Archive for February, 2012

The Wednesday Wrap – things we’ve seen . . . things we love

Our Wednesday-to-Wednesday round up continues this week by pontificating the media landscape in the wake of the inaugural Sun on Sunday, the cost of business travel as the EC fails in its bid to scrap mobile roaming charges and PSFK’s  big reveal of the best cities for idea tourism.  Enjoy!

Sunday Media get Sunburnt

Unofficial figures have revealed that despite efforts to retain their market gain from the demise of the News of the World last year, the Sunday red-tops are once again losing out to News International.

Trinity Mirror, the owner of the Sunday Mirror and the People slashed the titles’ cover prices down to 50p to match the Sun’s opening offer, but industry estimates suggest sales are down by 15%-30%.

As critics point to a politically engineered publication, looking to reassure advertisers rather than excite readers, we’ll be keeping a close eye on whether the Sun on Sunday continues to poach readers from its veteran rivals.

Cost of online video time overtakes TV in the US

This article landed in our browsers this morning, detailing excerpts from the Chairman and co-founder of Comscore speaking at ad:tech.

Gian M. Fulgoni talks candidly about the changing ad landscape, pointing specifically to the growth of video in online advertising.  He claims that the cost of video time online has overtaken television in the US.  If online video advertising is more valuable than television, and online continues to be the fastest growing channel, there could be a revolution on the cards.

 Vodafone launches new Eurostar screens

Vodafone has been the first to snap up JCDecaux’s St Pancras International OOH screens with a B2B campaign promoting its One Net service.

Four different versions of the ad run in what Vodafone will hope to be a highly targeted and successful business campaign.

Top cities for great ideas

Looking to feel inspired on your next business trip?  It may be that instead of scheduling a meeting at your usual destination, rendezvousing at one of these cities instead will stimulate creativity and innovation.  PSFK and Hub Culture give us the top 20 cities for new ideas.

Not Roaming Free

Roaming charges are the bane of the travelling businessperson’s lives.  A similar (if not markedly worse) service, incomprehensible provider names flashing up on the screen and extortionate data and call charges.

IN 2007, the EU introduced a cap on roaming charges, but these have been repeatedly criticised for being too high and not covering data costs.

Yesterday morning a committee of MEPs rejected pressure to eliminate the price difference altogether, instead recommending further cuts this summer.

So the days of talking quickly and turning your emails off when abroad may not yet be over, but come summer you might be able to afford to hold on for an extra pleasantry before hanging up.

Big news! Active International UK has a new MD

By: Dean Wilson

We have a new member of our team here at Active. Mark Chippendale, the former Commercial Director of CBS Outdoor, is the brand new UK Managing Director of Active International.

We’re very excited for him to get started next week, and I know he is too. (If not just because our view on the 19th floor of Centrepoint has to be better than CBS’s!)

On the slightly more practical side, Mark will be responsible for continuing the development and management of our business. The corporate trade market is growing and it became clear to me that we needed additional leadership to continue to drive our business forward. Mark, with his fantastic record across TV, digital, press and outdoor, is the perfect fit.

We’ll save him the embarrassment of having to do a ‘Me, @ Active’ post in his first week, but he better watch out for the next!

If you want to learn more about Mark and his background, check out his news announcement on Media Week.


The Wednesday Wrap – things we’ve seen. . .things we love

This week in the Wednesday Wrap, the industry ponders the potential pleasures and pitfalls of the hotly anticipated Sunday Sun; the Telegraph gives some invaluable advice on modern morals and down the road from us on London’s Oxford Street lies a bus stop which will only talk to women.  Enjoy!

The Sunday Sun prepares to rise

Last night’s Brit Awards played host to the initial burst in what will be a £3m advertising campaign to launch the Sunday Sun.

Opinion is still divided on whether a seven day operation will act as a blueprint for other publications, or fail at giving avid NOTW readers the Sunday read they’ve been craving since its closure last year.

Modern Morals: Tipping on Cruise Ships

Sometimes it seems the choice of whether or not to exercise manners and generosity is taken away from us.  According to the Telegraph, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and P&O have both dropped the system of accepting cash in envelopes as staff tips in favour of a set daily charge.

Call us old fashioned, but shouldn’t tipping be based on merit?

The Bus Stop that only talks to ladies

This morning in London, a bus stop advert will use facial recognition technology to determine the gender of people who walk by.  Men who walk by will see a flat screen showing the website of the charity, Plan UK.  Women who walk by, however, will see a 40 second long promotion of the charity’s ‘Because I Am a Girl’ campaign in an attempt to raise awareness about gender discrimination in developing countries.

Say it with the medium, not just with the message.  We like!

More than just an A to B

We enjoyed a very interesting opinion article on the power of taxi advertising on marketing website The Drum yesterday.

According to Ubiquitous, people spend on average 17 minutes in a taxi, and are sometimes prepared to do so more than 3 times a month.  With that in mind, check out the opportunities available to take advantage of mobile, social and out-of-home audiences all at once!

 UK taps into Indian tourist market

VisitBritain has partnered with the 2012 India Mission to capitalise on the Indian tourist market after figures from 2010 reveal that Britain accounts for only 3% of all outbound trips.  The tourist market in India is worth over £6.5bn and this campaign is set to increase Britain’s share.

This comes after an encouraging report earlier this month documenting a record number of holiday visits to the UK during 2011.  Here’s hoping this campaign will help us break the record for the second year running!

Me, @ Active with Kieron Murphy

Treat yourself to a rare insight into the world of Kieron Murphy, our Head of Press and OOH Trading.  You may recognise Kieron from the office as the man on the phone behind stacks of newspapers, magazines and candid photos of OOH campaigns! That and his hair…

Say hi to him on Twitter @KieronGMurphy

What’s the best thing about your job?
My team

The key thing I have learnt recently is……
I’m not as young as I used to be

What do you have too much of?

What do you have too little of?

What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased?
The Christmas cheese – might have got a bit carried away

What’s your favourite advert of all time?
Jeremy Clarkson’s mock TV advert for the VW Scirocco

Favourite place in the world?
County Wicklow, Ireland. Home!

Funniest office moment at Active?
JC splitting his trousers when bending down

Favourite thing to do in London?
Dinner out with my gorgeous fiancée

Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
Teen Wolf

What piece of technology can’t you live without?
My iPad

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
My aunt is a nun


Things we’ve seen. . . Things we love

This week in Things we’ve seen… Things we love, media planners give pause for thought to location-based advertising in the skies; we ponder the impact of Channel4’s brutally honest warning to advertisers, and Heathrow Airport bosses claim that restricted flights are damaging the UK economy.  There’s never a dull moment!

Channel4 warns of February failure

Channel4 has written to agencies warning them that the channel will fail to deliver on its advertising deals for February.  This unorthodox move is positioned as a shift towards an era of transparency with clients about performance but raises serious questions about the health of the channel’s financials and rating figures, in a time of revolution and development for television.

Steve Hewlett at the Guardian suggests that trading is the way forward for Channel4, and this may mean some important deals and perhaps a concession on its premium prices will be afoot.

This one’s for you, Rover

Presumably from the ad masterminds who kickstarted Pester Power, British television debuted an attempt at Puppy Power this week with the launch of the first ever advert for dogs by Bakers.

The ad is made up of a selection of barks and high pitched whistles designed to encourage dogs to react by pricking their ears and tilting their heads.

Dogs at the ready, let’s give it a go!

Lay back and enjoy the coup

Tourists in the Maldives are stoically finishing their cocktails as the country’s political turmoil continues to bubble over.

Is it the insular nature of the islands that keeps the peace around the pool, or is political instability becoming less of an obstacle to a thriving tourism industry.  As Egypt prepares its recovery from last year’s protests, perhaps the balmy breezes of change are blowing.

Live on  in the Air

News that live Premier League football will be broadcast as in-flight entertainment was met with rowdy cheers from football fanatics across the globe.  The introduction of a mile-high live broadcast has surely got the cogs turning in the global betting and gaming market.

Location based marketing and live broadcast has so far proven to be a perfect partner to the gambling sector.  Watch this space to see how they make it relevant for the skies!

Skyscanner finds 2012’s top travel gadgets

As tech-geek travellers ourselves, we were particularly excited to read Phil Dalbeck’s guide to the top 10 travel gadgets for 2012.

Our favourite is the Powerbag, a backpack which keeps all your gadgets charged all day long! Well worth the dosh to make sure you’re always connected, wherever you are.

Britain, abroad

In preparation for a very British 2012, the Government has rolled out a ‘GREAT’ campaign to all corners of the globe including New York, Paris and Delhi to boost tourism around the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics with the aim of attracting an extra 4.6 million visitors.

Particularly striking is the Union Jack branded New York subway train.  Now that’s some westbound Central line extension!

Welcome, Alex – our new Media Trading Manager

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve taken on a new team member, Alexandra Neal, who joins us as a Media Trading Manager

While she’s only been with us a few weeks, we are most definitely keeping her busy, as she is looking after all of our broadcast relationships with media owners, agencies and clients.

In her past life, Alex was at Carat where she was Broadcast Communications Manager. However, she’s certainly no stranger to corporate trade. In addition to working on broadcast strategy across TV, VOD, cinema and radio, part of her job was to work closely work with Active.

We know corporate trade can take a bit of ‘bedding in’ time, so we’re glad Alex already has experience working with us. She’s already hit the ground running, and we couldn’t be more impressed.


The Wednesday Wrap: Who will win the Facebook Ad war?

There has been quite the buzz over Facebook this week as the company filed to trade publically. To stay in profit, Facebook depends on brands paying for ad space with their Social Ad programme. Brands also depend upon Social Ads to increase the number of their Fans so that they can reach out to them with promotions and information by showing up on their news feeds. One doesn’t go without the other.

However, with Facebook’s algorithms increasingly updated to cut brands out of the news feed equation and the introduction of annoying sponsored news feed stories, we wonder how long it will be before a boycott of the entire process. What is the point of spending money with Facebook if the acquired Fans are either 1) never going to see brand messaging past the side bar or 2) train themselves to look past sponsored news feed stories just like they would a banner ad?

Perhaps an overhaul of the process needs to take place. Our partner media agencies work with Social Ads all the time, but have to take a completely different approach to buying that Ad space to fit within Facebook’s regulations. Facebook is already a part of everyday life just like TV and radio, so we wonder if a more traditional model will end up evolving out of the ‘news feed war’.

But for the moment, the question remains. Assuming no change in the process, who will win? It’s difficult to imagine how a compromise that works for Facebook and brands (but also doesn’t alienate Fans) will come to fruition. Right now, brands need Facebook as much as Facebook needs brands, but if Fans are overloaded with company promotions, everybody loses.

Me, @ Active – Sarah Younger

Sarah: master of brokering deals

Sarah is our Commercial Manager, which means she spearheads Active’s new business. If you’re one of our clients, chances are she’s the one who first picked up the phone to talk to you. If you’re not one of our clients – watch out!

  1. What’s the best thing about your job?
  2. The key thing I have learnt recently is……
    The term H&G when referring to fish, means headed & gutted
  3. What do you have too little of?
  4. What’s your favourite advert of all time?
    Skoda Fabia advert – car made out of cake
  1. What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased?
    Rabbit fur coat – completely unethical, especially as I used to own a rabbit
  2. What do you have too much of?
  1. Favourite place in the world

    Is it Sarah on a wild hair day, or Charlie Dimmock? You decide...

  2. Funniest office moment at Active?
    Dressing up in orange football kit and dancing in front of my MD – he supports Blackpool FC
  3. Favourite thing to do in London?
    Get away
  4. Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
    Apparently Charlie Dimmock – although only on a curly, mad hair day
  5. What piece of technology can’t you live without?
    My crackberry Blackberry
  6. What might people be surprised to learn about you?
    I’m a lover of classical music

Can TripAdvisor be trusted?

This morning the ASA made TripAdvisor strip its strapline of ‘honest travel reviews’ due to the ongoing debates around fraudulent posts and libellous wars between hotel managers and customers.

Theoretically, this should provide customers  with uncertainty surrounding its credibility to rest.  If TripAdvisor is to remain the valuable go-to site for tourists across the globe, it should have seriously reconsidered its strategy earlier.  Despite its ‘advanced and highly effective fraud systems’, the site must begin to  speak frankly to its users about the need to exercise the caution that runs hand-in-hand with user generated content and encourage impressionable readers to use the power of logic and judge reviews by quantity as well as by quality.  After all, one glowingly positive review floating in a sea of negativity is easy to spot with the right training and a good old pinch of salt.

Its continued success in the market relies on honesty in its positioning, rather than its reviews.  While TripAdvisor will never be 100 per cent accurate or guarded against fraud, what it can do is deliver a range of appraisals that guests, diners and adventurers really care about – opinions which go beyond chocolates on the pillow or the value of the chardonnay.

This landmark ruling by the ASA will force all curators of user-generated content to re-evaluate how their site is marketed.  TripAdvisor and its contemporaries document the power of word of mouth and champion the voice of the people.  What we have always known and what we must all remember; is that people – despite their refreshing candour – cannot always be trusted.


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