We start by remembering that whatever happens with technology and business models, great creative thinking drives everything forward. But without understanding the new opportunities technology enables, good ideas can be hard to come by.
So TV ads still look like they did 10, 20, 30 years ago despite the fact everyone watching them now has a smartphone close at hand. Banner ads look like they did 20 years ago - except they have shrunk to fit the mobile screen. And posters look pretty much the same as they always have - except some are now animated - ignoring the fact everyone walking past has a camera in their pocket that can read QR codes.
But some do join the dots. We called out the Burger King proximity campaign as genius when it ran a few months ago. This is the story of how the campaign was developed and there is huge learning for everyone. The idea is rooted in tech and was developed by an agency that didn’t work for Burger King. But they got the clients attention and persevered. The CMO sums up his enthusiasm for this sort of approach;
A future where creativity is only used for (and celebrated for) responding to real, tangible business and brand goals
Google know that two thirds of the performance of their own adspend is down to the creative. At a session at Marketing Live they talked about How Google Marketing does Marketing and one of our colleagues took some pictures. (If any of our Google readers can point us to a video of this session that would be great)
Essentially they built a model to predict what creative works, giving them a method of pre-testing ads before they spent money on them. They found that 67% of the creative that passed their model drove positive results. 87% of the ads they failed the test, failed to drive any uplift. A simple brand uplift study and a few $hundred means anyone can do some quick pretesting - and it’s a good investment.
Whenever we have looked at Dark Kitchens and the food delivery business we have talked about the need to maximise utilisation and how Amazon and Uber have an advantage. Their core business suits a food delivery business.
But look at this chart on the US market and Amazon has made no progress. So their investment in Deliveroo makes perfect sense. And with this research suggesting the opportunity could be $3trillion in around 10 years time it’s not that expensive either.
The level of competition is driving prices down - here Uber Meals are seen to be struggling as there is little loyalty. We think the market has some evolving to do but Amazon have real advantages to leverage; utilisation through delivering other items, the Alexa platform as the interface and a huge customer base.
I also think the problems in the Quick Service Restaurant will drive innovation; Jamie Oliver could replace his high street kitchens (with the integral high costs in rent and rates) and the unavoidable expensive service staff with a Dark Kitchen and a Deliveroo Delivery.
This is a great podcast on the Disney Netflix battle - Jason Hirschhorn and Peter Kafka - with a transcript if you would rather read than listen. And this long read on AT&T as a new kind of media giant is good - pointing out that having a core business makes the media one complementary - so the way you value investment is different. Spending on content isn’t just about eyeballs for AT&T - it’s about reducing churn;
“Ten basis points of churn is a billion dollars,” (their CEO) says, and company research shows that giving customers the right exclusive content on their phones can slow churn significantly.
As they begin this new chapter, one of their assets bowed out. Game of Thrones came to an end and this Axios piece shows that big endings are not as big as they used to be. Same in the UK - almost 4m watched the final episode - with 3.2m staying up until 2am and the rest the following day. About the same as an episode of the Durrells or Casualty. But being really valued by a discreet audience is better than indifference from a large one.
One of the things that is a challenge in newTV is the balkanisation - so many different platforms, boxes and subscriptions. Yet people don’t see these distinctions as important - they watch the content they want to watch on whatever device is convenient.
The ad business though seem obsessed with labelling things differently. In the UK a whole new category has been created. In the US and just about everywhere else the categories are;
AVOD - Ad funded Video On Demand
SVOD - Subscription funded Video On Demand
TVOD - Transaction funded Video On Demand
In the UK (and Australia) we now have also BVOD - Broadcaster Video On Demand - which seems to be a way of saying Telly delivered outside the TV set. Once Amazon and Netflix add their ad funded services this distinction will seem rather pointless.
The Amazon TV supported service is active now on IMDB and seems likely to arrive in the UK when their Premiership coverage kicks in later this year. And theories about Netflix taking ads are just that; theories. So far.
But brands are getting involved through Product Placement. We have talked about the KFC integration with Strangers Things before and now Coke has taken this to a new level, with the relaunch of Classic Coke - as a DTC play - through a Stranger Things partnership. This is inspired stuff and if executed well could be seminal.
Netflix appears to be ramping up their efforts with brands - but deny they will take ads. We think we will see ads before and after shows, as well as newer forms of Brand Integration like the Pause Ads. This WARC coverage of my VidCon talk is a good way to get more of our thinking on how we see the ad funded Future of TV
TikTok seem to have found a neat way of dealing with the demands of the music business to pay more for the music used across their service. They plan a music streaming service to rival Spotify, Apple and Amazon - but focusing on emerging markets like India where they are strong and the rivals are not well established. It probably won’t be called TikTok but they will exploit their user base to drive adoption. The key competitors in these markets will be YouTube and to a lesser extent Tencent - further stirring up the rivalry between the two Chinese giants.
This post by IPG goes deep into the current state of audio and is worth reading.
One focus at the moment is thinking about the mobile ecosystem, without the phone as the hub. Instead we are looking at the camera as the hub. A subtle difference maybe, but proving really interesting.
The smartphone still has a huge role as the source of battery and connectivity - but the watch, Airpods and (soon) glasses mean the device can stay in the pocket more. But wearables without an smartphone nearby are very limited so thinking of them as peripherals makes more sense.
In the early days of addictive we had a project about mobile combining all the senses; it can see, hear, ‘talk’ and think. As peripherals get better, the way people use mobile is changing.
Here a VC looks at how the camera is being used more and more and tools like Google Lens are going to accelerate this
Mobile analyst Horace Dediu summarises the impact of Airpods well here. And Google Glass is back - as an enterprise tool. Solving real work problems - at a $999 price point - do these normalise Glasses? It is going to happen. I think Snap are the most likely to make it mainstream but Apple are working on them too as this new patent shows.
The new Luma report is out with lots of great thinking -a must read as usual. Reading the report, it feels like GAFA (or the Triopoly) vs Programmatic or the Walled gardens versus a free market. But as this piece points out a large proportion of Programmatic volume is Google Facebook and Amazon extending their reach to find additional value for brands advertising with them
Privacy & adtech
One topic that the Luma report focuses on is the increase in data controls by Google and Facebook, in the name of Privacy, arguing that they actually strengthen GAFA.
This week saw a US Senate committee on Privacy and competition in Digital Advertising with BOK (Brian OKelly) building on his Quora post that we shared the other week. You can watch the video (32 minutes in) or read his testimony here. Fix friend Johnny Ryan (now working with Brave, the privacy focused browser) also testified and you can watch and read his testimony here.
It’s hard to see that these US Politicians are going to make much sense here - i think these are some of the same people who asked Zuck how Facebook made money.
One possible solution comes from a perhaps unexpected source; Apple have a neat way to retain the ability to track attribution and maintain privacy. We will watch what the reaction is to this, but it looks promising. And could substantiate our view that Apple will come back into the ad world.
One of our VC event speakers Sapna Shah tells us why stores matter as the latest results from Kohls and JC Penney illustrate the death of the boring middle in retail. There is lots of innovation in retail though; Leap will provide DTC brands with ready to go stores for no upfront costs and take a share of revenue. And a catch up with the AppearHere team was really interesting.
The Amazon Fire TV stick is now the No. 1 streaming media player platform in the U.S., U.K., Germany, India and Japan, wth 34m units active users. The closest rival is Roku with 29m - though it is unclear if they are comparing US data with international
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