Tag Archives: advertising

Marketing lessons for brands from the News of the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, after a frenzied seven days, News International closed the door on one of the world’s oldest and most popular newspapers yesterday.

At the time of writing this blog, none of the senior management responsible for one of the darkest periods in British newspaper history have fallen on their swords, but a loss making though popular Sunday tabloid has been shut down, with the loss of hundreds of jobs. And the rumours swirling even before Thursday’s BBC Question Time were that the paper will be quickly replaced by The Sun on Sunday.

From a marketing perspective, it was interesting to watch the discussion unfold as to the reaction of advertisers, their brands and their promotion using channels like tabloid newspapers to access huge demographic groups.

In some cases, it could be seen that first movers like Ford made the decision to remove their advertising with ethical considerations in mind. But in others, surprisingly brands including The Cooperative waited too long, wanting to see how far and how deep public anger would run before clarifying their position.

Marketers must take some critical learnings from this sorry episode.

1. Chose your marketing partners wisely. Your reputation and integrity are intrinsically linked once you do.

2. Whether it is advertising, direct marketing, sponsorship or PR, be mindful that the Internet and portals like Twitter have changed the game forever, transferring power to the public. We saw this week the ease of viral spread of online petitions, lists of target companies,  pre-populated emails and tweets.

3. Deal quickly and decisively and communicate your position and intentions as transparently as you can. Some advertisers had to run adverts in the magazine supplement which was already printed and were quick to advise.

4. Remember corporate social responsibility isn’t just a fad to be included as a bolt on in your marketing plan. Increasingly, it is a critical point of difference and the companies that embody it stand head and shoulders apart from those that merely pay it lip service.

Call me cynical, but I wonder if brands like Halifax, T-Mobile, Virgin and Tesco didn’t just switch their allegiances to other papers on Sunday AND continue to work with the News International stable. Waiting for The Sun on Sunday.

Yes it’s time to make a stand, but as we’re seeing, business is still business. Will marketers learn anything and even remember all this in twelve months time? I’m not so sure.

Image: The Telegraph

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Is the old agency model dead?

A question posed in PRWeek this week as agency GolinHarris took over the publication with several pages given over to analysis of their new agency structure.

Much was made of their decision to demolish the traditional structure and replace accepted roles with a four pillared approach based on strategist, creator, catalyst and connector specialists instead of generalists.

But is it a clever PR stunt or something deeper? A comment perhaps on the evolving demands placed on the consultancy sector or the often bloated nature of the agencies that work within it and their need to drive efficiency?

Whichever side you come down on,  it provoked lots  of industry heavyweights, and some lightweights too, into offering their perspective.

What their move has done is recognise the growing role and significance of digital and social media in the marketing mix. And it gives a mid-sized PR agency the opportunity the take on specialist PR, advertising, media and digital agencies in an increasingly divergent operating environment.

Scale is a factor and this is the reason most agencies are structured the way the are. Clients invariably prefer a single point of contact as this reduces the communications flow to a more manageable level. It will be interesting to see if other agencies follow suit.

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Piggyback marketing: The T-Mobile Royal Wedding

In case it’s passed you by, there is the small matter of a Royal Wedding in the UK tomorrow. And in case it passed you by, T-Mobile released a great advertising skit to coincide with it.

A tenuous marketing link, and a break with tradition on this blog, but it’s worth a couple of minutes of your time and a useful example of how to piggyback a major event for your own promotional purposes.

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The ASA and CAP Code implications on online marketing (SMWF pt 2)

Malcolm Phillips from the The ASA presented on how the changes in the CAP Code will affect social media marketing.

The ASA rules in disputes about whether a marketing campaign or activity is legal, decent, truthful and honest. Recently this remit extended online.

From a cynical perspective, does The ASA limit creativity in protecting consumers? Does this actually just create an open season where competing companies simply complain about each others claims to try and gain a moral advantage in the marketplace?

It seems that Facebook and Twitter are going to be prioritised simply because of their meteoric rise in a few years and due to the sheer numbers of users and increasing number of brands using them for promotional purposes.

But The ASA is clear that it is not interested in policing spontaneous customer interaction, engagement and customer service. Rather, it is in two areas: claims being made, and the use of user-generated content by marketers.

The ASA deal with many false claim cases, ranging from the unavailability of goods despite being advertised as such to specific product benefits that may be implied but can not be proven.

Brands have to be mindful of using user-generated content. Ministry of Sound fell foul of this when younger clubbers posted photos of themselves attending clubnights holding alcoholic drinks which gave the illusion of under-age drinking. Rules affect food claims, pharmaceuticals and other areas too.

Sponsorships and endorsements on social media also need to be clearly labelled, with a case involving Rolls Royce cited as a warning. Rolls Royce used a number of celebrities including the model Daisy Lowe as Twitter ambassadors for the brand.

Summary

The ASA argued it wasn’t citing creativity and reminded the audience that the advertising industry had asked for greater clarity to ensure a level playing field.

What do you think?

Read pt 1 here.

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The social media advertising conundrum

You want people to raise awareness in your product and service, so you advertise. Seeking to build credibility, you look to PR to provide some perceived third part endorsement.

You create websites with information on the benefits of your products and services so visitors can self select and seek to engage with you further. And, cleverly, you optimise your websites so people can find them when they go looking on the Internet.

Once you have access to some customer data, you use direct marketing techniques to interact and take some fledgling interest further.

Its all a big investment and a real pain but it’s worth it because you know you can’t please all the people all the time so you set your stall out to talk to those who might be interested in what you do.

Then social media comes along. Big platforms. Huge audiences.  What potential. But its all so… social. If only there was a way to leverage it for my business?

Targeted advertising. Yeah, I can bash people using social sites in their downtime with messages about my brand. I’ll get massive ‘opportunity to see’ and a huge amount of click through. Right?

Wrong. A recent survey by Addvnatage Media in Marketing Week showed that 79% of consumers claim to rarely or never pay attention to adverts on social networks.

There are ways of making social media work but in my eyes intrusive targeted, behavioural advertising isn’t it. You might see a short term spike, but you’re doing a whole long-term worth of harm to your brand and reputation.

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Image: Wired.com

The future of selling

I’ve stumbled across another interesting presentation deck on Slideshare.

This one from Ogilvy explores how the sales function in most companies needs to step up and embrace new marketing, new technology and the new world of communication, collaboration and engagement. There are also some great examples of joined up integrated thinking.

I do think there is still a place for traditional techniques in sales but we have to realise that customers are smarter, more discerning and invariably look to the Internet before shortlisting suppliers or making key capital purchases.

It needs a shift rather than a complete change in mindset, but a willingness to adapt nonetheless.

Has Honda just created app-vertising?

The big consumer brands continue to innovate in the digital arena. Honda this week launched its latest campaign for the Jazz called ‘This Unpredictable Life’ –  a spectacular one minute animated advert which claims to combine App interactivity.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s how the app side of it works:

Kind of mind-blowing. Probably not applicable or affordable to most brands, but it has viral legs, is creative and stands out from the pack.