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Latest news from The Drum

Google Play releases latest installment of 'California Inspires Me' series featuring Reggie Watts
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Google Play has unveiled the latest installment of its animated video interview series, ‘California Inspires Me’.

Part of an ongoing partnership with Pop-Up Magazine’s publication California Sunday, the series celebrates how the state of California has shaped and influenced the careers of successful artists.

For the July issue musician, comedian, performer and self-proclaimed ‘weirdo’ Reggie Watts has been interview and in his video piece he discusses blowing up model airplanes, how he prepares (or doesn’t) to go on stage and the health benefits of life on the West Coast.

The video was created by BBH LA with animation by Drew Tyndell Watts.

Mondelez pours £10m in to Ritz campaign as it looks to own crisp category
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Mondelez has invested £10m in a new campaign for its Ritz cracker brand as the FMCG giant looks to gain a foothold in the crisp market. 

A TV ad, created by Mother, will look to raise awareness of the new Ritz Crisp & Thin product and is based around the theme 'Putting on the Ritz' with the idea that eating the everyday snack will add a bit of 'ritziness' to your life. 

The ad debuts tomorrow evening (3 July) on ITV and will then be broadcast across a range of terrestrial and digital channels UK and Ireland wide. 

A marketing push will follow the TV ad over the next seven months and will appear across OOH, digital, sampling, in-store activity and PR. 

The OOH, also created by Mother will showcase moving imagery of Ritz Crisp & Thin being poured into a bowl, which Mondelez is hoping will trigger the thought that the product is a crisp alternative. 

To drive further uplift a remake of the soundtrack ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ by Irving Berlin features in the TV spot and will be released on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. 

The launch comes as Mondeléz looks to build its presence in the lucrative crisp market where it curently has a limited foothold. Savoury baked snacks represents huge growth potential for Mondeléz in the UK; the FMCG company says the savoury snacking market is worth in excess of £3bn. The UK is Europe’s biggest crisp and snacks market, worth £2.2bn with 100 packets of crisps eaten per person per year. 

Scottish Rugby appoints Amigo to create website for Scotland’s Rugby World Cup campaign
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Scottish Rugby has chosen digital agency Amigo to design and build a dedicated website for Scotland’s 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign.

The online portal will combine live updates, such as breaking news and social feeds, with match-day information and Scottish Rugby content including behind the scenes footage and insights from the players within the squad.

Matt Horler, head of media at Scottish Rugby, said the site will give it “a highly dynamic content publishing platform to keep Scotland’s fans up to date with all the latest news as it happens in the coming months".

He highlighted the importance of Scottish Rugby’s strong track record in social media which resulted in them wanting to “create an accessible and innovative space to give our fans a one-stop-shop for all the forthcoming matches and events the team will be involved in”.

The site has already launched and features an autoplay video at the header of the site as well as a number of sections including one for ticket sales which enables fans to buy tickets for Scotland’s next home game against Italy on 29 August.

MillerCoors replaces CMO as part of company restructuring
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

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.

Ad Age reported today that MillerCoors 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.

Interim CEO Gavin Hattersley was quoted as saying that the company was “not satisfied with our volume performance, so we need to take action to change that dynamic".

In a statement Hattersley recognised Kroll’s “critical role in introducing Redd’s and Smith & Forge” and said he was "excited to see what he can do to shape our marketing efforts in the digital age”.

While MillerCoors' profit rose 2.9 per cent last year to $1.33bn, it reported one of its worst quarters ever in February and declined 12 per cent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier.

Royal Albert Hall turns to mobile game advertising to target Back to the Future fans
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

The Royal Albert Hall has launched its first mobile game advertising campaign to promote the UK premiere of its ‘Back to the Future Live in Concert’ event which takes place on Saturday (4 July).

Running across Gameloft’s mobile games, following the publisher’s decision to open its platform to UK advertisers, the campaign aims to bring new audiences to the venue's film-with-live-score series.

With 10 million monthly users across Gameloft’s properties the Royal Albert Hall worked with the publisher’s in-house team to access in-depth audience data to precision-target males aged 30+ who would be fans of the 1980s classic sci-fi film.

“We’re always looking for new ways to share our passion for the sciences. As a charity, we must ensure campaigns deliver and are cost-effective,” said Lucy Noble, director of events at the Royal Albert Hall. “Partnering with Gameloft gives us direct access to those who know and love flux capacitors, and we’re hoping we can kindle a similar passion for live orchestral music.”

David Whitby, UK and Ireland country manager for Gameloft, added: “It’s great to work with a prestigious British charity such as the Royal Albert Hall. For this campaign, the targeting was vital to unlocking awareness of Back to the Future Live in Concert. Rather than intrusive adverts, we ensure that messages are served at appropriate times during gameplay to ensure high engagement. We understand our consumers and tailor each campaign for the best results.”

Some of Gameloft’s most popular apps including GTRacing2, Modern Combat 5 and Total Conquest are currently carrying ads for the Royal Albert Hall. The carefully chosen titles provide access to a total audience of 1.8m.

Why I wish UI would just disappear
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Okay, so I don’t mean that I’d like UI to stop being a thing. As the creative partner in a digital creative agency I’d be out of a job pretty quickly. I’ve got rent to pay, whiskey to buy. It wouldn’t be much fun.

When I write that I wish UI would disappear I mean it in the most literal sense, as in: I hope we’ll get to a point where UI is so sophisticated and so natural, users won’t know it even exists.

So what is UI?

At its most simple, user interface (or UI) is the space where a human interacts with a computer. As a user, UI is our perceived functionality of a website, application or physical product. It requires an input – this could be hardware like a mouse and keyboard, your voice, or motion detection like the Microsoft Kinect – and an output – like a screen.

Why is UI important?

“As far as the customer is concerned, the interface is the product.” So said Jef Raskin, Apple’s legendary interface expert, in 1978. Today, 37 years later, this still holds true.

With this in mind, UI developers strive to create systems that are intuitive, informative and attractive. And until now, the received wisdom has been that UI is at it’s best when it’s hardly noticeable.

Here’s where I have a problem. What if we could go one better than ‘hardly noticeable’? What if we could achieve invisibility? It’s my belief not only that we can, but that it’s not so far from reach. Three reasons for this:

1) Consumers demand it

As technology has improved so too has our demand for more seamless modes of communication. We expect responses from machines, websites or apps to be instant. Take credit cards. Today in the UK we take contactless payments as a given, even though chip-and-pin is a relatively new technology. In turn, it won’t be long before phone payments will make contactless seem clunky too.

2) Tech is driving it

This trend towards lower cognitive load is also being pushed along by the industry. Notable examples include Android Wear and Apple Watch, which aim to keep your phone in your pocket by giving you relevant, just-in-time information like workout data when you’re exercising. Digital assistants like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana all want to help you get similarly relevant information at, or before, the moment you need it through natural language interfaces.

The continuing improvement and availability of so-called deep learning systems, which we can thank for the recent rapid development of UI, has seen speech recognition error rates drop hugely – in Google’s case, from 23 per cent to 8 per cent over the last three years. That’s the difference between one incorrectly understood word in four, and one in twelve – or the difference between unusable and occasionally annoying.

This is important because natural language can remove the need for complex graphical interfaces. For example in the future, booking a train ticket could be reduced from a multi-step process with complex option screens, to a single sentence in plain language.

3) The experts anticipate it

In their book 'The Age of Context', Robert Scoble and Shel Israel discuss technologies that understand you and your environment. They predict that this age of context, built on contextual technology like mobile, social, data, sensors and location-based services, will allow seamless interaction with devices and services that are orientated to your needs. It will build a 'highly anticipatory world' where knowledge of past behaviour, gleaned from personal data, predicts services and information you might need before you even you know you need them yourself.

Great interface has one job above all others, and that’s to get out of the user’s way. The examples, the trends and developments I’ve cited above – to my mind – show that UI is disappearing at pace. And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Tim Rodgers is creative partner at rehabstudio. Read more of the agency's thoughts on UI here.

Molson Coors taps burgeoning fruit cider market with acquisition of Rekorderlig
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Molson Coors has bought Rekorderlig, the fruit cider brand, ramping up its presence in a category set to grow by over £1bn over the next three years.

Molson Coors, which currently counts Crispin Cider among its main brands in the sector, has  acquired the exclusive rights in the on and off-trade to distribute, sell and market the full Rekorderlig portfolio across the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Frederic Landtmeters, managing director for Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said the company is a “recognised brand-builder” and plans to invest in the brand to fuel growth and category development.

“We are committed to the ‘Beautifully Swedish’ philosophy and values of the Rekorderlig brand and want to preserve the unique culture and special appeal that the brand has with cider drinkers,” he said.

Rekorderlig Cider will continue to be brewed at the cider’s family owned fourth generation brewery in Vimmerby, Sweden, where it has been brewed since its creation in 1999.

Study: Why does Netflix continue to dominate among streaming services?
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

iModerate, a consumer insights firm, recently released a qualitative study looking at the top three video streaming brands: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

Among the three services, only Netflix was singled out as the service that could potentially replace traditional cable and satellite TV services, and more, 20 percent of the 2,500 respondents thought that Netflix has the opportunity to replace all other video entertainment options. Netflix resonates more than other brands mainly because of its “variety” and also because of its original series.

Study participants were only a bit familiar with Hulu, and saw it only as a way to stream TV shows – not movies. Brand perception was Hulu’s biggest barrier – 14 percent of respondents couldn’t name one benefit of the service.

Amazon also faced brand perception issues. When asked about a benefit of Prime Instant Video, 23 percent of respondents referred to free shipping – a Prime benefit, not an Instant Video one.

“While Netflix is the strongest contender to replace or supplement traditional TV, Hulu and Amazon could threaten its dominance by making a few tweaks, such as communicating a stronger benefits message, offering more original programming and building friendlier interfaces," said iModerate partner Adam Rossow. . “There’s no doubt that cable and satellite companies are planning their counter-moves, so the battle isn’t decided yet.” 

Below, additional study highlights:

· 20 percent are confident Netflix can replace other entertainment platforms

· Users talk about “watching Netflix,” rather than watching shows on Netflix, indicating a strong platform brand identity

· Hulu is synonymous with TV, whereas Netflix is known equally for its TV and movie selection

· Hulu lacks brand awareness and is failing to communicate a strong benefits message

· Consumers tend to choose Hulu because they’re interested in certain shows, rather than the platform as a whole

· The Amazon Prime Instant Video brand is oddly entangled with Amazon’s Prime shipping service, and could become even more muddled with the company’s push around Fire TV

· Those with Amazon’s video streaming service don’t know how they have it or how to use it

Here's what happened when strangers were given special phones to cold call each other at Cannes Lions
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Cannes Lions, the largest advertising festival attracting top bods from the industry around the globe.  

The weather was piping hot, there was a party on every street corner (or private beach), inhibitions were left behind and champagne was being drunk like it was on a buy one get one free offer. The gluttony of the whole thing was rather disgusting but for one week, living that rock-star lifestyle was pretty awesome.  

Surrounding the festival and creating that glitz and glamour were the rich and famous like Kim Kardashian West, who featured in an exclusive interview with Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP conducted by The Drum; Pharrell Williams and the bad boy singer himself Marilyn Manson.

You hear about all the celebs floating around but rarely do you see them. So when I was told I’d have a chance to chat with Marilyn himself my ears pricked up.  

It was around 2am on the overly priced and jam-packed Carlton Hotel Terrace, when I was handed what looked like a children’s style mobile phone. You know the type. The ones where you press the buttons and expect the American voice to recite letters of the alphabet. But in this case it was a ‘special operations’ kind of device.

Apparently at the festival this year only 40 of these bespoke phones were given out to random folk (including Marilyn Manson) and there was a neat idea behind the stunt, as explained by Alison Flood, on behalf of The Barbarian Group (who are no strangers to winning an award at Cannes):

"We came up with the idea of the phones while ideating around the main theme of Sophie Kelly's panel (CEO of The Barbarian Group), which was how getting out of your comfort zone allows creatives to do better work and learn more about themselves.

"While thinking about the panel, we all realised that the most uncomfortable, but most beneficial, thing to do at Cannes is to speak to people you want to know better, or that you've never met before. We created the phones as a nod to the cold call, the ultimate in uncomfortable sales tactics with high yield possibilities.

"The idea of using a Brick Phone was one that was obvious; we wanted something that was physically apparent to hold, that looked cool enough to be a conversation piece, and that poked a little fun at this world of constantly evolving technology."

It sounded like a lot of fun for a select few and straight away I was in!

The first person I got was Mori, a 23-year-old creative from Japan. He sounded excited to hear from another opted-in volunteer of this experiment. It was a tad difficult to make each other out through the abundance of laughter coming from the drunkards who had been on the sozzle all day, however I did manage to impress him by counting to 10 in Japanese, using my many years' worth of karate knowledge.  I knew it would come in handy one day.

Each of the calls were amusing in their own right and it was exciting not knowing who you’d talk to next. Most of the fun was in passing it around other delegates, giving them the chance to get involved. Some callers were on boats, others in hotel bars but the common theme was that everyone was having a whale of a time.

We may not have got speaking with Marilyn Manson but the serendipity of the whole thing just gave Cannes another dimension to its existing craziness. And even if you didn’t get much out of the calls, just by having the phone was enough to strike a conversation – people genuinely thought it was real. After winding them up for five minutes that you still lived in the 1990s, you could then let the story unfold and give them a go to test it out.  Everyone was intrigued at what seemed like a cloak and dagger, secret ops mission.

The only downside was receiving a call at 6am, approx 20 minutes just after entering that long awaited and lusted-after deep sleep but who needs sleep in Cannes? Seriously?

Lynn Lester is managing director of Awards at The Drum

Toyota global communications chief resigns following drug arrest
Posted on Thursday July 02, 2015

Toyota’s global communications chief, who was arrested on suspicion of illegally importing prescription drugs into Japan, has resigned.

Julie Hamp was detained in Tokyo on June 18 following an incident in which authorities discovered the American had shipped oxycodone pills – a powerful painkiller – to herself.

Hamp was arrested after police raided Toyota’s Tokyo offices where they discovered 57 pills of the powerful painkiller tucked away in a package Hamp sent to herself while moving from the US to Japan. Strict Japanese drug laws prohibit foreigners from importing prescription drugs without significant documentation.

The 55 year-old has remained in custody since her arrest and can be retained for up to 23 days without bail or formal charges. Depending on the charges, she could face up to 10 years in prison.

Toyota said in a statement that it "accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders".

Toyota president Akio Toyoda held a press conference following Hamp’s arrest and said she was "a close friend" and an "invaluable" part of the company. He apologised for "the confusion surrounding recent events" but said he believed that she had not knowingly broken Japanese law.

Without commenting on the ongoing investigation, the company acknowledged that it did not do enough to help foreigners integrate into Japan and said it would “learn from this incident to help ensure a secure working environment for everyone at Toyota around the world as we continue to take the steps necessary to become a truly global company".

The incident marks a setback for the car manufacturer who have pushed for greater diversity within the company and had only appointed Hamp the global communications chief three months ago.

Shigeru Hayakawa, Toyota’s senior managing officer, will take over her duties and continue to oversee the public relations group.