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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: 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: The Power Of The Pod

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Everyone is listening to podcasts. Well, not quite everyone, but the latest RAJAR data revealed that 12% of UK adults listen to a podcast weekly. While this figure may not initially appear particularly high, when contextualised it reveals there has been a dramatic growth in podcast popularity. This 12% represents approximately 6.5 million adults, a twofold increase on the 3.2 million who were listening back in 2013.

This boom has been recognised by the podcast producers, too, with Spotify recently announcing that it would be investing up to $500m in the production of their top podcasts. These figures suggest that the upwards trend in podcast popularity is set to continue, therefore opening up an exciting new avenue for advertisers to reach their audiences.

One of the most important reasons as to why podcasts can become a vital media for advertisers is the age demographic most connected with podcasts. The growth of podcasts appears to have been driven by young listeners, with 16% of 15-24 year-olds and 21% of 25-34 year-olds saying they are weekly podcast listeners. Considering how challenging it can be to engage with a younger audience, this represents one medium through which 16-34 year-olds can be consistently reached.

Further, the nature of podcast listening means the listener is fully immersed in the content they are listening to. Whether it’s when travelling, relaxing or exercising, 90% of listeners said they listen to podcasts on their own, with two-thirds of respondents saying they always listen to the entirety of the episode. This sense of immersion in the podcast experience can be seen as similar to being in a cinema, and again allows advertisers to reach an audience in an environment where they are unlikely to skip forward through the podcast.

So, as Monday 30th September is International Podcast Day, it’s time to find a good podcast and start thinking about how their inclusion in media plans can really help advertisers engage their target audiences through an increasingly popular media.

 

RAJAR MIDAS Audio Survey (Winter 2018) https://www.rajar.co.uk/docs/news/MIDAS_Winter_2018.pdf?utm_source=podnews.net&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=podnews.net:2019-01-21

OFCOM: Podcast Listening Boom in the UK (2018) https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2018/uk-podcast-listening-booms

The Guardian: “Podcasting’s Netflix moment: the global battle for domination” https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/mar/30/podcastings-netflix-moment-the-global-battle-for-domination

Lightbox Loves: How Fitness Apps Hooked Us

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Many of us will be familiar with the satisfaction of watching the daily step count rack up on our smartphones and smart devices. Our obsession with tracking fitness data has grown in the past few years, with over a third of British adults now interested in using fitness tracking apps (and two thirds of Millennials).1 What’s with the sudden surge in interest?

Several factors are driving the popularity of fitness tracking apps – they are cheaper than a gym, they help hold us accountable to goals we’ve set and quantify our progress. However the key appears to lie in the social aspect of these apps. A 2017 study found that receiving social feedback encourages users to increase their interaction on a platform.2 Strava is a prime example of how this is driving people to fitness apps; people are eight times more likely to receive feedback (in the form of ‘kudos’) on their Strava activities than they are on Twitter, keeping them coming back for more.

Strava’s CEO, James Quarles, (a former employee of Instagram and Facebook) has recognised the importance of social interactions in driving new users to the app and has been harnessing this since he joined in 2017. He re-oriented the app around its social feed with a new feature called ‘Athletes Posts’, allowing people to share photos, stories, race reports or questions. This encourages people to check their feed for friends’ updates multiple times a day, similar to how they would with Instagram. The strategy appears to be working for Strava, now with 46 million global users and another million joining every month.3

It’s not just runners and cyclists who are migrating their hobbies from real-world to digital communities. Enter Wattpad, dubbed the ‘Instagram for writers’. The social writing platform allows amateur authors to create, share and like original stories, reading lists and personal profiles with other writers.

Will the growth of these and other niche social networks ever be enough to rival the likes of Facebook or Instagram? Perhaps not, but brands should take note of the changing way that consumers are engaging with their passion points; getting involved in an interest group is not just about joining a few others in a closed-doors discussion, but about partaking in performative and competitive global networks.

1 ‘Prediction: who will use gamified exercise apps by 2025?’, Foresight Factory, July 2019 [Available at https://ffonline.foresightfactory.co/content/prediction-who-will-use-gamified-exercise-apps-by-2025?search=372158]

2 Lindsey, Joe, ‘Why Strava Is Getting More Social Than Ever’, Outside Online, June 2019 [Available at https://www.outsideonline.com/2395489/strava-james-quarles].

3 ‘The Why Factor’, BBC, January 2019 [Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3cswrl5]

 

 

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.

Lightbox Loves: Is originality dead?

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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

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‘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/