Category Archives: Media Bulletin

News Corp Reports Revenue Decline

News Corp, the publisher of newspapers including The Times and The Sun, has reported a 2.8% decline in revenues for the quarter ending 30th September 2013 with a decline in advertising being blamed for the decrease.

In the first quarter since News Corp was split into a highly successful entertainment company and a less profitable publishing business earlier this year, the latter’s net income rose from a loss of $83 million last year to a profit of $38 million. However, year-on-year annual sales actually fell from $2.13 billion to $2.07 billion, falling short of the $2.18 billion total predicted by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Source: www.advanced-television.com/

The news division, whose portfolio includes titles in the US, the UK and Australia, saw advertising fall 12 percent and revenues from circulation and subscription decrease by 6 percent with the Australian papers accounting for the largest decline (a 22% drop in sales).

In response to the results, Robert Thompson, News Corp’s chief executive, was keen to highlight that the company is in a period of transition with the brands’ evolution into digital content providers key to its future: “Our first quarter as the new News was the beginning of a journey in the digital development of the company. We […] are transforming our publishing operations longer-term into multi-platform businesses [and] we are even more convinced the company will thrive as the company becomes more digital.”

Paid websites represent a key part of this strategy – it is now three years since The Times and Sunday Times websites went behind a paywall with The Sun following suit earlier this year. While it has been a controversial approach at odds with that of the highly successful Guardian and Daily Mail sites, News UK argue that the indisputable reduction in visitors is compensated for by the quality of the data they have on their subscribers and, therefore, the level of targeting which they can offer advertisers. However, from Four’s point-of-view, this reduced traffic makes it difficult to reach a sufficient number of people on more niche areas of the site relevant to our clients, such as the Property section.

In addition, News UK has identified the iPad and tablet apps as central to a strong digital offering, with increased functionality and a wider range of creative advertising solutions being planned for 2014. With Tesco’s £119 Hudl tablet tipped to be a strong seller this Christmas, we believe that a presence on apps will become increasingly important to many of our clients in the coming months.

Can Twitter Work as an Ad Medium?

On its first day as a public company Twitter was valued at £19bn. Following its successful stock market launch, Twitter now needs to prove to investors that it can effectively grow its revenue; one medium through which it would do this is advertising.

Source: www.mediatel.co.uk

There are 230 million users globally on Twitter, 76% of which access Twitter on a mobile device. Therefore advertisers are extremely interested in utilising mobile ads. In response to this, Twitter is introducing a new set of targeting capabilities for mobile devices.  Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. This helps advertisers reach the users most important to them, for example mobile app developers can target users with the necessary operating systems, prompting a new download or re-engagement through an app card. This is something that has previously been successfully operated by Facebook, the main rival of Twitter.

Telco companies can now also promote loyalty and rewards to users on their specific devices. All marketers can focus campaigns on users with device models that are indicative of demographics which align to their campaign goals.

Furthermore there is now the self-serve ad platform to be used by small businesses across the UK. Anyone with a Twitter account and a credit card can now buy promoted tweets and promote accounts; targeted through keywords or interests and followers.

In addition to this, the new segmentation reporting gives advertisers better insights in to the OS versions and specific devices of users engaging with their general campaigns.

Source: www.theguardian.com

So will Twitter be an effective advertising platform? Despite the many advantages of using advertising on social media, the juxtaposed dangers were suitably demonstrated last month on Facebook, when a video showing a human decapitation appeared without warning. This was a disaster for advertisers sharing this content on the same page. Clearly, regulation of content is a difficult and controversial issue to tackle. Twitter has its own pitfalls for companies, for example companies are being warned about Twitter ‘trolls’; who can harm the company’s reputation with unprovoked criticism.

Now that images are allowed, ads appearing in Twitter are much more prominent. This does change the experience for the user. As Twitter pushes for more advertising there is the potential for a backlash from users as they are inundated with adverts. Plans were revealed to widen its advertising to target “every business on the planet”. Although this is brilliant news for small/medium businesses, this may not sit well with some users. Therefore a fine balance needs to be reached to avoid the over-saturation of adverts, on Twitter feeds, driving its users away.

Tackling Tablet Advertising [Guest Blog]

Source: www.iabuk.net

Giles Milner, PR and Marketing Manager at estate agents Chesterton Humberts, offers some learnings from a project to bring the benefits of tablet advertising to the process of selling houses.

I think it is fair to say that the UK property industry, estate agencies included, cannot be considered ‘early adopters’ when it comes to new technology and are very rarely seen at the forefront of cutting-edge marketing.

I have always found this slightly odd, given that the industry has one of the most widely talked about, highly coveted, well publicised, emotive and expensive products on the market: homes. With the majority of the adult population owning one or having aspirations to own a property, the opportunity for online engagement new media in the industry is huge and yet surprisingly untapped.

As print readership continues to decline whilst tablet penetration rockets, with an estimated 30% of the UK population now using one, there is an opportunity to engage with the lost print readership that has migrated to digital versions via tablet versions of those print publications.

Despite the almost unbelievable growth of tablets since the launch of the iPad in 2010, when I took over the marketing team at Chesterton Humberts in 2012 I was struck by how slow both traditional media owners and our competitors seem to have been at embracing the level of interactivity that this platform can offer.

Currently, many media owners’ own technological limitations allow only very limited scope for innovation and interactive elements on their tablet editions and most of our competitors use a relatively flat advert or seem satisfied with ticking the ‘interactive’ box with a basic picture gallery.

Although it was clear that Chesterton Humberts needed to be advertising on this platform, I was reluctant to enter the tablet advertising arena with a ‘standard’ advert and was determined to create something more innovative, more engaging and more fun for readers – demonstrating the extent to which we embrace new technology for the benefit of our clients and setting the bar for other advertisers.

From experience, we know that the majority of people that read the property pages are more interested in the human-interest side of property and looking at pictures of beautiful homes than they are in market comment and traditional corporate advertising. With this knowledge, we decided to create a ‘native’ advert that would fit almost seamlessly within the media content and give readers what they would expect from the editorial element of the publication – the opportunity to explore someone else’s beautiful home, hear directly from the people selling the home (as opposed to the estate agent), learn the history of the property and enjoy some editorial-style, ‘not-on-the-brochure’ bits of information.

With the help of our media buyers, Four Communications, and the digital team at Adnostic, as long as you are on an iPad or using the CHROME browser, you can see the fruit of our efforts here.

Although of course slightly biased, Adnostic consider this one of the best ads they have ever done with Matt White, Creative Director, praising the way “it demonstrates tablet advertising’s capacity for advanced HTML animation and interaction and presents multi-pane content in an intuitive and premium manner”.

The feedback from our clients and the engagement statistics from the advert have so far been very positive, easily out-performing the average ‘flat’ advert, and this has encouraged us to start working on our next advert. Perhaps even more flattering is the fantastic feedback that we have had from the publications themselves, who seem just as excited as us to see this sort of innovation coming through.

For example, Lee Fels, Head of Mobile at The Guardian, notes that the campaign has twice as long an average dwell time as any other interstitial run in November. He went on to praise the way that the app seamlessly included multiple calls to action, noting that “it is easy to include a lot of CTAs into an iPad app, but the skill is to do so without cluttering the beauty of a full page advert delivered on tablet”.

I would love to say that we got everything right first time, but if I did, I would be lying. In reality, there are a few things that we did that we won’t do next time, but these all form a valuable lesson, the learnings from which we will incorporate into our next effort, along with some features and ideas that we didn’t manage to include the first time around so watch this space!

The Growth of Multi-Screening

Source: www.futuremedialab.com

Multi-touch point media campaigns are not a new thing.  Outdoor, print, TV and cinema have long operated hand in hand to enable brands to reach an audience through-out the day, with people interacting with different platforms at different points of the day.  This has changed over the years however, with the introduction of a variety of differing media.  Google announced, in a piece of research in 2012 that 80% of people in the UK’s interaction with media now come through a screen, be it TV, tablets or smartphones for example.

The portable nature of laptops and especially tablets and smartphones has encouraged a dramatic growth in ‘multi-screening’, where an individual interacts with multiple screened devices at the same time (Marketing Week, 2012).  Advertisers too are catching up with this trend with ad campaigns that run simultaneously on multiple screens, designed to drive response by emphasising the brand’s message to a consumers on all of the devices they may be using at one time

The British market has seen an increase in the number of advertising brands seeing benefit in multi-screen campaigns.  Some opt for ad campaigns on TV, along with online and tablet display advertising spots.  However, the most noticeable of interactive multi-screen campaigns have come with the inclusion by advertisers, of links to Twitter feeds on their TV advertising (Hawlins, 2013).  This is done in an attempt to drive social media interaction with a brand which ‘helps organise and steer the conversation’ (Twitter, 2013) on that brand.

Thinkbox reported in 2012 that 72% of TV viewers stay in the room for TV advertising when not multi-screening; while 81% do when multi-screening, meaning that not only are the multi-screening audience more likely to see advertising, the ability to reach them on multiple platforms will increase the impact.

The opportunities to take advantage of the multi-screening audience are also increasing with improvements in targeting technologies.  The technological facility to target specific households by their social demographic grouping and deliver messages to individual screens within that household now exists.  This technology considers all of the devices/screens in a household as part of the same ‘ecosystem’ and delivers ads across each platform accordingly.  19 million households across the UK are currently accessible in this manner. There is significant power to be gained from targeting both the breadwinner and decision makers in a household across multiple platforms simultaneously and for further details on how to take advantage of such technology please contact Four Marketing & Media.

Research of the US media market, undertaken by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Nielsen shows that 20% of media budgets are now ear-marked for multi-screen campaigns.  (WARC,2013).  This trend will also continue to grow, with the sale of tablets predicted to continue to grow dramatically (Lomas, 2013) and the expansion of 4G networks and ever faster broadband connections ensuring smoother online access, delivering an easier route to interaction.  Advertising that takes advantage of the multi-screening phenomenon will therefore increase, given the repetition and strength of message a campaign of this ilk affords an advertiser and the ability it gives these advertisers to wrestle back the share of voice, lost by the divergence of advertisers across multiple screens.

Digital Ad Spend at an All-Time High

According to the latest IAB Digital Adspend report, advertisers have spent a record six-month high of £3.04 billion online. British consumers spend a staggering one in every 12 minutes online, equating to 43 hours a month!

Fuelled by smartphone ownership reaching 68% of the population in June 2013, mobile advertising now accounts for 14% of all digital ad spend, which grew like-for-like by 127% to £429.2 million in the first half of the year, almost double that for the same period in 2012.

Total mobile display advertising, which includes video, increased like-for-like by 195% to £105.5 million in the first half of 2013 and for the first time, consumer goods has doubled its share in a year to 26.8%.

Another online first, the consumer goods sector overtook entertainment and media, as the biggest spender as a mobile display advertiser, and finance as the biggest spender on the digital display advertising platform.

Research also shows that the tablet ad spend for the first half of 2013 was around the £10.5 million mark, up from approximately £2.4 million for the first half of 2012. This increase in ad spend could be a result of the increase in tablet users – almost one in three consumers in the UK will be using a tablet this year, according to research from eMarketer.

By 2017, the eMarketer estimates that more than half of the UK population will use a tablet device regularly.

One explanation for such a radical increase is the increasing availability of low-end tablet alternatives. Last month, Tesco announced the launch of its own brand tablet, called Hudl, which will retail at £119, a mere quarter of the cost of Apple’s iPad!

Another reason for such an increase could be that as audiences are more accustomed with going online via mobile devices, they are becoming more ‘adjusted’ to using tablets, with the majority of tablet owners still in the 25-54 age range.

UK Tablet Users

Source: www.emarketer.com

Commercial Radio’s Mid-Life Crisis?

Radio

Source: www.mediaweek.co.uk

Commercial radio recently celebrated its 40th birthday – time for a mid-life crisis?

Launched on Monday 8th October 1973, the first legally authorised commercial radio station was LBC, the London Broadcasting Company. After a slow start, commercial radio swiftly picked up with the launch of a number of local radio stations and eventually, national stations, providing new and exciting opportunities for advertisers to reach their consumers.

Over the last decade, there has been a lot of speculation over the future of radio, and whether it can survive amongst the iPods and Spotifys of the 21st Century. The latest Rajar data shows that while weekly reach doesn’t seem to be suffering, users are listening for fewer hours on average per week across almost all commercial stations. This is obviously not great news for the advertiser, as listeners are now exposed to fewer adverts.

But right on cue, radio appears to be going through a mid-life crisis of sorts, with a number of new music streaming services popping up to join the ranks of Spotify and Napster.

Apple Ads

Source: advertising.apple.com

One of the most hotly anticipated is Apple’s new iTunes Radio, which is set to launch in the UK in early 2014, offering a whole new radio experience to listeners. With more than 200 stations to choose from, listeners will be able to skip tracks, purchase songs and even customise stations around their favourite artists, songs and genres.
iTunes Radio is likely to prove attractive not only to consumers, but also to advertisers, allowing creativity and interactivity in ad formats and, most crucially, providing exceptional targeting tools. With registration and media consumption data, advertisers can use insights about listeners’ lifestyle and purchase habits to target with a precision previously unavailable to radio advertising.

Another way iTunes radio is setting itself apart from traditional radio is the frequency of ad breaks. With audio adverts only once every 15 minutes and a video spot every hour, this is fairly minimal compared to other stations; rival streaming services currently play around 8-12 ads per hour, whilst on traditional stations this number rises to 25.

It is currently unknown how much one of these coveted ad spots will cost, but for its recent US launch, the minimum buy-in was reputedly $1m worth of spots, with Apple forming partnerships with McDonald’s, Nissan, Procter & Gamble and Pepsi, giving them exclusivity within their respective industries until the end of 2013.

With the UK launch set for early 2014, brands don’t have long to wait before they can get onto the iTunes airwaves.

It remains to be seen whether iTunes Radio and other music streaming services are set to revolutionise radio advertising, but with year-on-year figures for online and mobile radio listening up 31% and 34% respectively, our radio consumption is clearly moving with the times. As advertising everywhere becomes increasingly digital, it would be a mistake to ignore the new possibilities offered by radio today.

Apple Ads

Source: advertising.apple.com

Mini gets up close and personal with new outdoor campaign

Mini has recently launched a new outdoor campaign to increase brand awareness, which reaches out to its customers in a fun and innovative way, and has got people talking about its brand.

Over the last few weeks, as Mini drivers have travelled between Earl’s Court and West Kensington, they have been greeted by messages such as “Hey cream Mini, what’s your secret?” and “Hello blue Mini driver”, flashing up on giant digital screens. This involves a team of ‘spotters’ stationed at the end of the road, whose job it is to spot Minis driving by, and to trigger a personalised message to appear on the screen.

Mini drivers

Source: adage.com

The screens in question are known as the Cromwell Road Digital Gateway. The series of 9 screens, each of varying sizes, must all be bought together, and cost £200,000 for two weeks.

Mini’s screens form part of their new 8-week integrated campaign, aimed to celebrate and thank their customers. They are also rewarding their drivers with freebies at service stations along the road, including bacon sandwiches or smoothies on the way to work and a tank of fuel or bunch of flowers in the evening. Drivers are also encouraged to upload photos showing ways they have customised their Mini, with the chance to have them displayed on the screens.

The personalisation of marketing messages is becoming increasingly important in today’s economic climate, as advertisers seek to maximise their reach of target audience. Advertisers have long been aware of the increased engagement that message personalisation brings, and technologies such as behavioural tracking and targeting form the lifeblood of most digital campaigns today.

The Mini campaign takes a range of familiar marketing concepts – digital and outdoor, behavioural tracking, targeting and personalisation – and combines them in a new and interesting way to create a really fun brand campaign.

While this combination of technology and techniques may be out of reach for most campaigns today, it’s an exciting glimpse into what we could be seeing regularly in a few years, as the future of personalised marketing really takes off. It will be interesting to see whether (and which) brands are open to taking a risk with new concepts such as these, and exactly what benefits they can bring to a campaign.

Digital magazine readership has risen in 2013.

Lekiosk is an iOS, Android and Windows 8 app that allows consumers to purchase magazines from a rotating 3D news-kiosk. According to new research by Lekiosk, it appears that the number of people reading magazines digitally has risen significantly in 2013.

The ‘Zine on Screens’ report, gathering information from 2000 consumers nationwide, found that one in 20 Brits have purchased digital magazines this year, with this increasing to one in ten among the younger generation, primarily 18-24 year olds.

This spike in digital sales opposes the drop in circulation experienced by a great deal of print publishers. Recently publishers like Bauer Consumer Media saw a discomforting -10.9% YoY decline, while Egmont Magazines saw a surprising 23% growth.

When looking at circulation figures for the top women’s lifestyle magazines for Jul-Dec 2012, we can see that a shocking 28 out of the 38 most popular titles received negative growth, with MORE magazine receiving the worst hit of -39.4% YoY.

Nathaniel Philippe, one of the founders of lekiosk commented on the rising interest in digital magazines produced abroad

Lekiosk Digital Magazines

Source: tech.uk.msn.com

“Digital magazines are easily exported across borders and continents and we’ve seen quite a few users from countries where we don’t source magazines download our apps to get access to the magazines from the countries where we are working with publishers,” he said.

“We’re seeing the start of a trend which could see the digitisation of magazine content drive the globalisation of a wide range of magazines.”

Having to go back and forth between the pages of a magazine, struggling to find some content you are interested in seems extremely time-consuming. Compare this medium to digital editions where the reader can interact with the website and have the information accessible in an easy way, allowing them to automatically go to a desired section i.e. beauty, fashion or property. What seems better? Additionally, sending articles/links to friends to share information is a popular, new trend, a huge bonus of digital magazine editions.

However, despite the decline of print, it still appears to perform a necessary role in the publishing industry.

At the PPA Conference last month, Grazia’s editor-in-chief Jane Bruton and TopGear’s editor-in-chief Charlie Turner were quick to protect print, explaining its significance:

“There will always be a place for magazines,” said Bruton, with Turner adding that magazines are for “expanded and more interesting content that has more value,” before explaining that TopGear often reserves exclusive content as a reward for loyal readers.

In addition, we can appreciate how bringing your tablet into the bath just isn’t the same as taking in a pristine, new magazine and having a leisurely read.

Digital ad spend in the UK reaches record highs, surpassing the £5 billion mark in 2012 alone!

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau has revealed a growth in digital advertising in the UK, with mobile accounting for 10% of all digital revenue in 2012.

Digital ad revenue reached an annual high of £5.42 billion last year, a record 12.5% year on year high, mobile advertising was responsible for approximately £526 million, revealing a growth of 148%!

With an increase in Smartphone ownership expected to reach 75% by end of year 2013, it is no surprise that mobile advertising has grown by an astonishing 1,601% up to £13million, even without EE’s 4G prevalent network which will only be made readily available to the majority of operators this autumn.

Mobile Advertising 2013

source: http://images.ientrymail.com/

It is also expected that the majority of search clicks in 2013 will come from mobile devices, with the prediction that mobile advertising “will undoubtedly be a billion pound medium within a few years”. Mobile has reached a milestone as marketers are becoming more attuned to the ‘always connected’ nature of consumers, who expect to engage with content wherever they are. This has resulted in advertisers encouraging consumers in all industries, to invest in integrated campaigns across online and mobile. As Anna Bartz from PwC, said: “The advertising market is shifting toward storytelling and integrated campaigns which give greater prominence to video and display formats with a higher degree of interactivity with the target audience”.

With the likes of social media sites such as Facebook, and with them recently unveiling plans for a Smartphone which it claims will “make the social network the home of Android devices, as it looks to expand its mobile advertising offering”,  it is no wonder that social media has contributed to this astonishing high turnover in digital advertising. With mobile advertising increasing from £265 million to £328.4 million in 2012, meaning that in only 3 years social media revenue has quadrupled at 383%.

Last but not least, video ad revenue is responsible for 12% of all online and mobile display advertising with an overall £160 million revenue, which has helped contribute to such a high digital ad spend in 2012.

The top five display advertising sectors in 2012 are as follows; finance (15%), entertainment and media (13%), retail (12%) and technology (9%).

ABC National Newspaper Round Up – March 2011

National circulation figures for March show a 5% year-on-year decline across the total daily market.

With a 7% year on year fall, the Sunday newspaper market suffered an even greater decline in circulation figures.

There were a few success stories, with both the FT and the Daily Record increasing in circulation since February.  The Independent on Sunday also increased its circulation since February – the only Sunday newspaper to do so.

While also seeing a month-on-month decline, the i (lunched only last October) posted figures of 171,415 – significantly up on its launch distribution of 133,472, and not far below the long-term target of 200,000.  Whether these figures are a by-product of the i’s novelty factor and launch advertising campaign, or an indication of long-term success based on intelligent content and a minimal 20p price tag, remains to be seen.

Elsewhere, the March results show no real surprises.  Despite posting the biggest actual loss in the quality market with a year-on-year decline of 60,000, the Daily Telegraph remains the top-selling title in its category.  The Times had the largest drop in its YoY circulation as a percentage with a huge 11.2%.

The Daily Mail continued to enjoy a massive lead over its mid-market competitor, the Daily Express, with a fairly minor 2% YoY drop in sales.  With the Mail online now the second largest global online newspaper in the world after The New York Times, things are looking good for Associated Newspapers Ltd.

Of the popular titles, The Sun suffered the biggest actual loss, yet remaining the top-selling daily title with a total circulation of more than 2.8 million.

National Newspapers – March 2011 – ABC figures

Title Mar-10 Feb-11 Mar-11 YoY actual change % YoY POP actual change % POP
National Newspapers – Quality
Sunday Times 1,111,660 1,045,495 1,031,727 -79,933 -7.2% -13,768 -1.3
Daily Telegraph 686,679 628,338 626,416 -60,263 -8.8% -1,922 -0.3
Sunday Telegraph 509,754 488,218 481,941 -27,813 -5.5% -6,277 -1.3
Times 502,436 445,962 446,109 -56,327 -11.2% 147 0.0
Financial Times 401,286 378,707 381,658 -19,628 -4.9% 2,951 0.8
Observer 331,488 302,490 296,023 -35,465 -10.7% -6,467 -2.1
Guardian 283,063 262,612 261,116 -21,947 -7.8% -1,496 -0.6
i N/A 175,714 171,415 N/A N/A -4,299 -2.4
Independent 184,137 182,513 181,934 -2,203 -1.2% -579 -0.3
Independent On Sunday 154,285 152,782 153,183 -1,102 -0.7% 401 0.3
National Newspapers – Mid-market
Daily Mail 2,082,352 2,070,625 2,039,731 -42,621 -2.0% -30,894 -1.5
Mail On Sunday 1,952,697 1,924,589 1,888,040 -64,657 -3.3% -36,549 -1.9
Daily Express 668,273 623,603 620,616 -47,657 -7.1% -2,987 -0.5
Sunday Express 570,040 533,293 533,192 -36,848 -6.5% -101 -0.0
National Newspapers – Popular
Sun 3,005,308 2,818,344 2,817,857 -187,451 -6.2% -487 -0.0
News Of The World 2,904,566 2,708,158 2,664,363 -240,203 -8.3% -43,795 -1.6
Daily Mirror 1,247,013 1,177,220 1,155,895 -91,118 -7.3% -21,325 -1.8
Sunday Mirror 1,147,272 1,100,177 1,063,096 -84,176 -7.3% -37,081 -3.4
Daily Star 827,005 718,478 699,216 -127,789 -15.5% -19,262 -2.7
Daily Star Sunday 341,824 302,357 293,489 -48,335 -14.1% -8,868 -2.9
Daily Record 333,359 312,461 312,655 -20,704 -6.2% 194 0.1
Free Titles
London Evening Standard 609,710 703,415 703,317 93,607 13.3% 98 0.0
Metro 734,437 782,432 784,387 49,950 6.4% 1,955 0.2

Could ‘Big-Brother’ Warning Prove a Plus-Point for Online Advertising?

Major online media owners across Europe have begun running an ‘Advertising Option Icon’ on or near their behavioural advertising sites. This icon, shown below, will provide consumers with further information on behavioural advertising and will allow web-users to opt-out of behavioural advertising via a new pan-European website.

Completely voluntary, the self-regulatory initiative – launched by IAB Europe last Monday – comes ahead of revisions to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive on May 25th. The amended directive will require all online businesses in the UK that collect, store and use data about website users to gain explicit user consent.

Media owners are understandably concerned that any radical pre-advert notification (a flash-up warning for example), could put-off users, and therefore advertisers. They are therefore hoping that this initiative, with its more subtle approach, will fulfil the criteria to be laid down by the directive, preventing any more extreme, potentially user-blocking measures, being implemented.

As well as warding-off any over-zealous EU policy, could this new initiative also have a positive result for online advertising? This initiative will let users have a choice when it comes to behavioural targeting, and give a transparency and an explanation previously unavailable unless one specifically searched for it. By providing an explanation into how and why behavioural targeting works, it will also highlight how behavioural advertising can be beneficial to users, complementing their online experience.

If so, this initiative can only be good news for online advertisers, as the trust and engagement users afford to online advertising increases, resulting – hopefully for the media owners – in an increase in online advertising spend.

Spots v. Stripes. Message v. Medium

Spots vs StripsSeven months in, and commentators are beginning to raise doubts as to the success of Cadbury’s ongoing ‘Spots v Stripes’ campaign, criticising the over-emphasis on social media participation to the detriment of a strong product-driven message.

Indeed, it is understood that the campaign has been criticised internally at the Kraft-owned brand for failing to engage consumers, with Cadbury searching for a digital agency to optimise the current campaign in the run-up to London 2012.

Taking advantage of its £2m plus, two-tier sponsorship of the Olympic Games, Cadbury rolled out the ‘Games’ themed, social-media heavy campaign last August. Moving away from its more traditional recent and not-so-recent campaigns (‘a glass-and-a-half'; drumming gorilla etc.) the entire campaign is built around social media and brand participation.

Essentially, the idea is to drive people to the social media website, where they can join either ‘spots’ or ‘stripes’ and win ‘points’ for their respective teams either through online, or indeed offline, ‘games’.

Some commentators have suggested that this social-media centric campaign is confusing, in particular isolating the large percentage of Cadbury’s potential customers with little or no engagement with social media whatsoever (62% of the British population do not use Facebook, and 89% are not on Twitter.) Others take issue with the execution of the campaign itself, suggesting that the social media element of the campaign overshadows a necessary emphasis on the product itself.

‘It’s important not to get ahead of yourself and think about the social media element, as that is classic tail wagging the dog,’ says Craig Inglis, director of marketing at John Lewis. ‘You should not let the channel dictate the communication. Start with the big idea, then the media channel comes second.’

In this case, the ‘big idea’ seems to be the medium itself.

For while Cadbury does in fact use traditional media, this traditional media also seems to largely serve as a tool to drive consumers to participate in the social media aspects. The TV advert for example – featuring competing sea-creatures – does not so much focus on the product, but on the campaign itself, ending with a call-to-action to visit their social media site.

‘In a theme common among today’s social media campaigns,’ says Mark Ristson of Marketing Week, ‘Cadbury’s integrated mix does not exist to build brand or drive sales, but rather increase Facebook followers.’

Such a big-budgeted social-media focused campaign is a new phenomenon in the advertising world, and with 458 days until the Games begin, and a new digital agency on the horizon, it remains to be seen whether Spots v Stripes will be a warning or a role-model in the advertising world.