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Recession predicted for UK ad market in event of ‘no deal’ Brexit

UK ad spend will fall by nearly £1.4bn in 2019 in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, according to latest predictions.

Enders Analysis says it will be the first time the country’s £23bn ad market has contracted in more than 10 years – down 3% to £22.54bn.

However, the firm also modelled a ‘deal’ scenario, in which the market would still grow in 2019 (up 2.7% to £23.9bn) but would still be down on 2018 growth (4.7%).

A no deal scenario, meanwhile, would see a stagnation in online display ad spend, which has seen robust growth over the last decade.

The last time the UK ad market contracted was in 2009, when it slumped 13% in the wake of the global financial crisis.

However, Enders has cautioned against brands rolling back ad spend too drastically:

“The advertiser response will be to become more tactical in allocating advertising spend, but evidence from the last recession suggests that ‘going dark’ with brand display spend can be a long-lasting mistake.”

Reality Clash teams with Subtv for innovative student campaign

Reality Clash, a unique Augmented Reality FPS mobile combat game from publisher Reality Gaming Group, has partnered with youth broadcasting channel Subtv to engage with students across the UK.

The latest Reality Clash trailer will be played to Subtv’s audience of 1.2M 18-24 year-olds across TV, digital and mobile platforms, encompassing a network of 80+ sites/100+ venues in universities nationwide.

The trailer will also interact with the Subtv mobile app, from where students can sign up to the Reality Clash Beta testing programme and claim £5 worth of free in-game currency to spend.

The Subtv partnership is the latest step to Reality Gaming Group’s initiative to work with universities, including Kingston and Westminster, that will see students testing the Reality Clash game ahead of its release in early-2019.

In addition to students and the general public, other participants in the Beta testing programme include Denmark-based eSports community, Sørby, which Reality Gaming Group supports.

Reality Clash is an innovative AR first person combat game for mobile devices set in an underground world of cryptocurrency and hackers. Players are able to connect to friends in real-time using geo map technology, join private teams and enter competitive tournaments.

“We’re delighted to continue building our relationships with students across the UK in partnership with Subtv,” said Reality Gaming Group Co-Founder Tony Pearce. “The Beta testing programme has already put Reality Clash in the hands of thousands of gamers, and now we’re looking forward to seeing some competitive gaming on campuses around the country.”

“Reality Clash is a great fit for Subtv. We’re looking forward to inspiring gaming fans and early adopters from across our University audience of 1.2M students to get involved,” said Subtv CEO Nick Brown.


Social platforms and alcohol brands team up on responsible advertising

The eleven leading beer, wine, and spirits companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) have teamed with Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube to set advertising standards.

Signatories on the beverage side include big hitters ABInBev, Asahi, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Molson-Coors, Pernod Ricard and Kirin.

The partners say the agreements means they can achieve new levels of responsibility in the advertising of beer, wine and spirits across social media. This will be achieved by:

  • Ensuring the most-up-to-date safeguards are used so that marketing communications relating to beer, wine and spirits are directed to those adults who can lawfully buy these products;
  • Exploring what changes can be made to further diminish chances of those underage seeing such advertising
  • Exploring ways people can have greater control over whether they see alcohol advertising and opt out of receiving advertisements for alcohol products.

In addition, the partners have stated that they respect different cultural backgrounds and recognise that there are people who do not wish to see marketing communications from beer, wine and spirits producers on their social media.

In joint statement they said: “We believe our partnership has the potential to go beyond our individual companies and could create change across a range of platforms and advertisers, ultimately benefiting the thousands of businesses who want to advertise responsibly and the billions of people who use digital platforms every day.”

More information can be found at http://www.iard.org.

WPP quits London office, buys US design firm

Advertising giant WPP is moving out of its central London headquarters after 30 years, signalling another move away from founder and CEO Martin Sorrell, who left the company back in April.

Usually for a FTSE100 company, the current HQ is a smaller mews building in Mayfair that houses legal and finance staff. The new dig will be at the ultra modern Sea Containers development on the South Bank of the Thames, which is already home to a WPP subsidiary.

It’s thought the move will temporary while the firm searches for a larger location to house all of its UK staff under one roof.

Meanwhile, WPP’s global communications agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe has acquired Maryland-based creative agency HZ for an undisclosed sum.

HZ offers a wide range of services, which include multichannel digital design and development, mobile activation, social media, brand and identity creation, content, film and video production, search marketing, data and analytics.

BCW said that the acquisition will expand its expertise in integrated communications across all industry sectors.

IAB launches blockchain pilot programme for digital ad standards

The IAB Technology Laboratory has unveiled its Blockchain Working Group’s pilot program to demonstrate the application and value of blockchain technology for digital advertising.

The initiative will provide a real-world mechanism for testing blockchain-based products and services, with a goal of applying learnings to develop an industry whitepaper outlining best practices and ultimately to develop standards to support the application of blockchain technology.

Several members of the IAB Tech Lab’s Blockchain Working Group are actively involved in the program, including FusionSeven, Kochava Labs, Lucidity, and MetaX. Each of their pilots will also include partners from across the supply chain, including advertisers, agencies, DSPs, exchanges/SSPs, publishers, and technology vendors.

For example, one pilot utilizss Lucidity’s ‘Layer 2’ infrastructure protocol to verify impressions and provide programmatic supply chain transparency through a neutral, decentralised shared ledger—capable of processing and verifying high volumes of data from multiple parties to reach consensus on the blockchain.

Lucidity’s initial pilot will be followed by a series of pilots including fee transparency, digital publisher signature, and audience verification.

In addition, MetaX launched its adChain Registry, a blockchain-driven list of brand-safe sites determined by token holders. FusionSeven and Kochava Labs will be sharing their pilot products at a later date.

“We’re dedicated to understanding advertisers’ and publishers’ needs and exploring emerging and established technologies that can solve real problems in digital advertising – in support of a clean, scalable, and efficient ecosystem,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “The Blockchain Working Group, which has over 150 member companies, is at the forefront of exploring industry standards and use cases for blockchain in digital advertising, and we’re looking forward to even more forward-thinking brands and key players joining the conversation.”

“There has been a lot of hype about blockchain, but no industry-backed, practical validation of its value for digital advertising—until now,” said Sam Kim, CEO, Lucidity. “It is vital that we begin testing and utilizing blockchain technology to address major pain points in programmatic from data discrepancies to supply chain transparency. We are excited to work with the IAB Tech Lab and other members to uncover insights and learnings that can drive the entire industry forward.”

To learn more about the IAB Tech Lab Blockchain Working Group, go to www.iabtechlab.com/blockchain-working-group.

Online video viewing to exceed an hour a day this year

The average person will be spending 84 minutes a day watching videos online by 2020, according to the latest forecasts from Zenith.

In that year, China will have the keenest viewers, with the average person spending 105 minutes a day watching online video, followed by Russia (102 minutes) and the UK (101 minutes).

Zenith says this rapid rise in consumption is leading to a significant shift in the way brands plan campaigns across both television and online video.

The research covers 59 markets and encompasses all video content viewed over an internet connection, including broadcaster-owned platforms such as Hulu, ‘over-the-top’ subscription services like Netflix, video-sharing sites, e.g. YouTube, and videos viewed on social media.

Global online video consumption grew by 11 minutes a day in 2017, and we expect it to grow by an average of 9 minutes a day each year to 2020.

It accounts for almost all the growth in total internet use, and is growing faster than media consumption overall, so it is taking consumption time from traditional media.

Although some of this extra viewing is going to non-commercial platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, Zenith says plenty of it is going to commercial platforms, so the supply of commercial audiences is rising rapidly.

In fact, the firm estimates that online video adspend grew 20% in 2017, to reach $27bn. Growth peaked at 36% in 2014 and has fallen steadily since then, but still remains high. It forecasts 19% growth in 2018, and an average of 17% annual growth to 2020, when online video adspend will reach $43bn.

Video’s share of online display advertising is rising steadily: it accounted for 27% of display adspend in 2017, and Zenith expects it to account for 30% in 2020.

Online video advertising is still only a fraction of the size of television advertising, but because television is stuck at 0% to 2% annual growth, this fraction is rising rapidly. The online video ad market was 10% of the size of the television ad market in 2015, and 14% in 2017. By 2020 Zenith expects online video adspend to be 23% of the size of television adspend.

“Online video is driving growth in global media consumption, as smartphones with high-speed data connections make high-quality video available to people on the move, and smart TV sets give viewers unparalleled choice in the living room,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “The rapid rise in video viewing makes online video the world fastest-growing advertising format, creating new strategic and creative opportunities. Brands that do not currently have a strategy for online video need to think about getting one.”

TfL launches campaign to encourage gender diversity in advertising

Transport for London (TfL) is running a competition with the Mayor of London to improve gender diversity in advertising.

The Women We See: diversity in advertising competition is aimed at creative agencies and brands and the winner will see their campaign appear across the TfL network from January 2019.

TfL says it’s running the competition because, while London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, when it comes to representing that diversity the advertising industry hasn’t always got it right – namely through the kind of advertising that can be seen on trains, Tubes and buses.

Women We See is also part of the Mayor of London’s commitment to tackling gender inequality and his #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign.

TfL says it wants to see a creative concept that represents older women, BAME women, women with disabilities – be they visible or not – single parents, women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and women from the LGBT community. And that means challenging time-worn stereotypes.

The creative for the campaign must also respond to the key themes of the Women We See research.

Entry is open to media, advertising and creative agencies; as well as brand marketing teams, with the winning campaign receiving £500,000 of digital advertising value.

The winning entry will also be displayed across the TfL Rail and Bus Shelter networks during the first quarter of 2019.

For more info on how to enter, click here.

Amazon wins Super Bowl with Alexa TV ad

The annual battle of the Super Bowl TV advertisements took place on Sunday, with the consensus being that Amazon won with its celebrity Alexa extravaganza.

It was a simple set up – Alexa has lost it’s voice and a host of famous vocal chords step in to save the day.

And according to USA Today’s AdMeter tool, it was a winning idea, with the ad pipping the NFL’s own Dirty Dancing remake to the top spot.

Among the celebrities featuring were the company’s own CEO Jeff Bezos, Anthony Hopkins, Rebel Wilson and Cardi B (us neither).

You can check it out here:

And here’s the runner up:



Ad regulator bans Peugeot advert for condoning dangerous driving

French car giant Peugeot has had its latest advert banned by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for condoning dangerous driving.

The advert, which first aired in July, shows a man driving through the streets reading a text from a lady friend on the car’s built-in screen located on the dashboard. The driver then raised a hand from the steering wheel.

Five viewers reported the advert to the ASA as hey claimed it condoned dangerous or irresponsible driving.

Peugeot in its defence said that because the Highway Code permits a driver to adjust music or the radio, the action of looking momentarily at the screen was no worse, and while thew driver did raise one hand, this action was again momentarily, adding that at no point did the driver take his eyes from the road, with the advert designed a “fantastical treatment” to create humour around the new technology within the vehicle.

The ASA acknowledged the points, yet decided to ban the advert, releasing a statement saying: “We considered that, to show a driver reading a text message (which, even at the eye level at which it was shown in the ad, would have inevitably diverted his attention from the road ahead) and then reacting to it, amounted to a distraction that would have prevented him being aware of, and/or being in control of, other actions that were necessary for safe driving.”

WPP cuts sales and profit margin forecasts

Advertising behemoth WPP has cut its sales and profit margin forecasts as it continues to battle with “low growth” advertising markets.

The company has confirmed that like-for-like sales growth and operating margins will now fall in 2017, instead of the initial prediction of 1%, and 0.3% the firm predicted in August.

WPP’s chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, told the BBC: “Brexit in a way has actually stimulated our business. Clients, instead of investing in fixed capital are investing in variable costs [such as advertising] in an effort to stimulate growth,” before adding that the world was in a “new normal of low growth, low inflation and limited pricing power”.

Shares in WPP fell by 1% as news reached the City.

Morrell added that three major events could help with growth in 2018.

“Any further marketing investment reduction may well be countered by the mini-quadrennial events of 2018 – the Winter Olympics in South Korea; the FIFA World Cup in Russia; and the mid-term Congressional elections in the United States.”