Monthly Archives

May 2019

Take a Spring Break: The latest findings from The QT

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Take a Spring Break: The latest findings from The QT

May 2019 is the eleventh wave of our quarterly consumer confidence and state of the nation tracking study: The QT. This time around, we’ve asked Brits’ their attitudes to gardening, healthy eating & fitness, modern advertising, and most crucially; which of their household and daily routines are *really* a chore, and which they secretly enjoy rather than endure. Read on for more…

The Bank Holiday bonanza has done nothing to make us happier.

Compared to February 2019, there has been no real change in the nation’s happiness. One in three Brits feel more positive than they did last year, and just under half feel no different. The happiest cohort are those in Yorkshire & the Humber with four in five (79%) saying they’re as happy or happier than they were at this time last year. Maybe the recent success of the Tour de Yorkshire did something to brighten the mood.

Political positivity in a downward spiral… again.

Following the recent local elections, confidence in the political system is at an all time low. In February, the score was -66%, and May scores have plummeted to -73% net confidence. Parties themselves are at a staggering -77%, with negative sentiment more than doubling since this time in 2017.

If we look to talk about the elephant in the political room, the overriding emotions towards Brexit continue to evolve. 27% of Brits now say they are bored of Brexit, a staggering growth from 18% in February 2019, and 8% in May 2017. Only 1 in 20 (5%) of Brits are happy about the current state of affairs, which is a marked reduction from the 12% who felt this way in May 2017.

Pleasure or pain? The nation has spoken.

In light of the rise of cleaning and folding influencers (Mrs Hinch and Marie Kondo, anyone?), we decided to put it to Brits which of their daily habits or routines they had a secret satisfaction in doing.

Top of the pile? Walking the dog and booking holidays. 4 in 5 Brits who do these activities find them a pleasure, rather than a chore. Clothes shopping and exercising were hot on their heels, with around 3 in 5 Brits who do these activities finding them a pleasure.

The generational splits were the most interesting here. Cooking and Ironing were the mainstays of the older audiences, but cleaning brought great joy to around a third of 18-34s, versus 1 in 5 over 55s. Tidying personal possessions was also a surprise hit amongst the younger group.

Representation is key.

Back in 2018 we launched our whitepaper into Diversity and Inclusion in advertising, ‘Representing?’. This wave we wished to check back in with consumers to see if anything had changed in the last year. Unfortunately, only 1 in 4 (26%) of Brits feel they are fairly represented in advertising. Seems there is still some work to be done…


Keep an eye on @the7stars on twitter for more nuggets from this wave of the QT.

To find out more on any of these topics, or ask for more information please email


Lightbox Loves: One Year On

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Everyone’s favourite piece of legislation, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), turned one at the weekend. With it brought the promise of tough new data laws in the EU to give people more control over the data being collected on them. To mark the occasion, we’ve run a LightBox Pulse in partnership with OnePulse, to see whether Brits actually think this is now the case.

It’s rare in an industry such as ours that most people haven’t been impacted by GDPR, or at least have a vague comprehension of what it stands for. However, 3 in 10 Brits claim that they still don’t really understand what GDPR is, despite many companies having to ask consumers last year to review their updated privacy policies.

A further half of adults think that GDPR has made no real difference to them personally. That’s not surprising, given that 1 in 3 still feel that online ads are intrusive, despite GDPR, with a similar number believing that GDPR has made no difference to how Facebook behaves.

It may be for this reason that 1 in 5 Brits have found GDPR to be an anti-climax. The information commissioner’s office (ICO) has logged 14,000 data breaches since these new data laws were put in place. However, in the UK, no fine has yet been issued under GDPR (Google was fined in France). According to Richard Breavington, partner at law firm RPC, the ICO has “… barely scratched the surface of it’s powers” – and Brits seem to be more than aware of this.

However, the younger generation (18-24s) is the most optimistic about the impact GDPR has had, with 2 in 5 believing that positive changes have occurred as a result of the regulation laws (+4pts on all adults). A further 2 in 5 also believe that companies are now asking for their consent before storing their data (+5pts on all adults).

A year in and brands are also identifying positive changes that have come about as a result of GDPR, when previously there was seemingly only frustration and confusion, plus a big hit on many of their CRM resources. Brands are now being more targeted, sending fewer but more relevant emails, and seeing better open rates as a result.

Whilst GDPR hasn’t been as impactful as expected in many consumers’ eyes, brands are reaping the rewards that come from better quality data and (hopefully) more respectful ways of using it



Lightbox Pulse in partnership with OnePulse, May 2019

The Seven Trends 2019: #5 The Future is Gaming

By | Featured, The Seven Trends

The Future is Gaming.


It feels like we say the same thing every year, but 2018 really was the year that gaming blew into the mainstream.


Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V became the most financially successful media title of all time with an estimated $6 billion in revenue, far surpassing bestselling films such as Star Wars or The Avengers. The release of Red Dead Redemption 2 sold 15 million copies in its first eight days since release.


Gaming also entered Hollywood with Ready Player One, the cult gaming novel, released on the big screen courtesy of Spielberg.

And Fortnite happened. The cultural phenomenon is over 125 million players strong. When pro-gamer Ninja was joined by Drake to live stream the game, it became the most watched Twitch stream in history with 628,000 viewers.

So, people are playing games, but they’re also watching. Twitch has a 2.7m UK reach with a 25 minute average dwell time and five out of the Top 10 earning YouTubers post content centred around gaming. These have naturally opened up opportunities which brands are making use of, but does bring us to question of where 2019 is heading.

Ready Player One, a film by Steven Spielberg earned $560m globally.


2019 will see brands play catch up to the mainstream adoption of games. This will be in part be across ad placements within games and video content on the likes of Twitch and YouTube. But the more exciting opportunities to access that younger, hard to reach audience are through partnerships.

eSports is forecast to double its audience to 600 million people in 2020, and generate revenues of more than £1bn globally. Some brands, like Coca-Cola and Snickers, are already capitalising on these audiences. Xbox and Sony are head sponsors of tournaments across the globe. As eSports’ popularity rises, and avenues to watch grow, we will see more marketing opportunities here too.

Five out of the Top 10 earning YouTubers are streaming live gaming.


But the impact isn’t limited to brands with a gaming angle. The technology honed will seep into mainstream marketing. AR and VR have both been most popularly adopted within the gaming industry, making gamers comfortable to consume content in that way. This paves the way for marketers in other sectors to use the same tech. Currently these have been more PR-led experiences rather than wider marketing campaigns: 2019 could be the year where gaming ‘normalises’ other realities.

The Seven Trends 2019: #4 Media Mergers

By | Featured, The Seven Trends

Media Mergers.


Big players may move slowly, but these slow moves and mergers will create big waves.


2018 was a year of media consolidation. In broadcast it could be argued that this was in part a response to the rising growth of the over the top (OTT) new kids on the block. If it’s true that size matters, then the existing players look to be making strategic alliances in readiness for the fight.

Netflix has already muscled in and established itself as the entertainment TV portal in the UK OTT marketplace. If DAZN realise their ambitions to be the similar destination for sports, the likes of Sky, Disney and Turner may have to innovate to stay ahead.

Comcast, the largest cable TV provider in the States, acquired Sky for $39 billion. This gives them a significant European footprint and made them the biggest private sector provider of pay TV, with 52 million customers (Knowledge Wharton). Content, data, subscriptions and global expansion are reasons behind the acquisition. Content between these two will be leveraged globally, and it will be interesting to see what happens between Comcast’s 30% stake in Hulu and Sky’s NowTV – or will they develop a global online video service to combat Netflix?

Comcast, the largest cable TV provider in the U.S. acquired Sky for $39 billion.

Disney, for one, will be launching a competing online streaming platform, Disney+, later in 2019. Following its previous purchase of 21st Century Fox, Disney removed all content from Netflix in preparation for launch. TV’s new global giants will compete in content to retain customers.
Ad-free subscriptions are a popular business model for entertainment, offering a wide variety of quality content, readily available on smart platforms.

U.S. broadcaster DAZN put the UK sports broadcast market on notice with their commercial tie up with Matchroom Boxing.

However, ad-funded business models must focus on scale to attract more advertising spend when competing against Facebook and Google. It does seem that size and scale matters, so we are seeing non-TV media owners consolidate too.

Trinity Mirror merged with Northern Shell to form Reach. Now the third largest newspaper group with 21.1% share of print circulations (, Reach is a more effective challenger to NewsUK and DMG Media. As the name suggests, the merger offers greater scale to advertisers, but also a greater robust revenue mix across print and digital on top of the efficiencies from reducing duplication within the business.

Global (owners of national radio brands such as Capital, Heart and LBC) made a surprise move by acquiring not one, not two, but three outdoor media companies. In 2019 they will become the 2nd largest outdoor sales house in the UK – just behind JCDecaux. This creates a huge cross-media selling opportunity for Global, agencies and advertisers alike.
Both these give the opportunity to be more effectively ‘local’ at scale in two key broadcast channels. If coordinated through one sales point then the interplay between out of home and radio can be managed far more effectively. Or at least that is the theory.

Doubtless we’ll find out as the mergers reach maturity in 2019.

Lightbox Loves: Franchise Fever: How Long Can it Last?

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Franchise Fever: How Long Can it Last?


With Avengers, Star Wars and Game of Thrones culminating in grand finales this year, entertainment franchises are reaching peak popularity. Years in the making, how have people remained so excited about watching what is essentially the same old thing?

The proportion of franchise films making the top 10 UK box office films each year has been increasing steadily since 2002 (chart below).1 With Game of Thrones spinoffs and a new phase of Avengers films in the works, it looks like people will remain glued to these franchises for years to come.

Without a doubt, the social viewing experience continually draws people in. Social media has exploded over Avengers Endgame, with nearly a million and a half posts relating to the topic this year.3 For its part, Game of Thrones generated half of a million public conversations this year.4

It’s not just other fans who form the viewers’ community, but franchise characters too. Relatable characters become extensions of real-life groups. For example, Game of Thrones’ King of the North, Jon Snow, is more popular amongst those from Northern UK than the South: over a third of Northerners (35%) want to see Jon Snow win the throne at the end of the series, compared to just a quarter of Londoners (26%).5

Looking more closely at the social media conversation further reveals that nostalgia keeps fans interested. The Avengers series is particularly good at this, using ‘80s and ‘90s references to remind viewers of the enduring relationship they’ve had with the franchise over time. One Avengers fan tweeted:

 ‘Went and watched Captain Marvel earlier today. Absolutely great film, and the soundtrack was definitely one of nostalgia for me. Can’t wait for Endgame and to see the finale of a story that’s been building up since I was in high school!’6

These kinds of relationships take time to build, but nowadays new TV programmes and films crop up weekly. How long will interest hold up in a viewing market where programmes and viewing platforms are proliferating? As audiences increasingly watch TV on the go, will the social experience be ruined? People want more and more control over what they watch, and in the cases of these franchises, fans are helpless at the whim of writers and producers.

Perhaps with the acceleration of change in viewing habits, it will be nostalgia for the traditional franchise experience itself that keeps them around.



1.Box Office Mojo

2.YouGov ‘9.5 Million Brits to See Avengers Endgame at Cinema’ and YouGov ‘Jon Snow is Fan Favourite to Win Game of Thrones

3.Crimson Hexagon 1st Jan 2019 – 6th May 2019 ‘Avengers’, ‘Endgame’, ‘Marvel’

4.Crimson Hexagon 1st Jan 2019 – 6th May 2019 ‘Game of Thrones’

5.YouGov ‘Jon Snow is Fan Favourite to Win Game of Thrones

6.Crimson Hexagon 1st Jan 2019 – 6th May 2019 ‘Avengers’, ‘Endgame’, ‘Marvel

Lightbox Loves: The Met Gala

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Monday night saw the return of the biggest night of the year in the fashion calendar, the Met Gala. The Costume Institute Gala at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (to give it its full name) was first held in 1948 as a fundraising gala for the Institute. In the years since, it has become renowned as the night Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief, curates a ‘who’s who’ of the most famous faces across the worlds of fashion, music and film, all dressed to embody a theme inspired by that year’s exhibition and breaking the internet in their wake.

Previous themes have ranged from ‘Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ (maybe best summed up by Cardi B’s saintly three-point hat covered in pearls, rhinestones, and jewels) to ‘China: Through the Looking Glass,’ which has gone down in pop culture history as the year Rihanna took to the red carpet in a yellow, fur-trimmed dress that spawned a viral meme comparing the outfit to an omelette.

This is not all bad news; meme culture is starting to mean big business for the designers involved. While this year’s SXSW coverage saw debates on whether brands should enter into the world of meme culture for marketing purposes, there appears to be an element of ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ when it comes to the viral success of the Met Gala moments. Chinese designer Guo Pei, the designer behind Rihanna’s viral moment on the Met steps has stated: “Rihanna wearing my design had a great impact – and the international fashion industry gained a new understanding of me.”

Looking more at the exhibit theme that was central to this year’s gala, it was inspired Susan Sontag’s seminal essay from 1964 entitled ‘Notes on Camp’. The exhibition’s curator, Andrew Bolton, explains that Sontag argued that camp is the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration… style at the expense of content… the triumph of the epicene style”. Given where we are societally, he “ …felt it would have a lot of cultural resonance.”

Camp, as Bolton notes, “…has become increasingly more mainstream in its pluralities — political camp, queer camp, pop camp, the conflation of high and low, the idea that there is no such thing as originality.” However, he argues this does not give license to view that the theme is frivolous: “I think you’ve got to be incredibly sophisticated to understand camp — look at Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs.” For Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele, Sontag’s essay, “…perfectly expresses what camp truly means to me: the unique ability of combining high art and pop culture.”

For brands outside the fashion world, the theme of this year’s bash and the hype it has received from across social media, highlights the increasing interest (particularly among millennials) for escapism in an era where everything is politicised, by celebrating the joy and inclusivity of all things camp.

Why It’s Now Time To Get Involved In Women’s Sport

By | Featured, What's Hot

Women’s sport is becoming increasingly mainstream, as coverage and media reporting becomes more of a focus for broadcasters and publishers alike.

As recently as 2016 the charity Women in Sport found that that televised women’s sport accounted for just 3% of all sports coverage in print, online and radio. Share of sponsorship was even lower, at just 1%.

This lack of media attention has arguably had the biggest influence on the public’s perception of women’s sport. The media can have a huge influence, both in transforming society’s views on women and gender equality, as well as normalising women’s sport. Its tremendous reach gives it the power to reinforce positive attitudes in society, encourage girls and women to participate and to encourage mainstream audiences to watch and engage.

The lack of media coverage has also made women’s sport less attractive to sponsors. Fewer eyeballs meant it was less valued, so it’s either not on the consideration list or, if it is, they’ll pay less than they do for men’s sport.

But the good news is that media coverage is significantly increasing, which is having a positive benefit to attracting sponsorship, and much-needed investment into sports that have been grossly underfunded.

SSE, with their FA Cup partnership, and Vitality’s sponsorship of netball, football, rugby, cricket and hockey have been relatively long-term investors in women’s sport. But a recent flurry of high-profile sponsorship announcements, such as Barclays’ title sponsorship of the Women’s Super League (for a reported £10m+ over three years) and Boots’ sponsorship of the Ireland and the four Home Nations Women’s national football teams, shows that brands increasingly recognise its value.

The advantages for brands are clear. An uncluttered environment, with fewer sponsors, means brands get more cut-through. Audiences continue to grow as media coverage increases. Those getting involved now have the opportunity to build a legacy in women’s sport as a long-term partner and grow together. And there is still value for money; sponsorship supply still outstrips demand so it’s a buyers’ market.

Commercial benefits aside, there are other compelling reasons for brands to invest; first in standing up for equality – it’s important for any 21st-century brand to be walking the talk of equality, and secondly, female athletes are great role models and more-accessible ambassadors for brands.

Looking ahead, The Women’s World Cup – taking place in France in June – will put women’s sport in the spotlight more so than ever before. It’s time for more brands to get involved.

With thanks to David at The Value Xchange

OOOOH: Out-Of-Home Becomes Automated

By | Featured, What's Hot

Outdoor took a big step into the digital world in 2018, as Digital Out of Home (DOOH) became the second fastest growing media channel, behind mobile.

This has been driven by mass-digitisation of sites. Market-leader JCDecaux passed the 50% digital milestone a few years ago, while a recent announcement from Clear Channel revealed that 60% of their revenue is now generated through DOOH (up from just 2% as recently as 2016). And it’s more effective than paper & paste – a recent study shows that DOOH ads are twice as likely to be seen and 2.5 times more impactful.

With this growth we have seen the launch of the programmatic supply exchange VIOOHGlobal’s bold move into OOH the acquisitions of Primesight, Outdoor Plus and then Exterion.

A greater volume of impressions is now ‘addressable’ with many programmatic buying platforms (DSPs) now able to access and buy DOOH inventory (Verizon, Scoota, TheTradeDesk, MediaMath, Adform, Appnexus, Outmoove, Vistar, and more).

For 2019 a connected data strategy will sit at the heart of DOOH buys – with data feeds fuelling when, where, and what, to run as the ‘new normal’ across DOOH. Customised, dynamic, full motion and high-quality digital ads will quickly fill the UK’s outdoor spaces.

This creates opportunities for better joined-up mobile and DOOH, with the ability to buy formats across both in a single platform, linking audiences, time, location and message.

As such, we expect brands’ online social voices to be brought onto the streets more and more, with brand effective metrics said to increase by 23% when included in outdoor ads.

We expect further growth as more branding budget is allocated to digital, with channels better-optimised and digital creative optimised for larger screens.

Marketers will be able to increase the efficiency of outdoor through more-targeted audience buys, and improved performance through more relevant, second-by-second, dynamic creative.

The big question will be how measurement advances across outdoor, with more ability to look at brand engagement and attention through digital and data connections – we may soon get to the stage of bringing this huge traditional ‘herding behaviour’ channel into a closer customer context.

Location data services, data hubs and, of course, Google, will likely be big drivers for this: location, maps and search data will have a huge part in bringing the impact of OOH into the full media mix.