Hot Jobs @360i: Coast to Coast

Did you know 360i has offices in New York, Chicago, LA, and Atlanta? Yep, that’s right. Whether you want to escape to Coney Island this summer, grab a slice of deep-dish pizza, walk the pier in Santa Monica or catch a Braves game, we’ve got you covered coast-to-coast.

If you want to join our team, apply to one of the open positions listed below. Or visit our careers page to view more openings.

Analyst, Digital Analytics (New York, NY) – The Digital Analytics Analyst will assist in efforts to transform data and reporting into insights, recommendations, and results. This person will go beyond reporting, peel away the layers of data, and suggest constructive marketing test and competitive opportunities to improve business performance on a regular basis. In addition, the Analyst will solve problems with internal and external clients on data issues, as well as produce visuals and presentations for summary trend statistics. This role requires six months to two years of related Media industry experience.

Associate Account Manager (Chicago, IL) – We are looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic Associate Account Manager to join our growing team. This person values processes and timelines and should exhibit a deep interest in search and digital marketing. Working with a large team with a lot of moving parts, this role will require a detail-oriented mindset and the ability to multitask. The ideal candidate is curious to understand how to work across inter-disciplinary teams, is supportive of projects with tight timelines and maintains a positive and fun attitude. Ultimately we need a highly motivated individual who will bring their own ideas to the table to support creative, effective and efficient communications and processes.

SEO Strategist (Atlanta, GA) – This role requires a deep understanding of organic search engine optimization, a natural sense of curiosity, and proven experience in developing SEO strategies. The SEO Strategist will translate clients’ business goals into successful search engine optimization strategies, perform technical site analysis, competitive/keyword research, and link analysis. They will also be responsible for optimizing various site elements, including site structure, content based marketing campaigns and guiding the development of reports which highlight the qualitative and quantitative trends from ongoing SEO efforts. This person must be well spoken and have 4+ years of SEO experience.

Director, Paid Social (Los Angeles, CA) – We are looking to find an individual with paid social expertise, demonstrating passion and thought leadership for the channel. This person will drive paid social strategy development and oversee its flawless execution for one of the world’s leading retail brands. The ideal candidate must have 6-8 years of paid social/display campaign management, with other digital media channel experience a plus. The Director is a team leader and will lead a group of paid social media professionals, and will also work hand-in-hand with our clients on channel strategy and across disciplines internally to effectively deliver excellence.

Copywriter Intern (New York, NY) – Are you delightfully and authentically weird? A human that enjoys all things verbal? The person who comes up with the least expected idea in the room? We’re looking for you. As a Copywriter intern, you’ll be responsible for anything from concepting ideas to creating and executing headlines, scripts and write-ups. We’re seeking the kind of good-vibes-only creative, dad jokes acceptable and semi-encouraged, pun jokes less accepted and rarely encouraged (unless they’re damn good and then heavily celebrated). You will be responsible for original integrated concepts, concise and convincing writing, and grammatical and material accuracy. You remain current on industry trends and technology including emerging digital advertising capabilities and mediums. The ideal candidate has strong copywriting skills reflected in a current portfolio of school assignments.

View more job openings on our careers page.

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Samsung, the S8 and its experiential strategy

This month, Samsung is busy promoting its latest phone, the Samsung Galaxy S8, and they’re using an experiential strategy to do so. As a product, the S8 is a pretty fancy piece of kit.

With a larger and better display, faster processing speeds and improved menu options, the S8 is Samsung’s answer to the iPhone. It’s an important item for the business, so the big question is, how did Samsung decide to spread the word about its flagship product?

One of Samsung’s main ideas was experiential. Samsung wanted to tour a giant smartphone throughout the UK. With a UK launch date of April 28, Samsung has allowed for plenty of time.

Speaking generally for a moment, this kind of idea may seem a little obvious, but it is great for brand exposure and introducing Samsung to people who wouldn’t necessarily be familiar to the business.

But this experiential strategy offered much more than just eyeballs on a smartphone.

The giant phone was able to showcase scenic views via its new infinity display screen, offering an amazing, jaw-dropping picture of local landscapes. In terms of the different destinations, the installation headed to 20 different areas decided by a public poll.

Some of the destinations that this huge smartphone has already visited include St Ives, Bournemouth, Stonehenge and London.

To anyone looking at this smartphone in action, they’d be amazed.

However, the voting part is key.

This interactive element is important, because any form of vote results in engaged users. The underlying objective for the vote was to find the top, most enjoyable and popular UK views.

The strategy ticks every box. At the heart of the campaign is a simple goal: to raise awareness of a new product. But there are other elements at play that are driving the success of Samsung’s ROI.

The strategy highlights the S8’s new features, particularly the display factor. In addition to this, Samsung is also connecting with Britons.

As far as extremely effective experiential strategies go, this didn’t take much planning. In fact, it’s a fairly straightforward idea and it just goes to show that you don’t have to come up with elaborate ideas every time you have something to market.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on

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Brand Safety: How Marketers Can Navigate Digital Placements

Over the past month, some advertisers have been pulling their ads from popular platforms, such as Google, YouTube and Facebook, amid the growing concern that their advertisements are appearing alongside offensive content, negatively affecting perception of brands. AT&T, for example, recently paused all media on Google-owned YouTube due to their ads being placed adjacent to inappropriate videos featuring terrorism and hate content. The brand explained their decision in a statement: “until Google can ensure this won’t happen again, we are removing our ads from Google’s non-search platforms.”

To combat the growing backlash, platforms have started to implement updated moderation guardrails, including automated methods, AI-based systems and placement opt-outs to ensure that marketers are at low risk of negative exposure in association with morally questionable content. These steps, while improvements, shouldn’t be treated as a final, fool-proof protection for brands and advertising. Instead, it’s crucial for marketers to understand the role of these features, how to manage and take responsibility of their advertisements, and lastly, how to work with brands to confidently market and place their content on the right platforms.


The Current Role of Automated Moderation

Automated methods of content policing have significant appeal because they reduce the need for costly and inefficient manual monitoring for potential violations. Done properly, these types of systems can solve issues with inappropriate content, both visual and text-based, without needing to rely on individuals to review, flag, or verify offensive content. Some automated systems, such as the Hashing System which creates a computer-readable representation of child-abuse images published by the Internet Watch Foundation, can provide some protection for brands and relief for individuals who would have to manually view and review potentially objectionable content. However, solutions like these use only known images, meaning social networks can only protect brands from content that has already been identified as abusive.

How Artificial Intelligence Systems Could Help

AI-based systems show promise for identifying potentially objectionable content. Using sophisticated models, publishers could identify content similar to objectionable images and text to protect advertisers before ads are placed against the piece of content. Ultimately though, a balance must be struck between the openness of a platform for content creators and brand safety for advertisers. There will likely be intermittent pains as the aggressiveness of any algorithm is fine-tuned and stories of either overly-aggressive policing or lax policing occur.

Even with the best algorithms, these systems require accurate tagged information or similar content to cross-reference and match against in order to flag a particular piece of content. While machine-learning models are getting better at some elements of recognition, it has been demonstrated by University of Washington researchers that video recognition systems such as the public API provided by Google are subverted fairly easily. Intentional subversion and trolling of content to fool brand-safety filters are examples of potential counter-measures that can or have been deployed. Malicious misrepresentation of locations of advertisements can also be a way to fool automated systems where objectionable content or sites may be hidden or labeled as other content and re-sold across multiple networks.

The Human Touch: Leveraging Multiple Tools & Taking Responsibility

Automated methods and AI-based systems are not enough to protect brands against the wider variety of modern internet security threats. A single solution will not protect against all placement concerns. In fact, many of the offensive placements can occur as a result of marketer oversight and error for incorrectly selecting ad placement preferences. To take effective measures against unwanted ad placements, advertisers need to take responsibility and thoroughly review and fully utilize the ad-safety tools at their disposal. Something as simple as content or keyword exclusion targeting can go a long way when setting up campaigns.

Brands should also look to their agencies to take additional measures. 360i and Dentsu, for example, support TAG (the Trustworthy Accountability Group) to promote a safer space for all clients. It’s in both the platforms’ and advertisers’ best interest to take full advantage of planning, booking and executing campaign and consider all available tools. This way, platforms can regain their credibility and retain revenue, while marketers are able to accurately showcase their brand messaging in a safe space.


What Marketers Can Do Next

In an increasingly complex digital marketplace, it is critical that brands and their agencies have tough conversations to understand the ad-fraud and brand-safety players, the risks of going without guardrails, and the best measures for providing additional safeguards for the broad mix of digital initiatives.

There are three primary approaches to take based on the individual brand’s comfort level:

  1. Willing to risk: know the associated risks for brand and fraud implications and be willing to take them.
  2. Want to be safe, but don’t want to short the opportunity: use the full spectrum of Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited safety tools with both pre-bid and post-bid measures to ensure buys are as safe as possible but still have broad campaign delivery.
  3. Zero tolerance: in this instance the brand has no tolerance for any delivery in fraudulent or unsafe content. This approach requires whitelisting site by site as well as use of an MRC accredited safety tool.

Unless advertisers understand where the brand stands, it is impossible to make the wisest choices with them. The best defense against these threats against the confidence of advertising markets is for clients to work closely with agencies and publishers to monitor, validate, and review the effectiveness of protections.

The post Brand Safety: How Marketers Can Navigate Digital Placements appeared first on 360i Digital Agency Blog.

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.

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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!

Boost Your Brand: How to Create Content for Awareness

Historically, when digital marketing agencies venture into content creation, it’s with the hope of increasing the number, or strength, of backlinks. This post however, aims to challenge you to think more broadly about the value of your content.


We, as digital agencies, are not traditional advertisers. Yet global ad agencies are increasingly edging into our field of play, for example, producing integrated campaigns with far-reaching social effects. There is clearly a demand and need for this type of work. But on top of this, it may well be time to use your content for more than just a link-generator anyway. At SearchLove San Diego this year, Tom Capper presented a balanced argument for why it’s possible that links are becoming increasingly unrepresentative of how Google choose to rank your pages. One of the key takeaways is that in order to continue getting in front of our audience, we will probably have to start winning at brand awareness and perception. So, how can we do this with creative content?

1. Learn how to differentiate between content for link-building vs. content for brand-building

Typically speaking with link-driven campaigns, it doesn’t matter whether or not the people engaging with a piece of content remember the brand behind it. At the end of the day, it’s down to whether or not publications decide to cover and link to it. And actually, this oftens means downplaying the brand presence, so as not to deter coverage. For example, this can mean hosting a piece on its own page without company headers and footers, keeping the client logo small and unobtrusive, and generally not having to adhere to their usual brand guidelines. Because of this, it also means that the theme of the content can be quite tangential to the brand. For example, for Magic Freebies, we created an online ‘Spot the Christmas Movies’ quiz. This piece bears little direct connection with their brand and offering – a site which compiles free samples and free competitions – however we judged that it was something which would peak the interest of their target audience and publications. I would consider this as content for link-building.

Source: Magic Freebies

Pieces for brand-building on the other hand require a much stronger connection between the content and the brand in question. However, unlike traditional advertising, this is not necessarily about parading a product or service in front of your audience. For example, with Rasmussen College – a private college in the US – our work for them was not about directly selling their courses, instead the strategy was to create pieces, e.g. “The Healthcare Career Matchmaker” shown below, which would help them become an authority in the career and education sector. The content aimed to be engaging and highly relevant, and therefore brand-focussed. If you go and explore the wider Rasmussen site, you’ll even notice that it sits within their usual site framework and the colours and font follow their brand guidelines too.

Source: Rasmussen

As far as targets go, it’s pretty obvious that the aim of a link-building campaign is getting links! This is a pretty straightforward and easy-to-track metric. With brand-building campaigns, though, ‘getting more brand’ isn’t exactly a thing. So what are the tell-tale targets that distinguish a piece as one that’s created for purposes beyond clocking up a site’s link count? That is precisely what the next section of this post is aimed at uncovering.

2. Think big, but start small

The trouble with content for brand-building is that because it has the word ‘brand’ attached to it, it immediately brings to mind associations such as brand awareness, brand sentiment, or brand trust. These are all things which a campaign could, and should, result in improving. This is the ‘think big’ part. But without a hefty sum to inject into expensive surveys and polls (which is mainly what advertisers rely on) it’s very tricky to arrive at any meaningful results if all you focus on is ‘increasing brand awareness’ – what even is the proof of success?

And so I would encourage you instead to start small. You can do this in a number of ways. For example, create a campaign which focuses on achieving one of the following:

  • Grow your social following.

  • Build a Facebook retargeting pool.

  • Drive targeted traffic to a specific part of your site.

These are all micro-conversions. They are the small things which happen in the lead up to a full conversion. More importantly though, what’s great about these is that they can all be easily tracked and assessed.

Oliving the Life is the perfect example of this. The campaign itself was created to promote a new range of healthy cooked meats from Hans Smallgoods, an Australian consumer brand.

Source: Oliving the Life

The challenge, as outlined in their case study, was to ‘increase brand awareness’. Despite this, they set their sights on measurable goals. Of the subsequent results that were published, all of them hit a specific and concrete micro-conversion:

  • Reached more than 6 million Australians and was engaged by 2.6 million targeted users.

  • Generated 1.78 million Facebook video views – 198% more than the projected figure.

  • Produced more than 93K engagements (likes, comments shares).

  • Average time on site was 1min 21sec, with a bounce rate of 34%.

  • Created a retargeting pool of 924,000 of engaged users who can be retargeted in the near future.

Another example is the following video campaign by Shutterstock.

Most people who know Shutterstock will think of them as a paid stock image library. A lesser-known part of their offering though is their extensive range of stock video footage. Which is why to combat this, they created a series of videos, exclusively using assets from this library. Not only was there a high engagement rate with the videos (165,000 views in the first couple of months on Youtube alone), but this then inspired 4000 clicks specifically onto the footage section on their main page. A result that Kashem Miah, the global director of social media and content marketing at Shutterstock, was very pleased with. He was later quoted as saying ‘There is definitely a business case that we have made for these videos and why we’re pushing them so hard…the campaign is an opportunity to showcase what’s possible with Shutterstock.’

The bottom line is that it’s far better to start small and focus your efforts on micro-conversion-based targets, and trust that in doing so, over time you will inevitably influence people’s perception and awareness of your brand. Note that I say ‘influence’ rather than ‘improve’ – this isn’t a given. The last thing you would want to do is to foster negative sentiments towards a brand! To combat this, you have to be sure that whatever campaign you’re attaching your brand’s name to is worthwhile and is something people will genuinely care about.

3. Consistently deliver value to your audience

If someone has been generous enough to spend time with your content, it can’t just be beneficial to you, it has to be valuable to them as well. But how do you judge whether you’re consistently delivering value? This is where the following framework comes into hand.

This triangle represents the types and the corresponding amount of content a brand should be aiming to produce. The link-building creative campaigns we’ve become known for at Distilled tend to fall into the ‘Wow!’ bracket at the top of the triangle (more on this below). However, in order to deliver consistent value, with content that is always relevant and available, we need to consider content beyond these bigger hero pieces.

Starting at the bottom, there is the ‘How?’ category. It basically stands for: How can you help your customers? This type of content makes up the base of the triangle because it should form the bulk of your offering that’s available 365 days a year. Think of it as laying down the foundations. One of the most obvious ways of offering value to your audience is to pin down the useful things they want to know and delivering on it. Figure out what questions they might ask, related to your brand, and create content which answers them. This can be in as simple a form as a blog post or resource page.

‘Now’ content comes next. This is about offering your audience things where the value lies in its topicality, and rewarding their engagement by keeping them up to date with the latest trends, news or data. Of course, this isn’t just about repurposing the news; it has to be relevant to your vertical in some way. If there’s an interesting news story or emerging trend where your brand can contribute to the conversation in a way that’s relevant this is the time when Now content can be really powerful. It can demonstrate that your brand is on the pulse and dependable. Because of the nature of this, there will naturally be less of this type of content than ‘how’, since you’ll be publishing this as and when something is topical.

Last but not least there is ‘Wow!’. As mentioned above, these are closer to the bigger, hero-type pieces, and furthermore, it’s rather self-explanatory from the name what this category is about. The value this type of content offers is that it’s entertaining and wows your audience. It is typically characterised by being more visual, e.g. in the form of styled infographics and quizzes. It’s positioned right at the peak of the triangle because these pieces can form as little as 10% of your overall content offering. Our benchmark at Distilled is to schedule in no more than 6 of these types of pieces a year for our clients. Because of this, you have more time to experiment with new formats and create truly sensational things.

Using the above framework, the job site – Monster – were able to grow pageviews on content by 18 million and increase the number of people searching for jobs through them by 28% in just over a year. You can read more about their success story here.

To conclude

Once you’ve mastered the above, measuring the success of your campaigns, based on whether or not the brand awareness needle has indeed moved, is a whole art in itself. But it is one which you should get to grips with, in order to prove the worth of your content, and make a business case for continuing to do more. To learn more about this, Tom Capper’s summary of how to get started is worth a read.

If you’d like to find out more about the points discussed in this post, my slides from SearchLove San Diego – Success Beyond Links: How to Make Your Content More Valuable – go into more detail. The full video of the presentation is also available to DistilledU members. If you have any further questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you 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.



A lesson in social engagement

Two recent US campaigns matched each other for originality, but not for effectiveness. Ally Biring, Social and Digital Director at Sense New York, reveals why.

It’s refreshing to see brands working really hard to connect with their target audiences in original and creative ways, and recent campaigns by Walmart and Stella Artois in partnership with certainly showed this commitment. Yet one was far more effective than the other by better harnessing multiple channels, from social to real world, and developing a cross-channel ‘portability’ that extended both reach and lifespan.

Retail giant Walmart showed it clearly understands the power of storytelling to inspire customers and employees with The Receipt campaign – a series of minute-long films shot by some of the best young directors around. The filmmakers Antoine Fuqua (Southpaw, The Magnificent Seven), Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner) and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Neighbors) were commissioned to shoot films based on popular items found on Walmart receipts, Bananas, paper towels, batteries, etc. The only instructions Walmart gave the directors was to be storytellers. The films were scheduled to be shown as TV ads.

The below chart shows that although there was interest in the campaign and a spike in searches online, most likely coinciding with the campaign’s viewing slots, performance fell away rapidly after the ads were aired. It also reveals that there was very little traction on ‘The Receipt’ itself as a search term.


Google search trends data for the 24 hour period when the Oscars took place mapping US internet searches

Although a highly original approach, in terms of interest it was fairly short-lived and more could have been done to extend engagement, as well as capitalising on the influencers involved – the directors. Although Walmart tweeted relentlessly throughout the Oscars, including tweeting at Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, they received minimal engagement. Their highest performing tweet achieved 2.7k likes for the Bananas Towns’ film. But sadly Seth Rogen did not even respond or share his own work – where Walmart have a following of 800k, Rogen has over five million!


With any campaign, especially if it is something that is going to break from tradition or what your audience expects of you as a brand, you need to build a conversation and buzz around it before the campaign is launched. The disconnect between the brand and the consumer can be seen from some of the comments on social media below.


Having such influential people involved in the project is great for wide-reaching impact and publicity, but do they connect with the Walmart’s core audience? Was there scope in Walmart’s brief to engage with influencers whose reach may not be as broad, but is much more targeted and relevant, meaning they can create additional content and with a much more highly engaged audience. Also, if you have a lower level of amplification running in the build up to the launch, it then extends through and after the ‘BIG’ moment, not only giving your campaign a longer life span, but ensuring you widen your reach and continue the conversation for a longer period.

In contrast, the Buy A Lady A Drink campaign collaboration between Stella Artois and, highlighting the critical need to provide clean water to people in the developing world, really hit the mark. It seems like every brand is embracing a purpose at the moment, and while Walmart turned its hands to storytelling, Stella Artois and took advantage of the sheer topicality and global interest in the ‘Who are you wearing moment?’ on the Oscars’ red carpet.

Fashion House Marchesa created a dress made of crystals formed from the Stella Chalice to represent the water. It was worn by Oscars attendee actress Olivia Culpo generating lots of interest, including a number of interviews as she walked the famous red carpet.

The effectiveness of this collaboration was down to the selection of the right moment, the relevancy of the collaboration/partnership, and the delivery. The below graph demonstrates the power of ‘red carpet’ as a moment. By leveraging this, the brands knew there would be press and cameras everywhere, meaning there would be no need for a press launch, etc. This was a great strategic decision.


Google search trends data for the 24 hour period when the Oscars took place mapping US internet searches

Unlike Walmart’s campaign, all brands involved shared the campaign on their social channels. The results were fantastic!


Instagram @marchesafashion

Marchesa posted two shots on Instagram, one image which achieved 15,851 and a video post which had 2,209,954!

Olivia Culpo posted this on twitter to her 200,000 followers, and was interviewed by several journalists and on her own show, with TV figures for this year’s Oscars estimated to be 32 million.

On Instagram she posted four images and videos and achieved a total of 41,700 likes on the images and a total of 754,000 views!

Stella Artois’ strategy on Twitter was also much more engaged compared to Walmart, they released a series of tweets about their collaboration, showing behind the scenes with Olivia Culpo in the lead up to the Oscars. On the night they answered questions from people regarding the collaboration and also retweeted people who had been sharing news items about the dress.


@stellaartois Pre Oscars


@stellaartois rewteet

What’s more, to continue the conversation post Oscars, in partnership with E! News’ content studio, Stella Artois and is rolling out a three-part digital movie narrating the making of the dress – from Marchesa and Olivia’s first meeting, to the story behind the glass beads.

This campaign demonstrated clearly how having a clear social strategy and strong partnership with your client and partners ensures success, while highlighting the opportunities Walmart missed.

Ally Biring, Digital and Social Director at real world marketing agency Sense New York.