Influencers, ads and social media: 2017 in review

Shots recently published this article by our Head of Strategy, Harvey Cossell, discusses why 2017 has been the year for Influencer Marketing, the role that social media plays in society & the emergence of new potentially ad-friendly platforms. They’ve been kind enough to let us reproduce it below.

What’s been the biggest talking point in social media marketing in 2017?
Influencer marketing has been on the agenda for a while, but this year it’s taken a firm grip on the industry and it’s not letting go. It’s now considered an essential part of a brand’s marketing strategy, rather than an add-on to a social campaign, as it has been in previous years. But this doesn’t mean everyone is now doing it well; most brands know they should be working with influencers, but they don’t know how to go about it effectively or measure the results.

What’s the most creative social media campaign you’ve seen in 2017 and why?
Heineken’s Worlds Apart campaign stood out for me. It was a beautifully simple idea that captured the tension in a post-Brexit Britain coming to terms with a rise in intolerance in society.

And the most influential?
We’ve been working with adidas for the last few years to build up the Tango Squads – a huge network of micro-influencers across European cities, connected with adidas using dark social [social sharing that can’t be tracked by web analytics, such as via email or WhatsApp]. We’ve recently brought this out into the light with a long-form content series called Tango Squad F.C. Brands need to be clever in the way they approach influencer marketing. This campaign has harnessed the power of dark social to build a network of passionate ambassadors for adidas, and now it’s evolving into a campaign to reach a mass market target audience.

You mentioned last year that live-streaming was a big thing through 2016. Has that upswing continued and, if so, how has it manifested itself?
Live-streaming is now just part of the furniture. Its next evolution may come when (if?) Facebook Watch establishes itself as a mainstream channel, given its schedule features live content.

You’ve said brands need to be more aware of “social thinking” and not simply use social media as another platform opportunity. Do you think more brands have achieved that?
The brands we work with are definitely focussed on a more culturally-led way of communicating. I think more brands are aware that they need to play an authentic and relevant role in consumers’ lives.

However, the challenge remains that platforms are still talking the language of interruption when it comes to ad formats – the focus for them is on reach, frequency and brand awareness only. So, there’s often a lack of synchronicity when trying to push a cultural message.

VR, despite the hype and money invested, has still not really broken through to the mainstream. Do you think that’s because it is not, inherently, a social medium?
VR allows us to connect with each other so it is inherently social. I’d say its issue is a case of accessibility. There’s no critical mass of VR headsets yet, which we need for it to be regarded as a bona fide social medium.

Do you think that President Trump using Twitter to declare political strategy and debate world events has helped or hindered the legitimacy of the platform?
It’s great PR for Twitter, keeping the platform front of mind as a news source and turning it into a modern-day newswire. Given Twitter’s push towards becoming a breaking news-focussed platform, having an ambassador like Trump (who is after all, President of the US) using the site to do just this can surely only help legitimise its position as a credible [or fake!] news aggregator.

What do you think the next big trend in social media will be?
I’d like to see a flip in the focus on creating three- or six-second pieces of content on social to 10, 15 or even 30 minutes. It could spell the second coming of Advertiser Funded Programming (AFP), as platforms like Facebook Watch will be ad funded and will need content. Despite today’s push of short-form video, marketers need to be more ambitious – it is possible to succeed on social with longer-form content, assuming it’s culturally relevant.

The post Influencers, ads and social media: 2017 in review appeared first on We Are Social UK.

Watch: Kimmel Returns to TV With Son Billy After Heart Surgery, Advocates for Child Healthcare Law

On ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last night, Jimmy Kimmel had a new sidekick on hand for his monologue. “I was out last week because this guy had heart surgery,” Kimmel said with his son Billy in his arms. “But look, he’s fine, everybody,” Reading the apprehensive look on the boy’s face, he added, “He may have pooped, but he’s fine.”

The emotional Kimmel, holding back tears, also noted that “Daddy cries on TV, but Billy doesn’tit’s unbelievable.”

Back in May Kimmel emerged as one of the most passionate voices on healthcare reform in the wake of his son’s birth and an attendant health crisis that saw the newborn undergoing emergency open-heart surgery to repair a life-threatening heart defect. (See: “Jimmy Kimmel Talks About His Newborn Son’s Open-Heart Surgery, Entire Internet Tears Up.”) Last week’s surgery was the second for Billy.

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The Secret to Good Social Strategy


By Fer Wang, VP Strategy

For experienced marketers, social media strategy often feels like a grapefruit spoon. At first glance, it seems superfluous. You already have plenty of ordinary spoons, forks, and knives — between these standard utensils, you’re pretty sure you can figure out a way to subdue half a grapefruit. The moment you pick up a grapefruit spoon, however, and slice it through without spraying acidic juice everywhere, you understand its value. Similarly, using a strategy or campaign designed specifically for social rather than repurposing what you’re doing on TV, print, or even digital, makes the difference between success and mediocre results.

So how do you do it? Start by avoiding these five mistakes: 

  1. Don’t approach social as a platform just to generate engagement. Start with your business objectives and determine what you think social can do differently or better than all the other media you’re investing in. Sometimes that means engaging with customers, oftentimes it’s not. In the past several years, one of the key evolutions of social platforms is to align more closely with traditional marketing tactics and metrics. That means driving awareness, running DR campaigns, tracking ROI, etc.
  2. Don’t write off Facebook because it isn’t cool anymore. Not only does Facebook still have the most reach among all age groups, but Facebook almost always delivers the most efficient media results as well. There are exceptions, of course, but defaulting to Facebook is often the safest starting place. 
  3. Don’t bank on earned media or going viral. Unless you have a fan base that’s millions strong, organic reach is going to be negligible on social. Even if you are one of the lucky few brands that can still rack up numbers without paying for it, organic reach is still limiting your brand to previous or current customers. You aren’t finding or converting new customers or households at scale, and you aren’t able to measure or quantify the value of the people that you do reach via unpaid means. In sum, if you’re going to invest time and money in creating social content, you need to set aside some dollars for paid distribution too.
  4. Don’t limit your target to fans and followers. Targeting on social media can be extremely granular — boomers who shop at luxury department stores in Lewis Center, Ohio; men who graduated college in 2012 with an interest in skiing. Furthermore, social has evolved so much in retargeting, remarketing, and audience building that it is on par with the most sophisticated digital tactics. That includes building audiences from CRM lists (top customers, lapsed users, etc.), creating lookalikes of audiences, using pixels to assemble audiences based on site traffic and activity, and even using in-network activity to establish audiences off of things like video views, engagement, and even just attention. Before you set your strategy, think broadly about the types of people you want to convert, and all the various tools you have to build targetable audiences.
  5. Don’t plan to create a few posts to last the entire year, but don’t plan to have a post every day either. Instead, come up with a thoughtful campaign that delivers enough content to feel fresh to your customer depending at the reach and frequency you’ll achieve with your paid budget, no more, no less. Quality content, which is not necessarily expensively produced content, is a crucial factor in ad performance. Social platforms penalize bad content with expensive cost pers and sometimes refuse to serve the ads at all. They reward good content, however, with highly efficient results, a longer shelf life, and earned media. At the very least, that means visuals that command attention, copy that clearly outlines the action you expect, and a sensibility that feels native to the platform. 

By integrating this thinking into your social strategy, you will be able to take better advantage of all the social networks currently have to offer, and make your social efforts more impactful too.

If you are looking for some help developing a more comprehensive social strategy, you may be interested in our Likeable Playbooks or Audits. Please contact us for more info!

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2017: A Year in Digital OOH at Grand Visual

Well, that was 2017. What has been a tumultuous year in the real world, has been one of relative growth, prosperity, opportunity and creative development in Out of Home media, the world over.

Scalable Stories

At Grand Visual we continued to expand and break creative milestones. Our mission this year was to advocate scalable use if the medium and to help clients craft smarter stories. Campaigns that span the diverse and rich OOH media landscape, making the most of its ubiquity. Our focus paid off and we delivered campaigns to over 48 countries this year.

Our work for Warner Bros.’ Kong Skull Island saw us craft creative for a host of new markets and unique formats from Indonesia to El Salvador. We also produced “Smart Linear” campaigns for the likes of Google, Suzuki, Sainsbury’s and Bheard all of which embraced tactical storytelling at scale, pushing the breadth and of previous projects and reaching new OOH audiences, some picking up creative effectiveness awards along the way.

Our Digital Director, Ric Albert, said:

This year, we’ve delivered projects to more countries and more screen formats than ever before. From international rugby matches to press junkets, the largest outdoor screen in Europe, (Kazan Stadium) to a building projection in Puerto Rico, our scalable stories have filled digital canvasses across the world.

Kazan Stadium

Kazan Stadium

Tactical Messaging

2017 was a record year for tactical, dynamically delivered digital OOH campaigns at Grand Visual. It’s encouraging to see the accelerated adoption and more varied application of data by leading brands in the OOH arena. Forward thinking brands continue to increase their digital investment and embrace the opportunity to be smarter with their digital OOH communication.

Highlights this year include McDonald’s, tactical messaging to remind consumers ‘how long until breakfast finishes’ in the mornings and, ‘where they can pick up the latest limited edition sandwich’ at midday.

McDonalds web

Keira Kane, our technical director, adds:

“This year we integrated a wider variety of data feeds into our Digital OOH campaigns to deliver striking, contextually relevant messages for consumers. Brand campaigns that are useful, relevant and aligned with the consumer mindset can deliver a compelling call to action that boosts and the performance and effectiveness of brand messaging dramatically”

Engaging Creative

Our interactive work this year took us around the world with projects for Disney and Warner Bros. For too long, interactive DOOH projects have been viewed as special, one-off, premium activations. But now, digital OOH can deliver memorable, personal, and interactive experiences across multiple markets. A modular, tiered approach to interactive projects allows territories to push the technology envelope as far as their local limits allow. This is exactly what we did to promote Stephen King’s IT, producing an interactive Augmented Reality execution which was deployed across Spain, Mexico & Brazil. A social video of the Madrid execution received over 100,000 natural views in just two days on Facebook.

IT web image

Dan Dawson, our Chief Creative Technology Officer said:

Engaging campaigns serve multiple purposes. It’s often our most shared and awarded work, so it’s great to see the appetite for this extending into new territories and markets. Indeed we spotted this trend a few years ago, and clients and agencies are exploiting our ability to serve multiple levels of interaction to multiple territories from concept to execution. This can help shift engagement levels from hundreds of thousands to millions, at a small incremental cost, and is a testament to our hard working and knowledgeable team.

The Future

2017 has been an exciting year in digital OOH. The market has moved on. From single location stunts and fixed brand messages, to tactical, plugged-in, interactive and always on campaigns that span multiple formats and territories.

As digital reaches the tipping point, set to smash 50% of UK OOH spend next year, with other key markets to follow, 2018 looks set to be our most exciting year yet. It is all to play for. Simple, scalable, tactical and engaging stories is where it’s at and we can’t to see where digital OOH takes us in 2018.

The post 2017: A Year in Digital OOH at Grand Visual appeared first on Grand Visual Creative.

Waitrose Uses DOOH to Promote Festive Food Deals

Waitrose launched a digital OOH Christmas campaign to promote a variety of deals on firm festive favourites, such as chocolate, champagne, and party food. The campaign showcased the latest deal with a store-specific call to action to tempt Christmas shoppers instore. The activity ran nationwide across rail, transit and retail locations from 30th November – 15th December.

Created by Adam & Eve DDB, and produced by Grand Visual, the campaign featured the latest deals alongside appetising product shots, such as festive truffles, caramels, and pralines along with the announcement that it’s ½ price on chocolate boxes today only. Festive food was promoted with the line “At Christmas, there’s nothing quite like Waitrose,” and a geo-targeted play-out directed shoppers to their closest store.

OOH media was planned and booked by Manning Gottlieb OMD and Talon, and spanned 1,408 digital 6-sheets across the UK. Creative delivery and geo-targeted playout was managed through OpenLoop, which updated promotions and dynamically inserted store locations. The creative could then be updated at a national and local level when stocks ran low at proximity stores.

Dan Dawson, Chief Creative Technology Officer at Grand Visual, said:

“A tasty and tactical campaign from Waitrose which demonstrates just how important DOOH has become as a channel for running promotions, last-minute deals and flash sales, that incorporate location-specific information to steer people to their nearest store. That’s powerful.”

The post Waitrose Uses DOOH to Promote Festive Food Deals appeared first on Grand Visual Creative.

Our Christmas Card this Year – Houses for the Homeless

As a London based agency, homelessness has always been a cause we feel an immediate connection with. Last year 8,108 people slept rough in London and many forecasts say this winter will be the worst in 20 years for homelessness.


So, this year, we decided to do something different and more worthwhile with our Christmas cards by supporting a charity that is doing amazing work for homelessness in our city.

Thames Reach work directly with homeless people, focusing on helping those sleeping rough to move off the streets. They run numerous hostels, along with outreach services as well as focusing on the prevention of homelessness via recovery services to help vulnerable and formerly homeless people to get their lives back on track. We were also hugely impressed with their fantastic Employment Academy, which helps people in the local community to find work and access training.




So, when you see your paper house lantern from us, enjoy its festive glow, but also spare a thought for those without a home this Christmas.


We will be donating £1 for every lantern we send out, but if you would add to this please support Thames Reach with us:




Parents: This Kraft Ad Will Make You Cry

Kraft’s research showed about 80 percent of parents feel pressure to be perfect, while about 80 percent of kids want parents who are great rather than perfect. So, the brand behind many pantry and fridge staples is kicking off a #FamilyGreatly message.

“There’s no one perfect way to family,” says Anne Field, director of brand building for Kraft. “As long as you’re doing it with love and conviction, we support how you family.”

The effort comes from Leo Burnett, which has worked on Kraft cheese marketing for years, but Field says some parents who work for Kraft will also ct as community managers to connect with people who are engaging with the content online.

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