Tag: ads

There’s probably no reason to ditch your old creative because of coronavirus, but if you do, your new ad needs to be distinctive and avoid the bland clichés brands are currently churning out.

By Mark Ritson for Marketing Week

With no signal that our global lockdown is going to unlock itself any time soon, the attention of most marketing departments is moving from ‘should we advertise?’ to ‘how should we advertise?’. Even if a brand is lucky enough to find itself with some surviving top-line revenue and the remnants of an advertising budget, there is still the significant issue of what tone the subsequent creative should adopt.

As usual, most marketers are convinced that they need to dump everything, set fire to their previous campaign and start all over again. Maybe their original campaign features a formerly innocent shot of a dozen people crowded around the product in a very socially un-distant manner. Perhaps an otherwise excellent ad ends with a firm handshake or, God forbid, a hug that now sets off societal alarm bells.

Most likely, the marketer in charge simply thinks the world has changed so much that every aspect of the brand’s communications must now reflect lockdown. Unshaven fathers holding babies and mothers in jogging bottoms getting emotional on Skype.

It’s a new manifestation of an age-old problem in marketing. Even during more regular times, most brand managers lose interest in their advertising and want to change it long before the campaign has even bedded in, let alone achieved an enduring impact on the target audience.

Marketers forget that the four-month-long, eight-hour-a-day journey to create the new campaign was theirs and theirs alone. Most consumers never notice the ad before it is pulled and replaced with an equally transient successor.

A flood of generic messages

With the onset of Covid-19 the metabolism of tactical impatience has only increased further. Desperate to ‘pivot’ and be ‘agile’, most marketing teams are binning their current comms and looking for a new, Covid-appropriate way to talk to customers. You already know the formula.

A tinkling piano. Monochrome deserted streets. An old newspaper blows past. Empty chairs. Gloomy skies. Concerned faces. “We’ve been there for you since 19-something something,” says a comforting, homespun voice.

The tempo of the piano increases. The sun rises. “But in these unprecedented times,” the voice continues, “we can still be there for each other and our families.”

Product shot. Slow motion video of employees interacting in a friendly yet socially isolated manner. Children play at home on the sofa. An old person waves through a web cam. “Together with you.” Logo.

It’s wank. Clichéd wank. And it’s an enormous and embarrassing waste of money on the part of some of the world’s biggest brands. Just because we are in a strange and ‘unprecedented’ time does not mean that the usual rules of branding are deferred.

You still need to be distinctive. You still need to have an actual message. The fact that ‘Microsoft Sam’ was able to slice and dice a brilliant montage of all these ads into a seamless three-minute combination on YouTube (see video at the top) illustrates just how generic these campaigns really are.

There is no message behind all these drearily similar creative efforts other than that there is too much money and not enough marketing talent on hand. Brands like Uber, Samsung, Kia and Budweiser are superbly distinctive. They have clear brand codes. So why have they been displaced by identikit images of sunsets and empty streets?

Genericism, a lack of distinction or differentiation, and an overstated view of a brand’s cultural importance are now all on display.

These brands also have clear product positioning and brand associations they could be communicating. Where is the attempt to build brand associations? How about a good old-fashioned link to a product benefit? Has the virus killed off basic marketing too?

The blame lies with the inane and insipid marketers running many of the world’s biggest brands. While our economy boomed, they got away with their vacuous brand purpose nonsense. Formerly great brands threw away decades of heritage and turned to generic, woke-washed nonsense that made marketers feel better about their jobs at dinner parties and made consumers shrug, scratch their heads and get on with their day, none the wiser. Those same marketers are now clearly in charge of the initial slew of Covid-19 advertising.

Remember how all that brand purpose nonsense was incredibly generic? Remember how brand purpose climbed the benefit ladder past features, benefits and emotional associations and leapt from the top into a sea of pointless bullshit below? And remember how every purpose-driven marketer thought their brand had a big influence on consumers and society? All those traits – genericism, a lack of distinction or differentiation, and an overstated view of a brand’s cultural importance – are now all on display in these fumbling attempts at brand communication.

No need to switch creative

And is the new advertising really necessary at all? Orlando Wood at research company System1 would challenge the need for new creative. Wood, who once left me shitfaced and mumbling, drinking on my own in a dodgy bar in Toronto, has redeemed himself with his most recent research paper.

‘What Should Ads Look Like in the Time of Recession?’ is a fresh and insightful report commissioned by LinkedIn’s B2B Institute. Wood examines the degree to which TV ads can attract attention and garner an emotional response from consumers in the UK and US. Crucially, his data covers the first three months of 2020, therefore including the lockdown period that began in March.

Counter to what many marketers have been saying about a ‘new normal’ and changed responses from target consumers in lockdown, Wood uses the data to show that “there has been no appreciable change in the ability of ads to connect with audiences”.

That’s important because most of the ads that were seen during the coronavirus lockdown were designed long before Covid-19 had started its deadly assault on the global populace. Old ads are still performing just as well in the new normal.

Everything will change forever after coronavirus … won’t it?

To confirm this finding, Wood took a random selection of ads that were originally shown in January and February, and tested their responses among audiences at the end of March. Sure enough, as his chart below demonstrates, a pre-Covid ad’s performance among a pre-Covid audience (the X axis) is broadly analogous to its performance once lockdown had begun (Y axis).

There is a significant probability that your existing advertising will work just fine in the current crazy Covid period. And given how generic and cloying most of the new ‘agile’ advertising responses to coronavirus have turned out, it’s probably the correct tactical decision for most organisations.

It’s a less sexy finding than ‘everything you know about advertising must change, starting with your existing campaign strategy – burn your underpants and jump out of the window’. But that does not stop it from being the smarter, more effective and more economical recommendation.

Effective creative themes

If you really do want a new campaign in this strange context of coronavirus, Wood is also on hand to suggest some evidence-based direction for that advertising too. By identifying the ads that have performed better with consumers since the onset of coronavirus, Wood is able to suggest some key creative themes that seem to resonate more with Covid-hit consumers.

Fluent devices like Specsavers’ myopia or ‘Compare the Meerkat’ always pay back the brands that create them. But in times of great trouble, the fact that these characters inhabit a fictional universe a long way from coronavirus only adds further to their appeal and impact. The Jolly Green Giant will work better this month than he did at the start of the year. Ads that reference the past are also working better for Covid audiences. Sadly, the recent and more distant past were more pleasant places than the current period for most people, and that positivity appears to help as ads with a sense of history score higher in Wood’s analysis.

Finally, ads that celebrate ‘betweenness’, particularly among smaller groups or families, or which have a strong sense of place or community, are also impacting Covid audiences better now than before.

It’s too easy to just pick on the shit, clichéd failures. Who is actually on top of their game right now? Which brands have managed to reflect the new normal of a Covid-19 lockdown without completely losing their point of view or their ability to sell?

It was early in the crisis – so early that hitting a bar was still possible – but Guinness earned early line honours for its hastily altered St Patrick’s Day ad. With the big parades all cancelled on 17 March, Guinness was still building salience and brand associations, and reflecting the spirit of the times.

And the ad ticks a lot of Orlando Wood’s boxes too. It’s an ad steeped in history (tick), in a distinct place (tick), among a strong community (tick), and one that promotes a message of betweenness with every pixel (tick). And, in contrast to those woke watery Covid ads that followed it, this ad is distinctively Guinness in appearance, is redolent with the brand associations and – amazingly enough – has a product benefit attached to boot. Déanta go maith agat!

On a lesser note, Colgate also deserves plaudits for #Smilestrong. The tinkling pianos at the start might have been a portent of genericism but, in contrast with much of the crap now being released, this is an ad that again ticks all the right boxes.

We have community, family and betweenness and, because it has been created entirely from consumers’ own webcam conversations, there is a genuineness and an emotional payoff missing from bigger budget attempts to do the same thing. Best of all, this, like Guinness’s, is an ad that has actually attempted a direct link to a product benefit and up the ladder to an emotional impact too.

Advertising that actually advertises the product! What an amazing idea. That must be why it, almost, moved me to tears.

By Mark Sweney for The Guardian

The internet is about to lose its mantle as the fastest-growing sector of the global advertising market for the first time in two decades, as brands seeking risk-free space to spend their ad budgets turn to traditional media such as cinema, billboards and poster sites.

Next year the global internet advertising market, which is dominated by Google and Facebook, will surrender its position as the fastest-growing ad medium for the first time since the early days of the dotcom boom and bust at the turn of the century.

Internet advertising is forecast to grow by 10% globally next year, the lowest level since 2001, according to research by the global media agency group Zenith. The shrinking growth rate means that cinema advertising, which is forecast to surge more than 12% next year, will become the fastest-growing ad medium.

Major companies have expressed their concerns over digital scandals – such as Cambridge Analytica, “fake news” and ads appearing next to inappropriate YouTube videos such as extremist material – putting pressure on internet platforms.

The movie industry is experiencing a golden age, with UK attendance last year hitting its highest level since 1970 and global box office records being smashed, and advertisers are looking to cash in.

Investment in technology, from the special effects used in blockbuster movies to the plush experience of cinemas sporting leather reclining seats, sofas and restaurant menus, has fuelled a renaissance despite the proliferation of streaming services such as Netflix.

“From Wonder Woman to the Avengers, Black Panther or The Favourite you have such as diverse range of films with a captive audience that advertisers know they can get a specific message to,” said Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of the international cinema chain Vue.

“What we are also seeing is that companies are getting tired of bombarding the internet with messages when they can’t be sure who is seeing them. Audiences have a higher level of trust and confidence on what they see on the big screen than something that may have been thrown at them on the internet.”

While the growth rate of internet advertising was always eventually going to slow with scale – in 2020 it will account for half of the $650bn (£520bn) spent on advertising globally – there are signs of a wider shift in the market. This month, the British competition watchdog launched a probe into the £13bn UK digital ad market.

The outdoor advertising sector – which includes billboards, the sides of buses and railway stations – is also expected to grow at a healthy 5% globally in 2020, bucking a downturn in ad spending on other media including newspapers and TV.

“Outdoor advertising is now very much a digital experience, it’s pixels not paste any more, and that’s attractive to brands,” said Phil Hall, the incoming co-managing director of media company Ocean Outdoor.

“But you also can’t ignore the issue of brand safety. Given the well-publicised issues faced by some of the digital giants outdoor advertising has a great pitch to advertisers about being a trusted haven for brands.”

Zenith’s report says that while much of the growth in internet advertising comes from small, local businesses that spend all their budgets on platforms such as Google and Facebook, the majority of big brands still prefer to spend most of their advertising money on traditional media.

Source: The Citizen

WhatsApp vice president Chris Daniels confirmed at an event in New Delhi, India earlier this week that the popular messaging app will start showing users ads in the app’s status feature come 2019.

The WhatsApp status feature was launched early last year to mimic Snapchat’s stories feature which was later co-opted by Instagram and Facebook and it allows users to share text, photos, videos and animated GIFs that disappear after 24 hours.

According to India’s Economic Times, Daniels told journalists “we are going to be putting ads in ‘Status’. That is going to be primary monetisation mode for the company as well as an opportunity for businesses to reach people on WhatsApp.”

The new feature will take effect in 2019 but Daniels could not lock down an exact date.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal to monetise WhatsApp has forced the social media messaging service’s co-founders to leave the company reports Economic Times.

On of the app’s co-founders Brian Acton told Forbes that the move would undermine elements of WHatsapp’s encryption technology and that Zuckerberg was in a rush to make money from the app after purchasing it for $19 billion four years ago.

Source: eMarketer

A recent survey conducted by eMarketer has illustrated how the average American Internet user feels about digital advertising.

The majority of respondents felt that advertisers were “too aggressive” in the way they were tracked online.

 

The data was collected from an October 2018 survey by Janrain.

1 079 US Internet users ages 18 and over were surveyed online during August 2018.
Respondents identified:

  • their gender as female (54.6%) or male (45.4%)
  • their ages as being 18-29 (26.9%), 30-44 (21.8%), 45-60 (24.5%) or 60+ (26.8%)
  • their household income as being $0-$9,999 (6.4%), $10,000-$24,999 (11.3%), $25,000-$49,999 (18.8%), $50,000-$74,999 (17.4%), $75,000-$99,999 (13.6%), $100,000-$124,999 (9.4%), $125,000-$149,999 (3.7%), $150,000-$174,999 (3.7%), $175,000-$199,999 (1.5%) or $200,000+ (2.8%).

Facebook accused of job ad gender discrimination

Source: BBC 

Van driving, roofing, police work – all jobs for men. At least, that’s what a cluster of job ads placed on Facebook seemed to suggest.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday submitted a complaint to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Facebook’s advertising system allows employers to target job ads based on gender – a practice the ACLU says is illegal.

Specifically, the complaint refers to three women in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois who were not shown advertisements for what have traditionally been considered male-dominated professions.

The complaint highlights 10 different employers who posted job adverts on Facebook – for roles such as mechanic, roofer and security engineer – but used the social network’s targeting system to control who saw the ad. In one example, that targeting meant one job was promoted to “men” who were “ages 25 to 35”, and lived “or were recently near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”.

A separate investigation by ProPublica discovered what it said were more examples showing a similar pattern.

Earlier this year the investigative journalism site released a tool which readers could use to collect data on the Facebook ads they had seen, and send that information directly to ProPublica for analysis.

Using that method, the site said it discovered men were targeted specifically in dozens of cities around the US for driving jobs with Uber. This conclusion was based on 91 ads placed by Uber’s recruitment arm, only one of which was targeted specifically at women, with three not targeting any particular gender. The rest were designed to be seen by men only.

In a statement, Uber said: “We use a variety of channels to reach prospective drivers – both offline and online – with the goal of enabling more people, not fewer, to earn on their own schedule.”

Missing information
However, this data should be treated with caution. It is not clear that any broad conclusions can be made about perceived discrimination on Facebook.

While one advertisement in isolation may be targeting men specifically, there may have been an equivalent advertisement targeting women running in the same time frame – ads that may not have been picked up by ProPublica’s tool. Furthermore, if a user clicks on an ad to see why it has been targeted – as in the ACLU complaint – they will be told why they specifically saw the ad, but not details on the entire audience for the ad.

The BBC understands Facebook is in the process of putting together data to dispute the findings and respond to the ACLU’s complaint.

While targeting users based on gender may seem relatively harmless when it comes to, for instance, clothing brands, doing so for job advertisements may be against US law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 specifically prohibits discriminating against a person because of “race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin”. The law applies to every stage of employment, including recruitment.

Facebook said it was looking into the complaint
“When employers in male-dominated fields advertise their jobs only to men, it prevents women from breaking into those fields,” said Galen Sherwin, from the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, arguing that “non-binary” people, those who choose not to identify with a specific gender, are also excluded.

“What’s more, clicking on the Facebook ads brought viewers to a page listing numerous other job opportunities at these companies for which job seekers might be qualified.

“Because no women saw these ads, they were shut out of learning not only about the jobs highlighted in the ads, but also about any of these other opportunities.”

Facebook said it was reviewing the ACLU’s complaint and looked forward to “defending our practices”.

“There is no place for discrimination on Facebook,” said spokesman Joe Osborne.

“It’s strictly prohibited in our policies, and over the past year, we’ve strengthened our systems to further protect against misuse.”

The company has recently removed over 5,000 targeting options for advertisers. The move was prompted by a lawsuit accusing the firm of unlawfully targeting users based on race or sexual orientation.

Google Chrome to block video ads

Google has developed a tool that lets you permanently mute Web sites that automatically play videos with sound.

It’s an extremely irritating problem, and the new option will be welcomed by the majority of internet users.

Videos – often ads – that play with sound can be distracting, especially if you’re trying to watch or listen to something at the time.

To turn one off, you usually need to stop what you’re doing, figure out which background tab it’s playing from and then scroll down the page to actually find it.

Google is only experimenting with the feature right now, according to Chromium evangelist François Beaufort, so it’s not currently available to Chrome users.

“This will give you more control about which website is allowed to throw sound at you automatically,” he said in a Google+ post.

You can, however, try it out in Chrome Canary, an experimental and unstable version of the browser.

By Aatif Sulleyman for The Independent 

Most Internet users see scores of digital ads every time they go online – and in Spain, as elsewhere, many now choose to block ads on Web pages. The Interactive Advertising Bureau Spain (IAB Spain) and the native ad platform provider Ligatus Spain recently commissioned Elogia to assess the extent of ad blocking in the country. More than 2 000 Web users ages 16 to 60 were interviewed in December 2015 and January 2016.

Just over a quarter (26%) of the sample said they currently blocked ads – equivalent to 5,6-million people in that age group. Moreover, 68% of those who didn’t already block ads said they would like to avoid ads if they could.

When researchers asked why people who blocked ads did so, there were few surprises. Half said there was too much advertising, and 53% said ads were inconvenient or intrusive. Some 46% commented that ads prevented them seeing or reading content, and 41% were aiming to eliminate low-value or misleading ads. Three in ten respondents hoped to improve the speed or data consumption of their devices. Even across the total sample, 84% agreed that some digital ads, such as pop-ups and non-skippable pre-roll video ads, were more intrusive than others.

Frequent and intensive Internet users – often the individuals that advertisers most want to reach – were more likely to block ads, IAB and Ligatus Spain reported. Nearly all (95%) of respondents who went online several times a day had installed an ad blocker, and 88% of mobile Internet users had also done so. Some 57% of respondents who blocked ads were male, and the same percentage were ages 16 to 34. Nearly two-thirds (62%) had a university degree – but 62% also had no children.

Overall, those polled said that digital ads were most disturbing on mobile phones. But people who used an ad blocker were most likely to have installed it on their desktop or laptop first of all.

Worryingly for publishers, many Web users who blocked ads didn’t discriminate between sites where they could turn the software on or off – or didn’t realise they could make this choice. Half (49%) said they simply blocked ads on all Web pages. The next most popular approach was blocking ads on entertainment sites; 26% said they did this.

There was some good news for media owners. Fewer than one in five respondents said they shut down ad serving on sites such as social media, news, games or sports. Moreover, many Web users were tolerant of online ads to a degree. Over half of the total sample said digital advertising was no worse than ads on TV.

Many people love watching sports games and contests at LiveSport Center as there are no ads. You can enjoy your favorite game without any distraction.

Source: www.emarketer.com

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