Friday Reading #92

For those readers who have followed Goodstuff and Friday Reading for a while, you’ve probably heard us talk about SWAN UK quite a bit over the years, it’s a cause close to our hearts. Thousands of children every year are born with rare genetic conditions which are impossible to diagnose, leaving families uncertain and often isolated at an incredibly difficult time. Today is Undiagnosed Children’s Day, aimed at raising awareness of these issues and what SWAN can do to support them. Please share with your friends and family, it has a real impact for this small but fantastic charity.


High fashion can be a perplexing world from the outside, from the experimental eccentricities on the catwalk of London Fashion week to the mind boggling prices some will pay for a plain white t-shirt. So when luxury handbag brand Balenciaga recently created a $2150 homage to the humble blue plastic IKEA bag, it was met with the predicable mix of befuddlement and derision. This week IKEA responded with a straightforward, tongue-in-cheek ad reminding us how to spot the real thing, from the crisp packet rustle when you shake it, to the 40p price tag. 


After the ad disaster that was Pepsi, Heineken have released their new (anti-Pepsi) ‘worlds apart’ experiment. It depicts pairs of strangers with polarizing opinions (think feminism & climate change), neither aware of the other’s views, building a bar together. Once the bar has been built they discover the other person’s views shown to them by film, and are given the option to leave or sit down, have a beer and discuss their differences. Amongst the political and personal views portrayed through the ad, the message still remains; have a beer and chat about it. Importantly, the beer is not the answer in itself – but it’s a means to working things out on a human level. A smart, honest insight which never feels forced or contrived.


Love them or hate them, Amazon’s model of an amazing blend
of low prices, thought leadership in technology and profitless prosperity has
made them one of the most influential companies in the market. In a recent
letter to shareholders
, Big Jeff outlined his philosophy which elucidates a lot
of Amazon’s strategy, victories and failures. Essential reading for all, fast
decision making, customer focus, embracing of trends and a focus on the goal
rather than the process.


Trawling through the streets of London, ducking in and out
of underground stations, annoyed by the busy hustle and bustle of the
slow-moving commuters and dreading your 9am meeting with what’s-his-chops…relatively
low on the list of things to do for most would be to check the quality of the air that is
quietly infiltrating your lungs. However, Silicon Valley start-up Sprimo, want to make air-testing a thing, an actual thing with their new
handy (quite literally) air tester which plugs into your iPhone
to give you
‘real-time air-quality scores’. The ‘tiny device checks the air for VOCs
(volatile organic compounds)’ so you can always be up-to-date with your daily
intake of…well…air.


“Finish that RFP, email the client about costs, schedule the photo shoot, review scope changes, did I buy my brother’s birthday present? – wait, now I need to reschedule the photo shoot.”

Do you feel like your mind is constantly full of lists? In brand management, we’re always multitasking, going from one thing to the next, and generally running full speed ahead at all times. Sometimes it would be helpful if we could just pause, be present in the current moment, and consciously choose how we’d like to move forward. This is where the idea of “mindfulness” comes into play.

I know what you’re probably thinking: This is just a fluffy Millennial idea about how we should have peaceful, relaxing workspaces. Well, it’s way more powerful than that. It’s an idea that some people have centered their entire lives around.

Mindful magazine (yes, that’s a real magazine) defines mindfulness this way: “The basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” More simply put, it’s the act of being aware of oneself, in the present. This means different things to different people, so try to think of mindfulness in the form of meditation, breathing exercises or controlled breathing, and even some yoga postures.

In a 2017 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of more than 85,000 adults, yoga practice among U.S. workers nearly doubled from 2002 to 2012. Meditation rates also increased, from 8 percent to almost 10 percent. There was also evidence demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness practices among workers related to both physical symptoms and mental well-being.

Studies are finding that mindfulness has tangible benefits in the workplace. Here are some of the most common:

Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves the ability to focus
Cultivates emotional intelligence
Helps you become less REactive and more PROactive
Increases self-confidence
Improves creativity

These are benefits we’d all enjoy, but it may seem like a lofty goal to practice mindfulness enough to make an impact. Here are some ways you can start practicing mindfulness at work (or at home):

Stop (or minimize) multitasking – Try to maintain focus on a single task, and then notice when your mind drifts off to something else. When this happens, mentally shut down all the unrelated thoughts entering your mind and stay focused on what you were doing.

Turn off all notifications – Turn off notifications and check email only when you’re intentionally breaking your focus from a current project. Same goes for calendar invites.

Breathe – It sounds too simple, but if you get an infuriating email or are rushing from meeting to meeting, take a few seconds to breathe. Just a short period of time practicing controlled or focused breathing can put you in the right frame of mind before going back to your work.

Practice daily – Committing to some amount of training every day is the key to progress and success. This can be counting to ten, sitting in a dark room, or doing guided meditation. Try to allot at least ten minutes a day – pick a location and time of day, and stick to it.

Take classes – Attend guided meditation or yoga classes, or sign up for a program like mindfulness-based stress reduction or Transcendental Meditation.

Download an app or two – They give you access to different types of meditation practices, let you set goals and reminders, and track your progress.

I hope this post has left you feeling inspired, relaxed, and thinking about how you might try a few mindfulness practices on your own. Who wouldn’t want to be more relaxed, focused, and productive at work?

The post Mindfulness appeared first on The Richards Group.

Elevating experience: Retail banking

These are challenging times to be a retail banker. But therein lies bountiful opportunities. Opportunities to re-focus, change gears, find partners and connect with new and existing customers in ways that elevate their experience of what banking can and should be. The kind of extraordinary experience that creates loyal fans, engaged employees and thriving revenue streams.

Read our white paper below, and find out what we’re seeing and exploring with our financial services clients around the globe.

The post Elevating experience: Retail banking appeared first on Jack Morton.

5 Extremely Useful Digital Marketing Stats: April 2017

Trying to understand the importance of Connected TV advertising for a digital ad strategy can be a challenge because the technology is complex and varied.

That’s why this month we’re honing in on exactly what Connected TV is and why it matters for brands – supported by five extremely useful digital marketing stats.

To start, let’s review a few abbreviated definitions from the IAB:

Addressable TV: Technology that lets you show different ads to different audience segments watching the same TV program based on the desired targeting data parameters.

Advanced TV: Any television content that has evolved beyond traditional, linear television delivery models – including Interactive, Connected, and Smart TV. (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, YouTube)

Connected TV (CTV): A television connected to the Internet via an additional device or with built-in capabilities that can access a variety of web-based content.

Over the Top (OTT) Device: Technology connected to or within a TV that enables the delivery of Internet-based video content (i.e., streaming boxes, media streaming devices, Smart TV’s and gaming consoles).

Smart TV: A type of Connected TV that often includes a computing component.

Got all that? Let’s dive in!


Connected TV (CTV) viewing overall jumped 65 percent over the past year and now accounts for 8.1 percent of total TV viewing for adults (18-49) in the U.S. (Pivotal Research)

Why does this matter?

Traditional TV viewing behavior is changing. People are not only jumping to new devices, but they are spending less time with traditional television year over year. However, Pivotal found overall TV use rose 2.6 percent in households with Connected TVs.

While cord-cutting is expected to increase by 23 percent in the next year, it does not mean advertisers are losing their options to connect with TV viewers. They just need to take into consideration the different way consumers are watching television.

Just like with the advent of mobile, the growth of CTV is a call to action for marketers to start thinking differently about what good TV ads look like, what type of messages they build, and where and how their content is delivered.


Average playtime minutes (length of a viewing session) for the connected TV are 40 percent more than the tablet, and double that for the PC and smartphone. (Conviva/nScreenMedia)

Why does this matter?

Not only are CTV owners a growing population that is watching more television, but they’re watching television for longer periods of time. That is, they’re more engaged than video viewers on other devices.

As Conviva says, this finding should not minimize the importance of mobile devices as a video platform. However, advertisers should not ignore the value of CTV audiences if they are going to spend money on video advertising.


At 95 percent, Connected TV ads resulted in the highest completion rates compared to ads on mobile and desktop devices. (SpotX)

Why does this matter?

In short, Connected TV ads work because consumers still trust ads they see on TV – at least more than those they encounter on mobile and desktop devices.

There are plenty of reasons for this – the quality of the ads, the quality of the advertisers, and just the fact that TV has been around longer than digital advertising. In fact, 80 percent of consumers will trust the information they receive via a TV spot.

Advanced TV advertising of any kind – served via CTVs or other devices – piggybacks on this long-established trustworthiness. And, according to Brightline IQ, Advanced TV commands a 2.5 percent click-through rate, as compared to desktop rich media at 0.10 percent and traditional instream video at 0.46 percent. This includes CTV advertising.


The top three attributes consumers use to describe Connected TVs were Useful (41 percent), Convenient (38 percent) and Innovative (36 percent). (IAB)

Why does this matter?

If consumers use their CTVs because they give them more choice, advertisers must align their ad experiences to new device expectations. They cannot stick with an interruptive model that does not enrich the consumer.

Per the same IAB study, more than half of consumers (55 percent) are willing to receive ads on their connected devices in exchange for coupons/discounts, extra features, or access to exclusive games. These are all perfect examples of “enriching” content that reward or inform, rather than disrupt.

For example, Office Depot recently ran Connected TV ads that integrated price and item content into the side banner of a standard broadcast ad unit. This interactive feature for CTV users allowed consumers to browse what was on sale in their area at the same time as they watched a commercial about back-to-school shopping.


Marketing professionals rate their ability to measure the impact of regular TV at 2.68 and digital advertising at a 4 on a sale of 1-5, with 1 being “not able to measure at all” and 5 being “able to measure completely.” (emarketer)

Why does this matter?

Marketers know digital works, but they are hesitating to act on the reach, scalability, and cost-effective nature of connected TV advertising. It’s true that there are still some gray areas that, but they are not insurmountable or anything new to seasoned marketers.

Jonathan Bokor, SVP and Director of Advanced Media and Mediavest/Spark, told eMarketer that in addition to completion rate, marketers need to do brand lift studies that can tell them about “recall, intent and favorability.”

Additionally, the positive impact of Connected TV ads has been measurable as far back as 2015 when an AOL study found ads served on Connected TVs drove two times the increase in purchase intent among the advertiser’s target audience.

Much more recently, Toyota saw success with Connected TV advertising in a summer event campaign. AdAge shared, “the campaign results showed that the ads drove 19 percent more Toyota dealership visits from those targeted compared with the control group.” Accomplishing both an awareness and sales goal, this campaign is a great example of how Connected TV can work for brands willing to dive in and integrate it into their digital strategy.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on social or in the comments below!

Growing up & getting responsible

The idea of growing up is one that fills most of us with dread, especially the responsibility that comes with age. Because let’s be honest, lying in bed until noon, not having to work for a living and lazing uni days away with your biggest concern being which pub you’re going to go that evening is far more appealing than joining the rat race every day, standing in someone’s armpit on the tube and working until 9pm. We don’t care how much you love your job, those carefree days were still better.

However, when it comes to brands growing up and accepting responsibility, surely that has to be a good thing. The New West End Company has recently revealed that they will be launching the first ‘smart street’ on Bird Street. A traffic-free hub of sustainable technology, it’s the first of its kind and designed to, well basically, help the world. Using PaveGen technology, electricity will be generated from pedestrian movement, while Airlite’s revolutionary air purifying paint will essentially clean the air around you. The street will have pioneering pop-ups, fashion, technology and dining establishments so you can shop until you drop and do it all responsibly.

We’re excited about it because A) it’s just downright cool, and B) because after all, we have a collective responsibility to sustain this whirling blue ball that we all call home, however, is this just the beginning of a new age of responsible retail brands?

We’re currently in the year of the movement and everyone is standing for something. Literally standing up and marching for every kind of rights and if you’re not shouting slogans you’ve been living under some kind of rock. So if public sentiment is anything to go by, brands know that they can no longer operate as huge conglomerates that eat up energy, rainforests and unethical habits. We’re in a time of inclusion, religious tolerance and the women’s rights movements is blazing as strongly as it was when Emily Davison fell under that horse and brands can’t afford to ignore that. And not all brands have been ignoring their responsibility.

H&M has championed a responsible brand by launching their Conscious Exclusive collection which features clothes made from hemp, organic linen and organic leather. They were also the first fashion brand to use a Muslim model who wore a headscarf and modest clothing, meaning they’re one of the most environmentally conscious and religiously diverse brands currently out there.

TOMs have built their entire brand on the idea of helping the world and being responsible with the money they earn by giving it back to those most in need. They fund projects from fresh water across regions with sever lack of access, as well as providing healthcare and shoes to those most in need.

The list goes on with brands such as ASOS, Made and People Tree all sourcing materials in sustainable and environmentally friendly ways. They literally make you feel good about yourself while you spend your money and carry on living a consumerist dream. Because the truth is we’re not going to stop spending, but we are in a time in which consumers are more selective about who they do give their money to. It’s yet to determine how successful the new smart street will be, but if current sentiment is an indicator, it’s bound to be a huge talking point that raises a host of other questions. And even if it doesn’t take off, it’s taking a step in the right direction and we can only hope that other brands follow suit and start standing for something, and hopefully, not in the catastrophic way Pepsi just did. We’re now living in a time where brands can’t afford to shun responsibility any longer. It’s long past time to grow up.



Kiss & Tell now on iTunes

Mistress is proud to announce that our podcast, Kiss & Tell, is now available for streaming and download on iTunes!

Hosted by Mistress’s media and cultural insiders Blake Marquis, Sewa Adekoya and Todd Lombardo, Kiss & Tell is Mistress’s platform to explore the latest trends in advertising and culture in the 21st century.

Listen to the latest Podcast, Oh Snap! – Snap Inc.’s IPO, thirty days later. Kicking butt, or butt kicked? now on the iTunes Store or on Soundcloud.

Discover LA Responds to Trump’s Travel Ban

Los Angeles tourism officials are launched an initiative this week with the message “Everyone is welcome” — a clear response to the pressure the tourism industry is facing with the negative impressions around the world of the travel ban imposed by President Trump.

The first element of the campaign features a 93-second music video uses the metaphor of paper planes to represent travelers to the city. They fly past people of various ethnic backgrounds hugging, dancing and skateboarding near iconic L.A. locations to the backdrop of Father John Misty’s Real Love Baby.

The creative was developed in-house by Discover Los Angeles and shot and edited by Mistress’s production arm, Bastard.

Read more about the campaign in the LA Times’ story here and at Creativity here and at Adweek here.

Watch the full video below: