The Warc Blog

Four Texas Takeaways from SXSW

Posted by: Lena Roland, Commissioning Editor, Best Practice, Warc

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Last Thursday night I attended an event at advertising agency iris' London headquarters where a handful of speakers, just returned from the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, presented their 'Texas Takeaways’: what they regard as the key themes from this year's festival – billed as the "largest interactive event in the world".

As well as the margaritas and tacos on offer to the guests, there was a lot to learn from the two hour talk. Here are the four highlights that stood out to me.

25 March 2013, 14:06
Advertising Week Europe: Can ads do good?

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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Some may deride it as corporate greenwashing, but the idea of brands "doing good" as well as making a profit is becoming an increasingly hot topic. I was struck earlier this month at the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) conference by client after client highlighting the need for brands to have a social "purpose". Here at Warc, we've also been inundated with entries to the 2013 Admap Prize, with over 100 people weighing in on whether "brands can be a force for social good".

With that in mind, today's "doing good makes for good advertising" panel at Advertising Week Europe was very much on trend. Addressing a venue packed out with London ad people, panellists from both the agency and client sides agreed on one key point: cause-related marketing cannot be superficial, but must instead represent a fundamental change in the way companies do business.

20 March 2013, 14:51
How to Re-Master your Marketing - #thinkbranding2013

Posted by: Brand Learning

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Last week was a buzz of activity at Brand Learning as we partnered with Google to share the latest thinking on Re-Mastering Marketing at their 12th March 'Think Branding' conference. Our own Andy Bird took the stage in front of around 350 Marketing leaders from such companies as PepsiCo, GSK, Motorola, Ford and Axa Wealth.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the conference and loved that the content focused not just on 'what' excellence in marketing now looks like, but also on 'how' to actually make it to happen. Recent and relevant case studies and examples were drawn from organisations such as Lego, J&J, Nike, and Disney.

20 March 2013, 10:35
Advertising Week Europe: Reflections on the 2012 London Olympics

Posted by: Brian Carruthers, News Editor, Warc

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Advertising Week Europe kicked off across London today with a series of sessions on thought leadership - including several looking back to last summer's Olympics and the lessons that were learned there.

BAFTA's Piccadilly headquarters was humming as a capacity crowd packed in to hear Sir Martin Sorrell CEO of WPP, turn interviewer and discuss the art of winning with Sir Dave Brailsford, the performance director of the highly successful Great Britain cycling team, which won eight gold medals at the 2012 Games.

18 March 2013, 17:05
Meet the Future Shopper

Posted by: Katherine Mawhinney-Kam, Designer and Production Editor, Warc

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The needs of consumers remain the same as they have ever been but the expectations of how businesses meet those needs have changed. This was the line that Henry Tucker of The Futures Company and Steve Mader of Kantar Retail were keen to stress at this morning's launch of their new report: "The Future Shopper".

Despite all the technological change of recent years, technology should confine itself to a supporting role in shopping – it is more important to focus on consumer attitudes. In this respect, a new age for shoppers is here, brought about as people worldwide have come to accept that the economic pressures first caused by the financial crisis are likely to stay for longer than previously expected. It's made consumers concerned about their own financial prospects and suspicious and distrustful of businesses.

12 March 2013, 16:45
Disruption, chaos and creativity at SXSW

Posted by: Sarah Shearman, Freelance journalist, Warc

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It's that time of year when chaos hits the streets of Austin, as South by Southwest (SXSW) gets into full swing.

But chaos can be good for business, according to a group of panellists discussing "This is Generation Flux", an article published by Fast Company last year, and written by the title's editor-in-chief, Robert Safian.

12 March 2013, 11:06
McDonald's Fish McBites flounders. New product line doesn't hook consumers

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

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Real fishermen have a saying: "a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at the office," but perhaps not at McDonald's. Not this month, anyway. It turns out that Fish McBites – offered in three different sizes and a new Happy Meal – didn't lure enough customers into the chain to help U.S. sales last month.

The paltry catch cast a pall over the brand's headquarters because the company hadn't netted a monthly decline in global sales for nearly 10 years. Until last October. And this January. And again in February. So whatever strategic bait they think they're using, it isn't working as well as the corporation hoped. Their profits have floundered, a situation that must have more than one shareholder carping at McD's CEO, Don Thompson.

12 March 2013, 10:11
The empathy imperative

Posted by: Molly Flatt, Social business director, 1000heads

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Empathy has always been the emotional G-spot of advertising. If you can make a consumer believe that you truly share their pain and their dreams, you're more likely to convince them that you'll be able to plug that lipstick/car/consultancy-shaped hole in their soul. And one of the chief appeals of social media for marketers is its ability to bridge the divide between 'us' and 'them'. "If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something," David Ogilvy said, "it seems to me you should use their language." Social media allows brands to create instant verbal and visual rapport.

As a result, boundaries between cultural castes are being dramatically traduced in this drive to relate. Think teen bloggers such as Bip Ling being given journalistic privileges in the super-elite fashion front row. Consider the spread of the #26acts hashtag, through which people across the world who have never set foot on American soil pledge to do 26 good deeds in memory of the victims of the Newtown school massacre. Or observe Richard Branson ensuring he stays 'close to the little people' – and keeps his Virgin empire feeling human – by tweeting personal tips, opinions and experiences.

11 March 2013, 11:18
BRITE '13 Conference mixes academic theory with best practice

Posted by: Geoffrey Precourt, US Editor, Warc

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The annual BRITE conference is an assembly sponsored by the Columbia Business School's (CBS) Center on Global Brand Leadership, and features a mix of brands (as you might expect), innovation, and technology.

BRITE '13 promises to be heavier on the innovation and technology ends, although presentations from the likes of PepsiCo, Intel and Meredith Corp. will drill down on brand strategy and best practice.

06 March 2013, 18:22
MAP 2013: How partnership unlocks growth

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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The time is fast approaching for our two-day Measuring Advertising Performance (MAP) conference, which takes place in London on March 12-13th. Over the past few weeks, I've been getting some pre-event perspectives from some of the speakers, discussing innovation with the London Business School's Patrick Barwise and Big Data with GFK's Colin Strong.

My final interviewee, Sue Unerman, chief strategy officer at MediaCom UK, offered an agency-side view when I talked to her in London yesterday. The overriding theme of her MAP presentation will be the need for partnership between clients, agencies, researchers and publishers – an increasingly pertinent issue in a world where consumer data is becoming ever more trackable and valuable. In his interview, Strong had suggested that the issue of who owns this data is something akin to a "battleground" these days – but Unerman believes that it doesn't have to be this way.

05 March 2013, 10:48

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