The lead up to the Christmas season and subsequent January sales period is traditionally a time when brands look for deep engagement with family audiences. But gaining cut-through against so many other products fighting for the same attention can be a huge struggle, says Oscar Diele*. Entertainment has always been the biggest vehicle through which brands have strived to reach this target audience. And within that, TV has, until recently, ruled supreme, providing a mass audience and a wide range of targeted content – whether that be sport, soaps, drama, kids entertainment, etc.
TV shows and advertising were key drivers for breaking new artists and reviving older tracks in 2014, according to the latest Shazam metrics. In the UK, The Walking Dead delivered 43,000 tags for Ben Howard’s Oats in the Water and Ben Nichols’ The Last Pale Light in the West – Made in Chelsea was also hugely reactive, driving more than 26,000 Shazam tags for artists such as Ásgeir and Woman’s Hour.
Microsoft Advertising and Warner Bros are launching a new cross-platform campaign to support the 13th December release of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. The ‘Ads-in-Apps’ creative on Windows 8 will offer Hobbit fans a free blueprint download for a 3D-printed model of The Key to Erebor – a major artefact in the film’s plot – on release day. “By offering fans a blueprint for a 3D model of one of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’s key artefacts, we’re providing a genuinely valuable and unique experience that puts the consumer first,” says Owen Sagness, gm for Microsoft Advertising & Online UK.
There are 208 brand references on the tracks on Kanye West’s last seven studio albums, according to analysis conducted by Business Insider. Mercedes-Benz is mentioned most by the artist, followed by Louis Vuitton, Polo, Nike and Christain Dior. Over 40% of brand references are about clothing and fashion, with cars, drink and food featuring regularly. “As you might expect, Kanye’s tastes skew toward luxury goods,” says Business Insider. “But how much? 123 of the 208 products references (59%) were about luxury and high-end brands, with the rest spanning the gamut from Banana Republic all the way down to Depends.”
Next year is the year of relevant retail. And that means brands building relevant experiences around what consumers actually want. “That’s hard work, but it’s better than the status quo,” says Richard Vincent, head of consumer at Jack Morton in London, in the agency’s 2014: 10 Things that will Matter for Brands report. “Last year there was a lot of talk about ‘showrooming’ and other presumably negative consumer behaviours that were seriously troubling to retailers. This year, the brands that are growing are the ones that embrace consumer needs, for example promoting their in-store experience as mobile-friendly.”
Creatives industries from fashion designers and animators to advertising agencies generate £70,000 every minute for the UK economy and account for £1 in every £10 of the UK’s exports, while creating jobs for 2 million people. And the likes of Mulberry, CHI and Aardman Animations are among the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, according to a report of the same name from the London Stock Exchange.
Amazon is bringing on the drones. The retail giant is currently testing Octocopters able to carry loads of up to 2.3kg to customers. However, company CEO Jeff Bezos admits the service, tagged Prime Air, could take around five years or so to take flight, with the US Federal Aviation Administration not yet having approved the commercial use of drones. “It looks like science fiction, but it’s real,” says Amazon.
Indian mobile brand Bharti Airtel has joined forces with US-based audio outfit Radio Express to launch branded radio shows on 35 stations in 17 African markets. The weekly, hour-long countdown shows, Airtel Music Express (English) and Airtel Musique Express (French), feature hip-hop, R&B, and pop artists from Africa, among them Wyre from Kenya, Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage, Lady Jaydee from Tanzania and Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo.