Tag Archives: innovation

What is this fuckery called retargeting?… Is it effective?

Remember when you were in the market for a fresh pair of kicks or a new top to impress that not so special someone on your recently memorable for all the wrong reasons tinder date? You jumped onto ASOS and when overwhelmed with the choices thought “Fuck it I’ll look later.”. No? Well, facebook sure seems to think you did. Next thing you know your sitting in class, at work, on the train and you stumble your way online only to see banner ads from ASOS for the exact category you were perusing. Creepy. But hey no harm no foul you shrug it off right? And that weekend you’re out shopping with friends and low and behold find that perfect pair of shoes, tie, whatever, no need to keep looking but that’s not what Facebook thinks…next thing you know all you see for the next few weeks are ads for shoes over and over again to the point of irrational anger. Or is it rational?

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 8.04.03 pm

 

This is just one example of how technology is influencing advertisement and is more commonly known as ‘Adtech’. The example above highlights one of the most notorious forms of Adtech called retargeting where it roughly works like this; a website uses cookie-based technology that uses javascript code to follow those who visit the page around the rest of the web. This is done so anonymously and is done so in a way that the ad will only target those who have visited the said website. The purpose of this, of course, is so that even though Bob didn’t make it all the way to the ‘check out’, maybe he got distracted or something came up, brands and websites can subtly remind Bob about the new ultra shiny garden hose reel and other similar categorical items and hey, maybe Bob will complete the purchase at a later time and think fondly about that website.

Screen Shot 2017-10-23 at 8.05.04 pm

But is this ethical? Is Bob only buying that hose reel because he kept seeing images of it everywhere he went and now only bought it based on one initial passing thought, turned action off of subliminal advertising? More and more consumers are becoming irritated and fed up with the constant feed of adverts in their lives opting for web browser extensions that block all ads and it even caused big companies like Apple to start building these types of ad blockers into their own web browsers which have then been used as part of a selling point of their products. Innovations in technology have brought about a lot of new and amazing streams in which the advertising industry can play with but is the industry just being lazy?

The term ‘brand engagement’ is thrown around a lot these days where big brands want consumers to ‘engage’ with them but tactics like retargeting has had the exact opposite effect where consumers are actively trying to disengage with brands and ads so they can have a moment of peace from the bombardment of products and services shoved down their eyeballs. If you rely heavily on retargeting your potential consumers for your products and or services are you even offering anything of worth? Perhaps its time to think more creatively and do something that has consumers wanting to engage with your website and or brand.

Take a video… it will last longer!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… well then what’s a video worth?

Last year I snapped a picture of a little girl I met in India called Angel. On paper, her story is all kinds of tough. After sleeping with someone outside her cast, Angel’s mum tried to drown her as a newborn. Although only three days old, Angel put up a fight and her little heart refused to stop beating. After her failed attempt to murder her newborn child, Angel’s mum gave Angel to a local rescue home and has never seen her since.

Whilst reading about my sweet Angel you feel for her, but its just text on a page, you will probably never think about her again. However, after seeing a picture of her sweet smile, you feel a deeper level of connection and more emotions are evoked as the story grows on you… a picture is worth a thousand words.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? Videos are powerful and enable the viewer to transcend space and time. Whilst it brings me so much joy to gaze at Angel’s sweet face in her picture, I feel like I am back with her when I see a simple video of her. I have a video of Angel in her school uniform jumping up and down on her bed laughing and calling out to me, ‘Ukka Ukka,” which means big sister. The picture of Angel tells me a thousand words, of who she is, what she is like and who she will become; however, the video transports me back in time. Back to my Angel.

I can hear her voice and her laughter, I can see the excitement on her face and I can feel the love I felt for her right in that moment. The video is what I treasure. After months of not seeing Angel, her contagious laugh, which was once so loud in my ears slowly, softens, the memories of hours of jumping on the bed fade and hearing my name called over and over becomes a distant memory. Despite the time apart, it only takes one play of the video to make me feel like I am back with her. Maybe a video has the ability to make us feel those thousands of words in a picture.

Text can tell a powerful story, a picture is worth a thousand words but a video has the ability to transport us through time. Videos engage our minds like nothing else, they have the ability to unpack complex concepts quickly and evoke stronger emotions than any other medium. Videos have the ability to transport us through time and space and quench our mind’s thirst for information and interaction. Since video appeals to both sight and sound, it has the ability bring back our memories, beautiful memories of our journeys, memories like my Angel.

3 great ads I had nothing to do with!

In the tradition of the popular Thinkbox series of shorts that explore some of the greatest TV advertisements in the company of leading Creatives ‘who know a thing or two about making them’, I’ve decided to put forward my own three choices of great advertisements that I had nothing to do with. Now, I’m no Chief Creative Officer of a huge agency, but I feel like I still know a good ad from a bad one. So here goes.

In the age of digital television recorders, advertisement skipping, product placement, overlay ads, Google and pretty much the internet in general, making a TVC stand out above the rest has become tough. Attention spans have shortened, and the point now is to make a TVC that instantly grabs attention and is genuinely engaging. I’ve selected three TVCs that have recently inspired me in my journey through studying advertising; brilliant commercials, old and new, that I admire. (Oh and by the way, if you’ve never heard of it, check out advert.ge on Facebook – absolutely brilliant page constantly posting great TVC’s from around the globe.)

Ad #1: It’s now or never.

As the rest of the world runs for their lives and civilization crumbles around them, the bar-goers enjoy their last moments together and make the most of theirs. The bartender pours shots of Cuervo, a man plays Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” on the jukebox and couples tango while destruction around them ensues, because as for these brave souls; ‘tomorrow is overrated’.

The coolness factor is stratospheric here. CP+B’s campaign, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, features stunning visuals and uses an end-of-days scenario in charming fashion as a metaphor for living in the moment. The Elvis ballad, which was the second best-selling single of his career, is conceptually perfect and cuts right through the mayhem. The end tagline, “Tomorrow Is Overrated,” is a fun way to highlight tequila’s reputation as a liquor that can lead to unparalleled nights of abandon – and a way to emphasize the primacy of now in times of uncertainty.

Ad #2: Only time.

Who would have thought that more than 85 million people would watch the Muscles from Brussels doing his signature split with two Volvo trucks moving in reverse on a highway, backed by Enya’s “Only Time”? Volvo knew.

Directed by Andreas Nilsson, Volvo filmed the short on a runway in Spain in one take after three days of rehearsals. The short was, at the time, the latest in a series of videos Volvo used to promote how easy it was, and is, to steer its new high-tech big rigs – others have featured a woman walking a tightrope between to moving trucks heading toward a tunnel and a hamster steering one up the edge of a cliff.

The series, and the Jean-Claude Van Damme video in particular, are an insanely clever way to get attention to a type of vehicle most consumers usually don’t care or even think about while proving to other brands that they can use short clips to generate a Super Bowl-sized audience for little money when upping the creativity level of their campaigns.

Ad #3: Satisfaction.

While they sleep, a man’s tongue crawls completely out of his mouth and embarks on a journey to a house party down the road, bringing back home a cold Tooheys Extra Dry.

Yes, another alcohol ad. But prove to me that this isn’t one of the greatest Australian ads ever. I distinctively remember always rushing to the TV whenever I could hear Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” playing. “The tongue beer ad is on!”, I would say. I was 12.

This Tooheys TVC, created by BMF in Sydney, drew dozens of complaints but ranks as one of the best television commercials in the world. The Advertising Standards Board rejected a deluge of complaints about the ad, while Tooheys claims it reinvigorated Australian beer advertising. The advertisement is deliberately distinctive to reflect the diverse and growing consumer appetite for the brand, with a particular focus on younger consumers. At the core of the ad, the tongue is a simple yet strategic device to highlight the importance of taste.

The overall theme of my three advertisements, it seems, is that they all effectively make use of one huge feature amongst the impact of the visuals; that of music. Each advertisement conveys a strong message, but through the added characteristic of music, and specifically popularised music, the ad becomes something else. It becomes engaging.

Rowan James Slade

It’s all about the Idea!

You could have the greatest production team, the best global agency, and an amazing client. But just remember this does not mean anything with a bad idea.

Let me give you an example of a simple idea that was a pure genius. Do you remember the power cut during the third quarter of Super Bowl 2013, which caused the lights to go out for 34 minutes? The sandwich cookies brand, Oreo was quick to think in this situation and posted on social media ‘‘Power out? No problem. You can always dunk in the dark’.

 It revealed a simple picture of an Oreo cookie in a dark room. You could argue how Oreo was a great success compared to the other brands that paid for a spot in the memorable, global game. However I disagree with this theory as great ideas also went into all of those other commercials even If they didn’t think of it in 10 minutes. For example the Budweiser commercial- brotherhood, it worked because of the idea behind it. It was a surprising advertisement away from the typical alcohol ad. It told a warm, hearing story between a man and his horse that were separated, yet three years later they were reunited. It engaged the audience from the start as we questioned what the advertisement was for as it had a cinematic feel to it.

According to SJ Insights the number of ads that adults are now exposed to across all five media (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers and magazines) is about 360 per day; of these, only 150-155 are even noted, and far fewer make a strong enough impact to be recalled, make an impression, and ultimately, make a sale. It is vital that there is a strong idea behind any campaign; if your ad is noticed out of those 360 per day then you are on your way to success. One campaign that has stood our for me this week as my bus goes past it everyday is a campaign that was advertising Mardi Gras. It was the simplicity that made me love the outdoor advertisement. Instead of using a billboard outside Westfield in Bondi Junction they have simply made a mural to advertise Mardi Gras using a colourful set of wings, which, people can stand next to and take photos. This always grabs my attention, as the advertisement looks different every time I look at it with different people laughing and smiling, whilst taking photos with the wings. It is memorable as it made me feel happy. You could spend fortunes on a TV commercial or a print ad but if the idea is not relatable or doesn’t make your audience feel an emotion then it gets lost in the world of advertising.

Just remember the greatest ideas are the simplest.

Chloe Alexandra Geggus

Programmatics – WTF?

Programmatic ads have changed the game in online advertising, but there’s still heaps of confusion around what it actually is and how it all works. So let’s break it down. Programmatic buying refers to any ad space bought automatically on a web page these can be bought by 1. Bidding for one space or two. Buying it directly. These spaces are bid on its called programmatic real-time bidding (RTB) this is what serves internet users with display advertising on the web.

But where do they do all this buying and bidding? Well, all the interesting stuff happens on Ad exchange.  Ad exchange will auction off the space to the highest bidder, then the add will appear when the page is done loading. So basically as a page loads, if it has ad space on it that’s available to be bid on, info about the web page and who’s viewing it is passed on to an ad exchange and an auction will be held. The prices of the ad spaces completely depend’s on how much buyers are willing to pay.

You’ve probably confused, how could there be an auction in a matter of seconds that it takes to load a page?! But that’s exactly how long an auction on ad exchange will take. It happens so quickly because advertisers use a fully automated software demand side platform (DSP) to help them decide which ad space to purchase and to bid on ads for them. This does remove the need for human sales people, negotiation skills and a huge amount of time as these decisions are made immediately and simply the highest bidder wins.

The Use of RTB means advertisers no longer have to purchase ad space for a set amount of money for a set amount of time on websites they assume will bring them traffic instead ads can be specifically targeted to relevant audiences across a wide range of sites and prices and can all be managed in real time!

Programmatic advertising has taken a lot of stress off agency’s when buying ads as the process of buying has become much more efficient and cheap. Agencies no longer have to research the best ad space to place an ad, rely on an admin heavy process and manually place the ad before the ad is even running. Now thanks to programmatic advertising’s marketers can now have faster access to ad inventory, complete pricing control and immediate and seamless delivery.

Sophie Robertson

Programmatic – ‘Rise Of The Machines’

Programmatic has arrived and the machines are taking over. The idea of tailored advertising per person is now a reality. So, what does this mean to advertisers and consumers?

Consumers

Imagine a world where you only got what you wanted?

If you got asked the question, would you like to control the ads you see? Most people would say yes. But if you told them they would have to give up some of their privacy, would they be more reluctant? Then remind them that most of this information is already being collected…

Everyone loves something for free and on the net this has never been more available. Though nothing is entirely free. With most free information or services including entertainment on the net, the only price you have to pay is being exposed to advertising. Most of us as consumers have learnt the best ways of getting around this and know we only have to wait a few seconds to hit skip or wait for the little ‘x’ button to close it. However, what if the advertising you were exposed to was only what you wanted to see or what was relevant to your life?

Being able to choose the types of ads your interested in would be a great option. If you have to see the ads anyway, why not choose to make them relevant, maybe even interesting and engaging in portraying your own desirable needs as opposed to just trying to close them as soon as you can.

Advertisers

Imagine a world where you only hit where it counts…

For the advertisers this could be a enormous game changer. If, they were only paying for the media space for consumers, that were interested, or deemed a good candidate. This could potentially save the advertiser plenty of money and let smaller businesses advertise to target consumers who would use their good or services, leading to a chance to grow their business through advertising without having to pay for pointless reach or product outlet.

Driving traffic to your site is always a big push for businesses online and with programmatic you are maximising your potential while saving money wasted on uninterested parties.

Programmatic

So what is programmatic?

Programmatic is the ghost in the machine. It collects data on consumer’s behavior online and through powers much faster than most media experts, which decides who and when is the best time to deliver a piece of advertising. There is a lot more to it than that but like me, is still in its early stages and has a lot more growth and potential.

Once the scary part of ‘they are watching you’ passes and people get the idea they are here to make life, on the overwhelming amount of information on the net more relevant.

Lets work with programmatic to change the perception of  ‘advertising’ into ‘relevant information’ and everyone is a winner.

Benjamin Sopronick

Brands that move at the speed of culture

Macleay College Advertising students recently attended an AGDA event, “How to make brands and influence people,” presented by Chris Maclean, Creative Director of Re.

1_coverMaclean believes the term ‘branding’ has become so nebulous it’s lost all meaning and is even a dirty word in some circles. Even the design industry struggles with the concept, confusing ‘Corporate Identity’ with ‘Brand Identity.’ To make matters worse, the world is confused about branding; both clients and audiences alike.

Your average cabbie, worldwide, has long been considered a good sounding board for community sentiment. With equal measures of humour and frustration, Maclean shares his regular attempts to explain what he does for a quid without saying he ‘just’ makes logos. A good analogy is that a corporate identity (beginning with the logo), is like wearing a uniform, and the brand is more about the personality under that uniform.

Maclean believes that brands are living, breathing entities that should be built to evolve and meet the changing needs of people. Modern brands are “expressive personalities that attempt to influence how you think, feel and behave.”

matt-q

Chris Maclean was “shi#*ing himself.” In 2011, as Creative Director of Interbrand, Maclean was about to launch the Telstra rebrand.

In The Australian, Sydney reporter Mitchell Bingemann had not been kind: “Telstra’s new $3m logo puts critics off colour”, and “It really seems to be a dilution of a powerful brand,” comments conveniently attributed to an unnamed “senior brand design specialist.”

A household name, we’ve probably all heard worse descriptors than “shi#’ used to relay a typical Telstra customer experience. Telstra was keenly aware that many of their customers were ‘hostages,’ and that “more people buy from us than ‘like us.’” Notwithstanding, CEO David Thodey’s mission for Telstra was “to become Australia’s ‘most loved’ Telco.”

p2

In this environment, Telstra had the seemingly impossible task of re-emerging as a brand relevant and engaging to everyone from a tween to a government department. This realisation was instrumental in the decision to introduce a six colour system. With colour, Maclean had extra levels of emotional flexibility to play with, from hot pink for a teenage girl toting birthday cash, to deep blues for bureaucrats and contracts.

One can only imagine the pitch required to sell this to the decision makers. He laughs at his cabbie’s efficacious summary, reducing the extent of his three-year project to having “just changed the colours, six times,” and that he “didn’t even design” the Telstra logo. By then he truly wished he’d booked an Uber and was instead enjoying his own music, the complimentary water, and mints to boot.

telstra-rebrand

Maclean takes us on the journey of the branding creative. After months of strategic planning, design work refinement, and celebratory launch, the project culminates in a design firm handing over a collection of digital artwork (brand assets) and guidelines to the company and their ad agencies for ongoing implementation. At this point, Maclean feels heartbroken and ready to capitulate – “Maybe I am (just) ‘the logo guy.'”

Reflective self-assessment leads him back to an ongoing exploration – how can Advertising and Design play nice together? He sets the scene: for consistency, designers want to build visual glue for brands. Conversely, advertising creatives don’t want to be restricted by static visual communication as it becomes featureless wallpaper. If a brand stays the same in a changing world, it loses relevance. So, while adhering to strict brand guidelines, how does a brand stay relevant and engaging?

Maclean’s discovery of the collaborative ‘middle ground’, is his innovative compromise that enables design and advertising to “play nice” together. The solution is explained with a simple graphic featuring the ‘core’ and the ‘playground.’ Maclean outlines a scenario where the brand agency creates the brand essence at the core, which remains consistent and stable. The playground is a large area orbiting around the core which allows the brand to remain relevant and engaging.

p3_nike

To use a successful brand as an example, Apple (of course, though image shows Nike), has a notorious solid core (no pun intended). No other brand has managed to deliver such a consistent brand experience and any changes in the delivery move at a glacial pace. Yet, when they need to ‘circuit break’ the market, they elegantly but deliberately step into the playground and shake up the space. For example, the dancing silhouettes of the 2004 iPod campaign.ipods

Maclean’s model is entirely appropriate for a landscape of digital disruption, and brands that move at the speed of culture.  Relevant brands are in beta state – alert and focussed. They need to evolve, and as brand designers and strategists, we need to build in flexibility.  Maclean likens it to a ‘Creative Thinking’ exercise: “Listen, think, create. Repeat”.

nathan-q

Chris Maclean and ‘Re’ are currently hiring: “Design Directors, Senior & Mid-weight Designers, Motion Designers, Strategists, Account Managers.” Get in touch hello@re.agency  These roles are all suitable for graduates of the Macleay College Advertising & Media courses.

In a follow-up post, Julieann will review Maclean’s theory that “brands have the power to change the world.”

jules-stripesJulieann Brooker is a lecturer in the Advertising & Media Faculty at Macleay College. Study options include a Diploma of Advertising & Media, Diploma of Digital Media, BA Advertising & Media and BA Digital Media.