Monthly Archives

November 2022

Black History Month at the7stars

By | Event Summaries, Featured

Following on from last year’s amazing celebration of Black History Month, we were excited to go even bigger and better with our celebrations this year.

Our Inspiration for this Year

Our celebrations were inspired by and centered around the words on the amazing mural in our reception area (created by Julian ArtJaz) with the theme of “Time for Change: Actions not Words”. With that spirit behind us, we decided it was time to hear from voices within the Black community about their experiences and the challenges they faced in both their personal and professional lives, whilst also celebrating Black culture and history throughout this culturally significant time. One of the big inspirations for this year was the belief we hold that Black history should not only be commemorated in the month of October but all year round; we believe that Black history does not stop being important when the month ends.

How We Celebrated at the7stars

We hosted several incredible talks, training sessions, and events in the agency (along with some tasty food!) to provide our team with insight and moments of learning that we could all enjoy and take something away from.

The was kicked off with an amazing talk from acclaimed Director and Creative Commissioner Nathan James Tettey, hosted by our own Isaac and Malique. Nathan shared his inspiring story and detailed how he made his way into the profession of directing music videos, working with some of the biggest stars in music, from Dave to Stormzy and many more. With quick wit and turn of phrase, Nathan revealed the highs and lows of his life and career, his upbringing, and more with poise and panache.

Nathan James Tettey speaking on a panel in the7stars offices.

We kicked off our Black History Month celebrations with an amazing talk from acclaimed Director and Creative Commissioner Nathan James Tettey, hosted by our own Isaac and Malique.

Following this, we hosted a pair of coaching sessions with the first session being exclusively for our Black colleagues and the second being open to all colleagues who wanted to attend and learn. This was done to provide a safe space for our Black colleagues to be empowered in being their best selves, as well as facilitating communal energy and adding value to the lives of those that attended by adding clarity around some of the things that they wanted to achieve.

Our next talk came from documentarian and former Premier League footballer Anton Ferdinand, who provided our team with invaluable insight into his experiences with racism both during and following his Football career.

To round up our Black History Month celebrations, we hosted a customary DJ battle between the heavyweight titans of the mix, with DJ Jess Mavz backing Sarps and DJ Dapstar backing Isaac. In the aftermath of the track-after-track battle, it was Team Sarps who took the crown.



Isaac and Sarps hosting our Black History Month celebrations in the7stars office.

To round up our Black History Month celebrations, we hosted a customary DJ battle between the heavyweight titans of the mix

The Importance of Black History Month

The commemoration of Black History Month highlighted the need to consistently battle systems of oppression that are centuries-old and built-up discrimination with events that are designed to break them down. We are dedicated to showing our team that these systems do not and should not continue onwards as they have done for centuries, whilst also providing spaces for people to learn and develop themselves in a positive and safe fashion. Finally, it is important to remember that this is not something that we should only confine to one month and put away. Black History Month is every month, as Black History and Black struggle do not end when the month ends.

Our plan is to continue onwards with uplifting our Black colleagues throughout the years, as it is time for change and our actions speak a lot louder than our words.

Lightbox Loves: The Rise of Retail Media

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Despite the many delays to Google’s deprecation of third-party cookies, there is no denying that a cookie-less future is on the horizon. With this shift in the digital marketing sphere, advertisers look to adapt their targeting strategies and adopt new methods for gathering data. This is where retail media networks could become vital to the future advertising landscape.

Retail media is by no means a new proposition. Traditional point-of-sale advertising in physical stores has long played a part in brands’ marketing strategies, from trolley panels to in-store radio to shelf talkers. However, like much of modern advertising, it has been transformed by advances in digital technology, now offering advertisers the ability to reach consumers across a retailer’s online e-commerce property. With Amazon having launched the first online retail media network in 2012, it has since skyrocketed, reaching a reported $31.2 billion in revenue last year. A host of other big retailers have since followed in Amazon’s footsteps: Sainsburys, Tesco, ASDA, Ocado and Boots, with Morrisons and Deliveroo being some of the latest brands to announce the launch of their retail media propositions.

Online retail media, which comes in various forms from search ads to standard display to sponsored products, has benefits for consumers, retailers and advertisers alike. For retailers, it offers a new and (if Amazon’s success is anything to go by) lucrative revenue stream, particularly for supermarket brands, where profit margins tend to be low. For consumers, it can make for an enhanced shopping experience in the form of highly relevant, personalised ads that feel native to the retailer website. And for advertisers, not only does it give access to valuable first-party purchase data making for smarter targeting opportunities, but it enables them to effectively reach consumers at the bottom of the funnel, when conversion is just a few clicks away. It also allows for the direct attribution of sales to advertising spend, which is crucial at a time when marketing budgets and advertising effectiveness are increasingly scrutinised.

According to McKinsey, retail media networks are growing by more than 10% YOY in the UK and this expansion is only expected to continue. So, with the phasing out of third-party cookies, combined with the current UK recession which will likely mean that brands will need to be savvier with their advertising spend, now is certainly the time to test and learn new retail media strategies and ground marketing plans in robust first-party data, to help future-proof and optimise digital advertising spend.

Sources: WARC, The Drum, McKinsey

Lightbox Loves: Humanitarian issues an inseparable part of upcoming Qatar Football World Cup

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Even as football fever begins to set in ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, a large proportion of the public (both at home as well as across the globe) remain uneasy about the alleged human rights abuses & violations that have taken place in the host country in order to get this tournament underway.

Whilst Qatar did somewhat update and modernise it’s labour system back in 2017, Amnesty International research has found that “thousands of workers across all projects are still facing issues such as delayed or unpaid wages, denial of rest days, unsafe working conditions, barriers to changing jobs, and limited access to justice, while the deaths of thousands of workers remain uninvestigated.” This is clearly unacceptable, and given these issues have been ongoing for a number of years, there has been a lot of coverage of these controversies – across well-reputed publications such as The Guardian, The Independent & The Times.

It is clear that all this negative press around the tournament has had an impact of people’s sentiments. A survey conducted in October 2022 by adtech company LoopMe found that only around 30% of UK respondents planned to watch the World Cup. This is a stark comparison to the last men’s European Championship tournament – where more than half of the UK population tuned in to watch the final. Additionally, a UK poll (Amnesty International & YouGov) found almost three-quarters of respondents would support a FIFA remediation programme,  while 70% said they thought the FA should speak out about the human rights issues in Qatar. Especially pertinent for brands & media owners is that sponsors appear to also be affected by these negative connotations, particularly amongst younger age groups. For example, amongst Brits aged between 18-24, over 20% of those surveyed agreed with the statement: “I will avoid any brands who sponsor the World Cup due to the humanitarian issues in Qatar” (TGI).

And these views aren’t just limited to England or the UK; a global survey (Amnesty & YouGov) found that 73% of people “polled across 15 countries support (a) proposal that FIFA use World Cup revenues to compensate workers who suffered in the preparation of the tournament.” A very similar amount (67%) also want their national football governing bodies / associations to publicly address their concern over the humanitarian issues surrounding the tournament.

The key takeaway for brands is that they must remember to be sensitive to the prevailing sentiment surrounding the World Cup, and ensure all communications show some sensitivity to this issue. This is particularly relevant & important to remember given often World Cup-themed campaigns are overwhelmingly positive and often fairly easy to roll out. Furthermore, given the depth of feeling felt by younger audiences (such as Gen Zers) any brands that predominantly target these age groups must be particularly diligent in the near future. It is also vitally important that brands are authentic and show a continuous commitment to upholding these values in the long run.

Sources: Amnesty International, Amnesty International & YouGov, LoopMe, Forbes, TGI