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Mobile Fix - September 15


Interesting week for Apple - their big event came and went and their stock has stayed fairly static. They didn’t make the big AR play that many expected but as Bloomberg point out it is what’s inside that is the big story. With Apple making their own chips etc their annual R&D spend of $11bn makes sense.

But do people who are willing to spend £1150 on a phone care about AR? Or animated Poo? As the Louis Vuitton of personal tech, many will want the X as a way of demonstrating their wealth. But is it enough? And what about the 8 – do millions of people plan to upgrade to the second best iPhone?

With many features already offered by other handsets – albeit probably executed less well - the door is slightly ajar for competitors. The One Plus and the Essential are getting traction with some influential people. My Pixel has been great and the new one is out soon. Google are rumoured to be buying HTC – who make the Pixel. And we still think Amazon will step up at some point.

Getting people to spend significant money on a new device each year takes all these firms into the fashion/ luxury space. And eventually every brand loses the cool cachet and struggles to get it back. Launching two devices at once is a risk for Apple and it will be interesting to see whether the competition can put up a good fight.

Clean up the swamp

The cream of the Adtech industry made the annual pilgrimage to Cologne for DMexco this week. The big event was P&Gs Mark Pritchard speech where he said the clean up agenda he set at the start of the year was 60% done – and would be 100% by the year-end.

The remaining big issue is what the ads look like – his research shows people are watching under 2 seconds of an ad and P&G are looking for ideas on the next generation of ad formats. He also shared that P&G are investing with Amazon and Alibaba to drive sales on those platforms. And they are thinking about context more.

All good news and the effect on the ecosystem is good for everyone else – as long as people remember to prioritise quality over quantity.

Facebook are setting a higher bar for publishers and only paying ad revenue to those that meet their standards. So all those Macedonian playboys who made a fortune from Trump ads will find things harder.

A former colleague at GroupM gets into how they manage brand safety, and makes the reassuring point that money is now starting to flow towards quality content makers again. There are more and more firms able to help ensure safe campaigns and they are getting traction with brands and agencies.

But there are still problems and this week we saw some fascinating technology that filters out fake inventory from a campaign in real time; often it’s as much as 40% from reputable DSPs and smart Agencies. And with as much as half of all European display now being traded programmatically the scope for fraud is very high.

The complicated nature of the market and tracking is well demonstrated by this piece on the issues with cookie matching. Too few people responsible for investment in this area really understand the details here. And with Safari and Chrome taking steps to limit what can be tracked in the browser, smart new thinking is needed.

One of the best ways to understand both the complexity of, and arguably the over supply in the adtech world is the Lumascapes – this oral history of them is interesting.


One of the main topics of conversation in DMexco seems to be GDPR but as Johnny Nash pointed out many years ago There are more questions than Answers

Some think its the death knell for programmatic. Others are debunking (some) of the myths. The sober voice of our friends at the WFA is welcome amongst the hysteria and their guide to GDPR is well worth reading.

Doc Searls is one of the smartest thinkers on advertising, data and privacy and his thoughts on the impact of GDPR are a must read. He is actually rather positive.


The swift Amazonization of Whole Foods seems to have paid off – store visits went up by 25% according to Foursquare data. With substantial price cuts and the addition of Wholefoods product to Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry, the deal looks even better for everyone. So inevitably the conversation moves on to who could be next?

If they can drive such an immediate boost in business, Amazon can afford to pay over the odds, so no-one is safe. US Department Store Nordstrom seem to be the latest candidate

They are quite forward thinking and their newest initiative is small stores that carry no stock but let people try on clothes which can be ordered for home delivery – or same day pick up from the store. With Macys seeing people picking up orders are likely to spend more, this is a smart move. And it echoes Argos success in using a hub and spoke system for stores, so stock is moved from a large store to a small one as orders are made.

Perhaps the ultimate in small stores are Bodegas – cabinets full of suitable items placed in gyms or offices. The app unlocks the display cabinet and cameras record what you take – and you are charged through the app. An interesting concept that probably doesn’t deserve the controversy over its name

Fix friend Tom Goodwin wrote a good piece on the democratisation of retail – how Shopify and Influencers means anyone can sell stuff now.

We have learned lots about retail preparing for an imminent workshop – and with the work we are doing with a bunch of very smart adtech firms we are well equipped to help anyone in this space. If you are interested in our take on the reinvention of retail - and how to profit from this - get in touch.


One of the most interesting challenges for modern brands is how to take advantage of the shift to Voice. Getting ready for Voice search makes good sense but navigating Alexa etc is more of a challenge,

In the US Home Depot have partnered with Google Home for voice shopping. Really brands need to be ubiquitous so should be available on all these platforms –but a key challenge is how you make your customers aware.


Amazon are shifting their attention from worthy projects - like the Oscar wining Manchester by the Sea – towards blockbusters, with Bezos allegedly asking them find the next Game of Thrones

Quick Reads

The way Snap measures its audience limits the ability of influencers to make money, so they are absconding to Instagram. And Facebook is looking for ways of extending Instagram Stories directly into the Facebook newsfeed

SEO is fascinating and keeps driving real results for those who take it seriously. A friend has found an interesting new trick. And there are some good tips in here.

Our friends at SuperAwesome have built a whole category with their work on kid safe content and the PWC report on the sector is interesting reading. They are the epitome of a modern media company.

We missed the latest always excellent Firestarters but this write up by the event curator Neil Perkin is a good read.

YouTube is promoting itself to the Ad world – with digital video of course

One of the ways the ad industry has shot themselves in the foot has been through giving away planning. Demonstrating its value - and charging accordingly - would solve lots of Agency woes.

This is a modern marketing masterclass from AirBnB – and whilst written by their head of product, at heart he sounds like a good planner.

Finally… Whenever there is a report pointing out issues with digital it seems to get lots of press. Which is right – we need to surface problems so they can be dealt with.

But it is interesting there has been little coverage - yet - of a report suggesting outdated TV advertising is 90% too expensive It’s from academics at UCL and Duke so must have some credibility. Maybe the PR firm didn’t reach the marketing press? Or ThinkBox?

The PR seems to relate to this research, which is rather too dense for me to really understand, so hopefully a simpler explanation is coming. But a debate over the real value of TV advertising, in a world where everyone is second screening, seems due.

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