Latest Posts

4 reasons native advertising is exploiting brands

nativeAs content marketing continues to take over the popular marketing psyche, native advertising in particular is fast-becoming the most popular conception of the practice.

Native advertising has been billed as something of a panacea for brands who are seeing diminishing returns from traditional advertising that is blatant, irrelevant and overtly salesy. The promise of native advertising for brands has been the opportunity to access audiences that can be subtly exposed to branded content that has been published ‘natively’ and are therefore increasingly likely to pay attention. Off the back of this promise, a $44billion industry (source: Custom Content Council) has developed, with publishers, agencies, content creators and technology providers all clamouring to join the goldrush of this new opportunity.

However, whilst the spike in interest around native advertising has led to all kinds of collective back-patting, no one is able to answer the most important question of all – is native advertising making any money for the brands that do it? Read More »

Sharknado 2 stunt verdict: cod do better

killer sharkI’ve seen, shared and reported on film stunts in my time that have made me wow out loud. Like the time PS Live took a rock-like monument into Stonehenge on the Spring Solstice to promote adventure film The Croods. Or when a gigantic Spider Pig flew over Battersea Power Station for The Simpsons movie. And when we all got spooked watching the telekinetic coffee shop viral promoting The Rage: Carrie 2.

I shared another stunt earlier this week, although it was a little more out of incredulity than awe. Read More »

Mobile footfall tracking: the Google Analytics of the offline world

ShoppingArcadeWhen it comes to shopper insight, online retail has long had the edge when it comes to seeing how shoppers are moving around the virtual shop floor, what they are buying and how often they revisit a site. Wifi and beacons are changing all that.

With the introduction of both, physical retail now has the tools to readdress this imbalance. The footfall tracking capabilities of both technologies enable retailers to follow shoppers’ mobile phones as they move around from street to store.

Beacons’ promise of cost-effective, targeted, localised, personalised and timely messaging to shoppers in or before store has been exciting retailers. However, delivering communications direct to the mobiles of people on a shopping mission is only one of their uses. Because they can be used to triangulate shoppers’ positions and create a real-time store movement map, they are an unbelievably rich source of shopper insight and store data. Read More »

More social data won’t solve Twitter’s problem

twitterbirdsA brief look at Twitter’s record on the stock market over the past six months, up until yesterday’s Q2 results anyway, did not make for pleasant reading. It reminded me of the aftermath of a snap-hooked tee shot from a pro who has been hotly tipped, the ball careering ever further left in to the bushes beyond the rough. The decline had been caused by the reliance on two metrics with which the social network sells itself to investors and advertisers. First, monthly active users, a number that is climbing too slowly for the liking of many, and second, timeline views – again another slow grower.

The issue is that investors are worried these metrics are simply not strong enough for Twitter to be able to bring in sufficient advertising revenue; hence the new metrics that the online advertising world was waiting for with baited breath – breath that will have to be held for longer after Twitter delayed its release yesterday. But will they turn the ailing network (and it is still ailing – one good announcement doesn’t constituent a revival) around? My suspicion is no.

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Is the web really making us weird?

Weird by Sharon Morrow on FlickrA recent piece in Techcrunch - The Great Fragmentation – We Are All Weirdos Now by Jon Evans got me thinking about the impact of the web on society as a whole and, in particular, cultural diversity.

As a starting point for this bit of pondering, I sought out a cracking article in Campaign from 2012, by the very smart Charles Vallance called The Web is stifling Radicalism at a time when it is needed most. This is what he said: Read More »

The other side of tech: The Wall meets Dan Wagner

Comptoir des Cotonniers powatag“The impact of Powatag is as significant as the introduction of television to advertising, and of the internet on communications.” It’s a pretty bold opening gambit from Powa Technologies founder and chief executive Dan Wagner, but one the tech entrepreneur delivers resolutely.

His unfaltering manner is reflected in every element of Powa’s slick office, which – on the 35th floor of Heron Tower – is not what we’ve come to expect from a tech start-up. Glass and mahogany dominate an expanse of elegant desks and dapper suits. The space is professional and deliberate. Everything shines, and there’s not a bare brick in sight.

It’s the home of Powatag. An e-commerce app and mobile wallet that consumers can use to scan a code or advert and be able to purchase whatever item it is promoting in one tap. It has more than 500 global brands signed as partners, such as Carrefour and Comptoir des Cotonniers. In June, Powa agreed deals with five media agencies, including Carat and Mediacom, and this week announced a partnership with marketing agency Haygarth to help create campaigns for its digital retail client portfolio. Wagner claims to have no competitors, and wouldn’t back anyone that isn’t him. So does the technology match up to the man?  Read More »

5 ways LinkedIn beats Facebook for B2B marketing

1400 x 425There appears to be a very ill-informed debate about whether LinkedIn or Facebook is better for B2B marketing. To me it’s a no brainer, LinkedIn wins every time. Why bother wasting time on facebook when it won’t work for you?

Here are five reasons LinkedIn beats Facebook for B2B marketing:


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Ninjas don’t need instruction manuals. Neither do shoppers.

ninjaYou are an expert. An expert in shopping.

A natural. So good, you don’t even realise how good you are.

To coin some pseudo-marketing-psychology, you have moved to the fourth stage of learning when it comes to making purchase decisions: you have an ‘Unconscious Competence’ in shopping. You are a Shopping Ninja. Read More »

The opportunities your business and brand are missing

women SheSaysIt is great to see the subject of women and gender balance has become mainstream in our industry – even The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity significantly upped its game this year, with the launch of the ‘See it Be It‘ programme, and a commitment to increase numbers of female judges. But in our eyes this still isn’t enough.

The industry has been paying lip service to the problem of late, and appears to see it purely as an issue of equality: “We get more women into senior roles and the job is done.” Right? Wrong. It is more than this – it is actually good business. We persuaded Cannes Lions to let us host the panel discussion ‘Why 80% of your advertising budget is wasted’.

If you are reading that thinking, ‘Wow, 80% sounds huge. Surely that can’t be right,’ then let me explain something you probably don’t want to hear. The way we operate as an industry is broken, and if we don’t fix it soon, we’re in for some big trouble ahead. Read More »

5 ways charities can make websites more donation-friendly

Online payment by EP TechnologyThis week we published our 2014 charity website survey which looked at how effectively the top 50 UK charities use their websites to drive donations.

Our research threw up some significant differences in the ‘donation-friendliness’ of these leading charities with some important lessons to learn ahead of the key pre-Christmas fundraising season: Read More »