People love to watch TV with Twitter. During recent events like #SuperBowlXLVII with over 24.9M Tweets about the game and halftime, or last season’s finale of “Pretty Little Liars” with a record-breaking 1.9M Tweets (as measured by Nielsen’s SocialGuide) it’s clear that TV and Twitter are better together.
In addition to the fun and excitement of second screen experiences for audiences, marketers and networks also benefit from the power of TV and Twitter. Recent research we’ve commissioned has led to three compelling findings:
1. #hashtags in TV ads drive positive brand conversation.
To analyze the impact of hashtags in TV ads on Twitter earned media, we studied more than 500 television commercials in the consumer electronics category. We analyzed over 63,000 comments in response to those ads, across more than 100,000 television airings.
We found that hashtags drive significantly more earned media for brands. TV ads with hashtags had 42% more Tweets about the ads than those without hashtags. The analysis showed that not only do TV spots with hashtags drive more immediate conversation, they also trigger higher quality responses. In fact, comments in response to ads with hashtags were 18% more relevant to the messages communicated in the ad.
2. Twitter keeps viewers tuned in to advertising.
People don’t just tweet about ads; they use Twitter while watching TV to express their opinions and follow the conversation. Wanting a better understanding of how this behavior affected TV advertising, we worked with Symphony Advanced Media, which passively tracks the media usage of thousands of people. Our goal was to understand how using Twitter affects commercial viewing. In other words, does Twitter make it more or less likely for TV viewers to remain tuned in during ads?
We found that use of Twitter while watching TV decreases an audience member’s likelihood to change the channel during ads. According to the Symphony analysis, TV viewers who are not multi-tasking on mobile devices tune away 17% of the time during ad breaks. This number drops to 13% when TV viewers are in fact multi-tasking on their phones. Among Twitter users, however, tune-away is the lowest: 8%. When viewers are on Twitter, they are more likely to view a brand’s TV spot.
3. Twitter makes TV ads more effective.
The research is clear that Twitter leads to more commercial viewing, but are Twitter users more impacted by ads? Working with Millward Brown Digital, we conducted a study of more than 7,500 respondents to compare the impact of TV ads among people who watched TV with and without Twitter.
We found that viewers watching TV without a second-screen had an average TV ad recall of 40%. But among those using Twitter, ad recall was significantly higher: 53%. These viewers were also 13% more likely to discuss shows and 3% more likely to recommend programs, making TV x Twitter a win/win for advertisers and networks alike.
Our research also demonstrated a difference in the ability for a TV spot to help build a brand. We found that the impact of a TV commercial, as measured by a lift in brand favorability (the likelihood for a viewer to rate a brand ‘excellent’ on a five-point scale) was 7%. Among those viewers who were also tweeting, the lift was 18%. The lift in purchase intent was also higher among those tweeting: 30% compared to 16% in the TV-only group.
We are excited by this new round of research which complements earlier findings that TV ad targeting boosts key brand metrics, and that Twitter lowers cost-per-acquisition and increases television ROI. We look forward to learning even more about the ways Twitter makes TV more engaging for viewers as it grows value for brands and TV networks.
Download the infographic with all the key insights.
In July of 2013, South by South West issued an invitation to European tech startups in need of secondary funding. Now, all of Europe wants a piece of the action.
SXSW’s annual conference in Austin, Tex., has long garnered international attention. The event’s interactive segment alone has servied as the launch pad for globally known startups like Twitter and Foursquare.
But in 2014, SXSW feels a bit different. Among the conference’s big name backers and high profile attendees, SXSW is now a strategic target for governments in European tech circles. Now, instead a UK-led representation, officials from the Netherlands, France, Sweden, and more are getting involved and clamoring to be heard.
Among the loudest European tech hubs at SXSW, the Netherlands’ executive endorsement of the conference is so widespread that it’s difficult to name everyone involved. A shortlist of Dutch organizations which have invested time, capital, or both, includes:
The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), the Dutch Topteam Creative Industry, and the government-backed Dutch Fellows collective.
Daniel van Vulpen, the New York area director for the NFIA — a government agency which helps U.S. companies launch in Holland — tells VentureBeat, “There has always been a large Dutch presence at SXSW, but … the focus of our government is changing from traditional companies to Internet-based companies.”
In addition to startups, the NFIA has launched major tech and lifestyle companies such as Tesla and Nike in Europe.
Vulpen says his overarching goal is to “build relationships between American and Dutch startups.” For the Netherlands, its SXSW presence revolves around a series of events all under the Dutch Today branding, with startups like Shapeways, Chordify, and Surfly.
“For the first time this year,” Frackers shares, “we have a huge presentation as part of the official SXSW program.”
France, some 480 miles away, shares alarmingly similar plans.
Alec Turnbull, the Digital Attaché to the French Embassy in the US, calls SXSW 2014 a chance to reverse stereotypes.
“The standard image of French tech [is that] it’s hard to start a company in France,” but, Turnbull says, “that is really changing.”
“The way that Paris looks to me right now, it’s very much like the way New York looked eight or even six years ago. There are a lot of incubators, accelerators, and government support, which is just starting to kick in.
“There have always been French entrepreneurs, but this is the first year that we’re doing an organized presence.”
As for competition with the Netherlands, Turnbull emphasized his big picture vision. He claims that regardless of which tech hub garners the most attention, growth in Europe will benefit the entire ecosystem.
But for Cédric Giorgi, the founder of Cookening and cofounder of the French Tech Club — a government supported organization — France’s SXSW role is far more dire. At past conferences, Giorgi says, “We were disappointed to see how badly our country was represented.”
“And it’s not just about the image of our country. It’s about the perception and reputation of all our startups and companies.
“We wanted to have something more than just a booth at the trade show, because SXSW is much more than that. We rented a central place, Trinity Hall, for three days to bring a little bit of French touch to the festival. This initiative is supported by private partners as well as the French government, which has recently launched a ‘La French Tech’ initiative.”
Giorgi’s goal is simple: “To change the perception of [France] and companies that are launched from there.” An advertisement by the French Tech Club puts it even simpler: “France has changed. … Come and discover how.”
Consistently highlighted by officials from both France and the Netherlands, the UK is often perceived as Europe’s most tech-friendly state.
Haileigh Meyers, an officer at UK Trade & Investment, an economic development agency for the UK, explains that the UK’s presence at SXSW will remain unchanged this year. However, she made clear that the UK has “had a presence at SXSW for over 5 years.” By comparison, mainland Europe is late to the game.
More from Meyers:
“There are over 1500 Brits at SXSW, representing one of the largest foreign contingencies at SXSW. As a result of this large contingency, the UK government wanted to ensure there were services and opportunities available to British companies, bands, and individuals to promote their product/band/idea.”
But the UK shares the same goals as every other foreign country involved in SXSW this year, according to Meyers:
“By foreign companies seeing what is available in the UK, we hope to see those companies looking to open operations in the UK.”
The UK, France, and the Netherlands certainly do not represent the entirety of SXSW’s European or larger international presence. There’s a sense of urgency from the Embassy of Sweden, which is teaming up with the UK for a SXSW panel. Returning attendees, Germany and Ireland also appear to have invested new effort into SXSW Interactive. The press announcement from Enterprise Ireland, for example, says that Irish tech entrepreneurs will “flex their start-up creds at South by Southwest” this year.
Like clockwork, each and every visiting state promises SXSW attendees the same thing: That theirs is among the world’s top destinations for entrepreneurs, engineers, and designers. And each promise has a unique allure to different types of SXSW attendees.
By Abigail Marks
It is absolutely incredible how much time people are finding to engage with compelling content. I’m speaking of course about the binge watching, the streaming of entire seasons in a single sitting, the mobile and digital viewership of major sporting events like the Sochi Olympic Games, and the countless hours spent on tablets and smartphones, deep in the worlds of apps and games. Nowadays, even when we’re sleeping, some of us are multi-tasking – tracking our ‘progress’, recording biometric activity on a connected device.
In addition to all these new behaviours, viewers are still excited about event television; the 2014 Grammy’s and Super Bowl 48 demonstrated the monumental power of social TV.
There is so much opportunity to engage with audiences. But there is one major caveat: please stop trying to engage outside of the storyline. Don’t make audiences wait 15 seconds, forcing a pre-roll before they can see the content they want. Expectations on content experiences have shifted. By interrupting or holding content hostage to advertiser messages, not only is it detrimental to the brand, its detrimental to the distributor. The audience has made it clear they want stories, intriguing and uninterrupted. Give them this and they’ll be your biggest advocate. Ignore this and you’re out in the cold.
Devoted audiences are a persuasive currency. So is brand-funded content. Both are becoming so important to the way businesses and brands are operating that the biggest and most established players across the media ecosystem are making major moves to adapt to this demand. The headlines are filled with the biggest of brands introducing Chief Content or Storytelling Officers, launching new documentary series, and on the flipside, blue chip media companies are establishing formal branded entertainment divisions. Resources are shifting – both from a budget and an organisational perspective. You have to be under a rock to miss tempers flaring among journalists worldwide as native advertising offers new revenue streams to publishers struggling with declining traditional ad revenue.
To each member of the ecosystem, there are a few basic rules to tap into this endless opportunity.
1. Know your voice: Stand by big, clear ideals to attract the audience you want. David Ogilvy is famous for ‘the big idea’ – “A Big Idea is so simple it can fit on a matchbook cover. So big you can’t think of a place it cannot go.” Try new things, but know that it must always pass an individual litmus test. A strong guiding principle for your brand, your network, or your publication establishes a set of rules against which everyone responsible for content within the organisation can operate.
2. Know your audience: It’s great to know who you are, but make sure that you’re clear on the cultural context. If you’re trying to win hearts and minds, understand the cycle of topics within your targeted segment, show up to the party on time and determine why your voice is relevant and interesting.
3. Blueprint your strategy: With so many channels and touch points, it’s easy to get lost in the many ways to produce, cut and distribute content. Have a clear plan, even if you migrate from it, you can see where and why, and adapt as necessary. Don’t try to be all things in all places; a smart distribution strategy should reflect the creative idea at the heart of it.
4. Get in the game: Get out there, produce, and be considerate, but bold. Don’t be afraid to challenge the way your organisation has always done business, but remember to maintain quality and voice. Take calculated risks.
5. Measure, monitor and manage: Data is everywhere, in everything. Big data is great, smart data is better. Know what is worth collecting, measuring and what holds value. Use these insights to adjust and adapt, but be honest with yourself about what the numbers really mean.
Abigail Marks is director, strategy and operations for OgilvyEntertainment. Read all of her MIPBlog posts here.
Expect plenty of branded content innovation at the MIP Digital Fronts, whose first edition takes place at MIPTV, April 9-10. More info here.
The banter around native advertising – and more specifically native content publishing – reached fever pitch this year. Every man and his dog had a view on how it should be defined, measured, labeled, scaled and priced. And while the the jury may still be out on a number of these issues, one thing we do know here at HuffPost Partner Studio is bloody good native content when we see it.
It is with that in mind that we compiled our list of the top native content campaigns for 2013 (ourselves excluded, naturally). Our selection criteria ties closely to our definition of native advertising; that is, advertiser-sponsored content that is transparent (i.e. clearly-labeled as such) and authentic to the platform, its readers, and the sponsor.
#1 Barbie’s Dreamhouse
Integration: Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse Listing on Trulia.com
It really doesn’t get more native than this. For those of you that don’t know Barbie so well, she has lived in the Malibu Dreamhouse since like forever! Mattel finally decided earlier this year that it was time for Barbie to move out of the “ultimate bachelorette compound”, and ahead of the “big move” (read: NEW product launch and the start of the “Barbie Is Moving Tour”) hired Josh Altman, one of the agents from Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, to get her current Malibu McMansion listed for a cool $25M [≈ Energy industry 2011 political donations] on the reputable Real-Estate site Trulia.com.
The creative genius that came up with this integration and the whole “Barbie is Moving” campaign, which sent Barbie on a road trip to 13 cities across North America in search of a new crib, deserves a high five and a promotion.
For those not familiar with the campaign, after a 6 month search Barbie ultimately ended up deciding to return to Malibu and renovate her existing “bachelorette compound;” adding an additional elevator, walk-in-wardrobe, and state of the art stainless steel appliances. The Trulia listing has since been unlisted and is now marked “Off Market”.
#2 Developing: Residents Embrace Bizarre New Bird Species
Brand: White Wing
Integration: A fictional special news report on the White Wing, “an odd never before seen bird” spotted in Shiner, TX
This is a great example of native content that is organic to the publisher’s platform — it truly shares the same sensibility as other Onion content. Although The Onion, as a satirical news site doesn’t have to play by the same rules as traditional publishers, a sense of humor goes a long way toward making a piece of content memorable. The piece offers a winking, knowing tone that goes over-the-top in product placement, but somehow still works.
#3 Green Label
Brand: Mountain Dew
Integration: Green Label is a content hub that describes itself as “the intersection of skateboarding, music, and art.”
This sponsored campaign is chock-full of content that targets Complex’s fashion-forward, culture-obsessed millennial audience (see: “A Brief History of Skateboarding,” “50 States of Lego,” and “10 Rumored Albums We Want To Hear Already.”)
In short, Complex has created a platform full of timely pieces that represent Mountain Dew’s already existing ties to youth culture. (The Green Label Sound music label, Green Label Experience action-sports sponsorships, and Green Label Art initiatives have been running for years, but Dew lacked a consolidated online destination for its sponsored content.) It’s a great example of a brand leaning on a publisher for editorial expertise and strategy.
#4 The Power of Reinventing Work
Publisher: The Atlantic
Integration: An interactive infographic on best business practices from IBM’s “Power In Data: Turning Facts Into Discoveries” campaign.
This B2B execution is great example of how native advertising can help brands establish thought leadership in a fresh and innovative way. The infographic features statistics from IBM case studies and applies them to a larger message of how a business can “reinvent” its workplace and ultimately drive value to the organization. In alignment with the IBM’s “Power In Data” messaging, this execution turns facts into powerful discoveries via a creative design that engages readers and stimulates conversation.
#5 Icons: History Told Through Human Achievement
Publisher: The Atlantic
Integration : A list of photos with quotes from icons throughout history, sponsored by Rolex. The quotes were pulled from Atlantic profiles of Martin Luther King, Jr., Marlon Brando, and Picasso, among others.
This integration was anchored by beautiful, high-quality photographs and compelling quotes. The fact that the quotes are pulled from articles in the Atlantic’s archives makes it truly native to the platform. Overall, it’s a great fit featuring the marriage of an iconic, upscale publication with an iconic, upscale brand. It’s simple content, beautifully executed.
#6 17 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand
Integration: A fun piece from the folks at HarperCollins in the form of a classic BuzzFeed listicle, comprised of the internet’s greatest gift to the world: animated GIFs.
A native content purist might argue that this post isn’t technically a native ad, in that it’s not a traditional Buzzfeed-produced sponsored listicle, but rather an unpaid community post by HarperCollins themselves. That said, huge kudos to the publishing powerhouse for really nailing it. Not only is their list a book-lover’s delight, it expertly matches BuzzFeed’s editorial voice and format. This is also an excellent example of a brand focusing on the kind of high-level messaging that does so well in native: not too “salesy”, not tied to a campaign, but part of a broader brand storytelling effort.
#7 Panhandler Pranks Entire Subway Car
Brand: Vitamin Water
Publisher: College Humor
Integration: Vitamin Water’s “#makeboringbrilliant” campaign applied in subway panhandler prank video.
New York straphangers are all too familiar with panhandlers. At pretty much any time during the day, needy New Yorkers can be found in subway stations and cars soliciting cash from train riders in exchange for candy, a song and dance, or a tear-jerking sob story. Inspired by Vitamin Water’s #makeboringbrilliant campaign, this sponsored video turns a subway begger into a subway bragger. A great example of clever, “viral-style” content that aligns perfectly with the brand identity without force-fitting direct product integration.
Research shows that stories, anecdotes and metaphors are more memorable than data.
At Searchlove last week, business consultant and author Danny Scheinmann discussed why stories work, the hidden structures behind them and how they can help your business to communicate effectively.
A simple device to remember how to tell an effective story is to think of a ladder. In fact you don’t even need to think of a ladder, there’s one right here…
At the top of the ladder are abstract ideas: love, ambition, hope, happiness.
At the bottom of the ladder are concrete examples: physical evidence of the above abstractions.
Businesses often get stuck in the middle of the ladder, blurting out pat phrases like 'good customer service' and 'work smarter, not harder' that sound like a mixture of practical and aspirational without really being either.
The best communication goes up and down the ladder, backing up aspirational slogans, with concrete examples.
A classic example of this is Martin Luther King’s 'I have a dream' speech.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
'I have a dream' is at the top of the ladder; it’s intangible, it’s abstract.
'Former slaves and… slave owners… sit down together at the table' is at the bottom of the ladder; it’s practical, it’s achievable, it brings weight and recognition to the idea at the top of the ladder.
Add meaning to abstract sayings with concrete examples.
Significant Objects is an incredibly successful example of telling stories to give once worthless products a value.
This was an experiment devised by Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, where they bought hundreds of thrift-store items, purchased for an average price of $1.25 each, asked 200 writers including Meg Cabot, Jonathan Lethem and William Gibson to contribute fictional narratives to the items and auctioned them off on ebay.
Significant Objects raised nearly $8,000, making a 2,700% profit.
For more information on the project, check out our previous article here.
Dove's marketing director Stacie Bright had a moral problem in 2006.
After years of marketing Dove’s products using what the mainstream considers ‘beautiful’ models Bright realised this was affecting her own daughter’s self-esteem, and therefore affecting the self-esteem of everybody's daughter subjected to this advertising.
Rather than quitting her job immediately, Bright created a mock-up advert using all of the company directors' own daughters. with text alongside each image saying how these girls believed they weren’t beautiful.
Bright and her team showed it to the executives, confident that this was a risky but worthwhile move.
The risk worked. The Dove executives were of course deeply affected, said a resounding yes through their tears, and completely overhauled Dove’s marketing strategy, which has continued to this day.
Dove doubled profits from £1bn to £2bn and turned the business of selling soap into a moral campaign.
The cynical can take from this what they will, but the campaign genuinely came for a place that wished for change; using stories to make a culturally positive difference.
American fashion retailer Nordstrom began collecting examples of great customer service from its employees. They called them Nordy stories.
For example, a customer comes into the store, laden with items already purchased from rival store Macy’s. The customer shops in Nordstrom, comes to the till and takes advantage of Nordtrom’s free giftwrap service.
The Nordstrom employee obliges and then, to the surprise and delight of the customer, offers to wrap the Macy’s gifts too for no extra charge.
In another example a customer comes into Nordstrom wishing to return a $17 tyre iron. They don’t have a receipt. Nordstrom doesn’t sell tyre irons. The employee gives the customer a full refund.
That employee knows full well that the Nordstrom customer has an average lifetime spend of $8,000. What’s $17 compared to that?
By publishing these stories, Nordstrom not only gives concrete examples of how great their service is to customers, but also to new employees as well.
Your employee handbook might say ‘give great customer service’ but to the average employee that basically just says ‘smile, make eye contact and tuck in your shirt’.
Nordy stories give concrete examples to the employees to show them exactly how good customer service is given.
GE took off all the text-heavy mission statements from its website and replaced them with videos of examples of the company's work instead.
These videos achieved 2m views. It's a simple application of persuasive web design at work. The human brain processes visuals 50 times faster than text.
Who remembers last year’s Debenhams Christmas advert? Anybody? No?
Who remembers last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad? Yeah, thought so.
The John Lewis Christmas advert has so far achieved 3.5m views. Debenhams achieved a tenth of that.
John Lewis tells an extraordinarily simple story about a snowman going to the shops, Debenhams showed a parade of well-shot products. Which one do you remember? The one with the narrative.
It’s also incredible when you realise that of all the thousands of expensive products sold in John Lewis, the only products shown here are a hat and scarf. The meaning behind these products suddenly has a value far higher than their actual worth, much like the Significant Objects mentioned earlier. 3.5m people voluntarily watched this advert on Youtube.
The John Lewis advert is also a perfect example of The Hero’s Journey.
American mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell studied the power of myth throughout many different cultures and ages, and discovered that many of these stories were similar.
All mythic narratives are variations of a single great story. The Hero’s Journey…
This narrative journey, which has been told for as long as stories have been told, can be found everywhere from Star Wars to The Lion King to Lord of the Rings to the Bible to… yes... the John Lewis advert.
Here are four basic types of narrative that can help you structure a story:
Always remember that Conflict (or obstacles) = Drama.
The concept of native advertising is nothing new, advertorials have been almost since the dawn of the news business. At its most basic, a native ad is a paid-for story that mimics the look, feel and style of the editorial that surrounds it. The idea is to present commercial messages in the context of the users’ experience so that it feels less intrusive than a display ad. The hope is that readers will click through to the advertisers own web property.
Many high profile news sites and social networks have been offering native ads to brands for quite some time. Twitter and Facebook have a similar offering in ‘sponsored stories’ and ‘promoted tweets’. LinkedIn has invested a lot in its native strategy and Pinterest is now piloting an ad service. Last week Yahoo and Tumblr, too, announced the launch of integrated ads.
Online news sites Buzzfeed, Mashable and The Huffington Post all have their editorial and production departments involved in generating sponsored content. Last week native ads went mainstream with the launch of The New York Times new website and a subdomain which distinguishes paid content in the publication from editorial content. Dell was the inaugural featured brand.
The launch instigated some journalists to comment that the Times is destroying its blue-chip brand. They argue that native ads will do nothing to foster the people’s trust and that readers will start to tune out proper editorial content as they do ads. Jeff Jarvis, a respected journalist and blogger (of Dell Hell fame) blogged about the Times launch: “Do you find value in reading an opus from Dell about “Reaching Across the Office from Marketing to IT“? I don’t. I go to Dell to buy hardware, not words.”
The issue is native advertising’s potential to confuse readers about what is and what is not news. Making ads look too much like editorial could be seen as deceptive or could risk turning readers off altogether. University of San Francisco research shows that people don’t remember seeing the words ‘sponsored by’ on articles and updates. Indeed half of the people surveyed were not sure what it means for content to be ‘sponsored’.
That’s why the ad industry is taking steps to set standards for ethics and behavior. The Times plans to keep sponsored content and the newsroom separate. News staff will not be involved in paid content; freelancers will do the job. Also, sponsored articles will carry a label and full disclosure, a common practice for native ad content. In addition, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has released a Native Ads Playbook to provide guidelines for ad units, formatting and disclosure.
Like it or hate it, native advertising is here to stay. News organizations were on their knees as advertisers fled in droves; publishers needed to find a revenue model that works. Native advertising provides the solution; it’s a format that brings value to readers and brands are willing to pay for it. According to the American Press Institute, the news site BuzzFeed is entirely reliant on native advertising revenues and more than half of the Atlantic’s digital revenue is driven by native ads.
Why? Because it works. PG Media Lab surveyed 4,770 consumers for Sharethrough. The study showed that native ads registered an 18 per cent higher lift for purchase intent and nine per cent higher lift for brand affinity than banner ads. Participants looked at native ads 53 per cent more frequently than banner ads, and one in four looked at in-feed native ads. In a Forbes survey of 2,259 people, those viewing branded content were 41 per cent more likely to say they would buy the product.
“We believe native ads are quickly becoming the de facto ad format on mobile and increasingly moving into desktop,” said lead analyst Doug Anmuth in J.P. Morgan’s annual “Nothing But Net” report, released on last week. According to the report, native ads represented five to ten per cent of Facebook’s 2013 impressions, but accounted for more than 60 per cent of the company’s revenue.
Jeff Jarvis wrote that he had “recently warned a roomful of PR people itching to advertise natively: Content is a sh*tty business. Stay away! I predict that the fad will soon lose its luster.” I disagree. Native ads provide value to brands, readers and publishers alike. Until something better comes up, news organizations will come to rely on native advertising revenues as a mainstay of the publishing business.
After the big jump towards branded content at newspapers like the New York Times, Vanity Fair and the Washington Post, it's the Los Angeles (LA) Times' turn to make the headlines, but they didn't quite take the same route. In an unprecedented move, the media group is launching into e-commerce with a view to provide the best online environment for native ads and branded content. A two-hit move.
The Los Angeles Times Media Group announced in a self-published article that it is launching District West, a digital shopping destination that will serve readers with curated fashions and goods made locally.
Not an app but rather a responsive website (which adapts automatically to the user's screen size), the e-commerce initiative is a great opportunity for advertisers to tap into a specific LA-minded audience who care about owning distinctive pieces and consuming hyper-locally – mirroring the slow food movement started there, only this time for non-edibles.
Items will be sourced from “distinctive LA neighborhoods including Santa Monica, Silver Lake, Downtown and Culver City,” says Jennifer Collins, the LA Times vice president, Revenue Development. "We are focused on diversifying our revenue streams and excited to leverage the marketing power of our properties to establish District West as a unique digital shopping experience."
To bring it up a notch, the LA Times will be feeding in with the shopping experience “tips and advice from savvy bloggers.” This, in itself, is another opportunity for the publication to push branded content to its readers, while securing a reassuring recommendation element from market experts. Clearly, it's also another conversion booster, beyond the smart fact that purchases can be made seamlessly from the newpaper's site, with just a swipe.
According to its audience stats, the combined publications of the Los Angeles Times Media Group reach approximately 5.2 million or 38 percent of all adults in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times' online version itself has over 22 million unique visitors monthly and a combined print and online local weekly audience of 4 million. Do the maths: with the price tag for District West pieces at $200 or less, figures quickly add up, both in terms of potential direct sales revenue and in terms of advertising revenues.
At least, the daily is very clear on its intentions – Collins simply states that “District West provides advertisers with an online environment perfectly suited to native advertising content and brand integration.” A candid approach that might make their platform even more attractive to discriminating buyers, especially amid the native advertising debate for transparency.
Good one, LA Times.
I remember having a conversation with an old business partner six years ago about the future of on-demand streaming media – specifically, the ability to watch TV online by connecting to the internet thanks to companies such as Netflix.
We marvelled over how this new ability to choose what you want to watch when you want to watch it would change the advertising industry forever. Brands would have to be really clever about how they engaged their target market, because the consumer would be more empowered than ever before.
Although Netflix started in 1997, it was a while before South Africa felt any impact. It wasn’t until I purchased a Samsung Smart TV in 2012 that I realised times are changing. I was reminded of this again the other day when I purchased Apple TV. Apple TV gives you iTunes on your TV with access to movies and shows you can buy or rent for as little as R29.00 per rental. The best thing is that I don’t need a subscription to use it.
For a lot of South Africans though, there’s no need for a Smart TV or iTunes to gain access to the latest content. Thanks to the internet, users download and watch TV shows and movies months before the shows hit local screens.
I spoke recently to Oratile Mokgwetsi, our latest winner on Tropika Island of Treasure 6, about how she found out about the campaign. At the age of 24, Oratile no longer consumes traditional media. She doesn’t watch TV on a set or listen to the radio. In fact, her only interaction with any media is downloading and watching TV shows and movies on her laptop. It turns out that she found out about the Tropika competition via the product pack.
While this may pose a problem for brands trying to engage with a higher income target market who have 24/7 internet access, a large portion of our ‘internetless’ population will still watch scheduled TV for their daily dose of entertainment. Even then, how will brands capture the attention of these consumers when SABC launches DTT, eTV launches four new channels and Top TV re enters the market as StarSat?
It seems to me that the only way for TV and brands to succeed in the future is for advertising and entertainment to converge in the form of branded entertainment. This is known as the ‘Madison-Vine’ concept, as coined by Scott Donaton in his 2005 book Madison And Vine: Why the Entertainment and Advertising Industries Must Converge to Survive.
The fight for the target market’s attention will end when brands stop competing with what entertains the target market and rather become what entertains the target market by producing branded content – be it online with platforms like YouTube for the higher end, on-demand audience or on television for the scheduled TV viewer.
For consumers like Oratile it’s an even tougher job, as she only downloads and then watches TV shows and movies on her laptop. For this reason, any opportunity we have to engage the consumer must be used to its full advantage. The time of separate brand campaigns and sales campaigns are over. Brands need to build advocacy, loyalty and long-term sustainability through branded entertainment and proper consumer engagement that lives on multiple screens with a solid in-store push for sales.
As an example, the new Lego movie is due for release in February 2014. In this full feature movie, Lego will be advertising every single box set they have ever made to a highly captive audience in a highly entertaining way. The big question is: will Lego capitalise on this movie in store? After all, big brand content must be matched with a big brand promotion for it to truly drive R.O.I. For the Lego movie, I hope to see massive in-store activity that takes the movie experience and brings it to life in the consumer’s basket.
People will always watch and share great quality content. When this great branded content drives big brand promotions, suddenly you have a business model that makes sense for the channel, the audience and the brand.
Ryan Gandalf van Jaarsveld is founder of 7Different Kinds of Smoke.
Social media recently overtook pornography as the number-one activity on the web. (Stop press, get this on to the front page!) Armed with this and other insights, We Are Social approached Cannes Lions to put the case forward for a new Social Lion. And although a dedicated Social Lion hasn’t yet materialised, 15 new social-specific categories within Cyber Lions 2014 have.
It’s a great step forward because social thinking will define the ideas of the future. By "social thinking", I don’t mean Facebook and Twitter tactics. I mean ideas based on an understanding of social behaviour. Big ideas that people want to share, talk about, get involved with and belong to.
Let me throw more stats at you. Brace yourselves for this one… social media is more popular than TV. What?! You think I’m biased, but I have numbers: social media now absorbs 26 per cent of people’s media time compared with TV’s 23 per cent, according to GlobalWebIndex.
And the trend is only going one way. In the past two weeks alone, two million more people have become active users of social platforms.
So, if all this is the case, why are we still heroing the big-budget TV ad in the UK? Why does TV make up such a disproportionate chunk of most campaign budgets? And why are most TV ads still talking at, not with, people?
Maybe it’s because we’re a mature market. Whole marketing departments, agencies and processes have been set up around producing the TV extravaganza, airing it with Coronation Street, then, if there’s any budget left, asking a digital agency to "do something social that fits with it".
That’s not always an easy or especially productive task and is perhaps why our nation isn’t winning many Lions any more. There’s also an assumption that big, expensive business problems require big, expensive ad solutions (see Rory Sutherland’s excellent talks for more on this).
The model usually goes like this: come up with a big "broadcast" idea, then socialise it. But what if social came first? Come up with a big "social" idea, then broadcast it.
Look at the world’s ten most award-winning campaigns of 2013, according to the Big Won report. You could argue every one of them is closer to the second model, not the first: 1. "Dumb ways to die" (Metro); 2. "The beauty inside" (Intel and Toshiba); 3. Clouds Over Cuba (John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum); 4. "Real beauty sketches" (Dove); 5. "Driving dogs" (Mini and SPCA); 6. "Love in the end" (Lacta); 7. "Telekinize the rainbow" (Skittles); 8. "Our food, your questions" (McDonald’s); 9. Nike+ FuelBand; 10. "The V Motion Project" (Frucor).
"The beauty inside", in particular, is a shining example of the social-first model. A profound, episodic brand film that beautifully taps a human truth, acted out by real fans. The idea would have made for a spine-tingling TV campaign. It didn’t need one, receiving 70 million views without traditional media costs.
More and more clients are beginning to cotton on to the explosion in social. Apparently, 46 per cent are planning to increase social budgets in 2014 at the expense of traditional channels. Some forward-thinking clients are even placing social as the starting point of the idea rather than a bolt-on.
For instance, Evian’s "#LiveYoungJanuary" campaign, which you’ll hopefully have seen in Metro every day last month. It’s one of the UK’s biggest print campaigns of the year so far, yet it’s first and foremost a social campaign, using traditional media to drive buzz.
Let me finish with what made me a social convert: "the gnome experiment", an idea created for Kern by OgilvyOne staff who are now at We Are Social.
Reach after one month was more than 350 million – triple that of the Super Bowl. "The gnome experiment" is now part of the teaching curriculum in several countries. All this cost less than £30,000.
The gnome performed in awards too – it was the world’s most-awarded direct idea of 2012 (the Big Won report) and the world’s most-awarded PR campaign of 2013. Why did it do so well? Because it was something people wanted to talk about. It didn’t rely on Twitter, Facebook… or any channel, actually. It was a conversation piece that tapped into genuine interests of real communities: scientists, teachers, students and gnome-lovers everywhere. A social idea.
So, if you’re gunning for a Lion, the new Social categories represent a huge and untapped creative territory to mine. They also give the UK a big chance to reclaim our credibility – but we might need to change the order we look at advertising first.
James Nester is a creative director at We Are Social
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
Glenn Brown, senior director of Twitter Amplify
Twitter has expanded its Amplify program to a new second screen: the silver one.
The company is partnering with NCM Media Networks -- a cinema network that shows ads to movie-goers before their film starts -- to produce a branded entertainment series that will be fueled by Twitter data with insights about movies and stars that users are abuzz about. The minute-long segment will run prior to every movie on the 20,000 screens in 1,700 theaters within NCM's network, once it secures a sponsor.
NCM is seeking an advertiser to commit to a year-long deal. The package will include the brand being integrated into the series, as well as promoted tweets with installments of the series attached to.
NCM Media Networks's president of sales and marketing, Cliff Marks, declined on the commitment he's seeking -- part of which would go to Twitter for spend on promoted tweets -- but said it's sizable.
"It's a big audience and it's big reach, and we'd like to find a partner who wants to literally own this and be associated with it day in and day out," he said.
This is a new flavor and the 61st partner for Twitter's Amplify program, which has mainly rolled out via partnerships with major TV networks and sports leagues like the NFL and the NBA. One of the main use cases for it has been sports highlights that are broadcast via promoted tweets that contain the sponsor's branding or pre-roll.
Twitter has been intent on broadening the program's scope beyond TV by partnering with traditional publishers like Conde Nast, New York magazine, and the New York Times. In the case of the Times, a one-minute "Times Minute" video summary of top stories of the day was used. Via Amplify, Microsoft sponsored the content last November and December, which meant the tweets were still sent from the Times's account though Microsoft paid for the distribution, and the video clips contained some Microsoft branding.
"We're definitely open to other outside-the-box applications of Amplify," said Glenn Brown, senior director of Twitter Amplify. "We think there's a natural fit for Amplify in events -- if you think about the event itself being the first screen and Twitter being the second screen."
The actual content for the NCM Media Networks deal won't be finalized until a sponsor is brought on. But the current notion is to produce a weekly segment and to pull Twitter data to report on the movies and actors that people are talking about and what celebrities are saying on Twitter. Interactive quizzes where users are urged to vote using Twitter hashtags (for #teamjacob or #teamedward, for example), are another possibility, as is incorporating user Vines that relate to movies.
"It will feel like Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood," Mr. Marks said.