The Warc Blog

RIM Shot. Blackberry doesn't do it again

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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Research In Motion's new Blackberry 10 operating system was due out around now. And, yes, we do know Apple launched their iPhone 5 and sold 5,000,000 in the first weekend. So perhaps it was serendipitous that the company ended up delaying the planned update.

RIM says they probably won't release it until the 1Q'13. But if they do things the way they have been, it will probably show up just after Christmas – when lots of new phones will be bought/given as gifts – and Valentine's Day when nothing says "I Love You" like the gift of technology.

27 September 2012, 14:39
You complete me

Posted by: Waqar Riaz, , Cheil Worldwide

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“For I see that then I was still all in a state of innocence, but that innocence, once lost, is lost forever.” 
Susan Hill, The Woman in Black

Last week, I went to see a play at the theatre. It was nice to be transported back to the pre-digital, Victorian age, which to a great extent the theatre managed to keep as authentic as possible (aside from the audio and visual effects). Mobile phones off, tablets in their bags, texting on hold and no more status updates, yes – we were as Victorian as the theatre surrounding us.

It was like travelling back in time. Listening to actors with their mystical highs and lows and without the barriers of screens was unquestionably personal, meaningful and full of life. Curtains unfold and you see a storage trunk, a stool and a chair and that’s how the whole story is delivered over the course of two hours. During the play, the stool, chair and storage trunk transform into a train, horse cart, bed and an office desk. All using nothing but the audience’s imagination. In their own unique way, both of the leading actors openly admit to the audience (in a quickly yet wittily delivered dialogue) that they required their imagination in order to deliver a complete performance. In other words, they admitted that without the power of audience imagination, their performance, no matter how skilful and magnificent; would be incomplete. They admitted that they were, after all, not so perfect.

On my journey home, I reflected upon this. Fully-fledged actors making an indirect plea to the audience for help - how humbling of them to admit their imperfection. 
I guess that admitting your imperfections is one of the first signs of closeness in a relationship, showing that you too need them. However, in doing so you leave yourself open, you don’t have total control, you allow them to see you for who you truly are.

With the web becoming more and more connected and open every day, evidently people will have easier access to all kinds of information pertaining to brands. We are entering an era where no brand will be able to hide anything from anyone (whether they ‘Like’ it or not).
Google suggests that there are 3.3 billion mentions of brands in a day and only 5%-6% of those are on the web – the rest still takes place offline. What we see today and classify as the hyperactive social world are just the early signs of the social tsunami, which is imminently due to hit the world of advertising and marketing.

Thinking about the social web, perhaps it’s one of the greatest gifts marketing could have ever received. It allows us the opportunity to listen and talk with the real world instantly. It allows us to understand what we are missing by being with people all the time. It allows us enough visibility and freedom to help any part of the business; be it finance, production, management, process or communication.

Sometimes, I get very frustrated when I see this greatest of gifts being misused. Just like with traditional advertising, we found a new place to ‘reach’ people and then put ‘advertising’ messages across with any excuse we can find. No wonder why the first things advertising and marketing professionals measured from this space was user-base and ad spend followed by desperate attempts to prove the ‘social media’ return on investment. Instead of looking at the social web as something that completes the marketing world, we put it into another box. Instead of looking at the social web as an exercise for brands, that would keep them healthy and fit to perform more effectively during their working hours, we aggressively went for the easy way out – tell and sell. Instead of considering the social web as ‘mytime’ for brands, we translated it as another opportunity to sell more products (as if all the rest of the spaces weren’t enough to drive sales).

But, instead of approaching this wonderful social web with the lens of control and perfectionism, how about entering it with a discovery mindset? How about exploring and interacting within this space to find out our imperfections? How about entering this space to improve us rather than merely inserting more media plans?

So, what action can we take as advertising professionals in making brands and marketing complete using the power of social web?

I don’t intend to propose the final list of things we can do, but just a few points, which I believe could be worth considering. 

I think first and foremost we can start by considering the social web as more than just a social network. From the research and analytics stance we should consider its implications outside the social networking world and look out for insights which can inform the decision-making process at various levels e.g. customer services, marketing, advertising, product development and retail. From the communication planning standpoint, we should integrate it into every solution we propose to strengthen the future of brands. From the creative viewpoint we should consider integrating it at the heart of the core advertising idea. From the channel perspective, we should consider it as a common language to connect different marketing channels – be it TV, Mobile, Print, Online, Radio, Outdoor.

And finally, let's remember the words sung
by the legendary, Bob Dylan, ‘…Please get out of the new one, If you can't lend a hand, For your times they are a-changin’ …'

22 September 2012, 14:42
Clarity amongst the confusion: A[P]SOTW assignment

Posted by: Advertising [Planning] School On The Web

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Warc has teamed up with the AP[S]OTW - or the Advertising [Planning] School On The Web to give it is full title.

This excellent initiative is run by a team of senior planners from across the world. They post challenges for up-and-coming planners and marketers - or, in fact, anyone with an interest in smart ideas and communications. It's a chance to have your thinking presented to a seriously, seriously senior line-up of judges (plus our own David Tiltman).

21 September 2012, 10:32
Creativity and effectiveness at Spikes Asia

Posted by: David Tiltman, Head of Content, Warc

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This week Warc is covering the Spikes Asia event in Singapore, a festival for the best of the region’s creativity.

The event, which culminates in the Spikes awards ceremony, includes several days of conference, bringing together Asia’s creative industries to discuss new ideas and the best of Asian marketing.

18 September 2012, 08:57
Ad Research 2012 preview: A defence of social ROI

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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Does social media marketing work? The issue remains in dispute. Facebook in particular is facing scepticism from some quarters as to whether it will ever be able to monetise its massive user base. And, while brands like Coca-Cola see social as a key channel, others, including General Motors, are trimming their investments. All things considered, the role of the market researcher in finding valid, consistent ways of measuring social ROI has never been so important.

With this in mind, it's no surprise that one of the major focuses of Warc's upcoming Advertising Research conference, which takes place in London on September 25th, is social media effectiveness. And in his presentation, Luca Benini, MD Europe of Buddy Media, a US tech firm that provides social software tools to brands, will make the case that the channel offers a tangible payback. I caught up with him late last week to hear what he had to say ahead of the event.

17 September 2012, 13:11
2012 ESOMAR Congress day three: 2.5 Quintillion Bytes of Data a Day

Posted by: Manfred Mareck, Managing Director, Research Marketing

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Read my reports from day one and day two of ESOMAR Congress 2012, and browse all of the available papers from ESOMAR Congress 2012.

The big data trend was a major focus for the third day of ESOMAR's 2012 Congress, held in Atlanta. There is still a gap between gaining more insights and translating this knowledge into winning concepts and successful new products. The problem, so the authors of What's a Nice Insight Like You Doing in a Concept Like This is a lack of foresight and their paper aims to bridge the gap between initial insight identification and subsequent development of new concepts, products and communication ideas.

13 September 2012, 11:18
Talk with me

Posted by: Waqar Riaz, , Cheil Worldwide

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I like reading children’s books. They are full of life, colour and imagination. Last night, I finished reading ‘Lost and Found’ by Oliver Jeffers once more. It’s the story of a boy who finds a lost penguin on his doorstep and then travels all the way to South Pole to return the stranger.  It is, by all standards, a pure story of curiosity and love from a child’s eye. In 2008, the story was adapted into a 24-min film and was first aired in the UK on Christmas Eve.

I recently read it to a little girl and she loved it too, to such an extent that she carried on reading it (over and over again) at short intervals throughout the day.

13 September 2012, 10:42
2012 ESOMAR Congress day two: Good alpha, bad alpha, and gamma synchrony

Posted by: Manfred Mareck, Managing Director, Research Marketing

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Read my report from day one of ESOMAR Congress 2012, and browse all of the available papers from ESOMAR Congress 2012.

The second day of this year's Congress, held in Atlanta, started with the announcement of the winner of the ESOMAR Young Researcher competition. Now in its fourth year, the top prize won by Patrick Pfefferkorn (HTP Concept, Germany) for his paper You Won’t Find Me on Facebook. His research explores the potential future development of social networking by drawing from the experiences of non-users and drop-outs, to find out whether these people might be part of a new grass-roots movement to abandon social networking sites.

12 September 2012, 14:02
2012 ESOMAR Congress day one: I share, therefore I am

Posted by: Manfred Mareck, Managing Director, Research Marketing

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Browse all of the available papers from ESOMAR Congress 2012.

Atlanta, the location of this year’s ESOMAR Congress, is seen by US film fans as the Zombie Capital of the World. Maybe that’s why the conference started with a boost session to wake-up the jet-lagged – and somewhat zombie-like – delegates. There was lots of jumping around the stage and banging of thighs by the six young men leading the session. And, as this is America, they wore combat trousers rather than Lederhosen. Take your pick…

11 September 2012, 13:51
Ad Research 2012 preview: Why you should be using semiotics

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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One of the reasons Warc set up its Advertising Research conference – which takes place in London on September 25th – was to offer marketers the latest thinking on the research techniques they might have overlooked when developing previous campaigns. One such discipline is semiotics: the study of the cultural resonance of signs and symbols. That's the subject of a joint Ad Research presentation by Dr Alex Gordon, CEO of research agency Sign Salad and Debi Bester, co-founder of The Reinvention Works. And I met with both of them last week to find out what they're planning to tell delegates on the day.

Semiotics has a reputation for being a somewhat esoteric branch of research. After all, it has its roots in the kind of landmark academic texts likely to cause all but the most battle-hardened grad student to break out in a cold sweat – think Roland Barthes' Mythologies and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. (Warc subscribers can read a somewhat simpler semiotics primer in this recent Admap piece.) But to Gordon, brand owners should disregard the perceived difficulty of semiotics; in fact, he argues, the benefits the discipline offers marketers could hardly be more obvious.

07 September 2012, 16:50
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