Archive for March, 2012

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

This week in the Wednesday Wrap, Social Media Today pay their respects to Pay-per-click, Citymaps replace street names with brand logos and the latest Fipp report finds innovation still bubbling in magazine publishing.  These are our favourite stories from last seven days, tell us yours @ActiveIntlUK

Street names lose out to logos

New York start-up, Citymaps this week unveiled their latest offering: New York, San Fran and Austin mapped by brand logos, rather than street names.

We’re awaiting the London version with baited breath, not least to see how they cope with Active’s neighbouring brand metropolises, Oxford Street and Covent Garden.

Cynics will say this is a cold-hearted representation of the 21st century tyranny of the brand, but we love it anyway.

Magazines innovate

With the ABC reports harvest little optimism, the Fipp report came to the rescue on Monday revealing magazine publishers’ unyielding innovation in the face of declining circulation figures.

From augmented reality via new technology such as Blippar, to good old scratch and sniff covers courtesy of Esquire, the run to the newsagents has never been more inspiring.  But it’s the ‘handbag mag’ from Hungarian Lack, which gets the vote amongst the ladies of the office.

The Death of PPC Advertising

Since its inception, pay-per-click advertising has effectively cemented itself as a stalwart of online marketing.  But research has revealed that just 18 per cent of SMEs using Google Adwords actually recoup their investment: could the PPC party be over?

Social Media Today certainly seem to think so, citing it as a short-term fix and brand-unaware.  What do you think?

How to stay mobile without losing reception

The IAB figures on mobile caused a storm last week – not least in the world of the media agency – as this brilliant article on Media Week has candidly summarised.

Analysis from top dogs in media buying covers themes from the implications of data collection to the growth of M-Commerce and mobile search. 

Steve Parker, MD of MediaVest highlights the growing importance of mobile in the retail sector as figures show that mobile makes up a huge 12.3 per cent share of total spend in the sector, for the very first time.  It is clear that the appetite for mobile shopping is something that is still yet to be satisfied.

Also pertinent is the abundance of data collected through mobile. Sean Ramsay, digital account director at UM London, rightly points out the growth in mobile is testament to this data combined with a better user experience made possible by technological developments over the past few years.

But as consumer demand for mobile is higher than ever, the question on everybody’s lips is ‘what gets dropped’.   Stefan Bardega at MediaCom breaks down the figures for us, showing that two-thirds of the reported spend on mobile is for mobile search, leading us to the assumption that the growth is coming out of existing search budgets.

Although a savvy way to spend an existing budget, it’s important not to neglect the value of desktop search.  Is there a way to do both?  We work with media agencies to help unlock the budget needed to supplement this burgeoning need for mobile among its clients, without cutting any corners elsewhere.


Me, @ Active with . . . me, Kate Kinnish!

So you’ve had a little insight into the worlds of some of my colleagues over the past few weeks, and it’s been suggested that it’s my time to shine! I’m Kate, Director of Travel and Marketing at Active.  If you think you’ve spotted Zoe Ball in a chunky knit around the office, that’ll probably be me.

Say hi @KateKinnish

The best thing about my job is
The people I work with and the places I have been so lucky to visit.  Iceland, Rio, South Africa, Zambia, US, Lapland to name a few!

The key thing I have learnt recently is

What do you have too much of?
Chunky knits

What do you have too little of?

What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased?
An Oast House, a real one!!

What’s your favourite advert of all time?
Compare the Market (I have a secret love for Meercats)

Favourite place in the world?
Sennen Cove, Cornwall

Funniest office moment at Active?
Every day in this place is funny

Favourite thing to do in London?
Borough Market

Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
A cross between Zoe Ball and Chesney Hawkes

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

What might people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m really called Elizabeth


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

Happy midweek, all!   As usual please find our weekly media smattering of interesting stories and comments that have caught our eye and got us chatting over our tea and biscuits.  This week, we’re admiring Ben & Jerry’s for capturing a political issue and rolling it into a brand campaign, chewing over Twitter’s pledge to help foil Olympic piggybacking (not a new event, in case you were wondering!) and debating Connected TV’s stance on branded entertainment.  All in a week, eh?

Ben and Jerry tie the knot

Ben and Jerry’s, the beloved ice cream brand, has repackaged its ‘Oh My! Apple Pie’ flavour to ‘Apple-y Ever After’ to support the government’s gay marriage policy.

Supported by a social media campaign, the redesign is a brilliant example of hijacking current affairs to drive home brand values.  We talk about brand love all the time and Ben & Jerry’s hereby prove that you have to give it to get it.

Twitter say no to ambush marketing

Following the Ryan Giggs  superinjunction scandal of last year, we were left wondering if Twitter could ever be controlled.  Valuable in its very unruly nature, mischievous tweeters laughed in the face of the highest court in the land.

So, with the news that Twitter will be implementing a scheme that will prohibit non-sponsors from capitalising on the Olympic Games on its platform, we are left wondering… how?

Suffice to say, in a world where defensive missiles are being installed in Woodford, Essex for the occasion, brands should be wary that whatever the obstacle; where there’s a pot of money, there’s a way!

Connect or disconnect? The Guardian weighs it up

We’re loving the Guardian Media Network.  Debate from and between the top dogs in media curated by some of the most prolific media journalists provides us with some real, daily food for thought.

This week, they’re looking at Connected TV: the CEO of digital specialist ANT and the CEO of Connected TV Marketing Association point out the pleasures and pitfalls of this digital media phenomenon.

While Zachary of Connected TV MA excitedly points out the opportunities for media planners, Simon of ANT counters that only 47% of connected TVs are actually hooked up to the internet and documents the challenging road ahead.

Whatever the future holds for connected TV, this debate is really whetting our appetite!


4Seven: what we can expect

First there was the sort of TV that if you missed, you missed.  The sort that used to cause frantic traffic jams into the suburbs on Saturday evening and Friday night arguments over the remote.  Then there was time-shift-TV, a phenomenon which changed our relationship with the living room forever.  No longer must we scour the Radio Times for repeats on an otherwise unwatched satellite channel, but instead watch for free – at our leisure – the following day, or the next, or the next, and pause to have a tea break whenever we damn well wanted.

Media planners and creatives alike prepared for this behavioural change far in advance.  Suddenly the 30 second ad could be clicked on, and clicked on it was.  And every time it was clicked on, brands knew about it.  Perfect.

As important an innovation as time-shift-TV or ‘TV on Demand’ was, recent BARB data reveals that even at the close of 2011 – 5 years since Channel4 launched 4oD in 2006 – it accounts for just 9.4% of all TV viewing – hardly the TV revolution we were expecting.

The much anticipated YouView, scheduled for launch later this year has further fanned the flames of change.  This time, video on demand becomes video on social demand and runs with a field of possibilities including split-screen Twitterfall, click to recommend and on-platform buzz generation through connections with social networks.

TV has always been a social affair; the office Eurovision parties are testament to that.  Could we really be expected to huddle round a low res laptop screen to enjoy our favourite shows?

Late last week, David Abraham announced the launch of Channel4’s latest offering, 4Seven – a channel allowing viewers to recap on Channel4 shows that have caused the most online buzz over the past seven days.  Met with excited murmurs within the industry and po-faced indifference amongst viewers, 4Seven will be in our lives by the summer whether we like it or not and will serve as an interesting barometer of the success of social TV.

Over on 4oD, advertisers are able to buy a demographic as opposed to a genre and choose from a range of ad formats including ‘Ad Social’ which offers viewers the option to Check in with, Like, Recommend or Follow a brand on-platform.  If 4Seven takes off beyond just another catch-up service, it means that mainstream television advertising will be opened up to these possibilities; beyond broad regional targeting, segmentation and viewer personas – using data from not only television habits but also online behaviour: keywords, search targeting and social data.

4Seven is not innovative, nor is it especially new, but it is a huge step forward in turning the social TV ‘trend’ found only in industry magazines and blogs like our very own, into a real revolution of an ad format we have trusted and counted on for decades.  Exciting stuff.


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

It’s a bumper edition!

This week, we’ve been persuaded by Ron Weasley and his mum to hold off the Hogwarts Express and holiday at home, awed by internet giants Google and Groupon and their TV ad revenue figures and raising eyebrows at the Mercedes’ invisible car.

As always, if you see anything you want to share: don’t just Pin it, post it here!

Finishing what you started: Mobile viewers more likely to watch the whole ad

Research revealed this week has found that video content on mobile is more likely to capture and (importantly) hold the attention of consumers.  Rhythm NewMedia claims that mobile video content generates an astonishing 89 per cent completion rate compared to just 66 per cent for online.

If accurate, these statistics have the potential to shake up mobile spend.  If you’ve got something worth watching, make it portable.

The G Spots: Google and Groupon to thank for boost in TV ad revenue

TV advertising revenue increased by 2.2% year on year to a record of £4.6bn in 2011 and TV newcomers Groupon and Google are hailed as the heroes as they plough millions into the market.

The top spending category for TV ad spend continued to be retailers for 2011, but comparison websites drive TV ad spend in this sector rise 21.5% year on year.

Stephen Fry wants us to stay at home this year

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt this week launched a £4m TV campaign using British stars to persuade us to holiday at home in 2012, much to ITV News’ scepticism.

Judging by the response from the travel industry, it seems there some arguments even dear old Stephen can’t win and the Bondi vs Bridlington debate is one of them!

Adobe and Unilever discuss the digital ad revolution and the pressure to evolve

The Financial Times this morning mulls over the disruption in the media industry caused by the rise in impossible-to-ignore disciplines such as search, display, social media, video content, mobile and daily deals.

An insightful analysis of an industry still finding its feet in the wake of the digital revolution – we highly recommend!

Now you see it: Mercedes give us the invisible car

Mercedes have teamed up with Canon to launch the world’s first Invisible Car. By covering one side in LEDs which link to a (Canon) camera on the opposite side, the zero carbon fuel cell vehicle appears virtually invisible to onlookers.

We’re not sure what the DVLA will have to say about this, but we are quite sure that the man captured at around 1.02 is just mid-yawn rather than mid-jaw-drop.  Enjoy!

What’s your biscuit?

We’ve been a bit obsessed with infographics over the past few months – some useful, some silly and some inbetween. This one, I think I might categorise as the latter. Biscuits are something I take very seriously!

What do you think?

While the office favourite is Fox’s Chunky (sadly not represented above), I still love a good ol’ Digestive.  They’re good for dunking, and always remind me of Peter Kay when he called Rich Tea biscuits ‘one-dips’. You know, the type of biscuit that has little hope of sustaining structure in a steaming cup of tea. They  crumble away almost instantly, sinking slowly down into the bottom of your mug.

And no one likes a soggy biscuit.



To sponsor or not to sponsor?

By Dean Wilson

Image from Marketing Events Blog

Sponsorship is becoming increasingly sophisticated; a playground for innovation, creativity and integration. Better understanding and expertise has undoubtedly been a key factor in the ascent of sponsorship and there is widespread confidence that this will continue. However, if not handled professionally, it can be a quick and easy way for a brand to damage its reputation.

2012 is a “maxi-quadrennial” year (for those in the know) with events including the London Olympics, the European Football Championships, and the Queen’s Jubilee: all providing the perfect stage for exemplary employment (or a bit of overkill) of the medium.

A great example of getting sponsorship right is undoubtedly Red Bull; a brand who not only understands the rules of the game, but has built their brand through a commitment to sponsorship.  Red Bull’s clever strategy is to sponsor extreme sports that tie in with its brand values of re-vitalising body and mind, and increasing performance, concentration and energy levels. Red Bull sponsors X-Fighters, Air Race, Cliff Diving, Crashed Ice; all bringing to life the “Red Bull gives you wings” strategy and aiding annual global sales of over 3 billion cans.

It’s been proven that sponsorship can make brands famous. Chosen well, sponsorship helps big brands engage with audiences with more intimate conversations and enables small brands to cut through the clutter and punch above their weight. It can anchor a brand to a consumer with a vice-like grip.

For many brands there’s no question that sponsorship is set to be a very important medium – one that can drive mutually rewarding strategic partnerships. However, the channel needs to be refreshed and maybe even re-branded in order to prosper in today’s marketplace to attract more disciples who fully understand the ménage à trois between sponsor, property and customer.





Legal Statement | Privacy | © Copyright Active International 2014