Monday, 21 February 2011

Unilever Turkey's Cornetto Ice Cream Wins Global Mobile Awards (Advertising Agency)

It may not be the Academy Awards, but today I am eagerly awaiting the results of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards. I was a member of the jury that determined the best mobile-marketing campaign in the world in 2010. Here's what I learned when suddenly thrust into the global (i.e., not U.S.-centric) world of mobile marketing:

1. Contrary to what Steve Jobs said last year, mobile marketing does not suck: It just sucks a lot of the time in the U.S. When I think of the great campaigns and simple creative (some even purely on SMS) executed in countries with minuscule budgets and on all phones, well, the U.S. loses hands down. Emotion does not have to come through video; it can come through a simple image or even copy in a text. A campaign executed in Afghanistan (outdoor and SMS were the primary media used) equated restoration and extension of cell service with rebuilding communities and an entire country, and had me in tears.

2. We love devices more than we love marketing. Western entries focused on apps, and apps solely on iPhones. I still cannot make the connection between shaking denim (two different brands used the accelerometer function for branded apps) and brand loyalty or increase in intent to purchase the jeans. Same goes for any of the mass-market brands with download numbers in the tens of thousands. These are companies that need to move millions of units. Huh?

3. If you're going to focus on a cool aspect of the phone, make it novel and continually rewarding. Apps can just be fun, but when the fun wears off in less than 30 seconds, it's a half-baked marketing effort. In Japan, there is an app called "iButterfly" that uses GPS, augmented reality and the motion sensor of the iPhone all for a loyalty program. The more consumers use it, the more likely they are to collect rewards. They have to use it in public places -- by waving the phone around as they "catch" and collect really cool-looking virtual butterflies triggered at locations around the country -- thus making a viral spectacle of themselves. But the program is not about people waving phones -- it's about increasing loyalty and delivering coupons in an innovative way. Take that, Groupon, with your mega-discounting ways that may actually decrease loyalty.

4. Rich media is not the solution: embrace the creative "limitations" of mobile. In writing for Ad Age on mobile, I have interviewed agencies all over the U.S. These agencies complain that clients want rich media and overlook simpler solutions such as banners for the mobile web. Those clients need to take a trip to China, India or South Africa and see how even a simple banner on a rudimentary browser works in places where the mobile device is the primary mode of internet access. It's all about relative real estate and reaching an audience at the right time and right place. OK, the U.S. is different. Research here shows that non-flashing mobile banners typically work two to four times as well as they do on the wired web. Take another look at the difference in user experience between mobile and the morass that is web design and you will see why.

5. Cross-platform does not mean do it on more than one device. To be considered cross-platform in the U.S., marketers using mobile think they are being edgy if they execute on Android as well as on the iPhone. Wrong. Cross-platform involves using more than one medium. Mobile works brilliantly for activation of "traditional" media campaigns. For reaching demos turned off of broadcast TV and print, let's talk urban audiences and anyone under 34. Why isn't mobile integrated into the larger media mix? It's not hard.

6. If it's a mobile-marketing campaign, actually use mobile as media. AT&T submitted a campaign promoting that because its phones are GSM, you can use them anywhere in the world. The campaign is visually stunning, featuring hands cleverly painted to look like iconic images from various counties -- for example, hands become the Great Wall of China or Indian elephants. They did print and place-based media in airports, to target people who travel and need such options on their phones. But if you are selling a service related to mobile phones, why not actually use mobile app inventory on your competitors' mobile phones to sell the idea?

7. Mobile is a reach medium: Treat it like one. The Western campaigns focused on smartphones, which, despite huge growth, will likely never penetrate the whole U.S. population. Overall mobile penetration is about 85% right now, according to sources such as Nielsen. That blows away the internet. So if we have all these devices, why not market to the masses using SMS and banners? I would like U.S. marketers to take a look at campaigns submitted from Kenya, the Philippines and Sri Lanka that worked on all devices and where success was measured in percent of the total population of the country reached.

8. Do something big: change behavior. Advertising is supposed to be a transformative experience. Gillette and safety razors changed the way men approached their mornings, as did Kellogg's with the American breakfast. Mobile campaigns in developing countries have audacious goals. A campaign from Brazil was focused on getting a nation of talkers to be texters. The largest carriers there banded together (try that, AT&T & Verizon!) and did a simple campaign using text, web and interactive voice response. Within a few months' time, from Ipanema to the Amazon, those thumbs were flying.

9. Learn from Captain Kirk: It's called a "communicator," not an "i" or a "touch" anything. Those things that Kirk and Spock used to talk to each other were called "communicators." They actually talked to each other on them and did not fiddle with them when bored. So much of mobile marketing in the West assumes we have time to play with it, tap it and zap it, and overlooks the primary communication function of the phone. The best marketing is supposed to engender communication between companies, products and people. If you're a marketer or an agency person, become an angry bird yourself and ask whether your next mobile campaign really communicates a clear brand message, engages the target audience, reaches more than 10 people and provides something of value people respond to. And by response, I don't mean a click or game interaction.

10. And the winner is ... Congratulations to Unilever Turkey and Cornetto ice cream.The campaign was designed to engage young ice-cream eaters and included SMS, PR, interactive outdoor and promotional marketing. Using a wall projection system, Cornetto took over the outside of a building in Taksim, Turkey's equivalent to Times Square. Anyone with any phone could play a game in which people texted to move images around the projection. Winners got a free ice cream, redeemable on the spot. It made the national news and became the talk of Turkey. Since the best ideas are made to be "evolved," I dare anyone to get a few permits and execute in Times Square. How cool, engaging and rewarding would that be? Maybe not ice cream right now -- how about hot chocolate or lattes? Go to YouTube to watch the campaign in action.

by Kathryn Koegel

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Tweet like an Egyptian-Hillary Clinton tries it out

Young Egyptians, who famously used Internet services like Facebook and Twitter to launch their recent revolution, turned their focus to Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. They peppered the top U.S. diplomat with skeptical questions about longtime U.S. support for former President Hosni Mubarak and what many felt was its slow embrace of the movement to topple him.

Clinton, taking a personal spin at what she has called “21st Century Statecraft”, fielded a selection of some 6,500 questions that young Egyptians posed through Twitter, Facebook and the Arabic-language website — and many reflected deep suspicions about the U.S. role in Egypt.

“My question is: Does America really support democracy? If yes indeed, why the U.S. was late in its support of the Egyptian revolution?” one questioner asked Clinton.

“The attitude of the U.S. during the Egyptian revolution was to support the Egyptian regime first. Then, when the revolution turned successful, the U.S. switched sides and supported the Egyptian youth and the youth revolution, and the U.S. said that we learn from Egyptian youth. Why was such delay?” another wondered.

Clinton gamely took them on, stressing that the United States used its influence in Egypt to help press for a peaceful resolution to the crisis and the launch of a reform process that would lead to “an Egyptian model of democracy.”

“So I think that we were walking a balance, because we wanted to be sure that our messages did not push anyone into doing something that we disagreed with, namely violence, which we tried to, in every way possible, prevent,” Clinton said.

Clinton — who in the past has described the Mubaraks as family friends — said U.S. officials had not been shy about pushing the Egyptian strongman to make political reforms.

“I personally know how strongly the United States did speak out on behalf of reforms, ending corruption, ending human rights abuses. We were not successful. I mean, I will be very honest with you. Our efforts, whether they were in public or in private, did not change the regime.”

Clinton has steered the State Department deep into the waters of social media, using everything from YouTube to Arabic-language Twitter feeds to get the U.S. message across. And while she gave full credit to Egypt and its young people for achieving political transformation, she did note that the United States provided “many of the tools” that built the revolution.

“Facebook and Twitter, even the Internet, are American inventions, and we are proud that these American inventions are helping to connect people up around democracy and human rights and freedom and an agenda that will lead to a better life in Egypt,” she said.

She said that U.S. hopes were now riding on the transition process, and urged young Egyptians not to allow their politics to get “hijacked, either by a return to dictatorship or by an imposition of extremism or any other reason in between.”

PHOTO CREDIT: REUTERS/Mike Segar (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seen through a camera viewfinder on Feb. 18, 2011)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Apple Works on Line of Less-Expensive iPhones (WSJ Online)

Apple Inc. is working on the first of a new line of less-expensive iPhones and an overhaul of software services for the devices, people familiar with the matter said, moving to accelerate sales of its smartphones amid growing competition.

One of the people, who saw a prototype of the phone late last year, said it is intended for sale alongside Apple's existing line. The new device would be about half the size of the iPhone 4, which is the current model.

The new phone—one of its code names is N97—would be available to carriers at about half the price of the main iPhones. That would allow carriers to subsidize most or all of the retail price, putting the iPhone in the same mass-market price range as rival smartphones, the person said. Apple currently sells iPhones to carriers for $625 each on average. With carrier subsidies, consumers can buy iPhones for as little as $199 with a two-year contract.

Where the new line would be introduced couldn't be learned, but Apple recently has released products first in the U.S. and a few other markets before rolling out the devices more broadly.

Apple also is exploring a major revamp of its MobileMe online storage service, the people familiar with the matter said. The service, which lets users store data in a central location and synchronize their calendars and contacts among computers and other devices, currently has an individual annual subscription fee of $99. Apple is considering making MobileMe a free service that would serve as a "locker" for personal memorabilia such as photos, music and videos, eliminating the need for devices to carry a lot of memory, the people familiar with the situation said.

MobileMe, part of an industry wave known as cloud computing, also could become a focal point for a new online music service that Apple has been developing for more than a year, the people said. Social networking would be another key component, one of the people said.

MobileMe and the new line of iPhones are among the top priorities of Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs, one of the people said. Though Mr. Jobs, 55 years old, went on medical leave for an undisclosed health issue last month, he has been closely involved in the development efforts, the person said.

The new line of iPhones and the revamped MobileMe are intended for release this summer, though those plans could change, the person said.

Mr. Jobs by email declined comment. An Apple spokeswoman also declined comment.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that Apple was working on a smaller, less-expensive iPhone.

Apple's work on the iPhone and MobileMe come as the cellphone market is heating up. Nokia Corp. last week said it would adopt Microsoft Corp,'s Windows Phone as the Finnish company's main smartphone operating system. Hewlett - Packard Co. meanwhile unveiled a tablet computer and smartphones based on a platform the company acquired last year.

Cellphone makers are expected to introduce an array of new models at an industry conference this week in Barcelona. Many of them will likely run on Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Research company IDC expects global sales of smartphones to rise 39% this year to 421 million units.

The iPhone has led much of the cellphone industry's innovation, and 84.2 million units have been sold since the device was introduced in 2007. Still, the iPhone's industry-wide global market share was just 3.4% last year, according to IDC, in part because of the device's higher price compared with many other phones.

IPhones nevertheless are critical for Apple, generating 39% of the $26.7 billion in company revenue for the latest quarter. Apple last week began selling its iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless, a move that could add seven to 13 million units in sales this year, according to analysts. The carrier is a joint venture of Vodafone Group PLC and Verizon Communications Inc.

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen

that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new MobileMe file-storage and music service could be available as early as June, depending on the progress of licensing talks that are in their preliminary stages, the people familiar with the situation said. Apple had planned for the service to roll out a year earlier.

The new service would give users access to their iTunes libraries from, say, an iPhone or iPad, instead of requiring that the devices be synced by cable with a computer and use space to store the actual files, the people said. The new service likely would be compatible with the iPhone 4, one of the people said.

Some MobileMe features, such as a service that locates lost or stolen iPads and iPhones, already are free.

Write to Yukari Iwatani Kane at and Ethan Smith at

Images provided by: Getty Images

Facebook Unifies UI As it Rolls Out New Design for 'Pages' (TechCrunch)

Back in December Facebook unveiled a significant redesign to user profiles, which now feature a handful of photos at the top of the page, new sections for featuring your family members and best friends, and some other mostly-cosmetic tweaks. Today, the site is launching a similar design for ‘Facebook Pages’ — the public profiles used by brands, businesses, and celebrities to communicate with thousands or millions of fans at once.

The new Pages incorporate many of the changes made during the December redesign: you can now feature images at the top of the page. Application tabs are being moved from the top of the profile down to a sidebar just beneath the profile image. And there’s a widget that shows what ‘Likes’ you have in common with the Page. Which brings us to some of the more interesting changes.

Facebook is now giving Pages much of the same functionality available to normal users — you can browse Facebook as if you were the Page (it’s not as confusing as it sounds). For example, I could take control of the TechCrunch Page and leave a comment on Chipotle’s Page saying that we really enjoy their burritos, and the username leaving the comment would be TechCrunch.

Pages can also ‘Like’ other pages. So, for example, I could steer the TechCrunch page over to Enya’s official fan page and ‘Like’ that, and maybe I’d swing by Google and Apple and ‘Like’ those too. Status updates from each of these pages would then appear in my News Feed (yes, Pages now have a News Feed as well).

When you’re logged in as a Page your notifications window will let you know as people leave comments, and the button that normally displays friend requests will now tell you how many Likes you’ve received since you last signed in. And, in response to what Facebook says has been a highlight requested feature, admins can receive get updates via email as people interact with their Pages.

One other interesting change to the Pages themselves: before now, Facebook didn’t really do anything to sort comments that were being left by other users — they’d just be shown in reverse chronological order. This led to a whole lot of noise, and made the comments mostly useless on popular Pages. Now Facebook is using an algorithm similar to News Feed to sort these comments based on who left them (if you’re friends with someone who left a comment on a Page, you’ll see that on top), how much engagement the comments have received, and whether the comment is left in a language you understand.

Facebook is allowing Page owners to preview the new design for the next four weeks (you can upgrade at any time). On March 10, the change will be mandatory for everyone). And yes, the new features should play nice with Place pages — if you merge a Place page with a normal Page, then the result will include the revamped design and features, in addition to the Place tab (yes, that last bit was confusing).

Some of these changes are pretty significant, particularly the move to expand how much Pages can interact with users and other Pages. I imagine we’ll start seeing some interesting exchanges as brands and celebrities start responding to each others’ posts.

Note that we saw some of these new features briefly in December, when a number of Facebook features went live because of a glitch.

Clients Go Direct to Tech (Ad Week)

Can weeklong trips to Silicon Valley teach old-school marketers new digital tricks?

Colgate-Palmolive, Bacardi, Unilever and Coca-Cola—which have built their global brands largely on the back of traditional advertising platforms—are hoping that they can.

The treks, which involve groups of 20-40 from each company, are arranged by Michael Kassan, CEO of Los Angeles media consultancy MediaLink and a slick operator who never met a conference panel he couldn’t moderate. The marketers visit Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo in search of digital solutions to marketing problems—a clear acknowledgement that today’s digitally savvy consumers are forcing the hands of brands that continue to spend the bulk of their marketing dollars on traditional advertising.

Implied in these tours is skepticism about the depth of digital knowledge and capabilities at ad agencies. Yes, many shops have hired digital gurus, but marketers wonder if these creatives actually know the technology well enough—and are leading edge enough—to move quickly from concept to execution.

A former media agency leader with clients in both the technology and marketing worlds, Kassan books and curates the trips, which cost each marketer hundreds of thousands of dollars and feature group meetings that last three hours each. Brands bring a variety of top-level executives, including CMOs, CEOs and division chiefs.

Unilever, which went first in May 2010, took a group of 20 that included CMO Keith Weed and president of global foods, home and personal care Mike Polk. “The catalyst for going was the broad recognition that we need to stay on the leading edge,” Polk said. “We have had an extraordinarily high payback on the investment in that time.”

During the trip, according to Polk, Unilever inked a deal to become a charter advertiser on Apple’s iAd platform and laid the foundation for a partnership with Facebook. Since then, he added, the company’s category leaders have used digital channels in a “more detailed and informed way.”

He also noted that while “the WPPs and the Omnicoms of this world are all moving fast to build the capabilities out . . . they all have a ways to go.”

The most recent participant, Colgate, brought CEO Ian Cook and 38 other executives to Silicon Valley two weeks ago, a week after Bacardi sent 25, including CEO Seamus McBride. Coca-Cola opted for a meeting at CES in Las Vegas and brought 40 people to it. Months before each trip, the tech giants are briefed on client issues, with the expectation that Facebook, Google and others will present viable solutions—and not boilerplate presentations.

For Kassan, aka Mr. Slipstream, the confabs represent an efficient way to create credibility, even if they come at the expense of his agency brethren. He acknowledged that WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell has accused him of marginalizing agencies, but in some cases, he noted, the traveling clients bring agency leaders with them.

Besides, Kassan merely seems to be exploiting an agency credibility gap that already exists.
Because the meetings are designed to bridge the gap between branding experts and technology geeks, Kassan isn’t planning any reverse trips for techies to visit marketers or agencies. He hinted that he has lined up more major marketers but declined to name them.

Whether these confabs spark substantive new digital initiatives or are just the modern-day version of corporate golf outings remains to be seen. But Unilever, for one, is a believer.

Old and Improved: Relationships That Last for a Century (Advertising Age)

LOS ANGELES ( -- JWT has been on Unilever's roster since 1902, back when William Hesketh Lever was making soap and James Walter Thompson was making ads. But that's not Unilever's oldest relationship -- its work with Lowe & Partners and predecessors dates to 1899.

Flash forward: Unilever, the world's second-largest ad spender, in 2010 was named Advertiser of the Year at Cannes. Keith Weed, Unilever's chief marketing and communications officer, credits these long-term relationships as "part of our success."

In a world where relationship status may be as fleeting as a Facebook fling, lasting partnerships can and do produce winning work.

Unilever is not alone in cultivating remarkably long relationships. Among the world's four largest advertisers, three firms -- Procter & Gamble Co., Unilever and General Motors Co. -- have relationships with major agencies dating to 1922 or earlier.

Here's a look at some of the industry's longest-lived marriages -- relationships that have lasted through mergers, recessions, bankruptcies, management upheaval and the emergence of new media from radio to TV to digital.


Unilever's oldest relationship began with Lever Brothers' 1899 formation of an in-house agency, which evolved into standalone agency Lintas (Lever International Advertising Service). It later became part of Lowe.

Unilever and its agencies take nothing for granted. "The day that we think we have a relationship with Unilever because we always have [had one] is the day we will be in trouble," Tony Wright, Lowe's chairman, is quick to note.

Jagdip Bakshi, JWT's global business director on Unilever, said the marketer has "perhaps the most evolved appraisal system in [the] industry," with a six-month appraisal update and "watershed annual appraisal."

"The appraisal is not just one way," Mr. Bakshi said. "The agency does a reverse appraisal of the client, which is taken very seriously. This sets up a system of checks and balances where both sides have very high stakes in investing in the work and the relationship."

A common thread Ad Age heard in discussions with century-long client-agency partners is that trust and understanding lead to better work.

"What we're trying to do is create advertising that has creativity and innovation on one side," said Unilever's Mr. Weed, "and effectiveness and efficiencies on the other. ... You get the best creativity where there's a level of trust." Mr. Weed added: "You get much-better-quality advice from somebody who knows you well than somebody who doesn't know you well."

Mr. Wright said Lowe's Unilever team includes a diverse mix of account veterans and newer members, ensuring a balance of client knowledge and fresh perspective. What if things aren't working out? Then it may be time to change the people on the agency side or client side, Mr. Weed said, since that is less disruptive than changing an agency.

Unilever does have the ability to shift accounts among its roster of agency companies and networks.

Mr. Weed sees a downside to opening up formal agency reviews. "Pitches are very risky things," he said, because a new agency will put its best foot forward in a review, but might not be able to deliver. "Who's to say the next pasture is greener?"


When BBDO landed General Electric Co. as a client in 1920, radio was new media: The previous year GE had helped form Radio Corp. of America, which went on to launch National Broadcasting Co. Today, BBDO promotes GE with iPhone ads.

GE is a company that never stops reinventing itself -- unloading the toaster division, entering and exiting plastics, buying back RCA and NBC in 1986 and then selling control of NBC in 2011.

Through all the change, BBDO has been a constant: GE has not reviewed the account since hiring the agency.

Paradoxically, this relationship -- and other relationships discussed in this story -- have lasted so long in part because the marketers and agencies have changed so much. Companies and relationships must evolve if they are to survive. John Osborn, president-CEO of BBDO, New York, said GE's focus on innovation means there is never a finish line and no chance for complacency.

"It's the combination of knowing our business, understanding our culture but also not being us -- having an outsider's perspective -- that is incredibly valuable," said Judy Hu, GE's global executive director of advertising and branding.

Don Schneider, executive creative director at BBDO, New York, said the relationship is based on mutual respect built over time.

Ms. Hu said GE has stayed with BBDO because of the strength of its work. She added: "If I didn't think that the agency was the best, I would have no qualms about changing in a second."


Henry Ford employed J. Walter Thompson to sell Model Ts more than a century ago, but that relationship did not last. The automaker rehired JWT in 1943 with good intent ("We trust that the arrangement we made will prove to be mutually satisfactory") but also a caveat ("Ford Motor Co. may at any time terminate the arrangement").

For the past 68 years, Ford has stuck with JWT -- and now a broader WPP agency called Team Detroit -- in good times and bad. Times are good again: Ad Age named Ford its 2010 Marketer of the Year, cars are selling, and 2010 profits were the highest in more than a decade. Team Detroit made Ad Age's 2011 A-List of successful agencies.

WPP created Team Detroit in 2006 as a joint venture of five Ford agencies -- JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Y&R, Wunderman, Mindshare -- WPP had amassed over the years. WPP last year set up a similar Ford agency in Europe (Blue Hive) and is preparing to open Ford hubs in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

Team Detroit President-CEO George Rogers said the concept of a Ford-focused agency was partly about efficiency, but Team Detroit's structure, and common P&L, also means the agency is "100% agnostic" about specific marketing-communications services and media -- TV, social media -- so it can recommend whatever makes sense. "Our business model is perfectly suited for this different, real transformation" going on in communications, he said.

Team Detroit still works for a family company. Henry Ford hired JWT in 1910 and, late in life, in 1943. His great-great granddaughter, Elena Ford, is responsible for implementing Ford's marketing vision globally including the launch of the 2012 Ford Focus. Ford is "not an anonymous name on a logo," Mr. Rogers said.

Team Detroit could hardly be closer to its client: The agency office is across the street from world headquarters, and the landlord is Ford. Said Mr. Rogers: "We have a very long-term lease."


How well does DraftFCB know Sunkist? Don Belding, the B in DraftFCB, was account manager on Sunkist at FCB predecessor shop Lord & Thomas. The agency in 1908 coined the brand name "Sunkist" for its client, the California Fruit Growers Exchange. DraftFCB today acts as a sort of global outsourced marketing department, pitching in on everything from trade shows to sales calls on major retailers.

"It's almost as if they are an extension of our marketing," said Leland Wong, director of marketing at Sunkist Growers. DraftFCB is its agency of record in North America, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

The citrus-growers cooperative, with about 100 employees at its suburban Los Angeles headquarters, is a lean but very global marketer. It draws on the agency network's resources including research, promotional services and translating marketing programs across cultures and languages. Integrated marketing -- the idea behind Interpublic's 2006 merger of ad agency FCB and marketing-services shop Draft -- fits neatly with Sunkist's needs.

Hilary Hamer, DraftFCB senior VP-group management director, said the agency keeps the relationship fresh by adapting to Sunkist's changing needs. For example, the agency is helping launch a retailer-specific marketing program in Japan, with plans to roll out the program to other markets in Asia.

DraftFCB can't take Sunkist for granted. Mr. Wong noted any relationship, whether it be social or business, is tested every day. Sunkist put the account up for review in 1999. The agency kept the business.

How to keep a marriage going? Consider a memo from Fairfax Cone (the C in DraftFCB) in 1967 on the 60th anniversary of the Sunkist relationship:

"Wise advertisers and wise advertising agencies watch for any sign of dissatisfaction, or misunderstanding, on either side, and seek to remedy the trouble by whatever means are necessary. Usually, the difficulty is no more than a matter of incompatibility between certain members of the association, and the shift of one or two of these heals the rift and preserves the marriage that would otherwise flounder and break up."


This relationship is 99 years old, but whether it gets to the century mark is up to ExxonMobil.

The world's largest oil company last fall began a review of global advertising, media and marketing-services accounts, now split among three holding companies: Interpublic (McCann Erickson), Omnicom (DDB, which won Mobil in 1964) and Havas (Euro RSCG, which handles corporate ads). The company didn't respond to a request for comment on the McCann relationship.

It all started when Harrison King McCann joined Standard Oil as head of the advertising department. He hadn't been there long when the Supreme Court in 1911 ordered the breakup of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil empire. Mr. McCann left to open an agency to work for all the newly separated companies. Over time, all oil clients except Jersey Standard (later Exxon) moved to other agencies. H.K. McCann Co. merged with Erickson Co. in 1930.

After Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999, McCann faced off against Mobil's agency, DDB. McCann won the lubricants business (such as Mobil 1); DDB landed the fuels account.

Lee Johnson, McCann's worldwide account director on ExxonMobil, said the agency benefits from its vast institutional knowledge about the client. "McCann Erickson has a very deep empathy with and understanding of the culture of the ExxonMobil company," he said. "To a certain extent, our cultures grew up together."

Mr. Johnson said ExxonMobil values long-term relationships, but he emphasizes McCann should be judged by the quality of work it's doing now. "No one is employing you or keeping you based on history," he said.

In a 1958 Ad Age interview, Harry McCann looked back at the 1912 start of his agency. "We had only newspapers and magazines then. We had no radio or television. Clients did some of their own advertising, and we did some. Today clients are demanding more and more services -- and justifiably."

Friday, 11 February 2011

French Connection and Dove start selling on Facebook (Marketing Week)

French Connection and Dove are the latest brands to let customers buy via Facebook as the social network continues to drive take-up of social commerce.

Fashion brand French Connection is to launch a Facebook store at the end of the month that will allow followers of the clothing retailer’s page to buy items directly from its news feed.

FMCG giant Unilever has also unveiled an ecommerce offering, powered by Amazon, on the US Facebook page for its beauty brand Dove, with a global rollout to follow later this year.

They join fashion brands ASOS and Young British Designers – both of which launched fully transactional Facebook stores last month – as being among the first companies to sell directly to Facebook’s 30m UK users.

French Connection’s store, which will stock a selection of its most popular items, follows last year’s launch of YouTique, its pioneering YouTube store.

It worked with US social commerce firm Milyoni and UK social media agency Punktillio to create the Facebook store, with the former’s platform offering the ability to shop within the news feed.

French Connection’s digital director Jennifer Roebuck said this set it apart from ASOS’s store on the network because people are less likely to actively hunt out brand pages, despite being fans of them.

“I’m a fan of about 300 things on Facebook but I don’t go to their pages proactively, I wait for them to come to me,” she said . “People need to be reminded about a brand.”

But she warned that brands selling via such methods must be careful not to spam fans. “They need to keep posts to a minimum,” she said. “Facebook will become similar to email in that you need to keep it interesting and engaging. You don’t want people to start unsubscribing.”

Sharmita Saha, head of business development and social commerce at Punktillio, said US brands selling within the news feed “positively affects the order rate by four times, compared with going to an external ecommerce site”.

Dove’s Facebook store mirrors that of Max Factor, owned by rival FMCG giant Procter & Gamble, which lets people search for products and add them to a shopping basket in the social network before being directed to Amazon to check-out.

Marshall Manson, EMEA MD of digital at Unilever’s PR agency Edelman, which manages social media activity for Dove, said brands such as Dove, which don’t have the back-end ecommerce platform that ASOS or French Connection do, will increasingly work with third parties, such as Amazon, to help them enter the social commerce space.

“It makes sense to allow users to move directly from a social word-of-mouth recommendation, or from information a brand has shared, to purchase,” said Manson. “From a measurement perspective, it makes it easier for us to connect social activity with business values.”

Some brands are already tracking the sales driven by social media. Tesco Clothing has generated over £2m in sales in the past year as a result of its UK Facebook page.

Tesco worked with social media agency We Are Social to open up its clothing brand to a new audience online, one that wouldn’t usually shop for clothes in a supermarket.

It has tracked its activity on Facebook using vouchers, finding that a campaign called Friday Frenzy resulted in more sales in two hours than it would usually get in a week.

Despite this success, Tesco Clothing online marketing manager Rochelle Symons said launching a social network store was too much of an investment for the brand.

“It’s something we’re considering, and we’ve looked at what ASOS is doing,” she said. “But our budget isn’t enough to build it from scratch.”

Robin Grant, MD of We Are Social, said, “The jury is out for most brands because there isn’t enough data at the moment. It’s an extremely big investment for most brands to make without it being proven.

“With Tesco Clothing we built an engaged community,” he added. “If you can have a conversation with customers, sales will follow. It’s an indirect way of gaining sales, not direct response. It’s about building up the brand, which results in sales in the same way that TV does.”

Research suggests only a small percentage of brands and retailers are starting to experiment with social commerce. Ecommerce company One Iota surveyed all the brands in the IMRG/Hitwise Top 100 and found that, despite 65% having a fan page, only 4% had integrated a shopping function within them. Until ASOS, none allowed users to purchase within the Facebook environment.

Last July, Ebay, one of the world’s biggest ecommerce brands, told New Media Age that the UK market isn’t yet mature enough for social commerce.

Phillip Rinn, director of advertising partnerships at Ebay UK, said British consumers aren’t ready for social commerce, with the auction site instead testing ways in which social media more broadly could fit into a transactional website.

This story first appeared on

Lux named world's best-selling soap bar

Unilever’s iconic Lux soap brand has been named the most popular soap bar in the world, according to a major survey.

Historic roll callThe latest figures from market research company ACNielsen place Lux as the globe’s top-selling soap bar, with fellow Unilever brands Dove in second place and Lifebuoy coming fifth in the poll.

Since its launch in 1924, Lux has been endorsed by some of the world’s most beautiful women, with stars including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot appearing in some of its early advertising. In more recent years, celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Lopez have also fronted Lux campaigns.

Reinventing an iconLong-established as an affordable, luxurious soap brand, Lux has retained its unrivalled popularity by continuing to evolve, embracing consumer trends for new sensual fragrances, colours and textures.

“We have to keep reinventing Lux – just like any beauty icon ­– to ensure we stay at number one,” explains Lux Global Vice President Sze Tian-Poh.

“We are bringing glamour into the world of the Lux consumer by provoking the senses – sight, smell and touch – like never before,” adds Lux Global Brand Director Pilar Calderon. “We want to strengthen the bond with current users while getting lapsed users to reappraise the brand.”

Monday, 7 February 2011

Five steps towards authentic sustainability communications (Guardian Sustainable Business)

In a world of mind-boggling complexity, convoluted interdependencies and interconnectedness it is often hard to know where to begin on developing communications for your business around sustainability. Below I've outlined the key steps of a journey that you can follow to develop campaigns with both credibility and authenticity.

Understand your 'Why?' It is amazing how easily businesses lose sight of their raison d'etre, their purpose. All too often they become utterly distracted by their 'what' – the product or service they provide. Perhaps one of the first fundamental questions we must ask ourselves at the start of any communications process is 'what is our why?'. This may sound like management-speak gobbleydegook, but it's actually your 'why' that people and ultimately customers are interested in, so it's vital that you understand it yourself in order to share it effectively and more widely. There's a great TED talk on The Golden Circles of why, how and what by Simon Sinek.

Know how far you want to go
Do you want your business to be bleeding-edge, leading edge, a cautious follower or a lazy-ass foot-dragging recalcitrant in progressing towards sustainability? It's important to be realistic about the scale of your ambition - are you really going 'beyond petroleum'? Much as we'd all like to not everyone can do a Plan A like M&S and take an authentic step forward to lead debate and become an integrated, trusted and compelling sustainability brand. But that's OK. Knowing thyself and how far you can go over time will ensure you don't end up on wild flights of hopelessly improbable sustainability fantasy. Without doubt these will get you into all sorts of trouble.

Create yourself a vision What is your business going to look like as you plough that long hard muddy furrow to a more sustainable future? What do you hope to practically achieve? At Futerra we've long advocated the power of sizzling visions of a positive sustainable future, for as the slightly hoary old hotdog-flogging saying goes 'When selling the sausage, if you're not selling the 'sizzle', the sound, aroma and sense of anticipation, you're (literally) selling a dead pig'. A great way of galvanising your business around a vision is the crafting of a 'Big Hairy Audacious Goal' (BHAG) that excites, challenges and also scares people (just a little) in the scale and scope of its aspiration. The most famous BHAG of all time was President John F Kennedy's commitment to 'Put a man on the moon by the end of the decade', at which point most of NASA probably spat the dummy and thought 'how in the hell are we going to do that?!'. But they did it. And with less computing power than a modern washing machine. That's the power of a great BHAG. A good recent example of a powerful BHAG is the launch of Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan their stated intention to 'halve the environmental footprint of our products by 2020' is certainly hirsute and daring. Of course they've yet to clarify all the details of how it will be practically achieved – but the point is the grand ambition will now drive both efficiency and innovation right across the business.

Do something Communications are only as credible as the substantive, tangible initiatives that underpin them. Without these activities delivering real change you are putting yourself on an inexorable path to greenwashing. A CSR report is not an action in itself, though the objective, independent audit of business performance and impact they provide is crucial. Nor is a rebrand or a flowery new green logo enough, mentioning no names. Your change programme should embrace both good housekeeping and your core business, or it's simply window dressing whilst stocking the same old same old on the shelves inside the shop.

Communicate honestly So you know your 'why', you've decided how far you want to go, and you've drafted a compelling vision or something slightly bigger, hairier and altogether more audacious, and begun the implementation of your internal sustainability initiatives that will ultimately transform your business. So now you're ready to communicate openly, honestly and with authenticity. And you don't have to broadcast it.Communication via social media is an amazing opportunity to share your aims, experiences and achievements as the values on which it's built: transparency, ethics, innovation and collaboration, align well with those of sustainability itself. Engage your audiences in genuine dialogue and they will tell your authentic story for you. Of course if you want the ultimate advice on how to manage your brand image online then you could do worse than take the advice of Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales: 'Make stuff that doesn't suck'.

Ed Gillespie is Co-Founder of Futerra Sustainability Communications and tweets via @frucool

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Unilever learns a viral lesson from P&G (Brand Republic)

When the chief marketing officer at Unilever (aka the world’s second biggest advertiser) speaks, we are obliged to listen. Indeed, Keith Weed doesn’t disappoint in our inaugural CMO Strategy interview as he makes a startling admission.

I’m not talking about Weed’s revelation that measuring social media’s ROI is ‘a big issue’ for Unilever, or that technology’s impact on marketing is so acute he felt the need to take a delegation of Unilever marketers on a Silicon Valley fact-finding mission last year. (Diageo marketers did exactly the same thing in 2010; hotel rooms in Palo Alto must be at a premium.)

But when Weed says he is ‘inspired’ by Old Spice’s The best your man could smell like’ campaign, from the house of arch rival Procter & Gamble, we know we have reached a new level in the battle for compelling content.

Yet what exactly does ‘content’ mean? The ASA is grappling with this issue as it seeks to police marketing claims on websites. Meanwhile Yahoo believes its content - footie highlights, user-friendly financial updates etc - is now its USP.

For the lazy marketer, content could mean plonking TV ads on YouTube, hoping for the free-media viral effect. Wasn’t Old Spice the most viral of ads in 2010?

It was, but what made Old Spice so viral is not just that it is human, but distinctive, memorable, and above all, funny and therefore the kind of content you want to share.

As Weed acknowledges, if content is treated as a cheap alternative to conventional advertising, it will remain passive and dull. On the other hand, if it captures our imaginations, it has the power of PR, but with the consumer as reporter and editor.

And with that kind of PR comes fame - and therefore, fortune.