Letters to the editor

4 October issue

Celebrities who are music to the ears

I read with interest  “Does your celebrity have the $-factor” regarding the use of metrics to inform celebrity decisions. I would like to add to this debate by sharing our experience in the area of music artists, where there are some crucial differences.     

Billington Cartmell Music has been using its own customised Metrics dashboard to inform music associations for several years; the Kylie Lexus, 7-Artist Lucozade YES list and Sennheiser campaigns were all evaluated via Metrics and many more are in the pipeline. Billington Cartmell Music’s primary proposition is objective, optimised, music campaigns – metrics are an important part of this proposition.

Consumer touch points in music are multiple, so we can be much more accurate than with celebrities. As well as social media tracking, we have streaming information, all sorts of live information, radio play and even illegal downloads information. There are other less obvious tricks as well.

I am not yet convinced about the use of ‘key words’. These can sometimes present false potentials,  I also wonder if they might lead to a kind of celebrity association homogony. I doubt Swiftcover would have arrived at Iggy Pop using keywords. In short, Metrics allow us to shortlist divorced of subjectivity and optimise music activations, but we still need great ideas to get a campaign to be effective.

Denzil Thomas, business director, Billington Cartmell Music

Data isn’t the only celebrity matchmaker

The notion that talent decisions should be based on relevance is fundamental. Interestingly,

though, measuring talent generically on factors such as the size of their captured audiences, or broad attributes such as ‘association with outdoor/adventure’ or ‘housewife appeal’, has often led marketers to making the wrong choices.

Successful talent marketing campaigns tend to have two things: talent chosen due to their unique match to a specific set of campaign objectives (representing the end destination for a brand, rather than its current position), and a focus on understanding the talent’s own positioning, and how best to activate authentically.

Today’s celebrities are brands in their own right, each with their own passion centres and unique definers, and leveraging these is the key to achieving real cut-through and engagement, as well as seeing the greatest return on investment.

Leon Harlow, director of talent marketing, James Grant Management

Keep the Olympic legacy running on

Way before the Olympic torch was lit there was talk about the event’s legacy. For most people this focused on sport and how it affected those incentivised to ‘get involved’ at a grass roots level as well as how the legacy would deliver more, better athletes in the future.

One step removed from this debate, however, were the official sponsor brands that by default supported the Olympic dream. While they remain under pressure to demonstrate a long-term commitment, those whose plans remain ill-defined risk finding themselves accused of short-term ‘piggy backing’. Commercially there’s a definitive ROI model associated with the ‘big event’ while it’s at the centre of the nation’s attention. Over the longer term, the maths are harder to stack up.

It’s only September and we’ve all moved on and Olympic conversations grow fewer by the day. It’s harder therefore for brands and retailers to leverage and behave the same way as they did during the summer. However the real opportunity is to capitalise on how the games ‘made you feel’. And it’s this (wo)man-on-the-street association that can be commercially exploited for both brands and their followers.

Take P&G’s application of its global sponsorship in the run-up to and during the games. From a shopper’s perspective, it positioned itself as the ‘appreciator of Mum’ on behalf of her family. An obvious legacy example would be to continue this campaign but re-delivered in a time and occasion-relevant way. In other words, the brand legacy is about showing what it does and continues to do for its shoppers and consumers NOT what it did for the Olympic movement per se.

There are of course some brands that can leverage the core elements of the games, Adidas for example, but this is because it already plays in a related space.

Returning to the ROI requirement, the other clear legacy will be brands’ usage of a whole host of new celebrities – sporting heroes that have won the nations’ hearts and minds during London 2012. At Mars we have coined them ‘cre-lebrities’. Watch out for a barrage of brands and retailers that will gain commercial upside by engaging these new heroes, all without the difficult fiscal legacy of being a formal Olympic partner.

Darren Keen, MD, MARSY&R

Prizes over price promotions

I was surprised that ‘Offering value without hitting the bottom line’ (MarketingWeek.co.uk, 21 Sept) failed to mention a major promotional mechanic and substantial revenue generator that generates incremental sales without the need to reduce retail prices or give away margin.

A look at supermarket shelves, newspapers and web activity earlier this year revealed a vast array of popular ticket competitions and merchandise offers, particularly in the run-up to the Jubilee and Olympics.

As a major fixed fee promotions specialist, I see the redemption data on a vast range of offers every week and observe that there are still many very successful on pack and in-store non-price promotions around.

When the prize or gift is desirable and, ideally, achievable, then promotions do not have to offer discounts to be successful.

There are alternative promotional mechanics out there and supermarkets and brands need to be brave enough to use them.

Philip Penlington, director of risk, Fotorama

Catch the dreamers at the right point in their journey

Mindi Chahal’s article, ‘Exploring ways of keeping the dream alive’ certainly raised some interesting ideas around the categorisation of shoppers. Based on the dream, explore and locate mind-sets described, there are three additional points to remember.

Consumer interactions with brands through TV and online media have an important role to play in framing the store visit. Paid and owned media can often encourage shoppers to develop a mindset conducive to dreaming and exploring when going in store. Understanding how to encourage this behaviour, using TV and the online touchpoints in particular, and establishing how a brand can join up their presence across these three major channels consistently is the challenge.

Innovation in the shopping space can improve the engagement with the shopping experience, but don’t forget how influential the salesperson can be. In the most high-involvement categories, where the purchase cycle can last over years and the process of researching to buying is often 12 months in duration, this influence is greater still. Innovation in the retail environment doesn’t dispense with the need to have quality interaction with an expert.

Finally, there are large variations in shopper needs depending on proximity to purchase. For example, in big ticket items, the dream mindset often comes with the purchase trigger. We’re much more likely to see a consumer displaying exploring characteristics mid-way to purchase, and recently there has been a greater shift amongst those in the final stage towards going in store purely for locating. One consumer is likely to participate in many different mindset categorisations, depending on how far from buying they are; brands that understand how to leverage a shopper’s needs based on where they are in the purchase journey, and through what channels, will reap the benefits.

Christopher Wallbridge, experience manager, MESH Planning



Ikea: a history in ads

Rosie Baker

It’s 25 years since Ikea brought its Scandinavian design to Britain with the opening of its first store in Manchester in 1987. Now with 18 UK stores, the chain’s mammoth blue and yellow big box stores are well known up and down the country.


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