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Lightbox Loves: Black History Month

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Black History Month is a time to champion African and Caribbean culture in the UK. Year on year, we see a wealth of events hosted across the nation, aimed to educate and highlight, not only the difficulties that black people have and still face in society today, but to display how vibrant and rich their culture is.

With the beginning of the year starting off with the Windrush scandal, people came together to commemorate the Windrush generation, by holding events focusing on their contributions. However, not all efforts were met with open arms. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted that “It is more important now than ever that we learn and understand… the role…of the British Empire, colonisation and slavery”(1). His comments were met with anger, with one Tweeter stating black people shouldn’t be chained to their past and we should focus more on a brighter future.

On top of this, 2018 saw Wandsworth council and some schools changing Black History Month to “Diversity Month” who have been accused of diluting the event in orders to serve the “all lives matter” protest (2)

As always, there was still much to celebrate with this year focussing more on women’s  contributions to society, seeing many black women sharing their success. Across social media hashtags such as #blackgirlmagic and #blackherstory were used over 1,000 times (3). Black girl fest also took over Timeout magazine last week. The event, which sold out in 5 days, this year focused on growth and gave people the opportunity to learn new skills with a variety of workshops, as well as having a range of speakers, from women in the queer community, to business owners.

2018 has felt like a year of uncertainty for the black community, but in a time where the likes of Big Shaq, Stormzy, Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya are making such big waves worldwide, we cannot help but continue to celebrate their achievements and focus on a more inclusive future. Bring on Black History Month 2019!





(3) Crimson Hexagon:  #blackgirlfest OR #blackgirlmagic OR #Blackgirlpower OR #blackgirlslay

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Lightbox Loves: The People’s Vote

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With a massive 300 thousand tweets this weekend and an incredible 1.1% of the UK population marching on Parliament, the biggest protest since the ‘Stop War’ march in 2003, it’s clear that the claims of ‘Brexit Boredom’ are overstated.

That said, some of the big hitters remain silent on the subject of Brexit generally, and on the march specifically. Neither Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May graced twitter with their opinions, leaving Sadiq Khan and Nigel Farage to take centre stage, with the latter stating “We’ve already had the “People’s Vote” – it was in 2016 and Brexit won”.

Slacktivism, a.k.a every-day-activism, is a growing trend in the UK. It’s the idea of protesting via the internet, petition signing, calling out politicians and business, and ‘voting with your wallet’. Research from the Foresight Factory shows that physical attendance at protests and rallies is down 5% year on year, this is closer to 10% amongst 16-24s.

However, the weekend’s events and the claims made by the slacktivism trend seem to be incongruent. How can people be protesting in a more casual manner, yet still have record turnout to a march on parliament?

There are two possible answers to this. The first is that people fall into two camps, one that’s engaged irregularly but intensely, and another that is engaged regularly but lightly. The first camp being the protestors, the second being the slacktivists.

There’s also a second answer which feels more likely; that with an increase in consumer power, availability of data, and the wild-fire spread of public opinion, the population is both a slacktivist and a protestor. With everybody exercising some form of ‘boycott’ online, and some adding to this with their physical representation at protests.

As the HuffPost says “We no longer live in a world where tweeting a hashtag in solidarity is enough. It should’ve never been enough in the first place. Vote. March. Donate. Volunteer. Organize” And this might betray a leftist-media-bubble view, but it looks like people are doing exactly that if it’s a topic they care enough about. People are still keen for a good old protest.

Crimson Hexagon “PeoplesVote” OR “PeoplesMarch” OR “PeoplesVoteMarch”



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Lightbox Loves: Don’t Get Your Statistics In A Twist…

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       There is more money going into schools than ever before, £43.5 billion by 20201

       60% of the time, it works every time2

       Ali Dia was as good as Steven Gerrard3

These stats come from various sources; government, film, the article’s author, but they all share one thing in common. None of them are really true. And, herein lies the problem when dealing with statistics, the line between truth and fallacy is often blurred. The first statement has been inflated by the Department of Education by including university students paying their tuition fees1. The second, is statistically impossible. And, the last statement compares one footballer who played less than an hour with one who played for years, winning several trophies. But if this stat is based on Premier League titles, neither won one, so this statement is arguably true.

Once the domain of research teams, an increasing number of people are dealing with statistics on a daily basis. This is great, people have access to more information than ever before, allowing for more informed decision making. There is a down side however; the need for speed, lack of budget for bespoke research, little training, and authors’ agendas often mean the statistics presented don’t always mean what we’re led to believe.

So how do you avoid falling foul of misleading statistics? Firstly, there are industry groups designed to support us; the UK Statistics Authority, the Market Research Society, the ASA even. Closer to home, ask your research team. We’re increasingly asked to sense-check research from outside the agency. There are also a number of things you can do. Here’s a checklist and examples to help you identify how genuine a given statistic is:

        Who’s been asked? When gauging the public’s opinion about a new car, should we be asking cyclists, or would a group of people with valid UK driving licenses be more relevant?

        Have enough people been asked? You often see in adverts that 86% of 83 people agreed with X. Is this enough to be trusted? Probably not.

        Is the sample representative? If 1,000 people have been asked about alcohol consumption, do they match the wider drinking population in terms of age, gender, region, etc?

        What’s included in the definition of the stat’s subject? The Department of Education statistic above is a great example of how including or excluding elements can distort the figures.

        What’s the context? When looking at campaign effectiveness, knowing awareness was 82% after the campaign sounds brilliant. But what was it before? Without this piece of info, the 82% is near meaningless. Awareness could have been 90% prior to the campaign!

        Who wrote the statistic? The ease with which stats can be shaped facilitates author bias, as seen with my Steven Gerrard example.

It’s important to approach all statistics with a suspicious but open-mind. Not all statistics are disingenuous and your gut-feel isn’t always correct. Asking these simple questions of all the statistics you come across is a quick and easy way to ensuring you can trust the numbers!

1. BBC School funding ‘exaggerated’ by ministers, says watchdog (8th October 2018)
2. Anchorman (2004)
3. Me!



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Lightbox Loves: Battle of the Dancing Queens

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Theresa May vs Cher: Battle of the Dancing Queens

Dancing Queens

On September 28th Cher released an album of back to back ABBA classics. On Wednesday 3rd Oct Theresa May opened her party conference speech in Birmingham, dancing onto the stage to ABBA classic Dancing Queen. But which Dancing Queen did the nation prefer?

We’re currently in a time when Brits feel least confident in the Government (-55%) and political parties (-64%) than ever. In Birmingham this lack of confidence in Government is even higher at -65%. [1] During a time of clear political tension are the Prime Minister’s dance steps a move to make herself more personable, or a much-misguided joke with worse timing than her very own dance steps?

Looking at Twitter sentiment it would seem the joke didn’t quite land. Net sentiment for Theresa May and dancing on the 3rd was -10%, with 8% of tweets expressing disgust and 7% anger. Net sentiment for Theresa May on the day was even lower at -32%.[2] Not quite the strong and stable image the PM was perhaps hoping for.As the week continued, sentiment across Twitter fell for Theresa May with emotions of Sadness (36%), Disgust (24%) and Anger (7%) all expressed in the Twittersphere. Compared with just 20% of tweets that expressed Joy, it would seem that Mrs May has missed the mark.[3]

In a time when tensions are high in UK politics, and the country with no clear guide on Brexit the Prime Ministers choice of entrance feels off key. In light of Brexit, the choice of ABBA in particular is misguided, with ABBA’s very own Bjorn Ulvaeus stating that ABBA is “such a European idea”. [4]

Meanwhile, on Sept 28th Cher’s album landed with a resounding yes please – emotion on twitter on the day for Cher and ABBA was 80% Joy, with a net sentiment of 39%. [5] The contrast in sentiment between the two comes down to authenticity. While Theresa May is a politician and has no place in the realm of camp humour, Cher is a music icon who could easily take on the world of ABBA and add something to it for fans.

Brands should heed the lesson it they want to avoid negative sentiment on social media. Know your brand, tone and style and avoid following hype for the sake of hype. Or risk the backlash of the keyboard warriors.

1 QT AUG 2018
2 CRIMSON HEXAGON | Oct 1st – Oct 5th “Theresa May” and “dancing”
3 CRIMSON HEXAGON | Oct 1st – Oct 5th “Theresa May”
5 CRIMSON HEXAGON | Sept 28th “Cher” and “ABBA”

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Lightbox Loves: You Are The Media You Eat

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The amount of time we’re spending with media is growing. With phones smarter, quicker and more embedded into our lives, we’re now spending 24 hours a week online… checking our phone every 12 minutes (1). But it’s not just new channels that eat up more of our day. Including SVOD services – such as Netflix – the amount of time we’re spending watching TV is now the highest it’s ever been (2). New tech developments only take up more of our time: the introduction of smart speakers, for example, leads to higher radio listening for 71% of users, as it becomes easier to do so (4).

It often feels like media is consuming us, rather than vice versa. So it’s not surprising that over a half of us want a break from the most distracting of all: the phone (3). This month, The Royal Public Health Society urged us to have a “scroll free” September, as research continues to uncover a negative relationship between amount of time online and our (mental) health.

But, we’re the ones consuming all this media – we choose to watch TV, listen to the radio or scroll through the gram. So why do we choose to do what’s apparently bad for us? And is it all bad for us?

Faris Yakob, author of Paid Attention, claims that much like a well-balanced nutritional diet, we should strive for a well-balanced media diet (5). However, just as we are tempted by candy and chocolates over fruit and vegetables, we’re easily distracted by more meaningless but “snackable content”, away from media we want to consume: the podcasts we love, the films we can’t wait to see or the journalism we admire. Brands should remember that in these contexts where audiences consume media they value, these audiences are made more valuable in turn.

And for us, while our time in media is growing, not all of it grows us – so put down that phone, and pick up that book.

1. Ofcom: Communications Market Report 2018
2. ThinkBox: Magic of TV 2018
3. the7stars: The QT: August 2018
4. RadioCentre: Getting Vocal

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Lightbox Loves: Bringing in the Dough with GBBO

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From binned baked Alaskas to stolen custard and questionable snail sculptures, appearing on Bakeoff can be whisk-y business. However, building an association with the beloved British institution can bring sweet rewards for brands.

C4 bought the rights to the show for £75m in a controversial move announced in 2016. After struggling to sell their original £8m sponsorship proposal (including a second series), C4 brokered a joint deal with two baking brands for an estimated £4m in total. According to The QT – the7stars’s proprietary tracker, 7 in 10 Brits had no opinion on the fact that there were two separate sponsors of the show 1. According to the same research, 40% of us didn’t understand why the move was controversial, whilst 13% actually preferred the new line up1.

Dr Oetker and Lyle’s golden syrup were both obvious foodie fits and taking the brave step to sponsor the show in its first year on a commercial channel paid off. According to The Drum, early results were strong for both brands: Lyle’s saw WoW sales growth versus the same period the previous year, along with twice as much traffic to their website as viewers sought recipe inspiration2. Dr Oetker also benefitted, enjoying a sales increase against a fall of 3.8% in the baking ingredients market in the year to the end of March 2017 2. More importantly for the long term, brand health metrics also rose as they saw a 40% increase in spontaneous brand awareness and a 23% increase in signups to ‘We Bake’ – the brand’s social network for bakers 2.

With these success stories combined with a final attracting 11m 3 viewers, it’s no wonder that retail goliath Amazon snapped up a full sponsorship for a reported £5m. Their choice of product, however, did come as a surprise as they promoted their Echo Smart Speaker instead of the new Amazon Pantry proposition with grocery partner Morrisons. Whilst Amazon Pantry initially seems a closer fit, the opportunity to consolidate the Echo’s position as brand leader and normalise shopping by voice is an easy win for Amazon.

GBBO’s C4 debut was the most popular programme in its slot amongst 16 – 34s 4 who are a key growth audience for the Smart Speaker industry – only 10% of Smart Speaker owners are 18 – 24 5. The Echo’s true value lies its ability to make Amazon the most convenient venue for all shopping as consumers bypass brand loyalty for the convenience of ordering by voice. Currently, only 9% of smart speaker owners use the device to order products online, according to a study by YouGov.5 In order to unlock the value of voice search (and grow Amazon Pantry) the business must normalise this behaviour, changing habits ingrained over a lifetime. By partnering with a beloved TV show, with a strong reach from an elusive young audience, Amazon should hope to see shifts in attitudes towards voice search and shopping amongst millennials.

Whilst a £75m investment in a new show was a bold move, C4 has been able to maintain viewing figures and a strong sponsorship offering to brands. By allowing two brands to test the proposition, and prove shifts in sales and brand metrics, they have been able to create a tasty proposition for Amazon.

1 The QT – November 2017 Wave, the7stars

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Lightbox Loves: Fashion Comes to London

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The time is upon us again: where the lights start flashing and all the cool kids come to show and strut. Don’t know what I’m going on about? That is probably because you have no sense of style. On Friday 14th September, London Fashion Week (LFW) begins again and for the second time this year, on its 35 year long run we will be well informed about what’s hot this season.

In the past decade the fashion industry has become a great success story. Over this period, the sector has grown at 5.5% (according to the Mckinsey Global Fashion Index) and is worth an estimated, colossal $2.4 trillion. In data collected by Fashion United; the luxury goods market is worth $339.4bn globally, but the industry most prized possession is the womenswear sector which brings in $621bn , followed by menswear ($402bn). Whilst in the UK, the fashion industry contributes an estimated £32.3bn and employs 890,000 people which has grown by 1.8% since 2016. The UK luxury fashion market attracts people from all walk of life, most of all the Chinese which are the biggest spenders in the market – fashion is a universal language.

Now that you have seen the importance of fashion; lets talk LFW and what to expect. One of the most anticipated occasion is the big Burberry debut for Riccardo Tisci after taking over from Christopher Bailey as artistic director in March. Also, Nicholas Kirkwood is gearing up to return to London. He revealed in an interview with Business of Fashion: “I felt that it was time to do something in London. It’s where my design studio is, where I live and what I’m exposed to for my inspirations, so it makes sense.” This week event brings an alumni list including JW Anderson, Simone Rocha and Roksanda Ilinicic, Fashion East is a must watch. This year Yuhan Wang joins existing recipients of the fund, Asai and Charlotte Knowles, who are returning for another year. Elsewhere, Clio Peppiatt known for their whimsical illustrated pieces plus British-Indian designer Supriya Lele host their first solo presentations.

If you are still thinking what is the point of LFW? The Guardian described the biannual event as a “big ol’ trade fair” designed for the insiders in the industry as well as the ‘die-hard fans.’ In a nutshell, for all fashion enthusiasts this is like the Royal Rumble (of the WWE) or more precisely the GBBO for all bakers and food watchers. Events for industry elites like this showcase the cutting edge of their categories, brands here are the brands trailblazing new ground; attitudes that trickle down to the everyday consumer through brand ambassadors and influencers.

Always remember style over comfort and never, ever be a fashion victim.

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Lightbox Loves: The Nike ‘Storm?’

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It’s safe to say that Nike has had its fair share of controversies over the years. However, it was last week when the sportswear brand arguably fell into its most divisive campaign to date. Nike chose Colin Kaepernick to be the face of their latest campaign, a famous American football player, and also civil rights activist. At a glance, the partnership doesn’t come as a surprise. Nike has always prided itself on encouraging diverse ways of thinking in their advertising, but did they take it a step too far this time?

Kaepernick has been a polarising character ever since he first refused to stand for the national anthem before a match in 2016, instead sitting down and then later sinking to his knees. He has consistently adopted this token of protest ever since, using his presence in sport to draw attention to social injustice in both his actions and his words. The following year, no football club offered him a contract.

This year, Nike decided to make the most of his story by placing it at the heart of their latest campaign. ‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything’ was captioned over a close up image of the sportsman’s face – arguably a perfect fit with Nike’s mindset of ‘just do it.’ However, Kaepernick’s supposed disrespect towards America prompted backlash on social media and beyond- even Trump got in on the action. Consequently, there were calls to pull the ad, with #BoycottNike generating over 1.4 billion impressions on Twitter. (Crimson Hexagon, 2018) It wasn’t just a social media storm – customers threatened to burn their Nike shoes, and more importantly, their share prices dropped by 3%. (CNBC, 2018)

However, Nike stuck to what they truly believed in and didn’t give into backlash, still affirming that the Kaepernick is “one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation,” Gino Fisanotti, vice-president of brand. Their loyalty and consistency towards their brand and the sportsman paid off. Over the same period of uproar, Nike’s online sales increased by 31%- almost doubling that of this time last year, refuting any previous conspiracy that the campaign would negatively affect sales. (Edison Trends, 2018) Whilst still early days, it will be interesting to see how Nike moves forward. Will they build on the Kaepernick strategy, or will they choose a safer figure in future advertising?

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Lightbox Loves: Back To School

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It’s that time of year again – after a long glorious summer, schools will be opening their doors to students all around the country for the start of the new school year. This time often raises a mixture of ‘back to school’ emotions with some feeling excited while others slightly anxious, driven by the anticipation of new classes, homework and being back in a routine after nearly six weeks of fun, relaxation and freedom.

However, these emotions are not only felt by students. September can also evoke nostalgic back to school feelings in adults, even after being out of the education system for some time. An article in The Guardian(1) suggests that after all those years of having term times and set holidays during our education, for many of us, the cycle has been so ingrained within our psyche that it’s hard to break the association of September with start of a new school year.

This has shown to lead many to view September as an opportunity for something new or a fresh start. Pinterest’s recently released their Back to Life report, which found people often think of this particular time of the year as a chance to address and make changes in their lives, from reorganising their wardrobes, improving fitness or focusing on health and wellbeing(2). An example of this already in action is; 320,000 Brits are planning to take part in the Royal Society for Public Health’s ‘Scroll Free September’ campaign in a bid to improve wellbeing(3).

This time of year is also found to be used as an opportunity to explore bigger decisions, such as a new career or job, or maybe just simply updating a resume. For example; Google Trends data from 2017 shows a marked increase in the search term ‘CV’ from the end of August onwards after a steady decline over the summer months(4).

An example of brands already utilising this September feeling as an opportunity, include online florist Bloom & Wild, who are using the back to school vibe to encourage subscribers to get organised for the ‘term’ ahead by ordering flowers for any upcoming occasions(5). Also, whether you’re a student or not, clothing brand Superdry has used this moment to release a ‘back to school’ themed range, inspired by the 80’s New-York Hip Hop scene and positioned as a wardrobe refresh for the colder months ahead(6).

5. Bloom & Wild, The September Issue,

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The summer of ’18

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This summer has seen a Royal Wedding, England reach the semi-final of the World Cup, around 1m people take part in Pride in London, and an unprecedented heatwave. We wondered if this turn of events had encouraged Brits to change their behaviours at all, compared with summer 2017.
In August’s QT, we asked 1000 adults what they had done more, as much or less of, and the results were intriguing.

Londoners are making hay while the sun shines
Those in the capital have used the good weather, good vibes and longer days to socialise, with 1 in 4 saying they have done this more than last summer. Much of this has been an increase in day trips, with 29% of Londoners taking more than this time last year, versus a mere 19% of non-Londoners.
One downfall for brands is in their reduced shopping habits, with 1 in 4 saying they’ve been hitting the high street less this summer – all the more reason for retailers to work harder to entice them into new experiences, pop-ups and workshops.

The millennial mantra: Give me more!
18-34s have been particularly active in the summer of 2018, with 1 in 3 claiming that they’re planning more things in advance, but 1 in 4 also claiming to be doing more spontaneously versus last year. Regardless, they’re spending more time outside, with over half saying they’ve been embracing the great outdoors more than in the comparably cold summer last year. With good weather comes beer gardens, and 1 in 4 claim to be drinking more alcohol. Aperol Spritz anyone?

Families spending quality time together
The final takeout from our research was that families were spending even more time together this year, with 2 in 5 claiming to do so, this rises to 1 in 2 of those with children under 5 years old. It’s not just a family affair, parents of younger children have also been spending more time with friends, with 1 in 3 claiming to do so, versus the national average of 1 in 5.

For brands, the summer may feel like it’s coming to a close, but there are still fun, tactical opportunities to play for. With the August bank holiday looming, what can we do to bring a glorious end to what has been a fantastic summer all round?