it’s elementary

what we’ve been doing, thinking and observing

Programmatic digital

Breakfast Seminar: A Toast to a Programmatic Future

22nd July , 2014   |   Benedict Clark

Threepipe hosted a breakfast event last week to look at one of the hottest topics currently around, programmatic buying. Whilst people were chowing down on what looked to be an impressively hearty breakfast, they were treated to an overview as to what can be done and what the future holds in the programmatic space, above and beyond the usual remit of running DR focused RTB campaigns.

Initial discussion centred on making use of programmatic premium and the rise that has taken place in advertiser pounds being channelled through this route. It is perhaps surprising to hear that around half of money that goes through programmatic routes is currently classified as premium. This is reflective of an undoubted shift towards a desire for more transparent and premium placements, and a more brand led approach, but all remaining underpinned by the buying mechanism in which the future of the industry is likely to be grounded, programmatic. Without getting too deep into specifics, programmatic doesn’t necessarily mean real time bidding. With programmatic premium there is a minimum threshold of price which needs to be reached to get delivery, in RTB environments this threshold does not exist.

Looking a little further down the line talk turned to the ability to start buying TV advertising in a programmatic fashion. Of course as an industry in general TV has seen a massive overhaul in the ways in which people expect and indeed are able to consume it. The rise of iplayers, catch up TV and the like has left the consumer in a position whereby they are the ones deciding when, where and how they consume this TV content, rather than being the one who has this dictated to them through scheduling. This in turn has forced a rethink into how you go about targeting those users.

If the noises coming out of the industry are anything to go by, programmatic does strike a certain amount of fear into the hearts of TV’s old guard. Having seen technology lead to the commoditisation of online ad inventory there is concern that this is to be reflected in a devaluation of premium commercial space in prime time. A major distinguishing point to be made here though is that, currently at least, the real time bidding mechanism doesn’t underpin this. In its current state programmatic TV can be beneficial by automating the buying, selling, delivery of TV ads. As companies start passing back more information around users and the type of content that they consume on TV, it is probable we will reach a stage where we can bid specifically on those users and move from programmatic buying to its natural conclusion of real time bidding.

We are moving toward a world where cross device targeting enables a holistic user conversation across multiple touch-points on multiple devices. If this dream is to be realised in a truly all-encompassing way, it would make sense for TV be included as an integral cog in this machine. If this does truly happen then this would flip the traditional TV formula squarely onto its head. Rather than the traditional approach of using data available around shows to find the desirable audiences, it will be the data that is gathered from users’ TV habits that will be used to then find desirable shows.

Read more ›
Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Cambridge University Press Activity – 2014 FIFA World Cup: Team Talk

15th July , 2014   |   James Swan

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ has had everything – great goals, classic matches, drama, controversy, tears and yet another poor England performance.

As linguist experts and global leaders in language, research and education, Cambridge University Press wanted to use the World Cup to showcase the power of the Cambridge English Corpus, a multi-billion word database of written and spoken English language taken from a huge range of media sources. Our role has been to work with the Press throughout the tournament to analyse this database and discover media’s sentiment towards the competition.

Our most recent piece of activity in the campaign has seen us look at how media perceived each of the 32 competing teams. The Language Research team at Cambridge used the Corpus database to identify the words most commonly associated with each of the teams throughout the tournament to give an indication of how each team was perceived by media and fans alike.

The less said about the words associated with England (exciting, disappointing, inexperienced) the better, but with the curtain coming down on proceedings over the weekend, it comes as no surprise that the powerful, focussed and committed Germans ended up victorious in their pursuit of a fourth World Cup title, defeating the Argentinians who played with confidence and flair but were often seen as unconvincing on their way to the final.

Alongside the full list of words for each of the 32 teams, we also created an infographic to visually represent the findings. You can view the design, and words for all teams, below:

2014 FIFA World Cup Team Talk REV 5   Cambridge University Press Activity – 2014 FIFA World Cup: Team Talk

(Click to enlarge)

Following a widespread media sell-in across UK and international media, appetite in the data and story was extremely positive with the likes of likes of BBC Sport,,,, from the UK and, and all featuring pieces on the findings.

It also sparked plenty of debate on social media with key tweets from influencers including BT Sport, BBC Radio 5 Live and Daily Mail providing an estimated overall reach of around 11.6 million.

How would you describe your nation’s World Cup performance in three words? Do you agree with the words attributed to your team?

Follow @jamesswan88 for more sports news.

Read more ›
brand world cup

#allin wins hashtag World Cup

14th July , 2014   |   Justin Schwartz

Research undertaken by multi-channel marketing agency Threepipe has shown that adidas leads the way in terms of FIFA World Cup Twitter hashtag campaigns.

The brand’s #allin campaign was tweeted over one million times throughout the tournament, with rival Nike’s #riskeverything hashtag being mentioned by just 267,000 Twitter users in comparison.

adidas’ use of player assets and retail partners including Mesut Ozil, Oscar, World Soccer Shop and to push the campaign meant #allin was used at consistently high levels as the tournament progressed.  Nike’s campaign, which initially saw good levels of engagement, faltered due to a lack of impactful tweets from their talent roster.  adidas also scored with its #ballin campaign, designed to draw attention to the official World Cup Brazuca ball, achieving the fourth highest level of engagement with 104,000 uses.

Threepipe World Cup Chart 750x524   #allin wins hashtag World Cup

(click to enlarge)

Coca Cola’s #worldscup was the second most successful hashtag campaign from FIFA Official Partners and Sponsors, with the brand’s established user base across a range of markets engaging with the campaign, delivering 117,000 uses.  Rivals Pepsi largely ignored the World Cup from a Twitter point of view, despite launching a star-studded, interactive video campaign in April.  The brand did have a #futbolnow campaign, run entirely through @Pepsi_Arabia, which garnered just 18,000 mentions.

Listerine’s #powertoyourmouth hashtag, despite having exposure to a global audience through pitch-side boards, was used just over 2,000 times, suggesting that fans didn’t find the campaign particularly engaging. Listerine abandoned its #PowerToYourMouth hashtag following Luiz Suarez’s bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, rather than trying to capitalize on the incident in a humorous way as other brands have done to great effect.

Puma’s #startbelieving was one of the most successful non-partner campaigns, using athletes including Usain Bolt, Mario Balotelli and Dante to great effect, achieving 70,100 uses.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has generally been regarded as the most ‘social’ World Cup to date. With 35.6 million tweets, the Brazil vs Germany Semi-Final clash is officially the most-discussed single sports game ever on Twitter.

During the 90-minute clash, adidas’ #allin campaign had over 17,000 uses alone, with National Sponsor Itau managing to capitalise on the fixture by generating some 3,100 mentions of its #issomudaojogo campaign.

In the world of unbranded hashtag campaigns, #worldcup and #worldcup2014 were, unsurprisingly, way out in front with 1.92m and 1.01m respectively.  The power of real-time, quick reactions and humour were highlighted when Tim Howard’s performance against Belgium set Twitter alight, with over 336,000 uses of #thingstimhowardcouldsave.

Eddie May, Threepipe Co-Founder, said of the research: “What these results highlight is that simply putting a hashtag in front of a campaign strapline doesn’t magically turn it into a winning social campaign. The ones that worked well were relevant, simple lines that fans could use in a natural way.  They were also part of a wider brand campaign that was well integrated across channels and markets.  It helps if you have a roster of big names attached to your campaign, but what some of the unbranded success stories showed is the power of humour and real-time response in getting genuine traction with football fans.”

About the research:

The research was collated using Talkwalker ( over a period of 12/06 at 21:00BST to 13/07 at 23:00BST. All hashtag mentions were counted by use for each of the brand campaigns on Twitter only, including retweets. For cases where a single brand deployed multiple hashtag campaigns, the uses were totalled for the brand.

For the full research findings please contact Threepipe.

Read more ›
Tour de France

Nuffield Health Tour de France Fan Park Facebook App

11th July , 2014   |   Gillian Quinn

Threepipe has teamed up with Nuffield Health to create its interactive Tour de France Fan Park Facebook app. Access the app here:

Their new app allows users to create their own personal cycling jersey, selecting bespoke colours, patterns and designs, as well as allowing users to add their own name to it.

Threepipe designed all of the graphics, jerseys and user journey, with Finer Vision then developing and implementing the build.

Through their Tour de France Fan Park app, Nuffield Health is offering five lucky fans the chance to win their own jersey creation, as a keepsake of this year’s event.

Nuffield Health, avid fans themselves, are keen to drive awareness to cycling enthusiasts and general followers about the Tour de France Fan Parks, their partners, that are open across the UK to support this incredible event. The app will be available to use in the Fan Parks so everyone is welcome to take part while watching the event.


Read more ›
e3, video games

E3 2014: Three trends to look out for

7th July , 2014   |   Jack McCombe

I recently headed out to sunny Los Angeles for E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), the annual video game conference, on behalf of our gaming accessories client Gioteck.

Every June, gaming publishers, developers, manufacturers, retailers and more from across the world flock to the show floors of the Los Angeles Convention Centre every year where, for three days, they are able to showcase products and services to thousands of expectant media and potential customers.

E3 really is one of the few times of the year where video games brands are able to communicate face-to-face with media from around the world so it makes up a key part of Gioteck’s international marketing calendar and is an excellent opportunity for us to get the brand in front of media titles.

Following the launch of the new-gen consoles, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, at last year’s event, 2014 was all about the software and games that developers had been creating over the past 12 months as well as new accessories for the consoles.

Now that the dust has settled and I have had time to digest what I saw, I have compiled a list of three trends that I noticed during the event:

1. Virtual is soon to become a reality

Virtual reality has always been a technology that has regularly threatened to break into the mainstream but eventually faltered. But, this year, the main players in virtual reality, Oculus Rift, were present at E3 with a large stand and some even larger queues to try out the new technology.

The ability to experience gaming from a POV perspective has to be up there as one of the ultimate fantasies for gamers and with Oculus Rift’s headset this is finally becoming a reality with news that 170 compatible games are already planned or confirmed for release.

VR e3 500x333   E3 2014: Three trends to look out for


Although the technology is still being worked on, Oculus Rift and other developer’s (including Sony’s Project Morpheus headset) presence at E3 shows that they are now ready to showcase the potential of virtual reality. The tech for VR has already come a long way and with the evidence that I saw at E3, it is sure to revolutionise the video games industry in the not so distant future.

2. Space is the final frontier for new-gen games

With the battle still raging between the PlayStation 4 (winning) and Xbox One (losing), E3 offered both console manufacturers the chance to show-off their new game releases with trailers, teasers and demos

video games 300x224   E3 2014: Three trends to look out for

One trend that was evident on both consoles was that developers were looking to the stars to offer gamers out-of-this-world experiences. The stand-out candidate is the upcoming release by Bungie (Halo), Destiny, an open-world, sci-fi shoot-em-up epic (sounds fun eh!) but with a new build of Halo 5, Elite: Dangerous, No Man’s Sky and a new Star Wars release from EA, gamers will be spending more and more of their time on another planet.

3. Developers are embracing single-player again

With the enormous growth of online gaming through Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network on the old-gen consoles, publishers and developers have previously included multiplayer in almost every title as gamers wanted to make the most of the new interconnected features available to them.

Smart as they are, consumers started to realise that multi-player was becoming a gimmick, featuring in games just to tick a box and keep them happy with developers not actually investing the time to create a quality offering.

This year has beckoned a change to this as we see more developers and publishers foregoing shoddy online game modes and focusing on new, creative single-player experiences.

It should be clarified that online gaming is still a huge aspect of the industry but developers are now investing more time and effort in ensuring that single player is appealing to consumers with the launches of games such as Bethesda’s The Evil Within, The Order: 1886 and Sega’s Alien: Isolation.

2014 is certainly an exciting year for video games and consumers looking to get the most out of their new-gen consoles and, if I am correct about the above (especially the progress in virtual reality), 2015 should have even more to offer!

Read more ›
suarez, bite, world cup

Have sponsors bitten off more than they can chew with Luis Suarez?

4th July , 2014   |   James Swan

After yet another Luis Suarez bite, we wanted to take a look at the reaction (or non reaction) of the Uruguayan’s sponsors. didn’t hedge their bets on Suarez improving his behaviour and was the first of his endorsers to terminate their contract with him shortly after the incident. signed Suarez “following a fantastic season for which his achievements were widely recognised,” but “Regrettably”, concluded that they had bitten off more than they could chew and parted ways with the Liverpool striker. It will be interesting to see whether any other gambling organisations take a punt on Suarez (Paddy Power don’t usually need an excuse for controversy) in future but played it safe.


Another lucrative endorsement deal for Suarez is his boots deal with Adidas. The sports apparel manufacturer may have thought it seemed like a good idea at the time to replace an advert on the Copacabana beach with an image of Suarez before the World Cup. However, a snarling image with gnashers on full display probably wasn’t the brightest idea, even before Suarez enjoyed his Pasta Chiellini!

Ever since the incident, the advert has proved to be a major attraction with fans in Rio De Janeiro, with a huge amount of people waiting to have their picture taken with it – something that would be seen as success on any other occasion. However, Adidas have acted and replaced it with one of Brazil’s Dani Alvez – let’s just hope they stay in the tournament a bit longer than Suarez has! It also remains to be seen whether Adidas ‘bite the dust’ with Suarez.

suarez bite 2 500x286   Have sponsors bitten off more than they can chew with Luis Suarez?

Beats by Dre

Suarez featured on Beats by Dre’s popular “The Game Before The Game” in the run up to the World Cup along with the likes of Neymar, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie. However, the headphones giant are yet to comment on the incident up until now and with an ongoing battle with Sony and FIFA, who have been trying to prevent players from wearing Beats headphones in World Cup venues, they arguably have bigger fish to fry at the current time. Whether Beats by Dre stick or twist with Suarez, it won’t have a massive impact on what has been a hugely successful ambush marketing strategy from them during the tournament up until now.

suarez bite 3 375x500   Have sponsors bitten off more than they can chew with Luis Suarez?

Liverpool FC

The club defended his racism, they also defended his bite the first time round and amongst Liverpool’s deluded supporters he can seem to do no wrong, despite missing around 20% of the club’s matches since he joined through suspension – even though he has never been sent off! Liverpool clearly took the easy way out by not commenting until further findings had been released, but with talks on a big money move to Barcelona appearing to progress well, it’s clear that Liverpool have finally realised Suarez performances on the pitch do not make up for the negative impact it is having on Liverpool FC as a global brand.

Nobody can deny Luis Suarez is a talented footballer but he is a loose cannon and sponsors (as well as his employer) need to decide whether or not investment in him is worthwhile. Liverpool and clearly feel they have over-indulged with Suarez and it remains to be seen if others will follow suit. One thing is for sure, there are better role models out there than Luis Suarez and organisations would be seen in a far more positive light if they bite the bullet and get rid once and for all!

What do you think? Has Suarez pushed his luck with sponsors this time? Would brands be mad to work with him in future?

Read more ›