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Latest news from The Drum

Why ad blocking software won't spell the death of online advertising
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

A recent report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) revealed that 15 per cent of British adults online are currently using ad blocking software. The study, conducted by YouGov, also showed that the two most likely motivations for blocking ads were because they were “annoying” or “interruptive”.

It would appear, then, that people must detest online ads; but should online marketers and publishers be concerned? Now that Apple has given the green light for ad blocking software on its devices, is this a sign that ad blocking software has the potential to kill off the online advertising market?

So long as people get free content, People will tolerate online ads

In all honesty, it would be a gross exaggeration to declare the death of online advertising due to the proliferation of ad blocking software, or people’s annoyance with online banners. Contrary to the IAB report, a study last year from PageFair and Adobe found that the number of users installing ad blocking software equated to only 5 per cent of the internet population. Apple’s announcement might increase those numbers slightly, but the damage to the online advertising sector will most likely be incidental.

Having said that, should brands that rely heavily on the web to advertise be concerned that people are choosing to ignore their ads? The answer is yes and no. It is hard to ignore the fact a good percentage of the click-through rates on banner ads are accidental. Rich media, such as online video ads, can easily be ignored and retargeted ads that follow users across their web journey are grating.  

Despite the potential irritability of ads on the web, people are not actually that bothered by them. In my opinion, many users view them as a necessary evil for accessing free content instead of having to fork out money to bypass a pay wall.

Creativity and engagement

People will tolerate an advert interrupting their web experience if it engages them. In the IAB findings, just 52 per cent of those surveyed said their main motivation for using ad blocking software was to block all ads. Some people used the software to block certain types of ads or block ads from appearing on specific websites rather than all ads everywhere.

According to research from, click-through rates for display ads on mobile was only 0.35 per cent. Although mobile banner ads are performing better than their desktop counterparts, it is not by much. And who really wants to spend their time doing something that works 0.35 per cent of the time?

Notably, the same research claims that the click-through rate for video is actually 11 per cent. Although it is difficult to measure what percentage of mobile users can actually recall the adverts they see without insight from a focus group, it demonstrates that people engage more with richer creative content.

This is an indication that people will not completely ignore a mobile advert if it is visually engaging, but they disregard an ad if it fails to be captivating, useful or entertaining.

The onus then is on mobile marketers to up their game. First and foremost it is not enough for mobile content to simply be platform specific; it has to be the type of content that people want to actually watch. This may seem obvious, but mobile marketers can become so embroiled in the technicalities that the creative becomes an afterthought. It is counterproductive for mobile marketers to haggle for the best banner ad position on a publisher’s website if the creative, in whatever form, is poorly executed.

For publishers, there are other ways to generate revenue

All of this discussion around the uptake of ad blocking software is not only worrying mobile marketers – online publishers will be feeling apprehensive too. As previously mentioned, online publishers rely on advertising for survival but have realised that this is ultimately unsustainable. Instead, some publishers are establishing paywalls as an alternative method of generating revenue, but many publishers will have a hard time convincing people to pay for the actual content that they have always had for free.

So, if ad blocking software is a threat, albeit a small one, and people are less likely to pay for content, then how can publishers generate revenue without relying on online advertising? One popular strategy often used by publishers is reselling customer data to third parties. Affiliate marketing is another strategy that publishers have resorted to.

Ultimately though banner ads are one small and fairly dispiriting option for brands online; the existence of ad blocking software should only help to encourage better, more interesting work that doesn’t have to be squeezed into a paid ad spot. I don’t want to use the C word but you know what I mean.

Geoff Gower is executive creative director at ais London

ISPA names Theresa May as villain of the year for snooper's charter push
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has named home secretary Theresa May as an ’Internet Villain’ for her support of the 'snooper's charter' without conducting what the organisation thinks is a full consultation of the industry.

May picked up the award for “forging ahead with communications data legislation without fully consulting industry".

ISPA added: "With an Investigatory Powers Bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted."

On the other hand, MPs David Davis and Tom Watson were named ‘Internet Heroes’ for their hard work battling action against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

A statement read: “Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject.”

Additionally, a special 20th anniversary award was given to John Souter, chief executive of Linx, the London Internet Exchange, for his sustained service to the UK internet industry.

Paddy Power has ‘no regrets’ for ‘good at sport’ immigrant stowaway ad
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Paddy Power has stood by its decision to run a controversial ad on a lorry calling for immigrants who are talented at sport to hop aboard and sneak into the UK.

Making light of illegal immigrants boarding lorries in order to enter the country, the firm decked out the vehicle with an ad offering passage to potential stowaways who could bolster our national sports teams.

Further irking some people was the fact Andy Murray was included on the truck, playing on the well-known witticism that Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he triumphs.

Rory Scott, head of PR at Paddy Power UK, told PRWeek that despite the stunt sparking a sizeable backlash – something the brand is accustomed with doing – it had “no regrets” over the ad.

Scott said: “Humour is subjective and I’m sure many people feel offended at the jokes on ‘Have I Got News for You’, for example. What’s going on in Calais is topical, but this wasn’t an observation of that crisis. This was more of a gag about some of our leading British sport stars.

"We were playing on the joke that Andy Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he wins."

The bookmaker often courts controversy, most notably portraying Irish militants as newly-wed homosexuals, a ‘Money if he walks’ Oscar Pistorius jibe and mocking out-going MPs with a Westminster goodbye lorry.

Cheil Worldwide names Aaron Lau president of international
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Cheil Worldwide has appointed Aaron Lau as president of international.

As president of international, Lau will lead the global networks, enhancing the agency’s reputation and growing the existing portfolio of clients. He will lead the Cheil Global Network team in the UK and work with regional heads in overseas networks to develop global and regional clients.

Lau will also collaborate with the leadership teams under the Chiel umbrella including iris Worldwide, Beattie McGuiness Bungay (BMB) and more.

Lau has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Cheil Greater China since 2012; he will retain this role in addition to being president of international. Prior to Cheil he served as chairman and CEO of Bravo Asia for three years and worked with DDB for 16 years advancing to the role of chairman and president, Asia.

During his career Lau has been present on a number of advisory boards including the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, HK-China Business Council and the Shanghai Xu Hui District Mayor’s International Advisory Board.

How a Turkish bank is using Apple’s Watch to engage people with ‘short, powerful’ interactions’
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Turkish bank Akbank is looking to wearable technology for the future of banking, using the Apple Watch to create a new banking channel underscored by shorter, contextual interactions with people.

The app captures information about the smartwatch wearer, allowing them to manage their accounts in a myriad of ways including accessing daily statements, performing currency conversions based on location and locating the nearest branch. Importantly, the app can withdraw money from ATMs via SMS Pass or iBeacon. 

Notifications on the Akbank Apple Watch app give customers a view of their daily activities and notify them if they hit pre-set spending limits. This allows the user to keep a close eye on their personal accounts and finances, and also prevent unexpected activity.

Developed in partnership with R/GA London, the app aims to accelerate Akbanks effort’s attempts to refresh the customer experience at a time when slow customer adoption of wearables continues to be a hindrance to building expansive strategies. Just 720,000 Android Watches were shipped during 2014, but some experts expect Apple Watch’s arrival in April to push the category up to 40 million units shipped in 2015.

Akbank wants its Apple Watch app to work alongside its smartphone counterpart. It sees its endeavours on smartwatches as more of an enabler and display for the apps running on people’s phones.

David Jakes, experience design director at R/GA, said the brand realised that a “smartwatch gives us an opportunity to create shorter, but more powerful interactions with people”.

“Being contextual, always on, and reachable makes it unique in many ways. Finding the right balance, so the interactions are accurate, relevant and useful is our primary focus,” he added. “At the same time, as mentioned before, smart watches make new interactions a more intimate and meaningful experience. Finding the balance between the smart watch and the smart phone is a choreography of simplicity, real value, context and utility. It is a new medium to tell a different kind of story, that can help people and brands have a stronger relationship where it makes sense.”

Despite wearable technology being in its infancy, banks from all over the world including the Royal Bank of Canada and Spain’s La Caixa have experimented with Google Glass and other applications to make processes like authentication and account management more convenient for customers. While banks are gradually coming to terms with mobile, wearables are still uncharted territory and as such banks have been happy to experiment and not commit too much when they are still yet to be widely adopted.

Akbank’s strategy reflects what early adopters of the smartwatch were quick to highlight; that the watch would be a way to take personalisation to the next level with short and sweet interactions that people could decide what was personal or not rather than having it decided for them.

Tango furthers '5 stages of Tang' push with Tang Enhancers online film series
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Tango has progressed its ‘Five Stages of Tang’ campaign with the release of six online films created by advertising agency 101.

The films, which launched today (Friday 3 July), continue in the style of Tango’s last infomercial and feature a Tango representative along with the host of Smart Deals TV try to sell ‘Tang Enhancers’.

The tongue-in-cheek effort pushes five accessories that enhance the Tango experience including a strap-on nose with miniature cartridges to increase Nose Tang, gunpowder-filled mini-cans for Woo Tang, and a stick of haunted wood to amplify the Boo in your Boo Tang (see above).

The campaign directs viewers to a phone line – 0800 088 2028 – where products can be bought by navigating a series of options.

Infographic: Digital growth Down Under
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Australia is on the cusp of exponential ecommerce growth as a result of high average disposable income, penetration of mobile devices and increasing internet speeds, according to new research from Navigate Digital.

Australian consumers spent $16.9bn online in the year to April 2015, a year-on-year increase of more than 9 per cent.

Check out the infographic below for more details:


Donald Trump controversy: A public apology is Donald's Trump card
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Donald Trump is slowly but surely becoming the Nigel Farage of America – that token politician who frequently puts his foot in it.

But whilst Farage managed to offend a large majority of the British public with his derogatory comments relating to immigrants and working mothers, Trump has insulted the whole of Mexico by branding its migrants criminals, rapists and drug barons.

Farage’s comments may have resulted in him becoming a laughing stock of the UK, but Trump’s sweeping generalisation has been far more damaging. The comments have landed him in murky waters with the majority of his business relationships just two weeks into his presidential campaign.

A number of the businesses that the Trump brand has worked hard to develop over the past few years have decided to terminate deals with the billionaire as a result of the offence he’s caused.

NBC Universal and Macy’s were among the companies to cut ties with Trump as a result of the comments and his broken down relationship with Latino broadcaster Univision has left a potential court case in the air after Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against the broadcaster for damages.

There has been no such apology from Trump so far. Instead the former Apprentice star has added fuel to the fire by declaring how unapologetic he is and how much he still strongly stands by his comments.

To some extent, Nigel Farage was able to make such offensive comments without it having too much impact on his livelihood. However, in Trump’s case, it’s not just his presidential campaign he has to worry about derailing. His multi-billion empire is at stake as well.

He’s already lost a huge amount of money through burning bridges with key broadcasters and sponsors and has massively tarnished his brand.

Although the media storm may blow over, unfortunately reputation sticks and no business will want to work with someone who appears racist and could taint their own brands through association.

Through his persistence to stick by his word, it is clear Trump doesn’t want to back down to jeopardise the authoritative political image he is so desperately striving to convey. However to protect his business relationships, I would suggest he take a step back from the situation and think about the impact this could have on his business reputation.

From a media perspective, it is important to apologise when causing grave offence. This helps sustain relationships with any existing clients or partners and prevent further damage.

The key is to carefully select the most impactful media outlet to deliver messages through.

Offering a well-respected broadcaster an exclusive interview will allow the billionaire the opportunity to justify his point of view and apologise – whilst filming the interview live will prevent any edits that are crucial to the context. I would take the time to carefully fine-tune a statement with Mr Trump and help him work on his body language to convey his sincerity.

A remorseful statement on social media is also advisable. Seeking to repair the relationship with any fans and businesses who have been offended by the remarks might allow Trump to rekindle some of the lost support.

If he chooses to take this road, in time the Trump brand will be reinstated and any lasting damage will dissipate. However, in order for this to happen, the tide of public opinion will need to change to influence businesses so crucial to his empire and I truly believe a sincere response is the only way.

Phil Hall is chairman of reputation management agency PHA Media and a former editor-in-chief of the celebrity magazine Hello!

Reddit is in utter chaos as hundreds of its most popular communities go dark
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Words by Rob Price, Business Insider 

Reddit is in the midst of one of the most turbulent upheavals since its inception, with hundreds of the site's biggest communities going private in response to the sudden departure of one of the company's most popular employees.

Victoria Taylor, a staff member responsible for the extremely popular "Ask Me Anything" Q&A community r/IAmA often frequented by celebrities, was allegedly dismissed. Simultaneously, r/IAmA was set as private, preventing ordinary Reddit users from viewing or commenting on discussions, and Taylor indicated her termination came as a surprise — saying she was "dazed" by the news.

This seemingly innocuous personnel change has sparked an immediate — and extremely forceful — response from the community, with at least 265 of the site's most popular communities closing their doors in solidarity.

Read the original article on Business Insider. Copyright 2015. Follow Business Insider on Twitter.

Mondelez hires first global head of content and media monetisation
Posted on Friday July 03, 2015

Mondelez International has named senior marketer Laura Henderson its first global head of content and media monetisation as part of its wider efforts to use both to move audiences along the path to purchase and beyond.

Henderson reports to the snack maker’s chief media and ecommerce officer Bonin Bough who is tasked with bringing media and commerce together in order to unearth new revenue opportunities. Prior to her promotion, Henderson was head of media and communications planning for Mondelez in North America for two years.

Her role follows on from the arrival of Mondelez’s first global head of ecommerce Cindy Chen at the turn of the year, with both hires spotlighting the company’s hope to bet bigger on ecommerce in the future.

The Oreo maker wants ecommerce sales to hit the £1bn by 2020 and so has experimented with a number of models already this year in order to carve out a long-term plan.

From its recent tie-up with Facebook to prospective deals with media platforms like Zefr, Bough has stressed the need for branded content to not only sell its products but also be good enough to make money. He is a great admirer of the Buzzfeed model and wants the snack maker’s marketers to focus on quality of content rather than its reach.

Mondelez was unable to detail how Henderson would further this objective by the time this article was published. However, it is likely she will adopt a more hands on role in bringing these ideas to market across its brands.

It all feeds into Mondelez’s need for its media to not just work the margins. It wants to make smarter spending choices not cuts at a time when tougher cost-control measures internally mean its marketers have to respond to shifting content consumption habits in a more calculated manner.

This thinking in part spurred it to kick off a global review of its media planning and buying business. It told The Drum at the time that the review will streamline its agencies from four to two that will focus on growing its capabilities, particularly in the areas of content and content monetisation.

Mondelez isn’t the only FMCG brand looking to make headway in bridging the gap between content and sales. Unilever, Diageo, Mars and AB inBev are cautiously circling an area that could upset their relationships with retailers if not handled properly.