Feb Post

Tech Talk

Instagram’s newest update allows people to upload multiple images in one post. Next, apparently men like Insta ads more than women. Tinder have partnered with Facebook’s Audience Network to offer programmatic ads. (Cue keyword recognition and subsequent “New jeans for Friday night’s date?” ads.)

A bad month for Uber. The CEO, Travis Kalanick, left the President’s economic advisory council after the campaign #DeleteUber gained momentum, then a video was leaked of him arguing with a driver.

In response to Walmart lowering shipping prices, Amazon has reduced the free delivery threshold to $39 (from $45). Money transfer company Transferwise will let people send money internationally through Facebook’s Messenger chatbot. Personal finance could become a new battleground, in this author’s opinion. Facebook’s pincer move against Snapchat continues, this time in the form of WhatsApp status updates, which is uncannily like the little ghost’s ‘Stories’. Snap officially filed for IPO. (More next month.) Talking of which, you can now buy their Spectacles online.

Google have added (sub-$100) voice shopping to their Assistant device. YouTube is to drop its 30 second skippable ad format. Finally, ‘YouTubeTV‘ signals an imminent entry into the cable market. This could actually be a good thing for the networks as people might pay for content that they know is quality, rather than risking getting it for free via a dodgy upload (= $0).

More Than A Game

February ushered-in the annual high-profile Super Bowl adverts. The value of advertising continues to be questioned: this year it cost $5m, or $166,666 per second, just to appear. Although protagonists pointed to the 350,000 hours spent watching ads on YouTube.

A full list can be found here (or a curated ‘top’ version here!). There were some hotly debated ones… Firstly, Audi’s, featuring a father musing equality for his young daughter, which drew a mixed reaction, with many pointing to the lack of women on Audi’s board, thereby rendering it ‘hypocritical’.

Next, Budweiser’s, a tale about their founders meeting, following Busch’s immigration from Germany was seen as a direct response to President Trump’s executive order banning people from 7 countries from entering America. Sarah Palin tweeted that it was a “politically charged message”. (FYI. Some companies did outwardly opposed the ban.) #BoycottBudweiser even surfaced on social media. The company denied any link.

Airbnb’s ‘#WeAccept’ was interpreted as an attack on the same travel ban; a rumour that it had been turned-around in a matter of days fuelled speculation.

The maverick move was from Lumber 84, a building materials distributor. They created a 6-minute piece about a mother and daughter trying to make it over the US border. Yet the true message felt vague. Not so, thought Fox, who apparently banned the original edit. The New York Post tried to establish a link between the subject matter and advertiser, citing (old) data about the construction industry being the second highest employer of illegal immigrants. Lumber 84 stated that it was an awareness and recruitment driver – they are opening stores out west this year. Either way, their servers were the biggest chokers of the evening – the rush of traffic crashed their website.

Small But Important

  • Great work Nike, who released an incredible, inspiring ad featuring Arab female athletes. More stories here.
  • The much-loved Nokia 3310 is back! Full of ring tone and ‘Snake’ nostalgia. It will only cost $50. Yet some see the excitement around a retro handset as a damning indictment of smartphone innovation.
  • What next in beauty? Nail Tech. L’Oreal is leading the way. Also, the industry is looking to tap-into the lucrative athleisure market with ‘fitfluencers‘, who give advice on how to apply work out make-up. (Oh, also, temperature-responsive colour-changing hair could be a thing.)
  • Reformation are looking to drive in-store activity: they continually monitor the top 30% best-sellers and only physically stock those items; the remaining inventory can be purchase via touch screens.
  • Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s line – her father was unhappy about it. Also, the retailer announced that its discounted ‘Rack’ proposition was offsetting a decline in footfall for its main line.
  • Abercrombie has launched a new store format in Ohio, as part of its refresh. Of note, the fitting rooms, where you can control the lights, music, and charge your phone!
  • This study believes that wearables do not help you get fitter or lose weight. (Darn it.)
  • UPS is actively testing drone delivery, to combat last mile delivery costs.
  • An unknown error downed sites on Amazon’s servers, aka a huge part of the internet (revealing the scale of reliance on them).
  • ‘If you can’t beat them, incubate them’ appears to be the new mantra for agency M&A activity, where speed to market is all-important.
  • H&M and Google have teamed-up to produce an app that tracks your daily journeys and then maps them onto a dress, thereby offering a highly personalised design.
  • For their Oscars ads Walmart asked three famous directors to take a random shopping receipt and shoot a story about it. The results are here.
  • The NBA has teamed-up with Take-Two Interactive Software to create the ‘NBA 2K eLeague‘. They will invite people to try-out (from their homes) and then select 5 players to represent e-teams over an 82 game regular season and play-offs.
  • And finally, BBDO New York have launched ‘Put Her On The Map‘, a campaign that aims to rename public places after influential women because, “Women make up 50% of the population, but most streets … are named after men.” They claim “this imbalance … makes it harder for women to find inspiration and to see their own potential in the world around them.” They want people to contact state governments to achieve gender equality literally on the streets. Timely, with International Women’s Day, and equally fantastic!