Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: The Greatest Show on Earth

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With the Olympics now well under way after a bruising finish to the UEFA Euro 2020 Final, we just can’t seem to get enough sport this summer – or can we? Despite Team GB coming 2nd in the 2016 medal table – above China, Russia and Germany – the7stars’ Lightbox Lowdown found that 2 in 5 people say they are less excited about the Olympics this year compared to the previous games. Preliminary UK viewing figures for the Summer Games have then slumped, with the first two days of BBC coverage down a whopping 68% (BARB).

Nevertheless, there are several positive stories emerging that remind us of the Olympics’ unparalleled ability to bring people together and to boost worldwide interest in sport and morale – of why it is indeed, the greatest show on earth.

One of these of course being the string of gold medals for Team GB, which may yet reignite the nation’s interest in this year’s tournament. Tom Daley’s win (not forgetting diving partner Matty Lee!) is a timely reminder that Britain’s current and future sporting champions and role models are diverse, empathetic, and outspoken. Beamed live to Chinese and Russian audiences (both countries where same-sex marriage is illegal), Daley spoke about his achievement as a gay man, and emboldened young LGBTQ+ people to be proud of who they are – and that they can achieve anything.

There have also been several inspiring brand activations which have championed sentiments that chime closely with Daley’s uplifting message. Channel 4’s “Super. Human” campaign for the Paralympic Games explores the daily trials and tribulations of Paralympians pursuing their dreams of being crowned Paralympic champions – with a focus on the ‘human’ aspect opposed to the ‘super’ aspect. Another is from the Olympic’s very own International Olympic Committee, which released a short film titled “What Agnes Saw”, the story of the oldest-living Olympian Agnes Keleti. Before her eyes we see the world and humanity develop, before closing with an image of the youngest-ever British Olympian, skateboarder Sky Brown, reminding us of the moments of joy, hope and inspiration that occur when the world comes together for the Games.

With the Olympics yet to finish and the Paralympics due to start later this month, brands can still connect with audiences that are looking for joy and togetherness by taking note of the inclusive and empathetic behaviours demonstrated not just by brands, but by our very own champions too.

– Ewan Goode

Sources: BARB, Lightbox Lowdown

Lightbox Loves: The New Football Fans

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Earlier this year we heard from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that ‘young people are no longer interested in football’. From the social media backlash that followed, it became obvious that he couldn’t have been more wrong and incidentally, the European Super League that he was helping to set up disastrously failed. Clearly, there’s an appetite for football among this new generation of fans, but not everyone is hitting the mark on how to talk to them about it.

To understand what excites Gen Z about the sport, we turned to social media (their favourite media channel after all). The England team’s youngest players were the most talked about during the Euro 2020, with 21-year-old Jadon Sancho topping their list. Jack Grealish was also among the most mentioned, with his Tiktok antics at least partially responsible. One Twitter user joked that ‘I’m on jack grealish x chase atlantic tiktok this is the most serotonin I’ve felt in my LIFE’. Interestingly, Harry Kane had the most negative mentions of all the players – perhaps because at the ripe age of 27, he feels less relevant to under-25s.

Unsurprisingly, Gen Z voices were strong among those who defended the England team’s young black players against racist outbursts after the final match. One Twitter user posted: ‘I love Marcus Rashford for everything he has done for this country.’ Gen Z were also keen to defend LGBTQ rights when UEFA prevented the German team from lighting up their stadium in rainbow colours. One young fan Tweeted, ‘Football will always be tied into politics, and I think Munich should do it anyway as a big f*** you to the Hungarian government and UEFA.’

Clearly, engaging Gen Z means tapping into their empathy, and their empathy and interest are even higher when they see their own generation being represented. Nike did particularly well with  their ‘The Land of New Football’ advert, with messages of inclusion, diversity and 23-year-old Marcus Rashford as the campaign star. Irn-Bru also cleverly tapped into Gen Z’s experiences with their Euro advert, which played on the awkwardness of ‘first times’, a feeling that would hit close to home for many. BT’s Euro campaign revolved around combatting online hate, an issue which affects 1 in 3 Gen Zs according to the7stars’ research.

Understanding how to speak to Gen Z will not only ensure that campaign messages land and drive awareness, but also potentially create valuable brand advocates. As we’ve seen from their vocal reactions to issues raised during the Euros, brands who can tap into Gen Z’s empathy will be able to drive them to take real actions.

– the7stars

Sources:, Brandwatch, AtoGenZ.

Lightbox Loves: Dedication to the Beautiful Game

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2021 has seen the long-awaited return of live sport after the cancellation of major tournaments, such as the Olympics and the UEFA Euros, due to the pandemic last year. England football fans celebrated the victory of their biggest match of the tournament so far this week against Germany and with the quarter finals on the horizon capturing the attention of these passionate football fans is going beyond mid game advertising, with multi screening set to reach a peak with the Euros drawing in unprecedented TV, online and social engagement.

In a study carried out by Mediaocean, they showed that 19% of sports fans globally follow the Euros (40% in Europe). Whilst this is 23% lower than the audience share that the Olympics attracts globally, Mediaocean emphasises how it is the importance the level of commitment and passion that is shown by these football lovers in comparison to the Olympics.

For starters, they are 61% more likely to watch sports online everyday than the average sports fan where Olympics watchers are only 21% more likely to do so. The nature and intensity of football also extends to the way that fans interact with the sport. Euros followers are 44% more likely than the average sports fan to follow teams and players on social media and furthermore 54% more likely to the listen to sports radio and podcasts. Again, this considerably higher than that of those who are fans of the Olympics.

With matches taking place across Europe with much reduced crowds, the rise of multiscreen also plays a huge part, with 61% of Euro fans saying that they use social media and browse the internet whilst watching the games, making them 20% more likely than general sports fans to engage with social and online advertising whilst the sport is being played out.

This also highlights the strong community feel that the sport and the tournament generates, especially with fans at home they are turning to digital and social media to enhance their experience of live games, with fans 40% more likely to message people during matches. This is where major social network platforms come into play, with the likes of WhatApp, Facebook, Youtube and new player Tiktok being used as a form of communication and to create a sense of unity, with WhatApp and Facebook Messenger now among the top 5 social platforms for audiences that follow the tournament.

The7stars’ research demonstrates the scale of the social conversation: since the 1st of June, there have been more than 250,000 social mentions of the tournament, discussed by over 110,000 unique authors. Given the ups and downs of the tournament, 1 in 3 posts has a ‘joyful’ sentiment while 1 in 5 is ‘sad’, showing this is a space where brands can tap into consumers’ emotions.

The key takeaway here is that the tournament is and will continue to spread its influence well beyond the allotted time of the matches themselves, offering brands a variety of ways to get involved in the conversation.

– Connie Dillon


Brandwatch social listening data

Lightbox Loves: The One With All the Sitcoms

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On the 27th of May, after years of speculation, the “Friends Reunion” finally aired on Sky. It has been seventeen years since the final episode which saw the coffee-loving friends move out of their New York apartments after ten seasons, 236 episodes, Ross’ three failed marriages and one iconic couch. Recorded in April, the one and three-quarter hour special saw the cast reunited to take a trip down memory lane, revisiting the characters’ old haunts and recreating classic scenes. For one night only, Monica, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Ross were back.

The Reunion, watched by an estimated 29% of U.S. streaming households on the first day, demonstrates how enduringly popular the show is: HBO reportedly paid $425 million for the sitcom in 2019 and it is regularly voted one of the most loved of all time.

It’s a stalwart of popular culture. To mark the show’s 25th anniversary in 2019, Lego launched a 1,079-piece collectible set including pieces to build a miniature Central Perk, Ralph Lauren advertised a Rachel Green-inspired collection and US furniture company Pottery Barn recreated the infamous apothecary table. Experiential installations were constructed across the globe; Primark, for example, installed its own Central Perk in Manchester. Even Google demonstrated its enthusiasm with Friends-related Search results throwing up interactive graphics (a search for Ross, for instance, caused all the results to “pivot”!).

“Friends” is not alone in inspiring such terrific levels of nostalgia. The return of “Gavin and Stacey” in 2019 for a Christmas Day special was watched by 11.6 million people, becoming the biggest festive ratings success in over a decade. Meanwhile, it was announced in April that popular comedy “How I Met Your Mother”, which ran from 2005 until 2014, is getting a reboot. This nostalgia seems to have reached its zenith during Lockdown: “The Office US”, for instance, was Netflix’s most streamed series last year.

In 2019, the7stars’ Nostalgia Report found that most Brits (90%) spend at least some time thinking fondly about the way things used to be, with the 90s, the decade “Friends” was first broadcasted, thought of most warmly. Brands who ride the wave of this nostalgia reap the rewards. Foxy Bingo, for example, was the only gaming brand to see year-on-year improvements to consideration, up 19% (May20), when it sponsored “Friends” on Channel 5.

The recent audience figures suggest that fondness for the past has only increased over the pandemic with viewers seeking comfort in re-runs of sitcoms. Brands can harness this nostalgia by aligning with well-loved comedy shows that offer consumers a shortcut to something familiar and fun amidst such uncertainty. Despite Courtney Cox crying “it’s not like we will do a reunion in another fifteen years,” only time will tell how durable our love for the sitcom will be.

– Emily Blatchford


Lightbox Loves: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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In 1943, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced his theory of The Hierarchy of Needs, a theory that is still relevant to understanding human behaviour today. In this theory, he shows that humans have different levels of needs that motivate them throughout life. Tapping into these different need states can help brands meet the right consumers with the right message at the right time.

In its most simplistic version, Maslow’s Hierarchy splits into five levels, each one needing to be met before a person can go on to meet the next. Level one is based on our physiology – the need for food, water, sleep and warmth. Level two is the need for safety, which includes shelter, financial and job security, and health. Next, psychological needs are introduced. The third level includes belongingness and love needs, such as creating social connections with friends, family and romantic partners. The next level up outlines esteem needs: the need to feel important, respected, purposeful or accomplished. The final level of human needs is for self-fulfillment. This includes any creative activities and, unlike with other levels, the motivation to meet this need only ever increases, even once this level is achieved.

Brands can effectively reach their audiences by feeding into multiple consumer need states. For example, Lidl’s price comparison campaigns tap into both the basic physiological need for food and the need for security of finance by demonstrating lower prices than competitors. On the other end of the hierarchy, Tesco’s “Food Love Stories” campaign focuses on the importance of food shared with others, tapping into level three and our need for social connections with friends and family. Understanding where a brand or product sits within these levels of needs can help to frame benefits for the chosen target audience.

the7stars’ Joydex tool can help to identify when a consumer might be most receptive to messaging around a particular need state. Using IPA TouchPoints data, the Joydex maps emotions over the course of a week, helping to pinpoint times of day when consumers are most happy, stressed, relaxed or feeling a whole range of other emotions. When a consumer is feeling stressed, messaging around basic comforts and securities might be more relevant, whereas in moments of happiness they may be more open to messaging around esteem or self-fulfillment needs. Paying attention to the context and mindset in which marketing messages reach consumers will ensure that they cut through the noise in a cluttered media landscape and land in a way that resonates with individuals.

– Katie Gebbie



Lightbox Loves: The Video Revolution

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Time spent in lockdown has rapidly increased consumers’ need to be entertained; last February, the7stars’ quarterly consumer tracking report showed that nearly half of Brits increased their consumption of video streaming services since going into lockdown the previous November. The shift to more time spent in on-demand streaming platforms has sparked major developments in in-app video usage.

In 2021, TikTok took the number one spot in being the first app that 13-19-year-olds open, with the primary reason being to “find entertaining content” (YPulse, 2021). This emphasis on watching video content differs greatly from previous years, where Facebook ranked the highest amongst these age groups for keeping in touch with friends and family.

Besides growing in importance to users, video platforms are also retaining their users for longer throughout the day. A recent study revealed that total viewing in 2019 averaged 84 minutes. It is estimated that this figure has since seen a 19% increase with the average person now predicted to spend 100 minutes every day watching online videos this year.

Platforms, as well as behaviours, are evolving. Since the fast growth of TikTok and short-form video, both Snapchat and Instagram have entered long-form video territory by testing ads in Spotlight and Reels​. Even Netflix has borrowed the TikTok format by trialling their ‘fast laughs’ product​ in a bid to give their users more ‘on-the-go’ content as short as 15 seconds.

As video continues to grow, it’s crucial to stay on top of the latest trends in order to create the best strategies for your brand. Video’s popularity also goes hand-in-hand with users’ expectation for brands to engage with them through this format, as studies show that 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support (Hubsport, 2018). Brands who stay on top of the latest trends and formats will therefore reap the rewards.

– Emilie Flanders


The QT, the7stars proprietary consumer tracking study​, February 2021

Video marketing statistics to know for 2020 | Smart Insights

How Video Consumption is Changing in 2021 [New Research] (

The First Social Platforms Gen Z & Millennials Open When They’re Bored – YPulse

Online video viewing to reach 100 minutes a day in 2021 – Zenith (

Lightbox Loves: Staying Close to Home

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Last week the UK government announced which destinations would be on the ‘green list’ of countries we can visit from Monday 17th May. For those hoping for a long overdue holiday abroad, the list may have been underwhelming. Twelve countries made the cut, with Portugal, Australia and Iceland perhaps the most appealing inclusions. 

Shortly after, YouGov found that just 5% of Brits have booked a holiday abroad this year. This is dwarfed by the 20% who have already booked a holiday within the UK for 2021. While it’s still early days, and there’s hope that more countries will be added to the ‘green list’ in the coming months, this is not yet the overseas holiday boom which some may have hoped for. In fact, online travel agent On The Beach has stopped selling all overseas holidays until September, even to ‘green list’ countries. 

So, even though over 35 million of us have now received a coronavirus vaccine, why are we still so hesitant to go abroad? According to YouGov, it’s not a changed travel experience which is the biggest issue (38%). Rather, almost half claim that the financial costs of having to do COVID-19 tests is a barrier for them going abroad. Similarly, 44% claim it’s the financial cost of travel. This ties in with the7stars’ recent thought leadership piece, The Experience Economy Rebound, which considered the paradox between our openness to experience holidays again and the financial difficulties the pandemic has brought. 

Although this may seem all negative, there’s some conclusions to be drawn. Firstly, it’s evident that the UK tourism industry is again likely to benefit at the expense of overseas holiday destinations. After a boom in the second half of 2020, we can expect to see staycations remain the go-to holiday option for most Brits. Whether the Lake District, Cornwall or Brighton, businesses in popular tourist spots can expect to see heavy footfall in the coming months. 

In addition, it’s clear that many Brits are still feeling the financial squeeze of the pandemic. Although images of busy shops and pubs have become commonplace over the last month, financial insecurity still lingers for many. For brands hoping to reach consumers as they embrace the new frontiers of freedom, it’s worth bearing in mind that many may not yet feel ready to indulge. 

the7stars, ‘The Experience Economy Rebound’ 

Lightbox Loves: A League of Their Own

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Just as the Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League announce their four-day boycott of social media from the end of April, we have seen a demonstration of how powerfully social media influences the modern game. Over the past week, coverage of the European Super League, and its demise at the behest of outraged fans, dominated the news.  The role of social media was crucial in this, providing fans with a platform that amplified their voices to clubs, officials, politicians and even non-footballing audiences to gain support for their cause. Ultimately their outcry led to the demise of the ESL in a matter of days. How did social media help fans take down the league? And what can brands learn from this?

The explosion of discussion on Twitter after the Sunday night announcement of the league was immense and immediate. There were 1m mentions of the Super League in the seven days from its announcement, peaking last Wednesday when a third of mentions occurred in response to the English teams announcing their withdrawals from the league. Perhaps surprisingly, sadness rather than anger was the most common emotion among tweets, with 37% of posts expressing this feeling and showing the sense of hurt and betrayal that fans felt. The cry-laughing and rolling-on-the-floor laughing emojis were the most used emojis across the seven-day fall-out from the announcement (tweeted 16,309 and 7,171 times respectively), as fans criticised and made light of obvious flaws in the ESL’s plans. Their humour helped to embarrass the ESL organisers and bring the issue to a wider audience, especially as memes proliferated across social platforms. Despite the entertainment factor involved, there were also serious conversations occurring about the nature of professional football today. Among the most used words in tweets were “community” (10,350), “listening” (5,624) and “greed” (6,881) as fans felt that the ESL undermined the fundamental values of sportsmanship and the traditions of grassroots football.

The ESL failed for a number of reasons, but the lesson for brands from this episode is that brands must understand culture and where they fit within it. It’s hardly surprising that the ESL jarred fans, given the long-standing traditions of the game but also due to more recent cultural shifts that we have seen higher importance on community values across society. Heineken’s reactive ad got this right, combining the right tone of voice and a meme-like sense of humour. Culture is something that brands need to continually consider as part of their communications, especially as it develops so rapidly in the digital world.


Sources: BrandWatch data.

Lightbox Loves: Miss You Already?

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After more than a year of social and travel restrictions, economic uncertainty, and business closures, today is a day worth celebrating. For the first time this year, we can get our hair cut, shop to our hearts’ content and enjoy a well-deserved pint in our favourite local. With two thirds of Brits agreeing that the past year has been worse than a typical year, you’d think we’d be welcoming our new found freedoms with open arms, and never looking back…

To some extent, this is already proving to be true – even with freezing temperatures this morning, the re-opening of the high street was greeted with queues of Brits ready to experience a dose of normality. However, despite there being a huge appetite to enjoy many of life’s pleasures once more, over half of Brits (54%) claim that they are going to miss some elements of lockdown.

So much so, 1 in 5 of us admit that lockdown was better than expected, with this number doubling among 16 to 35 year olds. For 20% of Brits, personal finances have improved as a result of the pandemic, 1 in 3 now feel closer to their immediate families and 1 in 5 feel a stronger sense of community, claiming that they now have a better relationship with their neighbours.

It seems that we might already be starting to look back at the first lockdown with rose tinted glasses. A viral TikTok video which romanticises some of the cultural highlights of the March 2020 lockdown – such as Tiger King, #clapforcarers, DIY hair cut disasters and baking banana bread, describes last year as the ‘good ol’ days’ and ‘#bettertimes’, which has generated over 1 million likes and 35k comments – many of which positively reminisce about when lockdown was novel, recalling the period as ‘fun’ and ‘a vibe.’

As humans, we are very good at looking back with a glass half full attitude, focussing on the fond memories gained during lockdown, whilst allowing the more traumatic recollections to fade away.

Whilst it’s still too early to tell whether some of the fondness held towards lockdown will become part of culture, or if it will be all-forgotten as ‘normality’ resumes, brands who can help us navigate ourselves out of lockdown, by showing empathy towards our experiences over the past year, and continue to focus on some of the positives gained during this time are likely to engage consumers in both the short and long term.