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Latest news from The Drum

Privacy exposed: five lessons and solutions from the Spotify saga
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

The backlash against Spotify’s new privacy policy has highlighted a growing disconnect in brand and customer perceptions to data sharing.

Spotify’s main crime may be poor communication – its privacy policy is similar to that of other streaming apps like Tidal, Google Play Music and Apple Music. But the uproar proves that people are no longer willing to blindly accept changes to their privacy data.

Constant media stories around privacy exploitation and breaches have made customers more savvy and cagier than ever before. People are becoming more aware of the value of their data and increasingly protective about how it’s used. With this changing tide, here’s five lessons and solutions to takeaway from the Spotify fiasco:

1. Individuals are understanding the value of their data and want a fair share of the rewards

Consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their information. In response to demand, a new breed of smart tools are emerging designed help people use their data to save on household bills by automatically matching actual usage to deals, and allowing them to keep hold of their data. CTRLio is one of them.

Other companies encourage people to sell their data as a bundle, ostensibly putting commercialism directly in the consumer's hands. But the reality is that customers can only expect to receive around £5 a month. This is a fraction of the return that they’d get from using (and keeping) their data to find better deals.

2. Rebuild trust with transparency

The Spotify saga showed the importance of clear and open communication. Miscommunication costs. Overnight Spotify went from being a respected and loved brand to being dubbed “creepy” and “evil”. The fact is businesses need to collect certain data to operate, whether this is a playlist, phone usage or shopping history. This is a good thing as it enables a better service but it must be gathered with transparency, consent and the right usage permissions.

The issue is not so much one of data ownership but of data accessibility. People should be able to access, control and use the data collected about them. The government’s midata initiative started this in the UK and it’s the principle behind CTRLio, but Spotify’s actions showed it had not learned this lesson. And while we’re on the subject of data accessibility – it’s much safer to keep data distributed around the companies that collect it rather than create central repositories, which are honeypots for hackers.

3. Big data is dead, long live little data!

The old model of putting lots of data in one big pot and making clever predictions might work for weather forecasting but it struggles with human behaviour. Despite the sophistication of the AdTech industry, it’s not very efficient with single digit click through rates being causes for celebration. This is because it relies on inferences, not real intent.

If advertising was based on real needs, imagine how much more successful it could be. Individuals could actually declare their intentions to brands in a way that brands could respond to, at the right times. This is what marketer turned academic and author, Doc Searls has been writing about for years. Next generation marketing, where people are armed with their personal data and able to share relevant bits with the brands they trust, when it suits them. For example, when they’re actually looking for car insurance.

4. Publishers need new revenue streams

Though not directly related to Spotify, ad blocking is another by-product of consumers disgruntled by privacy invasion. The rise of ad blocking and the in-built content blocker of Apple iOS 9 are threatening revenue streams and the distribution of ads based on inferences. It’s estimated that ad blocking is already costing companies £14bn each year. Publishers need clearer revenue streams that work in harmony with customer data and privacy.

This is what CTRLio is working on. An intentions platform where publishers can share in the revenue generated when people use their data to tailor deals to their preferences, usage and timescales. Businesses will know who their potential customers are, what they want and when – with the full consent and mechanisms to engage with them and make offers.

5. Blanket terms and conditions don’t work

As people demand more control over their data, blanket terms and conditions will continually be met with resistance. People want to be able to choose what they share. Unless businesses adapt, data gathering will become a battle between what brands feel they need and what individuals are willing to offer. And this is only likely to worsen as the internet of things era continues. The Kantara Initiative is one of several efforts to develop a more granular approach to consent management and information sharing.

Dominic Strowbridge is the chief product officer at CTRLio

How our ‘F*cking Tube Strike Map’ went viral – second time around!
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

Social moves fast. Today’s media frenzy is tomorrow’s old news.

Unfortunately, though, speed isn’t something that’s built into the traditional agency and client model: brief, strategy, creative and execution with regular feedback sessions throughout. For this reason, speed of response can be your friend and your secret weapon in the battle for consumers’ attention.

That’s great in theory, I hear you say, but what does that mean, exactly, when the rubber hits the road?  Here’s the story of how we went viral in a day by combining listening with creativity - at speed. And what we learned along the way.

Tube Strike Map v1.0

If there’s one thing Brits love it’s a good old rant and Twitter has become the forum for many a blow-out since its inception. There are some topics that get our collective backs up more than others. Most recently it’s been this summer’s #TubeStrike, the first of which was planned for a hot Wednesday in July. As the day drew closer people took to Twitter to share their opinion. So we thought we would have a little listen to what people were saying.

What we learned: Lady London has a big old potty mouth. And that’s when we had an idea.

What if we grabbed all the bad language tweets used with #TubeStrike and visualised them across a map of London in real time glory?

We thought that could be fun, and would show people what can be done when you move at speed to catch a wave, albeit a wave of f*cks, w*nks and c*nts. In one day we listened, had an idea, designed it and deployed it. We seeded it via our social channels and alerted the press. Then we sat back and waited to see what would happen.

The results were a mild success - about 5,000 visits and some press from our good friends at The Drum. Not bad for one day’s work.

Tube Strike Map v2.0

Then, we had a stroke of luck (in a manner of speaking) when a second tube strike was announced! This gave us a perfect opportunity to look at what we had done previously and improve upon it for a repeat run.

First we changed the site to make it more shareable, added Instagram content, tweaked the design and included a swear-counter that totted up the top 5 swearwords or insults used.

Version 1.0 of the map taught us that we needed to get content out to media much quicker as the overwhelming feedback was positive, but it reached the press after it was no longer newsworthy. So, we changed this and alerted media about a day before Tube Strike 2.0 - giving them time to prepare.

We also readied our community managers to stoke the fires and reach out to #tubestrike users and share a little love with them.

The results? Things exploded. First news outlets like The Drum, FHM, BusinessInsider, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Metro and many others wrote about it. Then, the public got wind of it and started sharing it numbers: big numbers.

The site received over 196K views in less than 24 hours. Traffic came from over 172 different countries and we tracked almost 29K tweets mentioning our site - reaching almost 3 million people. Crucially, in the days following the second tube strike, we also received several new business enquiries from potential clients.

So, in summary, here’s what we learned:

  • Always be ready to spot opportunities and look for ideas that will already have people talking.
  • Listen, listen and listen to what people are saying - spot a pattern and amplify it.
  • Mobilise and move at speed.
  • Get the word out there, as soon as possible. As we learned with Tube Strike v1.0, a  day late can be too late, so all departments (listening, design, social, development  and PR need to work in unison).

No-one can guarantee that your work will go viral - but if you’re prepared to take risk and move at speed, you maximise your chances.

Lauren McGregor is a senior account manager at creative digital and social agency Impero.

Stone cold classics: The unconventional iconography of the Rolling Stones
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

Next year will see the Rolling Stones stage their first major exhibition, bringing over five decades of iconography – from stage designs and backstage paraphernalia to costumes, posters and album cover artwork – to London’s Saatchi Gallery, before taking it on tour to 11 other cities around the world.

The band’s vast artistic oeuvre, which includes collaborations with artists as diverse as Andy Warhol, Alexander McQueen and Tom Stoppard, has helped shape popular culture and left a lasting impression on some of today’s most respected designers.

Ahead of the exhibition opening in April, we catch up with a handful of album cover artists and designers to find out which iconic Stones visuals have had the biggest impact on them, and how the band’s graphical output has inspired their careers.

Puking Unicorn & talking cat join YouTube & Vine stars to urge teenagers to quit smoking
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

A US anti-smoking campaign is exhorting teenagers to kick the habit before it becomes an addiction by recruiting a host of YouTube and Vine stars – as well as a rainbow puking unicorn and a talking cat.

It’s a Trap features real-life versions of the internet memes and has been devised by the Truth Campaign for broadcast during Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Focussing on recreational smokers the campaign specifically targets those taking a sly puff on a night out or taking part in a hookah party.

This sees various teenagers trot out a variety od excuses for smoking; including ‘I’ve never even bought my own pack’, ‘I only smoke on Saturday’s so it doesn’t even count’, ‘I’m not a smoker, smoker. I’m going to do yoga tomorrow’ and one unfortunate girl who says ‘It tastes like kumquats. So it can't be bad for me,’ before being vomited upon by the aforementioned Unicorn.

Warning of the dangers of such infrequent smoking the campaign points out that half of people who smoke just a single cigarette still smoke four years later.

BBC creates new Scotland editor role as referendum ramifications rumble on
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

The BBC has announced that it is to create a new post of Scotland editor in the wake of criticism by some nationalists of its referendum coverage, most notably first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The post, which has still to be advertised, will see the broadcaster recruit a journalist to report on Scottish issues for UK-wide reports, commencing by the end of October.

It follows months of hand ringing at BBC Scotland’s headquarters as the network seeks to reshape its services in light of the fast changing political landscape north of the border. As a result of that debate it is intended to give greater prominence to Scottish affairs alongside issues which affect only England & Wales.

One unnamed official told the BBC: “It is a recognition that Scotland has become a story in itself.

"One of the criticisms of our reporting was that it took time for a story in Scotland to reach the network: this is a response to that.”

Sturgeon criticised the BBC at the International Television Festival by claiming that it had failed to analyse the case for Scotland remaining within the union to the extent that it had the SNP’s case for independence.

The new post is being offered to an existing broadcaster or a new face and will carry a similar profile to the likes of US editor Jon Sopel, Europe editor Katya Adler and Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen.

Alphabet has taught us the importance of the corporate brand
Posted on Friday August 28, 2015

The surprise announcement of a new holding company for Google and other ventures has prompted much debate about the role of corporate holding-company brands. The debate arises because the chosen name, Alphabet, is somewhat more imaginative than is usually the case in such circumstances – Google Corporation, or a simple acronym, for example, would probably not have prompted any debate at all. Aside of the discussion on the merits of that specific choice of name, which has already been comprehensively covered elsewhere, the big question being asked is, does the name or identity of a corporate holding company matter at all. Some people, including some prominent marketing professionals, think it does not. 

They say that beyond a basic need for identification, the choice of name and design of identity has no role to play in communicating anything about the organisation’s strengths, intent or uniqueness, and whether or not people like it is immaterial. Such people are completely wrong. 

Google, now Alphabet, seem to be stuck in the no-man’s-land of this debate too. On the one hand, they have launched this name with public memo from Larry Page that explains its back-story: Google’s fundamental operating dependency on language and a very one-dimensional pun on taking ‘alpha bets’ – clearly a name with a story was important to them. Yet on the other hand they have presented the name with a bland, almost non-existent identity and some very clichéd imagery of children’s building blocks, giving the impression that their interest in telling the story is merely a transient thing. It seems illogical to go to the trouble of selecting a name that requires a thousand-word memo to explain it but not to follow it up with the attention or craft that such a step deserves. Unless, that is, that they believe that an interesting name is important but an interesting identity is not. But that’s nonsense too. 

Here’s the deal: brand names and brand identities are hugely important business tools. They convey meaning and promises to audiences in the minimal time and attention span that is available. This applies just as much to corporate holding companies as it does to Coca-Cola, Apple, BMW or Nike for one very simple reason: they are designed in accordance with the human brain. Neuroscience has proven that brand names and identities, especially identities, work to trigger memories and emotions in the human brain in ways that reading a page of text on a website or in a brochure can never achieve. They simplify and shortcut decision-making in the same way that when the human eye sees a certain bundle of energy, the human brain summarises it as, for example, a tree. To suggest that corporate investors, analysts and other stakeholders at a corporate holding company level – not to mention the talent that the organisation must attract and retain – have brains that somehow function differently to everyone else makes absolutely zero sense. Ergo, corporate brands are clearly just as important as they are in any other field. More quantifiably, research that my company has undertaken of the world’s most valuable brands has shown that over the last ten years, organisations that have invested in branding have grown their financial brand value by 168 per cent compared to 21 per cent for those that have not. I struggle to understand why anyone would fail to take full advantage of the power of branding when the evidence is so clear. 

Since the recession of 2008, there’s been a trend for organisations to choose to ignore this point. It started out as a legitimate desire to not attract attention at a time when public mood was at its least favourable towards large corporations. But it has evolved into a melancholy stasis in which corporate brands have been ignored, neglected or, worst of all, deliberately under-designed. I suspect that much of the reason why corporations have failed to invest adequately in their brands is now no more than bad habit – it’s certainly not logic – and it’s time now that this changed.

Brand identities create memorable distinction and differentiation in marketplaces in which meaningful functional product or service differentiation is increasingly impossible to secure. They help convey stories and meaning that assist decision-making, establish relevancy and positive disposition. They help organisations achieve their business goals and become more successful. Whether in a consumer brand or a corporate holding company not only do they matter, they are one of the most important tools you have. Alphabet, currently, gets just half way there. Others need to ignore the misinformed naysayers and take the bold step to develop braver, more creative corporate brands.


Jim Prior is chief executive of Lambie-Nairn and The Partners



Burger King garners more social buzz than McDonald’s post-McWhopper plea
Posted on Thursday August 27, 2015

The fast-food chain has been mentioned in conversation 42 per cent more than McDonald’s, according to social media tracking firm Spredfast.

The social buzz comes after Burger King ran ads in The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune on 26 August, asking McDonald’s to participate in a pop-up restaurant where employees from both companies would create and sell ‘McWhoppers.’ Sales would then benefit non-profit Peace One Day which raises awareness for the International Day of Peace.

Shortly afterwards, McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbook turned down the offer on the brand’s Facebook page, stating “We love the intention but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference.”

Many voiced their opinions of the proposed collaboration on social media. As of midnight CST today, Burger King was mentioned 39,448 times while McDonald’s was mentioned 22,816 times, according to Spredfast.

Jim Rudden, chief marketing officer of Spredfast, said: “This move is on-brand for Burger King, and consumers are eating it up. Consumers love to see brands having some fun with one another on social, especially when it's for a great cause like Peace One Day. Social can be a real catalyst for change and this is an example of that. They've got my attention, for sure." 

The hashtag ‘#McWhopperProposal’ was used 9,198 times with ‘#McWhopper’ in second with 8,341 mentions and ‘#SettletheBeef’ in third with 2,882, the company said.

Subway chooses BBDO to handle advertising post-scandal
Posted on Thursday August 27, 2015

Subway has tapped BBDO NY to handle its advertising moving forward as the chain fights slumping sales and tries to distance itself from Jared Fogle, the former spokesman who recently said he would plead guilty to child porn charges.

BBDO will be tasked with strategic development and execution of the brand's broadcast and digital ads.

The Omnicom agency pitched against a number of other agencies to try and win Subway and replaces Boston-based MMB. Mediacom will continue to serve as the company's media agency.

MMB worked with the brand for about ten years until the chain decided to put its US account under review in July of this year.

John Osborn, president and CEO of BBDO NY, said: "Subway is a great brand.  We are honored and thrilled to partner with them and to create a fresh narrative for the brand. We also have to thank MMB of Boston, our valued partner for the past 12 years, for their many contributions to Subway's success."

Chris Carroll, chief advertising officer of Subway, said: "All the finalist agencies did an excellent job during the process. We would have been excited to work with any one of them. Our decision came down to our confidence in the quality of the team, business orientation, strategic insights and creativity."

The sandwich chain has been broiled in controversy this summer after its longtime pitchman Jared Fogle, who famously lost weight after eating their subs, had his home raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after the ex-director of his charity foundation Russell Taylor was arrested for possessing child porn.

Fogle recently said he would plead guilty to child-sex charges. Last week, Subway announced on Twitter that it no longer has a relationship with Fogle.

The brand’s longtime chief marketing officer Tony Pace left Subway shortly after Fogle’s home was raided to pursue other interests, and the company brought back its former SVP of global marketing Chris Carroll to fill the role.

Great British Bake Off and the World Cup help BBC One scoop 'Channel of the Year'
Posted on Thursday August 27, 2015

Announced this evening (Thursday 27 August) at a ceremony hosted by Frankie Boyle the BBC also scooped New Programme of the Year for its critically acclaimed drama Happy Valley.

This year's new category, Best Online Innovation Award, went to mobile game Reverse the Odds for Channel 4's Stand Up to Cancer and Red Production Company took home Production Company of the Year for its work on Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax for BBC One and Channel 4, E4 and 4oD's Cucumber, Banana and Tofu.

Festival director, Lisa Campbell offered a "huge congratulations" to this years winners and said: "The calibre of entrants has been particularly high, making choosing our winners especially hard."

Voting remains open to delegates via the Festival app for TV Moment of the Year which will be announced at the end of the Festival tomorrow (Friday 28 August) along with the People's Choice Award which is voted for by this year's Ones to Watch and The Network.

For more from the Edinburgh International Television Festival follow The Drum's live coverage here.

TBWA Worldwide appoints Kyla Jacobs to global business development director role
Posted on Thursday August 27, 2015

TBWA Worldwide has enlisted Kyla Jacobs in this newly created role of global business development director.

Working with key leaders across the TBWA global network, Jacobs is tasked with growing the business and promoting its newest services.

On top of the new role however she will retain the director of business development role and executive leadership team membership for TBWA\Chiat\Day New York.

Since joining the New York office in 2014, Jacobs spearheaded account wins including H&M, NBCUniversal, Travelers Insurance, Amway, Thomson Reuters, Hearts On Fire, and Pernod Ricard’s Kenwood Vineyards. Furthermore, she has experience working with top brands including Coca-Cola, Kraft, Virgin, Microsoft and L'Oreal. 

Troy Ruhanen, chief executive of TBWA Worldwide, said: “Kyla’s experience working with some of the most sought-after brands in the world’s key markets will be a huge asset in accelerating our own growth.

“She has an impressive track record of key business wins, and she shares our enthusiasm for the enormous opportunity that TBWA’s refocused global client market structure represents.”

The promotion comes following the agency pledging to achieve a more balanced representation of women in leadership roles across the network.