Yesterday Kantar hosted a morning jam-packed with insights and advice to help marketers choose the mix of channels, messaging, creative and formats, in the right combination, to deliver effective campaigns.
Jane Ostler (left), Kantar’s global head of media, kicked off The Power of Connection by reminding us that brands are the sum of all the experiences consumers have with them, across a myriad of touchpoints. In fact, global data from Kantar’s Connect studies provides the salutary reminder that paid media only contributes 25% to overall brand equity, and TV is responsible for 7%.
Of course, that is an average number, and there will be variation across markets and product categories: optimising media strategy is not a ‘one size fits all’ exercise. Indeed, what determines whether touchpoints work well or not is the quality of the creative.
Having a central connecting idea greatly improves the chances of campaign effectiveness by facilitating integrated planning. Customising formats for particular channels further enhances campaign performance. Ostler pointed out that consumers are not actively looking for advertising: The proliferation of media choices means consumers do not move through a simple linear purchase decision journey in a standardised way. Globally TV’s contribution to ROI has declined, while other channels have shown improvements. This makes it crucial to understand how consumers use and react to different channels and to carefully define the objectives of channels in the mix.
In Is Digital Video Killing the TV Star? Monique Claassen (left), director of media and digital, warned that there are no easy answers to the challenge of brand growth, and that money alone won’t save a brand. Referencing Adtrack, she also pointed to an alarming decline in TV effectiveness from 2016 to 2019: Only 23% of commercials in South Africa now achieve above average cut-through versus 37% in 2016. From another perspective, 49% of local commercials now have below average cut-through compared with 29% in 2016. Average Noting has declined from 22% to 17%.
These startling statistics do not mean marketers should abandon TV. In South Africa, it continues to deliver unparalleled reach, and local viewers are twice as likely to watch live TV than their global counterparts. Once again, noting varies greatly by category: South Africans have a penchant for the carbonated soft drinks, fast food, coffee creamers and retail groceries categories but pay little attention to security firms and agriculture/farming. Given that disparity, benchmarking one’s brand against its category only is hazardous because the brand needs to stand out in the overall barrage of messages the consumer receives.
The solution to this is to find ‘the creative sparkle’. Once again, what works in one channel will not necessarily work in another. Mobile content has distinct requirements: Shorter is better and branding within the first three seconds doubles the lift in ad recall. Designing content for the context also delivers dividends: ads designed without sound deliver three times the lift in ad recall!
Fran Luckin (left), chief creative officer at Grey Africa, ‘unwrapped’ the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for us, talking about some of the general principles that applied to winning ads. ‘Purpose’ was a dominant theme and Nike aced this with its Colin Kaepernick Dream Crazy commercial. Luckin commented on Nike’s brave move in “backing a horse in the cultural wars” moving into the areas of inclusion and diversity, beyond the narrative of individual achievement. She referenced Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope’s statement that “brands without a purpose will have no long-term future with Unilever” to highlight the significance of purpose.
Of course, it has to be done properly; ‘woke washing’ doesn’t cut it with consumers. Big brands tend to do well at Cannes: Judges are required to assess if the ideas are ‘on brand’, and, as judges are familiar with big brands, they tend to score well. Another trend was Acts not Ads, wonderfully demonstrated by Gazeta.pl purchasing Poland’s oldest and most popular Polish porn magazine to close it down, because no man should ever learn about women and relationships from porn magazines.
A special last edition of Twój Weekend was produced with content designed to build discussion around gender equality. The See Sound project won a Grand Prix for Innovation: Machine learning was used to trawl through YouTube to identify household sounds and a mobile app developed to alert hearing impaired users of normal and abnormal sounds in and around the home with text-based notifications on their smart phones.
Volvo was awarded the Inaugural Creative Strategy Grand Prix for The Equal Vehicles for All (E.V.A.) project which addressed the fact that crash test dummies are modelled on male bodies so that safety features are not designed to protect women and children, Volvo, in line with its heritage, shared the research with other manufacturers to help them deliver greater safety. Human insight is pivotal to producing great creative, and Luckin congratulated TBWA on their Gold Lion winning campaign Mahala/The Price of Free for Town Lodge. A Zulu ad winning at Cannes is a clear demonstration that a local insight can have a universal truth.
Wrapping up the morning, Natalie Botha (left), director of creative development, advised that we should consider the senses when we develop content: Like humans, content can’t multi-task. The brain will prioritise the visual story, which often in commercials is accompanied by supers and text, then the ears come into play. If the two are not aligned than the consumer’s brain will go into shutdown. She also reminded us English is not the mother tongue of most South Africans, so the use of complicated terminology will make them tune out.
Botha pointed out that South Africans love (and need) to laugh so humour works. Her final tip was to get the “insight right”, that people have birthdays is not an insight, that sometimes one embarrassingly forgets someone’s birthday is. She then played the Top 20 Kantar’s Best Liked Ads, rated by local consumers. In third place was Bernini’s Press for Sparkle with Nike’s Just do it: Caster Semenya placed second. Nando’s took the top spot with We can fix our S#*t.
I was heartened by our local consumers’ taste and inspired by the speakers’ advice. I am planning to settle down this weekend to comprehensively read The Power of Connection booklet provided as a leave behind.
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