Category

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: Meme Culture

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. With the increasing omnipotence of the internet, we now live in a world where visual communication is taking on increasing importance.

The August wave of The QT found that half of 18-24s feel that using memes can be more effective than words alone, and 32% of 18-34s also agree that memes are an important way of sharing culture. While the majority reserve this to a more comic sphere, as 2020 has gotten underway, we’ve seen memes impact the way we are consuming news online.

The first few days of the new decade saw Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani, killed in an air strike ordered by US President Donald Trump. Iran’s supreme leader promised “harsh vengeance” almost immediately, followed swiftly by threats of potential US retribution. Conversation online turned to talk of World War 3 being imminent if both countries followed through with their escalating threats.

However, despite over 44k posts being written on Twitter about WW3 since the 6th January, surprisingly 31% of posts had positive sentiment. This increased over the month to peak on 11th January, three days after Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at US forces in Iraq in its first military retaliation since the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.

This thread of positive reactions was driven by the posting and sharing of memes referencing WW3. The most popular posts feature political figures including Greta Thunberg and Tony Blair. Whilst the Memes provide a light-heartedness to the conversation, a lot of the captions on the pictures cite them as “a coping mechanism” and a way of “hiding from the fear”, with fear also detected as a dominant emotion in posts.

This reaction online was similar on 8th January when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they would be stepping down as senior royals, with many people taking the news as an opportunity to mock the royals through memes.

29% of 18-24s agree that brands who use memes get their attention. Therefore as visual language begins to become the dominant means through which we view and engage with the world, it should be considered a vital part of advertisers communications strategies.

However, a potential pitfall for brands to watch out for among meme culture is illustrated by the misfortune suffered by Weight Watchers. The campaign on social media was timed to align with the “new year, new me” mentality however, in an unprecedented coincidence, their #thisismyWW campaign appeared around trending and unfortunately alliterative hashtags such as #WW111 and #WorldWarThree.

 

Humans Process Visual Data Better

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-51018120

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/weight-watchers-social-media-campaign-unfortunately-timed/1669849

Nostalgia: Is It What It Used To Be? – the7stars and YouGov Whitepaper

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Download our free whitepaper on the nostalgia and the power of reminiscence marketing.

 

Lightbox Loves: Rethinking growing up (and growing old!)

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Advertisers need to align with interests rather than age, or indeed any other demographic. Greater age representation is increasingly demanded of brands and commercially, it seems to make sense; those 55+ hold more than a third of Britain’s wealth. So how can the advertising industry become more representative in its advertising?

Most importantly, we need to be careful of the assumptions we are making of this audience. Often those over 50 are pictured within the home, yet the number of those 65+ in employment has doubled from 5.5% in 1992 to 10.2% in 2018. Furthermore, less than 5% of images of older generations show them handling technology, despite 69% of those 55-74 owning a smartphone. It seems as though our perception is different from the realities facing the Baby Boomer audience.

By more openly targeting a broader audience, brands should not be afraid of tackling traditionally taboo topics. Holland and Barratt’s Me.No.Pause. campaign from last year is a great example of a brand bring the taboo subject of menopause out into the open to appeal and build loyalty amongst an older target. As a result, it won £500,000 worth of free advertising on TfL – however brands need to engage with this dialogue without the incentive of free advertising. Pablo, Holland and Barrett’s creative agency, sums this up nicely: “We hope this campaign will spark and inspire a more open conversation about this important subject.“

Ultimately, a cross-generational approach to audiences – driven by interests – has the ability to provide a brand with a wider customer base and more opportunities in the long term. In the ‘Truth about Age’, McCann has summed ageing up as a “… journey of limitless opportunities and personal growth” and this is a great way for many brands to challenge what they know about those 55+.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/23/business/ageism-advertising-aarp.htm

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/one-in-five-pensioners-is-a-millionaire-as-young-miss-out-ts53qvjztl

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44042133

http://mccann.co.za/assets/files/documents/Truth-About-Age1.pdf

Lightbox Loves: Veganuary

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Veganism is set for an even bigger boom this month with a record number of 300,000 people already signed up to Veganuary – an 18% increase from last year.

Whether part of a “New Year, New Me” resolution or for health, ethical or environmental reasons, Veganuary began in 2014 and has significantly grown year on year, with more and more people abstaining from animal products and instead opting for a plant-based diet. For some, this carries on beyond January; 62% of Veganuary participants in 2018 intended to remain vegan

To accompany this surge in signups, there has been a string of vegan product launches by high street favourites and major supermarkets to make the journey and vegan choices readily available.

To name just a few; McDonalds has launched its first ever vegan meal called Veggie Dippers, which accompanied with their vegan friendly fries now allows customers to order a fully vegan meal. Meanwhile, Co-op has also launched what they have described as; “the largest ever product rollout of own-brand vegan products by a supermarket.” Their new vegan food range is called Gro and features 35 meat free products, including pizza, nachos and curry based options. Other supermarkets are also expanding their vegan ranges this January including Iceland, Marks and Spencer’s and Waitrose.

Veganuary – and this trend influencing eating habits throughout the year – is opening up new opportunities for more brands to invest in a prolonged approach to providing better meat free alternatives for this growing market. Brands are offering a greater range of vegan products that are no longer limited to one month each year.

The rise in signups and brand involvement is undoubtedly a reflection of the changing face of veganism in society. It will be interesting to see how much this year on year trend continues to grow and whether an even wider audience and demographic will not only start but stick with this major change of lifestyle.

Sources:

Foresight Factory, Veganuary: What we learned from social media conversations on Veganuary 2019

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/veganuary-vegan-vegetarian-red-meat-eater-data-a9267116.html

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jan/31/veganuary-record-high-participants-plant-based

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/mcdonalds-vegan-happy-meal-veggie-dippers-vegetarian-a9240351.html

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/dec/22/vegan-boom-veganuary-retailers-on-trend

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/co-op-vegan-food-meat-free-plant-based-gro-january-veganuary-a9267231.html

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas: Findings from the winter wave of The QT

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas: Findings from the winter wave of The QT

13 may be unlucky for some, but here at the7stars we’re thrilled to have launched our thirteenth wave of our proprietary consumer tracking study: The QT. This wave we’ve asked our usual core topics of consumer confidence, happiness, spending intentions and of course opinions on Brexit, but we’ve also branched out into holidays, climate change and eating out. All in a day’s work…

We’re less happy than we were in August

It may be no surprise, but happiness versus both last year, and August 2019, has seen a decline of 6%pts. Only 30% of Brits are happier, with the majority feeling no different. The trend in this measure is inextricably linked with comfort on disposable income, which is at the lowest it has been since tracking began.

Get ready for… an anti-climax.

In August 2019, 30% of Brits felt their biggest emotion towards Brexit was worry. This has eroded ever so slightly in the aftermath of the missed 31st October deadline, but it still remains our primary emotion, with 27% of Brits feeling worried. This is closely followed by the 25% who are simply bored of the whole debacle.

Are we, as a nation, eating our feelings?

This time round, we wanted to ask the nation their feelings towards eating out. Almost 3 in 4 (73%) said that they felt eating out should be a special occasion, not an everyday thing. This is perhaps linked to the sociable nature of a trip to a restaurant, with 64% agreeing that its more sociable than simply ordering a takeaway. Only 22% said they are dining out more than in the past, and this was most pronounced amongst 18-24s, for whom the figure rose to 42%. For this group however, there is stiff competition from the takeaway and delivery sector, as 61% agreed that takeaway food is getting better quality.

The importance of streaming earnest.

With November representing the much-heralded launch of Britbox, and Disney + also making a splash, we wanted to ask Brits their real priorities when it comes to choosing streaming services. Number one on their list? A good film selection of course! 22% of Brits cited this as the most important factor, with exclusive celebrities/actors only important for 1%.

We’ve got that festive feeling…but are we alone?

It wouldn’t be a November wave of The QT without some questions about Christmas! 1 in 3 Brits claim that Christmas doesn’t start until December, which is a significant increase versus the last time we asked in 2017. However, the likes of John Lewis and Coca-Cola needn’t fear, festive advertising still marks the start of the season for 17% of Brits.

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: Sitting on the fence is a fool’s game

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Like it or not, political commentators feel that the country wants to move on from Brexit. Last week, the Conservatives won their largest electoral majority since Thatcher’s victory in 1987, and with the Labour Party achieving their worst result since 1935, the significance of a clear campaign message is something that brands and advertisers could learn from, regardless of their political standpoint.

For many voters, Brexit was the most salient and pressing issue in this election. The Conservatives had a concise, and consistent slogan from the beginning: Get Brexit Done. The Labour Party’s position, however, was ambiguous. Indeed, Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to adopt a neutral stance in a second Brexit referendum left many voters feeling confused. According to a YouGov poll, 65% of Britons were unclear about Labour’s Brexit position, however, only 27% were unclear about the Conservatives’ stance on Brexit.

The Tories’ clarity on Brexit is also said to have led to dramatic results in Labour’s heartlands. While it was once unimaginable to think that former mining regions like Blyth Valley and Sedgefield in the North East would abandon the Labour Party in favour of the Conservatives, but now, Labour’s ‘red wall’ has fallen.

It can be argued that a similar phenomenon could be seen in the 2016 U.S Presidential election. More specifically, Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ message was powerful because it evoked loss aversion. In simple terms, it’s the idea that people find it more painful to make a loss than to make an equivalent gain. In contrast, Clinton’s campaign, had several messages: ‘Stronger Together’, ‘I’m With Her’, ‘Love Trumps Hate’, which failed to make the same effect, perhaps because these slogans lacked consistency and seemed more a like a reaction to Trump, rather than being standpoints in their own right.

However, having a clear campaign message is not enough on its own. The Liberal Democrats were adamant that they were going to cancel Brexit by revoking article 50, hoping that it would entice Remainers to vote for them. While they managed to increase their vote share by 4.2% since 2017, they still experienced the second-worst election result since in their modern history.

If this election can teach us one thing, it is that audiences will not buy into a brand if they do not understand what the purpose of it is. So, don’t sit on the fence — that’s a fool’s game.

You Gov

The Guardian

Talkin’ about a new generation – the7stars Whitepaper

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Download our free whitepaper on the youth in the UK

 

Lightbox Loves: Looking Back to the Future

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

We are a nation of nostalgists. At least, this was our hypothesis when earlier this year we partnered with YouGov to conduct a piece of research into why the UK is so keen to spend our time looking back to the past, instead of ahead to the future. More importantly, we wanted to understand the specific cues, cultural symbols and behaviours which most represent our favourite decades, and get to grips with how advertisers could use these to their advantage. We recently launched the results of this study with lively and discussion filled panel events in Manchester and London.

Our latest whitepaper, ‘Nostalgia – is it what is used to be?’, has unearthed that 55% of Brits would rather go back to the past than travel ahead to the future, with a mere 28% desiring a quick fast forward. 9 in 10 Brits reminisce, and there is a cohort of misty eyed millennials who are almost always looking back fondly. This isn’t, however, always a past they were part of.

One of our most interesting findings was around the sheer scale of Fauxstalgia – where we dream and pine after a period within which we didn’t even live. For example, 58% of those who were positive about the 1950s weren’t even born then, and as such were perhaps more shielded from the social and political realities of living during that decade.

The 1990s was unanimously our favourite decade. Recent enough to be of relevance to many, but not associated with the global economic crisis that marred the noughties, it is most closely associated with Friends being on TV, and the advances in technology such as mobile phones and the internet. Standout mentions, however, for the Spice Girls and the battle of Britpop.

This desire to escape the present is unlikely to be short-lived. Dr Kate Stone once remarked “the future will look more like the past than the present” so perhaps we should be dusting off those record players, vintage fashions and bringing brand heritage to the fore.

Lightbox Loves: The Ambitionless Youth

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

With the release of Foresight Factory’s report on the tribes of 2019, we have two new groups to examine. Tribe One, ‘The Hyper Quantifiers’, are commonly addressed by brands across sectors from tech to entertainment and indeed by any product that can help measure aspects of life. In an age of optimisation, they are the perfect subject for companies to cheer and engage as they strive to go better, faster, and more efficiently. They have become the go-to group for youth marketing. In the UK, however, the 16-34 market has a similar sized tribe (about 1 in 5); the self-described Ambitionless Youth.

This tribe consists of the 20% of under 35s who admit to lacking ambition. They might sound disengaged, negative or even nihilistic but this group is not lazy. The percentage desiring a shorter working week, and more leisure time is within 1% of with their more ambitious peers. In truth, they aren’t closed off to new experiences; with 84% feeling the need to learn more – just like their ambitious peers. Instead the phenomenon is, perhaps, a result of lesser faith in the link between work, satisfaction, and professional achievement. Ambitionless Youth are more prevalent in slowing or contracting economies, notably Japan and Brazil, with 47% and 35% of their youth ‘ambitionless’ respectively. In these states of macro-economic decline, the perceived link between unbridled hard work and professional achievement is further eroded.

To talk to this engaged but unambitious audience, brands need to understand the differentiation between ambition and passion. While the ambitious, as Deloitte’s John Hagel has observed, typically follow linear goals, with extrinsic motivations (money, status etc); the passionate will follow more diffuse goals, often at the expense of linear professional progression. While Hagel sees the passionate as useful for an organisation for the innovative thinking of which they are capable; for brands they represent an audience who are willing to invest time and emotional energy in products without needing to justify this with extrinsic reward. While Ambitionless Youth remain the minority, this 20% will find goal orientation alienating. This offers an open space for brands discussing a more immediate value exchange, or indeed more intrinsic and lateral goals.

Sources

https://www.foresightfactory.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Tribespotting.pdf

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/topics/employee-engagement/employee-passion-ambition.html

Lightbox Loves: Christmas Adverts

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

There are several clear themes coming out of the Christmas campaigns this year. Some have focussed on their brands’ own cultural heritage, whilst others connect with popular cultural from the year. Brands that have focussed on their product offering tend to showcase the breadth of their range, whereas others choose instead to entertain with their own Christmas stories. However, are these campaigns as big a marker of the Christmas festivities as they use to be, or has their heyday been and gone?

Leading the way on the focus into cultural heritage is Dogs Trust, which in an emotional advert reminds the viewer that “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas,” a phrase the charity coined itself back in 1978. Sainsbury’s takes the viewer back 150 years in its Christmas story, which builds on activity across the year celebrating its 150 anniversary. Playing on a more recent cultural heritage, Argos celebrates their “Book of Dreams”, drawing on the nostalgia of circling your ideal gift in their catalogue and dreaming about what it would be like to get it.

Iceland’s partnership with Disney’s Frozen 2 anticipates what is likely to be the most popular film over the festive season, with an ad that sees Olaf experiencing a traditional British Christmas. Aldi have also chosen to reference popular culture in their ad this year, with a scene reminiscent of Peaky Blinders and The Greatest Showman, whilst Ikea chose to use Grime music to tell their Christmas message.

John Lewis have once again created an advert around an original Christmas story. This time we meet Edgar an excitable dragon who keeps accidentally breathing fire and melting or burning all the enjoyable parts of the festive season. Asda have also created a unique story about a girl spreading Christmas magic around her home town. These adverts, although not directly linked to the brands offering, provide entertainment in themselves.

Many of these brands are utilising products to keep the association with their Christmas adverts alive at the point of sale. John Lewis has a range of Excitable Edgar products and Iceland have Frozen 2 themed products in-store, which as well as a food range, includes a life size Olaf toy and the charades game which is played in the advert. More than ever, Christmas is allowing brands to step outside of the box with their creative and tell a different message to the rest of the year.

However, public interest in the Christmas ad race does appear to be in decline; Google searches for Christmas ads peaked in 2016 and social sharing is down year on year. The #BusterTheBoxer John Lewis campaign had a net sentiment score of 33%, vs 22% for #ExcitableEdgar. the7stars QT report also noted a decline in those saying that notable Christmas ads defined the start of the season for them.

This could be why more brands, such as Boots, Debenhams and TK Maxx are going purely product focused this year, emphasising the breadth of their range and the ability to be a one-stop-shop for presents. M&S have taken this product centricity one step further by only showcasing a single product: Christmas jumpers, with 50 different ones from their range featured in the advert.

Although Christmas is still a time to for brands to get creative, this may not be translating into as much social chatter as in previous years.

 

Sources:

Brandwatch, November 2019