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It is Important for Brands to Leverage the Potential of Smartphones in the Evolving Mobile Marketing Environment

Posted April 19, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 1:30 am

Today, many brands are struggling to figure out the best ways to reach their audiences with consumers increasingly using smartphones while at the same time expecting more benefits from their phones. Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America said, “We cannot be ham-fisted anymore as a brand. It’s unacceptable and really diluted. It’s not only if you don’t have a strategy, it’s actually negative and dilutive to your brand when you’re not taking advantage of just the basic table-stakes technology that’s out there and how consumers expect you to behave.”

Customers are increasingly shifting toward paying their bills via mobile instead of the plastic credit card and businesses have begun discussing how the shift to mobile is affecting their brands and how they need to start evolving with it. In a world dominated by mobile phones, credit cards are evolving fast and are now hardly looked upon as the ‘plastic money’ that had overwhelmed the market. Rather they are seen more as tech products offering smoother and faster payment solutions. Kim Kadlec, senior vice president, global marketing platform, Visa International, views legacy tech and telecom companies like AT&T, GE and IBM among others as the likely source of inspiration for her brand.

Kadlec said, “Mobility has become a much broader concept. And I think at the end of the day, creativity in any of those formats is important, and certainly from a user’s perspective, enabling seamless payment technologies is our game. And that’s what we’re focused on. Through your appliances, through your Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant), running shoes—those are all things we’re working on.” However, DDB’s Clark reminds marketers that brands will increasingly begin to appear out of touch with the people they’re trying to reach if they don’t realize the importance of contextually targeting consumers demographically or on the basis of their interests. She spoke of a baby products brand targeting her even though as someone in her forties, she had no use for such products.

Filed under: Digital

America’s ‘Transaction Alley’ – Atlanta

Posted April 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:06 am

The city’s fintech companies hold the lion’s share of online payments processed in North America

When 70% of all digital payments in North America, not just the United States, are processed in Atlanta, it’s not surprising to see it being called the ‘Transaction Alley’ of America. There are around 100 small and big financial technology companies in Atlanta out of which around 66 are engaged in processing payments made via credit cards and other online modes from all over North America. ATPC or American Transaction Processors Coalition estimates that, of the $4.4 trillion in online payments processed in North America, about $3.08 trillion are handled by fintech companies in Atlanta. ATPC was set up by the city in 2014 to lobby and advocate for fintech at the state and federal level.

Accounting for about 60% of the industry in America the fintech companies in Georgia including Atlanta generate annual revenues of more than $72 billion. That places Georgia at a creditable third after New York and California, in terms of total revenues generated by any state in the US. Many of the biggest names in fintech such as Pindrop, Bitpay, Worldpay, NCR, InComm and Global Payments have moved to Atlanta. And the list is growing: Merchant e-Solutions, the Brazilian payment-processing firm which had its US headquarters in Silicon Valley, recently announced that it is moving to Atlanta with 140 jobs.

The fintech sector has been a boon for Georgia in general and Atlanta in particular for the number of jobs it created. Atlanta alone has around 30,000 to 40,000 people working in the fintech industry right now in addition to employing around 80,000 people indirectly in transportation, infrastructure, construction and technology support among other jobs. Add to that the growth potential, and you have a dream scenario for people with the right skills and experience to make the most of it. Atlanta of course, is not new to the celebrity club as No. 1 – its Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest airport in the world. It would be unfair to completely ignore this as a factor that made Atlanta irresistible as the topmost fintech destination.

Filed under: Digital

Pepsi Finally Decides to Withdraw its “Live for Now Moments Anthem” Ad After Massive Criticism

Posted April 12, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:39 am

If anybody had doubts that “customer is the king” PepsiCo, whose global turnover equals the GDP of many mid-sized developing countries, has decided to respect that motto and pull out its latest ad themed “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” which stirred a huge controversy. Importantly, this was a timely course correction before the damage to Pepsi’s reputation could take a serious and unnecessary turn. A statement issued by the brand clarified that, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further roll-out. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

This two-and-a-half minute ad was created by Pepsi’s in-house design team, Creators League Studio and it was released toward the end of last month. It wasn’t long before the digital media picked it up and Pepsi began facing a relentless blitz of adverse criticism for releasing this ad. The ad tried to leverage the present environment of discontent across the country against the government, showing Hollywood icon Kendall Jenner getting mixed up with protestors. Most people felt the ad was in poor taste as they thought Pepsi was trying to ride piggyback on protest movements of marginalized people.

Pepsi ad campaign was seen by many as ‘trivializing’ the protest movement with an own value proposition that most people thought was in poor taste. The protest movements are trying to convey a serious message to the government and for those participating in the demonstrations across the country such ads are all but sensitive. PepsiCo didn’t clarify anything more than the apology note and neither is there any information about what this huge embarrassment would mean for Creators League Studio’s future.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

Pepsi Makes a Grave Mistake by Walking into Uncharted Territory of Politics

Posted April 6, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:57 am

Pepsi’s latest ad campaign starring Hollywood icon, Kendall Jenner, tried to play with the politics of the day and is ending up in a mess

If politics is not what you do for a living, it is better not try and use it for non-political gains because it is a double-edged sword and can cut both ways. This is what beverage major Pepsi is learning the hard way after it ran its latest campaign starring Hollywood icon Kendall Jenner getting mixed up with protesters. The protest movements has a seriousness of their own for those participating in the demonstrations across the country and Pepsi’s attempts to what many see as ‘trivializing’ the protest movement with its own value proposition didn’t go down well with most people.

The campaign did push up digital content engagement around Pepsi sharply by 366 % just within a day but most of it came in with a torrent of negative reactions – around 43% spoke of the way it supposedly affected the Black Lives Matter movement, while 31% were blunt enough to label the ad as “tone-deaf;” And about 10% of the reactions were outright hostile, tagging it as the “worst ever” they saw. There are all kinds of reactions in relation to different aspects of the ad that seems to have upset a cross section of people but out of all this, one aspect is coming across quite clearly – Pepsi shouldn’t have underplayed the seriousness of the protests.

How did Pepsi land up in this mess? Needless to say that it overlooked some basics of the issue it sought to leverage. Feminista Jones, writer, social worker and activist, observed, “Pepsi should have consulted people who have actually been on the front lines of protests these recent years. The organizers, protesters, educators…all of those who have been instrumental in bringing about these recent movements for justice. Brands should never make light of social issues related to people’s suffering; they should, instead, focus on selling their products in ways that don’t exploit the pain and suffering of marginalized people.”

Filed under: Brand Marketing

Snapchat’s Enhanced Search Function Pits it Against the Likes of Facebook

Posted April 5, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:39 am

It has given the much-needed firepower to Snapchat to become the most popular platform for watching real-time content

Snapchat recently announced that it is restructuring the way its users search for stories like the daily photos and videos that individuals and brands post to their accounts. The ‘camera company’ which is how Snapchat classifies itself officially, also announced that it will be opening up a new advertising revenue stream. The app launched a search feature for stories that includes photos and videos that users collected at events and locations that appear for 24 hours and allows people to look up more than a million stories that were publicly shared on the platform.

The search function in Snapchat is presently the only way for finding accounts on the platform. You can either find the friends you interact with most, or search by account name for new people to follow. You can be a little more precise with the new search as it will allow you to search for accounts to follow or stories to watch, depending on the topics you choose which could be “Halloween masks” or “Thanksgiving trends.” Snapchat has launched the search feature for stories comprising the vast range of photos and videos. You can use the search bar at the top of the app to type in the keywords and see what people are sharing.

That’s not all because Snapchat also collects professional stories on its own. Recently Snapchat and Turner collected over 30 March Madness stories at different colleges. This is good news for you if you are a user as it offers you a new way to find information you are looking for, whether it’s something in your locality or any event across the country. For advertisers this offers newer places to display content. Snapchat hasn’t started allowing ads in search results but it won’t be long before it decides to do so. It could sponsor stories in the same way that Google does with its sponsored links in search results. Snapchat recently mentioned in a blog – “We’ve built a new way to understand what’s happening in Snaps that are submitted to Our Story, and to create new Stories using advanced machine learning.”

Filed under: Digital

Food Delivery Service, Seamless Works up New Yorkers’ Appetites with its ‘Melting Pot’ Ad

Posted April 3, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 12:20 am

The Ad is part of the ‘How New York Eats’ campaign designed by BBH, the Ad agency for Seamless

When New Yorkers think or talk about ‘Melting Pot,’ they not just refer to the cosmopolitan nature of their city but also praise it for the diverse food options that are available in every borough of the city. Seamless, the food delivery service has always spoken about the availability of great food all across the city but also underlined the long queues for restaurant tables in its ads, indicating that it has the answer to this problem. In its latest ad, Seamless tells New Yorkers about the best fresh pasta in Manhattan and delicious shawarma in Brooklyn and also that, they needn’t queue up outside a restaurant for that. They can get what they want without leaving home.

You are most likely to find piles of Seamless food bags lying in wait for hungry workers if you happen to walk into an office lobby in New York around noon on a weekday. The food delivery service, Seamless, has gone pan-America, across college campuses and workplaces in major cities including New York City, where folks are continuously moving around, working up serious appetites and looking around for good delivery services that can bring them their choice dish right where they are stationed. In the ‘Melting Pot’ ad, New York’s local flavor becomes obvious at the end of the spot, when the camera slows down on a city dweller, who in typical New York style, complains that it’s just too difficult to get a table at a good restaurant.

Seamless is easily accessible on its website and through a suite of apps and it is gaining in popularity with every passing day. In 2015 BBH New York was chosen by Seamless to handle its creative communications for its NYC business. Prior to that, Seamless used to manage its communication internally but as business prospects grew, the food-delivery company decided to focus more on its core function which was to deliver choice food to its customers. Soon BBH started the ad blitz across billboards and subways and bus kiosks all across Manhattan and before long New York came to think of Seamless as an essential part of its cuisine accessibility.

While talking about leveraging NYC’s cultural and culinary diversity, Dave Brown, creative director at BBH in New York, said “We always try to hit on some sort of cultural conversation that’s happening in New York City, and I think there’s an important one happening right now around diversity. We look at that and how we can express that and add that New York flavor to it.”

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Space150 turned a random Idea into Reality by Flying Nike’s shoe into Space Using a Weather Balloon

Posted March 31, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 12:30 am

The occasion was celebration of the release of Nike’s new Vapormax as well as the 30th anniversary of the Nike Air Max

The question then arises right at the outset – why would anybody pull off a stunt like that? Ned Lampert, creative director, Space150, said this was how his agency thought and acted, by experimenting on the move with a random idea and quickly turning it into reality. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. It’s Nike that Space150 is servicing and Nike says “Just do it.” So, if it means tying a Nike shoe to a weather balloon and fly it for over two hours to a height of 117,550 feet above sea level, right up to the stratosphere, so be it – just do it.

Lampert came upon the idea to try something different for the release of Nike’s new Vapormax after working on a poster project for Nike’s Air Max Day. He called Nike and asked for a pair of the highly coveted shoes for what he had in mind. Within two hours of Nike asking him to just go ahead and ‘do it’, he was in action. “We’re really inspired by Nike,” he said, “inspired by their approach to technology, their approach to culture and trying to push the limit as much as possible, and we felt this was the perfect intersection of sports and culture to tell the story of the lightest shoe in the world.”

Lampert recalled, “And then two hours later, I was on the phone with a weather balloon pilot and buying him an airplane ticket on that call.” Although the pair of shoes didn’t arrive in Los Angeles until Saturday night, Lampert’s space odyssey was ready to take off. He along with the balloon pilot attached the shoe to the balloon along with two GoPro cameras to capture the feat. This was obviously the most critical part of the experiment – the world of sport shoes needs to see this stupendous feat. Never have a shoe, let alone a sports shoe, scale those dizzying heights. This was a first and Nike did it, thanks to Space150. The balloon eventually burst and the shoe parachuted down safely back to Mother Earth. “It looks fake. Everyone I’ve shown the video to said it looks fake, but it’s very much real,” Lampert summed up.

Filed under: Digital

Shoppers on Instagram Can Now Shop on a Browser Window Without Interrupting Other Activities

Posted March 29, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 12:14 am

If the user doesn’t like the products on offer, they can easily tap back to their home screen and scroll on to other pages

Instagram recently announced that it is in the process of testing a new shopping application on the platform. With this new application Instagram will be able to map most of the user’s actions right from search to purchase even though the eventual purchase takes place on the website of the advertiser. Users on Instagram can review, understand and look up items of interest across posts of 20 US-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker that will offer more depth in terms of information. Brands have very good reasons to add Instagram in their media mix because 32% of all adults who are active online and 28% of all Americans use Instagram. Brands targeting women need to note that 38% women users of internet are active on Instagram.

The user experience on Instagram’s new application is smooth and seamless. On the bottom left of a photo on every post, users can tap an icon to see a tag that will appear on up to five products and their prices. Once the user selects a tag he will see a new detailed view of the product. Importantly, the user won’t have to leave the Instagram app to search product information and this experience right at the beginning of the search makes it worthwhile. Thereafter, if the user chooses a product and taps the Shop Now link, he will land up directly on the advertiser’s website and complete the transaction. James Quarles, VP of monetization at Instagram explained that his company won’t ask for a share of the transactions but would implement plans to bring in ads on the Instagram advertising platform.

At the New York Fashion Week, Instagram became the preferred medium for marketing heads of various fashion brands. This is an acknowledgement of the fact that Instagram is the perfect platform for certain product segments like beauty and fashion. According to Mary Beech, EVP and marketing head at Kate Spade New York, Instagram allows her customers “to seamlessly tap and shop the product—going from inspiration to information to purchase in just a few steps—we’re excited to see where the feature continues to take us.”

Filed under: Blogroll

Bolt from the Blue – Established Brands Facing Disruption by Startups

Posted March 28, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:04 am

Old style head on clashes of the titans are over…startups, the new kids in town, play by a different set of rules

Old style brand wars were almost like ancient gladiators going at each other head on. While it made for exciting contest, there was also serious cash involved in playing such high stakes games where millions of dollars need to be pumped into promotion alone. As a result, the price of the products for which these brand wars were fought, always kept going up, apparently to meet the cost of the high stakes brand war games. Such brand wars are now outdated because a new set of players have arrived on the scene – the startups, who play by a different set of rules that resemble modern day guerrilla warfare more than the head on clash of titans, e.g. Coke vs. Pepsi, Crest vs. Colgate or Ford vs. Chevy, etc.

Take the case of Gillette which was the undisputed lord of the shaving segment with 71% of market-share. Not anymore, because it has dropped to 59% and could go further down, thereby ending Gillette’s monopoly of the shaving market. Over the years, Gillette focused intently on product innovation, its strength and leveraged it by launching new and presumably more efficient products at an ever increasing premium price. In a way, Gillette set the agenda and the rest followed because they weren’t able to move out of its shadow and think differently. Then came Dollar Shave Club in 2011 with a new game plan that targeted the only weakness in Gillette’s armory – its high price. This caught Gillette unawares and in just 5 years it lost over 15% of its share of the market.

In July 2016, Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever for $1 billion, which pretty much gives an idea of how startups think and operate. They are driven by determined young entrepreneurs who start from the coffee shop or garage, with no hang ups about big business frills like up-market office, huge ad budgets, hot shot marketing team and so on. They do their research well, identify the gaps in the market where they can step in and then go for the knockout blow that momentarily stuns the biggest of the players in the market. They create assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars in the space of a few years and then sell it to a suitor before moving on to another project. Thanks to Dollar Shave Club, the shaving market has leveled out considerably and new startups will arrive with newer ideas to eat into the 59% market share of Gillette, which is still huge.

Filed under: Blogroll

Google Needs to do Something about Offensive Content say Advertisers

Posted March 27, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:15 am

Advertisements running over terrorist videos alarmed brand owners and annoyed them enough to begin avoiding YouTube

No advertiser spending hard earned money to advertise on Google would like his ad to run over terrorist videos on YouTube. There’s simply no scope for any rationalization here; such offensive videos just shouldn’t be on there on YouTube. So, what is Google doing about it? It has done almost next to nothing say the media agencies and the brands they service. The result – advertisers have begun moving away from Google and won’t return until terrorist and other offensive content is shut out. AT&T, Verizon, J&J and GSK are some of the major advertisers that have pulled out of YouTube and although it’s a trickle now, Google can’t afford to overlook their grievance because they have a strong case. Google can’t afford to wait till this trickle turns into a tide.

David Cohen, North American president of IPG’s strategic global media unit Magna, said, “This is not a new topic; I’ve been talking about brand safety in the digital space for 20 years.” Google had it all and it now seems determined to lose a huge slice of it with its bizarre inaction in shutting out terrorist videos. According to Melissa Lea, US managing director at global consultancy, R3, “Developments in advertising technology also played a key role. The programmatic world is evolving so quickly that tech is moving faster than humans can manage it.” And Denise Colella, Sr. Vice president, ads, at NBC Universal, reckons programmatic is “A double-edged sword and there is a lot of efficiency and automation to be had, but then there’s also the danger of open market places.”

While other platforms are tackling the problem as best as they could, considering the seriousness of the situation, Google appears to have adopted a defensive position. The best that Google could do so far is to issue unclear statements to media outlets, a couple of blogs aimed at pacifying advertisers and an email that it sent to industry stakeholders in which it tried to explain some policy changes that it had supposedly planned. Magna’s Cohen says, “Their post was pretty light in terms of details. I think, had they implemented these changes, 90 percent of the placement of ads in non-safe environments over the past month could have been prevented. We are pushing them hard to allow third party companies into the Google ecosystem—not to report after the fact, but as a preventative measure. That is not available today.”

Filed under: Blogroll
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