Monthly Archives: October 2013

Rajar Q3 2013: Industry reaction


Rajar has today announced 90% of the adult (15+) UK population – 47.7 million people – tuned in to their selected radio stations in the third quarter of 2013. This is up by approximately 1 million adults on the same quarter of the previous year.

Highlights this quarter include a major decline for Nick Grimshaw’s BBC Radio 1 breakfast show – recording the lowest listening figures in 20 years. However, better news for Kiss FM, which saw a 16.5% quarterly and yearly increase – taking its weekly reach to more than 5 million.
Here, Newsline presents industry reaction on the latest results, with opinion from Dan Todaro of Gekko:

‘What stands out for me is the extent to which our lives are so increasingly dominated by smartphones. Convergence is an oft-used term, but radio consumption in particular provides a stark illustration at the speed in which this is happening. Consider that back in Q1 of 2011 and the iPhone 4 was still very much a novelty for most consumers and less than three years later consumption in the 25+ category has almost doubled, whilst the age group fuelling this shift – the 16-24s has jumped from 28.6% to well over 40%.
With digital listening increasing across DAB, Digital TV and online through PCs and laptops, it too paints a portrait of how our lifestyles are being fundamentally altered by the technology around us. Everything is so easily accessible and radio is no longer restricted to specialist devices.

Far from being a platform in decline, I think the possibilities for brands to engage is ever-increasing as the way in which we engage and interact with radio changes. Particularly as our current 16-24’s grow older and give way to a new generation of even more highly connected, digitally savvy youths, we’ll soon know of radio only as a medium.’

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Freeview unveils experiential road show featuring dancing tadpoles


Freeview is looking to extend its latest campaign with a new experiential road show featuring two dancing tadpoles.
Created by Gekko, the activity features a large dome structure containing a digital floor projection featuring the tadpoles, recognisable from the ongoing TV campaign, with children able to ‘splash water’ and interact with the tadpoles.
James Chambers, retail marketing manager at Freeview, said: “With our latest experiential road show we wanted to demonstrate that entertainment is even better when it’s free. By creating something fun and a bit out of the ordinary, we hope to get people thinking about Freeview differently.”
The road show will be fully integrated with current ATL, digital, PR and social media activity.
A team of ambassadors will also be on hand to demonstrate all the benefits on offer from Freeview.


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The Great British Bake-Off Brand Bonanza

by Daniel Todaro


Love it or hate it, you can’t escape The Great British Bake-Off, the BBC’s X-Factor for the baking world. Except, there’s no chasing a dream of the limelight here. Its presenters are funny, the experts on the cusp of national treasure status (Paul Hollywood’s even cracking Hollywood with the US export of the show) and perhaps, most importantly, the contestants are normal.

There are no aspirations to sell out Wembley, no heavily-staged, tear-jerking vignettes and showboating is very much off the agenda. Instead, it’s all about the love of baking and baking for pleasure. As its third season draws to a close with the grand finale this Tuesday (October 22nd), with anticipation and excitement levels reaching One Direction-proportions, can it really be that the baking is the only reason why we love this reality talent show so much?

Before Bake-Off makes its final leap (from BBC2 up into the big leagues of BBC1), it’s an appropriate time to stop and take a look back at the stratospheric rise of a brand that has managed to captivate men and women, young and old, from all parts of the country. In addition to countless books, websites, blogs and TV shows spawned off the back of Bake-Off, we’ve just finished the first ever National Baking Week, a charity initiative partnered with Great Ormond Street. We had the first ever legitimate dilemma over whether we should watch a baking talent show or a do-or-die England game (which would determine the little matter over whether our proud nation would participate in the next World Cup). There’s even something called ‘Baketopia’, a ‘100% edible pop-up’ held this month in London.

National Baking Week 

From a branding perspective, the numbers are impossible to ignore, with the baking industry today now worth a staggering £3.4 billion. As far as trends go, it shows no sign of abating and naturally, as Christmas approaches, the opportunity for brands to take advantage of this phenomenon is equally rising each month. However, beyond the sale of sieves, scales and sugar, the role of food has taken on much greater meaning within society. Its status is such that we can show off our talents when baking for friends, family or even colleagues, and perhaps do this at a fraction of the price and in a healthier way.

As a result, what we’re seeing is an evolution, as blenders, juicers, mixers and slicers become lifestyle choices, high on design pedigree and aesthetics in addition to functionality. Rather than purely functional products hidden away in cupboards, kitchens are increasingly featuring a number of intriguing and interesting products out on full display for visitors to observe and inquire about – much like French designer Philippe Starcks’ Juicy Salif lemon squeezer for Alessi. Now, this may be the worst, most impractical lemon squeezer ever created. But its beautiful design pedigree helped elevate Alessi to global brand status.

Philippe Starcks’ Juicy Salif lemon squeezer for Alessi

Previously, these high-end products only aimed at industry professionals, but now they find themselves on the shopping lists of aspiring amateur chefs, as well. Indeed, browse through the small appliances section of a John Lewis and you’ll find ‘entertainment’ as important as a quality and function for top brands such as Phillips, Delonghi, Kenwood and Siemens.

The highest quality mixers now retail at well over £400, sitting comfortably amongst other options including Heston Blumenthal-endorsed juicers, cute tabletop ice makers and fondue sets. Perhaps these products will be used only once a year, but their purpose goes beyond their most obvious culinary function. Instead, they serve an equally important objective – prestige. Indeed, when keeping up with the Jones’s, the first port of call may well be their kitchen.

For brands, the opportunity is an invigorating one. For so many years, these products too often were obligatory, uninspiring and necessary purchases. A fridge every four years and a new microwave every three. But thanks to pioneering brands like KitchenAid, these products have broken out of the monotony of necessity and into the world of inspiration and impulse, aiming to connect with consumers on an emotional level.

Moving away from tools to ingredients, the fact that Betty Crocker – a convenience brand with huge resonance in the US – is reacting to this boom by launching a bold foray into the UK market is further telling. Capitalising on bake-off fever with its first UK ad, the visuals are striking, utilising actors and swing dancers to create a vintage 50’s vibe. Promoting not the product but the brand experience and lifestyle, this ad targets a completely uninitiated audience who may not know how to bake, but fancies having a go and sharing the emotions that The Great British Bake-Off has stirred in millions of fans.

As Bake-Off draws to a close next week and consumers begin to look seriously at their Christmas shopping lists, the chance for brands in this space to promote a lifestyle choice is one that needs to be grabbed with both hands. More so, with further competition approaching from Europe and across the Atlantic (as baking fever ascends to the level of global pandemic), the brands that will emerge into 2014 full of festive cheer will be those that use a variety of through-the-line tactics to get products into consumers’ hands this Christmas and deliver that aspirational, emotionally-led messaging to catapult the brand into style rather than function status. Brands have a lot to thank the BBC for. Once upon a time, gift wrapping a Magimix Heavy Duty Mixer to your loved one would have led you straight into a night on the sofa. Now it’s the perfect gift this Christmas!

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Celeb Ambassadors: Finding a Match Made in Heaven


Celebrity endorsements are a staple of brand marketing. Product and celebrity have always gone hand-in-hand, wooing consumers with finely-spun tales and selling not just items, but aspirational lifestyles, too.

However, flash forward to 2013 and we’re swamped with highly paid celebrities hawking everything from current accounts to toothpaste, all the while trying to appeal to the aspirations of consumers. But with those consumers empowered both by an abundance of choice and a wealth of information, they’re now in a position to question whether those brand promises really are true and whether the brand is truly worth buying in to. As such, those emotional connections seem to be waning, with price taking precedence instead.

It’s a reflection on the declining influence of celebrities in this space that brands are struggling to make such connections, in no small part due to the fact that so many brands see endorsement as a quick fix and easy path to credibility. Recent research into the beauty and cosmetics sector, one of the most highly-invested sectors for TV advertising, shows that (despite the big budgets) it has relatively low influence over consumer spending compared to sampling, advice and shop floor sales promotion – which can be just as effective at a fraction of the price it takes to hire a Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson.

Indeed, when you see Beyonce overacting for Pepsi or Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi trying to convince you they fly Turkish Airlines out of choice, it’s clear that there’s been very little consideration as to how well the brand and celebrity fit together. Instead, it’s simply a high-spending brand throwing cash at a problem and expecting results.

Don’t get me wrong, some brands get it right. Kevin Bacon cleverly delivers a simple message for EE, while David Beckham’s recent turn with Belstaf is little short of genius. Here’s a traditional brand that wants to appeal to a demographic and establish itself (for growth) in the eyes of those who quite simply consider Beckham the coolest kid on the block, but may have spent similar time considering their association with more renowned brands such as Barbour, Burberry or any other of the B’s.

In fact, I think the greatest lesson here could perhaps be taken from one of the most unlikely of sources – One Direction – a modern-day superbrand that taps perfectly into the emotions of its audience. The product is one thing, but the 1D brand – the way in which they are portrayed and engage with their audience via everything from concerts to TV to social media – is carefully considered by a crack team of brand specialists. Undeniably, it’s an immaculate matching of brand, product and celebrity.

Ultimately, in the modern marketplace, consumer purchasing decisions will continue to be pushed away from emotion towards price and value. It takes an exceptional celebrity and complementary brand partnership to reach that emotional frequency. If the consumer is going to trust in the endorsement from the celebrity, then they’re going to have to trust in the partnership between brand and celeb, as well. Every brand wants to appeal to your senses and make you that lifetime customer, but is Jane Fonda and an ex-Desperate Housewives actress really enough to make you buy that magical wrinkle cream?

The A-List

Bet365 & Ray Winstone – In recent years, sponsorship within sport has become increasingly dominated by a single sector: Gambling. Achieving standout is no mean feat, but Bet365 have successfully leveraged a partnership with Winstone and parlayed that with a presence at the halftimes of every major football match on air. Regardless of the ethical issues surrounding gambling, it’s impossible to deny Winstone’s popularity, played to perfection for the target audience with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek humour and self-deprecation on the part of the star.

Waitrose & Heston Blumenthal – These two are so loved up and perfect for each other it’s almost nauseating. The increasing consumer concern for fresh food, provenance and healthier eating has seen a significant shift away from value-ranges towards decidedly more middle-class offerings like Waitrose, where a little extra cost is well worth paying – something that decidedly sets FMCG apart from other sectors. Therefore, bringing TV-friendly and highly aspirational super chef, Heston Blumenthal, was an inspired decision. Despite his many Michelin stars, Blumenthal’s inquisitive nature, exuberance and most important accessibility makes him a perfect fit.

Straight to DVD

Activia & Gok Wan – A celebrity may have all the right hallmarks for a winning partnership, but only a select few can carry off multiple partnerships without looking overexposed. Unfortunately, Gok Wan’s high-energy act for Activia falls on the wrong side of the line.

HTC & Robert Downey Jr. – Unlike Toy Story, HTC is a prime example of a brand investing in a celeb ambassador and expecting his star quality to do the rest. It’s difficult to find a more charismatic, in-demand actor than RDJ – and probably difficult to find one more expensive too – which makes it all the more awkward when the commercial partnership ends up looking just like that: Commercial and contrived.

The Z-List

Head and Shoulders & Joe Hart – The worst-case scenario is when a celebrity takes on a brand partnership and actually comes out worse. Joe Hart is already facing a tough enough time from the sports media, but sacrificing your dignity – without a hint of irony – is a sure-fire lose-lose situation all around.

Santander and Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jensen Button and Rory McIlroy – It’s perhaps unfair to expect sports stars to naturally take to the world of acting, but it is valid to question promoting loans and mortgages in such a banal fashion. When Ennis-Hill wants to start lecturing me on health, fitness and becoming a world class athlete, I’ll take note. Getting 1% cash back on my mortgage payments? Not so much.


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By Daniel Todaro

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