Monthly Archives

February 2021

Lightbox Loves: The Pratfall Effect

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The Pratfall effect is a theory developed by psychologist Elliot Aronson in the 1960s, and according to the theory you can become more appealing or likeable by admitting or demonstrating your own flaws. The theory was discovered after an experiment where Aronson has recorded an actor answering a series of quiz questions. In one experiment group, participants saw the video where the actor simply answered most of the questions correctly. In the other group, participants saw the actor answer the exact same way but during the quiz he spilled a cup of coffee over his shirt. Boths groups were asked to rate the actor’s likeability and Aronson found that the participants found the clumsy actor more likeable.

This type of study has been replicated with different environments, from people rating other’s attractiveness, to during job interviews or when people are choosing which cookies look more appealing to them. All studies demonstrate the Pratfall effect and the appealing nature of authenticity.

Many brands have already used the Pratfall effect within their advertising, from Stella Artois’s ‘reassuringly expensive’ ads to own up to being more expensive that most pints, to KFC’s famous apology campaign where they changed ‘KFC’ TO ‘FCK’ to apologise for running out of chicken in 2018 using full page print ads. Buckley’s cough medicine ad in 1990 using the phrase “People swear by it. And at it. It tastes awful. And it works.” helped them become one of the leading cough and cold medicine brands in Canada.

The Pratfall effect can have the implications of honesty and fallibility, and by owning these flaws the consumer is less likely to think you are lying about the other messaging they see from you. According to Edelman’s Brand Trust report in 2020, 53% of people say that trusting a brand is the second most important factor when purchasing a new brand, only behind price. Therefore, even though it can be a gamble to openly admit a flaw as your ad tagline, it could also be a great way to humanise your brand and be more likeable to consumers.

 

SOURCES

https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/oct/28/pratfall-effect-brands-flaunt-flaws

https://www.einsteinmarketer.com/pratfall-effect-marketing/

https://www.edelman.co.uk/research/trust-barometer-special-report-brand-trust-2020

Lightbox Loves: Hoping for a Holiday

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Despite holiday booking season thrown into chaos by changing and conflicting government advice, most Brits remain hopeful for a holiday this year.  A certain level of realism remains; most currently hope to follow Matt Hancock for a “Great British summer”. This is evident in booking patterns: last week, Pitchup, an online glamping platform, was 92% up on sales year-on-year. Sales even accelerated after Grant Shapps warned against booking travel. Nonetheless a quarter dream of travelling to Europe and 15% still hope to fly to more distant destinations.

But what are we so keen to escape? What does our hopes for holidays say about us? And with travel still uncertain, how can brands help fulfil these urges?

1) An escape from the day-to-day 

Parents of kids under five are the most hopeful to get away. They are not fussy – their wish to escape is prevalent across all destinations. Over half are looking forward to a UK break. It seems that after a year of childcare issues, working from home and parental leave indoors, they are desperate for any change of scenery. Brands can offer audiences a respite from the stasis with gardening, homewares, and decoration to create a sense of change and renewal. And with Mother’s Day on the horizon, they can consider how they to support mums in much need of a break.

2) An escape for new experiences? 

With record youth unemployment, a disastrous exam season and isolated universities students, it is no surprise that Gen Z are dreaming of flying far, far away. Four in ten 18-24s hope to get out of Europe – ten times the 4% of their Gen X parents’ generation with the same aim. Brands such as John Lewis have tapped into the human need for new experiences, with their online experiences covering everything from dog grooming through to wine tasting. Meanwhile, Audible continue to use the slowdown of international travel to promote their subscription service under the line “fly Audible to travel the world”.

3) An escape to new cultures? 

While Londoners are equally likely to anticipate a staycation, they are the region keenest to leave the country altogether. A third want to escape to Europe and a third wish to go farther still. Used to the world’s cuisine and culture on their doorstep, has lockdown life driven this urge to get abroad?  A rise in themed “culture nights” see some groups pick “destinations” and select food, drinks and entertainment from this country, can brands tap into this trend?  And as out of home leisure re-opens, there may be opportunities for pubs and restaurants to offer more immersive cultural experiences.
With normality of international travel still some time away, brands should think laterally about how they can help provide an escape from the ongoing cabin fever of lockdown life.

Lightbox Loves: Love in Lockdown this Valentine’s Day​

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Lockdown has changed the dating landscape. This Valentine’s Day, candle-lit dinners will be replaced by food deliveries and zoom cocktail-making, cinema trips with Netflix. Yet, with 78% of the UK population saying that they have never had a bad Valentine’s Day experience, this Sunday looks to be a highlight amidst the gloom of the pandemic. 

Since March, digital-first (and digital-only) dating has thrived. A modern turn on the exchanging of love letters, dating apps have had a sudden rise, facilitating long-distance, tier-crossed relationships. On Sunday 29th March, for example, Tinder users made 3 billion swipes worldwide – the most the app has ever recorded in a single day. Likewise, rival Hinge experienced a 30% increase in messages (compared to January and February) and OkCupid witnessed a 30% increase in messages sent each day. Facebook is also looking to muscle in on the action, having launched its own dating feature in October. 

The way would-be daters are communicating has also changed. Female-first app Bumble added video chat and voice call functionalities in 2019 and, during Lockdown 1.0, reportedly saw use of this function spike 93% with the average call lasting nearly 30 minutes. The service, which boasts almost 90 million users worldwide, also found that users were more unsure of how to date successfully now, with two in three feeling uncomfortable about navigating the complexities of the post-COVID dating world. Yet, there are positives: daters have reported that the pandemic has helped them figure out what really matters to them and believe that they have developed new healthy dating habits. 

Brands looking to woo customers on the 14th should keep in mind these changes. Last year, ‘Amazon Dating’, a parody of the e-commerce site, became an instant internet hit and received over 10,000 applications. Created by conceptual artist Ani Acopian and writer Suzy Shinn, the website replaced products with potential people to ‘buy’, complete with prices and reviews. Meanwhile Twitter took over the London Underground; romantic messaging was cast aside for real, cringe-worthy tweets, honouring the reality of modern dating on Valentine’s Day. 

Whilst the mode has change, the focus on connection remains the same. Now more than ever, brands wishing to align with romance need to have heart.  

 

SOURCES  –
YouGov Profiles
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2020/05/12/love-the-time-coronavirus-dating-apps-buck-the-downward-ad-spend-trend
https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2020/04/05/coronavirus-is-changingonline-dating-permanently/?sh=3a7771233b22
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52743454

How dating apps are innovating with new features in response to coronavirus


Lightbox Loves: Positivity Wins

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The external factors around Brits right now are predominantly negative, so it is no surprise that they are feeling worried and 69% are feeling anxious at the prospect of returning to ‘normal.’ But Brits are looking to counter act this negativity by seeking to add positivity to their lives, with over two thirds of Brits seeking out positive changes.

The first example of this was the New Year’s resolutions of 2021. The7stars Lightbox Pulse showed that three quarters of Brits were making New Year’s resolutions that were different to previous years. With the focus of resolutions being centred on adding to their lives rather than restricting them. With people more likely to agree that they were planning to start new healthy or pro-active routines and challenges. This trend looks set to continue beyond January, with Brits intending to continue focussing on positive activities and changes such as, a quarter are looking to a make a life change and a quarter are looking to take on a new challenge. This is paired with half wanting to appreciate what they currently have, no matter how small.

Positivity doesn’t just come from things or experiences, but also mindset. During lockdown last year consumers enjoyed having a slower pace of life and the ability to spend more time enjoying one thing at a time. In June’s QT, 55% of Brits stated that they were going to miss the slower pace of life. As such, going into this year, it is about having more mindful moments so 28% are focussing more on one thing at a time than before. In doing this, Brits hope to reduce the hectic nature of life and in turn half hope to remove stress from their life where possible.

In 2021, consumers will be channelling positivity into their lives to counter act the negatives surrounding them. As such there are two ways brands can leverage this, first by acknowledging and championing positivity in communication. The second, is as consumers seek to inject positivity into their lives, they will naturally be re-evaluating the brands they purchase so there is an opportunity to disrupt current brand relationships.

SOURCES  – Canvas8, the7stars Lightbox Pulse, the7stars QT

IAB Gold Standard: Supporting digital growth with digital responsibility

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UK digital ad spend fell 5% YoY between Jan -June 2020, a reflection of the impact that the global Covid-19 pandemic has had – however, digital consumption has surged in the wake of shifting behaviours, with video ad spend rising 5.7% in H1 2020. This drop-in ad spend is not representative of time spent online, which hit record levels as people turn to digital sources for news, social contact and entertainment. 

Supporting the growth of ad spend continues to be paramount for those in digital media, but there are mounting concerns that, while spend increases, the quality of digital buying practice is being neglected. As such, the7stars has a keen focus in 2021 and beyond on maintaining operational excellence and supporting initiatives like IAB Gold Standard.

IAB’s Gold Standard Certification aims to improve the digital advertising experience for all users, by combating ad fraud and safeguarding brands through safety protocols. With IAB reporting increased digital consumption, it is ever more important to minimise risk to brands and ensure quality is maintained. 

Accordingly, the IAB has published its Gold Standard 2.0 for digital media planning, a series of best-practice initiatives that will keep digital growing in the years to come. Guidance ranges from supplier-side tech implementations to guides for creatives to ensuring brand safety. The steps include:  

Reducing fraud through the ads.txt and app-ads.txt initiatives: Ads.txt is a mechanism on websites that allows the owners of content to declare who is allowed to sell inventory, with app-ads.txt the extension of this mechanism to support app inventory. It means that when we see ads for sale programmatically, we can be sure that the ad we are buying is legitimate, which in turn goes some way to stopping rogue traders profiting from counterfeit inventory.  

Encouraging suppliers to implement Sellers.json and OpenRTB Supply Chain Object: The Sellers.json file will effectively enable SSPs and exchanges to list their authorised reseller partners, along with seller ID. The SupplyChainObject lets buyers view what sellers and resellers have been involved in during a bid request. This will build confidence for buyers and DSPs to use the open exchange having validated each reseller involved in the process.  

LEAN Principles from the Coalition for Better Advertising: LEAN is an acronym used to represent best practice in terms of digital ad specs: Light file sizes and strict controls on data; Encrypted; Ad Choices logo; and Non-intrusive. Together, this adds up to a better user experience: ads load faster, users know why the ad has been served to them and ads are non-invasive.  

Never use the 15 bad ads: There are 15 ad formats (formerly 12 with the addition of 3 new short-form video formats) that shouldn’t be on any media plan – these include pop-ups and auto-play sound-on video.  

Working with TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group): This is a series of principles to follow that will secure a safer environment for online advertising placements by certifying vendors and content.  

All in all, these steps work towards making digital ads safer for brands to buy and better for the users they are being served to. Essentially, the key messages are around due diligence – being sure of the ads you are buying – and perspective – considering whether, as a user, you would be happy if you were served this ad in this manner.