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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

Restaurant owner dishes out scathing comeback to unfavourable TripAdvisor review
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Steve Bothwell, the owner of Café 52 in Aberdeen, has become an internet sensation following his scathing TripAdvisor response to an unfavourable review.

Now doing the rounds on social media the sarcastic reply praises the complainant for their “remarkably creative piece of writing”.

Posting under the username injured2015 the complainant claims “one of our party was cut by broken glass that a waitress dropped” and calls the restaurant out for not providing antiseptic wipes and taking a plaster away from the table before it could be used.

“At no point did the manager apologise for this incident nor did he offer any form of recompense at the end of the meal we suggested a gesture of good will but he was still reluctant,” reads the review.

However, Bothwell hit back at the claims with a list of six points to “clarify the actual situation” and the injury which he described as a “half-inch scratch”.

“Your colleague’s leg suffered a half-inch scratch from a broken glass that hit the floor. It’s not unusual for a member of the waiting staff to drop something in the hospitality industry…Your colleague was tended to immediately and a drum of antiseptic wipes (contents 200) were put on the table and several wipes (better safe than sorry!) were used to treat the wound,” he wrote.

“Thereafter a clean dry towel with crushed ice was put around the leg of the alleged victim (just in case the leg swelled up to the size of Saturn, resulting in a lunar explosion). The alleged victim was offered a choice of plasters; however we were out of ‘does this plaster match my outfit’ variety, so it was either skin coloured plasters or the bright blue ones. The skin tone plasters seemed to do the job.”

The response adds that he made “regular appearances” at the table during the meal and “made sure the leg wasn’t going to drop off and there wasn’t a sea of blood flooding down the middle of the restaurant.”

Last summer a TripAdvisor critic was threatened with legal action after leaving a “nasty” and “libellous” review on the site.

We're approaching the final frontier for interface: the melding of man and machine
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

In 1997, IBM supercomputer Deep Blue overwhelmed chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in game six of their famous man vs. machine battle. What happened next was equally remarkable.

Rather than slump into existential despair, Kasparov – impressed by his opponent’s limitless move knowledge – instigated the ‘advanced chess’ tournaments, also dubbed ‘centaur’ because of their hybrid nature: computers brought the brute horsepower of foreseeing thousands of moves but, crucially, humans made the final intuitive choices. This sage man/machine combination proved irresistible.

In tech conferences 20 years later, this story resonates strongly. Our relationship with technology is maturing beyond adversarial ‘man vs machine’ concepts – with closer integration across many fields. From the sharing economy and internet of things to augmented reality, AI and even biometrics, we are moving from finding a role for technology in a human world towards finding a human role in a world of technology.

Intel’s chief anthropologist, Dr Genevieve Bell, says technology’s role is “to keep us in flow”. This is supported by the interface of tech growing ever closer to our person: from mobiles to wearables, biometrics and even physical augmentation. In many ways, ‘humanity’ is the final frontier for interface; it is as much about putting tech on – and into – our bodies as it is about giving technology a more human touch.

We see this in Uber, the best day-to-day example of tech keeping us in flow. While there are tensions around ‘taking cabbies’ jobs’, Uber’s success speaks volumes. As per behavioural economics, people gravitate towards ease. While Malcolm Gladwell asked at SXSW 2015 “Is technological disintermediation killing the personal touch?”, Uber is already challenging this by ingeniously linking into your Spotify account to accompany your ride.

This, however, only hints at the personalised contextual potential of the internet of things. IoT is likely to make the personalised marketing vision of films such as Minority Report a reality with startling speed. The key, of course, will be making this personal and valuable – human.

IoT has an issue with its name; it feels like an obsession with connected ‘stuff’. The ‘Internet of You’ (coined by Jawbone’s CEO at CES 2015) is a more valuable vision; over time, wearables will become intrinsic, as controllers/sensors – again, the interface gets closer to home. On this note, I think players such as Google are making smart plays in terms of connecting valuable eco-systems – our homes, cars… our personal value hubs.

We then see the interface move closer still, moving towards a kind of ‘metaverse’ – a reality with no discernible difference between on- and offline. In this context, we will see increased biometrics where our bodies become our controllers, currency and passport to everywhere. We can already see this with gesture-based controllers like Myo, whose founder thinks we’re maybe five-10 years from powering them by body heat/kinetic energy – freeing us from being power-hungry ‘wall huggers’.

We can see this melding of man, machine and metaverse in every sphere: Augmented Reality (AR) with Microsoft’s HoloLens, and AI with its Siri-esque assistant, Cortana. This year, United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt spoke of the ultimate interface of man and machine as creating ‘mind clones’ of ourselves online. Her experiments with this include creating BINA48, a virtual clone of her girlfriend.

Far from being the nadir of mankind if we cross the final frontier of interface – genuinely melding man and machine, physically and mentally – this could be transformative. What started with a chess game could become the next giant leap for mankind. 

As Kasparov reflected in 1997: “We’re all playing ‘advanced chess’ these days, we just haven’t learned to appreciate it.”

Dan Machen is director of innovation at HeyHuman

All Response Media relocates Leeds office following new business wins worth £15M
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Customer acquisition media agency All Response Media (ARM) has announced the relocation of its Leeds team into a 4,000 sq. ft. city centre office space within the Marshalls Mill building in the Holbeck area of the city.

The move follows a growth surge which has seen the London and Leeds based agency secure more than £15 million worth of new account wins since the beginning of the year. The Leeds team is set to pass the 30 employees mark within the next few weeks, with London already employing close to 80 staff.

ARM director Dan Mowbray believes the move is a reward for the hard work and dedication his team has displayed over the last few years. He said: “We have a client-orientated culture and a media-neutral and transparent approach media buying that clients are responding very well to. Success breeds success and we have deliberately moved into a space with the room to let us increase staff numbers to over 50 in Leeds, which is testament to our ambition moving forward.”

All Response chief executive office Andy Sloan said: “Our utilisation of technology and analytics to ‘response’ and future-proofed strategic thinking through the line is really resonating with clients. This is mirrored in the expansion of our Leeds office and team and we look forward to continuing this growth in the future.”

ARM’ s recent client wins include Clas Ohslon, MYA and Thunderhead.

BJL offers career kick-start for young advertising talent
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

BJL has brought back its BJL Brilliance programme helping ambitious youngsters take their first steps onto the media and advertising career ladder.

Candidates are invited to respond to one of six briefs, available online, which focus on skills and disciplines including design, creative, PR and social, account planning, creative and content with all work based around existing agency clients.  

The strongest candidates will be invited to an exclusive event at BJL Manchester in July where they’ll have the chance to showcase their work and get advice and perspectives from BJL staff ranging from entry level to the BJL board.

Those who show the tenacity, talent and potential will be offered a three month paid placement with a total of six places available.

BJL chief executive officer, Nicky Unsworth, described the programme as a “great way of bringing fresh faces and ideas into the agency” as well as “setting a new wave of bright, ambitious youngsters off on hugely rewarding career paths.”

Junior copywriter, Amy Pass, who arrived at BJL through BJL Brilliance in 2014 said to anyone considering taking part this year: “Don’t be scared to do something out of your comfort zone. You need to stand out to break into an industry like this, and you need to push yourself to find out what you’re capable of.”

The deadline for BJL Brilliance entries is Tuesday 23 June. Entries will then be subject to review and shortlisting by a BJL panel.

YouTube stars and commercial transparency – what advertisers need to know about vlogging
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Members of ISBA’s Digital Action Group, comprising 40 senior digital practitioners, had been waiting a year for Dominic Smales, MD of social talent management company Gleam Futures, to make a presentation to them. He’s obviously a busy man. It was well worth the wait.

Dominic was accompanied by ‘talent’ Marcus Butler at May’s Digital Action Group meeting. Marcus currently has 3.6 million subscribers.

Gleam Futures has 24 ‘talent’ on its books – vloggers who generate approximately 125 million monthly views.

Vlogging provides advertisers with a new platform from which to engage with that exclusive 18 to 34 audience, and Gleam is one of the major players. However, Gleam certainly isn’t an overnight success – it has been running for six years.

There are now a number of vloggers out there, although very few are able to ‘turn the dial’ by being able to offer the reach and critical mass that will interest big advertisers. Within the Gleam stable is the UK’s foremost vlogger Zoella (7.7 million YouTube subscribers). Even if we challenge these figures – are they recent subscribers? – they dwarf traditional celebrities such as Madonna (508,000).

But are these vloggers cutting it IRL (In Real Life)? Apparently they are. In this virtual world viewers are actually handing over real money to buy the leading vloggers’ books. Zoella’s recent appearance on the BBC’s ‘Great British Bake Off’ provided an uplift in viewing figures from 16 to 34 year olds who allegedly don’t watch TV any more!

Zoella’s fans have invested heavily in her makeup brush, and has achieved remarkable sales without any above-the-line budget.

Not that vloggers have to appear exclusively on YouTube – with Facebook and Vessel both looking to exploit our growing addiction with video. Enlightened advertisers such as Unilever were quick to spot the vlogging trend and have established their own YouTube channels to gain first mover advantage.

And there’s no reason why vloggers can’t be channel agnostic. Hollywood studios have allegedly been pitching programme ideas to terrestrial broadcasters as they begin to take notice of the ‘YouTube talent revolution’.

Good news for advertisers. Dominic and Marcus confirmed that viewers tend to prefer clarity and transparency – being told upfront (via ‘spon’ or ‘#Ad’ adjacent to the title of the vlog) about any commercial relationships the vlogger has with brands which are featured during the vlog. Viewers can then sit back, relax and enjoy the performance.

Despite the world of vlogging being described as resembling the ‘wild west’, there are rules and regulations set up by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). In November, the ASA adjudicated against Outbrain (a ‘content discovery platform’), an advertiser and YouTube vloggers who were deemed to be less than transparent about their commercial agreement.

The ASA published initial guidelines after the ruling, stating that ‘paid-for videos’ must be confirmed ‘upfront’. Guy Parker, the ASA’s Chief Executive, told the ISBA Conference in March that further clarity around the issue is required.

Bob Wootton, ISBA’s director of media and advertising, stated: "Comprehension of the guidelines remains too low. Advertisers are responsible for providing disclosure to consumers when they are trying to sell to them. If they don’t, they run the risk of losing the trust of their audience." Those two words – ‘trust’ and ‘transparency’ –  keep cropping up. 

In April, Zoella and other high-profile YouTubers were criticised over the fact that certain “junk food/sugary sweets and drinks pre-roll video ads, that were served alongside their content, are being seen by a young audience”. To be fair, YouTube vloggers might not have much control over which ads display alongside their content. So who has the control? The advertiser, the social talent agency, the multi-channel networks, YouTube channel owners or YouTube itself?

Google ensures that only YouTube subscribers who are aged over 18 will be able to view the gambling adverts.

Of course not every sector is suitable for advertising. Fashion, cookery and tech are the most popular sectors that lend themselves to vlogging.

But not everything in the vlogging garden is rosy. Questions on engagement, transparency and control over advertising have surfaced. Stats aren’t everything, as we eventually worked out with Facebook likes. But how engaged are viewers? According to Gleam’s metrics fairly engaged!

So how does the future look for vlogging? Pretty good right now, as long as vloggers and their management agencies are sensible and take a long-term view, establishing relatively few commercial relationships with appropriate brands.

But as always it’s the long tail that might muddy the waters and spoil things, ignoring the rules to make a fast buck. Responsible advertisers will aim to partner with responsible vloggers, although as we have found with certain brand ambassadors, a safe bet can quickly end up as a liability for the brand.  

David Ellison is marketing services manager at ISBA

Vox Pop: The Apple Watch and The Future of Wearables (Part 3)
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

We have explored some reviews and some early adopters' 'sorry, but not that sorry' regret when buying the new Apple Watch, but what does the future look like for wearables? Have Apple created a clearer path to combine virtual reality with physical reality? Drum Network members divulge their opinions...

Part 3: The advocates and the wary

Batiste dry shampoo turns to BMB for US social media launch
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

US FMCG giant Church & Dwight has selected BMB to launch its Batiste dry shampoo brand in the US online and via social media.

BMB currently handles social media for Batiste in the UK with the appointment marking a major international extension of the agency relationship.

Owen Farrington, head of social at BMB, commented: “Working with the US team is a fantastic opportunity and with the forthcoming product developments, we’re looking forward to sharing this with the US audience and expanding this iconic brand’s influence in the beauty and fashion world.”

The appointment sees BMB charged with creating bespoke US content for the brand as well as developing its US audience on Facebook and a US-specific Instagram.

Apple edges into augmented reality sector with Metaio buyout
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Apple is positioning itself to grab a slice of the augmented reality market with its purchase of Metaio, a start-up specialising in the nascent field.

According to reports in Tech Crunch legal documents have surfaced indicating that the Cupertino based juggernaut acquired the business last week but has remained tight-lipped as to its plans for the company.

Thus far Metaio has specialised in offering potential vehicle purchasers AR tours of cars from manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Ferrari as well as a travel aid for Berlin which gave tourists a look at what city streets would have looked like when the Berlin Wall remained standing.

Apple is believed to be developing a virtual reality headset that is compatible for use on iPhones as well as an AR feature for its Maps app that can display restaurants and other businesses by pointing the phone at the street.


Le Creuset positions itself as a desired, lifestyle brand in 90th anniversary campaign
Posted on Friday May 29, 2015

Cookware brand Le Creuset is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a campaign that aims to move the brand away from being rooted in the cookware category to instead reflect how people see it as a benchmark for quality and as a desired, lifestyle brand.

‘A thousand memories shared’, created by krow Communications, centres on celebrating the life-long memories created with family, friends and food with Le Creuset focusing on the emotional reasons to buy or invest in the brand.

“We want Le Creuset to be perceived similarly to other premium luxury brands,” explained Neil McIntosh, head of marketing for Le Creuset UK. “We know that Le Creuset consumers have a deep affection for the brand which is quite unique – the brand is often a cherished part of the kitchen, the heart of the home.

“Our new campaign focuses on celebrating and sharing the special moments and memories that people tell us that they have with Le Creuset. We wanted to move away from the cookware norm and ultimately continue to have a deeper, more emotional connection to more people.”

Founder of krow Nick Hastings added: “Rather than tell people how well a Le Creuset works, they know that already, we wanted to capture the emotional connection people have with Le Creuset. The idea will stand out because it makes its point beautifully and with real conviction, and it feels very right for the times.”

The campaign launches in June and will run throughout the year in premium print titles including Guardian Weekend, Waitrose Kitchen, Country Living, BBC Good Food, Ideal Home, Marie Claire and John Lewis Edition as well as key online titles and prime underground locations close to London-centric Le Creuset stores.