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Latest news from The Drum

Manchester United’s social media followers top 100m
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Manchester United has become the first Premier League team to accumulate 100m global social media followers, having only recently become football’s first $1bn brand.

The Mancunian team attained their numerical feat by combining their follower count for their 10 most popular social networks, led by Facebook which accounted for 63.9 per cent of the total.

The remainder is accounted for by Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo, Line, Instagram, Google Plus and Twitter which each account for between 5 and 8 per cent – with the first two highlighting the growing importance of the Chinese market to the club.

This follows a period of stratospheric growth in the club’s digital fan base which has expanded by over 200 per cent in the last two years alone, up from just 33m in 2013, despite a dry spell which has seen the team fail to add any new silverware to their threadbare trophy cabinet.

Manchester United still have a mountain to climb if they wish to reach the top of the global tree however with both Barcelona and Real Madrid sitting pretty with 196m and 145m followers respectively.

Cornetto engages vloggers to encourage the brand's teenage audience to 'show the love'
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Ice cream brand Cornetto has teamed up with Dutch lifestyle vlogger and singer Teske de Schepper, who performed ‘King for One Day’ for the brand’s global campaign anthem, to kick off its 2015 summer campaign.

Written and composed by MassiveMusic, the track will now be released in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Denmark and marks the second successive year Cornetto has worked with MassiveMusic.

For the music video Teske and fellow vlogger David Choi, who also features on the song, conduct a social experiment with ice cream by handing out Cornettos on the streets of Barcelona to encourage the brand’s teenage audience to show the love.

“We want to tell authentic stories from our brands and Teske has a very genuine relationship with her fans – that is what inspired us to work with her,” said Ozlem Birkalan, senior brand development manager, ice cream at Unilever. “It is the first time Cornetto has worked with vloggers and we are very excited to see how Teske’s fans react to the campaign.”

MassiveMusic’s head of sonic branding, Michiel Cremers, added: “This is the second global campaign that we’ve worked on with Cornetto and it’s great to see how the role of music has developed, becoming much more important and it’s paying off so well.

“The campaign extension and the partnership with Teske demonstrates how much the music industry is changing. Brands are discovering the power of music as a branding tool and carefully curated music tells their story on a more engaging level,”

Recently signed to Universal Music, 19-year-old Teske is one of the biggest vloggers in the Benelux region with 200k YouTube subscribers and 135k Instagram followers. LA-based vlogger Choi has almost one million subscribers.

Belfast’s Lyric Theatre appoints We are AD to revamp digital strategy
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Belfast’s iconic Lyric Theatre has appointed digital agency We are AD to reshape its digital strategy.

AD will partner with cloud ticketing solution providers Spektrix to modernise the Lyric’s website and online booking system. The AD team travelled to Belfast earlier this month to run an on-site workshop, identifying the key business objectives, user personas and goals of the theatre.

The Lyric Theatre - AD's first client in Northern Ireland - reopened its doors in 2011 with a new £18.1 million building on the banks of the River Lagan. The Lyric has supported the early careers of local actors including Liam Neeson and Ciarán Hinds and aims to place local issues and people at the heart of its theatre.

Ryan Crown, marketing officer at the Lyric Theatre, said: “AD’s creativity and strategy for the redesign were everything we were looking for. We’re looking forward to getting to know more of the AD team and beginning a long-term partnership.”

David Johnstone, commercial director at We are AD, said: “Maybe it’s the magic of show business, but it’s hard not to be swept up in the enthusiasm and passion of the Lyric Theatre team. We have extensive experience working in the arts but each project is so unique,” said David Johnstone, commercial director at We are AD.

AD has previously worked with several arts and culture organisations, including The Young Vic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Almeida Theatre, Scottish Ballet and Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

YouTube plays down Facebook video threat
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

YouTube does not view Facebook as an imiment threat to its share of video advertising revenues because it believes the market is big enough to fuel growth for both for now.

Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube, told the Financial Times that the growing appetite for video meant that it “will be a decade before we bump into each other”. Advertisers and media owners expect online video to pull budgets from TV, search and display but agree the migration will be slow due to the challenges of shifting to engagement metrics rather than reach to replicate TV’s high CPMs.

“Before it was just and TV,” Kyncl said. However, the market has become crowded over the last two years with YouTube now competing with not just Facebook but also the fledgling offerings of Snapchat and Twitter’s Vine video app. He said the rush for online video was indicative of it “becoming mainstream” though quelled suggestions from some quarters of the advertising industry that YouTube’s crown as the top player was at risk.

Kyncl made the comments ahead of Facebook’s announcement earlier this week that it will share ad revenue with video creators using a similar split to YouTube. The social network, which has seen daily video views rocket from 1bn last September to 4bn in April, wants to prove its videos can be profitable for advertisers as it pushes to host more premium content on its site.

Google does not split out YouTube’s contribution to its $60bn of advertising sales, however eMarketer estimates it earned $3.04bn last year after it paid back traffic acquisition costs to content creators and advertising partners. The video site's gross revenues are expected to increase 25 per cent to $9.5bn this year, up from $7.6bn in 2014.

Kyncel said that advertising revenue for YouTube had risen 50 per cent each year for the past three years. Despite this, the company is still trying to work out how to extract the maximum value from video, particularly on mobile where it is predominately making less money per ad.

The issue was brought into sharp focus during Google’s latest quarter when it suggested YouTube rather than its mobile search and display ads were the reason for cost-per-click declines.

The YouTube executive also reasserted its status as the biggest channel for vloggers and social influencers using video. Facebook and other video services such as Vessel have stepped up efforts to tempt creators away from Google in the hope that their large following will then make the transition also.

“If you’re a content creator you want to publish on as many platforms as you can,” said Kyncel. “Exclusivity is virtually impossible to pull off.”

Currently, YouTube and Facebook run video offerings with enough differences that the more astute marketers are testing how the two can work in parallel rather than deciding between one or the other. YouTube’s users visit to actively search for content that is usually generated by other users. Whereas on Facebook, the videos appear between posts and as such the experience is more passive. 

A recent study revealed that Facebook is fast emerging as a more realistic alternative to YouTube for advertisers to spend the bulk of their video advertising budgets. Video views on the social network are tipped to surpass two trillion this year, which is two thirds of YouTube’s forecasted total for the same period, it revealed. 

Beauty blogger turns tables on internet trolls with ‘You look disgusting’ video
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Beauty blogger Em Ford has fought back against online trolls and internet bullies by publishing a hard hitting YouTube video.

‘You look Disgusting’ saw Ford spend three months posting make-up free selfies on social media before recording over 100,000 responses, from the good, the bad to the ugly, which she then edited for use in the clip.

Commentators responded with a spectrum of praise and bile ranging from ‘I can’t even look at her’ to ‘revolting’ and ‘you look disgusting’.

As Ford begins to apply make-up to her selfie postings the tide of public sentiment begins to noticeably turn with many praising her complexion with remarks such as ‘you look beautiful’.

It isn’t long however before more aggressive responses begin to rear their head again however with comments such as ‘this is false advertising’ and ‘trust no f*cking b*tch with makeup’.

Ford wrote: “I wanted to create a film that showed how social media can set unrealistic expectations on both women and men.

“One challenge many face today, is that as a society, we’re so used to seeing false images of perfection, and comparing ourselves to unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing – You ARE beautiful.”

The clip ends with a picture of Ford sans make-up alongside the message ‘You are beautiful’.

The Drum wins AOP Editorial Team of the Year for the second year running
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

The Drum has been named Editorial Team of the Year for the second year running by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP).

The accolade, awarded last night (Thursday 2 July) at a ceremony at the Roundhouse, London, adds to The Drum’s growing trophy cabinet which boasts PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2013, PPA Scotland Business and Professional Magazine of the Year 2014 and PPA Digital Content Team of the Year 2014 amongst others.

"We're amazed to have won this award for the second year in a row but really are appreciative to the AOP Awards judges for believing that we are deserving of it,” said The Drum editor, Stephen Lepitak.

“We will continue to work as hard as always to deliver content to the media and marketing industry which we hope they enjoy and learn from. I believe this says a lot for the team we have in place at The Drum right now, across the company, including this talented editorial team."

The award comes just days after The Drum announced that executive editor of ExchangeWire, Ronan Shields, will be joining the award-winning editorial team as digital editor with Seb Joseph and Jennifer Faull promoted to interim news editor and senior reporter respectively.

People on the move: hires and departures at Facebook, Daily Mail, Hearst Magazines, Virgin Media and more
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

This week has seen another wave of appointments and departures at brands, media owners and agencies. The Drum has rounded up the key hires below.


Facebook has hired Google’s Andy Mihalop to head up the UK sales operation of its ad tech business Atlas – its equivalent to Doubleclick.

Mihalop, who was Google’s head of network agencies and media platforms, and second in command for DoubleClick in the UK, is understood to be on gardening leave for the next couple of months.

Daily Mail

Veteran journalist Peter Oborne is set to return to the Daily Mail with a new political column.

Following his resignation from the Telegraph in February after he accused the newspaper of refusing to properly cover HSBC’s tax avoidance for commercial reasons, the award-winning journalist will start a new column at rival publication the Daily Mail.

Hearst Magazines

Hearst Magazines UK, the publisher of Good Housekeeping, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan, has made a number of changes to its senior editorial team.

Editor of Women’s Health magazine, Farrah Storr, has been appointed as the new editor of Cosmopolitan.

Another of the major appointments involves Louise Court who will leave her position as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan to fill the newly created position of director of editorial strategy and content across Hearst Magazines UK.

Donna Karen International

Donna Karan has stepped down as chief designer from her eponymous fashion line. 

Karan will continue to serve as an advisor to Donna Karan International, which was bought by French powerhouse LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2001. She will now commit more time to her Urban Zen line, which centers on wellness and artisanal goods, according to the New York Times.


Brewing company MillerCoors has replaced its chief marketing officer as part of a senior restructuring shakeup at the company which has also resulted in the president of sales leaving.

Chief marketing officer, Andy England, will be replaced by David Kroll effective immediately.

Ed McBrien, president of sales and distributor operations, is also leaving the company after 21 years and will be replaced by Kevin Doyle, who has been with the company since 1983 and most recently served as chief commercial solutions officer.

Virgin Media

Virgin Media has appointed David Bouchier to the newly created role of chief digital entertainment officer.

In his new remit Bouchier, who previously worked for Sky, will bring together and lead the content, programming and digital entertainment teams for the group.

Stephane David, executive director, content and Scott Kewley, director of digital entertainment will both report to him.

Publicis Groupe

Arthur Sadoun has been enlisted to oversee MSLGROUP, Publicis Groupe’s global PR firm, in addition to his current role as chief executive of Publicis Worldwide.

In a bid to integrate Publicis’ PR and strategic communications capabilities for all client campaigns, Sadoun will also oversee the MSLGROUP.


Chris Garbutt is leaving his role as chief creative officer at Ogilvy & Mather New York to join TBWA Worldwide as global creative president.

Aside from serving as global creative president where he will be tasked with overseeing creative direction for the agency’s global accounts including McDonald’s and Adidas, he will also lead TBWA’s New York office as its chief creative officer.


Seoul-based agency Innocean has named Steve Jun as chief executive of Innocean Worldwide Americas (IWA).

Previously, Jun served as chief executive of Innocean’s European operations. In his new role, he will support the agency’s US office and its clients which include Hyundai and Kia.

He replaces Tony Kim, who will be returning to the agency’s headquarters in Seoul, Korea.

Millennial Media

Millennial Media, the mobile ad marketplace, has appointed Andrew Moore as managing director of platform EMEA, a post which will see him tasked with growing the business and driving programmatic initiatives.

Moore arrives at Millennial Media from online video advertising platform SpotXchange, where he led the European expansion of the business as regional managing director, bringing over 15 years’ experience of traditional and digital media.


Adam Greenwood, founder and managing director of IADigital, has been appointed to the British Interactive Media Association (Bima) board of executives.

Greenwood has filled a casual vacancy role ahead of standing for election at Bima’s AGM later this year.

He said: “Becoming a member of the Bima board is a great personal honour. I can promise you my time, commitment and support in helping Bima achieve our mission of being the best connected and most respected organisation within our amazing industry.”

Want to get your career on the move? Check out The Drum Job page and follow @TheDrumJobs for updates.

Google apologises for using Nazi camps in augmented reality game
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Google has been forced to apologise after a German newspaper reported that the search giant had incorporated several notorious concentration camps in its augmented reality app Ingress.

Players use their smartphones to submit historic locations for use as in-game locations but it was the inclusion of Auschwitz, Dachau and Sachsenhausen which raised eyebrows.

At first Google cited the ‘significant historical value’ of the death camps as justifying its approval of their inclusion the firm also apologised for any offence caused.

John Hanke, head of Google’s Niantic Labs, said: “After we were made aware that a number of historical markers on the grounds of former concentration camps in Germany had been added, we determined that they did not meet the spirit of our guidelines and began the process of removing them in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

“We apologize that this happened."

Embracing the shadows: Why brands are increasingly revealing their dark side
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Over the last 35 years, the branding world has undergone a revolution. The once false, perma-smile perfection of beautiful people smiling at us from a fabricated place where the sun always shines and everyone is happy has been trumped by a darker, realistic, if more uncomfortable, truth. This truth is manifested in all corners of our culture – from the products we use to the docudramas we watch.

Brands are now toying with and exploring the darker side of their identity in order to be more distinctive, relevant and believable. Traditional notions of beauty have been subverted, imperfections are being celebrated, the taboo is becoming permissible. What was once deemed ugly, undesirable and unacceptable is now being used as a means of unlocking emotion and empathy in a way that consumers may truly relate to. 

These ‘shadows’ are qualities that might elicit negative feelings. In essence, they are the problems, associations and contradictions that every brand faces. Brands that win in the shadows and embrace them are brands that resolve these contradictions and thus create much stronger relationships with their consumers.

Great brands have become adept at resolving these contradictions. Persil made dirt good, Adidas told us ‘there will be haters’, and Skittles let you taste ‘the other side of the rainbow’, appealing to a more sinfully sophisticated and sensual palate. Dove meanwhile repudiated traditional notions of beauty by celebrating the diversity of the female form in its iconic ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, which sought for women to accept and embrace their individual looks and love their natural shape rather than strive for an unrealistic ‘ideal’.    

This clear and increasing trend for ‘embracing the shadows’, where brands are pushing and challenging our perceptions using campaigns with real shock factor and punch, could be attributed to the recession. For it was at this point that the advent of a more risqué, grimier and even sordid type of aesthetic came to the fore, infiltrating every corner of our modern culture through advertising, TV, film, book and visual art. Consumers became more primed to accept the colder, harsher realities of life – from death and dirt to graphic sex, villainy and violence.

So what is the recipe for brands successfully embracing their dark side? How can brands ditch the glossy, ‘chocolate-box’ fail-safe ideal and re-engage with consumers using a franker and more uncomfortable truth?

Firstly, brands must be honest with themselves and their consumer and then welcome and embrace negativity. Nature is governed by opposites, and to accept and appreciate the good we must also acknowledge the bad.

Take a look at Pot Noodle’s down and dirty ‘slag of all snacks’ positioning, which saw a pantomime-style WAG transvestite called Brian releasing his own celebrity perfume inspired by his first love: the new Piri Piri flavoured Pot Noodle. Marmite embraced the divisiveness it created among consumers who either passionately loved or hated its tarry wares; in fact it paved the way for a series of comical adverts that dramatised this passion and even spawned a number of rather unsavoury sounding spoof products – from Marmite toothpaste to Marmite fabric softener.

In the mainstream, another poster boy of a brand that ‘embraced its shadows’ is Yorkie. Having always been promoted as a men-only snack, the Nestlé brand controversially took this a step further by categorically ‘banning’ women from eating its chocolate bars. On April Fools' Day, Yorkie launched a campaign with the slogan: ‘It’s not for girls’. It was done as a deliberate antidote to the “feminine silks and swirls and indulgent images of most confectionary communications,” said the then-marketing director, Andrew Harrison. It was supported not only by TV, press and poster advertising (one execution telling women to: “save your money for driving lessons”), but the packaging was also changed to incorporate a new logo in which the ‘O’ of Yorkie featured an illustration of a lady with a restrictive red line running right through it alongside the tagline: ‘It’s not for girls’.

But did courting controversy pay off? Absolutely. Within 12 weeks, the brand had an uplift in sales of 30 per cent [according to ACNielson]; focusing on a negative certainly had positive results.

Secondly, in this process of embracing the dark side, brands must ‘flip’ the unexpected. Impactful campaigns take common perceptions, subvert them and then present them in a way that portrays a different truth. Jaguar’s ‘Good to be bad’ campaign celebrates the dangerously seductive charisma of the Hollywood villain – the anti-hero if you will – intelligent, smooth, fearless and unflappable. Mirroring its British heritage and tagging this alongside the elite of filmic villains (who are also always British), the campaign juxtaposes these slick attributes with that of its brand spirit in order to promote its range of luxury saloons and sports cars.

Thirdly, in order for brands to win in the shadows, they must not be afraid of the dark side of their identity. Ice cream brand Antonio Federici’s advertising offensive featured two enrobed gay priests eating a tub of ice cream; they are composed in such a way that strongly suggests they are about to kiss. The seductive advert’s accompanying tagline, ‘We Believe In Salivation’ was deemed insulting to the Catholic Church and was swiftly banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Yet despite this, the Antonio Federici brand become an overnight sensation; it became the most shared story of the day on the BBC News website and even made the headlines on the US Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

These are just a handful of examples, but this trend is manifesting across all kinds of brands – from Peperami’s sadistic and cannibalistic ‘Animal’, to Thug’s Kitchen’s healthy food served with punk swagger and F-bombs. Whether it’s the use of brutal honesty or the acceptance of a darker more twisted sensibility, using darkness to your advantage is an effective way to stand out from the crowd and, conversely, will actually allow your brand to step into the light.

Ed Silk is strategy director at global and brand and packaging design agency Bulletproof

BBC drops the ball with revamped Wimbledon 2Day coverage
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

The BBC’s Wimbledon coverage has been blasted by viewers as a ‘mess’ following the replacement of long-standing host John Inverdale with Clare Balding.

Inverdale was axed as a presenter after 14 years as the face of the broadcasters Wimbledon coverage after criticising the appearance of tennis star Marion Bartoli live on-air, which this year saw him relegated to the commentary box.

Viewers have been left unimpressed by the changes however, describing the new chatty format as ‘awkward’ and calling for a return to more concise analysis and courtside action.

The BBC has refused to divulge how many complaints it has received from viewers in relation to the new format but admitted it had received 78 within a matter of hours of the first broadcast, sparking speculation that the changes may be short lived.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “The focus of the highlights show remains the tennis which forms the vast part of the programme along with analysis from expert pundits.  This is a new look for the show this year which we would expect to evolve as the fortnight progresses.”

A Twitter campaign calling for Inverdale to be reinstated has now attracted thousands of supporters.