Digital media remains a big driver of growth in global advertising and is likely to capture 33% of the global advertising pie in 2017. This is according to a forecast by GroupM, the world's largest advertising buyer. TV continues to attract the largest share of ad spend, although this will decrease slightly from 42% in 2016 to 41% in 2017. “Digital keeps surprising us,” says Adam Smith, a senior GroupM executive. “What's surprising is [that] the bigger the appetite for digital is, the bigger it gets.” He believes that digital’s growth is being driven by big increases in paid search, e-commerce and advertising on mobile devices. “If you look at the growth trajectory of digital, if it carries on taking a point or two of share from other media. Is TV threatened and, if so, what can we do about it?” asks Smith. He says more data and technology should be introduced to support TV marketing – including creating addressable ads that allow marketers to target consumers by household. Many TV executives in the US have argued that momentum is swinging back towards television as marketers become more wary of digital advertising problems such as click fraud. However, it appears that this may not be the case. Total advertising spend worldwide for 2017 is predicted to be US$547-billion, an increase of 4,4% on 2016, notes GroupM. The US and China will be responsible for half of the net growth next year. Emerging market India continues to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world when it comes to ad spend, with the country's ad growth forecast to be almost 13,8% this year and 12,5% for 2017.
Published in My Article
Global sporting brand Adidas has unveiled a new worldwide advertising campaign that features some of the world’s top female athletes – among them tennis stars Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanović, basketballer Candace Parker and soccer player Morgan Brian. Also part of the campaign are American DJ Hannah Bronfman and supermodel Karlie Kloss. The campaign, called ‘I’m Here to Create’, comprises a series of 15- and 30-second video ads (Adidas styles them as ‘films’) which look at each star’s life and passions away from their chosen professional field, including how they express themselves and defy conventions. The ad spots debuted online this week and will be aired on TV in more than 50 countries. Adidas says it is seeking high-viewership TV airtime for the campaign, such as during coverage of UEFA Champions League soccer games, the Grammy Awards and the Oscars. “We are obsessed with the versatile female athlete – women who love sports, make decisions every day to live an active life and are helping to change sports around the world,” said Adidas spokesperson Nicole Vollebregt. “In 2016, we will consistently roll out women-focused activations, partnerships, products and events that will allow us to further connect with this athlete on a personal level.” Last year the company unveiled its 2020 strategic business plan, which aims to accelerate growth by ‘significantly increasing brand desirability’. It is focusing on three divisions: Adidas Football, Adidas Running and Adidas Originals (lifestyle products with an emphasis on street culture).
Published in My Article
Global sporting brand Adidas has unveiled a new worldwide advertising campaign that features some of the world’s top female athletes – among them tennis stars Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanović, basketballer Candace Parker and soccer player Morgan Brian. Also part of the campaign are American DJ Hannah Bronfman and supermodel Karlie Kloss. The campaign, called ‘I’m Here to Create’, comprises a series of 15- and 30-second video ads (Adidas styles them as ‘films’) which look at each star’s life and passions away from their chosen professional field, including how they express themselves and defy conventions. The ad spots debuted online this week and will be aired on TV in more than 50 countries. Adidas says it is seeking high-viewership TV airtime for the campaign, such as during coverage of UEFA Champions League soccer games, the Grammy Awards and the Oscars. “We are obsessed with the versatile female athlete – women who love sports, make decisions every day to live an active life and are helping to change sports around the world,” said Adidas spokesperson Nicole Vollebregt. “In 2016, we will consistently roll out women-focused activations, partnerships, products and events that will allow us to further connect with this athlete on a personal level.” Last year the company unveiled its 2020 strategic business plan, which aims to accelerate growth by ‘significantly increasing brand desirability’. It is focusing on three divisions: Adidas Football, Adidas Running and Adidas Originals (lifestyle products with an emphasis on street culture).
Published in My Article
As America’s sports lovers gear up for their biggest day of the year – this Sunday’s Super Bowl football game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos – the country’s advertising and marketing fraternity has been in a two-week frenzy of its own. But rather than discussing tactics, player line-ups and injuries, the talk has been all about who is advertising around the game, what they’re spending, and the advertising strategies involved. Publications and TV programmes covering the marketing/ad industry have been breathlessly announcing which brands are ‘in’ this year, which of the traditional advertisers are ‘out’, and who the newcomers are to Super Bowl advertising. Participating in the 2016 extravaganza costs US$5-million for a 30-second ad slot around the game and, in return, advertisers can expect a total TV audience of around 114-million people. But buying the US5-million ad slot is only the tip of a very expensive iceberg for the participating brands and their marketing teams. “That price doesn't include the cost of actually creating the ad, the publicity around the ad and other aspects necessary to create a successful Super Bowl ad campaign. In total, one source said a full big game campaign can cost more than US$30-million,” says a report by business broadcaster CNBC. According to CNBC, there’s increasing debate in marketing circles about whether the price tag is worth the returns. It quotes Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester Research, as saying it may be more cost-effective to buy several ads for a highly rated prime-time TV series, rather than advertise around the Super Bowl. The following are among the brands advertising this year, which the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl: Amazon (newcomer), Kia (newcomer), Pokemon (newcomer), Budweiser, Honda, Audi, Mini, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Snickers and Colgate.
Published in My Article
Advertisements that feature celebrities and athletes have the least resonance with South African consumers. This is according to the ‘Global Trust in Advertising Report’ released this week by research company Nielsen. Ads of a sexual nature are also highly disliked, while the advertising messages that most resonate with South Africans are those with humour (64%), depicting real life situations (51%) and family-orientated ads (50%). Compared to their international counterparts, a high percentage of South African consumers still place most of their trust in more traditional forms of communication/advertising. “This is evidenced by the fact that the second highest number of respondents in the survey said they trust editorial content such as newspaper articles,” says Nielsen. Seventy-five percent of people surveyed also said they trusted adverts on TV and radio, and in newspapers and magazines. The same percentage said they trusted brand sponsorships. When it comes to what extent South African consumers take action based on specific forms of communication/advertising; word of mouth is the biggest influencer, with 90% citing recommendation from people they know. The effectiveness of traditional media – in this case TV – is also clear, with the second highest number of respondents (80%) saying that television advertisements influence them to take action. This is followed by ads in newspapers. Trust in advertising within the digital realm is also on the increase. Seventy-one percent of local respondents said they trust branded websites, followed by 68% of South Africans stating they trust emails they signed up for, and 66% indicating that they trust consumer opinions posted online.
Published in My Article
As it seeks to attract more paying advertisers, particularly in emerging markets, Facebook has launched what it calls a ‘lightweight’ video advertising system. This comprises a series of still images that can be combined with text to create a simple slideshow. The benefit is that the ads are cheap and easy to make, do not consume much data, and can be more easily accessed by people with simple 2G mobile phones. This is particularly useful for markets where most consumers do not use sophisticated 3G and 4G connections when surfing the Internet. “This is a new tool and ad format to help businesses big and small take advantage of video more easily, while [at the same time] using less of a person’s data plan,” says Nunu Ntshingila, the former top ad agency executive who now heads up Facebook’s operations in Africa. “The power of visual communication is real; we have already seen strong results from Coca-Cola in Africa” Coke, which trialled the slideshow concept in key African markets including Nigeria and Kenya, is ‘pleased’ with the results. “The campaign reached 2-million people – twice the goal – and had a 10-point increase in ad awareness in Kenya. We recognise that our consumers may have constraints when accessing video content, hence the slideshow option by Facebook is spot on in enabling us to deliver impactful and quality content,” says Ahmed Rady, Marketing Director for Coca-Cola in Central, East and West Africa. According to figures supplied by Facebook, a 15-second slideshow ad can use up to five times less data than a video of the same length.
Published in My Article

Increasing numbers of shopping centres around the world, including in Africa, are adding digital displays to their out-of-home offerings. The trend is creating exciting opportunities for advertisers and points of interest for shoppers.

Mall advertising is one of the fastest-growing media categories in South Africa, according to Spectrum, a local signage company. Given the popularity of shopping malls in South Africa – and their growing footprint across the rest of the African continent – increasing in-mall advertising strategies is important for brands looking to remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds.  

 Digital billboards enable advertisers to target consumers where they shop, using technology to convey immediately relevant messaging. “They can deliver messages at the right time and the right place, which is essentially the out-of-home (OOH) holy grail,” Bruce Burgess, OOH agency Posterscope’s Development Director for sub-Saharan Africa, said during an interview in a recent issue of ‘The Media magazine.

Taking a larger-than-life approach to digital displays, Sandton City was the first SA shopping centre to install video walls in 2012. “Each comprises 12 seamless digital screens which function as one large screen,” explains Spectrum, the technology provider for the Video Wall at Sandton City, which was installed by Primedia Unlimited.

Explaining the technology, Spectrum says: “The screens display advertising for local retailers, weather forecasts, latest news updates and even Twitter feeds when requested. This screen runs on Spinetix (a digital signage player and software dedicated to digital signage applications) and is extremely versatile for this particular site as it can accommodate almost any requests.”

In addition to large digital display units in centres, stores themselves can install their own point-of-sale (POS) units, where they can flight in-store specials or, in the case of fast-food chains, highlight large stockpiles of food that are near their sell-by dates in order to sell them off. 

One Digital Media, which claims to be one of Africa’s largest digital signage companies in the retail space, offers a multi-layered platform that enables stores to remotely manage content. “The engine also incorporates a timing mechanism that lets retailers cue product specials or marketing messages well in advance,” CEO Andrew Ridl explained in a press release. This allows retailers to schedule messages to display at certain times of the day – for example, highlighting lunch specials between 11am and 2pm. 

One Digital Media supplied the recently revamped Woolworths store at The Mall of Rosebank in Johannesburg with 13 different digital signage communication points. These range from video walls to large-format LED displays strategically placed throughout the store.

In addition to in-store digital displays, new technology also enables retailers to access consumers across multiple channels. “Mobile devices can also be used to blend virtual and physical shopping experiences in new ways,” reports ‘The Media. Examples of this include apps paired with customer loyalty cards that allow for advertising to be tailored to a shopper’s personal needs and preferences.

Primall Media and Mallworx Media have, for example, developed an app around their mall directories. Lee Curtis, Executive for Sales and Marketing at both companies, said this innovation enhanced “our ability to speak to shoppers via our innovative advertising modules”.

Branding experts warn, however, that whether you use apps, digital mall displays, social media or other channels, keeping an advertisement’s look and feel consistent is key for retaining customer loyalty. “Shoppers don’t like to be bombarded with random ads about different products or brands. Targeted advertising is key to keeping your consumer engaged. You therefore need to know what your shoppers’ likes, where they are buying and how much they are spending,” says Curtis.

While these digital advertising innovations may not yet dominate the African retail space, analysts predict that it’s only a matter of time – about five years, estimates Posterscope’s Burgess. 

Published in My Article

Is the advertising industry's traditional 'agency of record' operating model under threat from marketing departments seeking a fresher and more nimble project-based approach to creative campaigns?

Large corporates have traditionally had a major advertising agency that acts as the agency of record to coordinate advertising and related activities, and ensure consistency of branding. However, the greater fragmentation of media channels in the digital age is seeing more marketers question whether this approach is becoming unworkable. Instead, they suggest different, specialist, agencies should handle emerging channels such as video messaging, social media, and the round-the-clock two-way conversations that consumers now expect from brands.

"Agency of record arrangements dominated the ad industry, primarily because agencies knew the traditional platforms of broadcast and print well," observed 'Forbes' business magazine in an article. "While having an agency of record continues to be common, client attitude toward it has changed. [These agencies] didn't manage to convince clients that they could handle the speed and complexity of the new interactive and social platforms as well. Now, marketers are increasingly seeing instances where moving forward without an agency of record was not only possible, but also beneficial."

Last week Frito-Lay, the division of PepsiCo that manufactures potato chips and other snack foods, announced it had ditched its agency of record, Energy BBDO, in favour of a project-by-project and brand-by-brand approach.

"I hate to say one brand is with one agency for eternity," Ram Krishnan, Chief Marketing Officer for North America, told the industry publication 'Ad Age'. "The way we look at it is: who is the best-suited for what we are trying to do with the consumer and the message?"

He added that creative agencies were once viewed as the custodian for brands, but this view was being circumnavigated by the two-way conversation occurring on social media directly between brands and consumers.

'Forbes' suggests that advertising agencies themselves "participated in fraying the relationship" by unbundling their media operations into specialist businesses. "Their inability or unwillingness to integrate marketing communication led to fragmentation. Specialisation became the name of the game and the belief that no single agency could possibly handle all client needs became prevalent," wrote marketing consultant and columnist Avi Dan.

"Perhaps an even greater paradigm shifting was the rise in importance of procurement and a cost-efficiency model. In many companies, the full service agency of record model is being challenged as [the procurement department] is taking the lead on finding agencies."

But opinions remain divided. Deanie Elsner, Group Chief Marketing Officer at processed foods manufacturer Kraft Foods, believes agencies of record are still needed to be the "caretakers of large creative ideas". Speaking to 'Ad Age' last year, she noted that "the big idea is still alive and well", although the "translation of that [idea] across different media channels may be more executionally appropriate outside of the agencies of record. Or the agencies of record will have to figure out a way to translate [ideas] across different mediums in a more cost-efficient way."

'Media Post', a communications industry website, has also been supportive of the traditional agency of record concept. "It is my belief that the agency of record is the best model and that brands who shop every last project out to the some specialty [agency] or the lowest bidder are doing themselves a disservice in the long run," wrote outspoken commentator Richard Whitman.

"Why? Because every new [agency] wants to put its stamp on the brand – and that almost always results in different iterations of the brand promise when it should be consistent year after year after year. Yes, specialty shops can move quicker than most mainstream agencies, but unless a lasting bond is formed between agency and brand, the two shall never come to a true understanding of one another."

Published in My Article

While South Africa’s advertising industry watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), ruled on Friday that FNB bank must withdraw a prominent national campaign urging the public to ‘Un-Steve’ themselves, the country’s consumers seem divided over the furore.

The campaign was the latest derivation of a multi-year strategy involving a mythical, but humorous, character named Steve who works as a call centre agent for an un-named ‘Beep Bank’. However, in the current campaign, consumers were told to ‘Un-Steve’ themselves by moving to FNB rather than enduring a range of frustrations with their existing bank. Some elements of the strategy also suggested that consumers who did not know about certain benefits of banking with FNB were ‘a Steve’.

Published in My Article