Posts from date: November 2010
C&A's new ad with Beyonce aired for the first time last night. The timing of the ad, and the announcement of her new clothing range with C&A, couldn't have come at a better time to draw attention away from the furore over Beyonce's banned ad for her new fragrance "HEAT". The ad, which shows Beyonce in a number of provocative poses, has been banned from being aired during the day by the ASA. As you can see from the video below it's not appropriate for everyone but I can guarantee half the population will enjoy it - the other half might buy the perfume.
It's not the first time sex, or the implication thereof, has been used to sell a product and it certainly won't be the last. But whereas ads such as the viral for agent provocateur (see below) have an element of humour to them, Beyonce's ad is as subtle as a brick.
Do you think the usually homely C&A are overly impressed with Beyonce's new controversy?
Last week I attended a Microsoft presentation on their latest introduction to the Smartphone market, the windows Phone 7. The expanding Smartphone market has grown by 95% between Q3 of 2009 and Q3 2010 with Android seeing the largest increase in market share. Growth in this market has previously been driven by Apple, blackberry and HTC.
Microsoft Windows currently has a small market share within the Smartphone arena. The introduction of the Windows phone 7 will not only increase their market share but with its integration of Bing ensure that the increasing number of Smartphone users using search on their mobile are doing so through Bing. Paid for search on mobile accounted for 54% of mobile advertising spend (£20.2m) in 2009 (IAB). Paid search on mobile was worth more than mobile display advertising which was worth £17.4m. Bing within Windows phone 7 allows Microsoft to obtain more of this mobile search spend.
Windows Phone 7 provides some tough competition against the Android and iPhone. Its’ close association with social networking activity and ‘people hub’ makes it more personal to the user. As it is also integrated with Microsoft office products and you can sync it to your outlook giving you the perfect work/life balance. It is also the only phone on the market which you can link up to your X-Box live avatar and game on the go. Something bound to be desirable to passionate gamers following the launch of Kinect or the X-Box 360 last week.
It will be interesting to see how this introduction into the Smartphone market will impact the recent market share growth achieved by the Android.
If you are one of the millions of Harry Potter fans around the globe, then you must certainly be aware that the next instalment of the series will be in cinema this week. Believe it or not only a year has passed since the last time we saw the young wizard on screen. So I guess the wait was not too unbearable. What can we expect in the finale? Well it seems the last two episodes are likely to be the darkest ones of the entire saga (actually, they keep saying that since The Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004!): after Dumbledore’s death (killed by Severus Snape for those of you who may have forgotten), Harry, Ron and Hermione are on a mission to destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality. Obviously their task won’t be easy and the Dark Lord will do everything in his power to prevent the students of Hogwarts to achieve their goal. That’s for the synopsis.
I must say that I wasn’t really into the Harry Potter universe: I have never read the books and actually managed to sleep at the cinema while watching the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! For that reason you’ll appreciate that it was hard for me to understand why millions of people around the world were queuing outside books stores, waiting to buy the latest release. I thus decided to do the most sensible thing possible: I read all the books... Who am I kidding! I just rented all the movies, it was quicker! And I must say that after Harry Potter 5, I eventually got into it. So although I don’t consider myself a Harry Potter fan, I can honestly say that I am really impatient to see what the next film will be about. After all it has been a decade since we’ve been following the adventure of young wizard Potter on screen: the first book came out in 1997 and the first film of the franchise in 2001. That leaves time for people like me to eventually show an interest. Now that I’m saying that, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic because I realise that there are only two movies left and nothing to look forward to after that.
Will there be another book hero to fill the gap that Harry Potter will leave behind?
Many of us have been in a situation where we have had to sell ourselves, sell our business or sell an idea. This requires us to make someone believe every word we say with personality and conviction. All of these things crossed my mind whilst attending the Media Business Course last week in Brighton. How do I sell myself, but more importantly my idea to the client? This led me to think about what makes the perfect pitch?
When thinking about what makes the perfect pitch, several things cross your mind. How should I present my ideas, who am I talking to, what is the objective of the pitch, how can I convey all of the important information effectively and how can I get the client to buy into every word I say? For some people, it’s all about the data – facts and figures tying every point back to a statistic. For others, it is about creating an emotional connection– telling them a story through ideas generated to fulfill the brief. For me, it is probably a bit of both. What is clear from last week’s course is that style over substance does not work. Ultimately, a pitch needs to follow a clear structure. Points need to be made clearly and early-on and the first 15 minutes should not be spent relaying a funny anecdote of a drunken uncle which bears no relevance to the brief that has been set. On top of this, you should be yourself and make sure that you are confident in the message you are delivering.
Being yourself could ultimately be one of the key learnings of the course. Pitches can be stressful and challenging, but ultimately what you say and how you say it dictate the final outcome. Things will inevitably go wrong - your computer may crash, you may be a bit shaky delivering your opening sentence, that coffee you have to settle your nerves may end up being splashed across your freshly ironed shirt. However, all of these things should not distract away from the message you are relaying – the idea you are getting the client to understand and ultimately fall in love with. Sometimes the old school flipchart is a better way to express a point compared to a flashy presentation. Youtube can be used to promote a message, but it must be relevant to the brief and when things do go wrong you ultimately just need to go with flow.
From what I’ve learnt, structure is key, personality vital and making sure insight and objectivity is clear throughout the course of the presentation will really help you excel in a pitch environment. I am by no means an expert, so these are just a few observations of what I think makes a good pitch. I would be interested to hear your ideas…
Yesterday it was announced that Facebook are unveiling Deals to their Facebook Places offering on mobile, bringing local businesses the opportunity to promote offers to passing trade. Currently only available in the US and rolling out over the next few days, local business deals in relevant areas are highlighted when a user checks in via their handset.
This new offering gives brands a unique opportunity to get onto the infamous Facebook App, something which many brands have been chomping at the bit to tap into given the massive amount of users which have downloaded and use the application on a daily basis.
To date advertisers have had to make do with existing geo-location services such as Foursquare in order to showcase local offers or create branding opportunities (such as Starbuck’s Barista Badge), however with ‘Deals’ this potentially opens up a new window of possibilities to engage users via one of the World’s largest digital brands.
The video below outlines the service, which will no doubt make its way across the pond to the UK in the coming months if successful in the US.
Video – Facebook Places bring local deals to the US
I read recently that Bauer Radio have applied to Ofcom to network their three existing Kiss FM licences, creating a national service (www.mediaweek.co.uk). It would mean local content on the Greater London, East Anglia and Severn Estuary stations would disappear and the service would become available on more DAB multiplexes across the country potentially giving access to 4 million people across the UK.
Digital Radio UK continues to insist that everything in the digital radio switchover arena is ticking along nicely, whilst oblivious to the fact that the majority of radio listeners simply could not care less about DAB. The headlines for all radio listening via platforms in Q3 2010 were:
· Analogue radio’s share of listening up from 67.0% to 67.6% quarter-on quarter
· Digital radio’s share of listening up from 24.6% to 24.8% quarter-on-quarter
· DAB radio’s share of listening down from 15.8% to 15.3% quarter-on-quarter.
It is clear to see that the quarter on quarter decrease of 0.5% percentage points perfectly illustrates radio listeners are not as engaged as we once thought in DAB. Consequently I fail to see the benefit of removing locally produced programming for nationally produced content. After all, this makes it harder for advertisers to have the "truthful dialogue" with an audience in a language they understand, spoken by local name they know and trust to have local interests at heart.
It will be interesting to see what Ofcom decide.
When 24 and Lost ended earlier this year with questionable final episodes (Lost especially...what was that all about?!), I felt a certain void in my life - my US drama viewing life that is. Having invested hundreds of hours into Jack Bauer's heroics, and the adventures of a bunch of people on an island but not on an island, dead but alive and fighting polar bears, pushing buttons and fighting against 'others', suddenly I was left with a vacuum. What was next? I found myself searching for the next 'must watch' big budget drama from America. Nothing has truly filled that void though. The rapidity with which American networks cancel under performing shows has taught me to be cautious when committing myself to a new drama - remember The Black Donnelys? The Mountain? No, thought not! I dabbled in Flash Forward and embraced Spartacus- Blood and Sand, only to find no one else was watching. Any mention of being a big True Blood fan was met with suspicion that I was into vampire porn. Yes Mad Men is brilliant, but where’s the violence and suspense or the escapism? Yes The Wire made me feel edgy, feel part of a special smug group of people for watching (much like the feeling you get when joining club iPhone), but The Wire also got me gripped then spat me out after only five series. However, something about The Event, Channel 4's new Friday night drama, drew me in. As names go, it’s quite catchy isn't it?!
So it was with great excitement that I prepared for the much advertised premier on 22nd October of The Event. Over in the States the show had premiered on 20th September with a promising viewing figure of 11million individuals. Of the 13 million Americans who saw the Lost finale on 24th May, It seems a fair few had been willing to give The Event a go. Back here, the first episode reached 2.3m - up from the 521,000 that Davina McCall had pulled in at the same time the week before. Big budget dramas can still be reliable to pull in the viewers evidently. However, Lost premiered on Channel 4 with 6.4m back in 2005 and was down to 1.4m in 2006 when it moved to Sky1. Its final month then attracted between 550,000 individuals and 575,000 on Sky1. It is difficult to comprehensively analyse and compare the success of such shows, what with increased audience fragmentation, the purchases of boxsets and illegal downloads being as they are.
Three episodes in and I have to confess I'm a little bit hooked. Without giving too much away - I was intrigued when I saw a plane suddenly vanish (Lost?), fascinated to see a man racing against time to evade the authorities to protect his loved ones, whilst the President of the USA takes a very hands on approach to his country’s problems (24?), and I imagine I will soon be shouting at the end of an episode "no way!" in the same way I would after an episode 18 cliffhanger from 24. As it is sponsored by BT Vision, let’s hope the British public embraces this big budget drama. I certainly have.