Saturday, November 20, 2021

dentsu 2022 Media Trends

  Our new 2022 Trends report has been published - all about how we are transitioning to a 'new normal' as we move through the pandemic.  

See the deck on Slideshare below - 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Carat's Trends for 2021

 Our new trends report:  12 trends to help navigate the next few years, including 


The Donut Problem

The Great Divide,


The Decade of Paid

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Amazon Alexa in your car & in your life

Like many people I struggle with the usefulness of smart speakers.  In fact I generally keep mine unplugged.

But it could be a lot more useful if it were able to -

Prompt you to confirm things (synching with your calendar)

Make suggestions

Make payments

& more. 

You can see examples of all of these in this video, and all are features that are coming soon (or maybe here now).

You still need to remember specific commands - for example 'Alexa, how is the traffic on the way to Gary's office?', but it is getting more natural.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Carat's 10 Trends for 2020

Here is our annual trends presentation - looking at what is happening in media and technology, and its implications for our clients and the industry.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Instagram Threads - Social Media Gets Darker

Instagram has just launched Threads, a camera-first messaging app.  It's a stand-alone app, but uses your Instagram contact list.

Instagram has been moving away from completely open sharing for a while - Stories delete by default after 24 hours, and Close Friends, launched last year, enable you to choose whether to share a post with all followers (e.g. including your auntie), or to a smaller circle of friends. 

Threads is is camera-first, as opposed to WhatsApp, which is text first.  Not surprisingly Snap’s share price dipped on this news. 

It’s another example, with Facebook groups, and local networks like Nextdoor, of how social media is evolving into a less open, less public set of tools. 

A big theme for the year ahead, I think.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Voice and Commerce - Keep it immediate

What if we're getting smart speakers and shopping wrong?

I've read a lot in recent years about the hopes for shopping on smart speakers like Amazon Echo - lots of different attempts to get people to order free samples, to put things into their shopping baskets, and to say phrases to get discounts at checkout.

But what if we've been thinking about it in the wrong way?

Two recent stories from the hospitality industry point in a different direction.

First, Starbucks has done a partnership with Alibaba in China to let people make delivery orders on the smart speakers, integrated with Alibaba's food delivery service.  Basically 'bring me a coffee'

Second, McDonalds has bought a speech tech company, Apprente, which automates voice ordering in multiple lauguages.  They already use this in some drive-ins, to automate the process.  Again, this is essentially 'I want a Big Mac & Fries'.

I think that this is a much more compelling use than 'add to my basket'.

(Thanks for reminding me to keep updating my blog, Scott!)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Three Favourites from Cannes Lions 2019

I didn't go to Cannes this year, but I watched it on Twitter, on YouTube, though emails and in dispatches from colleagues.

You miss the meetings and the networking, but you can still learn lots from afar.  It can look like a giant party (too many people post pictures from yachts), but it's great for networking, and Cannes' compact size means that you can arrange lots of meetings in and easily walk between them in 15 minutes.

My issue with the awards - and I suspect that this is a general image problem Cannes has, given the meme above - is that lots of the allegedly effective work seems to have been pretty unknown before someone turned it into an awards case study.  Other things were quite widely known, but weren't known to be ads (the VW work below is a classic; I'd seen the video many times but it had never occurred to me that it was an ad, and the car is about the least interesting element.  You certainly can't attribute an 11.8% increased in market share to the viral clip.  DHOTYA as someone might say.  See discussion by me and others surprised to hear that it was an ad here.

But anyway.

There were things I really liked, and here are 3 -

Tampon Book - see top of the post - A campaign that created a book as packaging for tampons, based on the injustice that books are taxed less than sanitary products in Germany, so this packaging would both reduce their price and start a debate about the tax laws.

Distracted Goalkeeper - One of those 'it wouldn't work here' cases where more liberal media laws let brands do crazy things in other countries.  Assuming that it is totally genuine, and that the reason the keeper was on this phone before the match didn't leak before the reveal, this was a great idea, and must have been a real shock for football fans.

The Last Ever Issue - Another social impact case study, and another great idea.  Men's magazines have generally lost lots of readership and must (mostly) be losing lots of money.  It was a great idea to buy one from the publishers (complete with its social feeds) and fill the last ever issue with content promoting equality and respect for women.  I don't really buy that this would get the message to men who bought the magazine, as men generally browse before buying and would not have bought that issue, but it was a great stunt, and guaranteed to get lots of press coverage.

Oh - one more - but no video for this one.  Monty's Wicket Warning was a piece of work for Foxtel, the Australian pay TV channel.  They worked with Google to produce an AI tool that could predict when a wicket was likely to fall in a cricket tournament 5 minutes in advance.  They could then produce dynamic ads that they could send to phones and digital screens to get people to switch on.  Very clever!

So - lots of good stuff at Cannes, but you need to see lots to find the good stuff. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Nike in Fortnite

A new partnership brings Nike to Fortnite - players can download skins with exclusive Nike sneakers - a sneaker drop in the game, if you like!

In the spirit of 'nothing is new', it's worth pointing out that both adidas & Reebok were doing this in SecondLife in 2006!

Thursday, April 04, 2019

The Perils of Voice Controls and the Smart Home

A very funny couple of ads for Rema 1000, a Norwegian retail chain!

(Not sure that it's really selling the retail chain, to be honest...)

Monday, March 25, 2019

BK - Burn up a rival's ads in AR

Love this from Burger King in Brazil!

Great use of augmented reality - probably the most playful I've seen by a brand in their own app.  & you get a voucher at the end of it, so they can monitor impact.  Looking forward to seeing the Cannes case study video!

More here

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Shopping on Instagram

I've been telling people for ages that we'll soon be able to buy directly from Instagram, and today they announced an initial trial in the US.

The friction involved in shopping from social platforms has always seemed a bit artificial - why can't it be as easy as on Amazon?  Now Instagram is making it much easier, letting people shop within the app by putting in payment and delivery details

This video shows how it will work: 

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Bandersnatch Stunt at Old Street Station

This is probably the most analogue thing that I have written about on this blog, but it's a great example of creating something physical designed to go viral.

Netflix has taken over one of the pop-up shops in the tunnels under Old Street roundabout, near the entrance to Old Street tube station, to create a fake shop, Tuckers Newsagent and Games, named after Tuckersoft, the video games company in the Bandersnatch 'choose your own adventure' episode.

(Apparently there is one in Birmingham too).

The store doesn't open (as far as I know) but people have been peering through the windows and taking photos and sharing them on social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram.

They've had a lot of fun kitting out the store, including lots of posters for fake video games, and even fake VHS tapes for some of the other Black Mirror episodes, including San Junipero and Nosedive.

There is also a big billboard for Bandersnatch in the tunnels, but obviously this is getting far more attention.  According to the site of pop-up shop hire company Appear Here, the shop would cost something like £250 a day to hire - so if they have taken it out for twelve days or so (for set-up, take down etc) it would have only cost £3,000, a very effective media cost given the amount of buzz that it has created!

I thought that the show itself was good, but not great.  It was lots of fun at the beginning, but then it descended a bit too much into horror for me (yes, I have seen all the other Black Mirror episodes, so I did know what to expect...).  But I loved the 80s references, including John Menzies, and the 'Hobbit' game, plus the re-created WHSmiths store that he buys music in, and I loved the jokes with the format, like the 'Fuck Yeah' choice when he is in the doctor's office.

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