Paddy Power is calling time on the football shirt sponsorship market with a new campaign lobbying brands to keep kits commercially clean.
The ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign was revealed today (19 July) following a week-long hoax marking the bookmaker’s first foray into football sponsorship courtesy of a year-long deal with Championship side Huddersfield Town.
The hoax started on Monday with the gambling brand pushing out a video revealing the tie-up that showed visibly disappointed Paddy Power execs struggling to come up with ideas to support the campaign beyond the club’s association with Star Trek star Patrick Stewart.
Then on Wednesday, Huddersfield Town revealed its 2019/2020 season kit, featuring a Paddy Power-branded sash covering the front of the shirt. As debate raged among fans as to whether the sash was really a PR stunt, the players kicked off their friendly against Rochdale on Wednesday night sporting the kit.
This was all, in fact, part of a deliberately orchestrated strategy months in the planning between club and sponsor, alongside creative agency VCCP. Huddersfield Town has confirmed that despite signing Paddy Power as its title sponsor, the club’s real kit will not feature any branded logo.
Furthermore, the bookmaker will stage a ‘shirt amnesty’ outside Huddersfield Town’s first home game against Derby County on 5 August for fans to hand back older branded shirts and receive an unbranded version.
“Even with the initial casual announcement on Monday, people were like ‘What the fuck? Paddy Power are sponsoring a football team, that’s not Paddy Power at all’. That was basically our insight from the start,” Paddy Power’s head of PR, Lee Price, exclusively tells Marketing Week.
“Every bookmaker, apart from Paddy Power it seemed, sponsors a football team and they’ll just lazily put their brand on there. Our tagline is ‘Enough of the Nonsense’ and we’re calling bullshit on football sponsorship generally, but the rest of the industry too. It wouldn’t be Paddy Power just to stick our logo on there.”
Paddy Power is keen to highlight that this coming season, more than half of the teams in football’s top two divisions will be sponsored by a bookmaker, including 14 of the 24 Championship teams. Price also points to recent examples of brands changing the heritage of their club to fit the whims of a new sponsor.
Huddersfield Town midfielder Jonathan Hogg playing in the controversial ‘sash strip’.
Despite being nicknamed the Bluebirds, in 2012 Cardiff changed the colour of its kit from blue to red to please its Malaysian owners, who also own Visit Malaysia, while West Bromwich Albion introduced a combination boiler as a mascot to please new sponsor Ideal Boilers.
“These things are almost beyond parody and that’s why we went for the big sash, because we actually think, ‘would you really be surprised if that happened in the future? No you wouldn’t’. That’s why we’re calling bullshit on it,” Price states.
The team wanted the launch campaign to have an underlying tone of ‘Fuck’s sake Paddy Power’ to play up to its brand reputation with the sash sponsorship, but then flip everything on its head.
“We wanted to say ‘You know what? We’re not this caricature you all think we are. We’re a football brand at heart’. That’s what’s really important to us,” Price explains.
“The Save Our Shirt campaign, which is going to go on and on, is really important to us because we think it’s a genuine issue and we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t a true insight. We’re about more than just a quick Twitter storm and that will play out in the coming days and weeks.”
Channelling an underdog spirit
Having decided on how it wanted to break into the football sponsorship market, Paddy Power had conversations with several clubs that weren’t willing to embrace the campaign. Price says that when the team met with Huddersfield Town, if there had been any initial resistance – as they experienced with other clubs – they would have walked away because the launch strategy is not for the faint-hearted.
Luckily, the club embraced the idea straight away and were ready for the backlash, which included a complaint from the Football Association (FA) about a potential breach of sponsorship rules. Price says that while the club could have gone elsewhere and signed a more lucrative deal, it was thinking fans first, which made the partnership such a great fit.
The logo-less Huddersfield Town kit for the 2019/2020 season.
“Their sense of humour, they’re down to earth, it reminds us a lot of Paddy Power. We’re not the biggest team in the bookmaking industry, but we know who we are and we have a clear sense of ourselves and we really got on well with Huddersfield immediately,” says Price.
“It became apparent very quickly that they would be an ideal partner for this and that’s why we’re working with them. It’s all very good talking the talk, but they’ve really had to walk the walk this week. The FA stuff, which neither side saw coming, has got heavy at times but they’ve always remembered what the campaign is about: delivering their fans a shirt to be proud of.”
While the launch strategy was carefully devised over a period of months, Paddy Power is clear that it wants to work with the club in an unscripted way that taps into the power of content and playing into key moments as Huddersfield Town looks to return to the Premier League this season having been relegated in 2018/19.
“We’ve got a standard sponsorship deal, so now all of our Paddy Power bullshit is out of the way – ish – we’ve got the things like player and manager access and there’s a lot of fun to be had with content and finding the right moments to do interesting things with the club,” Price adds.
“I don’t want to give anything away, but it will become apparent in the early weeks of the season that we want to work with the club and the fans to celebrate this unique, ground-breaking thing we’re doing.”
The post Inside Paddy Power’s campaign to ‘call bullsh*t’ on football shirt sponsorship appeared first on Marketing Week.
Marketers are increasing their budgets for ‘main media advertising’, even as overall marketing budget growth stalls, as companies look to build brand recognition and expand customer bases despite political and economic uncertainty.
Following a surprise return to growth in the opening quarter of the year, the IPA Bellwether report for the second quarter shows overall growth has stalled, with the net balance of marketers increasing spend falling from 8.7% to 0.0%.
While 20% of panel members reported greater marketing spend, this was offset by those cutting expenditure. The remaining 60% made no change at all.
Growing economic uncertainty, continued ambiguity over Brexit and the additional risk of a change of political leadership in the UK were mentioned by firms as factors expected to challenge the business environment over the coming year. This has created hesitancy among clients and delayed decision making.
Panel members raised concerns that difficult conditions domestically are damaging consumer confidence and impacting consumption. Businesses are also wary of headwinds from external sources, particularly spillover effects into UK markets from global trade disputes and weaker growth at key export destinations such as Europe and Asia.
“Between Boris, Jeremy and Brexit, coupled with a dip in consumer confidence, it is perhaps no wonder that this quarter’s Bellwether shows zero growth to overall UK marketing budgets,” says Paul Bainsfair, IPA director general.
“Until a clearer political and economic path is outlined, the vast majority of companies are in stasis.”
Rising traditional marketing budgets
While overall budget growth flatlined, main media budgets (which includes channels such as TV, radio, outdoor and cinema) saw growth as some firms used big ticket marketing campaigns to build brand recognition and expand customer bases. There were also suggestions that marketing was being deployed as a defensive strategy due to increased competitive pressures.
Overall, a net balance of 5.6% of companies reported greater main media marketing budgets, up from 5.2% in Q1 and 4.9% in the same quarter a year ago. This is the highest level reporting budget growth in two years.
“It is reassuring to see that some companies are revising up their investment in main media advertising; this is where they will build the longer-term growth of their brands, which is crucial to weathering these tougher times,” adds Bainsfair.
At the same time, growth in internet advertising budgets slowed, with a net balance of 11.5% of firms reporting budget growth in Q2, compared with 17.2% in Q1. Marketers ring-fenced technological improvements and social media channels as key drivers of growth.
The only other sector to register growth in the second quarter was events, with the net balance of marketers increasing spend rising to 4.8%, from 3.4% in the previous quarter, its highest level since the first quarter of 2018.
However, available spend for market research fell for the 16th consecutive quarter, while PR budgets were also cut. Sales promotion budgets recorded their second successive quarter of cuts, while direct marketing budget spend fell to its lowest level in more than 10 years at a net balance of -9% expecting to cut investment.
Marketers remain downbeat
Marketers remain negative towards financial prospects and have cast more downbeat assessments towards both industry-wide and company-own finances than seen during the opening quarter of 2019.
With 34% of marketing executives reporting a pessimistic outlook towards finances in their industry, compared to approximately 8% that were optimistic, the resulting net balance (-25.6%) signalled the second-most negative assessment since the fourth quarter of 2011 (surpassed only by the Q4 2018 reading of -28.6%). Furthermore, this was down from a net balance of -22.6% in Q1.
The latest data also points to deeper negativity towards own-company financial prospects. The net balance fell to -9.8% from -2.7% in the first quarter. This is the highest degree of pessimism since Q4 2011.
The post Marketers up traditional media budgets amid increased competition appeared first on Marketing Week.
The social environment is a good place to start for innovation, particularly if it gets people energised about your brand.
Andrew Lippman, associate director of the MIT Media Lab, believes brands should cultivate a community where they can source great ideas, which will be an important tactic as trust continues to shift from institutions to social networks.
“To the extent that a brand regards itself as an institution it is fragile, because trust will migrate to the networks, so I think one of the places to look is to see how the social organisation can work on your behalf as opposed to fighting it,” Lippman suggests.
The new rules of innovation
Coca-Cola has embraced the power of the crowd when it comes to innovation. In August 2018 the drinks giant used crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to gauge consumer demand for its premium water brand Valser.
Devised by Coke’s North American innovation team, the crowdfunding campaign gave consumers the chance to become the first 500 people to sample Vasler and comment on the taste, brand proposition and price.
Consumers felt like they had discovered a new product, while Coke gained instant feedback. Despite being on the crowdfunding site for just one month, Coke raised $10,701 (£8,504) from 193 backers paying to receive bottles of Valser.
The post How social can be used as a test bed for innovation appeared first on Marketing Week.
Sainsbury’s and Argos are merging their marketing teams as the group looks to integrate the two brands more fully and improve the customer experience in-store and online.
Mark Given, Sainsbury’s director of marketing, will take on the newly-created role of chief marketing officer. Argos’s marketing boss Gary Kibble will leave the business.
No other changes or redundancies have been made and Sainsbury’s will continue to work with its ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, while the&Partnership will maintain responsibility for Argos.
The restructured marketing team will also look after Sainsbury’s Nectar loyalty scheme.
“Sainsbury’s acquired Argos almost three years ago and had always planned to integrate the businesses more fully over time so that we can provide a seamless customer offer across Sainsbury’s and Argos, in stores and online,” a spokesperson says.
“Bringing together the two marketing functions is the natural next step as we bring the businesses and brands closer together.”
Given, who will report to Sainsbury’s director of commercial food Paul Mills-Hicks, joined Sainsbury’s as head of brand communications in January 2013.
He has held a number of senior roles during his tenure and was integral to the acquisition and integration of Nectar in 2018 and helping to build Sainsbury’s data and digital capability.
Sainsbury’s and Argos have slowly been bringing their marketing closer together and ran their first co-branded marketing campaign last year. They also have their media planning and buying under one account run by PHD.
The post Sainsbury’s and Argos merge marketing teams with new CMO role appeared first on Marketing Week.
Diageo unveils three-pronged strategy to maximise innovation
Diageo is slowing the pace of innovation as it focuses on maximising the impact of its current innovation pipeline.
The brand admits it has reached “peak innovation” and rather than churn out lacklustre products purely to hit consumer trends it will focus on innovations that could change the market – essentially quality over quantity.
It’s a smart move from the drinks brand and its resistance to the pressure of keeping up with the pace of change should be applauded. This isn’t a lack of commitment either, it is ramping up its marketing budgets – a trend it promises will continue. It simply marks a more thoughtful approach to innovation.
The drinks giant has three areas of focus “recruit, re-recruit and disruption”. Recruit is at the centre of Diageo’s innovation plans, with more than half of its new products focused on attracting new consumers – a “major shift” from a couple of years ago. Re-recruit, meanwhile, aims to engage existing customers and maintain loyalty, while disruption looks to more experimental ideas and new trends.
This three-pronged attack allows the brand to cover all areas and put consumers firmly at its heart. In a period where everyone is scrambling to keep up with consumer trends has Diageo found the right strategy for innovation? MF
READ MORE: Diageo slows new product launch rate as it reaches ‘peak innovation’
Holland & Barrett gears up for brand refresh
Holland & Barrett is long overdue a brand refresh. While it has earned its place on the high street – its store portfolio has held steady amid a sea of administrations and closures – its green and inoffensive presence feels a bit stale. Or “dusty”, as its global CMO Caroline Hipperson puts it.
Good job it’s getting a makeover then (apparently in the coming months), and if its showcase event this week is anything to go by, Holland & Barrett has taken a big breath to blow those cobwebs away.
“We’ve been cooking for a long time in our kitchen now and we’re ready to start rolling big programmes out,” Hipperson told Marketing Week. “Innovation, communication and team and culture are the three biggest things you will see changing.”
It’s all very mysterious, but part of this refresh will include more experience-based shopping in-store, a new on-the-go food range, a revamped loyalty scheme and bigger product range. A new logo is almost definitely in the pipeline too.
With Boots opening new beauty halls, and the likes of Whole Foods and Planet Organic providing stiff competition, Holland & Barrett is wise to reassess its brand and offering.
Doing more campaigns like ‘Me.No.Pause’, which Hipperson said we can expect to see, is also in line with people’s demand for more honest and transparent advertising and should help people to see it in a more modern and forward-thinking light. EH
READ MORE: Holland & Barrett preps brand refresh to shake off ‘dusty’ image
Wimbledon to shake off ‘ivory tower’ image with brand refresh
Wimbledon has a long-standing reputation of being the posh grand slam. The one with strict branding rules, a white dress code and an old-fashioned ticketing method, all of which are exclusive to the British tournament.
However, this means Wimbledon risks alienating a wider consumer base and only appealing to the elite, privileged or wealthy. And this is something the team at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) is eager to change with a brand refresh and new tone of voice.
The changes – notably updates to the graphics and language used on the website, as well as to match-day programmes and information booklets – intend to reflect the modern game and serve a progressive audience while eliminating the perception the event is only for the posh.
“Originally the way we wrote was very formal – almost like being school master [talking to] school children. And the way we’d humanised that voice through our social media channels was at odds with the way we were writing our formal publications,” the AELTC’s head of communications, content and digital, Alexandra Willis, says.
Harry Kerr, the AELTC’s head of marketing, adds that the club, “can’t just sit on our hands and release a pretty trailer, and not be able to answer the question of what we want to achieve with our marketing.” True.
Which is why Willis is adamant success will be achieved if everything it does – including the brand refresh and new campaign ‘Join the Story’ – is integrated and can deliver growth and scale in audience.
But not just any audience, one that understands what the tournament stands for.
“Wimbledon is not this ivory tower, exclusive, only for the privileged event, it has something for everyone,” Willis says.
Though, many would consider one of Wimbledon’s main lures is that it continues to play to its traditionalist roots. The AELTC should ensure it doesn’t change too much and risk losing its classic touch. EL
READ MORE: Wimbledon on its marketing strategy – We are going beyond just releasing a pretty trailer
Fairy rebrands for Pride to spark conversation around LGBT+ rights
It’s Pride month which inevitably means an influx of brands desperate to paint their products rainbow coloured, with Fairy the latest to join the bandwagon. It has rebranded to Fair with the hope that the single letter change will “startle” consumers to stop and take note of the multi-coloured message.
Brent Miller, leader of LGBTQ+ communications at Procter & Gamble (P&G), says it wanted to leverage “the size and iconic nature” of Fairy to spark conversations about LGBTQ+ rights.
Fairy is right that its iconic product has influence but arguably having a same-sex couple or family in its general ad campaigns would be more effective. In its own research, commissioned as part of the rebrand, it finds a fifth (18%) of consumers, feel LGBTQ+ parenting has no place in 2019 and if marketing is going to help change that mindset LGBTQ+ representation has to exist outside of Pride.
To be fair to Fairy it has partnered with the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT) and is donating £50,000 to the LGBQT+ youth homeless charity, plus a donation from each bottle sold.
Also, its owner P&G has done a huge amount for its LGBTQ+ employees including championing LGBTQ+ rights in countries where it is still illegal and helping trans employees seamlessly transition in the workplace.
That being said, so often brands are just as quick to drop the rainbow flag as soon as the summer months are over. Not only does this put off LGBTQ+ consumers it also shows a lack of authenticity. As younger consumers care more about honest purpose, brands need to ensure they stick to these issues, not just when they know it will be trending on Twitter. MF
READ MORE: P&G rebrands Fairy to Fair to get people talking about LGBTQ+ rights
Nike wins big at the Women’s World Cup
As the Women’s World Cup draws to a close, and it’s now just a matter of hours until the USA or Netherlands claims victory, Nike has already emerged as the clear brand winner.
Exclusive research carried out by System1 for Marketing Week reveals the sportswear giant’s ‘Dream Further’ campaign ticked all the right boxes for football fans – both male and female – helping it achieve a score of 4.6 out of five for emotional engagement.
Given a score of three is considered strong, four is deemed excellent and five is “exceptional”, Nike has nailed it with this campaign, which shows both how strong and successful female athletes are while empowering women to drive change.
This is exactly the kind of campaign that’s needed to support the growth of women’s sport and help it be seen as an equal to the men’s alternatives. The ad not only features a bold call to action in ‘Don’t change your dreams. Change the world’ but clearly illustrates the technical skill and performance value of the stars involved.
The fact Nike’s ad resonates so well emotionally is also a good indication it will perform well commercially. While it’s impossible to predict how well an ad will do as creativity is subjective, creating an emotional connection is closely linked to ROI, which is enabling brands to predict the impact of campaigns, and can be used as a guide to measure success.
Nike’s World Cup efforts should be a clear indication to other brands of the success that can be achieved by supporting women’s sport in a powerful and meaningful way.
What’s sad is the fact there were just 10 ads launched by brands to support the women’s tournament this year versus the 28 launched during the men’s World Cup last year. And many feel a bit tacked on and clumsy rather than part of a wider strategic move.
This has been the most watched Women’s World Cup by far, which shows interest in the sport is growing. Brands like Nike that get involved now have a real opportunity to change the narrative around women’s sport, which will be beneficial for both the brand and the future of the game. LT
READ MORE: Nike is the big brand winner at the Women’s World Cup
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If I were to rank the challenges marketers tell me are keeping them awake at night, number one among them would be the pace of change. As much as plenty has stayed the same, there are trends that have transformed marketing over the last 10 years.
The disruption almost every sector has experienced means marketers have to think differently. If you want to better serve your customers, you can’t stand still.
Marketing Week too is very different from the brand I joined 10 years ago, as is the environment we operate in. We are now a multichannel brand serving more people in more places, and in different ways. If we are to serve our purpose of helping you become a more effective marketer, we too need to innovate.
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Into our fifth decade, we remain at the heart of the fast-changing marketing industry in the UK. With the improvements we have made, we believe we are even better positioned to help you understand the marketing industry today and become a more effective marketer.
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Nike is the clear brand winner of this year’s Women’s World Cup, according to exclusive data shared with Marketing Week, with Twitter, Lucozade and Budweiser also scoring well among consumers.
When it comes to emotional engagement – a good indication of the long-term impact an ad will have – Nike’s ‘Dream Further’ campaign, comes out on top with a near perfect score of 4.6 out of five.
As a result, the ad, which features some of the biggest names in women’s football alongside the message ‘Don’t change your dreams. Change the world’, is expected to drive long-term returns, according to System1, which carried out the research.
“The star rating is a predictor of long-term brand impact – three is a strong score, four is excellent and 5 is exceptional, although fewer than 1% of ads manage this,” explains Jill Schaefer, associate research director at System1 London. “For long-term impact the crucial factor is the type and degree of emotional response – strongly positive reactions create and reinforce positive memory structures around the brand.”
Clearly media spend also has a role to play and impact will depend on what else is happening in the market, but based on these campaigns “Nike will see an excellent long-term return and continued share gain, and Lucozade and Budweiser should also do well”.
After Nike, the next best performing campaign in the UK is Twitter’s ‘Women in football’ with a score of 3.9. This is followed by Lucozade’s ‘Lionneses’ (3.7), Budweiser’s ‘Heart of a King’ and Qatar Airways’ ‘Qatar Airways’ newest destination’ (both on 3.5).
In order to determine the impact a campaign will have, System1 measures the emotions an ad generates in consumers and the intensity of that emotional resonance. This leads to a score of between one and five stars based on ROI growth, with one star representing 0% growth and five stars 3% growth.
While it’s impossible to predict how well an ad will do as creativity is subjective, if it creates an emotional connection with people this is closely linked to ROI, which is enabling brands such as Birds Eye to predict the impact of its campaigns, and can be used as a guide to measure success.
READ MORE: How Birds Eye is measuring ‘return on creative investment’
As well as long-term impact, System1 also measures the immediate response an ad might evoke and how likely it is to motivate someone to take action, such as by buying a product.
“Short-term predictions depend on the intensity of the emotion generated and the connection to the brand,” explains Schaefer. “The big winners here are Nike again but also Lucozade and Head & Shoulders.”
She says Head & Shoulders’ ad in particular, which has a score of 3.2, managed particularly strong recognisable branding without much loss of emotional response.
On the flip-side, Twitter and Qatar Airways underperformed on this measure. “They’ve made solid brand building ads but shouldn’t expect too much in the way of short-term impact,” says Schaefer. “In Qatar’s case I suspect it’s a slightly tenuous brand connection that’s to blame.”
Many of this year’s Women’s World Cup ads have focused on female empowerment, which has resonated well, according to the data, with the ads that focus on women’s sporting achievements generally rather than the tournament alone performing best.
By contrast, ads that focus on a specific team and its performance have not done as well, generally scoring three stars rather than four.
Women’s ads versus men’s
When comparing this year’s crop of Women’s World Cup ads to the campaigns launched last year for the men’s tournament, the ads for the women’s competition have performed much better in the UK. This is because last year’s ads were not particularly supportive of the England team and fans were not hopeful, according to Shaefer.
“The problem [last year] was a general avoidance of patriotism and support as a motivating factor in the ads since before the tournament nobody thought England would do well,” she explains. “There is no such reticence this time – Lucozade and Budweiser are full-on in their support.”
However, more disappointing is the fact there are just 10 UK ads launched in support the Women’s World Cup, compared to the 28 measured during the men’s tournament.
READ MORE: Which brands are winning the World Cup ad stakes?
Looking beyond the UK at the reactions to US ads, again Nike is the clear winner, with consistently high marks in both markets. “Contrast that with its 2018 men’s ad, which was a five-star in Brazil and a two-star in Germany [illustrating] its street football theme just didn’t translate worldwide. It has learned its lesson from that I think,” adds Shaefer.
The next best performing US ad is Volkswagen’s ‘Pave the Way’ with a score of 3.2, followed by Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’ (3.1), Coca-Cola’s ‘Ball Sip’ (2.7), Fox Sports’ ‘Goliath’ and Gatorade’s ‘Replenish Your Energy’ (2.4).
Marketing Week will be publishing a series of features next week on the role brands can play in levelling the playing field for women in sport and why the narrative needs to change from empowerment to performance.
The post Nike is the big brand winner at the Women’s World Cup appeared first on Marketing Week.
Timberland’s living walls have their own irrigation system
VF, the owner of iconic brands including The North Face, Vans and Timberland, is entering another period of big transformation as it looks to lead the charge through purpose-led design and sustainable innovation.
The manifestation of this can be seen in its new Axtell Soho retail space in London, which opened earlier this month to showcase how VF is using technology to reinvent its portfolio and bring the stories of its brands to life in new and immersive ways.
From Timberland’s relationship with its suppliers and factory craftsmen and North Face’s new nanospinning technology, to how Vans’ customisation requests influence future product trends, the six-story, digitally connected building features custom video walls and cinema surround-sound to immerse customers in each of VF’s brands
Meanwhile, avatar-based virtual mannequins showcase key seasonal looks in 3D and users can use the touchscreen displays to change the lighting and visualise the products in different scenarios.
“The big opportunity we have [with Atxell Soho] is how do we focus in creating more dynamic, relevant, contextual experiences for our consumers and how do we do that in a much more unified way,” VF’s chief digital officer, Velia Carboni, tells Marketing Week.
“It doesn’t matter if you walk into a store or go online, we know who you are as a consumer and we can best service you for the needs you have expressed or what we anticipate you may have a need for. Our focus is about being consumer focused and leveraging technology to make that easier.”
We have to balance what this company was with what we want this company to evolve to be.
Velia Carboni, VF
While Axtell Soho is not open to the public – it will initially be used as a “showcase” for business partners – VF will be using the space as a test and learn environment for stores and seeing how it can enhance the customer experience.
“This industry needs to get out of the mode of that one-time transaction; it really is about building that loyalty, that engagement with our consumers, back to the brand and the purpose that these brands bring to life,” Carboni adds.
“[Axtell House] starts to represent that storytelling our brands have and the extension of this will be into more consumer-facing stores or online. We’re going to get more into this test and learn and see what works and what resonates and what really helps draw people into what that brand means and not the actual products. It’s so much more than products, it’s about being part of something.”
The North Face is using a revolutionary fabric technology, called nanospinning, to enhance product performance
This is why VF is looking to involve the consumer much sooner in the design process and product creation phase. This might be through having conversations with designers or using online tools to virtually co-create with consumers.
“You’re going to see a lot more shift of that happening earlier in the process so we’re not just building because in the brands at VF we think it’s the right thing, it’s how do you bring that consumer-centricity all the way to product creation?,” Carboni explains. “That’s where technology allows us to do that at scale.”
But for a company as big as VF, which makes around 500 million products every year, has 55,000 employees worldwide and revenue closing in on $14bn in 2019, Carboni says it is crucial to be willing to iterate as you go and not fall into the trap of wanting to try everything.
“Things are moving very quickly and we have to stay focused on the things that are most important to drive the consumer and brand experiences we want,” she says. “Sometimes our appetites become big, meaning we want to try a little bit of everything. We have to balance what this company was with what we want this company to evolve to be.”
‘Incubator’ brands and ‘dangerous’ digital
Vans, The North Face and Timberland bring in the big bucks at 120-year-old VF. But its smaller brands – some of which include Kipling, Dickies, Eastpak, Napapijri, Icebreaker, Smartwool and Altra – play an equally important role in its reinvention.
In fact, whether it’s a new media vehicle, new customer or new way of going to market, VF makes the most risky bets with its smaller brands.
“We use the word incubator, which is where our small brands can sometimes take big risks that our big brands sometimes cannot take,” explains VF’s vice-president of strategy, Jan Van Mossevelde.
“And sometimes it will be the big brand that makes the biggest risk because big dogs, big puppies. If you make big bets, you tend to get big rewards. It can also sometimes fail but that’s part of the experience.
I’d rather not make the sale right now but make that long-term investment with you as a consumer.
Velia Carboni, VF
“The most risky bets we will make with our much smaller brands. But on the other hand it’s act fast, fail fast, learn fast. So we can replicate and always increase the scale and impact by leveraging it and expanding it into the portfolio. But never the exact execution, more of the principle.”
VF is increasingly shaping its organisations to match a world where consumers are always-on but not always looking to buy, which is why Van Mossevelde believes digital is a “dangerous” word.
On the one hand, it is a channel where people spend money and buy, he says. On the other, it is simply the next stop in a journey of how people consume content.
“When we were watching TV or newspapers no one was worried about, can I click my newspaper article or touch my button on my TV and buy? It was a vehicle to communicate to the consumer,” Van Mossevelde explains.
“The goal of marketing has always been to go where your target group is to tell your message. If today our consumers are no longer watching TV and spending all their free time in digital environments, we need to be there with our message. That doesn’t mean we need to be there with a ‘buy me now’ because we weren’t doing that when it was a print newspaper or TV 30-second ad.”
“That’s the mental shift we have to make,” Carboni concludes. “Digital marketing for a long time really became about pushing that one-time sale and that model has significantly shifted because our consumers want it to shift and we as a company want it to shift.
“I’d rather not make the sale right now but make that long-term investment with you as a consumer and know we’re going to have more of a relationship over time. Sales will come from that.”
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Diet Coke hopes quirky will get people to try its new flavours
Diet Coke has launched a campaign for its new flavours and the ad is noticeably scaled down when compared to rival Pepsi, which launched its new campaign last week.
Where Pepsi opted for a blockbuster storyline starring comedy heavyweight Paul Rudd, Diet Coke featured rising star Tanya Reynolds in an amusing but demure audition setting. Perhaps the brand is opting to be more cautious with marketing spend when it has so many new products to promote.
After all, the launch comes at a busy time for Coca-Cola in the UK. There have been a number of product launches in recent months including water brand Aquarius and Coke’s first own-brand energy drink Coca-Cola Energy. This arguably means that campaigns need to be smaller or more targeted as the company tries to ensure its marketing keeps up with the fast pace of its innovation.
That’s not to say Diet Coke isn’t investing. The brand underwent a £10m revamp in February 2018 in a bid to push consumers towards its healthier options. Younger consumers – Diet Coke’s target audience – will perhaps respond better to more authentic and funny marketing than a big-spend ad. MF
READ MORE: Coca-Cola highlights its innovation credentials in campaign for new Diet Coke flavours
Unilever pushes its marketers to challenge stereotypes through DNA tests
Unilever is broadening out its Unsterotype alliance beyond sexist portrayals as it looks to challenge its marketers on other stereotypes. The initiative launched in 2016 with the aim of eradicating stereotypes in advertising, but Unilever’s primary focus in the past has been on changing gendered advertising.
In an interesting move the FMCG giant DNA tested 63 of its marketers and partners to challenge their views on ethnicity. This was then used as a “primer” to spark discussion in University College London classes on stereotyping.
Unilever is a brand that is really leading the way when it comes to diversity. Unilever’s executive vice-president of global marketing and head of diversity and inclusion, Aline Santos, has made it her mission to ensure that minorities are represented both in advertising and in the business.
The brand is ensuring that it is not only hiring a more diverse range of people but also crucially that it is fostering an environment where those minorities can speak up. It’s all well and good hiring a broader range of people but only if the culture allows them to bring their experiences to the table – something which Santos recognises.
Of course, there is the business case too. Unilever claims 96% of consumers now see its brands in a positive way and free of stereotypes. Younger consumers in particular will hold businesses to account if the advertising doesn’t match up to what’s going on internally. MF
READ MORE: Unilever gets marketers to take DNA tests to challenge stereotypes beyond gender
Mars tackles gender inequality in its ads
Mars has become the latest brand to tackle the issue of gender inequality in its advertising after finding that men outnumber women three to two.
The research, conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media on behalf of Mars, also found that 22% of male characters in its ads are leaders versus 17% of female characters. Plus that men are more than twice as likely to be shown working as women, with 26% of male characters depicted with an occupation compared to 11% of female characters.
“We are inadvertently portraying women in situations that are not representative of what society is today and even less our vision of what society should be,” says Mars Wrigley’s chief growth officer Berta de Pablos, talking to Marketing Week at Cannes Lions 2019.
The research from Mars is important as only by examining when and to what extent bias exists can brands do something about it. From de Pablos’s comments, it sounds like Mars has concrete plans in place to tackle the inequality as well, from publishing and publicising its performance to working with partners on what is expected.
But Mars should not stop there. Women are just one area of society that isn’t well represented in advertising, not just at Mars but across the industry. Hopefully Mars has plans to examine other under-served audiences including the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities, as well as those with disabilities. SV
READ MORE: Mars’s three-point strategy to improve gender equality in its advertising
Focus on short-termism is breaking the link between creativity and effectiveness
There has been a creeping sense in the ad industry that all is not well in the world of creativity. So along comes marketing consultant Peter Field with a report that proves just that.
His analysis of almost 600 case studies in the IPA databank shows that the effectiveness of creatively-awarded campaigns has fallen to its lowest level in 24 years as the marketing industry increasingly shifts to more short-term campaigns.
It found that the average number of very large business effects reported by campaigns that have been creatively awarded fell to little more than 1.4 in 2018, down from 1.9 in 2008 and the lowest it has been in the 24-year run of the data.
He puts that decline down to a rise in short-termism. Among creatively awarded campaigns, the proportion that were short-term (evaluated over periods of six months or less) has risen from around 10% in 2002 to 25% in 2018, although the growth has levelled off over the past four years.
Field also blames award judges, calling them out for favouring “disposable” creativity – short-term ideas many of which are focused on relatively low-budget, digitally focused campaigns. The percentage of short-term campaigns receiving creative awards has risen to almost 40%. Until 2010 that figure was below 5%.
The report should be concerning reading for any marketer that wants marketing to be seen as more than the colouring-in department. And Field doesn’t mince his words when he talks about the impact this shift could have.
“We cannot afford to go on being complacent; left unchecked, the catastrophic decline in creative effectiveness will ultimately weaken support for creativity among general management. Money spent on creativity will become ‘non-working’ budget and will be cut.”
Marketers, you have been warned. SV
READ MORE: Link between creativity and effectiveness ‘broken’ as short-termism rises
Advertisers launch first global alliance to tackle safety in digital media
What recognises the role advertisers can play in collectively pushing to improve the safety of online environments, is rallying publishers and platforms to do more to address harmful content, and acknowledges its collective power to significantly improve the health of the media ecosystem?
This week, 16 advertisers, alongside media companies and platforms including Google and Facebook, a number of agencies and industry associations, unveiled their latest attempt in a long line of attempts to “rapidly improve digital safety”.
They are calling themselves the Global Alliance for Responsible Media – or, as it will no doubt be shortened to, GARM.
It claims to mark the first time an alliance that represents “all sides of the media industry” is forming, but it certainly isn’t the first time these kinds of provocation have been made.
‘We must act together,’ ‘It’s on all of us to act,’ ‘harness our collective efforts for the greater good,’ ‘Responsibility is critical,’ ‘It is critical that we build trust,’ etc, etc – all verbatim quotes from the press release, which landed in inboxes earlier this week to coincide with Cannes, which is where the alliance had its first “formal” meeting on Wednesday (all formal meetings happen on yachts in the French Riviera now).
A working group (presumably not currently on a big boat) will meet regularly to report back on its progress to members and the wider industry.
We can only hope that these critical calls and rallying cries for responsibility, change and action will start to bear fruit soon. Because there are only so many critical calls and rallying cries we can take before it starts to feel a bit like the boy who cried wolf. EH
READ MORE: Brands and tech giants come together to launch first digital safety alliance
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