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Latest news from The Drum

Government dismisses claims it has dropped scheme to curb junk mail
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

The Government has dismissed allegations it has axed its long-gestating scheme to curb junk mail.

In response to allegations in The Times, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has confirmed that the door stop preference service it is developing with the Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is still underway. The service, a website that will allow users to opt out of having junk mail posted through their doors, was due to go live in 2012.

The Times claimed that differences between Defra and the DMA had halted its development. It referenced documents obtained through freedom of information requests to show that the site had actually been built but did not go live.

The DMA has since clarified the site’s development, which it led, was at no cost to the public and added that it was vital the project had the backing of all involved organisations before moving forward.

In a statement Defra said: “We recognise the impact unaddressed mail has on householders and the environment. Through voluntary deals with industry we are working to ensure printed advertisements and magazines are greener, distributed in a manner which minimises waste and promotes household recycling. We would also encourage people to use existing ‘opt-out’ services operated by the Direct Marketing Association and the Royal Mail to help avoid unwanted mail.”

The revamped scheme would have allowed people to opt out of both addressed and unaddressed nuisance mail directly from the site, whereas currently they can only opt out of addressed junk mail. Additionally, people needed to send requests by posts to both Defra and the DMA in order to register, which lasts for two years.

An estimated 12 billion items of junk mail are posted each year, equating to wood from five million trees.


Kleenex's latest heart-tugging ad tells story of dog and owner who are both wheelchair-bound
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

Kleenex’s latest ad in its series of mini-documentaries tells the real-life story of a dog and his owner who are both wheelchair bound.

'Unlucky Best Friends' tells the story of a dog named Chance who, unable to walk after being hit by a car, is adopted by wheelchair bound husband Mike and his wife Stacey Williams. Chance is soon able to walk thanks to the help of a wheelchair and can be seen happily playing with Mike. The couple narrate over the ad describing why they gave the unwanted dog a chance.

The video is part of the company’s new Time for Change ad campaign which aims to document touching real-life stories of people showing meaningful gestures of care.

It is the third ad in the campaign which also includes the story of an ex-solider suffering PTSD who attributes his survival to a fellow veteran, and multiple amputee, recognising he was in trouble and reaching out to him over Facebook. It then shows the two finally meeting face-to-face after Kleenex paid for the travel costs.

The second video in the series tells the story of a mother who, needing a kidney transplant, uses Facebook to ask for help and receives a response from a fellow mother.

The campaign includes a partnership with Facebook which targets users’ demographics, stated interests and time of day. As part of the partnership, Facebook is cited as the reason that many of the people were able to help one another.

The full ad is available to view above.

Alan Sugar tries to sell himself as the man to host Apprentice USA
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

Sir Alan Sugar has shown an interest in the Apprentice USA role after NBC dumped long-time host Donald Trump.

Sugar, who presents the BBC’s incarnation of the show in the UK, announced his intention to lead host the NBC slot in a tweet.

The Apprentice USA role, which was recently vacated after NBC fired Donald Trump for comments in which he dubbed Mexican immigrants as “rapers” and drug dealers, is up for grabs and Sugar has it in his sights.

The admission was made following a tweet from Andrew Bloch, founder and group managing director of Frank PR.

Sugar’s Twitter nemesis Piers Morgan, who flopped in America after making a very public cry for gun control, even plaudited the idea.



World Surf League catches perfect wave with digital-first strategy
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

While other niche sports have focused efforts on securing a TV deal, the World Surf League has done the opposite. Since CEO Paul Speaker took over a little more than two years ago, he has forged partnerships with Samsung, Jeep, Tag Heuer, Oi and GoPro (along with all major surf apparel companies) and his digital-first strategy has led to massive video numbers.

According to a New York Times from February, “an average of more than 6.2 million people tuned in live to watch the Billabong Pipe Masters… Those numbers exceeded the American television audience for the final game of the 2014 Stanley Cup hockey finals.” The event was streamed entirely on YouTube.

Later this year, the WSL is set to open WSL Studios in order to elevate the production value of live events and to create originals. Speaker, an NFL league office vet, is looking to model WSL Studios on the successful NFL Studios. With Snapchat and Periscope, creating engaging video content now is cheap; creating high quality video content, though, is a different story. Making this type of investment is a testament to the encouraging numbers the league has enjoyed in the past two years, and it is also a show of confidence in the league’s potential.

For more on the World Surf League’s winning digital strategy, Found Remote spoke with Speaker: 

Found Remote: You told the New York Times in February that "live streaming is our bread and butter." Based on your success live streaming, would you even consider a linear partnership at this point?

Speaker: At the core of our business model, we strive to be fan-centric. As such, all options for bringing the world's best surfing to the largest audience possible are up for consideration. At the WSL, we have a blend of partnerships across both digital and linear platforms as well as social. The surfing audience has always been an early adopter of technology and, out of necessity, the sport has innovated in, and largely at the vanguard of, the digital space - pioneering global digital webcasts as early as the 1990s. This audience characteristic has become more apparent than ever in the millions that tune in for our live webcasts via The excellence demonstrated in the core digital arena of our business has fostered a number of top-of-class linear partnerships including ABC/ESPN in the US, FUEL TV in Australia, Globo in Brazil and many others. In point of fact, 22 million people tuned in on Globo alone to watch Filipe Toledo claim the Oi Rio Pro in May. We consider ourselves privileged to be championing the cutting edge of surfing and have modeled our business approach to suit - an approach that welcomes fans through digital, linear and social platforms.

FR: What is the potential for Meerkat and Periscope, and even streaming via GoPros, to change the way surfing - and sports, in general - is broadcast?

Speaker: Like all sport and entertainment properties, the WSL is having significant internal and external discussions regarding emerging technology and the rapidly-changing consumer and content atmosphere. How do we provide the best product and experience to our fans while improving relationships with our commercial and media partners? Surfing is very much community-focused and the League views all mechanisms of the sport through the lens of the fan when making strategic decisions. Whenever possible, the WSL strives to incorporate user-generated content into our platform - whether it be broadcast, website or social. The reason behind this is two-fold: 1) we strive to provide a comprehensive look at the world's best surfers and the community that supports it, and 2) surfing is a phenomenon that transcends traditional sport and entertainment properties and exists as a way of life for people - we, at the WSL, are tremendously honored to champion the best surfing on the planet and we believe we have a responsibility to engage in dialogue with the surfing fan base. From a content perspective, this season we've been experimenting with a number of different platforms in delivering our fans unique and engaging experiences. Recently, on International Surfing Day (ISD) on June 20, our Social Media Team ran a Periscope activation at Trestles in Southern California with four-time WSL Champion Lisa Andersen, 2015 rookie Keanu Asing and local star Nathan Yeomans in which they shot footage from the water and answered questions. Bringing the fans 'into the lineup' with the world's best surfers is just one example of how the WSL is scratching the surface with emerging technology.

FR: It seems clear that surfing fans would find WSL content no matter where it is or how it is hosted. Why partner with, and more importantly, share revenue with, YouTube?

Speaker: The acquisition of the sport in 2013 was game-changing in a number of ways - one of the most significant was the convergence of the formerly disparate events (and event mechanisms such as broadcast, marketing, sponsorship, etc.) under a singular umbrella. This allowed us to not only invest in a top-of-class entertainment product for our fans, but to provide a consistent one throughout the year - something that had never been offered before. Webcasting/Broadcasting one of the most dynamic sports on the planet from some of the most exotic and remote locales in the world to a truly global audience presents a number of challenges. In 2014, we partnered with YouTube to help us achieve this and remain great partners. Moving into this season, the WSL has succeeded in developing its own LIVE player to accommodate our ever-growing audience as well as a robust international stable of commercial partners.

FR: Live streaming is relatively cheap, but with WSL Studios you will begin investing in documentaries and original programming. What indicated to you that there was strong enough demand for this type of content, which is expensive to produce?

Speaker: Our primary directive upon acquisition of the sport was to invest in the live product. Surfing, as a business, has seen juggernaut growth in recent years. Complementing the evolution out of the water has been the performances of the world's best surfers in the water. The caliber of athlete at the elite level, advances in equipment technology and the growing value of succeeding on the Championship Tour have charged the performance atmosphere like never before. The world's best surfing is happening in real time in the live arena of the WSL and performance barriers are being broken at every event. It was absolutely imperative to us that we focus on bringing this to the audience in the best possible way as soon as we could.

The benefit we have at the WSL is that we own all our own production resources and have them on-site at the most desirable locations on the planet throughout the season. This allows us to efficiently develop content for not only our live product, but shoulder programming and partner content as well. It has been tremendously successful thus far and we look forward to expanding in this arena with the full build-out of the Santa Monica studio in the near future.

FR: How difficult have the conversations been with media buyers in trying to convince them that your online audience is even more engaged and more "premium" than a similar demo on linear TV?

Speaker: All conversations with both media and commercial partners have been extraordinarily positive. The WSL has successfully integrated a number of new partners in Samsung, Jeep, Tag Heuer, Oi and GoPro to complement the continued support of core brands like Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Billabong, Hurley, etc. The League, between men, women and big wave products, is firing on all cylinders.

The centralized and premium audience delivered by the WSL through multiple platforms (digital, linear and social), the fan-focused approach of the League and the in-water performances of the world's best surfers have created a tremendously welcoming environment for the organization and our passion and enthusiasm has been similarly matched by virtually every door we open. Surfing is unique. As an organization, we strive to be unique as well, in our focus on our fans, our servicing of athletes and in our relationships with our partners.

There's never been a more exciting time for professional surfing.


Donna Karan steps down as the brand's chief designer
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

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. 

The fashion company will now reorganize its teams and has suspended the main Donna Karan line in the interim. A successor has not been announced. 

Karan said in a statement, “LVMH and I have made this decision after much soul-searching. I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce.”

Donna Karan will not show at New York Fashion Week this coming September. 

Cannes Lions 2015 – social insights: The top tweets and trends from this year's festival
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

There was of course a lot of talk about data at Cannes this year. We talked about it ourselves. At a session titled Scientists v Poets, Chris Clarke, our chief creative officer, international and Dan Hughes, SVP, international head of strategy and analysis, looked at the role of creativity in the age of data and argued that the most compelling narratives come from a combination of data and storytelling.

To illustrate this point, we turned the lens on Cannes itself – encouraging our data team to extract the data from the advertising world’s foremost creative festival to see what stories would emerge. And of course, there were some great ones.

Take Periscope for example. 12 months ago we could only have dreamt of being able to see in real time inside the hallowed halls of the Palais. This year it was hard to move for people Periscoping – as reflected in the fact that the real-time video sharing tool emerged as a major Cannes Lions success story, being the sixth most popular destination link for tweets sent with the Cannes Lions hashtag (behind the likes of Instagram, YouTube and Vine).

There is also the unlikely story of Abraham Lincoln stealing Kim Kardashian’s Twitter crown. Who could have dreamt before the festival that the bearded ex-president would deliver more re-tweets than the internet’s favourite reality TV star? Unlikely as it seems, a quote from Lincoln (delivered by @Ogilvy) delivered 17,577 retweets compared to Kim’s most popular effort - “Just landed in Cannes! Love that my mom and Kylie are here too!” – which generated a mere 1,447 retweets.

Looking deeper into the data, other stories emerge. We can see for example that men continue to dominate activity around Cannes with 41 per cent of tweets coming from men’s accounts and 28 per cent from those of women (the additional 31 per cent came from a range of accounts including brands, agencies and media).

Job title information also reveals interesting stories. According to Twitter biography information, people who tweet about the festival are most likely to describe themselves as founders, followed by CEOs (second), creative directors (third), students (fourth) and marketers (fifth).

And what study of Cannes would be complete without an assessment of its finest watering holes? When comparing the top three Cannes venues, we found that the Carlton Hotel emerged as the most tweeted about social venue at Cannes Lions 2015. The Carlton gained 64.8 per cent of all tweets, the Gutter Bar logged 17.8 per cent and the Hotel Majestic managed 17.4 per cent.

And last but by no means least, another interesting story to emerge involved this very publication. Our analysis found that The Drum was the most linked-to UK news outlet on Twitter during Cannes Lions 2015. We found that some 1.34 per cent of all tweets featuring a link to a secondary source and referencing the #canneslions hashtag linked to The Drum’s website.

Only US-based AdWeek performed better in the media outlet category with an impressive 2.75 per cent. Campaign (1.10 per cent), AdAge (1.05 per cent) and The Next Web (1.02 per cent) filled out the top five. The South African site Bizcommunity was sixth followed by Marketing (seventh), the Guardian (eighth) and the Wall Street Journal (ninth).

So what does all this data mean? Lots of things. Most of all though, if we are to use data better, as an industry we need to be better at listening. This is a lesson that everyone who went to Cannes may do well to heed.

Ashley Kenerson is head of data at DigitasLBi. See the full study with these and other stats.

Facebook has changed its logo – and it’s not your fault you missed it
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

Facebook has quietly refreshed its brand logo with a number of minor changes to the typeface.

Although the brand’s leading ‘F’ icon remains unchanged, the fully-written Facebook logo has been updated. The design was developed in-house at the social network with the help of Eric Olson of Process Type Foundry.

On the subtle changes, Brand New quotes Josh Higgins, Facebook creative director, as saying: “When Facebook’s logo was first created in 2005, the company was just getting started and we wanted the logo to feel grown up and to be taken seriously.

“Now that we are established, we set out to modernise the logo to make it feel more friendly and approachable. While we explored many directions, ultimately we decided that we only needed an update, and not a full redesign."

Higgins concluded: “We worked with Eric Olsen - whose typeface Klavika was used in the original logo - and developed a custom typeface to reflect where we are now and where we are headed.”

Brands as widely visible as Facebook have to tread carefully when it comes to such endeavours, likely learning from the backlash Spotify recently endured after it slightly changed its logo to bring it thematically in-line with the app’s user interface.

Microsoft’s exit from ad sales signals the last throw of the dice for its ad business
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

Microsoft’s exit from the world of online ad sales is tempered by the volume and market share gains it stands to make for its search business through AOL in what could be the last throw of the dice for the technology giant in the world of advertising.

It forms the crux of a shakeup that sees Microsoft hand over much of its advertising operations to companies it does not own. AOL will run all the direct ad deals in the Bing owner’s nine top markets, while in its other 10 core markets everything like ad buys and media insertions will go programmatic.

But instead of Microsoft retreating from online ad sales, the setup suggests it has settled on a strategy that can extract more money from its ads within its own limitations and without spending millions on acquisition. Advertising just doesn’t seem to be a priority for Microsoft bosses, who are more concerned with other parts of the business to make major investments to revive its loss-making ads.

The company’s display business is grinding to a halt, according to eMarketer, and will fall to just 1.2 per cent of the global display ad pie this year, down from 1.4 per cent in 2013. Its lack of skin in the game is made even clearer given the global display ad market expanded 22.4 per cent in 2014, while Microsoft’s display ad revenues plummeted 15.5 per cent, revealed eMarketer.

For a software company that employs hundreds of sales staff, the dwindling returns from display ads just didn’t compute. All of Microsoft Advertising’s 1,200 employees will receive offers to join AOL as part of the 10-year partnership. A spokeswoman told The Drum: “We expect to transition our sales and trade marketing employees in these nine markets to AOL, subject to compliance with local law and employee consultation obligations.”

By focusing on self-service Bing ads, it makes the search engine far more competitive with Google, which has seen its share of desktop search whittled down to 60 per cent in the US. And while the company dominates mobile search with over 90 per cent of the market, its value is declining as more traffic shifts to apps where Facebook is becoming increasingly bigger.

Paul Mead, founder and managing director of VCCP Media, said Microsoft “haven’t ever been at the races in terms of programmatic” and that the refocus on Bing had the hallmarks of a last-ditch push for relevancy with its ads. The business, despite owning a sprawling digital ecosystem, does not have the owned technology stack of its contemporaries to make a proper go of programmatic and instead is bound to the AppNexus stack.

“The AOL partnership signals the start of new focus on building their distribution network to drive more volume and market share for their search business,” Mead continued. “It feels like the last throw of the dice for Microsoft in the world of advertising. It’s a good deal for AOL. They have more premium inventory for their experienced digital ad sales team plus a stronger commercial cut of revenues from Bing powering their search functionality rather than Google.”

Microsoft’s union with AOL is the latest example of consolidation in a digital media space where the likes of Google, Facebook and AOL are at pressure to deliver increasingly data-driven automated advertising.

Ben Wood, global president of iProspect, agreed: “While it’s an interesting move, it’s important to look at the rest of the industry and realise that this kind of consolidation isn’t new. It’s commonplace within the TV industry, for example, and makes a great deal of sense within an online ad environment where sales are increasingly data-driven.

"What we’ll see is a greater efficiency in selling inventory, as well as Microsoft gaining a much-needed jump in its share of the search market. It may be 1 or 2 per cent, but alongside the combined sales team it should contribute significantly to its business. What will be crucial is ensuring that knowledge of Microsoft’s ability to offer creative, integrated solutions across the likes of Xbox and MSN isn’t lost within the newly integrated teams – as this creativity will afford them the edge in an increasingly competitive market where simply selling inventory isn’t enough.”

Despite leaning out of the display ad business, Microsoft was quick to call the shake-up an “evolution” rather than an exit that would focus on search through Bing. “Today’s news is evidence of Microsoft’s increased focus on our strengths: in this case, search and search advertising and building great content and consumer services,” said the spokeswoman. “This evolution in our approach to display advertising allows us to keep this focus, while working with industry leaders to market our services.”

The deal comes just months after Microsoft amended its search alliance with Yahoo, that means just half of the latter’s desktop search traffic has to carry Bing ads when before it was 100 per cent. The renewed terms, which seem to favour Yahoo, put pressure on Microsoft to find ways to monetise Bing, particularly on mobile. Its search advertising revenue rose 21 per cent in its most recent quarter due to higher search volume and revenue per search. The gains helped secure Bing a 20.1 per cent share of the market.

Microsoft’s share of global search ad revenues is expected to drop 18.5 per cent in 2015 to $3.45bn and account for just 4.2 per cent of its total ad business, according to eMarketer. Comparatively, Google is tipped to hit $44.46bn in the period, up 15.7 per cent. partners with Time Out in six-figure native ad campaign
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015 has teamed with Time Out for a six-week native ad campaign spanning the UK and US. 

The partnership will encourage travellers to act on impulse and make a spontaneous booking through the newly launched mobile app.   

The campaign spans digital, social, mobile and print and will feature on over 20 cities including London, New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Manchester. Dedicated digital hubs will house a variety of content, including travel tips, competitions and destination reviews. 

The campaign also spotlights UK and US bloggers and Instagrammers, such as designer/ photographer Nathan Michael, Kelly Rizzo of Eat Travel Rock, and Sheryl Luke of Walk in Wonderland, who will travel at the last minute using the accomodation site's app, while using Time Out to navigate their destination cities.

Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer at commented on the campaign: “We know Time Outers seek new experiences in their own cities as well as new destinations and constantly share news and suggestions with their peers.

"Time Out‘s adventure-seeking audience is fully aligned with’s target demographic and the sheer breadth of compelling, quality content is perfectly positioned to help drive spontaneous trips and bookings through the Booking Now app.”

The six-figure campaign follows Time Out New York’s move to a free weekly publication in April 2015. 

Meanwhile the print execution includes a multi-page cover wrap in the New York and London magazines, followed by branded editorial features focusing on travel and accommodation bookings made easy.

Piers Morgan talks to Johnny Hornby about the future of news
Posted on Wednesday July 01, 2015

Johnny Hornby: So Piers, somebody said that if you were to go to everything that’s on this week, it would take three months to sift through that much content. How do you work out what to go to what not to go to?

Piers Morgan: Last time I really was in Cannes a lot was when at I was for the Film Festival with The Sun, in the days of the newspapers and the sun in particular were completely dominant on the landscape of the media. Now, it’s very very different. The form of communicating the journalism is dying out. But the actual quality of the journalism has been dragged kicking and screaming into the next century.

Johnny Hornby: What does that say about business models for journalism do you think?

Piers Morgan: Very straightforward – people don’t want to pay for it. And in the music industry, you’ve seen them decimated by that thinking.

Johnny Hornby: And the other kind of rockstars down here are Vice. I was talking to Shane [Smith] earlier in the week. He’s got a very different model for how he produces journalism and a lot of it pretty brave. Probably the bravest was getting journalists inside ISIS.

Piers Morgan: Amazing.

Johnny Hornby: What’s your view of that model of journalism?

Piers Morgan: Extremely courageous. Brilliant for them and – and there’s plenty of room for people doing that. Plenty of people for all sorts of new types of journalists and journalistic organisation. You know I’m still slightly trapped in the world of newspapers because it’s the one I understand. I look at what Vice has done and I think, yes, very interesting.

Johnny Hornby: If we look at your career over the last few years – your point of view on guns in the US is heartfelt, is passionate … That’s isn’t in search to be entertaining, trying to get followers or trying to get people to come and listen to you. It’s your opinion and it’s heartfelt and it’s strongly believed and I think that is a lesson for all of us.

Piers Morgan: You can’t pretend to be authentic. I remember when Sandy Hook happened and having a debate on air that night and the NRA-supporting gun lobbyists came on, and their only response to 20 kids being killed was: “You must have more guns”. A light fuse went off in me. I just went ‘pfshhh’.

Johnny Hornby: 150,000 people signed a petition for you to be deported from the United States.

Piers Morgan: It was a White House official petition site, and if you got past 25,000 signatures then he has to respond. And the verdict that he gave was that I was allowed to talk about the second amendment which is the one about the right to bear arms because of my first-amendment rights to free speech.

And that was a brilliant answer because of course the irony of the whole gun debate in America is that the protagonist and the gun lobby who want to keep the second amendment sacrosanct do not want to respect anyone’s first-amendment rights of the constitution.

It was a pretty lonely battle, and I’ve carried it on now that I’ve been off air on social media, because actually I have a lot more followers on Twitter than I had viewers on CNN. And there’s a lesson there for anybody in the media: whatever you are doing, we are not on penny-farthings anymore. We are all on Harley-Davidsons on the worldwide web – and if you leave it too long because you like the look of the penny-farthing, you’re dead.