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Latest news from The Drum

Brand of the Day: FIFA
Posted on Thursday May 28, 2015

Today we feature the International Federation Association of Football, better known as FIFA. On Wednesday, several arrests were made after US prosecutors accused FIFA officials of corruption and bribery.

1) The association

Founded in the early 1900s, FIFA was created to be a central governing body for soccer across the globe. It is the central organizer of major football events, most notably the World Cup. The association is headquartered in Zurich and follows the laws of Switzerland.

2) The sponsors

The association is sponsored by seven major brands: McDonald’s. Gazprom, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Visa, Budweiser and Hyundai. These brands pay top dollar -$1.4bn in 2014 – to align themselves with the football association. Sony was once on this list, but left last year.

3) The money

There is no shortage of money involved with FIFA. Much of this money goes to the association’s top officials. In 2011, $30m was allocated just for the salaries of the top 35 employees. However, a report in the Sunday Times last year indicated that many ‘secret bonuses’ are paid to the officials, including $4.4m after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

4) The arrests

Early Wednesday, Swiss police stormed Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich during a FIFA meeting. Nine individuals, named by The New York Times as Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz were arrested for accepting bribes and kickbacks. The exact amount is unknown, though it seems that The Sunday Times may have grossly underestimated.

5) Looking forward

A few of the sponsors backing FIFA, namely Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Adidas, have publically stated that they disapprove of the corruption allegations. However, none of the brands have officially dropped the association. US prosecutors are just beginning their investigations into the scandal will use US law to try to rid FIFA of all corruption. 

Meanwhile, next week it will hold its presedential elections with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein standing against long-time incumbent Sepp Blatter, although calls have been made for these to be postponed following the arrests. 

The dreamers: TBWA's Peter Souter on inspiration, screenwriting and why 'everything is copy'
Posted on Thursday May 28, 2015

“Everything is copy”. These words of wisdom, passed down to bestselling novelist, director and journalist Nora Ephron by her screenwriter parents, are also the words of wisdom TBWA\ London chairman and chief creative officer Peter Souter lives by.

Starting his career at Delaney Fletcher Delaney in the mid-80s, Souter joined AMV BBDO in 1991, quickly climbing the ranks to replace David Abbott – a creative mind Souter says he grew up “devoted” to – and becoming executive creative director in 1997. After 17 years he took four years out to follow his passion for screenwriting, returning to adland in 2012.

“When I took those four years out, all that time I’d spent slumped on the sofa watching telly became research,” he laughs, “and that’s the great thing about being creative – everything you see or do or breathe in has the capacity to be helpful to your creative output.”

He says those years fed his creative output upon his return, and he advocates creatives taking the time to pursue more than just their day jobs.

“People in advertising are incredibly productive, inventive, genuinely creative, odd and funny, but there’s a slight inferiority complex. I found no one in the TV business I admired more than the people I work with in advertising.

“It’s like those Tex Avery cartoons where the character runs off a cliff. As long as you don’t look down you’ll keep going. If you can write commercially for a living, you can write anything.”

With Sainsbury’s ‘Try Something New Today’ ads starring Jamie Oliver, ‘D Rose Jumptore’ for Adidas and the famous Guinness ‘Surfer’ on his CV, Souter’s scriptwriting has included 2010 ITV drama Married Single Other as well as theatre and radio plays, the most recent of which was 13A 13B, a romcom for BBC Radio 4 starring Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey fame.

“I think it’s very important to have other outlets and other schedules,” says Souter, reflecting on his time out of the advertising industry. “As a writer nothing inspires you to write faster and more productively than not getting paid very much for it.”

“What’s interesting with copywriting is it’s all about getting things down in the least number of words. Longer form is a completely different kind of discipline when you have the time and space to develop characters.

“It’s like the difference between sprinting and running marathons. It’s great to sprint but sometimes you need to get out there and really run for a few hours. Both really feed each other creatively.” TV and radio are obvious passions for Souter, but when asked which he prefers, ever the diplomat, he says both as they’re “completely different” beasts.

“The great thing with radio, even within advertising, is that no one really cares about it. It’s a two per cent medium and even as a young copywriter fresh off the street I was recording and directing my own stuff within weeks.

“Even with the BBC, where you get a fantastic producer and director, you’re still involved with casting and production, whereas with TV, it’s the complete opposite. For example, Married Single Other took millions to make and was a huge collaborative process with so many people involved.”

As chief creative officer at TBWA\London, Souter inspires his “boys and girls” by sharing the work he wishes he’d done, with Breaking Bad currently top of that list. “It’s the best thing I have ever seen of any description,” he says while enthusing about being in a “golden age of TV drama”.

He describes the show as “funny and involving and ghastly and horrific” all at the same time. “I’ve never seen anything that takes you on a journey from a character you absolutely adore and sympathise with to being the worst person on the planet. It’s such a clever thing to do.”

Souter says the blurring of boundaries between advertising and content is increasingly inspiring, with clients finally recognising there’s something they can achieve in long form that they can’t in short form.

“There’s been a lot of rubbish talked about content over the years and really content is anything from watching plaster being peeled off on YouTube to movies. Wonderfully, if you create anything digital now you’re in competition with porn – someone’s only ever a click away from something very, very different indeed. I can’t see how we can avoid doing compelling content now.”

He is “inspired everyday” by TBWA colleague Walter Campbell, who screenwrote the Scarlett Johansson film Under the Skin with director Jonathan Glazer.

Souter also cites Richard Curtis as his “big hero”. “If I had written Four Weddings and a Funeral I’d have gone off for a nice long lie down on a beach forever, but Richard Curtis has raised a billion pounds through Comic Relief and that’s completely awe inspiring.”

This feature was first published in the 27 May issue of The Drum.

Karmarama poaches former Droga5 exec Nik Studzinski to fill chief creative officer role
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Nik Studzinski, who previously served as executive creative director at Droga5’s European office, is joining Karmarama as chief creative officer (CCO) and equity partner.

He replaces founder and chief creative officer Dave Buonaguidi, who left the agency last summer.

Of his appointment, Studzinski said: "I've enjoyed an incredible journey with Droga5 and it took something exceptional to make me even think about leaving. Karmarama is a dynamic independent agency with a unique spirit, incredible talent across all the disciplines, and a great offering from advertising and content through to mobile and data.”

He spent the past five years at Droga5 in both New York and London. During his time there, he worked on campaigns for brands including Puma, Mondelez International, and Coca-Cola. He also was one of the founders of the agency’s European office.

Before joining Droga5, he served as creative director at Mother London.

Karmarama’s clients include Honda, Nintendo and Costa Coffee.

Prudential’s mobile card game asks users what the odds are of living until 100
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

‘Game of Odds,’ Prudential’s mobile and online card game, prompts players to look at the odds of unlikely situations – such as dating a supermodel or dying from a falling vending machine - and order them from least likely to happen to most likely to happen.

The campaign is part of the company’s effort to make life insurance more accessible and fun by giving users the chance to learn about the odds of something happening to them while hopefully encouraging them to visit life insurance experts at Prudential.

In partnership with creative agency Droga5, the insurance firm also launched a social campaign called ‘Week of Odds’ earlier this month where a statistician helped crunch numbers relating to buzzy news that ran alongside articles.

When Tori Spelling told Us Weekly that her marriage is doing great, the statistician revealed that the chances of a celebrity marriage lasting forever are actually only one in three.

Kevin Brady, executive creative director at Droga5, told The Drum: “In every iteration, the Prudential ‘Game of Odds’ and ‘Week of Odds’ showed people that they weren’t that great at understanding the odds. It prompted them to get help from somebody whose job it is to understand the odds.

“And it did it all in a way that was easy for everyone to absorb, even people who were a little intimidated by finance or life insurance,” he added.

Prudential then capitalized on the already-popular hashtag ‘#WhatAreTheOdds’ by actually responding to user tweets that included that hashtag.

When one user tweeted: ‘Two eggs in one yolk, what are the chances? #whataretheodds,’ Prudential responded with: ‘1 in 1,000.’

The life insurance campaign is Prudential’s latest attempt to make abstract ideas, such as retirement, more understandable and relatable for audiences.

Apple to fix bug that causes iPhone messenger crashes
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Apple plans to fix the bug that can cause an iPhone to crash by simply receiving a text message of symbols and Arabic characters.

The bug was first reported on Reddit after users reported the security concern.

Once an iPhone receives a message with the symbols, it will crash and restart. From then on, the phone will crash whenever the messages app is opened.

However, there are a few people who don’t get affected by the bug, indicating that it may only work on certain phones with certain updates and settings.

 “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of Unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update,” said a spokesperson for Apple.

In the meanwhile, users can protect themselves can uncheck the ‘Show in lockscreen’ option in their messenger settings in addition to turning off banner notifications.  


Qatar World Cup sponsors Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s speak out after Fifa corruption raid
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

The leading sponsors of the next two World Cup competitions have issued statements after a number of Fifa’s top executives were arrested for accepted bribes and kickbacks.

Following the creative community issuing ads mocking the brands’ compliance with alleged slavery practices in Qatar during the construction of the 2022 stadiums, Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s have issued statements indicating they are watching the situation closely.

Adidas told Business Insider: “The Adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners.

"Following today’s news, we can therefore only encourage Fifa to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do.

“Adidas is the world’s leading football brand and we will continue to support football on all levels.”

Meanwhile, Budweiser told Reuters: “We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency."

And finally, McDonald’s also commented on the situation: “McDonald's takes matters of ethics and corruption very seriously and the news from the US Department of Justice is extremely concerning. We are in contact with FIFA on this matter. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely."

Fifa will likely be on thin ice, after brands Castrol, Johnson & Johnson and Continental all called time on their association with the organisation in January.

Hormel to acquire Applegate Farms
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corporation has announced that it will acquire organic meat brand Applegate Farms for approximately $775m.

The move comes as Hormel, whose brands include Spam, Skippy, and Dinty Moore, tries to appeal to younger and more health-conscious consumers.

Jeffrey M. Ettinger, president and chief executive officer at Hormel Foods, said: “A growing number of consumers are choosing natural and organic products. This deal allows us to expand the breadth of our protein offerings to provide consumers more choice.”

Based in New Jersey, Applegate will operate autonomously. The deal is expected to close within 60 days.

Stephen McDonnell, Applegate founder and CEO, said: “Over the last 28 years Applegate has brought transparency and clean ingredients to American favorites and classics like hot dogs, bacon and deli meat. It was my mission from the start to change the way we think about meat – how it’s raised and produced – and this agreement is definitely a continuation of that mission.” 

Earlier this year, Hormel Natural Choice unveiled a brand re-launch campaign starring actress Judy Greer encouraging viewers to ‘make the natural choice’ to promote its preservative-free lunchmeat.

Telmar appoints Anna Fountas president of the Americas
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

Media planning software brand, Telmar, has appointed Anna Fountas president of the Americas.

Telmar is used in more than 100 countries by more than 25,000 users who want to analyze consumer and media data in order to properly target markets.

In her new role, Fountas, formerly president of the Traffic Audit Bureau, will be responsible for leading sales and client services in the US, Canada, and South America.

“Media planning software is more important than ever,” she said. “Every day advertisers get more options, complexity, data and urgency to contend with. Advertising depends utterly on targeting, and targeting relies increasingly on data synthesis.”

Fountas will report directly to Telmar’s global president, Corey Panno.

Publishers lose Adblock Plus challenge as court (again) rules ad blocking is legal
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

German publishers have failed to prevent their users blocking ads on their sites after court officials ruled that the software was not anti-competitive.

The failed lawsuit from German publishers RTL and ProSiebenSat1 was against Eyeo, the parent company of popular ad-blocker AdBlock Plus, which operates an “acceptable ads” whitelist that larger sites have to abide by strict standards and sometimes pay steep fees to appear on.  

A spokesperson for the court confirmed the ruling to the Guardian this afternoon and in a statement said that the AdBlock Plus software “was not anti-competitive” because users choose to install the software and that it is not yet big enough to have a neglible impact on the money they make from ads.

In an emailed statement Eyeo said: “We are elated at the decision reached today by the Munich court, which is another win for every Internet user. It confirms each individual’s right to block annoying ads, protect their privacy and, by extension, determine his or her own internet experience. This time it also confirms the legitimacy of our Acceptable Ads initiative as a compromise in the often contentious and rarely progressive world of online advertising.”

It is Eyeo’s second victory over media owners in as many months and the fourth time it has batted away legal challenges to its offering. Last month’s challenge, which was mounted by German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt, appears to have set a precedent with the outcome bearing striking similarities to today’s ruling. Greater clarification will be provided once another lawsuit against Eyeo from Axel Springer, the owner of the country’s largest newspaper Bild, is resolved.

The spate of lawsuits reflect the potential threat ad blocking could pose to those media owners reliant on advertising to drive their revenues should it become more widespread. The number of people with ad blockers jumped 70 per cent year-on-year in 2014, according to PageFair and Adobe, while Adblock Plus claims to have 50 million active users. Both figures will likely rise further this year now that Adblock Plus is being tested on Android devices ahead of a full scale rollout.

The failed lawsuits and moves to boost the reach of ad blockers are a blow for media owners like Google. The online business along with peers Amazon and Microsoft have all paid Eyeo to stop blocking ads on their sites, while several European mobile operators are reportedly poised to block advertising on their networks.  

It all points to a key role for ad blocking services in the tussle for dominance of advertising revenues between publishers and technology companies. Online advertising was worth $141.2bn globally in 2014, so it’s clear why the prospect of more people blocking ads with services such as Eyeo and mobile blocker Shine has ruffled the industry.

Richard Eyre, Chairman of IAB UK, wrote in a blog post today that ad blocking, particularly on mobile, can only be managed through “effective partnerships” involving all parties. His cited research from the IAB and YouGov which reveals that the level people would pay if the ads went away could not possibly support the quality of services they have come to expect for ‘free’.

“Advertising is the currency of the web. People don't much like paying for anything, but advertising is very clearly preferred to any other form of transaction,” he continued. “Our research says people would pay on average 88p a month for social media and £1.33 per month for search.

“[Advertising] supports an ecosystem that works for creators of content and services and for users, hence the £7bn spent last year in the UK alone on internet platforms, £1.6bn of that on mobile devices.  Advertising is also the simple mechanic that encourages innovation, as new entrants can safely count on earning ad revenues for a product people like.” gets together with ITV2 in Love Island partnership
Posted on Wednesday May 27, 2015

ITV Commercial and have struck a partnership which will see the dating service sponsor Love Island on ITV2.

The deal, which will see the dating site’s idents feature on broadcast, online and mobile with the show backed with digital and social media activity.

The idents will show singles preparing to go on dates they’ve set up through Match’s mobile app.

Jeremy Corenbloom, marketing director at, said: “The show will be an interesting and highly entertaining snapshot of young UK singles’ attitudes and behaviour.

“We’re expecting that the excitement of the show will inspire viewers to date as they watch, and we predict many of our singles will be using their mobiles to find dates while double-screening to chat about what’s happening on the show.”

Gary Knight, ITV commercial content director, added: “Love Island and is the perfect marriage of brands and we look forward to bringing this partnership to life across multiple platforms.”

Caroline Flack has been confirmed to host the upcoming season of the show.