Monthly Archives

June 2018

What's Hot

Love Island: The Annual Romance Olympics is Back

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It’s back. Three weeks in and across the country people have already decided on their favourites in this summer’s instalment of Love Island – the reality show that’s as marmite as it is muggy.

And it has returned with a bang this year. The first episode on 4th June pulled in live peak figures of 3.3m and an average of 2.9m individuals, according to DS Media. This increase in views, up 154% year-on-year, made it ITV2’s most-watched programme ever. To put this into perspective, an average episode last year had a live viewership of 1.1m, peaking at 2.8m individuals.

What’s more, 2018’s successful opening episode managed to reach the tougher younger audience, with 1.5m 16-34-year-olds tuning in to give the show a 48% share of viewing (SOV) for the evening.

Viewers are once again absorbing the content on different platforms. A cutesie peak of 480,000 individuals watched via simulcast live on ITV Hub, overtaking the 360,000 who watched England’s
ill-fated EURO 2016 clash with Iceland to make it the largest ever live event on the platform. The viewing figures also increased on linear television on catch-up by a further 1m individuals at peak and 700k individuals on average.
Social media has been inundated with updates on the latest goings on since the show started, with Love Island dominating the list of most tweeted about shows each week. Data from Kantar Media reveals that on Tues 19th June, 34.5k unique users cracked on and produced a not-too-muggy 85.2k tweets.

After last year’s exceptional performance at reaching the hard-to-target young adult audience, it seems that even more brands have done bits and decided to align themselves with the show this year. ITV are working with ten brands in  a variety of different ways in 2018 compared with three in the show’s 2017 run.

With the success of last year’s show, ITV launched a daily breakfast podcast (Love Island – The Morning After), presented by Arielle Free and last year’s winner Kem Cetinay. Sponsored by Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, it is currently at the top of the podcast charts. Main sponsor Superdrug has returned, as has Primark to promote its clothing range, and Ministry of Sound, which as well as having its annual villa party, will also be producing an album based on the show.

On the whole, it’s been all good vibes for ITV2 as a station, with June currently being its strongest month of the year in terms of impacts, averaging 3.8m individual impacts (up 52% year-on-year) and 12.3 Hw+Ch TVRs – almost the same as ITV’s Saturday peak-time show The X Factor (16.4 Hw+Ch TVRs)
and almost double the amount for Take Me Out
(7.4 Hw+Ch TVRs).

As of today, Love Island 2018 has continued to keep the ball rolling on last year’s success. The show has not only become a media monster for brands but also a vehicle for  social change, epitomised by last years finalist’s Chris Hughes’ L’Eau D’Chriscampaign supported by Topman and CALM, which tackled the issue of male mental health.

With only a month left of the show to air, there is no reason to prang out just yet as the format has been sold to countries including Germany, Australia and Finland. Mike Beal of ITV Studios mentions that the show will air “somewhere around the world every single day between now and Christmas” – so it looks all
set for Jack and Dani to become this year’s Mother and Father Christmas.

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Insights from Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

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Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers may not be a household name, but they are renowned in Silicon Valley as the early-stage venture capital fund that backed the biggest names in tech. Google, Amazon, AOL and EA all had KPCB funding at the start of their businesses, and every year, all eyes in digital turn to Mary Meeker, a partner at the firm, who addresses the Code Conference to present its Internet Trends report.

The first key trend for 2018 was that digital is stalling. Mobile has been all over digital trend docs for the last 20 years but this presentation noted early on that 2017 was the first year in which smartphone unit shipments didn’t rise at all. This, combined with the statistic that internet user growth only rose 7% in 2017 compared with 12% the year before, led them to the point that growth in digital is becoming harder to find as there are fewer people left to connect.

Nevertheless, while fewer people are moving online, the vast number of those already connected to the internet are spending more time online than ever before. Users spent 5.9 hours a day online in 2017, up from 5.6 the year before, and more than half of that time – 3.3 hours – was on a mobile device.

This emphasises how mobile is driving the growth in internet usage, and marketers need to ensure not only that their ads are mobile friendly – but that plans are made mobile-first, especially for retail and FMCG clients where the increasing ease and spread of mobile payments has been rapid.

The main note of caution for all brands in the digital space was around the “privacy paradox” for tech companies, where we are caught between the use of data to provide better consumer experiences and the potential misuse to violate consumer rights. GDPR has been one way of moving the industry to a more positive place in terms of requiring user consent for data collection but as e-commerce booms, our digital footprints grow and brands need to ensure standards do not slip again.

This narrative chimes with what we have mentioned previously on the IAB Gold Standard, where the focus for digital should no longer be on growing the sector but making it more sustainable. Whether that is through making ad formats more suitable to a mobile-first world or responsible data collection, brands and marketers all have a part to play.

What's Hot

WTF is Programmatic OOH?

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The world is filled with digital screens – in our hands and all around us. Now, more and more, thanks to high-speed internet connections, these screens are able to receive real-time communication and triggers; the options are endless, and imagination is now the only barrier for marketing strategy.

For outdoor media owners equipped with market-leading technologies, buying outdoor digital screens is now as near real-time as possible when it comes to booking inventory, and is practically instantaneous when it comes to creative changes. So, what impact does all this have on crafting marketing campaigns?

  1. Audience-data-led traditional outdoor buys: Granular audience-mapping through insight and data is helping optimise the time and location for individual out-of-home (OOH) screen buying decisions. There’s no longer an excuse for wastage, and like all programmatic buys, media efficiency is arguably the biggest benefit.
  2. Real-time, data-led dynamic creative: Creative can be changed in seconds; data can fuel which creative to serve based on a range of feeds like the weather, flight times or England scoring in the semi-final (we can hope!); copy and images can be changed manually; Instagram and Twitter can also be brought through via feeds.
  3. Near real-time inventory booking: Inventory is rarely all sold, and what is unsold is by no means ‘remnant inventory’. If you want to go live on a Thursday evening at the last minute, now you can see what’s available in the right places and times, and book tactical smart activations.
  4. Audience journey mapping across digital channels: If you know your audience, you can be really smart, tracing their likely journeys throughout the day and week to optimise frequency and messaging. OOH can now be planned as part of the larger digital user delivery.
  5. Advanced reporting and insight: Real-time impact by placement reporting is also available. Tie this into site/app visits or brand Google search by geolocation, for example, and you can start to truly see a fuller view of a person’s full interaction with your brand.

So, who’s doing it? the7stars has seen success with Addison Lee for its Autumn 2017 campaign, picking up an award in last months Drum Trading Awards. The industry is moving quickly, with lots of talk about VIOOH (JCDecaux’s programmatic OOH off-shoot), and a burst of discussions about how intermediary tech will start to connect, like the traditional display DSPs and OOH platforms such as Bitposter.

What are we waiting for? Good outdoor campaigns always require strong audience insight, planning, activation and measurement, and now advanced creative development considerations. But there is nothing that should stop the imagination, with the option to access al

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Snapchat eyes up advertisers with two new measurement tools

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This month saw Snap Inc continue their seduction of advertisers and agencies, with the release of two new measurement products. The product that has caused the most excitement is an offline measurement tool which, in partnership with Live Ramp, will give advertisers the ability to more accurately measure the effect the platform has on driving offline sales.

The tool, called Offline Sales Impact (OSI), has already been trialled with some large brands such as Cadbury and Oreo. With both brands having reported a positive effect on sales, Snap has been given the opportunity to showcase their ability to reach users in an innovative and effective way. The comparison being drawn especially against the likes of Facebook and Google, who already have similar measurement capabilities in place.

Offline measurement for digital is still somewhat lacking across the board, so this move comes as a positive step. Larger platforms are taking offline measurement more seriously, keen to demonstrate the role and potency online advertising spend can deliver and drive offline results.

The announcement also frames Snapchat as a platform in a much more positive light. When they first released ads into the app, measurement seemed like the very least of their concern. Advertisers for a long time had to take Snap Inc at their word in terms of results, with little or no third party verification in place. Video ads were launched in a haphazard way, with views being counted at a single second and little application of tracking in the beginning. This has all changed in recent times, and for the better. Just within the verification space, opening up to MOAT and Integral Ad Science has made a real difference to planners, with the assurance that comes with third party tracking.
The second measurement release looks at how Snapchat campaigns drive impact in tandem with above the line activity. Marketing Mix Modelling has been developed with trusted measurement partners, Nielsen and Millward Brown, to justify media spend with the Snapchat platform by understanding more about how consumers are engaging with all of the different channels.

Introducing Marketing Mix Modelling is a real display of faith from Snap, but something that should be rewarding for both them and advertisers in the long term. The company clearly believes in the strength of their ad platform and the engagement of their users, which they’re now looking to prove after a turbulent and difficult direct listing launch on the NYSE, and continued scepticism from advertisers yet to test its capabilities.

Hopefully the move will go someway towards alleviating any measurement barriers-to-test from advertisers and open up what is an exciting and engaged platform to more brands. And finally we can see the results.

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Hotline – June 2018

By | What's Hot



While British MPs have been making waves with their move to restrict the advertisement of junk food on television, Stockholm’s City Council has made sexism the target of their most recent bylaws. This month they voted to ban all advertisements displayed in public spaces that portray women or men as ‘sex objects’, in stereotypical gender roles or in any other way that is ‘obviously sexually discriminatory’. The bylaw echoes the Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn’s 2016 ban on body-shaming adverts across Transport for London. The growing momentum of government action suggests that advertisers slow to adapt to consumer values could soon be forcibly brought in line by public authorities.


After several years of negotiation, News UK, The Telegraph and The Guardian have announced The Ozone Project. A one-stop shop for digital inventory and audience data for more than 39.4 million unique users, the initiative will allow them to offer the scale needed to rival the likes of Facebook. While some advertisers heralded it optimistically as a cleaner supply chain and simpler buying option, others have called it out for lacking the total commitment required to make it a success. Each publisher will maintain their individual digital and print sales teams, effectively working as competitors to The Ozone Project. And each will require individual targeting lines, meaning that The Ozone Project will be a centralised buying hub rather than a true multi-media platform. Considering how much online ad revenue Facebook and its ilk are increasingly eating up, bolder integration might be worth the risk.


The largest internet retailer in the world is expanding their already growing online media inventory. Amazon have now acquired the exclusive rights to live stream 20 premier league matches in the next 2018/19 football season. This is a seismic move for the online service considering the history of the premier league, broadcast on Sky Sports for the last 16 years, then split between Sky Sports and BT Sport for the past 6 of those years. The news is in line with the current trend of digital outlets competing with traditional broadcasters. Sky and BT will nevertheless remain in good stead taking the rest of the rights packages between them, with BT securing 52 live games and Sky 128.


Instagram has finally unveiled the introduction of shoppable stories, in a move to monetise the increasingly popular format. Influencers and brands will now be able to tag their stories with the specific products featured within them. When a tag is clicked it will the bring up detail on the products, followed by a path to purchase directly from the brand and without ever leaving the app. This is a strong move by Instagram to grow its ecosystem, and seems likely to entice brands to invest more time and money into the creation of content for the app; if shoppable stories can be turned directly into incremental sales, bridging the gap between an aspirational lifestyle and a consumer’s next purchase.

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves Summer

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Last Thursday was the official first day of Summer 2018. While we may not all be piling on the factor 50 just yet, our latest QT results (May 2018) certainly demonstrate that the Summer months undoubtedly give us a lot to look forward to.

Firstly, our bespoke tracking data shows that Summer is a time to discover.  3 in 5 Brits are open to the idea of trying out a new hobby in the Summer months (especially those in London), with 2 in 3 claiming they might even embark on a home improvement project. The longer days also give us time to experience. With so many cultural events to fill up our calendars, ranging from Royal Ascot to BST Hyde Park Festival, 2 in 5 Brits may find themselves at a music festival or outdoor concert in the upcoming months, and almost half claim they may watch a live sporting event in person, driven by the younger age groups. Although with a lower uptake, a third are also considering visiting an outdoor cinema, further demonstrating that Brits love to use Summer as an opportunity to widen their cultural horizons.

When we’re not busy developing our skills, improving our homes or  dabbling in culture, we’re also showing that Summer is a time to celebrate. 2 in 5 Brits may find themselves at a wedding this season, with a quarter partying the weekends away at a hen or a stag do, mostly deriving from those aged 25-34. If love isn’t in the air for our friends and family, it might be for ourselves. Indeed, a quarter of Brits claim to be open to starting a new romantic relationship over Summer.

Of course, we still find time to travel. 9 in 10 Brits are expected to enjoy a day trip with family and friends over Summer, with 3 in 5 also likely to go travelling further afield, interestingly mostly driven by the oldest age group (65+).

Whilst undoubtedly exciting, our Summer plans are also proving ]costly, with a third believing they might spend all their money during this busy season, especially parents and those in Scotland / Northern regions.  Whilst brands should make the most of Brits’ freer spirits over Summer, how can they also be a source of comfort and reassurance as we undoubtedly tighten our belts again in September?

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: FIFA World Cup 2018

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

The FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 kicked off this month, eagerly anticipated worldwide. 29% of UK adults agreed it’s one of three top TV events this year, including half of UK men (source: QT May 2018).

The 2014 tournament reached 3.2 billion people, the final reaching over a billion (source: FIFA). This year is expected to do the same. ITV expect to reach 76% of the UK population this time around. Helpfully, 7.4 million watched their coverage of Portugal vs. Spain last week (source: TellyMix).

But while initial audience figures seem pretty buoyant, FIFA’s advertising challenges haven’t been.

FIFA faces a sponsorship revenue shortfall compared to four years ago, with revenues forecasted to reach $1,450m (£1,085m) for 2018, down significantly on the $1,629m (£1,214m) generated from the 2014 World Cup.

This is concerning given a large proportion of FIFA’s sponsorship revenues comes from World Cup tournaments. Nielsen data suggests that in 2014, total other event income generated a meagre $49m (£37m) in comparison.

The situation was largely brought about by high profile brands stepping away from FIFA, namely Johnson & Johnson, Castrol and Continental in the wake of the corruption scandal which hit FIFA in 2015 and has rung in the ears of the organisation to date. Significant investment from Chinese brands has lent itself to propping up revenues this round, and it is hoped that investment from Qatar and the Middle East will reverse FIFA’s fortunes in 2022.

The current predicament, however, offers an interesting paradox to concerned advertisers. With the assumed climate of disassociation with the FIFA brand, and the unique and unquestionable audience draw of the World Cup, how can advertisers strike the right note whilst tapping into the enormous potential audience?

Ken Robertson, former Advertising Director at Paddy Power offered a solution via The Drum, suggesting that inroads can be made using “more sophisticated communications”, citing Paddy Power’s success with ambush marketing focused not only on football, but the wider context surrounding tournaments. “You can’t operate detached from the political, the lines are blurry at the moment. The narrative around political stability, homophobia and more. It cannot just be football. No way.”

Advertisers should approach with caution though, as the bookmaker has also got into hot water for utilising such tactics. It seems then that although the rewards can be huge, a successful strategy for advertisers is as unpredictable as the drama they mean to represent.

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: Is this the beginning of the end for our high street?

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

With news breaking last week that long standing, high street favourite House of Fraser is having to shut over 30 stores across the UK next year due to bad custom – including flagship Oxford Street store – we decided to look at the main reason behind this, what it means for other brands, and the effect on jobs that comes from decisions like this.
2018 hasn’t just been a bad year for House of Fraser, with other high street stores like M&S Maplin and Toys R Us also experiencing part or full closure, and ONS (2018) reported earlier this year that all retail sectors saw decline in the first three months of the year, despite a slight pick up in February.

The main culprit to the demise of these loved stores is the growth of the internet and specific e-commerce giants like Amazon who promise speedy delivery and easy returns; making the online option arguably the easier choice in modern-day time pressures. According to Kantar TGI data, British adults (aged 15+) are twice as likely to have bought something online in the last month compared to 5 years ago:

One of the biggest problems with the closure of stores isn’t the fact that individuals won’t be able to buy goods, as we’ve seen that things can still be purchased online, but it’s the loss of jobs.

If we continue with the House of Fraser example, it was reported that the closures next year would mean 6,000 job cuts including brand and concession roles (BBC, 2018). So, alongside the closure itself, this is likely to dent the brand’s reputation even further. In fact, last week alone, 16 million impressions were made on Twitter with people talking about job losses as a result of House of Fraser’s decision (Crimson Hexagon, 2018).

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: Brand Recoveries

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

This weekend saw a nationwide outage of the UK’s No1 payment infrastructure, VISA. There’s no surprise that this outage immediately made headline news. In 2017, contactless card payments accounted for 470 million transactions (+250% YOY) [Statista] and VISA’s 50% market share means they account for the majority of that. To add some perspective, a single day in Dec ‘17 saw 1 million tube journeys made using VISA cards. [Computer Weekly].

Brands are not infallible, and a tech giant like VISA can’t be expected to work 100% of the time, especially with the level of growth the financial industry sees. However maintaining strong levels of brand health means knowing how to behave in times of crisis as well as success.

On average, the brand is mentioned on social media around 2.5k times a day in the UK. During the outage this increased by  800% to 22.9k mentions [Crimson Hexagon]. As this increase implies, a brand’s first line of defence when it comes to a PR crisis is a response through Twitter. Consumers flocked to the platform to voice their concern and were met with an automated, impersonal message. This lack of personal relevance could account for the fact that through emotional sentiment analysis we identified that 49% of negative posts were angry and 29% were sad.

Admittedly, VISA are on the back foot from the off for something like this. Lightbox’s QT Q2’18 report shows that the confidence in Financial Institutions sits at -19%, whereas companies and brands in general have a +17%.
A recent example of a brand that failed to deliver, that Visa could pay attention to is KFC. Their quick response to put out ads admitting their ‘cluck up’ with a bargain bucket saying ‘FCK’ will go a long way to correct consumer brand perceptions.