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Forgettable ads, selfie payments and Facebook vs YouTube battle – the #DigitalSense Digest puts the headlines in context


By Jerry Daykin, Fractional CMO

July 9, 2015 | 6 min read

In the first installment of a new series, Jerry Daykin tells us what the big headlines from the last fortnight really mean for the marketing industry.

Selfie payments on the way?

Whilst some lucky marketers have been off in Cannes having evenings they couldn’t remember the very next day, research has shown that Google (and in fairness the entire internet) is making us all suffer from digital amnesia.

Of particular note is the stat that 71 per cent of connected adults can’t recall their own children’s phone numbers – treat that as a wakeup call for marketers who sometimes have an overly optimistic view of their role in consumers’ lives, and a challenge to how our creative and media strategies can keep brands front of mind in such a disposable society.

Elsewhere, the BBC was facing up to a rather large new licence fee bill but the real gem was the stat that there’s already a £150m shortfall in expected income from people using catch-up services and ditching the traditional TV box. If the changing habits of consumers weren’t apparent enough, putting a cold, hard price on them should prompt us to be increasingly ‘screen neutral’ in our AV planning and look beyond pure TV scheduling.

The Weather Channel announced a self-service advertising portal which will allow SMEs to run weather triggered advertising campaigns – it’s humbling to realise that this sort of media buy which could have been Cannes Lion winning just a couple of years ago is now table stakes for 5m small businesses. It’s also a challenge for marketers who like to think they’re at the cutting edge of media to really step up their approach to programmatic and advanced targeting to drive these sort of relevant ‘personal connections at scale’.

Beauty blogger Em Ford made a beautiful stand against online trolls in a video which could pretty much have been a Dove Real Beauty advert if it had just had a logo on the end frame. It has been similarly widely shared across the internet, but with ‘only’ 7m views vs Dove Sketches’ 66m – which just goes to show that a few million media dollars can still give you the edge.

Those puzzled by the fact that @Ogilvy’s (misattributed) Lincoln quote got 10 times as many retweets as Kim Kardashian’s own Cannes Lions tweet can take solace here too; Ogilvy’s attempt received consistent paid media support throughout the festival so its success shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

At the most hype-filled end of the spectrum, Turkish bank Akbank proved that doing just about anything with the Apple Watch can get you great PR. A nod to context and relevance highlights that wearables are certainly more personal spaces but their use cases still all sound like actions better served by taking your phone out of your pocket – we’re a way off really cracking the Watch as a platform and that’s speaking as an avid owner of one!

Mastercard for its part found out there are still legs in the ‘selfie’ PR angle by trialing payments by facial recognition. While a 500 user trial might sound a bit stunt-like, its realisation that a user needs to blink to prove they’re real and not just take a picture shows it is giving it serious thought. Again I suspect existing fingerprint technology will remain an easier option for most people for the time being.

Rounding out the week was some big FMCG news as Nestle revealed it had quietly hired a former Amazon exec to drive its eCommerce approach. It’s a reversal on the trend of big digital players hoovering up top marketing talent that has been a hot topic lately, but also a sign of how traditional businesses are grappling with the realities of the modern economy. It follows in Mondelēz’s footsteps in setting out an ambition to make all of its digital media shoppable, or at least actionable, in some way.

And finally with 2015 truly the year of the online video war, Facebook has put renewed pressure on YouTube by announcing a deal to split ad revenue generated through a new ‘suggested video’ feature with content creators. It starts to answer the question of how it will truly attract top quality talent who have been toying with the platform but are obviously nervous about moving away from an established revenue model.

It should open up new advertising opportunities for marketers and perhaps even allow the most bold to monetise its own content – but whilst it makes Facebook sound even more like YouTube there’s still a big difference in the mind-set of the users and whether they’re seeking out content (YouTube) or being proactively served it (Facebook), as Paolo Nieddu pointed out.

And that was the fortnight that was, or at least what I took out of the biggest stories of the past weeks – see you in a couple!

Jerry Daykin is global digital director at Carat

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