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Latest news from The Drum

Brand of the Day: Google
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Today we feature Google, a tech giant that made major announcements at its I/O Conference earlier today that may threaten competitor, Apple

1) The Brand

Google began as a search tool, but has grown into much more since being founded almost a decade ago. After moving to Palo Alto in the heart of silicon valley, the tech giant has dominated all aspects of society, from advertising to energy to geolocation.

2) Brillo

At this year’s conference, Google unveiled Brillo, a smart operating system that allows internet-enabled devices to communicate with each other. The brand's vice president, Sundar Pichai called it “Android, polished down (with) an end-to-end functioning operating system.” In essence, Brillo will eventually be able to connect your entire home, bringing you into the science fiction future you’d always hoped for.

3) Android Pay

One of Google’s biggest announcements was of a payment system that is set to rival Apple Pay. It has partnered with wireless providers, payment networks, retailers and banks to refine its capabilities in the very promising mobile payment marketplace. Named Android Pay, the service will be available in coming months and will work on Android phones work on any system operating KitKat and above.

4) Photos App

In another blow to Apple, Google unveiled a photo app with unlimited storage. The Photos app promises to organize photos across all devices and will offer free unlimited cloud services for all photos and videos – a huge improvement over Apple’s 5GB limit.

5) Looking forward

With these announcement, Google has shown that it has no plans of slowing down. The conglomerate will continue to expand and meet consumer needs, with mobile, internet, and tech

M&A round-up: The rise of channel marketing and the decline of 'conventional' ad agency acquisitions
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

As the month of May draws to an end, one thing leapt out at me as I looked back at some of the deals of the past four weeks or so – and that was that of the dozen or so deals done during the month, hardly any were 'conventional deals'.

When I say 'conventional', I mean an ad agency buying out, or acquiring, a majority stake in another agency, or two agencies merging. But this kind of deal has been in decline – if that’s the right word – for a while now.

These days, it’s all about acquiring capabilities – to beef up an offer, perhaps, or to expand into new channels.

Interestingly, most of the deals during May link into the field of channel marketing. We’ve looked at this before in The Drum of course, but as so many deals were done in May I thought it would be appropriate to revisit it.

For those who don’t know, channel marketing is the use of partnership to allow a brand or service to reach a wider audience, rather than just trying to sell one thing in one place. In effect it’s a kind of B2B marketing that has been used for ages by tech companies (eg Microsoft or Sandisk working with vendor or retailer partners) and by the grocery industry (eg Heinz working with the supermarkets) to reach end users or consumers. Another example might be a jeweler selling on QVC rather than via a few specialist jewellers; or selling beer at music festivals and football games rather than just through pubs and shops.

As a channel – or perhaps more accurately, discipline – the lines of what defines channel marketing have become increasingly blurred, and it increasingly overlaps with other forms of B2B marketing, shopper marketing, events, experiential and even performance and affiliate marketing.

One of the longest, but most effective channels, is the impulse/convenience retail chain. In the latter, a manufacturer would typically supply, say, crisps to a wholesaler, who would then supply a corner shop, whose owner/staff would then pass on to the crisps to the consumer. At each stage, marketing is involved: manufacturer to wholesaler; wholesaler to retailer; and finally retailer to consumer.

Sometimes there will be marketing from the manufacturer directly to the consumer – in the form of a TV advertising campaign for instance – but for this (expensive) investment to succeed, everyone in the chain or channel has to have bought in to the idea and to stock and pass on the product: no good advertising something that can’t be bought anywhere.

For channel marketing to be effective, relationships and support networks have to be built. Specialist agencies are often used for this purpose. An example of this would be 3ree, an agency based in Singapore, which was last week acquired by Always Marketing Services, China’s leading field and shopper marketing company (which is majority-owned by WPP network JWT).

Founded in 2010 by Tan Li Li and Isabel Cheong, 3ree offers event management, sourcing and production of marketing premiums, project management for exhibitions and activations, and design and creative services, as well as digital marketing; so it’s a classic channel marketing agency.

Always offers trade marketing, including merchandiser management and retail audit; retail marketing, including promoter management, in-store activation and retail environment designs; as well as shopper marketing, including point of sale design, events and road shows, as well as premium design and production.

The two businesses complement each other very well (and 3ree fits in nicely with WPP’s long-term strategy of making acquisitions in growing territories or channels) and the acquired agency has business in key Asian markets, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Japan, Korea and Australia. Clients include Microsoft, Mitsubishi Electronic, Seagate and StarHub.

We’ve written before that the big audit and management consultancies – EY, KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, McKinsey and so on – with their ability to offer strategic insights, represent one of the biggest challenges to the established agency networks, so it was no surprise to see KPMG snapping up Nunwood, an independent consultancy specialising in customer experience management and feedback technology a fortnight ago. 

Founded in 1996, Nunwood has offices in Leeds and London.  Advising companies across the retail, telecoms, financial and leisure industries, its acquisition enables KPMG to offer a full-service customer management programme to its clients, from mapping the customer journey to measuring ongoing feedback. Nunwood’s 'Fizz: Experience Management' technology is used by organisations like British Airways and Nationwide to provide customer information to hundreds of managers, often in real time.

Commenting on the transaction, Richard Fleming, head of advisory at KPMG, told the media: “This deal is strategically very important to KPMG as it will enable us to provide clients with the tools they require to be truly customer-centric. Nunwood’s understanding of the issues driving customer behaviour, and the way they focus on improving customers’ experiences mirrors our approach of putting technology at the heart of everything we do.

“By combining forces we will be able to help clients take action, so that each decision they make is based on real-time customer feedback.  At a time when companies are worrying about their market share, the combination of KPMG’s Customer and Growth capability with Nunwood’s expertise in managing the customer experience will create an advisory business ideally placed to help our clients as they grapple with the realities of a fluid customer-base that is increasingly selecting services on the basis of their experiences.”

Again, from those remarks there appears to be an intent to sew up the channel experience. On a smaller scale, another recent channel marketing deal that caught my eye this month was digital agency Stickyeyes’ acquisition of Peterborough and London-based content marketing agency Zazzle Media. Content marketing is a discipline which has an increasingly close relationship, and overlap with, channel marketing.

So it’s another astute buy: the joining of the two companies represents a very good fit of digital and content marketing expertise. Both brands will remain independent, but will work in an integrated fashion: Stickyeyes will continue to provide SEO, paid search, social media, PR and digital consultancy Zazzle the content marketing.

And there have been more – Publicis’ media network ZenithOptimedia’s acquisition of the Czech and Slovak performance marketing agency B2B  Group; UK outfit Periscopix being bought by the giant US Merkle group; or Candy Crush tycoon Mel Morris’ investment in Derby-based channel specialist (which specialises in intelligent, preference-based newsletters and e-mails). As a side note, it’s worth pointing out that achieved growth of 3,821% in the space of just 12 months, making it one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies.

There was also the April merger between Pink Gorilla Marketing and Hairy Lemon Events in Leeds, creating a company (the somewhat inelegantly named Pink Gorilla Hairy Lemon) that will on fashion shows, bar and restaurant launches, sample sales and corporate events. Given that Leeds is starting to boom again after the recession, and has a comparatively young population, it’s not hard to see PGHL picking up clients pretty quickly.

Even last month’s £190m buyout of price comparison firm uSwitch by property site Zoopla, which looks on the surface to be one internet company buying another, demonstrates the importance of channel marketing in today’s increasingly blurred marketing landscape. 

Barry Dudley is a partner at Green Square, corporate finance advisors to the media and marketing sector

Social travel money exchange WeSwap looks to inject some fun into finance with first campaign
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Social travel money exchange WeSwap is taking over public transport from Monday 1 June to target summer travellers.

The 10 week campaign, which is already running on the London Underground’s Central Line, aims to grab public attention and inject some fun into the finance sector.

WeSwap founder, Jared Jesner, commented: “Of course we realise that this is an eye-catching campaign which could spark debate, but it aims to ignite some fun and energy into a world traditionally portrayed very differently. It’s designed to cut through the summer marketing noise and reach a broad demographic. 

“WeSwap wants to reach beyond the most informed and financially savvy consumers and show the wider population how much they could be saving.”

The ads refer to how much more people could get when the swap currency directly with other travellers rather than banks and exchanges.

People on the move: Hires and departures at Apple, Dominos, News UK and more
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

This week has seen another wave of appointments and departures at brands, media owners and agencies. The Drum has rounded up the key hires below.


Apple has elevated its star designer, British born Sir Jonathan Ive, to the newly created role of chief design officer, in recognition of his importance to the world’s richest firm.

He will now be handed the reins to design the company’s growing estate of retail outlets as well as office furniture for its under construction California HQ, when he begins his new role in July.

Domino’s Pizza

Global chain Domino’s Pizza has named Joe Jordan as vice president-chief marketing officer amid a reshuffling of its US senior marketing team.

Other promotions announced by the company include Dennis Maloney as vice president-chief digital officer, Julia Oswald as vice president-head of strategy and insights, Domino’s USA and Debbie Sweeney, vice president of national field and Team USA marketing.

News UK

News UK’s managing director of its commercial arm Paul Hayes is to leave the business after 15 years and will be replaced by commercial director Dominic Carter.

Hayes departs this summer with Carter set to take on his responsibilities from July when he will get to work on implementing his own strategy. Carter’s promotion will give him oversight of all advertising activity at The Sun publisher, including 375 people across its national and regional commercial teams.  

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House has appointed Caroline Raphael as editorial director, audio.

Raphael joins the firm after 30 years at the BBC, where she was credited with the development of several well-known series, including The League of Gentlemen, Little Britain, Cabin Pressure and Dead Ringers.

The Drum 

Former Campaign deputy editor Jeremy Lee is joining The Drum as an advertising columnist.

Lee is one of the best connected journalists in advertising, having spent 14 years covering the industry at Campaign and its sister titles before leaving to go freelance last year.

Mecca Bingo

Anna Shirley, currently head of customer experience at Sainsbury’s, has left the retailer to join Mecca Bingo as marketing director.

Shirley has spent the past 13 years at Sainsbury’s, where she has served as head of national advertising, head of own-brand marketing, head of local marketing and for the past two and a half years, head of customer experience.


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.


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.

Bell Pottinger

Bell Pottinger chairman David Wilson has announced his decision to move on after 15 years. 

Announcing the move via email Wilson revealed he was leaving for pastures new, adding: "I've enjoyed a tremendous time here at Bell Pottinger and as I continue to be a shareholder, I look forward to seeing the company go from strength to strength."


Grey London has promoted managing director Bill Scott and managing partner Natalie Graeme to the roles of UK Group managing director and managing director respectively.

As UK Group managing director Scott will be responsible for group operations and driving further integration between the agency’s advertising, shopper, digital, production and social business units, as well as collaboration with the wider network.

Graeme is charged with overseeing creative services and the agency’s content division specifically.

Millennial Media 

Millennial Media has hired former Nexage chief executive and president Ernie Cormier as chief operating officer.

Cormier, will be responsible for overseeing the company’s product, technology, and operations teams, reporting to chief executive and president Michael Barrett.


Deutsch North America has named Madonna Deverson, formerly of Ogilvy & Mather, to the newly created role of executive vice president of brand intelligence.

In her new role, Deverson will be responsible for simplifying the agency’s data, and transforming it into usable insights.


Digital agency Friday has appointed Tom Robinson as director of talent.

He joins from strategic outsourcing firm Mitie after almost 10 years of service, most recently as head of talent for its client services offering.

Ampersand Mobile

Ampersand Mobile has appointed Dean Adkins as chief technology officer.

Adkins brings 20 years of experience in the technology industry, having previously been director of operations for mobile agency, Grapple, from inception through to point of sale in 2013. 


Havas Chicago has hired Todd Nonken as managing director of its Citi account; the agency’s largest and longest-running client relationship.

Nonken will be responsible for stewarding Citi’s growth strategies, acquisition marketing, and brand and customer experiences.

He joins from DDB Chicago where he was senior vice-president of integrated brand leader for North America for McDonald's Corporation. Throughout his career, he has managed a host of brands including Nestle, Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay and The Ford Motor Company.

IBM Interactive Experience

IBM Interactive Experience has tapped Cheyney Robinson for a chief creative officer role.

Previously creative director, experience design and visual at SapientNitro she brings with her a wealth of experience in the digital sector.

She was recognised earlier this year in Bima's Hot 100 2015.


McCann Bristol has hired former Karmarama and DKLW strategic planner, Kathryn Ellis, from Bray Leino.

Ellis has worked on award winning campaigns for a broad spectrum of clients including Halifax, PlusNet, Pilgrims Choice and Burger King.

She’s been appointed as planning director, in what is the is the ninth hire for the agency this year.

Want to get your career on the move? Check out The Drum Job page and follow @TheDrumJobs for updates. 

TEDWomen under fire for refusing entry to mother & baby
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

A Ted conference intended to celebrate the achievements of women has been derailed amidst controversy surrounding the ejection of a mother and baby from the audience.

Author Jessica Jackley and her five month old baby were ejected from the conference on Thursday after being informed by venue staff that children were not permitted despite, ironically, the conference being themed on the empowerment of women and girls.

Jackley herself took to Twitter following the incident to voice her displeasure, saying ‘Confused. #TEDWomen2015 about the power of women and girls. But working moms?’

The tale does have a happy ending however with TED Women moving quickly to set up a dedicated lounge for mothers.

Russian airline Transaero rebrands to support new business strategy
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Russia’s largest independent airline Transaero has revealed a new brand identity together with design agency StartJG as it aims to become one of the world's best airlines.

Working closely with StartJG the airline has refreshed and modernised its brand and identity to reflect positive changes being driven within the business. 

As part of a process that ran from April to mid-summer of 2014, StartJG and Transaero established a roadmap for change that would enable the brand to become more valued by passengers and more valuable as a business. 

The agency worked on defining a new proposition and brand promise: ‘To the future together’ establishing this as a creative thread that runs throughout the business. The new identity is an expression of change and the challenge has been to deliver the new look and feel confidently across all touch points, from aircraft livery to digital communications.

Olga Pleshakova, CEO of Transaero Airlines commented: "We want passengers who choose Transaero to feel truly surrounded by a similar care to that you would receive in your family. Whilst retaining our family culture we have modernised the image of the company. That's why our new brand positioning is ‘To the future together’." 

Launched this week the brand identity will be first introduced across new planes before being applied across all traveller touch points, from website to check-in and communication collateral.


Is Apple's promotion of Jony Ive too little too late? DigitasLBi, Elmwood, Kinneir du Fort discuss
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

As Apple elevates its star design Jony Ive to chief design officer, many in the design world have argued that his promotion is overdue for a man that has long-steered Apple's design vision. Here The Drum caught up with DigitasLBi, Elmwood, Kinneir du Fort and Lambie Nairn who offered up their thoughts on Ive's new title. 

Simon Gill, chief creative officer UK at DigitasLBi

Perhaps the biggest surprise with Sir Jonny’s promotion is that it actually took so long for Apple, famed for its dedication to great design, to make Ive a C-Level executive.

The CDO title signals the growing importance of design and design thinking in modern organisations as they adapt to the demands of the new economy. Design is best defined as a series of intelligent decisions to solve a problem, and Ive has famously talked about the lengths to which Apple will go to get it right. To find the perfect solution that makes it seem like there is utterly no rational alternative.

The promotion also points to a more holistic view of design. Apple has clearly moved beyond the simple benefits of tight integration between hardware and software to a place where design is used to power innovation and real change, in every aspect of Apple’s being.

In recent years the wider business world has paid particular interest to how Apple operates. So this news will hopefully prompt other organisations into finally putting design at the heart of their business.

Peter Fullagar, head of innovation, Kinneir du Fort

Apple has always lead the market in almost everything it has done, but with this recent title change they seem to be too late in noticing and formalising design at C Level.   

To me it feels like they are stating the obvious, that Jony Ive is being recognised for making Apple the design centric business it is today. Announcing this as they have done and elevating ‘deigns’ to the board at this late stage seems a little ‘un Apple’ – if it has taken them this long to recognise design's importance – how long will it take for the others to catch up?

David Godber, group chief executive officer, Elmwood

Jony's promotion lifts the bar for the world's corporations, and they really should be taking note. We're used to CEOs, OOs, TOs and SOs too, but chief creative and chief design officers are certainly in the minority in the S&P 500. In truth Jony's been leading the zeitgeist, and the brand and design teams for a while. Given his personal history with Apple, his own personal DNA within the brand, his knowledge of where they've come from, his relationships within the organisation and with the supply chain that supports their R&D and future development, well in truth he's the only person who could hold the job today.  

And given how genuine he is as a person I don't really think he's too bothered about the title or status, so I think this is probably more about Apple choosing to declare their alignment with investor expectation than any real change within the organisation. In spite of this many CEO's should be following Tim Cook's example and providing a seat for design at the top table, because it's probably the only role in the C-Suite that truly puts consumers at the heart of the executive conversation. And, as we know, consumers are the ultimate paymasters for any business. 

Jim Prior, chief executive, Lambie Nairn

This feels like the natural and sensible move. Ive has been central to the Apple success story for a long time already and has long ago cemented himself as the world’s leading ambassador for the commercial value of design. The only surprise here for me is that his remit didn't extend this wide already – I would guess that was a more structural than philosophical hold-up in the organisation.

Ive’s challenge now is to develop the next generation of designers in Apple who can emulate his achievements with the same degree of game-changing brilliance as he demonstrated himself because no individual can keep that standard going for ever. Finding anyone that can reach that mark may prove to be his toughest challenge of all. But for now, it’s a richly deserved promotion and it’s great to see a business that appreciates and rewards the fundamental and transformative value of great design. 

Defector warns 6,000 North Korean military hackers could kill
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

A North Korean defector has warned that as many as 6,000 military hackers harbour the potential to kill by destroying critical infrastructure in the West.

Speaking to the BBC Prof Kim Heung-Kwang, a computer science teacher who escaped the hermit state in 2004, estimates that up to 20 per cent of the regime’s military budget now goes on cyber warfare.

Heung-Kwang, who is believed to have taught many students who went onto form the state’s top secret hacking division, Bureau 121, said: “The size of the cyber-attack agency has increased significantly, and now has approximately 6,000 people.

"The reason North Korea has been harassing other countries is to demonstrate that North Korea has cyber war capacity. Their cyber-attacks could have similar impacts as military attacks, killing people and destroying cities."

Reportedly based in China the unit has been linked to numerous attacks on power plants and banks in South Korea.

Google I/O: What marketers need to know
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Developers may be top of Google’s mind at its I/O conference but the host of products on show, from the overhauled Android system to its Apple Pay rival, could provide food for thought for marketers and their efforts to fully harness mobile media.

The annual conference is traditionally used to state what services developers, marketers and consumers can expect to use moving forward. Unsurprisingly, the focus of this year’s gathering is on mobile with Google keen to stress the potential of its expanding ecosystem through the announcement of five product pushes.

Google gets serious about app advertising

Users (naturally) prefer free ad-funded apps and that’s creating more in-monetisation opportunities. Both Facebook and Twitter have already made moves to get their slice of the in-app advertising  pie and now Google is looking to claim its share. At the conference, the search giant unveiled a flurry of products and tools that essentially provide a one-stop shop for advertisers to promote their app, leveraging search, Google Play, AdMob, the Google Display Network and YouTube.

The tool, dubbed 'Universal Ad Campaigns', lets brands create a new kind of app campaign that spans all of Google’s properties simultaneously and offers better performance insights via a beefed up Google Analytics. Google has gone to great lengths to make the transition for brands and developers as smooth as possible, requiring only the details about how much an app maker wants to spend, the audience they want to reach and what the ad will see. The ad’s creation and bidding are then automatically handled by Google in order to find the cheapest users regardless of the channel they use and the goal of the campaign – whether it’s cost per install, the highest long-term value of each customer or other metrics.

The feature is aimed at smaller players that are new to advertising and so is not as robust as the offerings some global advertisers have erected in-house. For example, brands are unable to isolate Google products to run the ads on. However, it is clear the business is paving the path for a rush on app advertising revenues as shown by its decision to bring give marketers broader oversight on how their app install campaigns are performing. Instead of just looking at retention, lifetime value and other performance metrics on Android, app marketers can now see the fruits of their labour on over 20 ad metrics including Millennial Media and InMobi.

In a blog post about the updates, Google’s vice president of product management Jonathan Alferness said: “By partnering with these leading platforms and tracking systems, we believe we can make the entire mobile apps system stronger and more connected – all with the goal of making developers more successful.”

An Android experience of “polish and quality”

This was how Google described the next iteration of its popular open source mobile operating system Android M in the hope of clarifying its focus on experience rather than aesthetics as seen with the previous update Lollipop. Among the new features, the company’s second stab at mobile payments has bagged the most column inches in the wake of the arrival of Apple Pay and the ad industry’s move toward mobile payments.

Google Wallet failed to take off when it launched in 2011 but Android Pay is looking to right those wrongs with an approach that works in a similar way to Apple’s rival service. Announced earlier this year before a more detailed unveil at the conference, the payments service lets users pay for goods without having to share their actual debit or credit card details, instead using a unique token for the transaction. Unlike Apple, loyalty points are also planned for those who use Android Pay, which could help secure brands, particularly in emerging markets where mobile payments are becoming a critical way for people to pay for goods.

Android M isn’t just about payments and Google has tried to create a more nuts and bolts refresh rather than complete overhaul. Linking between and within apps will also be improved, while the software will also introduce to fingerprint scan support to Android smartphones, allowing biometrics to be used to make purchases from the Play store. Additionally, developers will be able to include custom Chrome tabs within apps, meaning an internet experience that is more closely tied to the app as well as far more stable.

Google primes Android for the Internet of Things

Google has made no secret of its hope to move beyond desktops and smartphones and into people's homes. With Brillo, its operating system for connected devices like TVs and fridges, the business is taking its first major steps to achieving that aim.

The service is backed by Google’s Weave standards, which will allow household devices to easily interact with one another as well as mobile devices. Brands and developers can use Brillo and Weave together or use the latter alone, an offer that will add another set of standards to those from rivals such as Samsung and Apple. The lack of interoperability between these standards poses a key challenge for the internet of things' hopes of going mainstream with people unlikely to have households dominated by one technology maker.

The move dovetails with Google’s acquisition of connected-device maker Nest Labs last year.

Alistair Dent, head of product strategy at iProspect UK, said the move could open up new ways for brands to engage people in their homes.

As a brand, this allows you to start offering ways for users to engage directly in their homes,” he said. “The concept of a "smart fridge" has been a connected-devices joke for a while. 'Why would I want my fridge to tell me when I need milk?' people ask.

“It's a fair question, but if I can make my app the one users install onto that fridge to automatically re-order milk... the seamless experience has an opportunity to be owned by brands that win this race.”

Making a Android wearable experience “glanceable”, “actionable” and “effortless”

Speaking at the conference, David Singleton, director of Google’s Android Wear program that helps brands and developers build apps for wearable tech, said it wants to make services that are “glanceable”, “actionable” and “effortless”. He went on to show how upcoming features for smartwatches let users keep the screen on within apps for the first time as well as allow them to swipe between different screens with an intuitive flick of the wrist.  

Google, which claims there are now more than 4,000 different apps specifically for Android Wear, is looking to reassert its credentials in the wearable after Apple released its own smartphone watch earlier this year.

“We know wearable technology is evolving fast,” said Singleton. “We’re evolving Android Wear even further, inspired by something we already do – checking the time.

Context on tap and an ecosystem for virtual reality

Google Now on Tap  promises to embed the search giant even more into the way people traverse the internet. For example, a user could receive an email about seeing a movie and with the simple press of the home button, Now on Tap pulls up contextually relevant apps such as YouTube, IMB and Flixter. It means that as long as an app is indexed correctly then it will more often pop up on people's phones and consequently give them more exposure.

If a brand’s app allows Google to index its content, that content can be made available to Google's predictive search, offering actions to users based on their context. These actions might be to navigate to a branded store, call a cab, call a plumber, or buy a product. These can be pushed right to users at the times they might need it, rather than waiting for them to come into your app.

John Newbold, creative director and co-founder at digital creative agency 383, said: “As these next-gen search services are rolled out, brands will have even more of a fight on their hands for visibility and integration in the Google ecosystem – Google continues to emerge as the primary interface layer through which people view the world.”

The company also used the conference to unveil a raft of new initiatives that try to put its virtual reality viewer, dubbed 'Google Cardboard', front and centre of the rise in consumption 3D content. Alongside, improvements to development tools and the actual hardware, Google is developing a new camera system that makes it easier for people to generate 360-degree content for Cardboard.

With Facebook’s high-profile acquisition of Oculus Rift last year, Google’s announcement signals its intent to steal a march in the space which could open up new revenue opportunities around advertising while also elevating the experience of its own services like YouTube.

Newbold added: “Today's announcements only serve to underline the fact that brands’ digital strategies must integrate deeply with the overarching strategies of gatekeeper brands like Google if they are to succeed. All brands need to be thinking about how their digital services will be consumable to Google for both integration and visibility from now on.”

The dreamers: TBWA London's Peter Souter on inspiration, screenwriting and why 'everything is copy'
Posted on Friday May 29, 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.”

The Drum's newest awards scheme, The Dream Awards, will recognise the big ideas behind the UK's best creative campaigns. The deadline for entry is 19 June.

In addition to this interview, Souter has also appeared in a film (below) as part of a series created by Lost Boys, featuring creative visionaries discussing the inspiration behind some of their biggest campaigns.