WA: Nearly half (46%) of consumers in the US, UK and Germany believe smart home devices will be mainstream within just five years, a new survey has shown.

Another two-thirds (66%) think these devices will be mainstream within a decade while 6% say the era of the smart home has arrived already, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

However, the trade association said much depends on whether brands can meet consumers' expectations about simplicity and cost-effectiveness while also allaying their concerns about data security.

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More than 4,000 consumers in these three technologically advanced countries took part in the study, which identified five key factors that would influence their purchase decisions.

Over half (54%) say smart home devices should be simple to use, 42% want them to be competitively priced, 42% insist their data must be kept secure, 41% believe devices should be easy to set up and, finally, 28% want them to connect easily and quickly with a smartphone, tablet or PC.

As for today's market, devices that consumers currently regard as most appealing are ones which allow them to control their home environment.

Close to half (45%) find smart heating and thermostats to be useful while smart lighting (34%) and smart security and monitoring devices (33%) are also favoured.

Saving money is another important consideration and the research found 66% of respondents believe that being able to control their heating or lighting remotely would help them save energy.

"This study confirms consumers are looking for smart home products that 'just work'," said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

"It is evident demand for smart home devices is ramping up and consumers are keen to live in the scenarios conjured up by the Jetsons over 60 years ago.

"Smart home manufacturers need to deliver products that are simple, cost-effective and secure for this segment to become mainstream."

Data sourced from Bluetooth Special Interest Group; additional content by Warc staff

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Capital One wins with March Madness

2 April 2015
AUSTIN, TX: While the United States makes plans to hover around TV screens in bars, homes and even libraries on Monday night for the culmination of "March Madness", Capital One's chief brand officer has a prediction: "Triple overtime so we get higher ratings."

More basketball would mean more eyeballs for the financial-services group, which is the "Official Corporate Champion" of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

As such, it has invested significantly in March Madness, the climax to the annual college basketball season - and a major draw for sports fans across America.

"So [the] Super Bowl is awesome. But 'March Madness' is [four] weeks of awesome," Marc Mentry, Capital One's svp/brand marketing and chief brand officer asserted. (For more, including further details of how the brand is activating its NCAA sponsorship, read Warc's exclusive report: The March Madness of Capital One.)

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Mentry told delegates at the 4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) Transformation Conference 2015 in Austin, Texas, this affiliation provides a range of benefits for Capital One.

"It's brought us the ability to connect at a deeper level with fans," he said. "That deep connection is not just a surface-level relationship with our consumer."

Alongside exposure to massive television audiences, Capital One's activations around the NCAA tournament now cover an increasingly broad range of mediums, from mobile apps to social media.

And reaching basketball enthusiasts everywhere from the sofa in their living rooms to their desk in the office has been central to enhancing the power of its NCAA sponsorship.

"The deep collaboration comes from being able to surround fans and have weeks of talked-about games and content. That really helps us connect. And that's really very, very important," said Mentry.

"What we want is the fan to be front and centre. And if we're deeply connecting with our target consumer, that's the home run. And we've been able to deliver that on a multi-channel platform."

Data sourced from Warc

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Aussie out-of-home hits new high

2 April 2015
SYDNEY: Out-of-home (OOH) advertising revenues in Australia increased to a record AU$149.4m in the three months to March 2015, the latest industry data has shown.

As measured by the Outdoor Media Association (OMA), a trade body that represents an estimated 90% of OOH practitioners in the country, net revenue grew 22.4% from $122m during the same period last year.

The quarterly increase was more than double the 10% annual growth the OMA recorded over the course of 2014 and it reflected a steady momentum the industry has seen over the past three months.

Viewed year-on-year, advertising revenues increased 18.6% in January, 23.8% in February, rising slightly to 24.2% in March.

Charmaine Moldrich, CEO of the OMA, attributed much of the growth to new technologies, especially digital billboards, which she said helps advertisers to shorten campaign lead-times and allows for more targeted messages.

"We attribute our revenue growth to the effectiveness of the medium: nine out of ten people leave home every day, which means that Outdoor reaches more people on a daily basis than any other media," she said.

Every outdoor category monitored by the OMA recorded year-on-year revenue growth. For example, roadside billboards generated $53.9m in the first quarter of 2015 compared with $42.3m in the same period last year.

"Other" roadside formats – defined as street furniture, taxis, bus/tram externals and small format – generated $47.3m (up from $45.3m) while transport, including airports, earned $29m (up from $19.5m).

Retail, the fourth and final category, generated $19.2m over the quarter (up from $15m) while, across all categories, digital accounted for 21% of total net revenue, up from 18.8% recorded last year.

These latest revenue figures come after the OMA announced that it has been updating its Measurement of Visibility and Exposure (MOVE) metric to include geo-targeting and other measures designed to improve the data available for media planners.

Data sourced from Outdoor Media Association; additional content by Warc staff

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Contactless payments grow 49%

2 April 2015
SINGAPORE: Consumers in Asia-Pacific are rapidly embracing contactless payments as new research shows the number of unique contactless users in the region grew 49% year-on-year in 2014.

According to MasterCard, the trend is being driven by improved perceptions about security and convenience, but also a regional roll-out of mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) technology is playing an important role in developing markets.

The global payments network says it has established a series of partnerships with financial services firms in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam which it asserts is helping small and medium-sized enterprises to expand.

"More and more, we see small businesses and mobile merchants such as insurance agents and food delivery businesses turning to mPOS solutions to help expand their customer base and sales," said Raj Dhamodharan, head of emerging payments at MasterCard Asia/Pacific.

"This in turn is helping to displace cash in the country, paving the way for a cashless society," he forecast.

Looking at the more established markets in the region, MasterCard said Australia had the highest number of contactless transactions, or "taps", in 2014.

Australians accounted for nearly two-thirds of all MasterCard in-store contactless payments, a growth rate of 45% compared with 2013.

There was also strong growth in Singapore where the number of unique contactless users more than doubled between 2013 and 2014.

Hong Kong too has witnessed strong growth, MasterCard said. Buoyed by a determined marketing push, growth of contactless transactions in the territory more than quadrupled in 2014 compared with the year before.

While the trend is expected to continue, Dhamodharan concluded: "The rapid growth in contactless and mobile payments is expected to continue given there is just so much cash that needs to be displaced in the region."

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff

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TV companies waste data potential

1 April 2015
LONDON: TV companies are collecting vast amounts of data about audiences and users thanks to subscription and registration services, but are largely failing to put this information to practical use, a white paper has claimed.

In Big Questions, Big Answers: Will harnessing smart data for audience analytics save the broadcast industry?, market research firm GfK explored the benefits of big data for broadcast and outlined the future it has for the TV industry, based on interviews with key decision makers and executives from 14 media groups from around the world.

The study highlighted three broad findings, the first of which was the changing nature of the data now required. TV operators are moving away from asset-based data – such as the number of subscribers or the number of plays in a given time period – and towards behavioural data collected from panels or in real-time from viewers.

Behavioural data was also identified as being key to unlocking new insights by placing viewer habits in context. The third thing stressed by GfK was that all the data collected could only become valuable "through intelligent transformation and interpretation" in order to enable a better understanding of the audience and emerging trends.

"The potential offered by big data is immense," said Niko Waesche, global lead of the media and entertainment industry at GfK. "Currently, everybody is engaged in data experimentation and there is a lot to fight for."

UK broadcaster Channel 4, for example, has been using big data to enhance its ad sales, and anticipates that within two years half of its VoD advertising inventory will be sold on the basis of demographically targeted information, up from the current figure of 15%.

At Viacom data is being used to inform commissioning decisions and which talent to put resources behind. "If it's a website view, a TV rating, or SVoD stream, we can clearly see which pieces of content are resonating," explained Philip O'Ferrall, svp at Viacom International Media Networks.

The power of big data is immense, GfK concluded, "and it's clear that broadcasters and platform operators are only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible".

Data sourced from GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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Admap Prize shortlist announced

1 April 2015
LONDON: A total of 24 essays have been shortlisted for the Admap Prize 2015, sponsored by Kantar, in which contestants were asked to address the topic 'Does Big Data inspire or hinder creative thinking?'.

Now in its fourth year, this global, essay-based competition seeks to reward innovation and clarity in strategic thinking on the future effectiveness of brand communications. The complete shortlist can be read here.

The essay topic is one that is being hotly argued in all corners of the marketing industry and the question goes to the heart of the debate and anxiety around data. According to Marc Mathieu, svp/marketing at Unilever and an Admap Prize judge, the gathering of data, its manipulation and its employment is fundamental to the future of marketing.

"Kudos to Admap for picking the theme of the moment for its annual essay prize," he said. "Data or Creativity? Art or Science? Logic or Magic? This year's Admap Prize essays provided fascinating reading, comforting me further that we stand at the spring of a revolution in how we will look back at what we once held true in marketing, and smile at how innocent we were."

He argued that the industry was on the brink of "a total paradigm shift" which will be powered by technology and data.

"No more first, nor second, nor even zero moment of truths, but billions – one for each and every one of the people we serve, day in day out, powered by data, made personal – not big. Marketing, de-averaged!"

The essay question can be addressed in a range of ways and that was reflected in the variety of approach taken in the essays and the difference of opinion.

Admap Editor Colin Grimshaw observed that, between the extremes, "most people accept that the mass of data now being generated from consumer activity can be a positive, if channelled appropriately.

"Data can assist the creative process, if it isn't allowed to suppress human instinct and ingenuity. It can help develop the big idea, or the little idea, as long as it doesn't frustrate the advent of a 'eureka light bulb moment'. "

He also welcomed the "exceptional" geographic spread of entries, with essays received from 25 different countries, including many emerging markets.

The winners of the Admap Prize will be announced in May, with the Gold, Silver and Bronze awarded essays plus any Judges' Commended essays being published in the June edition of Admap.

A prize giving event will take place at Cannes Lions on June 25th at 4.30pm. This will include a debate on the topic of Data and Creativity with some renowned thought leaders on the topic. For an invitation please email luisa.woodcock@warc.com.

Data sourced from Warc

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Google takes over half global search

1 April 2015
NEW YORK: Google continues to dominate global search advertising and will account for over half of this $81.6bn market in 2015, according to new figures.

Breaking out search ad spending from digital ad spending for the first time, researcher eMarketer said that the internet giant's search ad revenues would grow 15.7% this year to reach $44.46bn, giving it a 54.5% share of the world total.

This ascendency is being chipped away only very slowly – its share in 2013 was 55.2% and in 2014 54.7%.

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Google's nearest rival is China's Baidu and its share is advancing steadily, from 6.4% in 2013 to 7.6% in 2014 and 8.8% in 2015, aided by growth rates double that of the market leader.

Another Chinese search engine, Sohu, is in turn growing twice as fast as Baidu, although as yet its global share is negligible at 0.5% in 2014, expected to edge up to 0.6% in 2015.

Google, banned in China, has been unable to take advantage of this booming market, which is being driven by ecommerce and the growing number of consumers in lower tier cities turning to online shopping. 

Search advertising expenditure in this country is set to leap by almost one third (32.8%) in 2015 to hit $14.90bn. In comparison, the US total is $25.66bn.

Microsoft and Yahoo take third and fourth places, with 2014 shares of 4.2% and 2.5% respectively. And while Microsoft is set to maintain that share in 2015, Yahoo is predicted to slip to 2.3%.

That slide is starting to slow, however, as eMarketer expected the company would see a 6.9% uplift in search revenue growth this year, picking up from the 4.8% recorded in 2014.

The global market is projected to increase again by 15% in 2016, with slower growth in subsequent years, but in 2019 it will still be growing at almost 10% and will be worth an estimated $130.6bn.


Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff

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In-store wi-fi boosts sales, loyalty

1 April 2015
ATLANTA: Of all the various technologies that retailers can deploy, wi-fi may be the one with the greatest potential to drive sales and customer loyalty according to new research.

A survey of 100 retailers ranging in size from those with a turnover of less than $500m to those with more than $1bn, was undertaken by research consultants IHL Group in partnership with EarthLink Holdings, a managed network and cloud solutions provider, and AirTight Networks, a cloud-managed wi-fi solutions provider.

They found that while in-store wi-fi increased customer loyalty metrics and sales, it was not necessarily wi-fi aimed at customers themselves that was most effective.

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Overall, almost half (48%) claimed increased customer loyalty due to deploying in-store employee wi-fi, with an associated 3.4% increase in sales. The figures were higher for general merchandise stores and lower for food, drug and convenience stores.

Just over one quarter (28%) reported increased customer loyalty due to deploying in-store customer wi-fi, with an associated 2% increase in sales. In this case the hospitality sector was the greatest beneficiary.

The presence of wi-fi also meant shoppers spent longer in-store: 21% of retailers reported an increase in customer dwell time due to deployment of in-store wi-fi. For these same retailers, top uses included traffic counting at 56% and session duration and device used at 49%.

These "dramatic results", said the study, highlighted "the importance of a creating a connected, flexible workforce untethered to point-of-sale stations".

Using wi-fi, noted Greg Buzek, IHL president, "allows them to get more item information and save sales otherwise lost as well as replicate the experience of their best salespeople across the chain".

He added that many retail segments saw further growth by offering wi-fi to customers.

And Kevin McCauley, director of retail market development, AirTight Networks, observed that "increasing same store sales is a team goal, and that's where IT and marketing can both draw on the IHL's research data to justify the wi-fi investment".

Data sourced from Business Wire; additional content by Warc staff

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East Asians gift global beauty brands

1 April 2015
SINGAPORE: Korean beauty products are a top choice for personal use among many East Asian consumers but they are more likely to give international brands as gifts according to a new study.

Researcher Nielsen polled 1,900 women aged 18 to 55 in four key markets – China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore – who had purchased Korean beauty products for their personal use in the past six months.

"Their loyalty towards Korean brands were different when it comes to shopping for personal use or as a gift, providing a potential gain for international brands from switching," reported Yvonne Lum, vp/ sales effectiveness, Nielsen.

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"Whether they can be successful in the market relies on their strategies in terms of innovation and product variants, in particular, focus strongly on the hydration benefits or more adapted to Asian market," she told Marketing Interactive.

In general, international beauty brands were seen as being of good quality and having a sound reputation, with Chinese survey respondents highlighting French products in this regard, while the other three markets preferred Japanese products.

Nielsen's research also revealed some distinct differences in the attitudes of respondents towards the marketing of Korean products.

Those in mainland China, for example, showed a greater interest in all things Korean and were far more likely to buy products used by their favourite characters in TV shows: 48% would do so, compared to just 15% of those in Taiwan, 14% in Hong Kong and 11% in Singapore.

But product placement was not a complete waste of time in these three markets as even if consumers there weren't moved to buy products used by certain characters their curiosity was at least aroused, even more so than in China.

Thus, 48%, again, of Chinese respondents said they thought about trying a product they had seen in a TV show, but the equivalent figures for the other three markets were much higher: 67% in Hong Kong, 73% in Taiwan and 75% in Singapore.

Data sourced from Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian ecommerce 'a game of investors'

1 April 2015
MUMBAI: Marketing expenditure by India's ecommerce businesses will rise in 2015 as they chase new customers, but some observers consider the industry little over a year away from a major correction.

The ecommerce sector was a major contributor to growth in adspend during 2014 and is expected to do so again in 2015. As media agency Group M noted earlier this year: "There is increased competition in this sector and no dearth of funding."

That view is widely held by those in the industry. "Ad spends will definitely go up," according to Bikky Khosla, chairman of the e-commerce committee of ASSOCHAM and CEO of tradeindia.com.

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"To get new users for online buying, they [ecommerce businesses] will have to spend," he explained to Impact. "Today, about 32% of internet users are using e-commerce and buying online, but to get that number to grow, they will have to do some branding and advertising."

The CRO and founder of online fashion retailer Jabong concurred. "The industry will have to invest in branding and communicating value propositions that are present to their consumers," said Arun Chandra Mohan.

He took a broad view of the sector – large youth population, growing internet penetration, more use of mobile – and concluded that "definitely the future is bright and we are very excited to be in the space where we are".

But in the midst of all this optimism, Khosla sounded a note of caution, pointing out that the consumer's understandable desire for a bargain was being addressed by discounts and sales. "I don't know for how long this can continue because if this goes on, they will not be profitable," he said.

Investors have been pouring significant sums into India's ecommerce sector which has so far helped sustain a breakneck rate of growth. 

But one industry expert suggested that at some point in the coming 12 to 15 months one of the major businesses would be unable to raise further funding and then "the whole market will start correcting itself" with the search for customers rapidly becoming a search for profitability.

"It's a game of investors, not really of entrepreneurs," the anonymous expert said.


Data sourced from Impact; additional content by Warc staff

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Sour Patch Kids updates influencer model

1 April 2015
AUSTIN, TX: Sour Patch Kids, the candy line owned by Mondelez International, has shown how tapping YouTube influencers in innovative ways can help brands make a genuine connection with teens.

Farrah Bezner, marketing director/Halls and candy at Mondelez International, discussed this subject at MediaPost's OMMA event held during South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin Texas.

"A teenager would say that YouTube influencers are celebrities," she told the conference audience. (For more details, including results of the "Breaking Out" campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: How Sour Patch Kids recast YouTube influencers – and engaged teens.)

To support this view, Bezner could draw on a survey of 1,500 teens aged 13 to 17 by Variety, the entertainment title, which found their top five famous faces had risen to prominence by creating content on YouTube.

In response to such a trend, Sour Patch Kids – a soft candy boasting the tagline "Sour. Sweet. Gone" – has been "working a lot" with this new breed of celebrity.

One thoroughgoing example is "Breaking Out", a scripted series of webisodes featuring several YouTube influencers as the stars, even though none of them were mainly known for their acting skills.

"Yes, we have TV: our 'Sour then Sweet' messaging really resonates with teenagers," said Bezner.

"But even beyond moving into social – we're on Snapchat and Facebook and everything – we know that there's only so much that can come directly from the brand to a teenager and still be relevant.

"So being able to be authentic through the voice of an influencer is really important."

The six episodes – and a slate of almost 20 accompanying clips – of "Breaking Out" were thus hosted on the channels run by the YouTube influencers rather than on Sour Patch Kids' own social feeds.

In keeping with this impulse, the brand was careful to ensure all the content felt genuine to its stars, from the dialogue used to the degree of product integration.

"We worked with the talent to get the scripts to a place that we could bring the essence of our 'Sour then Sweet' into each of the episodes, but in a way that felt natural for their channels," Bezner said.

Data sourced from Warc

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Warc unveils Connection Strategy prize

31 March 2015
LONDON: Warc is today launching the Warc Prize for Connection Strategy, a new global competition to find the best examples of channel thinking that delivers brand advantage.

The Prize, which is free to enter and carries a $10,000 prize fund, will look at the strategy, analytics and measurement that power modern media investment. The focus is on new ways of connecting with consumers, and how those connections are being planned and measured by forward-thinking marketers.

"Connection strategy is one of the most exciting areas of modern marketing," said David Tiltman, Head of Content at Warc.

"With so many different channels available, and so much data at the disposal of clients and agencies, it has never been more important to understand the role of different media, how they can be combined to meet client objectives, and how connection strategy and creative strategy can work together."

The new Prize aims to showcase best-in-class connection strategy, and to bring great examples of channel thinking together to see which combinations of channels are working for clients.

Entrants will need to submit a case study detailing how a smart 'connection strategy' delivered on a client's objectives. This could involve innovative cross-platform or cross-device thinking, channel insights that inform new ways to connect with consumers, exercises in communications architecture, exercises in channel attribution and optimisation or paid/owned/earned strategies.

Warc will name Gold, Silver and Bronze winners for the highest-scoring cases in four categories with a $5,000 Grand Prix for the best paper in the competition, plus five $1,000 Special Awards.

The four categories are geographic, covering strategies developed for each of three particular regions – the Americas, EMEA and APAC – and one for a global or multimarket strategy.

The five Special Awards cover the following areas: commercial impact, POE, attribution, context and low-budget.

Full details on these Awards along with the entry kit, entry form, and tips on writing a great strategy case study, can be found on the Prize website.  

The deadline for entries is 18 June 2015, and the winner will be announced in September 2015.

Data sourced from Warc

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China slowdown affects global adspend

31 March 2015
GLOBAL: Global advertising expenditure will grow at a slightly slower rate than expected over the next two years as the Chinese market starts to come off the boil, according to a new forecast.

China is now the world's second-largest ad market, according to media services network ZenithOptimedia, having overtaken Japan during 2014. Advertising expenditure there amounted to US$45.4bn, compared to US$45bn in Japan. Both these, however, are only around one quarter of the US figure of US$176.2bn.

Nonetheless, China "is now so large that relatively small changes in growth visibly affect the global total", said ZenithOptimedia. It predicted that adspend in this country would ease from the 10.5% growth it has averaged for the past five years to 9.1% in 2015.

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That's still more than twice the revised global rate of 4.4%, down 0.5 percentage points from ZenithOptimiedia's last such forecast. An average annual growth rate of 8.5% for China is projected out to 2017.

The other factor in downgrading growth figures is the political and economic uncertainty engulfing Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, where adspend is expected to decline by 16.5%, 62.3% and 33.5% respectively in 2015.

But as these three countries account for just 2.1% of the global total, compared to China's 8.3%, "their sudden decline has slowed but not derailed global adspend growth".

Looking further ahead, ZenithOptimedia anticipates adpsend growth will pick up to 5.3% in 2016, helped by the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the heavy advertising expenditure that surrounds the US presidential election, before easing back to 4.8% in 2017.

The network also highlighted the speed at which online video is growing, up 34% to US$10.9bn in 2014 and forecast it to grow at an average of 29% a year to reach US$23.3bn in 2017.

"Online video combines the emotional connection of television with the efficient targeting and measurable effectiveness of digital display," observed Steve King, ZenithOptimedia's CEO, Worldwide.

"While television will remain dominant for many years to come, advertisers are increasingly utilising online video as an invaluable complement, giving them new opportunities to communicate brand values to consumers," he added.

Warc's Consensus Ad Forecast, a weighted average of adspend forecasts from advertising agencies, media companies and industry bodies, including ZenithOptimedia, forecasts growth of 10.3% in Chinese advertising expenditure in 2015, with digital up 23.7%. Global growth in adspend is penciled at 5.1% this year, rising to 6.0% in 2016.


Data sourced from ZenithOptimedia; additional content by Warc staff

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Mobile programmatic good in theory

31 March 2015
NEW YORK: Most brand marketers are sold on the idea of programmatic buying for mobile, but only a few are actually using the technique, new research has found.

A study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence polled 200 top-level brand marketing executives on their attitudes to mobile marketing. It discovered that while 76% of respondents thought mobile programmatic is an important development, just 27% are currently buying this way.

"It is clear that programmatic advertising is strongly embedded in the minds of many mobile marketers," said Anna Bager, svp/Mobile and Video at the IAB. She added that there was "much work to be done before mobile programmatic can reach its full potential".

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As well as programmatic, marketers seemed enthused by the potential of advertising opportunities with new-generation connected devices.

As one might perhaps expect, connected TVs topped the list, for 73% of those marketers surveyed, but connected cars (69%) and wearables (66%) were close behind.

And the figures were even greater among experienced mobile marketers: 80% for connected TVs, 78% connected cars and 75% wearables.

The survey also established that mobile advertising budgets are continuing to rise, and, while much of this increase is new spending, around one third is being diverted from other media.

Print had suffered most in this respect, with six in ten (58%) reporting they had shifted funds from here into mobile. Desktop (31%) and TV (31%) were equally hit, while outdoor (20%) and radio (18%) were currently least affected by mobile ad substitution.

The fact that 95% were satisfied with the performance of their mobile ads may indicate that more cannibalisation can be expected in future.

Several areas emerged from the survey as posing challenges for the future of mobile advertising, including a lack of standardised metrics (cited as very important by 54% of those surveyed), a lack of agency expertise (52%), the fragmentation of operating systems (50%) and the wide variety of ways to buy mobile inventory (49%).

Privacy was also moving up marketers' agendas, with 37% identifying this issue as a major challenge compared to 22% in 2013.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff

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Aussies are creatures of shopping habit

31 March 2015
SYDNEY: Australian shoppers tend to stick to tried and tested stores, whether physical or online, and are mostly "pattern spenders", research has shown.

American Express surveyed 1,993 shoppers across Australia and discovered that six in ten relied on a core of ten different retail and online shops.

Further, its Pattern Spending Report revealed that 85% routinely shop the same way every time they hit the stores with almost half (49%) always visiting the same shopping strip or mall; only one in ten could be described as an impulse shopper.

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As a financial services company, this news is valuable to American Express which can more easily spot fraudulent activity. But it is also potentially useful to retailers, as it indicates there is a large pool of untapped prospects that can be addressed.

The report also identified eight different spending types and said most shoppers fitted at least two of these.

Sale Seekers hunting out bargains and offers were the single largest type, with 41% of Australians falling into this group.

The biggest driver for spending disposable income was in-store discount offers (57%) followed by key sale periods such as the Boxing Day sales (34%). Women were more bargain conscious than men, with 65% motivated by in-store discounts and 40% by key sale periods.

Passionists (30%) mainly spend on a single interest or hobby, while Paydayers (28%) splurge on, or soon after, pay day every month.

Loyalists (24%) prefer to stick to the same brands while Localists (29%) always spend in the same shopping centres.

Clock Watchers (21%) spend at the same time each week, and Planners (20%) spread purchases evenly throughout the month at a wide variety of stores.

Finally, Cyber Spenders (22%) like to do most of their spending online. In a related finding, American Express said that Australians spend an average of 20% of their disposable income online.

Weekends are, unsurprisingly, the most popular time for shopping, with Saturday afternoon (36%) the preferred option, ahead of Saturday morning (26%) or Sunday afternoon (23%). But a significant proportion (21%) also spend while commuting to and from work.

Data sourced from B&T, American Express; additional content by Warc staff

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Indian media consumption rises

31 March 2015
NEW DELHI: Overall Indian media consumption rose during 2014, with print reporting the strongest growth in terms of total numbers of users although radio was the fastest growing medium, according to a new study.

The data were contained in the latest Indian Readership Survey, the first such report in more than a year following an outcry from publishers when a new-look survey, based on a changed methodology, produced some anomalies. The new data were welcomed by the advertising industry.

"It's good that the numbers are out," said Mallikarujun Das, chief executive of media agency Starcom MediaVest Group. "For the past two years, we have been relying on historical data and practically living without a currency." And that, he told Live Mint, was a "scary" place to be.

Print saw a respectable 7% increase in the number of readers, adding 19.7m during the course of the year to reach a total of 301.6m, helped by the 2014 general election. This rate of growth was more than twice that of TV (+3%) but less than half that of radio (+18%) or digital (+15.5%).

Hindi-language newspapers continued to dominate the top three positions in the IRS report. Dainik Jagran topped the list, with an average issue readership (AIR) of 16,631,000, up from 15,527,000 in 2013.

In second spot was Hindustan, with an AIR of 14,746,000, followed by Dainik Bhaskar, with an AIR of 13,830,000.

The Times of India remained the most-read English language paper, its AIR of 7,580,000 keeping it well ahead of the Hindustan Times (4,515,000) and The Hindu (1,622,000).

Only one of the top ten dailies had lost readers: Mathrubhumi – a Malayalam language paper published in Kerala – dropped more than 100,000 readers and now claims an AIR of 6,020,000.

While the advertising industry was pleased to see new IRS figures there was a hint of frustration at the planned frequency of publication, with the Media Research Users Council indicating this would be done on an annual basis.

Nagesh Alai, group chairman of advertising agency FCB Ulka, observed that "readership change is an ongoing pattern.

"Quarterly data may be too short a spell to take decision, while annual may be a bit too long. The answer lies somewhere in between," he suggested.

Data sourced from Live Mint, MRUC; additional content by Warc staff

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US is passionate about food

31 March 2015
NEW YORK: Americans claim to be more passionate and knowledgeable about food than the French, a nation that traditionally regards itself as having attained something of a peak in culinary matters.

Researcher GfK surveyed over 27,000 respondents from the age of 15 to over 60 in 22 countries, looking at their passion and knowledge about food and cooking. The US ranked in the top third in both regards.

Some 35% of US respondents said they possessed great knowledge about food and cooking, compared to a global average of 29% and 21% in France.

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While the youngest age groups had a realistic assessment of their abilities – just 22% of 15-19 year olds in the US felt able to claim prowess in the kitchen – all the others ranked above the global average. The 30-to-39 age range posted a "remarkable" 47%, GfK noted.

Over one third of Americans (37%) also considered themselves passionate about cooking and food. Again, this exceeded the global average of 32% and the 24% registered by the French.

And, again, almost half (49%) of 30-to-39-year-olds in the US identified themselves as kitchen-passionate – among the highest scores of any age group globally.

By comparison, the least engaged with culinary matters were South Koreans (13% knowledgeable, 13% passionate) while the most knowledgeable were South Africans (50%) and the most passionate Italians (43%).

GfK highlighted some interesting knowledge/passion comparisons in the US: while 22% of 15-to-19-year-olds scored as knowledgeable, 31% regarded themselves as passionate. On the other hand, the 60+ group scored 32% for knowledge but a low 23% for cooking passion.

Such statistics may tell us more about the self-image of consumers in some countries than anything else. A more objective measure might be the average time spent in the kitchen, with survey reporting a global average of 6.4 hours per week.

At just 5.9 hours, Americans – despite their avowed passion – were spending less than an hour a day in the kitchen. But their 50 minutes was still marginally more than the 47 minutes of the French. At the extremes were South Korea (3.7 hours) and India (13.2 hours)

Data sourced from Business Wire, GfK; additional content by Warc staff

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Global TV budgets take a hit

30 March 2015
LONDON: Marketing optimism remained at a high level in March, as the latest Global Marketing Index (GMI) edged upwards, but there was also a noticeable shift in the allocation of budgets away from TV and towards mobile and digital.

The headline GMI rose 0.4 points to 57.4 – a reading of 50 indicates no change while 60+ indicates rapid growth – with robust marketing activity recorded in each region: 57.0 in Europe (+0.3), 58.6 in the Asia-Pacific area (+0.3) and 57.1 in the Americas (+0.6). These figures are now based on a three month moving average to mitigate abnormal seasonal variations.

Compiled by World Economics, the GMI provides a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry because it tracks current conditions for marketers as well as their expectations for marketing budgets, trading conditions and staffing levels.

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The first of these measures – the Index for Global Marketing Budgets – dropped by 1.2 in March to register a value of 53.5, but remained in positive territory to record the 25th consecutive month of budget growth.

Within that, however, the Index indicating spending on TV budgets across the world fell 1.4 to a score of 48.4. This decline follows six months where the Index oscillated around the 50.0 no change level.

World Economics reported that the "collapse" of TV budgets was most evident in the Americas where the Index value had fallen 1.3 points to 43.3, while that for Asia Pacific was also down 1.2 points to 47.1. This denoted nine and eleven consecutive months of decline in the respective regions' spending assignment.

Only in Europe were TV budgets continuing to grow, although even there the March Index value of 53.8 was 2.5 points down on February.

In contrast the Index for expenditure on Mobile rose by 2.0 to reach 74.2 in March, a pattern of rapid and accelerating growth seen across all regions. Similarly, the Index for Digital hit 77.5, up by 1.9 on its February value.

The fastest growth of the Digital Index was in the Americas, where it rose 3.3 to 76.7. Taken together with the drop in the TV Index for the region, this suggests that a significant and oft-predicted shift may be finally under way.

Data sourced from World Economics; additional content by Warc staff

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Reward engagement as well as purchase

30 March 2015
PARIS: Most loyalty programs continue to reward consumers only for purchases and are neglecting the many digital opportunities to engage them, according to new research.

Capgemini Consulting researched the loyalty programs of 160 global companies across seven sectors – retail, banking, consumer products, telecoms, airlines, hotel chains and consumer electronics – as well as scanning 40,000 consumer conversations on social media to gauge customer sentiment towards loyalty programs.

The resulting report, Fixing the cracks: reinventing loyalty programs for the digital age, found that 97% of loyalty programs were based primarily on purchases made by consumers, with just 16% rewarding customers for activities such as taking online surveys, rating and reviewing establishments or referring friends to the program.

And fewer than one in ten loyalty programs (9%) offered point redemption across all channels, although, as the report pointed out, to be commercially successful programs must engage customers across every touch point.

Its scan of social media showed that 89% of opinions on loyalty programs were negative, with lack of reward relevance, rigid reward structures, user experience issues with online channels and poor customer service quality levels emerging as the main reasons.

"Brands need to revisit their approach to loyalty," stated Mark Taylor, Global Lead for Customer Experience Transformation at Capgemini Consulting, who saw the key steps being the integration of the loyalty program into the overarching customer experience and "to reward engagement as well as the simple transaction".

He further noted that "advanced levels of customisation and tailored experiences will enrich loyalty programs and further encourage customer engagement".

The report held up the Beauty Insider loyalty program from French cosmetics store Sephora as an example of what could be achieved. This matches loyalty accounts with Sephora's mobile app, as well as the Apple Passbook mobile wallet and allows Sephora to provide a seamless purchase experience.

Customers can track their purchases, view offers and redeem reward points on the go via their mobile devices. The strategy has worked, with Sephora's Passbook users purchasing twice as much and twice as frequently as the average Sephora customer.

Data sourced from Capgemini Consulting; additional content by Warc staff

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Cross-device attribution 'years away'

30 March 2015
NEW YORK: True cross-channel, cross-device attribution is still at least five years away, a leading industry figure has said.

Nick Jordan, svp/ global strategy at Tapad, a specialist in cross-device content delivery, told eMarketer that, as the industry edged towards a consolidation of the technology stack, the various platforms available to marketers would "start to have some commonalities in terms of how they buy and measure effectiveness".

But, Jordan added, that wasn't going to happen this year or next. "We're probably looking at more of a 2020 thing if I had to guess when we might see such an all-digital/media mix modeling tool capable of truly holistic, cross-channel, cross-device attribution," he said.

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On the pace of development, Jordan observed that "multichannel, cross-device attribution is still largely a talking point. But with companies like Google, AOL and Facebook hopping on board, adoption should hasten at least a little bit".

A major challenge, he suggested, was structural, since much buying and attribution by agency staff is still done in silos, with the various teams – display, mobile, search, social, television, offline – incentivised by their own channel and not the larger marketing program.

"What buyers are going to have to do is find a way to incentivise all those teams to do what is right for the brand at a macro-level instead of the micro-level they're currently focused on," Jordan said.

That means understanding how all the various channels interact with each other, but the current bottom-up and top-down models fail to achieve that. "Ultimately, what marketers need is a data-driven method of tying both approaches together to really get the results they are looking for."

He accepted that it would never be a simple process, but argued that the data and technology existed to significantly improve how people approached attributing the value of marketing and advertising.

"It's never going to be a fully solved, perfect science equation. But I do think we can do better as an industry than we're doing today."

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff

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Young Aussies stick with Facebook

30 March 2015
SYDNEY: The majority of young Australians are continuing to use Facebook every day, according to research which gives the lie to suggestions that this age group is looking elsewhere for its social needs.

This was one of the findings to emerge from Aussies on Facebook, a study conducted by researcher Nielsen for the social media giant which revealed that 13m Australians are active Facebook users – over half the population – with 10m logging on daily, 9m of them via mobile.

Even though Facebook itself commissioned the research, the figures are compelling as regards younger users. Fully 92% of students under 25 are using the platform every day, with 83% of all 16-24 year olds also doing so, Ad News reported.

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But the global picture is confusing, with contradictory evidence appearing in different parts of the world. Eighteen months ago, for example, UK teenagers were found to be drifting away from Facebook to other services including Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Last summer Forrester Research said that Facebook remained the favourite social network of US teens, but by the autumn other surveys were putting Instagram at the top for this age group and reporting Facebook's popularity had fallen from a figure of 75% to 42%.

But Steve Lockwood, Facebook Australia's head of marketing science, explained that "Facebook is a daily frequent habit – it's no longer something they're moving out of, the latest fad."

"It's really a part of everyone's day-to-day lives," he added. "And that's consistent over a wide range of characteristics and people."

The platform has evolved from its original use of staying connected with friends and family, as different demographics use it in different ways – "to be informed about things, to be entertained and most of all for a platform for discovery".

The report found, for example, that 67% of young people used Facebook to access news, while mums were more likely to be using it to discover restaurants or TV shows.

As well as being predominantly a mobile platform, the use of video is exploding: in Australia 50% of users use video on Facebook daily, with video posts increasing by 52% year-on-year.

Data sourced from Ad News; additional content by Warc staff

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Millennials smart on auto purchase

30 March 2015
SANTA MONICA, CA: Three quarters of US Millennials think they're smarter than their parents when it comes to buying cars, thanks in part to their use of mobile technology according to a new report.

A study of US Millennial car shopping habits by car-buying platform Edmunds.com was based on two surveys, one of 1,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, and one of 1,500 adults who had bought a vehicle in the preceding three months.

Some 73% of Millennials believed they were savvier car buyers than their parents and more than half said they actively advised friends and family on the car buying process, compared to 37% of older Americans.

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The study also found that Millennials especially turned to mobile for critical car shopping activities such as reading vehicle reviews (41% of Millennials vs 20% of all other adults), locating vehicles for sale (34% vs 20%) and researching vehicle pricing (33% vs 21%).

Overall, Edmunds' research concluded that 80% of Millennials used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car shopping task, compared to just 46% of people aged 35 and over.

Avi Steinlauf, Edmunds.com CEO, described them as informed car buyers. "They're making the most out of the volume of information available at their fingertips," he said, "and it's helping them to make a smarter car purchase.

"And since a smart car buyer is a quality car buyer, it all points to an optimistic and healthy future for the auto industry."

The heavy use of mobile for research activities was not cutting dealers out of the loop, however. About 70% of recent Millennial car buyers said that they contacted a dealer via text message during the shopping process. And 64% of Millennials said that they preferred face-to-face interaction with dealers as opposed to remote communications.

Their attachment to their smartphones continued to the car itself as four in five thought it was important to integrate their smartphone features into their car, and 62% said they would be willing to pay more for a WiFi-connected vehicle.

When it comes down to it, however, these things can be filed under 'nice to have'. Price, fuel economy and performance remained the major priorities for these buyers.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff

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'Little wins' key at BlackRock

30 March 2015
NEW YORK: Marketers at BlackRock, the world's largest asset-management company, are using "little wins" to enhance their status in an organisation which traditionally has not relied on communications to drive growth.

Matt Van Dalsem, BlackRock's director/global media planning, discussed this subject at The Big Rethink, a conference held by The Economist magazine in New York.

"We all are trying to, first and foremost, educate internally – up, down, left, right – everyone in the organisation about the power of brand, the power of marketing, and, along the way, delivering small but impactful wins that help educate," he said. (For more, including how the firm is approaching social media, read Warc's exclusive report: Building a marketing culture at BlackRock.)

"And with each little win, with each education session, we are gathering more of an ability to try something new."

"I think supporting our own CMO with, essentially, ammunition to go into the executive boardroom to tell our own story internally is huge for us."

Given that BlackRock manages well over $4tr in assets, there are many misperceptions regarding its approach to marketing, Van Dalsem suggested.

"I think the perception of BlackRock from those who don't know it – and the majority of people don't, because that hasn't been our objective – they think that we're spending way more money than we really are," he said.

"I think that there is a perception out there that we are, from a marketing function, bigger than perhaps we really are."

One major factor shaping the company's communications strategy is that its products are sold by intermediaries like insurance providers and financial advisers, meaning large, splashy campaigns are of limited appeal.

BlackRock was founded in 1988, and approximately doubled the assets under its control by acquiring Barclays Global Investors for $13.5bn in 2009.

This is illustrative of the fact the business has typically not depended on marketing as fuel for growth. "I think it's new," Van Dalsem said. "It's just new for a lot of people in the firm that just didn't grow up doing what we do.

"We grew … not on the backs of marketing, but on the backs of [a] great product and acquisition. And talented people."

Data sourced from Warc

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Cricket fans turn to mobile

30 March 2015
SINGAPORE/MUMBAI: Indian cricket fans are way out in front of other countries when it comes to mobile search, offering marketers a wealth of real-time opportunities to reach consumers during the course of games.

Internet giant Google tracked search trends during two ICC World Cup games between fierce rivals. For the England-Australia match, almost half (46%) of Australian searches related to the World Cup came from mobile. But for the India-Pakistan game, 78% of Indian fans' searches came from mobile, specifically smartphones.

And while fans clearly wanted to know details like the latest score, they were also interested in other areas, some more obvious than others.

For example, Google noted a correlation between searches for cricket and searches for pizza in Australia, while Indian fans have been intrigued by hair – searches for Virat Kohli's hairstyle have increased by 15 times since the start of the World Cup.

Google advised that marketers targeting sporting events start with mobile and design for mobile rather than simply downsizing desktop creative, and use real-time marketing tools powered by programmatic technologies to surprise consumers "in the moment".

There is, it suggested, a huge opportunity to reach people before, during and after the game rather than "waiting for a break in play to get a word in".

TV advertisers may face that particular restriction but the fact that 576m people in India watched the World Cup's group games – making it the most watched television event in the country – will no doubt have softened the blow.

With India exiting the tournament at the semi-final stage, however, there will be some disappointment that yesterday's final between Australia and New Zealand will not have attracted the hoped-for number of viewers.

But as Navin Khemka, managing partner (north and east region) at media agency Maxus, observed: "Any advertiser who had bought into the World Cup would have obviously factored in the risk of India not playing the finals."

Most disappointed will be the broadcaster, as "additional one-off advertisers, who had planned to buy on Star for the finals despite steep rates, will not do so now".


Data sourced from Google, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff

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Adidas looks to cities

27 March 2015
HERZOGENAURACH: Adidas, the sportswear giant, intends to focus its marketing efforts on six cities around the world as part of a new five-year plan.

"Global brands are created in global cities," said Roland Auschel, head of global sales. "If we win running in New York and Los Angeles, we will win running in the US. Therefore, we are committed to win market and mind share in key cities around the globe."

In addition to the above two, Adidas will also be looking at London, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. Most of its investment in "talent and attention", Marketing Week reported, will also rest in these six cities.

Chief executive Herbert Hainer described them as "'halo' locations where the perceptions of brands will be shaped" and spread to the rest of the world.

The move comes as Adidas seeks to restore margins and profitability and to close the gap on rival Nike.

Hainer conceded mistakes had been made. "We did not focus enough on the needs of our consumer," he said. "This was a result of our function-driven organisation, which slowed down our decision-making, making us and our plan too static and not agile enough.

"Losing our number two position in North America is a direct consequence of that," he added.

One way Adidas plans to address this is by bringing some production back from Asia as it trials automated production units. Hainer noted that it could take six weeks to ship products from Asia to Europe, which was too long.

"We will bring production back to where the main markets are," he declared. "Robots can be everywhere."

This strategy will enable it to react more quickly to fast-changing fashion trends. In a similar spirit it will extend the innovations pioneered by its NEO teen fashion brand which gets new products into store in 45 days, compared with a sports industry standard of 12-18 months.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Financial Times, Reuters; additional content by Warc staff

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'Understanding gap' frustrates consumers

27 March 2015
READING, UK: Consumers are increasingly opting to contact brands via written digital communications – email and social – rather than voice, which is leading to frustrations as the two sides fail to fully understand each other.

Eptica, a supplier of customer interaction management software, surveyed 1,000 UK consumers and 103 contact centre agents for its study, The Power of Linguistics in Customer Service. It reported that consumers overwhelmingly used email to contact brands, with 87% of consumers selecting it as their primary communication channel, ahead of Facebook (6%), chat (4%) and Twitter (3%).

The biggest single source of frustration, cited by 78% of consumers, was getting a response that either partially, or completely, failed to answer their question. Another major issue, brought up by 31%, was a failure to acknowledge their upset or anger.

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The research found that the consequences of this frustration were stark: 82% said they always or often switched supplier if they failed to correct their mistakes.

As well as the impact of customer churn on revenues, the understanding gap also adds to costs as consumers have to re-contact a company, so putting more pressure on customer service workloads and stretching resources.

On the other side of the fence, 61% of contact centre agents said they found it hard to understand the language and vocabulary that consumers used, and nearly a third (31%) found it hard to recognise anger or upset in written communications.

Being sworn at and abused were fairly obvious signs of anger that made agents unhappy but they also cited emails written totally in UPPER CASE and use of the word 'disappointed'.

And while agents empathised with consumers' frustrations they felt powerless to help and wanted better tools and technology. For example, half wanted to be able to prioritise answers based on tone (anger, sadness, happiness) and a similar proportion wanted technology that analyses questions and suggests relevant information.

Julian Sammells, sales director UK & Ireland at Eptica, observed that many brands were focused on building stronger relationships and engaging with their customers, but said their efforts were being "seriously undermined by a breakdown in understanding between consumers and frontline customer service staff".

Data sourced from Real Wire; additional content by Warc staff

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Viewability issues exaggerated

27 March 2015
AUSTIN, TX: The issues around the viewability of digital ads have been exaggerated by those with an interest in doing so, according to a leading industry figure.

Noting the extent of negative press coverage around "the two ugly sisters of the trust and supply chain – viewability and fraud", John Montgomery, CEO for GroupM Interaction North America, suggested that these stories were "apocryphal and based on self-interest".

"It's confused marketers a hell of a lot," he told Beet.tv, before going on to argue that there was "a huge good news story to be told".

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The nature of that story, he reported, was that GroupM had seen viewable ads "increase by nearly 30% year-on-year" while other agencies he spoke to had seen the same thing.

"Web designers and publishers are redesigning their pages to make them much more viewable," he said. "And marketers are responding by paying premium rates for more viewable ads."

There was, of course, more to be done but the direction of travel was hugely encouraging.

The same was true of the other sister. "On fraud, the industry has spoken – media buyers and clients – to say 'we won't tolerate a high degree of fraud in our advertising, we need to have this addressed'."

Montgomery pointed to the existence of the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a new body set up to counter ad fraud, identify criminal behaviour and share policing resources among members, and which includes leading brands, agencies, internet and adtech companies among its members.

A TAG certification could become a standard feature of online ad buys, according to Mike Zaneis, the organisation's interim CEO. "You are going to hear a lot more about this," he said. "I think it will become a regular part of the buying process."

Backing the new group, ANA president Bob Liodice said businesses could invest millions of dollars to save billions.


Data sourced from Beet.tv, Advertising Age, Advertising Week; additional content by Warc staff

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Netflix goes beyond demographics

27 March 2015
AUSTIN, TX: Netflix, the online streaming service, has moved significantly beyond using demographics to understand its users, having learned this information was "almost useless" as an indicator of behaviour.

Todd Yellin, Netflix's vp/product innovation, discussed this subject at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2015 in Austin, Texas.

"Everyone's instinct was, 'Yeah, if you find out their age and gender data, that's fantastic'. But what we learned is: it's almost useless," he said. (For more, including details of its A/B testing strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: How Netflix enhances the customer experience.)

"Because, here's a shocker for you, there are actually 19-year-old guys who watch 'Dance Moms', and there are 73-year-old women who are watching 'Breaking Bad' and 'Avengers'."

The importance of looking beyond such basic characteristics has been reinforced as Netflix's operations have grown increasingly international in scope. "Taste is becoming more global," said Yellin.

An alternative on which to base its strategy simply involves getting consumers to rate the shows and movies they watch.

"You can just ask people and have them rate things on a one-to-five star scale," Yellin said. "At the peak, we had over half of our members rating over 50 titles."

The issue with this tactic, however, is that people often "pretend" they like certain things – replicating the problems frequently experienced where studies are premised on reported behaviour.

"We've spent so many resources over so many years getting those billions of ratings, making an amazing algorithm that could predict how many stars someone's going to give something," said Yellin. "It's helpful, but secondary."

Through monitoring and gathering statistics across several years, Netflix has thus effectively been able to establish a hierarchy of data points.

"What we've learned over time is: it's not who they are in a superficial sense – like gender, age, even geography. It's not even what they tell you. It's what they do," Yellin said.

"This is how it works in the hierarchy; if you give us age and gender and geography, hit play on one title – hit play on 'Dance Moms', hit play on 'The Avengers', hit play on 'Orange is the New Black' – and we'll know more about you than all the superficial stuff."

Data sourced from Warc

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'Seamless retail' a work in progress

27 March 2015
NEW YORK: Hard-pressed retailers need to invest across the board if they are to deliver the "seamless retail" experiences that most consumers now expect, according to new research.

Consulting firm Accenture surveyed 750 US consumers and undertook a separate analysis of how US retailers operate across multiple sales channels, and concluded that if retailers wanted to win consumer loyalty and achieve growth across all channels, they would have to improve both their mobile commerce offerings and the in-store shopping experience.

The research showed that only 42% of shoppers found it easy to complete a purchase using a mobile device. And 39% said the physical store was the area of the shopping experience most in need of an upgrade.

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Tying the two together, more than one third (39%) of consumers said that they would take advantage of the opportunity to earn loyalty points and save money on their purchases through in-store mobile phone offers, while almost half (45%) would like to receive real-time promotions sent to their phones or tablet.

But only 28% of retailers can currently offer such services. And the gap between what consumers want and what retailers can deliver was further highlighted in the area of the shopping experience second most in need of improvement.

Almost one third (32%) of shoppers wanted to be able to use all three sales channels – physical store, online and mobile – in an integrated way. However, tablet and mobile phone users were able to start shopping on their devices and complete the cycle in-store with only 22% and 19% of retailers, respectively.

"Physical and digital commerce are converging at an incredible pace," said Dave Richards, global managing director of Accenture's Retail practice.

"All sales channels must be equally desirable to the consumer, so that the path to purchase is not chosen based on satisfaction in one channel over another, but simply on what is most convenient at that time."

He advised retailers to rethink their investment approach and to build capabilities like digital marketing and analytics that will "enable them to tap into the core strengths of the physical store and seamlessly integrate with the rest of their digital offerings"

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff

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UHNWIs need personal service

27 March 2015
HONG KONG: Information and data are key to reaching consumers, but at the luxury end of the market such concerns take on a whole new dimension that might alarm privacy campaigners.

The typical ultra-high-net-worth individual (UHNWI) "doesn't respond to traditional marketing initiatives," according to Jean-Luc Gustave, APAC vp/business development for luxury at Wealth-X, a wealth intelligence service. "You can't just send an email to the richest man in Asia and hope to engage him.

"Knowing someone perfectly means not just knowing his money but who he is," Gustave explained at an event reported by Campaign Asia-Pacific.

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"If I was a wealthy person in Hong Kong, with a son who has just graduated from Harvard,your job is to know that," he elaborated. "It might be your opportunity to approach me very personally.

"Perhaps I might be considering buying a house in London or a car to celebrate his graduation – it's your chance to connect to my reality, and if you don't know that you have lost the perfect opportunity."

Gustave further suggested that the best way to sell to such people may often involve an oblique approach that skirts around the brand itself.

He gave the example of an aviation business which identified 50 people attending a conference who possessed sufficient funds to buy a private jet. 

When it became apparent that most of these individuals were also interested in fashion, the aviation firm partnered with a luxury fashion brand to host an event, which attracted 40 of the 50 targets and led on to five plane sales.

Companies at the very top end of the market need to build relationships that are more than purely transactional and that requires a good knowledge of the individual.

But, added Gustave, chances were being regularly missed. A fairly frequent occurrence, he said, was a woman rushing into a luxury brand store in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui, desperate to find an accessory for a gala dinner in a few hours' time.

A couple of assistants help her find what she wants, she buys it and leaves.

"She has just spent HK$1.5m in the shop in under 20 minutes and because shop assistants are often too polite to ask questions, no-one knows who she is," said Gustave.


Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff

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TV gains on print in India

27 March 2015
MUMBAI: 2014 was a good year for TV advertising in India and its continued growth will see it overtake print in the next four years according to a new report.

The Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2015, produced by consulting firm KPMG in association with trade body FICCI, said that TV ad revenues had grown 14% in 2014 to reach a total of Rs 154.9bn. This compared with print's 8.5% uplift to Rs 176.4bn.

But TV's projected compound annual growth between 2014 and 2019 is 14.1%, or roughly 50% greater than that for print (9.7%), so it is expected to overtake print as the largest advertising medium in 2018.

Together these two media currently account for 80% of all advertising revenues in India. Digital is growing fast, however – up 44.5% in 2014 – and its current share of 10.5% will almost double by 2018, most of that gain coming at the expense of print and TV.

Election spending in 2014 was a significant factor in TV's performance, with the Business Standard noting that "electoral spends were among the highest in the world, second only to the 2012 US presidential election."

Other reasons cited in the report included a positive shift in the macroeconomic environment, the general election spends, and "the emergence of e-commerce as a significant new advertising spender".

In print, most of the growth was seen to come from tier 2 and tier 3 cities where regional language editions outperformed national editions and English-language dailies.

KPMG said that the print sector was not yet following the global trend where revenues have been cannibalised from digital media, but it added that "it is clear that the time has come for players to embrace digital strategies that complement the existing physical product and support brand building and penetration efforts".

That reflects the rapidly growing numbers of internet-enabled smartphones in use – predicted to almost quadruple in the next five years from the current figure of 116m – as well as the government's Digital India programme to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

Data sourced from KPMG, Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff

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Kraft, Heinz seek to expand brands

26 March 2015
CHICAGO/PITTSBURGH: After a day of speculation in the financial media, food and beverage giants Kraft Foods and Heinz have confirmed that they will merge to create one of the world's largest consumer groups.

The deal will unite some of America's best known brands, ranging from Heinz tomato ketchup to Kraft Philadelphia spread, and offers opportunities for The Kraft Heinz Company to grow outside the US.

Kraft CEO John Cahill confirmed plans to "bring Kraft's iconic brands to international markets" in a move that Marketing Magazine forecast would result in more spend on marketing and innovation.

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"By bringing together these two iconic companies through this transaction, we are creating a strong platform for both US and international growth," explained Alex Behring, chairman of Heinz and managing partner at 3G Capital, the Brazilian investment firm which engineered the deal with Berkshire Hathaway.

"Our combined brands and businesses mean increased scale and relevance both in the US and internationally," he added, in comments reported by Advertising Age.

Warren Buffett, owner of Berkshire Hathaway, said: "This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organisations and delivering shareholder value."

The new company will become the fifth-largest food and drinks group in the world and the third-biggest in North America with about $28bn in annual revenues.

At least eight brands each generate more than $1bn a year in sales while another five are worth between $500m and $1bn.

However, not all observers are convinced that the mega-merger will solve underlying issues, such as changes in consumer tastes.

Neil Saunders, managing director of retail analyst Conlumino, said the merger "is not a magic wand that can wave away the underlying problems of either company.

"Heinz, and especially Kraft, both need to invest in brands, in marketing and, most critically, in product innovation if they are to remain relevant to consumers around the world. Unlike cost savings, this is not something that a merger automatically delivers."

Subject to approval by regulators and shareholders, Heinz shareholders will take a 51% stake in the combined group with the other 49% going to Kraft shareholders.

Data sourced from Marketing Magazine, Advertising Age, Chicago Tribune; additional content Warc staff

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Brands should list with discounters

26 March 2015
LONDON: As the UK supermarket sector tries to adapt to the challenge presented by discount stores, most especially from German retailers Aldi and Lidl, a new study has recommended that brands should embrace the trend.

Despite concerns that listing with a discounter might negatively impact a brand while simultaneously lowering a product's checkout price, Kantar Worldpanel said brands should not overlook this rapidly-expanding sector.

The consumer insights firm analysed the performance of over 350 branded products sold at Aldi and Lidl as well as the purchasing behaviour of 30,000 demographically representative households that took part in its grocery shopper panel.

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It concluded that concern about brand image is increasingly outdated because the two discounters have now become mainstream after almost doubling their market share to 8.3% since 2010. Both also plan to expand further.

More important than brand image, the report sought to establish whether listing with them would be "incremental" to sales. In other words, would sales rise without hitting revenue at discounted prices?

It found that for the majority of brands, listing with a discount retailer will increase their volume of sales. Furthermore, there is an even chance that a purchase of a specific brand at a discounter would not otherwise have been made at another retailer. This makes it "highly likely to add an incremental sale", the report said.

On the crucial issue of price, Kantar Worldpanel found that branded products sold at discounters are on average just 5% cheaper than at other stores.

However, as discounters very rarely sell products on promotion, the report said the average price of a brand sold at a discounter "could actually be higher than in other retailers".

"The key to making this listing a success is ensuring that it is done so at the right cost and that price isn't driven down too significantly over time," the report said.

"The only genuine risk of listing in a discounter is cannibalisation. That's why finding the right price point is essential," it added.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content Warc staff

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VOD to be worth £1bn+ by 2019

26 March 2015
LONDON: Video on demand (VOD) subscriptions in the UK were worth just £28m in 2009, but are now expected to grow to an annual value of more than £1bn by 2019, a new report has forecast.

According to market research firm Mintel, demand for video streaming services from Netflix and other providers has been growing rapidly and it estimates the UK market grew 56% between 2013 and 2014 to reach a value of £437m.

Despite facing increased competition from pay-TV services that continue to reach more homes, Mintel estimates video streaming subscriptions will total £1.17bn in four years' time, giving the sector 38% of the total UK video market.

Much of this growth is being driven by younger users, with 91% of consumers aged 16 to 24 accessing a video streaming service in the past 12 months.

But the channel appeals across the generations and the report found that more than two-thirds (69%) of all British consumers have streamed online videos over the past year, with a third (32%) of them paying for the service.

Paul Davies, senior leisure and technology analyst at Mintel, said that part of the appeal is that streaming services allow people to access a huge mix of content.

He also predicted that "as more consumers acquire connected devices such as smart TVs, which allow them to stream films and TV programmes directly, more people will pick digital sources over physical formats such as DVDs and Blu-rays".

The Mintel research also found that exactly half of UK consumers prefer to explore content themselves rather than receive recommendations from providers. Meanwhile, nearly a third (31%) said they would like to see content recommendations from their friends appear on sites.

Also of note for providers, Mintel discovered that a third (33%) of online video subscribers – and 41% of online music subscribers – would be open to a subscription package that included a bundle of different media services.

Data sourced from Mintel; additional content Warc staff

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Hispanics attract TV ad dollars

26 March 2015
NEW YORK: Despite a growing tendency for US TV viewers to opt for on-demand and streaming services, Spanish-language real-time broadcasters are still attracting consumers with advertising revenues following in their wake.

That is good news for America's top six Spanish broadcasters, the Financial Times reported. Univision, Telemundo, MundoFox, UniMas, Estrella TV and Azteca saw an 11% increase in adspend last year compared with growth of just 3% at CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.

Indeed, Univision sometimes beats English-language rivals among the sought-after audience of 18-49-year-olds and advertisers now see it as a serious contender.

"Univision, along with other networks in the Hispanic media market, is serious competition for the English-language broadcast networks, and the SMI [Standard Media Index] data highlight that perhaps ad dollars are finally beginning to catch up to ratings," said Scott Grunther, SMI's evp of media.

The trend is being driven in part by the viewing habits of America's population of 56m Hispanics, who are more drawn to live programmes and less likely to rely on catch-up TV.

For example, a full 92% of Univision viewers aged 18-to-49 watched live broadcasts during the 2013-14 TV season. By contrast, the four big English-language networks recorded percentages in the high-50s and low-60s.

"Whether it's sports or telenovelas [nightly soap operas] that you can't delay viewing because you'll miss out the next night, we really sell the value of a live audience," explained Keith Turner, president of sales and marketing at Univision.

Attractive also to advertisers is the demographic evidence that US Hispanics are younger than other segments of the American population.

The median age of the US Hispanic consumer is 27, firmly within the sought-after millennial generation, of whom Hispanics account for more than a fifth.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content Warc staff

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Stories spell success for Airbnb

26 March 2015
AUSTIN, TX: Airbnb, the online accommodation rental service, has benefitted from basing its core brand mission on storyboards which outline what "great trips" should look like.

Joe Zadeh, Airbnb's director of product, discussed this subject while speaking at South By Southwest (SXSW) 2015 in Austin, Texas.

And he reported that the approach of formulating storyboards enabled the digital service to picture both what people look for when renting rooms or properties, and the ideal scenario for individuals who list places to stay.

"We ended up with a guest story … that goes from end to end," Zadeh said. (For more, including five lessons from the storyboarding process, read Warc's exclusive report: How Snow White inspired Airbnb's brand strategy.)

"So it starts with that moment of wanderlust, when somebody is considering the idea of travelling, to taking their trip, and then returning from their trip and then sharing memories with their friends."

Equally, its "host story" covers everything from how they learn of Airbnb, thinking about participating, uploading a listing, receiving their first guest, leaving a review and repeating the exercise.

"The storyboard shows … the reality you want to create. And sure, some of those things are going to be incredibly difficult and some of those things will be incredibly easy," said Zadeh.

"And this has become the canonical vision of Airbnb. This is what we focus on: we focus on providing great trips. And that is a long-enduring vision that does not change."

One particular advantage of pursuing this approach, Zadeh told the SXSW delegates, was that it means the organisation's eyes stay firmly on the customer.

"Using storyboards for your vision has the really strong benefit of keeping you customer-focused, not company-focused," said Zadeh.

"There are no charts up to the right; there's no 'We're going to dominate market share'. There's no company metrics. This is a story about people. And I think your vision needs to be customer-centric and start with people."

Data sourced from Warc

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Asian marketers 'fail' on mobile

26 March 2015
SINGAPORE: Marketers in Asia have been accused of being "behind the curve" when it comes to leveraging the power of mobile, and of failing to recognise the growth of mobile usage in the region.

Joanna Flint, the managing director of Google Singapore, told delegates at the annual Festival of Media Asia event that the next generation of consumers will only use their mobile devices to access the internet, Enterprise Innovation reported.

She cited a study that Google conducted at the end of last year, which found that more than a third (35%) of Malaysians only use their smartphones to access the internet. That compares with 11% of Americans and just 7% of Australians.

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Apart from China, mobile-only usage is also high in other Asian nations. In Singapore, for example, it stands at 16% while it is 14% in Hong Kong and South Korea.

Google's study advised that Asian consumers are living in a mobile-first world that "needs new products and services built with mobile in mind, not as an afterthought or nice-to-have".

"There's a great chance here for Asian businesses to lead the world in mobile-first innovation by reacting fast to the revolution that's happened on the streets right outside their office doors," it said.

Flint told the audience: "The next generation, no actually the next volume of consumers will be mobile-only. It will be the only way they access the internet because the price is so low."

Flint's comments come after a recent report predicted that mobile's share of internet traffic in the Asia-Pacific region will surpass that of PCs before the end of the year, as mobile connectivity becomes a part of more people's everyday lives.

Data sourced from Enterprise Innovation, Google Asia, Mumbrella; additional content Warc staff

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New Delhi among top retail hotspots

26 March 2015
NEW DELHI: New Delhi has retained eighth position among Asia Pacific's top retail hotspots, according to an assessment of established and emerging retail markets in the region.

Global property consultancy CBRE examined how many new retail entrants there were in 2014 and found New Delhi attracted 19 global retailers.

Meanwhile, with 11 entries, Mumbai retained its fourteenth place in its rankings alongside Brisbane in Australia, in a list that concentrated on the emerging markets of India, China and Southeast Asia.

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However, the established market of Tokyo attracted the highest number of new retail entrants (63), followed by Singapore (58), Taipei (49), Hong Kong (45) and Beijing (34).

Overall, the region had 464 new retail entrants last year, up 23% from 2013, and US retailers made up almost a quarter (24%) of the total. British and Italian retailers accounted for 11% each followed by French retailers with 10.5%.

"We are expecting a growth in retail sales across the region in 2015, albeit with a more cautious approach from retailers," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director of CBRE South Asia.

"In terms of retail segments, we expect food and beverage to remain the most active," he added. "Consumers in the region thrive on new concepts, with landlords keen on creating shopping destinations by offering more dining options."

Data sourced from Economic Times; additional content Warc staff

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Global adspend to reach $540bn

25 March 2015
LONDON: Global adspend is expected to grow 4.6% to $540bn this year, according to the latest forecast from media agency Carat, which also highlights that all markets are ring-fencing digital media spending.

Based on data received from 59 markets across the Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA, Carat believes that digital media, with a forecast $17.1bn or 15.7% increase in spend in 2015, is outpacing its previous predictions.

Digital is expected to account for 21.7% of market share, with global mobile spend up 50% and online video rising 21.6%, and for the first time digital is expected to account for more than a quarter of all adspend in 2016.

The upwards trajectory of digital is particularly pronounced in the UK, where the total advertising market is forecast to grow by 6.4%. Digital media spend is forecast to reach just under half (48.2%) of total UK adspend this year, rising to 51.1% in 2016.

A healthy UK advertising market is also driving growth in Western Europe, where adpend is forecast to rise 2.8% this year. However, growth remains stagnant in France and will be just 1.6% in Germany.

The UK advertising industry is expected to benefit from the Rugby World Cup, which England is hosting this autumn, but there are some minor concerns about whether the general election in May will result in a hung parliament and political uncertainty.

Elsewhere, North America is expected to record 4.5% growth although there is wide disparity between the US (4.6%) and Canada (2.5%).

Latin America is the region forecast to post the highest adspend growth (11.1%) this year, while Asia Pacific should record 5.2% growth.

Of that, adspend growth in the region ranges widely from Japan (0.9%) and Australia (1%) to China (7.9%) and India (11.0%).

"Carat's latest advertising forecast gives us increased optimism for the outlook for global advertising spending," said Jerry Buhlmann, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network.

"With harder times behind us, negative growth markets are pleasingly now a minority, and collectively we can look ahead to 2016 with positive growth predicted for all key markets."

Warc's latest International Ad Forecast, released in December 2014, also concludes that global adspend growth of 4.6% is likely this year. It will be aided by a 14.0%, or $16.8bn, increase in digital advertising expenditure.

Forecast growth of 4.4% and 6.9% for the US and UK respectively are also largely in line with Carat's expectations.

UK adspend in 2014 will be quantified in full as part of the AA/Warc Expenditure Report, which will be released next month.

Data sourced from Carat, Dentsu Aegis; additional content Warc staff

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Unilever builds corporate brand

25 March 2015
LONDON/NEW YORK: Unilever, the FMCG multinational, has put social responsibility at the heart of its corporate brand-building and is putting its U logo on all its product brands as a "trust mark of sustainability", the company's CMO has said.

Speaking to Adweek, Keith Weed explained that this was "a way of telling consumers that any product with the U is the right choice for the planet".

Unilever, which spent $7.6bn on brand and marketing initiatives last year, has set itself the strategic goal of doubling the size of its business while simultaneously reducing its environmental impact.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, established by Weed and CEO Paul Polman in 2010, underpins the approach with each of the company's product divisions required to add social purpose to its brand positioning.

"Our brands that most engage with our sustainability and social purpose plan are growing faster," Weed said, pointing to evidence that there has been a 10% annual increase in sales among those brands over the past three years.

As part of its mission to encourage people to associate sustainability with the Unilever logo, the company launched its first TV ad for the corporate brand last October.

Featuring images of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi alongside young people giving speeches about fighting child hunger, the ad closes with the U logo as well as those of some of Unilever's leading brands, such as Lipton tea, Hellmann's mayonnaise and the Dove beauty brand.

Shown in the US, the UK, Brazil, India and Indonesia, the ad offers an emotional "explanation of what our U logo means", Weed explained.

Turning to the possibilities offered by mobile, Weed said marketers now have a "massive opportunity" to use mobile to talk to people as individuals with access to real-time data.

However, when asked whether the efficiencies offered by mobile could lead Unilever to spend less on media, Weed said that was an unlikely development.

"I'm a great believer in building the brand, so my goal is always to reach more people," he said. "Instead of trying to reach the same number of people with less money, I look at reaching more people with the same money."

Data sourced from Adweek; additional content Warc staff

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Brand advocates lift Virgin America

25 March 2015
AUSTIN, TX: Virgin America, the air carrier, believes the support of brand advocates can help it continue to take flight in a category dominated by large rivals with significantly greater marketing budgets.

Abby Lunardini, Virgin America's vp/brand marketing and communications, discussed this topic at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas.

"We're actually one of the fastest-growing airlines in the US … We're really known for having a different product," she said. (For more, including examples of how the brand activates its advocates, read Warc's exclusive report: Virgin America shows the power of targeted brand advocacy.)

"We have new aircraft with mood lighting and touchscreen entertainment. We were the first airline to have WiFi fleet-wide and power outlets at every seat."

But if such features have differentiated the experience on offer, Virgin America must find similarly distinctive techniques to spread the word.

"Because we're small in an industry that's dominated by giants, our marketing budgets are about one twentieth the size of the competition," Lunardini said.

In overcoming this hurdle, tapping into the enthusiasm of its advocates has become a crucial goal for the company, which launched in 2007 and is headquartered in Burlingame, California.

"We're also really known for having a very loyal guest following and some pretty passionate brand advocates," reported Lunardini.

"So in terms of product messaging, we rely a lot on our flyers to help spread the word about the product difference on social and through general marketing."

Beyond amplifying its marketing, this group has assisted Virgin America in campaigning on issues like gaining access to new airports.

"We've also increasingly used our flyer base to help with some pretty big commercial and business challenges that we've faced along the way," said Lunardini.

"Some of those things come with the territory when you're the little guy in an industry dominated by behemoths."

Data sourced from Warc

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NFL will test digital streaming

25 March 2015
NEW YORK: In a further sign of the rapid changes taking place in the US TV market, the National Football League (NFL) has announced that it will stream a regular season game on a digital platform later this year.

When the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars face each other in London on October 25, the early morning clash (09.30 EST) will be streamed worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reported. The early start means it will be prime time in China, the NFL said.

The match will be broadcast on local TV stations in Buffalo and Jacksonville, but national video rights will be sold to a digital platform that is yet to be identified.

NFL executive vice-president Brian Rolapp said the NFL will not set any technological limitations on those bidding for the package, which means any website or streaming service will be able to bid.

"We won't shut the door on anyone because we are trying to learn about the market and find out what the models might be," he said. "But we want to reach as many people as we can."

Commenting on the initiative, a Netflix spokesman wished the NFL luck but said the match would be better suited to ad-supported video-on-demand because it will be a live game.

Separately, the NFL also announced that it will suspend its TV "blackout" rule for the 2015 season. The controversial rule prevents local TV stations from broadcasting games if tickets have not been sold out 72 hours before kick-off.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allowed the NFL to impose blackout restrictions for decades until it changed its mind last September and voted to end its support of the rule.

While the change removed the FCC's support for the blackout policy, it could not force the NFL to stop TV blackouts. However, the NFL imposed no blackouts during the 2014 football season.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, ESPN; additional content Warc staff

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Unlocking FMCG's potential in Asia

25 March 2015
HONG KONG: FMCG brands can look forward to tapping into an estimated $770bn of new spending that is expected from wealthier consumers in ASEAN countries over the next five years, a new study has forecast.

According to Accenture, the global management consultancy, the ASEAN economy will be worth $3.1 trillion by 2020, making it the sixth largest in the world, while 100m people will join the consuming class or advance into wealthier tiers.

With so many consumers being enabled to trade up to premium products, this represents a great opportunity for brands to win loyalty in new growth areas, the report said.

This trend is likely to be enhanced when the ten ASEAN nations – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) later this year.

However, the report warns that success will not be delivered on a plate. Brands will need to engage these new consumers by delivering digitally-driven strategies while also overcoming logistical delivery challenges and competition from local rivals.

After analysing data from a variety of sources as well as conducting a survey of 1,800 consumers in six of the larger ASEAN countries, Accenture advised brands to adopt a three-pronged strategy.

They should lock in demand from new and more affluent consumers, ensure supply is only a fingertip away, and build an effective operating model, such as adopting a regional model focused on capability and value.

Dwight Hutchins, managing director of Accenture Strategy Asia Pacific, urged FMCG brands to move fast to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

"The spectacular growth of the ASEAN economy represents one of the biggest opportunities on the planet for consumer goods companies today," he said.

"All that growth, however, means that markets are changing very quickly while digital technologies lift expectations for more tailored and engaging consumer experiences.

"Companies that hope to compete for new consumers must be bold and move fast if they are to take advantage. The best advice for CPG companies entering or expanding in the region can be summed up in four words – be aggressive, move now."

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content Warc staff

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Mobile will lead US digital adspend

25 March 2015
NEW YORK: Mobile adspend in the US will increase to $65.87bn by 2019, accounting for 72.2% of total digital adspend, the latest estimates from eMarketer have shown.

That represents a significant trend, given that mobile accounted for about a quarter (24.7%) of digital adspend in 2013 and just under half (49%) in 2015.

In terms of total media advertising expenditure, it also means mobile would have grown its share from 6.3% in 2013 to 28.6% in 2019.

Next year will be the tipping point when mobile adspend surpasses desktop, according to eMarketer, which predicts mobile will take 60.4% of all digital adspend with mobile spend valued at $40.5bn.

The shift to mobile ad spending is being driven mainly by consumer demand as American adults increase the amount of time they spend on their mobile devices. This increased by 32 minutes in just one year between 2013 and 2014.

In terms of format, eMarketer estimates that by 2019 mobile display adspend will total $33.9bn compared with $28.41bn spent on mobile search.

Interestingly, the report also expects US mobile ad spending on classified, email and lead generation to more than triple over the forecast period from $962m this year to $3.32bn in 2019.

Turning to spending on mobile apps, eMarketer says advertisers will spend $20.79bn on mobile apps in 2015, up from $13.67bn in 2014, which is also three times more than the $7.93bn that will be spent on mobile web browsers.

Finally, ad spending on mobile app installs is expected to reach $3bn this year, no less than an 80% year-on-year increase from the $1.67bn estimated for 2014.

However, eMarketer cautioned: "The leading search providers are making strides to attract app developers' ad dollars, but we expect app install ads to represent an insignificant portion of mobile search spending in 2015."

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content Warc staff

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Amazon hails fashion ad success

25 March 2015
NEW DELHI: An advertising campaign at the end of last year has helped to boost sales of apparel, footwear and jewellery at Amazon India, the online retailer has reported.

"Our apparel business has grown by 300% over the past three months. That's proof of the pudding," said Vikas Purohit, head of fashion at Amazon India, in comments to Livemint.

"Being a horizontal player, we can cater to all needs," he continued. "For instance, if I have to shop for my travels, will I go to one place to buy apparel, one place to buy luggage, one place to buy shoes or a swimming costume? In a horizontal, you can buy all these things."

Apart from the success of its advertising campaign, Amazon is also spending heavily on other marketing initiatives.

It has launched a designer store on its website that offers clothes by well-known designers, such as Rohit Bal, and the company has partnered with the Fashion Design Council of India to increase collaboration with retailers, brands and designers across the country.

"We are working with a lot of designers to help them understand and adapt to ecommerce so that they can reach a larger audience," Purohit explained.

"A lot of them are working with our sellers or becoming sellers themselves on our platform to design different ranges that are relevant for Amazon customers," he said.

It comes as the company further ramps up its challenge to domestic e-retailers Flipkart and Snapdeal by setting up a logistics company in India which will deliver direct to customers who use its online marketplace.

"We want to change how India shops," Samuel Augustine Thomas, director of transportation for Amazon in India, told the Economic Times.

"The logistics arm has been set up to aid in last-mile delivery as products can be shipped faster," he explained.

Data sourced from Livemint, Economic Times; additional content Warc staff

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