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Wednesday, 23 November 2016 10:12

South Africa gears up for Black Friday sales

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Yes, it’s an American tradition, but Black Friday sales have recently spread across the world, with South Africa being no exception. Last year local retailers participated in large numbers and 2016 seems to be heading for an even greater level of participation as some businesses run week-long sales that began on Monday. Black Friday happens this Friday (25th) and both online and bricks-and-mortar outlets are competing strongly to get shopper attention. Electronics chain Hi-Fi Corporation, for example, says it will be offering ‘up to 80% off’ on selected goods. Similarly, online retailer Takealot is offering discounts of 60-80%. Speaking to the website ‘Times Live’, Takealot’s Chief Marketing Officer, Julie-Ann Walsh, said that last year's sale showed growth of more than 200% over 2014. She assured customers that the website would be able to deal with the surge in customer demand on Friday. Among those who are offering discount deals throughout the week are Makro, Game and Bidorbuy. The latter says it is running a Black Friday sale from Monday (21st) to Sunday (27th) and is following this up with a Cyber Monday sale that will run for the following week. Some retailers are arguably being more inventive than others. The Foschini Group (TFG), for example, has a promotion in which customers can upload a selfie of their most ‘amped up face’ to a mobi-site, where their expression will be scored. If a customer scores higher than 60%, they receive vouchers valued at up to R300 which can be redeemed during the Black Friday sale. Black Friday retailing have become more frenzied than ever in recent years and spread to countries such as Canada, Britain and Nigeria. Competition for shoppers’ money has become tougher too, with some industry observers calling it the “most important event of the year for [American] marketers”.
Monday, 21 November 2016 06:36

Coca-Cola unveils a bottle that takes selfies

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Is there no end to the selfie craze and the ways that it can be used in social media-based marketing? Coca-Cola has just revealed a special bottle that will automatically take a selfie of the user when he or she drinks from it. The creation of Coca-Cola Israel, it was designed as a novelty drink for Millennials attending the annual Summer Love campaign, a large outdoor brand event sponsored by Coke. The photos taken by the bottle can be subsequently shared to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. According to the trade publication ‘Beverage Daily’, the bottle has a built-in camera in its base. When the user tips the bottle at an angle of more than 70-degrees to take a drink, a sensor detects this and a photo is taken. In a media statement to ‘The Drum’ marketing magazine, the Israeli agency responsible for the gimmick explains: “Users tag themselves and their friends in photos on Coca-Cola’s social media assets. It really does the trick and makes the partygoers more present and active during the event, knowing they can share their special moments just by drinking.” ‘Time’ magazine seems a little unsure of the concept and noted in an article last week: “If the selfie stick wasn’t enough to satisfy your social media addiction, you can now take self-portraits using a selfie bottle.” While it’s unclear whether Coca-Cola will be introducing the selfie bottle to other markets or using it on an ongoing basis, what is certain is that soft drink brands are facing diminishing demand for their products in many countries and may need to up their marketing activity to retain market share. Growing consumer health concerns around sugary drinks is a key reason, with soft drink sales in the US, for example, dropping by around 2,5% over the past two years.
Tough global economy or not, major brands around the world are continuing to see top-level soccer as a perfect way to connect with consumers and to branch out into new markets. In Europe, for example, corporate spending on shirt sponsorships in the top leagues has doubled since 2010 and now sits at US$900-million a year. Around 40% of that goes to the English Premier League, according to sports consultancy Repucom. Spain, however, is not far behind and leading club Barcelona this week signed a four-year US$233-million shirt sponsorship with Rakuten, a major Japanese online retailer that now has ambitions to tap into a global consumer audience. “The deal with one of Europe’s most successful football teams signals Rakuten’s desire to gain global recognition for a brand that is already a household name in its home market,” reports the ‘Financial Times’ newspaper. This is Barcelona’s second big sponsorship agreement this year. In June, it agreed a 10-year deal with sports clothing brand Nike to wear its soccer kit from 2018. The club will be paid around US$170-million a year. It also has big sponsorship deals with Beko, a Turkish electronics brand, and Intel, the global semiconductor manufacturer. Why are brands willing to spend so much on commercial deals with the world’s top soccer clubs? ‘The National’, a daily newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, quotes Boutros Boutros, the Divisional Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Marketing at Emirates Airlines, as saying: “Football is still the cheapest advertising there is if you want visibility.” He adds: “We spent US$15-million on the advertising for our Jennifer Aniston campaign and it was like a pea in the ocean. With Real Madrid we have 700-million people who love their club and the players. With Arsenal we have 500-million.”
Thursday, 17 November 2016 08:01

Hugo Boss to refocus its brand strategy

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Hugo Boss, the prominent international fashion brand, is to refocus its strategy away from luxury products and instead return to its roots as a classic, good quality and value-oriented brand. The German company is one of many high-end brands that have been hit by a global slowdown in demand for luxury products of all kinds – among them Burberry and Richemont. The latter has the likes of Cartier and Montblanc in its portfolio. According to the Financial Times’ newspaper, Hugo Boss went on a rapid expansion drive as fashion markets picked up in the years following the global economic crisis. At the same time, the company best known for its men’s suits sought to challenge higher-end luxury brands and expand its womenswear operations. “As the market has become more competitive, the need for differentiation has become more pronounced. But Hugo Boss moved too quickly from its core DNA of being a classic, relatively conservative, value-oriented menswear brand into areas like luxury that were too far away,” the newspaper quotes a market analyst as saying. “They also diverted a lot of resources into trying to build up a womenswear business. [The bulk] of their marketing spending went into an area that yields just 11% of their sales. But the benefits for their core brand from this were limited – having a high-profile womenswear brand doesn’t create much of a halo effect for menswear.” Reuters news agency reports that yesterday (Wednesday), new CEO Mark Langer announced Hugo Boss would now be cutting brands and seeking to appeal to fashion-conscious younger customers. It would focus on two main brands: one higher-priced premium line and another at lower prices for younger consumers, seeking to complement its smart business suits with more casual and sports outfits.
Marketers must re-balance their mobile campaigns to place equal focus on the strategy, media and creative aspects. This is one of the key findings of Global Mobile Trends Report 2016, which was released this week by the international Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and specialist research firm Kantar Millward Brown. To reach its conclusions, the report analyses the past year’s award-winning mobile campaigns, including those from the Cannes Lions awards in France and the MMA’s own international awards known as the Smarties. “Our analysis indicates that brands are evolving their strategy and media. But, in many cases, have an uneven focus on creative,” says MMA executive Sheryl Daija. She adds that this year’s Smarties awards saw a clear shift in focus towards strategy, versus last year’s emphasis on creativity. Many of the winning mobile campaigns in 2016 ensured they tied in to the broader strategy of the business and cited improved brand relevance as a primary objective. Driving emotional connections and solving problems was a key element of the successful campaigns. “Those campaigns that either solved a problem or provided an experience were far more engaging and effective. This shows how brands continue to align with issues that their audiences care about, and debunks the myth that emotional connection is not possible in mobile,” notes the report. Looking to the future of mobile marketing campaigns, the researchers suggest that innovative tools such as augmented reality and virtual reality need to be used more frequently. “While augmented reality and virtual reality are exciting innovations in mobile technology this year, [they are not] being implemented at scale, nor have they reached their potential effectiveness,” the report says.
A controversial billboard campaign by the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) that appeared to promote dog fighting has been honoured at the Assagai Integrated Marketing Awards for its effectiveness in attracting public attention and highlighting the scourge of dog fighting in South Africa. The awards are presented annually by the Direct Marketing Association of South Africa and recognise effectiveness, return on investment, and creativity in the direct marketing sphere. NSPCA’s campaign, which was conceived by ad agency Grey Africa and received two Gold awards, created a media storm in June by promoting a fake dog fight on a mobile billboard which was seen on various major traffic routes around Johannesburg. Initially, the billboard advertised a fight between dogs named ‘Thor’ and ‘Nitro’, with the ominous promise: “There can only be one winner.” Grey Africa says the public was outraged. “The website and the phone line advertised on the billboard were inundated with complaints and [expressions of] disgust. The outcry was carefully monitored and at its peak the mobile billboard went out again, this time telling everyone that the dog fight was a fake – but that real dog fights just like it happen all the time in the most outwardly respectable neighbourhoods,” the agency explains. Simultaneously, the NSCPA put out a press release announcing that they were behind the stunt and appealing to people to turn their outrage into action and join the battle against dog fighting. The campaign generated tens of thousands of website hits from around the world, mainstream media coverage valued at R250 000, R35 000 in donations to the NSPCA and produced public to-offs that led to 45 dogs being rescued from dog fighting syndicates. The Assagai awards were presented last week. Insurer Old Mutual was named Brand of the Year and Gorilla named Agency of the Year.
Millennials have long been considered the most influential generation by marketers: the arbiters of all things innovative, cool and current. However, research published by the advertising arm of the BBC indicates that most (84%) of the 943-million Millennials worldwide are not so dissimilar in their beliefs to older generations. It is only the affluent Millennial subset (16%) who represent the unique characteristics often applied to Millennials as a whole, says the study. Millennials are generally defined as those aged 18-34. The BBC notes that wealthier Millennials have a unique relationship with money and are 36% more likely to consider themselves much more affluent than their equivalents in older generations. They are also extremely passionate about the environment, with 78% agreeing that they do everything they can to help the natural world. They are also much more likely than non-affluent Millennials to follow this through into purchase behaviour. Seventy-two percent would pay more for sustainable products, versus 57% of less affluent Millennials. As a result, affluent Millennials have higher expectations of brands, with 82% preferring brands that give something back to society, versus 67% of the less affluent group. When it comes to the environment and corporate responsibility, this higher-income group expects brands to behave in the same way they do. In order to resonate with this audience, brands therefore have to be authentic and translate words into action. The research uncovered that affluent Millennials are much more emotionally attached to brands, with 70% agreeing that their favourite brands play an integral role in their life, versus only 51% of the less affluent group. They are 36% more likely than their non-affluent counterparts to agree that they are defined by the brands they purchase. Contrary to common belief, this group also has a stronger relationship with international news providers than social media-based news outlets.