Unlocking Advertising Potential in Six Nations 2024

By | Featured, News

As part of their £460 million deal in 2022, in the UK, the broadcasting rights for the Six Nations 2024 are being shared between the BBC and ITV, whereby as part of the deal, BBC would televise home matches for Wales and Scotland while ITV would broadcast home matches for England, Ireland, France, and Italy. Additionally, ITV would act as the host broadcaster for England’s home games at Twickenham Stadium.

The Rugby World Cup, like all major sporting tournaments that air across the UK, represents an established and reliable home for advertisers to get their brand message in front of millions. So far, 3.1 million individuals on average have tuned into each game of the Six Nations. Viewership is comprised of a diverse range of key demographics including young adults, sports fans, and affluent audiences alike.

This year’s edition averaged 3.4 million concurrent viewers for each game, with England vs. Ireland peaking at 4.5 million individual impacts. Brands aligning themselves with the tournament not only gain access to the millions of eyeballs tuning in but also benefit from the brand rub that is synonymous with appearances around “premium content” live events. Advertisers can target specific viewers and even become sponsors (like Guinness) for deeper product integration with the event. The massive viewership translates to high brand awareness and potentially increased short-term sales.

However, this comes at a steep price. Competition is fierce for ad space, requiring a strategic and calculated campaign approach. Additionally, the traditional TV audience, especially younger demographics, is steadily shrinking but the opportunity presented in the Rugby World Cup opens up an avenue for brands to still explore this market. While measuring the direct impact of TV ads on sales can also be difficult and the benefits might not be immediate, the uplift in brand awareness is priceless.

In conclusion, buying linear TV airtime during the Six Nations offers high visibility with an engaged and varied audience. However, the high cost, fierce competition, and declining viewership necessitate careful consideration before committing.

A group of four people happily huddled around a laptop as they collaborate together.

Unlocking Potential: the7stars’ partnership with Future Frontiers

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Over January and February, 15 volunteers from the7stars participated as coaches in a programme with Future Frontiers. Future Frontiers is a charity that provides disadvantaged young people with the guidance, networks, and opportunities they need to realise their potential at school and achieve post-16 qualifications that build towards secure and fulfilling employment.

This was the7stars’ fifth year working with Future Frontiers. To date, we have supported over 70 students to plan for their next steps. During this year’s programme, we supported 15 young people for 6 hours of coaching each (amounting to 77 hours in total across all students). During this period, coaches provided young people with an invaluable space to explore their interests, discover inspiring careers, and plan for their next steps. Throughout the course, we helped students explore industries and careers that matched their interests and even set them up on calls with industry professionals within their chosen careers.

This year, we partnered with Greatfields School, a mixed-secondary school in Dagenham. The programme was a huge success, and the students gave us great feedback. Future Frontiers provided us with an impact report which provides results of pupil surveys, validated by the Student Career Readiness Index, that demonstrate the progress pupils have made throughout the programme in their career knowledge, skills, and self-belief.

Some highlights from the report are included below: ​​

Future Frontiers' impact report that demonstrates the progress pupils have made throughout the programme.

Source: Future Frontiers, 2024


At the7stars, we are passionate about moving the dial on social mobility and fostering an environment where someone’s social background doesn’t impact their opportunities or their ability to succeed. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Future Frontiers in the future and helping young people unlock their full potential.

Google DV360 team

the7stars Achieves Google Display & Video 360 Certification

By | Featured, News

Following on from our PPC team successfully obtaining Search Ads 360 certification earlier this year, our in-house Programmatic team has also become certified across Display & Video 360!

This certification bolsters the7stars’ commitment to using the Google Marketing Platform to push clients’ media spend further and to use the platform in new innovative ways. The partnership means we can now tap into bespoke Google resources for Display and Video 360, such as platform alphas/betas, product roadmap updates, and unique training sessions with DV360 specialists for new tools and features.

Each member of the team has undergone individual training and certification for utilising the platform and has used this knowledge to deliver forward-thinking campaigns for our clients.

For this certification, the team submitted two different case studies where advanced implementation methods were applied.

Our first case study focused on supercharging Gousto’s YouTube acquisition activity with first-party data. The team utilised the client’s customer data in Bridge, our first-party data clean room solution, and matched these users with Experian data to enrich the client’s audience. By utilising a test and control methodology, we were able to measure the effect of the seed audience and optimisations made. The campaign was successful, and we were able to drive more sign-ups for the client and lower the CPA, outperforming the CPA targets set, and proving the value of enriched first-party data for programmatic buying.

Our second case study focused on Sustainable Performance and leading Froneri into a greener future of media buying. To measure and reduce the carbon emissions of the campaign, we partnered with Greenbids to use their custom bidding algorithm to optimise performance and reduce emissions, activating activity across more sustainable suppliers and devices without detracting from media performance. We used the same testing methodology to measure delivery and completion rates across the test and control segments in addition to a brand lift study. Through this campaign, we were able to drive a stronger VTR and lower carbon emissions by 40% compared to running without the custom bidding algorithm in place.

The programmatic team will continue to deploy advanced campaign implementations for our clients, making use of the new partnership benefits, materials, and beta offerings provided by Google. We can customise measurement and optimisation for our clients according to business goals, using bespoke data-driven attribution models, automated bidding strategies, and custom metrics. We will continue to grow the team to bolster our services offering and keep on top of the ever-changing trends in the programmatic landscape, taking into consideration sustainability and privacy as key areas of focus.

Becoming certified for Display & Video 360 alongside our existing Search Ads 360 certification means that our partnership with Google grows much stronger as we push forward with gaining certification across the rest of the Google Marketing Platform product stack. We aim to achieve more certifications and elevate our partnership level even further later this year.

Illustration showing people using search engines, reflecting the7stars becoming Google Marketing Platform partners.

the7stars Becomes a Google Marketing Platform Certified Partner

By | Featured, News

We are excited to announce that the7stars has been named a Google Marketing Platform Certified Partner for Search Ads 360 in the United Kingdom. This certified status adds to our existing and long-standing Google Premier Partner status across Google Ads and validates our expertise within the Google Marketing Platform ecosystem.

Increasing complexity needs skilled teams to meet new challenges

For some time now, we have utilised the Google Marketing Platform to deliver campaigns across an array of digital channels for our clients. As client challenges have grown more complex, the team has adapted to these challenges by utilising more features within these platforms and using incrementality testing to identify which features work best. We then tailor the platform setups to the unique needs of each of our clients.

This is a major recognition for the7stars’ Activation Team, who have undergone specialised platform training and certification to become experts at utilising the full capabilities of Google’s solutions.

Obtaining this certified status was not without its challenges! Google extensively assesses our team’s skills and dedication to delivering advanced campaigns for our clients. The standards for passing these criteria are high, but the team has done a tremendous job of meeting and exceeding them to deliver truly exceptional work.

Enabling better collaboration and service

This partnership enables us to provide sophisticated service levels and proprietary products to our clients. Our clients will benefit not only from the hands-on expertise our team can offer, but the partnership will also give us access to more updates and partner-exclusive solutions before they become available to the wider community. It will enable us to engage more directly with Google Marketing Platform experts via exclusive interactive training sessions and partner events, where we can stay up to date with the latest product launches, bringing these to clients as soon as they become available.

Driving innovation through tailored solutions

By fully realising the capabilities of the Google Marketing Platform and combining it with Google Cloud Platform, brands will have the ability to level up their digital marketing maturity. the7stars will be able to scale these solutions for our clients at speed, delivering highly optimised paid media campaigns. In combination with our 13Minutes team, we will be able to build clients’ proprietary tools that can augment Google Marketing Platform’s functionality, providing clients with custom solutions tailored to their business.

Achieving Certified Partner status for Search Ads 360 is just the beginning for us. We will continue to work on certification across the rest of the Google Marketing Platform tools to showcase our ability to use Google solutions effectively and increase our clients’ digital marketing maturity.

For clients looking for help with their marketing challenges, the7stars is on hand to fully utilise the Google Marketing Platform and deliver solutions for clients’ business objectives.

Twitter X

Elon Musk Unveils Twitter’s New Identity, X

By | Featured, News, What's Hot

In a late-night tweeting session on Twitter, Elon Musk, the visionary entrepreneur, and CEO, revealed the much-anticipated rebrand of the platform to its new identity, X.

Musk, known for using single-letter names in company and product titles, made the announcement through a series of tweets, signalling a pivotal moment for the social media giant. Alongside his Twitter thread, Musk reportedly sent an internal email to Twitter employees, informing them of the rebrand and mentioning that this would be the last time he would email from a Twitter address.

The reception to the rebrand has been a mixed bag. While many of Musk’s followers applauded the change, long-time Twitter users seemed less enthused. Even Marques Brownlee, a prominent user who joined the platform back in 2009, jokingly tweeted (or should we say ‘Xed’) that he would continue calling it Twitter, to which Musk cryptically responded, “Not for long.” Some have even gone as far as to say that the rebrand was a high-risk move, considering the current competitive outlook for Twitter with advertisers withholding spend and the emergence of Threads as a potential “Twitter killer”.

The change of brand name to ‘X’ embodies Twitter’s bold vision for the future of social media, promising innovation, and interactivity. The company intends to transform its user experience, placing a strong emphasis on enhancing privacy and control over user data. While specific details remain undisclosed, Musk has hinted at incorporating blockchain technology, aiming to make ‘X’ the ultimate “Swiss army knife of mobile apps.”

Linda Yaccarino, Twitter’s CEO, sees X as an opportunity to “transform the global town square,” aligning with the company’s grand vision for the future of social media. The platform envisions a limitless interactive space, encompassing audio, video, messaging, payments/banking, and becoming a global marketplace for ideas—all driven by AI.

The transition to ‘X’ has been a carefully orchestrated process, evident in the platform’s recent developments. Long-form publishing has elevated the quality and depth of content, benefiting writers and users alike. The video offering has become more immersive, embracing vertical video and long-form content. ‘X’ has become a promising space for creators to thrive and monetize their content. Additionally, ‘X’ boasts improved brand adjacency protections for advertisers, ensuring a more controlled and brand-safe environment.


Elon Musk’s audacious rebranding of Twitter to ‘X’ marks a shift in the social media landscape, signalling both challenges and opportunities for advertisers. As ‘X’ shapes the future of social media, marketing teams will need to adapt their strategies to this new, transformative platform.


Introducing ‘Prospero’: Our New Transparent Programmatic Trading Solution

By | Featured, In The Press, News

At the7stars, we are thrilled to unveil our latest offering – Prospero, a fully transparent programmatic trading solution designed to address the challenges faced by the industry. In a time where excessive technology, data, and management fees are prevalent, Prospero aims to revolutionise the way programmatic activation is approached.

According to the recent programmatic supply chain report by PwC, only a small fraction, £0.65p per pound, is spent on media, with even less allocated to high-quality publishers. We believe that this is far from satisfactory, which is why we have developed Prospero – a fully managed and transparent model that significantly reduces the proportion of your budget spent on unnecessary technology and data fees.

With Prospero, our focus is on investing the majority of your media spend in premium inventory within high-quality, impactful environments across various formats, including CTV, DOOH, Digital Audio, Digital Video, and Digital Display. We aim to maximise the effectiveness of your campaigns by ensuring your message reaches the right audience in the most engaging ways.

To achieve our vision, we have partnered with Hawk as our technology provider. Hawk has proven expertise in facilitating our approach to digital activation, emphasising full transparency, effectiveness, value, and trust. By collaborating with Hawk, we can deliver a seamless and streamlined experience for our clients, ensuring that the core values of Prospero are upheld.

Managing Prospero campaigns is an integrated team consisting of digital planners and programmatic activation specialists. This team brings together a wealth of expertise to provide strategic decision-making, including media supply selection, format recommendation, and audience application. Additionally, experienced programmatic traders execute and optimise campaign activities, ensuring that your campaigns deliver the desired results.

We are excited about the opportunities Prospero brings to our clients. By leveraging this transparent programmatic trading solution, you can expect greater control over your media spend, improved targeting capabilities, and a stronger presence in premium environments.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to innovate and provide solutions that drive success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

oh polly logo

Back to Basics for Oh Polly and Ekin Su

By | Featured, News, What's Hot

Former Love Island contestant Ekin-Su has been dropped as the face of fashion retailer Oh Polly just 6 months into the biggest clothing deal in Love Island history. The £1 million deal was born amidst a bidding war following her success on the reality show, which saw her become the most sought-after islander of all time.

On launching her own range of clothing through the site towards the end of last year, Ekin-Su described the partnership as ‘a real pinch-me moment’. The swift departure may have come as a surprise to some fans and onlookers, yet a quick review of her online fanbase makes it clear just why the collaboration was doomed from the start.

According to influencer analytics tool Tagger Media, only 16.03% of Ekin-Su’s online followers are ‘authentic’ (meaning nearly 84% of them are fake). Of these, 62.42% are male and over 66% live in India, Brazil, or Turkey. Assuming this isn’t the audience that Oh Polly is trying to reach, it’s worth questioning why an established brand would neglect to conduct a basic analysis of the influencer’s audience demographics before embarking on such an exorbitant deal.

Love Island contestants are a popular choice for brands to partner with following their stay in the villa, but consumer interest in these contestants tends to peak and then fall shortly after leaving the island. That’s not to say Love Island stars are never the right fit for an influencer campaign (the success of Molly-Mae Hague’s ongoing collaboration with PrettyLittleThing speaks for itself) but there is more to securing successful talent deals than simply teeing up the celebrity flavour of the hour and stuffing their mouth with gold.

It goes without saying that a level of due diligence is required to ensure any potential influencer partner has an online following that aligns with your target customer base, and this information really isn’t hard to come by. GRIN, Modash, and Upfluence (to name but a few) are just a few of the tools that exist to help brands recruit the right influencers for their campaigns. As well as providing comprehensive demographic breakdowns, these platforms give an indication of an influencer’s authentic engagement rate ([likes + comments]/total followers * 100), which typically should sit around or above the 3% mark.

We are used to seeing influencer campaigns blow up due to the damaged reputation of an influencer (like the troubling content of PewdiePie), non-disclosure (Katie Price in the Snickers blunder), or just for being completely tone-deaf (Kendall Jenner and Pepsi Black Lives Matter controversy), and it’s not uncommon for brands to confuse an influencer’s follower account with an audience that’s genuinely interested in their content. But in a media channel with so much potential for things to go wrong, it’s imperative that brands do not negate the basics, especially with significant partnerships such as these.

Radio Listening

The Future Of Radio Listening

By | Featured, News, What's Hot

RAJAR, the audience measurement system for the radio industry, recently released their Q4 2022 results, giving a complete view of last year’s radio listening. Radio still reaches 89% of the UK population every week or 50m people, after the pandemic and changing working styles altered the nation’s listening habits. This comes in slightly higher than publishing media, which PamCo recently found to reach 46m people a month. Out of this listening, commercial radio has slowly been growing their share, and now accounts for 50.2% of all listening, overtaking the BBC in terms of share for the third quarter in a row.

The biggest radio networks

Bauer is the second biggest radio network (next to Global Media), with a weekly reach of 20m listeners, but some of their brands saw the biggest year-on-year listening surges out of the data release. Greatest Hits Radio grew 31.4% over the year, whilst the Greatest Hits Brand and Network also grew 20.2% and 17.3% respectively. Meanwhile, TalkSPORT saw reductions in reach for several of their stations, with Virgin Radio down 18.4% and TalkSPORT2 down 11.3%. The TalkSPORT network overall was up by 1.6% however. For Global, the best performing network was Gold, up 24.9% YoY, whilst Capital Network performed more poorly, with a 6.95% reduction in reach.

The growth of online listening

RAJAR also assesses how people are listening to the radio, with online listening soaring by 43% year on year, to equate to nearly 25% of all digital listening. Smart speaker listening also saw their share grow to 13.6% of radio listening, which has increased every quarter of 2022. DAB (digital audio broadcasting) lost share of 3.7 percentage points to 38.8% of listeners, indicating that online and smart speakers are becoming the go to options for listening.

Looking forward

Looking to the future, we forecast that radio listening will increase, driven by online platforms and smart speakers. Head of Display and Audio Activation, Michelle Sarpong, recently spoke to Mediatel. She anticipated that ‘the audio landscape will continue to grow with smart devices becoming more prominent across all adult listeners.’ According to Warc, 2023 adspend for radio will contract by 0.2% in 2023, although online radio will grow by 6%.

man sat at laptop

Programmatic Progression

By | Featured, News, What's Hot

The latest programmatic supply chain report from ISBA and PwC has been released and it shows some improvements for transparency in the programmatic supply chain.

Back in 2020 when the study was first carried out, 15% of spend was unattributable and PwC were unable to establish exactly where this money was going. This became the ‘unknown delta’ and caused a significant backlash within the programmatic industry.

The latest 2023 update from PwC shows that this ‘unknown delta’ has been reduced to 3%. Yet still only 65p in every programmatic pound is being spent on media. The rest is spent on data and technology fees. So, does that represent good value for advertisers? Here at the7stars, we think not.

Stack it high and sell it cheap!

One thing the latest programmatic report lays bare is the superiority of Private Marketplace (PMP) trading compared to the long tail of Open Exchange trading. The average matching of impressions is more than 65% and this makes PMP considerably more accurate. Yet the programmatic industry continues to be obsessed with laying data and technology onto long tail, non-premium inventory and selling this to advertisers with hefty mark-ups (whether these are undisclosed or otherwise).

Tech Tax

Technology costs on both demand and supply side are significant and can often account for over 20p in every pound spent by a programmatic advertiser. This is more than an agency is paid to plan, buy and optimise the campaign. What incremental benefit are these technologies bringing and are they being fully utilised? Furthermore, can the technology stack be simplified, and more money spent on media?

Data has to add value

Data usage and application is another area that requires more scrutiny and rigour. It’s easy to overlay datasets within programmatic campaigns without really understanding the value that the data is bringing to campaigns. The focus should be on high quality datasets that add value to premium inventory and deliver campaign performance uplifts that justify the investment.

To serve or not to serve

One thing that PwC’s report does not account for is the environmental impact of running spray-and-pray programmatic campaigns, with the overuse of technology and data. The industry needs to start taking sustainability seriously and KPIs should be baked into every programmatic campaign.

What the report really shows is that there is still a considerable way to go to deliver a level of transparency that builds confidence and long-term growth in the sector. Programmatic advertisers should still be demanding more from their agencies, tech vendors and media partners. All three need to be held accountable not just for full transparency on programmatic fees, data and technology, but also for the value these are adding to campaigns, and for their environmental impact.

Superbowl Stadium Field Full With Crowd Watching the Game during Daytime

Not Superbowl-ed Over

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The significance of this year’s annual Superbowl advertising showcase is perhaps not as it seems. The industry takeaway has undoubtedly been that there was an unprecedented number of celebrity appearances, and there were (to an unprecedented degree), with the highest-earning entertainers in the world (and their agents) clearly making hay while the Arizona sun shone. Ben Affleck, Serena Williams, Dave Grohl, Peyton Manning, Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Steve Martin, Alicia Silverstone, Bryan Cranston, John (Hamm and Travolta). The list is endless but what does this tell us?

Celebrities controlling the Superbowl ads creatively

We have known for years that putting products into the hands of expensive talent works well and potentially more demonstrably than other approaches. In the same way that Tom Cruise (about the only actor not in an ad this year) delivers a measurable box office return, so Ferrell and Co can be presented to clients as a guaranteed return on a considerable investment.

But what will they be doing?” – asks the client, and here is the problem:

The ideas (remember them?) become dictated by what the celebrity and their agent are willing to agree to do. Creatively, the tail wags the very expensive dog. Alicia Silverstone reboots her Clueless performance, Travolta revisits T-Birds for T-Mobile, and Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul break old ground cooking-up popcorn in their mobile meth van. The pattern begins to reveal itself with brands looking backward, in a star-studded postmodern visual jukebox of self-referential borrowed interest.

The significant thing about this year’s Superbowl ad break is not the plethora of famous faces, it’s the noticeable absence of juicy creative ideas.

In rewatching the spots you can clearly see that most of the concepts are entirely dictated by the casting decision. At $7 million per 30 seconds, one could argue that there are about seven million reasons why it makes sense to play it safe, but with such a huge and engaged audience (for once not able to skip blithely past your ad), the internationally celebrated Superbowl still represents an unmissable opportunity to show the western world what you are about and to potentially make advertising history.

Take these three classics:

Classic Superbowl Ads

Apple – ‘Macintosh Computer’ Superbowl Ad

Ridley Scott’s Apple ad introducing Apple’s Macintosh computer in 1984, which was based on Orwell’s book of the same name. 40 years on and they are the third biggest privately owned company on the planet.

Old Spice – ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ Superbowl Ad

Not only was this an amazing relaunch of Old Spice, but it also garnered thousands of copycat ads in the process. This was filmed ingeniously with a perfect script, delivered by a relatively unknown actor who didn’t outshine the product.

Reebok – ‘Terry Tate Office Linebacker’ Superbowl Ad

The Reebok ‘Terry Tate’ ad of 2003 has to be my personal favourite non-celebrity-driven Superbowl ad. If nothing else, because the idea is so simple, they could pitch it in two words: ‘Office Linebacker’.


Ultimately, the most timeless commercials are remembered for the brands that were made famous by them, and not for the stars who shone (however brightly Rihanna might suggest) upon them.