Strategy 101: Brand Vs Direct Response

Although it will be second nature to seasoned advertisers and marketers, the difference between brand and DR (direct response) advertising can be confusing to those venturing into broadcast ads for the first time  



When your audience talks about the adverts that grab them and demand the most attention, they will be most often referring to branded content.


When a large advertiser pulls out all the stops getting the best talent money can buy and a production execution to match, you can bet that what they want to build a lasting impression in the mind of their customers – they want to convey excitement and brand recognition above a direct no frills call to action.



Direct response includes many of the print adverts you’ll come across in local newspapers and radio spots, Facebook ads, PPC and remarketing as they have one specific purpose, and that is for the consumer, to buy a product upon being served the ad.


Direct response ads are more targeted and functional than their counterpart in that they are designed to elicit a response, as their namesake would suggest. They often list out features and benefits of a product, price, offers and local availability.



We examine below the latest campaign from BT, promoting their “family sim” offering.


Rather than trying to cram in a direct response element into a brand ad, they have simply created two ads that run in rotation, sometimes even within the same ad break.


The big budget Brand ad follows in the same vein as their recent commercials, enlisting a Hollywood actor portraying themselves in “behind the scenes” situations. In this case Jeremy Renner aka Hawkeye from Captain America, is in the midst of saving a family from an evil overlord, when he is interrupted by film crew to explain he is there to save the family money, rather than saving them from impending doom.


All very glitzy and well produced, that delivers high action and an element of comedy to raise awareness of the product.


This is in stark contrast to the Direct Response ad, which comes across more like a powerpoint presentation, albeit a very slick one, explaining exactly what the product is, cost and benefits to customer. It does not feature the Hollywood actor and only uses voiceover and graphics to promote the product.


BT have then gone one step further to hammer home their message.


On the campaign website landing page, they have an explainer video that goes into even more detail, leaving the customer in no doubt as to the benefit of the product and how they purchase it.  



Get in touch today to discuss how we can help your business plan and deliver your video marketing campaigns.  


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UK shoppers plan to spend more this Mother’s Day

Research finds 26% of UK shoppers plan to spend more this Mother’s Day, compared to 2016 …but for most (26%) mums, it will be time spent with their family that will make their day special… Savvy’s latest research has revealed Mother’s …
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Is Drake Killing the Album?


Is popular music killing the album? The latest project from Toronto rap artist Drake, entitled ‘More Life’, which dropped this week, is not an album or mixtape, but a self-described ‘playlist’. Is Drake’s adoption of the term a trendy technicality, the indication of a side project, or the signal of a wider shift in the music industry?

In the New York Times, Jon Caramanica writes that “the playlist suggests an aesthetic shift from the album, which in its platonic ideal form is narratively structured and contained, a creator’s complete thought expressed in parts. A playlist in the streaming era, by contrast, is a collection of moods, impressions, influences and references; it’s a river that flows in one direction, ending somewhere far from the beginning (if it ends at all).”

The idea that an album ‘ends’ is one that is being challenged. As the commercial focus of music shifts from selling physical vinyl and CDs to digital streaming services, the musical content of an album can become more fluid. After releasing ‘The Life of Pablo’, Kanye West continued to update the work, adding lyrics and tweaking the mix of what he described as a “living breathing changing creative expression”.

There’s also a business imperative to artists working with the idea of a loose collection of ‘moods’, which can be mixed, matched and tailored to a listener’s location, activity and preferences. Spotify is increasingly transparent about the importance of listening data to its advertising-heavy business model. In Quartz, Amy X. Wang describes Spotify’s “financial incentive to pry more deeply into users’ listening habits and sell ads aligned with their specific lifestyles”. It’s not unrealistic to imagine record labels prioritising the idea of an artist providing the ‘ingredients’ of a user-created playlist, over the complete artistic vision of an album’s narrative.

Do you agree? Would the reconciliatory ‘All Night’ from Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade’ work without the burning anger of ‘Pray You Catch Me’? When was the last time you listened to an album in full? Let us know on Twitter.

Words by Erica Smith and Jed Carter.

This originally appeared in Moving World Wednesday 20170322.

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Our Marketing Manager shares her key takeaways from SXSW 2017


This was my first time attending SXSW and most likely won’t be my last. I spent a total of five days drinking the kool aid and here’s what I learned:

The explosion of influencers

One of the hottest topics was influencers. As more brands and VCs look to invest in this space, they are running into a major issue: authenticity. How can businesses ensure the experience is authentic? But also, how can they evaluate their ROI?

Businesses need to understand that influencers are known for who they are (they are made famous on social channels first and are self-built star) versus celebrities who are known for their work (and often made famous by more traditional channels such as TV, radio, etc.). Put inherent trust in the influencers your business hires. They should be real people with real experiences interacting with your products and your company. Just as brands need to distinguish themselves, so do influencers. As this space grows, consumers will be even more sensitive to highly produced content. Make sure the end results match your brand and your influencer’s brand. – This was from The Moral Code of Pay-to-Play Marketing panel.


‘A robot without a tool is like a car without tires’

You couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a talk, exhibition or demonstration around robots or AI at SXSW.

While robots will continue to be a tool for increased productivity, they will be made to collaborate with humans. Cobots are robots that will be careful of human safety, can work in unstructured environments and have a user interface to interact naturally with their human co-workers. – This was from the Democratizing the Industrial Robot talk with YASKAWA Innovation talk.

We saw the future of storytelling unraveled and pieced back together as we watched a film made completely by AI tools. It’s as dramatic as it sounds. From conception of characters, location, clothing, makeup to the casting of the actor and editing, AI tools such as IBM Watson, EEG, emotion recognition, MS Rinna chatbot etc. were used to create a ‘watchable’ film. – This was from Can a Film Made by a Machine Move You? panel.


Content is king, queen and all the other pieces on the board.

We are starting to see digital platforms such as Youtube, Facebook etc. incubate themselves. They are buying both content and creators. They are also making creative decisions from design to production. We predict that the logical next step would be to bring all elements of content creation and distribution in-house that is if they have not already begin to do so.

Where will content live in the future? Content creators are looking beyond legacy platforms like Facebook and Twitter. From interactive video storytelling, audio and voice recognition, VR/ AR / MR, live video and messaging (chatbots), content creators are looking to build monetization into “themselves” from day one. – This was from the Pop Tech: Marrying LA and SF panel.

sxsw_select_8The future of design is reductive?

From a smart but disgruntled attendee: The machine reduces me to data. Interestingly, this complaint set off a lively discussion.

We are in a lopsided moment where we have data but we are bad at doing something with it all. Except for advertisers. Advertisers, sneakily enough, are using data to adapt to consumers’ needs and wants. Although there is a lack of transparency around their usage of data, it’s scarily nothing new.

There is also the idea of thinking of your data-self as an extension and not a representation of you. As we continue to feed more data and more of ourselves into machines such as Google Home or Alexa, we’d have to accept the fact that we are a known entity. How can design tackle this issue? Is design still the reductiveness of noise and not possibilities? – This was from Innovation by Design: What’s Next? panel.

Tl;dr robots are here to stay. So are influencers.

The post Our Marketing Manager shares her key takeaways from SXSW 2017 appeared first on Moving Brands – an independent, global creative company.

Flexible working, just an employee perk or a business benefit too?

It’s fair to say that these days most employers accept the need for some flexibility in the workplace, whether it’s allowing staff to work from home to wait for a delivery, or not returning to the office after a meeting. But is there an argument to suggest that flexible working can be more than simply an employee benefit and that a flexible working strategy can be beneficial to your business as well?

The workplace flexibility movement began years ago when many organisations launched talent initiatives to accommodate working mothers. Over time though, flexibility options have mushroomed: from compressed workweeks to job sharing, to adjustable schedules etc.

Being a millennial myself, you won’t be surprised to hear that an organisation that offers flexible working hours is appealing to me. But as a millennial I am not alone in this thinking. Organisations now span four generations— Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and the incoming Gen Z-ers, each with different leadership, communication, working, and learning styles, but what we do have in common is a desire for more workplace flexibility.

Moving away from the traditional 9-5 doesn’t mean employees are any less committed to the success of their organisation; in fact, it’s quite the opposite, flexible working can mean greater quality and productivity. And if your workforce is more productive then surely your business will benefit?

The business benefit

From its birth as an employee entitlement, workplace flexibility has grown to become a requirement for organisations that want to make the most of its people’s productivity.

The most successful businesses and teams have the ability to get the most out of the people they have. There is a limit to the number of hours in a week and a limit to the number of people you can employ, so making sure this input works as effectively as possible is one of the key factors to improving productivity and, ultimately, success.

With flexible work schedules, employers experience these benefits:

  1. Reduced absenteeism and sickness
    A study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute points out that while poor health causes employee absence, being ill does not have to result in employees being absent from work. It suggests that more flexible working options could mean less sick leave, and less absenteeism if illness is managed in a way that is better for employers and employees.
  2. Encourages dynamism in your business
    Having a team who are in and out of the workplace at different times of the day and working remotely at others means your company is always on the move. Staff and employers are not getting entrenched in a particular way of working.
  3. Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment to the organisation
    All employers want a motivated and productive workforce and flexible working can promote this. Studies have shown that flexible working means your workforce are happier and less stressed and this means you don’t have as much sickness absence to deal with.
  4. Reduced turnover of valued staff
    If your staff are happier in the workplace then this is one of the things that can boost your staff retention. Recruitment can be an expensive and time consuming process. Retention also allows for continuity in the business.
  5. Increased ability to recruit outstanding employees
    Staff retention is great but all companies need to recruit new staff occasionally. Offering flexible working can make your company more attractive to potential employees. Having a reputation for flexible working can give your organisation an advantage and help to tempt the best talent to apply for your roles.
  6. Fosters better customer loyalty
    If your company has a reputation for flexible working customers also appreciate this. These days people like to know they are buying from companies that care about their employees and the community. Flexible working shows customers that the company tries to take staff needs on board. You are seen as a progressive, forward thinking company.
  7. Gives staff more control
    Flexible working gives staff a feeling of having more control over their work time and free time. This means they are more willing to work under their own initiative and are often more prepared to go the extra mile.

Not all flexible working ideas will work for every company, but the basic foundations are the same. Whatever the size of your company; trust, communication and technology are all vital for a successful strategy. The benefits of flexible working depend on the nature of the business. How it operates, what its customers need and how its people work but it’s likely all companies will see the impact of having an engaged and happy workforce will have on its productivity.


Stats – can we do a nice infographic for the article using this data?

  • Women without children would rather have more free time than make more money (68 %)—even more than those with children (62%).
  • 40% of professional men work more than 50 hours per week. Of these, 80% would like to work fewer hours.
  • One in five employees cares for elderly parents, a number that could increase to almost half of the workforce over the next several years.
  • By 2025, Gen Y employees, will grow to represent 75% of the workforce. For this emerging generation, work-life fit is valued more than compensation growth or skill development.
  • 92% of Millennials say that flexibility is a top priority.
  • 45% of working parents are very concerned about having more time to spend with their families—and that number increases to 72 percent for those who are simultaneously balancing parenting and care giving responsibilities.
  • 58% of UK workers think the traditional office will not exist by 2020.
  • Flexible working has a significant influence on loyalty, with 81% saying it would make them more likely to stay with their employer.
  • 65% of employers said flexible working had a positive effect on attracting talent and keeping people long term, saving on recruitment, induction and training costs.

The post Flexible working, just an employee perk or a business benefit too? appeared first on Tonic Agency.

Who guards the guards?

Last week, Experience Planners Julia and Natalie went to a talk on the ethics of behavioural science with some of the field’s biggest names.

The brief is simple, one hour to write a blog post, let’s go…

After a slow start and so, an extra wine, the talk kicked off with panelists giving their views on how to be ethical within the practise of behavioural science, immediately getting us thinking, who decides what is classed as good behaviour and what is not? One of the panelists Emily Haisley, Investment risk and Behavioural finance Director at BlackRock argued that if you can help people fully comprehend the decisions that they’re making and the consequences of that decision, then they tend to make better decisions and feel happier about them. Nudging them into a state of knowledge and empowerment means they’re in control of their decisions and are more likely to make decisions in the state of System 2.

System 1 and System 2 are our mind states when making decisions, System 1 is our emotional, impulsive state and System 2 is our rational, analytical state. Decisions made in System 2 are seen as morally more acceptable, but this may not always be the case.

So does targeting our System 2 state of mind mean we can drive genuinely positive behavioural change? Even when the ambition of a product fits squarely into what the wider society deems to be a positive, the outcomes can still be surprising. Using the example of the Fitbit, where people have chosen to be told about the number of steps they are taking a day, trying to nudge them towards daily targets, people with trackers actually lost less weight than those without. Regular reminders of how active they’ve been helped may have justified the extra slice of cake! Even when fairly confident about the positive nature of a nudge the outcome could still turn negative.

Another perspective was that we should educate people and children on how to recognise nudges, however this was shot down by nearly all the panelists as they themselves admitted that recognising nudges doesn’t stop you being influenced by them.

Looking to traditional advertising, we’ve long been comfortable using persuasive tactics to talk to our audiences. We use content and imagery to sell a lifestyle, we use language and emotions to encourage people to spend their money! Framing and social proof, chunking and default choice are all tools we use regularly in the design of everything from digital platforms to above the line advertising. We rely on regulations to define what is fair, but often it’s down to the team or individual to decide what’s right.

If we look to social media, there is an abundance of talking, sharing and posting, arguably manipulating and forming our point of view with stories and facts that may not even be true. ‘Fake news’ and clever algorithms mean our individual news sources can be hugely contrived and our exposure to differing opinions becomes extremely narrowed. Is that ethical? Should Facebook regulate further? Should the government then regulate Facebook?

When working on a campaign to reduce littering no one has any problem with us using behavioural science to drive change, no one will ever complain if we try and increase rates of recycling, but how do we define what is right? Whose needs are more important than others? Which causes get ticked off as ‘good’? And who gets to make that distinction?

Essentially, who guards the guards?

The Future of Direct Mail

Gavin Wheeler, CEO, WDMP joined 12 other Direct Marketing experts to reveal their predictions on the future of direct mail. Here’s what Gavin had to say:

In this day of multimedia, diminishing attention rates, ad blocking, unsubscribes and the sheer relentless volume of digital messages – effectiveness rates of these channels have plummeted with attribution becoming more and more difficult. There has been a huge increase in the rates of ‘bot’ responses, fraudulent responses and digital activity appearing in undesirable online media. It is therefore becoming harder and harder to truly cut through, hold consumers’ attention and measure the true success of your digital campaign.

Maybe this is why we believe that Direct mail has a rosie future. We are seeing a resurgence in demand and in its effectiveness. We are working with a number of digital businesses, especially in the FinTech sector, teaching them how to effectively use direct mail with great results.

The fundamentals of direct mail have not changed though, be well targeted, with strong offer, encapsulated in an engaging creative manner will still drive the best results. The key benefit of direct mail remains in its ability to fine target and be truly measurable. Fallow cells, match backs as well as engagement rates all allow you to measure true incremental benefit.

New technology is also helping, you can now deliver direct mail in a programmatic and trigger based manner, linking online behaviours to offline channels and then adding digital engagement techniques such as Blippar as a response mechanism to get people back online, so closing the loop.

There is also a unique tangible nature of the medium, the ability to deliver a physical item and a brand message on a one to one basis and of course without ad blocking or being answered by a bot! Perhaps direct mail practitioners have been guilty of never measuring the additional brand befit direct mail can deliver.

Click here to read the full article.

The post The Future of Direct Mail appeared first on WDMP – an award wining, independent, modern CRM agency based in London.

We’re on the Recommended Agency Register!

We’re proud to announce that we’re on The Drum’s Recommended Agency Register. Again.

What is the Recommended Agency Register?

The Recommended Agency Register is The Drum’s way of helping brands choose agencies, based on their ratings. It acts as an online directory of agencies in the UK so that brands quickly know what agencies are the best in a particular sector. The full register contains over 45,000 agency ratings, all of which are added by the agency’s clients.

Because the clients leave the recommendations for their agencies, you know that the advice is solid. Brands are asked to rate agencies based on a particular sector that they’re working on, for example; creative design or B2C strategy. These recommendations are then all collated into the RAR.

Due to the tireless efforts of the Harvest team, our clients were happy to recommend us across the disciplines that we work on; including content marketing and content strategy/creation, paid search, SEO, CRO, performance marketing and online advertising.

How did we do it?

We work hard for our clients, and we make every effort to integrate ourselves with our clients’ teams and their company culture in order to produce the best possible results, as well as work that we are really proud of.

quote from premier care in bathing

A great example of this is Seconds Matter, which is a video project we made for Premier Care in Bathing. We wanted to highlight the challenges that people with arthritis struggle through every day, in order to raise awareness of the condition.

The video that we made really resonated with our audience, which is what we worked hard for. But it also did well for the client. We earned 35 backlinks, and the client got an 11x ROI.

Why does it matter?

We’re really proud of what we do, and our case studies. We work hard to make sure that we deliver measurable results for our clients, and helped them take their businesses to the next level by using digital channels.

But it’s not enough for us to just shout praises about ourselves, which is why we’re so happy our clients took the time to recommend us.

quote from earthport

Getting client feedback is something that really resonates amongst every Harvester here. It means our clients took time out of their busy days to recommend us and gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling.

susie howard creative consultancy

So we’d like to say a big Thank You to all our clients for recommending us. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to show off how great we are!

How we did

So how did we stack up against other agencies? Let’s take a look at the scores.

We’re pretty pleased that some of our clients rated us 10 in every area, and that our lowest average score is 8.5.

If you fancy working with a recommended agency, why not give us a call, or drop us a line

The post We’re on the Recommended Agency Register! appeared first on Harvest Digital.

The Gym Group – launching a new membership benefit

Our first creative brief for The Gym Group was to promote the launch of the Hydro+ rehydration drink to selected members of their gyms.

The campaign involved sending members two personalised emails. The first teaser email introduced this new membership benefit, explaining the rehydration advantages of Hydro+.

The second launch email followed the installation of the Hydro+ kiosk at their gym. This reiterated the benefits and explained how easily they could sign up for unlimited access to Hydro+ during their next visit. This was essential as there was no online sign-up option.

We tested alternative subject lines on both emails and the best performer achieved a 34% open rate.

The post The Gym Group – launching a new membership benefit appeared first on WDMP – an award wining, independent, modern CRM agency based in London.