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Latest news from The Drum

Ofcom slaps EE with £1m fine for mishandling customer complaints
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Ofcom has fined EE a total of £1m for failing to comply with rules dictating how to handle customer complaints.

The comms watchdog announced that EE was one firm guilty of failing to ensure that customer grievances were dealt with appropriately and fairly.

The mobile carrier – which is looking to combine with BT in a £12.5bn deal – failed to distribute letters stating that customers have a right to have their complaint administered by the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

EE failed to announce that consumers could request a ‘deadlock letter’ which would see the incident handled by the ADR, whereupon a impartial judgement could be reached.

Furthermore, a number of consumers who requested the deadlock letter were not sent them, with EE stating to some that it was not in its policy to issue such documents.

Between July 2011 and February 2014, Orange, 4GEE and T-Mobile customers were not told that they can use its ADR scheme for free.

UK music streaming jumps 80% in the first half of 2015
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

UK music streaming rose by a full 80 per cent in the first six months of 2015, showing the platform’s prominence as Apple enters the digital marketplace with its Apple Music subscription service.

Comparing UK listening habits in the first 26 weeks of 2015 against the same period in 2014, the Official Charts Company and BPI noted that album sales were up four per cent, streams up 80 per cent and vinyl hit a 20 year high in physical sales.

On the state of the industry, Geoff Taylor, chief executive of BPI and BRIT Awards, said: “The launch of Apple Music will give further impetus to the revolution of music streaming. Millions of households are experiencing the joy of instantly playing any song they want, all around their house and on any device, and exploring a universe of new music and classic albums.

“At the same time, many fans are rediscovering the slower pleasure of collecting and owning music on CD and vinyl.”

“The precise impact of Apple Music in 2015 is hard to predict, but UK labels have reinvented their businesses for a multi-channel world, are investing heavily in talent and are offering fans greater choice and value than ever before. With British music on a high around the world, we look to the future with real confidence."

In 2014, 14.8bn tracks were streamed, almost double the level recorded in 2013. Dwarfing these figures, the first six months of 2015 saw the tally hit 11.5bn listens.

Why ad blocking software won't spell the death of online advertising
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

A recent report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed that 15 per cent of British adults online are currently using ad blocking software. The study, conducted by YouGov, also showed that the two most likely motivations for blocking ads were because they were “annoying” or “interruptive”.

It would appear, then, that people must detest online ads; but should online marketers and publishers be concerned? Now that Apple has given the green light for ad blocking software on its devices, is this a sign that ad blocking software has the potential to kill off the online advertising market?

So long as people get free content, People will tolerate online ads

In all honesty, it would be a gross exaggeration to declare the death of online advertising due to the proliferation of ad blocking software, or people’s annoyance with online banners. Contrary to the IAB report, a study last year from PageFair and Adobe found that the number of users installing ad blocking software equated to only 5 per cent of the internet population. Apple’s announcement might increase those numbers slightly, but the damage to the online advertising sector will most likely be incidental.

Having said that, should brands that rely heavily on the web to advertise be concerned that people are choosing to ignore their ads? The answer is yes and no. It is hard to ignore the fact a good percentage of the click-through rates on banner ads are accidental. Rich media, such as online video ads, can easily be ignored and retargeted ads that follow users across their web journey are grating.  

Despite the potential irritability of ads on the web, people are not actually that bothered by them. In my opinion, many users view them as a necessary evil for accessing free content instead of having to fork out money to bypass a pay wall.

Creativity and engagement

People will tolerate an advert interrupting their web experience if it engages them. In the IAB findings, just 52 per cent of those surveyed said their main motivation for using ad blocking software was to block all ads. Some people used the software to block certain types of ads or block ads from appearing on specific websites rather than all ads everywhere.

According to research from coull.com, click-through rates for display ads on mobile was only 0.35 per cent. Although mobile banner ads are performing better than their desktop counterparts, it is not by much. And who really wants to spend their time doing something that works 0.35 per cent of the time?

Notably, the same research claims that the click-through rate for video is actually 11 per cent. Although it is difficult to measure what percentage of mobile users can actually recall the adverts they see without insight from a focus group, it demonstrates that people engage more with richer creative content.

This is an indication that people will not completely ignore a mobile advert if it is visually engaging, but they disregard an ad if it fails to be captivating, useful or entertaining.

The onus then is on mobile marketers to up their game. First and foremost it is not enough for mobile content to simply be platform specific; it has to be the type of content that people want to actually watch. This may seem obvious, but mobile marketers can become so embroiled in the technicalities that the creative becomes an afterthought. It is counterproductive for mobile marketers to haggle for the best banner ad position on a publisher’s website if the creative, in whatever form, is poorly executed.

For publishers, there are other ways to generate revenue

All of this discussion around the uptake of ad blocking software is not only worrying mobile marketers – online publishers will be feeling apprehensive too. As previously mentioned, online publishers rely on advertising for survival but have realised that this is ultimately unsustainable. Instead, some publishers are establishing paywalls as an alternative method of generating revenue, but many publishers will have a hard time convincing people to pay for the actual content that they have always had for free.

So, if ad blocking software is a threat, albeit a small one, and people are less likely to pay for content, then how can publishers generate revenue without relying on online advertising? One popular strategy often used by publishers is reselling customer data to third parties. Affiliate marketing is another strategy that publishers have resorted to.

Ultimately though banner ads are one small and fairly dispiriting option for brands online; the existence of ad blocking software should only help to encourage better, more interesting work that doesn’t have to be squeezed into a paid ad spot. I don’t want to use the C word but you know what I mean.

Geoff Gower is executive creative director at ais London

Cannes Comedown: Watch The Drum's Cannes Lions coverage highlights – From Kim Kardashian West to Tinder's Sean Rad
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

With over 12,000 delegates from 94 countries flocking to the south of France for seven days each June, Cannes Lions is always going to be an action-packed week.

And this year The Drum decided to go all out on its coverage.

Not content with having the front cover of our special Maurice Lévy guest-edited issue displayed along Le Croisette, we sent our video team out there in full force.

We caught up with Tinder's co-founder Sean Radd, heard from the Slow Mo Guys on what it takes to make a viral hit and even arranged a meet-up between superstar Kim Kardashian West and adland's most powerful businessman Sir Martin Sorrell.

So with the dust finally settled on this year’s event we've pulled together a round-up of our highlights from 2015, you can watch it in full above.

ISPA names Theresa May as villain of the year for snooper's charter push
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has named home secretary Theresa May as an ’Internet Villain’ for her support of the 'snooper's charter' without conducting what the organisation thinks is a full consultation of the industry.

May picked up the award for “forging ahead with communications data legislation without fully consulting industry".

ISPA added: "With an Investigatory Powers Bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted."

On the other hand, MPs David Davis and Tom Watson were named ‘Internet Heroes’ for their hard work battling action against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

A statement read: “Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject.”

Additionally, a special 20th anniversary award was given to John Souter, chief executive of Linx, the London Internet Exchange, for his sustained service to the UK internet industry.

Paddy Power has ‘no regrets’ for ‘good at sport’ immigrant stowaway ad
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Paddy Power has stood by its decision to run a controversial ad on a lorry calling for immigrants who are talented at sport to hop aboard and sneak into the UK.

Making light of illegal immigrants boarding lorries in order to enter the country, the firm decked out the vehicle with an ad offering passage to potential stowaways who could bolster our national sports teams.

Further irking some people was the fact Andy Murray was included on the truck, playing on the well-known witticism that Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he triumphs.

Rory Scott, head of PR at Paddy Power UK, told PRWeek that despite the stunt sparking a sizeable backlash – something the brand is accustomed with doing – it had “no regrets” over the ad.

Scott said: “Humour is subjective and I’m sure many people feel offended at the jokes on ‘Have I Got News for You’, for example. What’s going on in Calais is topical, but this wasn’t an observation of that crisis. This was more of a gag about some of our leading British sport stars.

"We were playing on the joke that Andy Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he wins."

The bookmaker often courts controversy, most notably portraying Irish militants as newly-wed homosexuals, a ‘Money if he walks’ Oscar Pistorius jibe and mocking out-going MPs with a Westminster goodbye lorry.

Cheil Worldwide names Aaron Lau president of international
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Cheil Worldwide has appointed Aaron Lau as president of international.

As president of international, Lau will lead the global networks, enhancing the agency’s reputation and growing the existing portfolio of clients. He will lead the Cheil Global Network team in the UK and work with regional heads in overseas networks to develop global and regional clients.

Lau will also collaborate with the leadership teams under the Chiel umbrella including iris Worldwide, Beattie McGuiness Bungay (BMB) and more.

Lau has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cheil Greater China since 2012; he will retain this role in addition to being president of international. Prior to Cheil he served as chairman and CEO of Bravo Asia for three years and worked with DDB for 16 years advancing to the role of chairman and president, Asia.

During his career Lau has been present on a number of advisory boards including the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, HK-China Business Council and the Shanghai Xu Hui District Mayor’s International Advisory Board.

How a Turkish bank is using Apple’s Watch to engage people with ‘short, powerful’ interactions’
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Turkish bank Akbank is looking to wearable technology for the future of banking, using the Apple Watch to create a new banking channel underscored by shorter, contextual interactions with people.

The app captures information about the smartwatch wearer, allowing them to manage their accounts in a myriad of ways including accessing daily statements, performing currency conversions based on location and locating the nearest branch. Importantly, the app can withdraw money from ATMs via SMS Pass or iBeacon. 

Notifications on the Akbank Apple Watch app give customers a view of their daily activities and notify them if they hit pre-set spending limits. This allows the user to keep a close eye on their personal accounts and finances, and also prevent unexpected activity.

Developed in partnership with R/GA London, the app aims to accelerate Akbanks effort’s attempts to refresh the customer experience at a time when slow customer adoption of wearables continues to be a hindrance to building expansive strategies. Just 720,000 Android Watches were shipped during 2014, but some experts expect Apple Watch’s arrival in April to push the category up to 40 million units shipped in 2015.

Akbank wants its Apple Watch app to work alongside its smartphone counterpart. It sees its endeavours on smartwatches as more of an enabler and display for the apps running on people’s phones.

David Jakes, experience design director at R/GA, said the brand realised that a “smartwatch gives us an opportunity to create shorter, but more powerful interactions with people”.

“Being contextual, always on, and reachable makes it unique in many ways. Finding the right balance, so the interactions are accurate, relevant and useful is our primary focus,” he added. “At the same time, as mentioned before, smart watches make new interactions a more intimate and meaningful experience. Finding the balance between the smart watch and the smart phone is a choreography of simplicity, real value, context and utility. It is a new medium to tell a different kind of story, that can help people and brands have a stronger relationship where it makes sense.”

Despite wearable technology being in its infancy, banks from all over the world including the Royal Bank of Canada and Spain’s La Caixa have experimented with Google Glass and other applications to make processes like authentication and account management more convenient for customers. While banks are gradually coming to terms with mobile, wearables are still uncharted territory and as such banks have been happy to experiment and not commit too much when they are still yet to be widely adopted.

Akbank’s strategy reflects what early adopters of the smartwatch were quick to highlight; that the watch would be a way to take personalisation to the next level with short and sweet interactions that people could decide what was personal or not rather than having it decided for them.

Tango furthers '5 stages of Tang' push with Tang Enhancers online film series
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Tango has progressed its ‘Five Stages of Tang’ campaign with the release of six online films created by advertising agency 101.

The films, which launched today (Friday 3 July), continue in the style of Tango’s last infomercial and feature a Tango representative along with the host of Smart Deals TV try to sell ‘Tang Enhancers’.

The tongue-in-cheek effort pushes five accessories that enhance the Tango experience including a strap-on nose with miniature cartridges to increase Nose Tang, gunpowder-filled mini-cans for Woo Tang, and a stick of haunted wood to amplify the Boo in your Boo Tang (see above).

The campaign directs viewers to a phone line – 0800 088 2028 – where products can be bought by navigating a series of options.

Infographic: Digital growth Down Under
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Australia is on the cusp of exponential ecommerce growth as a result of high average disposable income, penetration of mobile devices and increasing internet speeds, according to new research from Navigate Digital.

Australian consumers spent $16.9bn online in the year to April 2015, a year-on-year increase of more than 9 per cent.

Check out the infographic below for more details: