Monday, 15 December, 2014


CREATIVITY ONLINE: Grey London Christmas “Beard Baubles” card goes viral

Forget decorating the Christmas tree — hipsters can now adorn their bushy beards with baubles too. Beard Baubles are the brainchild of Grey London creative team ­Mike Kennedy and Pauline Ashford, who came up with the idea and the product for the agency’s holiday card. The packs of baubles are sold online (a pack of 12, in “Christmassy colors,” costs seven British pounds, about $11, plus postage) with all profits going to, a charity initiative encouraging people to grow beards to raise awareness about Melanoma.

AD WEEK: The five most embarrassing revelations from Sony’s sprawling hack –  Casual racism, star bashing and secret strategies suddenly go public.

The true scope of a massive hacking attack against Sony Pictures remains unknown, but one thing is clear: Each new revelation seems to dig the studio studio only deeper into a public relations sinkhole. Problems began in late November when Sony employees arrived at work to find their computers compromised. A hacker group calling itself Guardians of Peace, or #GOP, threatened to release highly sensitive documents, from executive salaries to overblown movie budgets, if Sony didn’t comply with some demands. The group’s demands centered on the upcoming release of The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. The premise of the film involves an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. While many have assumed North Korea’s government was behind the hack, the FBI has so far found no direct link.

BRAND REPUBLIC: Vice Films partners with 20th Century Fox

Vice, the global youth media company, has formed a partnership with 20th Century Fox to launch Vice Films, a one-stop-shop for up and coming talent in the movie business. The joint venture will develop, produce, finance, market, acquire and distribute films from emerging directors around the world. The partnership between new media company Vice, which secured a further $500m (£303.8m) in financing in September, and 20th Century Fox, makers of blockbusters Avatar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, promises to create a major force outside of the mainstream film business, with the ambition to release “at least two films a year”.


Tuesday, 25 November, 2014


THE DAILY STAR/AFP: Facebook newspaper spells trouble for media

WASHINGTON: Facebook’s move to fulfil its ambition to be the personal “newspaper” for its billion-plus members is likely to mean more woes for the ailing news media. The huge social network has become a key source of news for many users, as part of a dramatic shift in how people get information in the digital age. Company founder Mark Zuckerberg told a forum in early November that his goal is to make Facebook’s newsfeed “the perfect personalized newspaper for every person in the world.” Zuckerberg said that while a newspaper provides the same information to every reader, Facebook can tailor its feed to the interests of the individual, delivering a mix of world news, community events and updates about friends or family. “It’s a different approach to newspapering,” said Ken Paulson, a former editor of USA Today who is now dean of communications at Middle Tennessee State University. “It’s neither good nor bad, but it’s something a traditional newspaper can’t do.” With Facebook, editorial decisions about what members see are made not by a journalist, but an algorithm that determines which items are likely to be of greatest interest to each person.

VARIETY: China’s BesTV and Oriental Pearl merge to create new media giant

Shanghai Media Group, a Chinese state-controlled conglomerate, has merged two of its listed subsidiaries to form a new group, that it claims will be the largest Internet media conglomerate in China. SMG is one of largest media and entertainment conglomerates in China and last week announced an expansion of its relationship with Disney. SMG is merging Internet TV service operator BesTV New Media and Shanghai Oriental Pearl. Shares in the new BesTV entity began trading Monday on the Shanghai stock exchange. BesTV expects to raise additional capital of up to $1.63 billion (RMB10 billion) through a private share placing, with half of the proceeds going into expansion of its Internet-based TV businesses.

THE NEW YORK TIMES: With Hunger Games campaigns, Lionsgate punches above its weight

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — With its cutting-edge social-media campaigns for “The Hunger Games,” the tiny 27-person marketing department at Lionsgate has become a model for Hollywood’s legacy studios: scrappy, thrifty, forward-thinking. But is the “Lionsgate way” even possible for the old guard to replicate? “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1,” the third movie in the post apocalyptic series, sold an estimated $123 million in tickets at North American theaters over the weekend. It was by far the biggest opening since last November, when Lionsgate released “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” taking in $158.1 million on the way to a global total of $864.9 million. Perhaps more impressively, given the constant discussion in Hollywood about reducing promotional costs, Lionsgate spent roughly $50 million to market “Mockingjay” in the United States and Canada. Hollywood’s six major studios, each of which operates a domestic marketing department at least three times the size of Lionsgate’s, routinely spend $100 million to release a major movie in North America.

Friday, 21 November, 2014


THE NEW YORK TIMES:   Uber scandal highlights Silicon Valley’s grown-up problem

The company has renounced the thuggish campaign of targeting critics that its senior vice president for business, Emil Michael, described in a dinner party attended by the BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith. But there are signs that Uber has taken an aggressive stance toward the media outlets that cover it and that it lacked internal protections against the misuse of customers’ travel information. A writer for San Francisco Magazine said this week that sources inside the company warned her that the company might monitor her rides. A Buzzfeed reporter wrote that when she attended a meeting with an Uber executive in New York, he was monitoring her arrival in one of the company’s cars. Add in an account by the author Peter Sims that his personal travel information was apparently shown on a wall at an Uber launch party, and the anecdotal evidence that the company has played fast and loose with its customers’ data is pretty compelling.

SMART COMPANY: Live events beat social media for content marketing: Survey

Australian marketing experts say in-person events are a more effective form of content marketing than social media and LinkedIn delivers better results than Facebook, according to a survey. The survey, conducted between July and August by the Content Marketing Institute and the Association for Data-driven Marketing and sponsored by Brightcove, asked 251 marketing agencies in Australia about their use of content marketing.. For most questions, respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers. The survey found social content is the most common form of content marketing, with 86% of marketers using it. This is followed by articles on websites (which are used by 85% of agencies), eNewsletters (83%), events (74%), case studies (72%), videos (72%), blogs (68%), photos (68%), infographics (61%), microsites (54%), online presentations (47%) and research reports (45%).

BRAND REPUBLIC: Qatar Airways awards £40m advertising account to JWT

Qatar Airways is understood to have handed its global creative account to JWT after calling a pitch in the summer. The business, worth an estimated £40 million, was contested by a long list that is thought to have included the roster agencies 180 Amsterdam, Y&R and Grey Group Singapore. JWT is now expected to kick off activity for the Qatari government-owned airline early in the New Year. The creative treatment is expected to concentrate on ads promoting Qatar Airways’ six-month exclusive contract to fly Airbus’ new A350, heralded as one of the lightest, most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly planes in the world, with extra-wide economy seats.

Thursday, 20 November, 2014


AD WEEK: NYC sparkles in Ogilvy’s animated Christmas ad for Tiffany’s

Ice shimmers on the streets of Manhattan in Ogilvy’s animated holiday ad for Tiffany & Co. It sparkles from the trees and bridges, too. Its glow radiates from Broadway marquees and glimmers among the steel and glass towers that rise into the wintry sky. I’m not talking about frozen water, people! This is Tiffany, so, naturally, it’s diamonds and other precious stones illuminating a bejeweled yuletide wonderland. The spot’s style and sensibility evokes the early Mad Men era, recalling a simpler consumer age when a glittering engagement ring could cast away all sorrows and an exquisite brooch could mend a broken heart. It’s a glitzy, romantic fantasy where an animated Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t feel out of place.

BUSINESS INSIDER:  Retailers Are Using ‘Skinny’ Mirrors To Get You To Spend More Money

The Skinny Mirror, based out of California, sells mirrors with curved glass that make people look about 10 pounds thinner. The mirrors sell for between $US165 and $US5,500, depending on the size and frame materials.  The mirrors make people feel better about themselves, says Belinda Jasmine, the founder and designer of The Skinny Mirror. For retailers, that inflated self image can turn into higher sales, she says.  Jasmine says she had initially designed the mirror, which went on the market in January 2013, for the home market. Then she started getting a number of orders from retailers, so she expanded the line of mirrors to include versions better suited for retail stores and dressing rooms.

LURZER’S ARCHIVE: Why Matthew McConaughey is having a standoff with a bull for the new Lincoln MKC

The stand-off spot is part of a series of ads created by New York agency, Hudson Rouge, which was formed by WPP to market Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand. Shot in the actor’s home state of Texas, it all begins with a standoff. Machine versus nature is exemplified by Matthew McConaghey in the Lincoln MKC as he sits nearly motionless in his MKC on a country road, transfixed by a 1,800 pound bull named Cryus who won’t let him pass. Directed by Cannes award winning director Nicolas Winding Refn – the director of Drive and Only God Forgives – collaborated with Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey on “Bull,” for the launch of the new Lincoln MKC.

MUMBRELLA: Hoopla founders to launch quarterly newspaper for girls in ‘radical and risky’ move

AUSTRALIA – We Magazines, the publisher of female focused websites The Hoopla and Birdee, is to launch a quarterly tabloid newspaper for girls after research revealed there was demand for a print publication among its 16-24 year-old readers. The first print issue of Birdee will go on sale in the week beginning December 4 and have a print run of 20,000. The cover price for the 40-page newspaper will be $4. We Magazines co-founder and publisher Jane Waterhouse described the project as “radical and risky, but exciting” and said she hoped to take the newspaper monthly if it proves successful. It will be the publisher’s second product aimed at girls following the launch of online site last year. “People kept telling us that our demographic  is walking away from print, but we did research and they overwhelmingly asked us ‘when are you going to turn Birdee into print’,” she told Mumbrella. “This demographic spend their life looking at screens but, strangely, they also like to read books and the thought of something tactile is really appealing to them.” Rather than the commonly-held belief that young women are walking away from print, Waterhouse argued it was more a case of there not being a suitable publication in the market.

Wednesday, 19 November, 2014


CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK: Social network in Russia eyes China

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China this month has ignited interest among Russian tech companies to invest in the world’s second-largest economy. The most-used social networking website in Russian-speaking countries – VKontakte – announced on Tuesday it is entering China by opening a marketing branch in Beijing. Russia’s answer to Facebook has its eye on bringing Chinese advertisers to its platform instead of attracting individual users. Top executives at VK, which means “get in touch”, said that the growing ambitions of Chinese enterprises to go global have provided a golden advertising opportunity for emerging social network platforms. VK, based in St Petersburg, has about 250 million accounts and 4 billion daily page views. Nearly 70 per cent of the users are in Russia, with the rest from other countries such as Ukraine where Russian is spoken.

BUSINESS INSIDER: Advertising is set to fund New York City’s the world’s fastest municipal WiFi network.

New York City’s aging payphone boxes will be replaced with internet hubs. The hubs, called “Links,” will also serve as digital displays for ads and are expected to generate more than $500 million in revenue for the city over the next 12 years.

AD AGE: Super Bowl XLIX Ad Chart: Who’s Buying What in Super Bowl 2015

NBC is still selling ad time in Super Bowl XLIX, which will air Feb. 1, 2015. Advertising Age is publishing a rolling blog with updates on which brands are buying what during Super Bowl 2015. Expected advertisers include Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Doritos, Loctite, McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz, Mophie, Skittles, Toyoya and The soft TV ad market this year is extending even to Super Bowl XLIX, where NBC said in November ad sales were moving along slightly more slowly than in prior years. Automakers, too, aren’t crowding the field as much as they have lately, without as many new models that the game is well-timed to promote. Still, there will be about a dozen new advertisers in the 2015 game, especially in digital commerce and technology, said Seth Winter, exec VP-sales and sales marketing, NBC Sports Group and NBC Universal News Group.

B&T: Unlimited ‘Interstellar’ ticket offer is just brilliant marketing

Whether anyone actually pays $34.99 to see Interstellar as many times as they want to, in any format, is immaterial. The brilliant stroke of movie publicity behind that offer has already done its job. The movie has already taken more than $300 million worldwide but the marketing team behind it isn’t stopping there. AMC Theatres and Paramount Pictures in the US announced the unlimited ticket on Monday — and even if nobody buys one, the nation’s second-largest theatre chain and the Interstellar distributor will still be patting each other on the back. That’s because a promotion like this isn’t a ploy to sell unlimited tickets to see Interstellar. It’s a ploy to sell more regular, one-off tickets to see Interstellar. For that reason alone, it’s really smart.

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

 US Army logo

MEDIA POST: US Army to conduct review of its $1 Billion ad-marketing assignment

The U.S. Army is preparing to conduct a review of advertising and marketing services assignment. The Army spends about $200 million a year on marketing and advertising services. Annual revenue from the assignment is estimated at $15 million. McCann Worldgroup, the current incumbent, is being invited to defend the account, which it has held since 2005 and successfully defended in 2011. The current contract, valued at $960 million, includes a one-year term and four one-year options to renew. The scope of work includes a “full range of services” that involve strategy, advertising, media planning and buying, and event marketing, PR and more, per the posting.

MASHABLE: Australia and China trade deal to ‘supercharge’ export industry

Australia and China have signed a “ground-breaking” $18 billion free trade agreement on Monday afternoon in Canberra. Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb said it is the most significant trade deal China has done with any developed country and 99.9% of all tariffs will be gone on Australia’s manufactured exports. The tariff reductions, agreed upon by Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and China’s President Xi Jinping, will affect health, education and financial industries, along with dairy, beef, wine and horticulture and be implemented over the next four years.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with goods and services exports exceeding $150 billion in 2013. These moves, announced following an address by Xi in Australian Parliament, will make it easier for Australian banks, insurers, lawyers and universities to operate in China.

MUMBRELLA ASIA: Kindle tells India of the joy of reading

Amazon’s e-reader Kindle is running a campaign in India to celebrate the joy of reading. In the three-minute film, a man travels across India from the city to an island with his Kindle. The agency behind the campaign was Publicis Groupe-owned Orchard Bangalore. The film was shot by director Ram Madhvani through Equinox Films of Mumbai.

THE GUARDIAN: Facebook squeezes ‘overly promotional page posts’ out of news feeds

But social network promises its latest algorithm tweak ‘will not increase the number of ads’ that its users see. Facebook says its users are tiring of ‘overly promotional’ posts from pages they’ve liked. Facebook’s latest tweak to its news feed algorithm will squeeze out posts that it sees as “overly promotional” from pages on the social network. Due to take effect in January 2015, the change means that even if people have liked a page for a brand or celebrity, they will be less likely to see posts from that page encouraging them to buy products, install apps or enter competitions.

“As part of an ongoing survey we asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their News Feeds. People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and pages they care about, and less promotional content,” explained Facebook in a blog post. “What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from pages they like, rather than ads.”

MARKETING MAG AUSTRALIA: Grill’d skewers vegans, vegetarians, kale, lemons, detox, paleo etc, in branded content comedy series

Grill’d – the upmarket burger restaurant chain – is making fun of paleo living, detox diets, vegetarians, vegans, kale, instagramming food… and so on, in a branded content online video series that parodies extreme dieting.  The online video series was created to support the launch of the casual dining restaurant chain’s new ‘Low Carb Super Bun’. Created by Magnum PR, which announced it had been appointed to the account just last week, has been published across the brand’s social media channels and is being amplified by PR, influencer seeding and paid media including Mamamia and Pages Digital.

Friday, 27 June, 2014

Cannes Lions

THE GUARDIAN: Top Cannes advertising award goes to London-based adam&eveDDB

An “anti-Christmas” campaign by Harvey Nichols “Sorry I Spent It on Myself’ that encouraged viewers to splurge on themselves and scrimp on family gifts has been named the best TV ad in the world, breaking a six-year creative drought for the UK.  The Cannes Lion award in the prestigious film category, which also saw Jean Claude van Damme’s “epic splits” global viral hit for Volvo take best internet commercial, marks a remarkable week for Harvey Nichols which picked up four top grand prix prizes. The commercial Sorry I Spent It on Myself, was developed by adam&eveDDB London and is the first UK win in the blue riband TV category since Cadbury’s Gorilla in 2008. The film category received 2,838 entries this year, a 9% drop on 2013. There were 271 entries from the UK, down from 281 last year.

MUMBRELLA ASIA: DDB Mudra West launches new series of ads for Volkswagen in India

DDB Mudra West has created a series of three television ads for Volkswagen that aim to use humour to promote the car brand’s build quality, safety and driver experience. The campaign for the German car brand see it launch three TV commercials, entitled Hitchhike, Gift and Reunion, which focus on Indian consumers in humorous situations.

ADVERTISING AGE: P&G’s Always Aims to Change What It Means to Be ‘Like a Girl’

Add one more to the growing genre of feminist-themed videos from packaged-goods brands bucking up the self esteem of girls and women. Procter & Gamble Co.’s Always is launching “Like a Girl,” a video by Lauren Greenfield, Sundance Film Festival award-winning creator of “The Queen of Versailles,” that takes issue with generations of playground taunts about people running, throwing or fighting “like a girl.” It asks: “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”