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

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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

State of the Nation: The latest findings from The QT

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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

 

Suzuki, Take That and ITV

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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: the saviour of the high street?

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Pop-up shops are having a moment. From M&S’s September menswear outlet “Mike and Tom”, to Banksy’s permanently closed ‘Gross Domestic Product’ store, these shops have quite literally popped up all over the UK this summer, and they show no sign of disappearing as we approach the gifting season. Could short-term stores be the long-term saviour of the high street?

PwC reported that an average of sixteen high street stores closed a day at the start of the year as people shop online more. However, these temporary shops have become a fixture of the evolving retail ecosystem. Both offline and online brands are utilising them to provide engaging ways of shopping that they wouldn’t be able to offer otherwise. As a result, the pop-up industry in the UK is now worth over £2.3bn.

Whilst online provides convenience, these brick and mortar stores offer something more: an experience. Compared with traditional stores, the temporary nature of the ‘pop-up’ approach means there’s no room for a ‘slow-burn’ in this space – brands have a limited time frame within which to attract and convert consumers. Additionally, pop-ups not only allow brands to test out products and gather insights on their consumers, but they offer quirky interactive spaces in which businesses can generate organic social media buzz.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, it is frequently online brands moving offline; both Facebook and Amazon have set up pop-ups, proving the value of a physical store. This summer, fashion retailer Zalando also opened a virtual pop-up store in Madrid, which featured no actual clothes but allowed customers to try on outfits using projection technology, whilst marketplace app Depop launched a physical space in London’s Selfridges. Pop-up shop partnerships can clearly be used to drive a younger audience through the doors of more established stores.

Now that summer is over, Christmas is just around the corner! With festive markets a kind of forerunner to the phenomenon, pop-ups during this period are nothing new. However as the high street competes with online competitors for consumers’ business, pop-up shops offer the perfect way for retailers to think creatively. John Lewis for instance have recently opened a number of in-shop pop-ups with a gifting focus, including a KitKat Chocolatory and Quality Street Pick ‘n Mix bar.

We can expect to see many more pop-ups spring up over the next few months, as retailers endeavour to appeal to consumers searching for exclusive personalised gifts. Beyond revenue, when done right, these shops create social value in the form of online engagement as consumers seek to gain a ‘grammable experience!

 

https://ee.co.uk/content/dam/everything-everywhere/documents/Pop-Up%20Economy%202015.pdf[https://www.pwc.co.uk/press-room/press-releases/store-closures-hit-record-levels.html

http://elitebusinessmagazine.co.uk/sales-marketing/item/what-s-the-sudden-obsession-with-pop-up-stores-and-can-they-save-the-high-street

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregpetro/2019/08/02/clicks-to-bricks-experiences-and-pop-ups-transforming-doomed-shopping-centers-into-high-traffic-hubs/#350d4f9019e2

Lightbox Loves: September: is it a new year, or just new me?

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It’s safe to say that Brits have had an eventful Summer. July saw the hottest temperature on record, a controversial new Prime Minister entered number 10 and it was also an exciting season for sports fans. As the autumn quickly approaches, we partnered with our friends at mobile research panel OnePulse to ask Brits how they feel now they’re faced with the reality of colder weather and shorter days.

What is clear is that how you frame the question is crucial to the response. Brits are sadder about the end of the summer than the idea of autumn coming. It’s the finality of the season change, rather than the season itself with which they’ve taken their umbrage.

One group for whom autumn couldn’t come quick enough is parents. A quarter of parents with primary school age children feel exhausted after the summer, and its particularly mums feeling the brunt. The same proportion treat September as the start of a new year, and see it as an opportunity to get some much-needed life admin done.

They’re not alone in this. The 16-24 group are the cohort most likely to make big life choices in September, with 29% saying they do so, and 23% saying actively treat it like a new year. With the ‘back to school’ mentality still fresh in their minds, it’s no surprise. But what are Brits trying to achieve?

Finance is Brits’ number one priority for September, with 47% of those asked saying they are looking to save some money this month. This is followed by weight loss ambitions, and giving their home a (counterintuitive) spring clean, at 35% each.

For older Brits, perhaps enjoying the kids or grandkids finally being out of the house, it’s a welcome opportunity to flex their DIY muscles, and 39% of this group are taking September as their opportunity to improve their home.

For parents, it could be about motivating them to do what they’ve been putting off as exhaustion fades, like spring cleaning or DIY. For those without children, it could be about starting the new year as they mean to go on; reinventing their careers or simply having more date nights.

Parent or not, it is clear that September is about getting back to reality and the desire to get some ‘me-time’ back shouldn’t be ignored.

There’s so much more to the autumn than ‘Back to School,’ and it’s clear that Brits have a new energy about them, ready to re-set for the coming season. Brands should see this as an opportunity to celebrate self-indulgence, and encourage us to celebrate ourselves!

Lightbox Loves: Should brands still care about mascots?

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Some brand mascots have been around for well over 100 years, although a few may have had a facelift. They’re a great way of bringing brands to life and making advertising more memorable. With that being said, there has been a steady decrease in brands using mascots – are brands missing a trick here?

Mascots are generally used as a way for people to differentiate and recognise not only brands, but also groups or organisations. It is also a great way to humanise a brand and allow big corporate brands to drive awareness. Studies have shown that having a brand mascot doesn’t just boost recognition, but also boosts market share by 37%.

Brand mascots that are most distinctive are proven to be most effective. Gio Compario, the Go Compare opera singer, has been encouraging us to compare insurance deals to save our money for a staggering 10 years now. However, a mascot this prominent doesn’t come without its critics, and Go Compare’s Gio was labelled the most annoying man on British TV, as well as being the most complained about ad in 2012. In spite of this, Gio creates cut through in a crowded market; Go Compare has been crowned most recognised insurance brand, proving even more effective than the 2 furry little mascots for Compare the Market.

Newer brands are also adopting mascots as a way to break into the market. One brand who has taken theirs to the next level is Hinge. They’ve used a mascot to not only increase brand recognition, but also to drive their message forward in a unique and unexpected way. Their cuddly character, Hingie, who usually acts as a fly on the wall during dates, eventually gets killed off in their ad campaigns once the couple have deleted the app. This drives a powerful message that Hinge isn’t meant to stay with you forever if you’ve successfully found love, which is what their app is set out to do.

In a world where it is becoming even harder for brands to connect with their audience, creating a brand mascot is a great way for consumers to remember and relate to brands. In addition, brands should not fear the unknown when making a brand mascot; if Gio Compario still sings on, then there is hope for all.

 

Source:

https://www.sekerenews.com/research-says-brand-mascots-boost-market-share/

https://crestline.com/c/brand-mascots-and-logo-designs-that-work

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/infographic-how-brand-mascot-recognition-has-changed-over-time/

https://www.marketingdive.com/news/hinge-kills-new-mascot-in-push-for-users-to-find-love-and-delete-its-app/560693/

The Seven Trends 2019: #6 New Interfaces

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New interfaces.

 

Our interaction with different interfaces as a means of experiencing the world is changing.

 

According to Ray Kurzweil, change – social change, cultural change, technological change, all kinds of change – and the rate at which it happens can only do one thing. Get faster and faster and faster.

 

We seem to have hit ‘peak social’, evidenced by the shift to chat-based messaging such as WhatsApp and community-orientated platforms such as Twitch, and away from news feeds and posting.

Meanwhile, voice continues to grow – smart speaker penetration has doubled in the past year. Tech brands continue to launch new hardware, competing for the highest share of our homes, and our wallets. The likes of Alexa are moving into integrated appliances, cars and our devices, as well as screens. Combining voice with screens (and other interfaces) drives greater uptake of services, especially shopping, as users can see what they’re buying.

The Crest Chompers skill for Alexa turns a chore into a something kids look forward to.

Contrary to expectations, Amazon don’t plan on selling the ‘top voice spot’ akin to paid search. Instead an algorithm driven by price, usage and reviews will select the top three choices and give them out in a random order. It is important that brands start testing and adapting to the algorithm so they can get onto the Choices shortlist and feature in the most frictionless way possible.

When it comes to taking photographs on your phone, after selfies and other people, ‘reminders snaps’ of things you need to remember are next. A billion photos a day are utility pictures. This is why ‘visual search’ is poised to take off in 2019. Google will finally make their Augmented Reality lens available, turning the smartphone camera into a device that can ‘read’ objects, text and the world around us.

Use cases for AR include as a ‘realworld browser’ (think browsing the menu of a restaurant by pointing your phone at it) and identifying similar products at the best possible price (recognising the clothes worn by a celebrity in a magazine and helping you ‘get the look’). Mercedes used AR to scan their dashboard, acting as a pocket manual, inspired by the insight that 70% of features in a new car go unused.

The Mercedes AR app scans dashboard to act as a pocket manual.

Any clear picture or text can trigger content anchored to visual search, from brand advertising to products, and data (such as the individual user journey, demographics and location) can be used to serve relevant messages. Expect to see websites anchored in the real world, such as products unlocked by smartphone camera.

So, while change is afoot, really we are seeing new interfaces fit into long established human needs of communication, sociality and expression.