what we’ve been doing, thinking and observing
We recently worked with Reiss, with the objective of helping more consumers to discover the high-quality fashion content available on the Reiss blog. Reiss were especially interested in discovering whether people who had seen the blog content would be more likely to become online customers.
Working with Outbrain, we put together a content syndication strategy that resulted in a 36% higher average order value than Reiss usually generates from traditional digital display.
Read more about the case study here.
The ASA’s recent ruling that vloggers must always be transparent if they are being paid to promote a brand kind of makes sense on the surface.
As a viewer, of course you’d want to know if there is money changing hands, or if that vlogger just genuinely loves a product and wants to tell you about it. To be honest, I think most people who watch vlogger videos are savvy enough to know the difference anyway, but it’s a sensible guideline for obvious promotional content.
But it starts to get into a very tricky and grey area for the ASA if you dig a bit deeper, especially if they plan to include product reviews in this ruling.
First question: when does a piece of content cross the line from being a product review into being a promo piece? If the vlogger happens to really love a particular product, something that starts out as a review can easily end up looking like a full-on promotion. You would probably say, “that’s ok as long as it’s their genuine opinion and there’s no payment involved”, which brings us to question two…
What counts as payment? Just cold, hard cash? Does it count if the vlogger gets no money, but does get “wined and dined” by the brand in some way, or gets free tickets to a gig, or some other incentive, or simply gets sent free products? Where exactly do you draw the line here? “Proper” journalists get entertained and incentivised in lots of ways by brands but they don’t have to declare it, as long as they believe they are writing an unbiased piece. Also, what happens when the individual vlogger is not getting payment but the MCN they are part of does have a deal with the brand? Again, not too different from a newspaper selling media space to a brand and a journalist writing pieces about their products.
I think the ASA has its heart in the right place and is trying to protect consumers. Not so long ago the media extensively covered the ‘tweets for cash scandal’ which caused celebrities nationwide to include the #ad hastag if they in any form received payment for their Tweet or other social media post. So they are trying, but they are really still trying to play catch up with the shifting nature of content and influence in the digital space, and are going to have an awful lot of work on their hands to regulate this area properly.
Due to the unseasonably warm weather in most of the UK (until very recently at least), trading conditions in the retail sector have been tough and will probably stay that way across the foreseeable future. In fact, I think the Black Friday weekend could be a bit of a bloodbath for many retailers, although on the flip side there will be some fantastic discounts for consumers looking for some Christmas bargains.
Of course there will always be natural points in the calendar that drive sales, but the rest of the time retail brands need to find the right way to engage consumers and drive digital performance.
“Content marketing” has become the buzzword for 2014, but content alone rarely makes an impact without an amplification strategy behind it. There is no doubt that great content is a crucial part of engaging consumers, building brands and driving digital sales, but it always needs to be wrapped into a wider amplification strategy using paid, earned, shared and owned media. In other words, don’t just create content and assume people will stumble across it!
As an example of this, we recently partnered with Outbrain to deliver a content-led campaign for Reiss, that successfully helped to drive new customers and high value sales. Check out the case-study to see how this approach delivered a 36% higher average order value than a normal display campaign.
Not all brands have in-house content teams or would even know where to start, but Threepipe (with our mix of digital, content, PR and social experts) are in a great position to help create and amplify great content, whatever the time of year.
Black Friday…who needs it?!
The news that Sony has reportedly decided to end its sponsorship of FIFA at the end of 2014, following the same decision by Emirates Airlines earlier in the month, could be seen as a big blow to the FIFA in the wake of its farcical investigation into the 2018 & 2022 bids.
While it’s good to see sponsors applying pressure to FIFA and one or two even cutting their ties altogether (although it’s not yet clear whether Sony’s decision is about cost-cutting or moral outrage), I’m not sure it’s going to cause too many sleepless nights at FIFA HQ.
I would be very surprised if FIFA can’t quickly replace these two partners. Qatar Air (insert own cynical comment here) and Samsung are already reportedly lined up to step in, so there will likely be minimal if any impact on FIFA’s income.
Even for sponsors with genuine concerns about FIFA’s governance and transparency, there’s a big dilemma, because what they are really sponsoring is the World Cup, not the organisation that runs it. FIFA’s reputation can be in the gutter, but when the tournament actually comes around, most fans are willing to put that to one side and enjoy the football, providing sponsors with a global platform for engagement that is, to borrow a Sony turn of phrase “like no other”. There were huge concerns about FIFA leading into Brasil 2014 but by and large it didn’t affect fans’ enjoyment of the event.
FIFA know this better than anyone, of course, and rely on that fact to keep the whole show on the road. The only thing that would really damage FIFA would be big countries refusing to take part in the World Cup, or fans turning away in their droves in protest, but both of those are pretty unlikely.
So, if you’re a FIFA sponsor, do you give up that amazing marketing platform in order to make a moral point about FIFA that probably won’t make any difference, or do you stay in the club and try to exert some influence behind the scenes? Tough call.
We were excited recently to work with Campari to launch the 2015 edition of the iconic Campari Calendar, starring Hollywood actress Eva Green and shot by Julia Fullerton-Batten, with a “Mythology Mixology” theme.
Working with Campari’s global PR team, we hosted a press trip for over 30 international media to a launch event at London’s Shoreditch Studios.
We managed a series of media interviews with Eva Green and helped to secure global media presence for the brand, including extensive coverage in the UK, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Germany. The media coverage and social media buzz around the Calendar launch helped to engage consumers around the world and cement Campari’s position as stylish, prestigious and international brand.
Click here to view the Campari Calendar 2015 on Facebook.
Following a competitive pitch, Pro Bono Bio (PBB), the world leader in nano-physical medical devices, has appointed Threepipe to support FLEXISEQ, an innovative drug-free gel to relieve pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis (OA).
FLEXISEQ launched into the UK market earlier this year after successful clinical trials and has enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive response from retailers and Arthritis Research UK, the charity leading the fight against arthritis.
Threepipe will be highlighting the lifestyle benefits that FLEXISEQ can bring to the UK’s nine million osteoarthritis sufferers. Press office work will focus on reaching OA sufferers through national and lifestyle media and developing creative campaigns that drive usage occasions at key times of the year.
Threepipe will develop digitally led integrated campaigns across earned, owned and paid media and will oversee the management of the brand’s social media channels, which will be key to building product advocacy.
A key focus area for the brand is to build upon its growing usage by professional athletes who are turning to FLEXISEQ to help manage their pain. FLEXISEQ works with a number of professional clubs including Leicester Tigers and Saracens and elite athletes including Saracens, England and British & Irish Lions rugby player, Brad Barritt.
Jim Hawker, Co-Founder, Threepipe: “It’s not very often that a genuinely scientific breakthrough non-prescription medical product comes to the market and it’s exciting to be on board to help the brand reach its full potential in the UK.”
Mark Oldacre, Regional Commercial Director, N. Europe, Pro Bono Bio: “Threepipe’s ability to run an effective press office as well as maximise the digital opportunity around our brand was key to them being appointed. We loved their enthusiasm for the brand and their creative thoughts about how to drive awareness amongst key audience groups.”