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Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: A fairer value exchange in online advertising?

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Consumers are becoming aware of how valuable their personal data is to advertisers. While many are open to a fair data exchange, this does not mean that they are altogether resistant to sharing their information. However, with around 43% of 18-24-year-olds using adblockers in the UK, it’s clear that brands need to find new ways to improve the online advertising experience to regain this audience’s attention.

Two brands that appear to understand this value exchange are Brave and Pick My Postcode!

Brave is a privacy-centred browser that is looking to transform the relationship between advertisers and consumers. Their adverting platform, Brave Ads, is an opt-in system that is designed to reward consumers for their attention; they claim that ads viewed through their platform have a click-through rate of 14%, compared to the industry average of 2%.

So, how does it work? When a user actives Brave Ads, Brave looks at their browsing history to privately match them to an appropriate advert. Brave then pays the user 70% of their revenue ad share in the form of a Basic Attention Token (BAT). The BAT token is a cryptocurrency that can be exchanged between advertisers, publishers and consumers. Consumers can use the BAT that they’ve earned to anonymously donate to their favourite publishers –YouTube, Twitter, or website content creators.

Pick My Postcode! is another brand that is offering consumers ads in exchange for the chance to win daily cash prizes. They’ve also gone one step further, allowing brands to survey their community for the same tangible rewards. Could these be the alternative experience consumers have been waiting for?

However, there are some questions surrounding their effectiveness. How can these sites be sure that users are actually paying attention to the ads, and not using their platform to just receive rewards? Will this be enough of an economic incentive to encourage more users to the platform?

Regardless of whether you’re impressed by these innovations or not, through rewarding consumers for their attention, respecting their privacy and only showing them relevant adverts, there is the potential to radically improve the relationship between consumers, publishers, and advertisers.

Data as Currency, Foresight Factory, October 2018

Online advertising in the UK, DCMS, January 2019

Brave.com

Brave Browser wants to pay you to view ads but there’s a catch, PC Mag, January 2019

Picture Johan Viirok – Hacking

 

 

Lightbox Loves: Pride & Patriotism

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In today’s culture, patriotism is waning. In particular, young people aged 18-24 are far less likely than their 60+ counterparts to feel very patriotic. In this particularly divided Brexit Britain, there has been much debate on what it means to be British, and according to YouGov data, a fifth of Brits claim that they would be ashamed of their national pride if it were to be aired in public.  So, while British pride is on the decline, how, when and why should brands capitalise on peak moments of nationalism?

The Football World Cup in 2018, and the London Olympics have been the most expressed occasions where Brits feel comfortable expressing their patriotic side, particularly with England’s advance to the quarter finals last year. This past weekend marked England making it to the Rugby World Cup finals, a feat last achieved in 2007 after defeating New Zealand in the semi finals, so hopes were high for England fans.

Many brands advertised around the love of the game, such as Land Rover’s ‘It’s what makes rugby, rugby’ ad, and Guinness’s ‘Liberty Fields’ ad championing Japanese women’s rugby as pioneers. These ads have heroed the game itself, whereas O2, the primary sponsors of the England Rugby team, have consistently framed their advertising around the iconic #WearTheRose campaign, this year encouraging the nation to support the team by ‘being their armour’ and wearing what the CMO of O2 has called “the symbol that represents the very heart of England”.

In an effort to appeal to the masses, it appears as though more brands have placed focus on the sport itself versus the emotions towards the sport and the sense of pride in one’s nation. Studies have found that when consumers have heightened levels of patriotism this positively influences their attitude towards patriotic advertising and towards the brand in question, particularly in the context of international sporting events. And so, sport sponsorships might be a great way of getting mass reach, but they are also a highly effective platform in connecting to consumers over love for their country, particularly for brands where ‘Britishness’ is at their core. With the next Olympics & Paralympics coming up in 2020, how can British brands get involved?

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2015/07/14/decline-british-patriotism

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/patriotism-uk-national-pride-ridicule-abuse-racism-xenophobia-prejudice-a8312786.html

https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/09/18/o2-calls-upon-england-fans-be-its-samurai-armour-ahead-rugby-world-cup

https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-344154942/consumer-patriotism-and-response-to-patriotic-advertising

Lightbox Loves: Black History Month. Silently celebrated?

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In the UK, October marks Black History Month, where we remember and champion Black British excellence and the trials and tribulations that were overcome across the years. Brands and media channels celebrated Black Brits’ contributions through a variety of different initiatives, but are you able to name any of these?

This year we have seen brands go above and beyond when celebrating diversity. From Pride to International Women’s Day, an array of brands not only push out empowering campaigns, but the likes of YouTube and Pret will also go as far as to change the colours of their logo. However, for Black History Month, these types of statements are few and far between and this begs the question of whether this is an untapped space for brands to own.

I am sure we can all think of examples of when brands who have tried to support diversity were met with an uproar across social media channels. Despite this, there are numerous brands whose authenticity has avoided question when making impactful campaigns. Nike are well known for championing equality and this year for Black History Month they did not disappoint. They released a jersey for England’s senior men’s football team which was sported by the likes of Raheem Starling. The jersey was then released for members of the public to purchase online and in stores, alongside a photo exhibition, in Nike Town.

Apple Music and Spotify have also tapped into Black History Month, as both streaming platforms created playlists dedicated to Black musicians. Apple created “superroom” which was dedicated to black British artists across all music genres. Spotify’s ‘Black History is now’, celebrated black kings and queens of the past and those making new waves within the music industry, through a series of playlists. The streaming platform has also created a list of black-owned podcasts with the tagline, “black voices you must hear”.

At a time where consumers are supporting brands who vocalise and celebrate diversity and equality, Black History Month is another great opportunity for brands to show they too champion a diverse workforce and consumer base and celebrate their contributions. With few brands really dominating this space, is there an opportunity to authentically champion black British excellence? We believe so.

 

https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/nike-black-history-month-uk-jersey/

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/brands-agencies-celebrate-black-history-month-2019/1661425

Lightbox Loves: A Reason to Celebrate

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We have become a nation of celebration. As Hallowe’en related paraphernalia appeared across social feeds, TV ads, supermarket shelves and popular culture as early as August, it would appear that Brits (or at least brands) are looking to elongate the festivities as much as possible.

A phenomenon long attributed to the Christmas period, apparently now no holiday is safe. We asked 500 Brits via our Lightbox Pulse platform their thoughts, and 57% said they felt that holidays start too early, and 27% claiming they last too long. On the whole, this sentiment was strongest amongst 35-64s, which perhaps interplays with the likelihood of having bigger families of children and grandchildren to buy for.

This elongation of celebration is a trend which runs hand in hand with the increasing desire to make a fuss of ever more granular life events. 60% of Brits said that we find more reasons to celebrate these days, with only a miserly 19% disagreeing. Women are the most likely be in touch with this – perhaps because they’re often lumbered with (or secretly revel in) the job of buying the accompanying cards, presents and decorations? This is of course why retailers and brands are happy to encourage us to celebrate more. Everything from alcohol to baked goods gets a boost when we party, and comms are given a renewed focus and some new news to push out.

So, what exactly do Brits feel is worth celebrating? We asked our panel, and whilst the usual offenders (engagement parties, christenings and university graduation) all came out strongly, 1 in 10 said a divorce was worthy of a party, and 8% are on board the Gender Reveal bandwagon.

It doesn’t seem like a high proportion, but if you look at the search trends for Gender Reveal parties over the past 5 years you start to get a glimpse of the momentum behind the movement.

Ultimately, a celebration sits in the Cambridge Dictionary as “a special social event, such as a party, when you celebrate something.” Are we losing the notion of ‘special’ when the parties start to dominate our diaries? There are 14.5m posts on Instagram under #celebrate, and a staggering 160m under #party. It would seem you can have a party without a celebration, but you can’t celebrate these days without a party.

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

Talkin’ about a new generation – the7stars Whitepaper

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Download our free whitepaper on the youth in the UK

 

Lightbox Loves: Reuse over Recycle

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Ever since the Blue Planet finale exposed the impact of plastic waste on the oceans, single
use
plastic has been in the spotlight. In May, the government announced that plastic straws, cotton
buds and stirrers will be banned from next April – a move backed by 82% of Brits (YouGov). Such
support has forced mainstream brands to revaluate what changes they can make.

This week, Unilever announced plans to slash the staggering 700,000 tonnes of new plastic used
across their brands globally. Last month, Burger King vowed to stop giving away promotional
plastic toys. Taking a swipe at their giant rival’s Happy Meals, they also agreed to in store
collections of old plastic tat. They plan to melt this into other useful items, such as trays for their
restaurants. In response, McDonalds announced they will let customers choose between fruit and
books and the original toys.

With so much scrutiny given to the lifespan of disposable items, the next logical step is to remove
single use packaging altogether. In the UK we have seen a huge uptake in reusable on the go
coffee cups and water bottles, and we are now seeing this filter into a reuse first shopping
experience too.

Waitrose, for one, has trialled a refillable store concept –“Unpacked”. There are now four
“Unpacked” stores, all with an area dedicated to food refilling stations. Not only do these remove
the need for packaging, they also help reduce food waste, as shoppers can control portion sizes.
Currently, however, the section includes only one brand – detergent brand Ecover – with the rest of
the zone feeling more like a brand-free greengrocer.

Boots’ new flagship store also hosts a refillable station, this time from socially and environmentally
conscious brand the Beauty Kitchen. Rather than opting for pre packaged shampoo, conditioner
and body wash, shoppers can use Beauty Kitchen’s refillable products.

Whilst mass-market companies are waking up to the importance of recyclable packaging, eco
conscious brands are one step ahead, and on a mission to remove the need to recycle altogether.
Other brands may wish to adopt a similar outlook, or otherwise risk being left behind as consumers
become more knowledgeable about the undesirable environmental effect of unsustainable
production.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business 49738889

https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/08/waitrose unpacked is packaging free food budget friendly/

https://beautykitchen.co.uk/blogs/news/beauty kitchen refill station boots covent garden

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

 

Lightbox Loves: The impact of the influencer

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In an age where social media is the most popular commercial media channel for 16-34s, brands are faced with the question of how best to utilise this virtual shop window. Working with content creators themselves and ‘Insta celebs’ seems the obvious solution; however online influencing takes many shapes and sizes and will become even more difficult to navigate as Instagram introduces hidden likes. With the disappearance of familiar visible metrics, there may be an uncertainty over the tangible reach and engagement that individual influencers can offer.

Lia Haberman, formerly VP Audience Development at Livestrong, predicts “this will likely increase the amount of ads as brands look for more exposure and make it difficult for anyone but established influencers to get a foot-hold.” Brands that have worked with Mrs Hinch, the UK’s biggest ‘cleanfluencer’ with over 2.5 million followers, attribute significant results to this macro influencer; Unilever claims that the sales of Cif Stainless Steel have grown by two thirds following Mrs Hinch’s backing.

Some influencers have such large followings that they don’t need to associate themselves with other brands, but instead can sell their own products to a ready-made audience. As a result of the online following she has built, influencer Grace Beverley, has been able to extend her own personal brand out into not one, but two companies (TALA sustainable activewear and B_ND vegan gym equipment).

From seeing these results, it comes as no surprise that consumers are more open to being sold products by their favourite personalities. Our quarterly proprietary tracker, the QT, revealed that 62% of 18-24s prefer product placement over traditional ads, with 24% even enjoying social influencers’ recommendations. Although it seems there is a mediator: authenticity. The absence of which prevents transfer of trust for influencer to brand. Perhaps this is where the micro influencer (someone with a 10k to 100k following) shines – working on partnerships with brands who can benefit from this intimacy that accompanies a loyal following of friends and family. The likes of Glossier have grown their brands in this way.

For influencers, it is important to pick partners with which they genuinely identify, to keep their relationship with followers authentic. For brands, it is a question of which growth strategy is best for them: mass exposure from association with a big name or loyal customers from an influencer with a smaller, yet potentially more engaged, audience.

(1) https://ipa.co.uk/media/7936/touchpoints_facebookreport_2018-digital.pdf

(2) https://later.com/blog/hidden-likes-instagram/

(3) The rise of micro-influencers and why they are important, WARC February 2019

(4) https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/trend-reports/mrs-hinch-how-cleanfluencers-are-transforming-household-/592609.article

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!