Monthly Archives

August 2019

State of the Nation: The latest findings from The QT

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

State of the Nation: The latest findings from The QT

There are 12 days of Christmas, 12 eggs in a dozen, and now 12 waves of the QT! For this wave we’ve looked into the nation’s feelings on Brexit in a post-Boris-as-PM world, attitudes to sustainability after the move by Zara to shed their ‘fast fashion’ tag, and into whether Brits really *get* product placement. Read on for more…

Young people are having a whale of a time!

National happiness is a few percentage points higher than in May 2019, but it is the young who are really feeling their oats. 64% of 18-24s feel happier than they did in May 2018, and this is in stark contrast to the 65+, for whom this figure falls to a mere 22%. Youthful joy, however, doesn’t mean that we have a miserly ageing population. Instead, a higher proportion of this group feel more settled, with 51% citing no difference in their happiness versus last year.

Brexit means…WORRY.

In May 2019, we reported that for the very first time since the Referendum, boredom had become the overriding emotion felt by Brits. In the wake of Theresa stepping down, a leadership contest and the new Prime Minister’s vow to take us out of the EU come what may, this has turned to worry. 30% of Brits feel their biggest emotion towards our impending exit from Europe is worry, with only 6% saying they’re happy.

No surprises on the regional skews here, with key Remain areas of London and Scotland scoring higher for the negative emotions, but Leave strongholds such as the North East still retaining their unwavering optimism.

It can be cheap, fast or quality, but you can’t have all three.

We asked the UK to give us their real priorities when it comes to purchase decisions, asking them to trade off sustainability for other factors every time.

Convenience, quality materials, durability, fair wages for workers, not being tested on animals, and function all won out over sustainability. The only factors to be beaten by it were local production, high fashion/on trend, and brand reputation.

Interestingly, the trade-off between cost effectiveness and sustainable production was more difficult than many other criteria. 37% of Brits picked sustainability over cost, compared with 44% choosing cost. These figures skewed more in favour of cost the younger the consumer was, with 51% of 18-24s choosing this factor. It flies in the face of increasing coverage of Gen Z being the foremost campaigners when it comes to the environment, but lands us with the reality that their ethics may not yet meet their purchasing power.

How much is that product in the TV show? The one with the visible can…

If you didn’t sing the above headline to the tune of that doggy in the window, then we’re disappointed. Back on topic though, we were inspired by conversations around the recent series of Stranger Things, and Love Island, to find out exactly how Brits feel about product placement in their favourite series and movies.

The first thing we noted, was that for just under half, they’d prefer more of it, than traditional ad breaks! 48% of Brits felt this way, with a similar proportion (50%) feeling that product placements are good if relevant to show content. Indeed, that seems to be the biggest word of warning for brands. Almost 4 in 5 said that the activity mustn’t distract from the narrative of the show or movie, and its not a surprise when you consider over a quarter said that they sometimes distract them from the show itself.

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@the7stars.co.uk

 

the7stars and M&C Saatchi launch strategic consultancy M&C7

By | Featured, News | No Comments

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new venture with MC Saatchi. M&C7 is a strategic consultancy that fuses media and creative thinking from the very start to drive outcomes for clients.

For too long now, despite the many attempts at reunification, media and creative thinking have been out of sync.

We want clients to be able to buy best-in-class advice that fuses media strategy and brand idea into one seamless whole. Ours is a unique consultancy product – rooted in marketplace expertise, but free of the bias of implementation.

Bringing the two halves of the communications brain back together is only really possible in the independent sector, in which the vested interests of legacy companies don’t apply.

M&C7 enjoys the freedom that comes from independent perspectives. The coming together of disciplines offers the chance to look at the client’s problem from new angles, so that instead of a single controlling thought from a limited perspective, we can take a wide lens that allows us to produce a truly unified solution

Suzuki, Take That and ITV

By | Featured, News | No Comments

Suzuki have become synonymous with Saturday nights on ITV; famed for their family friendly antics, previously fronted by Ant & Dec. This long term strategy has just been taken to a new level with the introduction of Take That in 2019.  So far, the campaign has seen the UK’s favourite boyband travel across the UK in a Suzuki Vitara SUV to surprise fans with a journey they will never forget, and enjoy an in-car karaoke session with their idols along the way.

Suzuki will shine even brighter on ITV1 Saturday nights with the Take That ad spots placed in ITV’s very best entertainment programming – The Voice. Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.  A Sat night tenancy buy means that Suzuki will be present 36 weeks of the year. Whilst TV is the core channel for reach, the Take That content will be brought to life further with extensive paid social, consumer competitions, a nationwide roadshow and dealer activations.

Watch this space for even more surprises yet to come this year!

Lightbox Loves: Is originality dead?

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

A trip to the cinema can feel like Groundhog Day; The Lion King, The Lego Movie 2, John Wick 3, Dumbo. And, the list of remakes or sequels hitting the big screen this year is set to continue with Frozen 2 and Charlie’s Angels among those in the making. Matrix 4 was even announced recently. This has led to the accusation that originality is dead, but is it really?

The first thing to note is that this is nothing new. The first Hollywood sequel, The Fall of a Nation, was released in 1916. The first movie remake was even earlier. Originally released in 1903, The Great Train Robbery was such a success a near identical version was shot and released the following year. Although, much like modern remakes, the violence and production were pumped up the second time round to help overcome audience’s familiarity (1).

However, whilst nothing new, the proportion of movie releases that are remakes or sequels is on the rise. One Reddit user created a chart that splits the top grossing Hollywood films for each year from 1980 to now into three categories; original work, existing fictional work, and films based on non-fictional characters or events. It comprehensively shows a general decline in original movies (2). In 1984, original movies made up 75% of the top 25 films that year. In 2018 it was less than 5%. The decrease in original movies is reinforced in the fact that originals have struggled to account for anymore than 25% since 2010. Pretty resounding then.

So, who’s driving this; movie-makers or movie-goers? The answer is somewhere in the middle. For makers, it appears money truly rules over creativity with sequels offering much needed security. As production budgets have increased, they’ve looked to minimise the risk of a flop and what better way than to utilise existing fandom of a particular franchise or movie (3). And, with huge fanbases baying for more, film-goers are actively encouraging filmmakers to make the most of it.

Nostalgia furthers viewer demand for unoriginal content on the big screen too. Watching a new version of a classic is good for the soul (probably) and audiences can’t get enough. Recent CGI remakes of a number of Disney classics have simultaneously satisfied those of us that grew up watching them and brought the storylines to a whole new generation. Win – win for all involved. Further to this, changing attitudes toward equality among film fans has made modernising old favourites a real opportunity for film-makers. Even, behemoth TV series Friends has come under fire (4) despite still being one of the most streamed series on Netflix this year (5).

Whether the decline in originality matters or not is up for debate, but it does appear that not only is originality struggling to cut through in today’s cinema, it’s also not going to change anytime soon. Fast and Furious 28 anyone?

 

  1. https://allthatsinteresting.com/first-movie-sequel
  2. http://digg.com/2019/original-adapted-movies-box-office-data-viz
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/may/16/hollywood-sequels-cinema-avengers-endgame
  4. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/friends-netflix-sexist-racist-transphobic-problematic-millenials-watch-a8154626.html
  5. https://www.adweek.com/tv-video/the-office-friends-and-greys-anatomy-were-netflixs-most-streamed-shows-last-year/

 

Lightbox Loves: The rise in diverse and inclusive visual vocabulary

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

‘Visual vocabulary’ has been an essential communications device long before the advent of media agencies. Pictorial symbols in the forms of hieroglyphs and cave drawings, documented by archaeologists and enshrined in museums, provide a pointed reminder that images formed the base of human communication.

Fast-forward to 2019 and ‘World Emoji Day’ serves as its own reminder that visual vocabulary has permeated culture in an unprecedented way. Modern humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so it’s no wonder that the emoji has become a go-to communications device in a world where people are constantly bombarded with stimuli.

Alongside fun and exciting additions to popular categories of food, animals, activities and smiley faces, Apple recently announced that designs launching on iPhone this autumn are set to bring even more diversity to the keyboard. A greater number of disability-themed emojis including a new guide dog, an ear with a hearing aid, wheelchairs, a prosthetic arm and a prosthetic leg will be available in the emoji keyboard, and well as more skin tone and gender relationship combinations.

Not only does this move serve to highlight diversity as one of Apple’s key business and brand values, but it echoes initiatives from other brand advertisers to better reflect modern Britain in its B2C communications. Big brands such as Maltesers and Lloyds Banking Group are among a handful of advertisers putting diversity at the heart of their communications strategies, often using visual vocabulary as a creative vehicle.

Visual vocabulary is, and will remain, a conduit between the brand and consumer. Visual communications drive longer-term saliency and impact, so it’s clear that brands need to translate increasingly diverse and inclusive creative platforms into easy to process visuals which can quickly convey information in ways that text simply cannot.

http://www.t-sciences.com/news/humans-process-visual-data-better

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2019/07/apple-offers-a-look-at-new-emoji-coming-to-iphone-this-fall/

 

Lightbox Loves: Are Your Stars Aligned?

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

From using healing crystals for wellness, practicing yoga with sound baths, to using one of over 10,000 astrology apps that deliver on-demand forecasts; ancient practices have seen a rise in usage among modern consumers looking for a way to manage their body/minds and also navigate the world around them.

In particular, the rise again (and probably not the last) of astrology, horoscopes and zodiac signs is seeing consumers, particularly younger people, find comfort in these mystical practices despite not necessarily believing in it. These techniques help assist them in decision making and finding a life path, against a backdrop of a chaotic modern life and an uncertain political and economic future.

As one JWT trend report states, “We are increasingly turning to unreality as a form of escape and a way to search for other kinds of freedom, truth and meaning…. What emerges is an appreciation for magic and spirituality”. This has given rise to apps such as Sanctuary – which offers users on-demand help by providing them with live personalised readings from professional astrologists.

There has also been an increase in brands currently tapping into this space. Some key examples include Amazon’s own zodiac led shopping recommendations; Spotify’s star sign curated playlists and astrological readings, as well as Bumble, which now allows users to filter potential matches based on their star sign.

Whether you’re a believer or a sceptic, we are yet to see if this is a fleeting trend or here to stay. However, during these unpredictable times, this alternative belief system seems to be offering consumers some clarity; by giving them an individual interpretation of their life and guide of how to go about living it.

  • https://www.standard.co.uk/tech/astrology-apps-sanctuary-costar-tarot-a4182256.html
  • https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-new-age-of-astrology/550034/
  • https://ffonline.foresightfactory.co/content/what-s-trending-copy-49d411b0-6eb9-45b7-af65-1bc2b4da7561?search=363696#3-astrology-driven-decision-making
  • https://www.jwtintelligence.com/trend-reports/unreality/
  • https://apps.apple.com/il/app/sanctuary-astrology/id1417411962
  • https://indie-mag.com/2019/01/astrology/

 

Lightbox Loves: Coaching Crazy

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

‘Life Coaching’, a phrase typically used to describe a professional paid to help others achieve their #lifegoals. Traditionally common in the corporate world, recent studies have shown that Gen Z are now fuelling an increase in both supply and demand for this vocation, both professionally and personally.

Bidvine, an online directory to find local professionals, has recently seen a 280% surge in searches for ‘life coaches,’ of which over half have been made by 18-22 year olds (1). Further, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) found that a third of Gen Z-ers across the globe already have a life coach (2).

This cohort are almost twice as trusting of others than Millennials, so it is of little surprise that they are turning to others for assistance to achieve their personal and professional objectives (3). For some, it’s about regaining confidence, whereas for others, life coaching helps build relationships, whilst also experiencing ‘real human’ interaction. Further, Gen Z are not just enlisting life coaches, but are also increasingly keen on being one themselves, with the CEO of the International Coaching Federation believing that “they are the future of the profession.” (4)

With this trend only set to grow further, and with Gen Z notorious for their fickleness towards brands, it is certainly timely that companies are moving away from being a one-dimensional product or service provider. Instead, brands are beginning to demonstrate that they care about us as people, through ‘coaching-style’ services outside of traditional realms.

For example, last year, Lidl opened up a pop-up café in Ireland to inspire young people to open up about their mental health, whilst also encouraging customers to take part in yoga, meditation and other mindful activities.

With many companies fighting for Gen Z’s attention, is life coaching an authentic means to entice our newest generation of spenders, and will this influence our #lifegoals?

 

1. The Guardian, 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/31/safety-blanket-why-more-teenagers-relying-life-coaches

2. ICF Consumer Awareness Study, 2107

3. IPSOS, 2018 https://www.ipsos.com/en-nl/generation-z-beyond-binary-new-insights-next-generation

4. The Guardian, 2019 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/31/safety-blanket-why-more-teenagers-relying-life-coaches