Follow the new three Rs for digital media disruption


Albert Einstein once said: “The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviours and expecting a different outcome.”

Unfortunately, this is human nature. Somehow we do not seem to be programmed to easily learn from our mistakes. In my career I have seen many ideas being ‘upcycled’ and simply repackaged in a slightly different way. I agree with Einstein, this is insanity.

Dealing with an innovative media strategy in 2015 means following Einstein’s logic and adopting a ‘start-up’ mentality. Ask yourself have you done that before? Did the traditional media plan that you purchased actually work? Did it deliver the results that you wanted? If you’re asking questions such as ‘when will we get payback on that?’ or saying ‘there are no results on that channel yet, it’s too risky’, then you are not in the right mindset. With media we need to be prepared to fail fast and learn even quicker.

We need a new approach. The ‘three Rs’ were a crucial educational strategy for hundreds of years in media innovation, but those Rs can be replaced by revolution, relevancy and real time.


Change is by its nature revolutionary, not evolutionary. If you lose focus, you risk becoming yesterday’s news in today’s fast-moving media landscape. With water cooler moments getting shorter, it is important to push the boundaries of marketing campaigns through media. If used properly, it can show off your brands’ personalities and will be fun.

We know from the work of Les Binet and Peter Field, authors of several reports on marketing effectiveness, that powerful and emotive creative delivered through effective media delivers a significant return. The Guinness Sapeurs advert became one of the top 10 most popular ads on YouTube in the UK for 2014 and led our thinking on how to set up shareable content at times when people want to share.

We were able to optimise our bought media on the back of this. Last Christmas, our new character for Gordon’s Gin, Gordon the Boar, was designed with innovative media in mind. It allowed us to have fun with our media and to get people talking in front of the TV and on Twitter during the festive period, so we focussed on TV, paid social and search in equal measures.


Being strategic with media gives you the opportunity to make your brand relevant to a targeted audience on a particular day and at a particular time. It can become a relevant interruption to someone’s life.

Real time

As well as being revolutionary and relevant, consumers want to be involved in a real-time conversation with brands. They don’t want to feel behind the curve. Nearly half of all online content is shared within the first three days of creation, after that it’s old news. Interestingly, this doesn’t mean that traditional media is dead but instead means working together in a different way.

Last Christmas, we worked with The Guardian for our Baileys brand to create 15 pieces of responsive content in under five hours each, as a real-time reaction to the content that readers were engaging with. It outperformed our benchmark for online content, attracting new people to the brand, and increasing ‘time spent’ with content.

Indeed, the launch of Haig Club whisky last October was our single biggest two-day launch, using a full spectrum of real-time digital agility. It gave us full use of shareable video and second screen experiences and is our benchmark for activity. Haig Club became one of the most gifted grocery products online and in store at Christmas, thanks to a media campaign that had gifting right at its heart.

The American author Ray Bradbury once said: “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” Let’s get bold with our media models. Let’s start designing those wings.