|March 8 marked International Women’s Day, but London-based creative agency WCRS got a jump start on the celebration, putting up a set of billboards to spread awareness of domestic violence. However, they’re not your typical public awareness posters.
Raising awareness is a form of activism. The idea is that the first step to changing how institutions handle a problem is to inform the populace about the issue. Raising awareness is the first step to changing things, which is literally what these interactive ads do.
Each billboard depicts the portrait of an abused woman, her face marked by bruises, cuts, and a black eye. As more and more people look at the poster, facial recognition technology begins to “heal” the women — the more the poster is seen, the smaller the women’s wounds get — just as raising awareness begins to solve a problem.
“Often people don’t want to see domestic violence or do something about it because it feels too difficult or they’re worried what they do won’t have any impact,” Polly Neate, British charity Women’s Aid chief executive, told theHuffington Post UK. “They turn a blind eye because of this, leaving women isolated and making it even harder for them to get help.”
The visual metaphor is made even more harrowing when you consider the fact that — just as is the case with real world violence — the wounds won’t heal if no one looks and the image remains the same.
“This is the type of ‘innovation’ frankly I can do without. By people looking at the images, the pictures of these women heal themselves? I suppose it is interesting that a company could technically execute this. But how does this communicate anything of value?” wonders Tom Ajello, founder and creative director of Makeable. “Are the women really getting healed? No. Is anyone donating? No. And what happens when it becomes popular and the images are 75 to 80% healed? Then those exposed to the advertising are looking at marginally attractive visages of a cause that is no longer clear to the viewer. This is the problem of innovation today. Too many marketers executing things because they CAN, not because they SHOULD.”
Even more interesting than that is the fact that anyone “within proximity of the billboard” will receive a text message via mobile marketing venture Weve, which encourages them to donate to Women’s Aid.
There’s also livefeed panels at the bottom, which display images of the onlookers in the hopes that the billboards draw even more attention.
“We want to show this International Women’s Day that anyone can ‘Make it Happen’, and everyone can help put a stop to domestic violence, by noticing it, by donating to Women’s Aid, and to making sure their communities don’t tolerate the sexist attitudes that lead to abuse,” explained Neate. “That’s what we hope to achieve with this advert.”
|When marketers advise businesses on how to spend their money, they look at statistics on effectiveness in order to tell businesses which marketing channels yield sales. However, one commonly used principle may be undermining the value of those statistics — and the decisions based off of them.
The principle itself is called last-click attribution, and it’s used to describe the belief that the final interaction a customer has with a brand before taking the desired action (becoming a client, buying a product, signing up for a list, etc.) is the most effective one.
In a recent article for industry site Internet Retailer, Robert Glazer uses the analogy of a soccer goal to describe last-click attribution. The principle would award credit only to the player who actually makes a goal in a soccer match, instead of the players who stole the ball from the other team, moved it downfield, and defended it from interception.
When marketing decisions are made based on the same type of reasoning, it can lead to some serious errors in the assessment of certain marketing channels. “Last-click attribution does not account for the entirety of the marketing budget that included brand building, email campaigns, and any number of other interactions with prospective customers,” Russell Ratshin explained in a Feb. 12 Forbes article.
The same problem presents itself when print marketing is thrown into the mix.
For example, a person might see an advertising banner or receive a direct mailer but search the company’s website online before making a purchase. Last-click attribution would give the credit for the resulting sale to search engine marketing, artificially inflating the importance of that method while discounting all the branding and marketing work done through other channels up to that point.
“Print advertising is an important part of company’s branding, but the direct results can be difficult to measure,” said Adam Sturm, president of Apple Visual Graphics. “We recommend that any print campaign have clear goals and an easy way to measure the results. For example, if you’re company is doing a direct mail campaign we would like to see a code on the mailer that the customer would use to get a discount upon checkout.”
In this strategy, marketers track not only the interactions that lead to sales, but instead map all the interactions each customer has had with a brand. As Ratshin explains, multi-channel methods use analyses to track sequences of many actions in order to establish a fuller idea of the relationship between a consumer and a business.
There are, of course, channels that are difficult to account for in this model. If someone sees a Nikon product placement in a film and then buys a Nikon online, the first part of that interaction will probably be missed. But the overall picture is still more nuanced than one that would be produced by a last-click analysis.
Marketers intimidated by the more in-depth process probably aren’t alone. But there’s no way around it if marketing data is to better reflect the way various channels actually impact outcomes. “If that sounds complex,” Ratshin sums up, “well, so is life.”
|Bud Light has been going to great lengths to overhaul its advertising strategy this year as the brand repositions itself to appeal to Millennials. Its “Up for Whatever” campaign will soon enter a new phase leading up to the Super Bowl in February: varied packaging.
Customized packaging or packaging that comes with a variety of messages gained popularity over the past year, especially in the food and beverage industry. A successful campaign from Coca-Cola printed different names on Coke bottles with the catchphrase “Share a Coke with [name].”
Bud Light is planning to use a similar tactic with its new packaging, which will eventually feature over 100 different messages to reinforce the company’s “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens” campaign.
According to Packaging Digest, the first batch of 47 messages will include quotes like “the perfect beer for leaving your comfort zone in another time zone,” and “the perfect beer for taking off the blindfold and showing that piñata who’s boss.”
The colors and logo on the bottle will remain the same, but the brand hopes to add a sense of spontaneity with the different messages.
“Custom packaging messages are a great way to involve your audience to the experience with a product. This is financially easier for a manufacturer (like Bud Light) that is producing millions of labels, but digital printing is making the possibility of creating a similar idea with more modest packaging needs,” says Don Keller of Catalpha Packaging. “If you can find an emotional tie between your product and your customer, this type of packaging is for you.”
“Our fans will truly need to be ‘Up for Whatever’ when they’re enjoying a Bud Light out on the town,” Vice President of Bud Light Alex Lambrecht said in a statement. “We think they’ll have fun doing the ideas printed on our bottles.”
Lambrecht added that fans who prove that they’re “Up for Whatever” may end up becoming part of the Bud Light advertising campaign, like 1,000 fans that were flown out in private jets to Crested Butte, CO. for the beer’s Whatever, USA event. The fans were invited to party for a whole weekend in the blue-painted party town while enjoying free beer and concerts.
Bud Light, meanwhile, came away with a massive amount of footage and free social media buzz to use for future advertising ventures.
|Native advertising has been a staple on the internet for some time, but now advertisers can even look to print to distribute branded information that blends in with editorial content.
On Nov. 19, the New York Times unveiled an eight-page section of native ads for Shell titled “Cities Energized: The Urban Transition,” which illustrates the link between smart urban design and energy efficiency. The section appears online in the paper’s digital edition, as well.
The “advertorial” comes wrapped around the paper’s home-delivered copies (or around the business section for newsstand copies). The top sheet of the section is opaque vellum, so users can flip back and forth between the infographic on the cover and one underneath it on newsprint to see figures on urbanization throughout the world.
The print ads also feature “augmented reality” pages: readers can use the Blippar app to watch a video when they hold their smartphones over the page.
The goal of this particular campaign was to establish Shell as an expert on energy, with as few mentions of the company as possible.
The placement of Shell’s native advertising sparked debate among readers and analysts at Digiday, where the site noted that although native ads have “largely been an online phenomenon,” they’ve been slow to come to print. The Times, they say, have been sensitive to criticism of native advertising as “trying to truck the reader into thinking it’s editorial content.”
But Meredith Levien, executive vice president of advertising at the New York Times , defended the spread, saying that until now, previous native ad ideas never came to fruition because they weren’t worth the amount of space they would take up.
Levien told Digiday, “We wanted to do branded content at the highest level possible to capture the reader’s attention in a manner that’s befitting the Times.”
The ad was created by the New York Times ‘ in-house native ad production team T Brand Studio, in conjunction with Shell’s media agency MediaCom. The Shell native ad took about three months to complete.
“This type of campaign has a ton of upswing and we’ll see more and more like it,” comments Scott Trueblood, President of BrandVision Marketing, a full-service marketing agency. “There’s always going to be the concern of appearing too editorial and upsetting readers when they realize that they have been reading ad content. Shell was wise to minimize their company mentions in the piece and to just let the content do the selling for them. That subtle approach to a sales pitch is far more embraced by a reader who is caught up in the content of an article.”
Although a total price for the advertisement was not listed by either company, the New York Times‘s charge for content creation is estimated at a minimum of $200,000 alone.
The Shell ad arrives at a time when print advertising is on the decline for some publishers. Time Inc. announced earlier this month that the company had lowered its yearly revenue forecast due to a weaker-than-expected print ad sales from a $3.3 billion to $3.37 billion projection in August to a $3.27 billion to $3.3 billion projection now.
“The multi-media approach with the use of the app is also an instant winner for print users,” states Trueblood. “It creates layers of touch-points for the consumer and a great way to absorb information across platforms.”