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Latest news from The Drum

Brands join the American Independence Day celebrations on Twitter
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

Brands from both sides of the pond are celebrating American Independence Day, using a mix of promoted tweets and insights to ensure they’re in the right place at the right time. The Drum has picked out some of the best and fastest examples below.

Paddy Power, Sky Movies and Yo Sushi are among the first to celebrate the national holiday but they are just the tip of what will be a wave of brand-backed tweets. Keep an eye on our page over the course of the day to see more posts.


Government to digitise GREAT Britain campaign
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

The Government is to take its GREAT Britain campaign digital, hiring agency TH_NK to steer its push into emerging channels.

The appointment marks a milestone for the campaign, which has predominately been focused on more traditional media like outdoor and print to promote the region to the world. TH_NK, which has masterminded successful digital drives for companies such as Nando’s and Asos, will work to create digital initiatives that promote the best Britain has to offer under the single GREAT brand.

The government will be hoping the campaign’s expanded scope builds on the £1.2bn its most recent effort pulled in through tourism. The £100m-plus global campaign featured British icons James Bond and Paddington Bear was the first time the UK had been promoted with a single, co-ordinated brand campaign.

The campaign, which is used by 17 UK government and related organisations internationally, has a target of generating between £1.7bn to £1.9bn for the UK economy by 2020. Digital will play a key part of this with the initiative’s organisers keen to bring emerging channel’s further into its marketing mix.

Lea Simpson, strategy director at TH_NK, said: It’s hard to imagine a more illustrious brand than Britain. It’s a privilege to be tasked with imagining its digital future. We can’t wait to get going.”

Reddit CEO vows to resolve community issues after revolt
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

Reddit’s interim chief executive Ellen Pao has apologised for the way it dismissed one of its team after its community members  shut down hundreds of the online message board’s most popular sections apparently in protest.

The outages, which rippled across the site on Friday (3 July), were reportedly in protest to the dismissal of Victoria Taylor, who oversaw the site’s popular “Ask Me Anything” interviews and was also a key contact for its moderators.

“I want to apologise to our community for yesterday,” Pao told Time. “We handled the transition in a way that caused some disruption, and we should have done a better job.” She added that the company’s management should have notified moderators earlier about the change in personnel but declined to comment further on Taylor’s exit.

Nearly 300 individual discussion areas were closed in the wake of Taylor’s exit, reportedly impacting Subreddits that ranged from technology to art. Community members rather than Reddit staff moderate Subreddits.        

Alexis Ohanian, one of Reddit’s co-founders and its chairman, said it has appointed long-time Reddit user and emploeee Kristine Fasnacht to act as its dedicated point of contact with moderators. He revealed the plan was to have an email alias available to moderators who need to contact Reddit employees but admitted that this had not been clearly communicated after Taylor’s departure.

“Unfortunately, we did not announce the transition right after that happened,” he said.

The outages spotlight the wider issue of the lack of support the online message board gives to its moderators.

In a statement posted on Reddit, Pao said the company is ‘breaking some of the ways moderators moderate. We are going to figure this out and fix it.”

Provocative 'Beach Body' ads spark outrage (again) but this time it’s in New York
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

Protein World's controversial “Are You Beach Body Ready’ ads are sparking similar levels of outrage from New Yorkers to those in the UK who believe the campaign objectifies women.

The provocative posters for slimming products are in subway stations across the city as well as a large billboard near Times Square. It shows an image of a bikini clad model appearing next to the words “Are You Beach Body Ready”, similar to its UK counterpart.

Protesters have slammed the campaign for objectifying women and are covering the “beach body” with stickers of the US women’s football team kit. BBH creatives Lannie Hartley and Alia Roberts are leading the backlash and have also set up the site WorldCupReady.   

“We did not like the message these ads were giving women. It’s crass and in your face and at the end of the day, is body shaming.” Harley told the Telegraph.

Additionally, the protests are backed by feminist groups Redstockings and National Women’s Liberation, which are both sharing stickers that read “This Oppresses Women” and are placing them over the ads.

Adrielle Munger, an activist with Redstockings, told These advertisements are not just offending or insulting us but oppressing us by creating a hugely pervasive climate of sexualising women – especially in New York City where the ads are as loud as the male street harassers.

“Their ads are just another addition to the barrage of oppressive media and advertisements that create a climate of harassment towards women and our bodies.”

Despite the level of anger the ads have incited, the UK advertising watchdog ruled that they are not offensive. It concluded that the campaign, which received nearly 400 complaints, is not socially irresponsible and would not be banned.  

Ex-Disney CEO Michael Eisner says ‘funny, beautiful women are impossible to find’
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

Women in business who are “funny” and “beautiful” are hard to find, according to former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner.

Eisner, who ran the media giant between 1984 and 2005, made the comments as part of an on-stage conversation with Holywood actor Goldie Hawn at the Aspen Ideas Festival. He said the Death Becomes Her star was the exception because she “didn’t think she was attractive” and outlined his theory on why it had been difficult to find funny, beautiful women.

“From my position, the hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman,” he claimed. “By far. They usually – boy am I going to get in trouble, I know this goes online – but usually, unbelievably beautiful women, you being an exception, are not funny.

“I know women who have been told they’re beautiful, they win Miss Arkansas, they don’t ever have to get attention other than with their looks. So they don’t tell a joke. In the history of the motion-picture business, the number of beautiful, really beautiful women – a Lucille Ball – that are funny, is impossible to find.”

Eisner’s time at the house of mouse saw him help steer films such as The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. Since leaving, he has hosted his own talk show and set up his own production company that creates and distributes online videos.

Former Google and Apple exec: ‘women stop saying just, you sound like children’
Posted on Saturday July 04, 2015

A former Google and Apple exec has urged women to stop using the word “just” at work because it undermines their authority and makes them seem “childish”.

Ellen Petry Leanse, who worked as a marketer at both technology companies, came to the conclusion afer she noticed how much her co-workers and friends used the word in emails. Women used “just” more often than men, she wrote on LinkedIn, which reflected its use as “permission word”, a “warm-up to a request, an apology for interrupting, a shy knock on a door before asking "Can I get something I need from you?".

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a "child" word, to riff Transactional Analysis. As such it put the conversation partner into the "parent" position, granting them more authority and control. And that "just" didn't make sense,” said Leanse.

She went on to claim that when the word was struck from phrases, it “clarified” and “strengthened” the message. “Take the "J Count" down. Take the word out of your sentences and see if you note a difference in your clarity — and even the beliefs that fuel the things you say,” she added.

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, 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.