comScore, Inc. has released full results from its U.S.-based vCE Charter Study involving online advertising campaigns for 12 premium national advertisers, including Allstate, Chrysler, Discover, E-Trade, General Mills and Sprint, among others. comScore announced the Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) offering in January, and last week signed on Forbes.com as a client.
The comScore study found that, in many cases, a large portion of ad impressions are not delivered according to plan, and that the quality of ad delivery can vary greatly based on a variety of factors, including site, placement, creative and targeting strategy. The study evaluated ad delivery based on a several key dimensions, including whether or not the ads were delivered in-view, to the right audience, in the right geography, in brand safe environments and absent of fraud.
“This is the first study to bring twelve leading marketers together to holistically understand how online advertising is delivered, allowing us to begin to diagnose sources of waste and identify solutions for improving the value that all players in the ecosystem can extract from the digital advertising market,” said Linda Abraham, comScore co-founder and CMO. “Until now, neither side of the industry has had a clear picture of ad delivery, resulting in a lack of confidence in digital’s ability to deliver on its promise as the most measurable advertising medium. The insights from the charter study represent a critical first step to improving the efficiency, efficacy and ultimately the economics of online advertising for all participants.”
Executive Summary of Key vCE Charter Study Findings
The vCE Charter Study includes a variety of detailed findings that shed light on the current state of online ad delivery and its implications for different participants in the online advertising market. Key findings include:
- In-View Rates are Eye-Opening. The study showed that 31% of ads were not in-view, meaning they never had an opportunity to be seen. There was also great variation across sites where the campaigns ran, with in-view rates ranging from 7% to 100% on a given site. This variance illustrates that even for major advertisers making premium buys there is a lot of room for improvement.
- Targeting Audiences Beyond Demographics Can be Powerful. Generally, campaigns that had very basic demographic targeting objectives performed well with regard to hitting those targets. For example, those with an objective of reaching people in a particular broad age range did so with 70% of their impressions. Predictably, as additional demographic variables were added to the targeting criteria (e.g. income + gender), accuracy rates of the ad delivery declined. However, the results also showed that 37% of all impressions were delivered to audiences with behavioral profiles that were relevant to the brand (i.e. consumers with demonstrated interests in categories, such as food, auto or sports). One campaign had 67% of its impressions viewed by the target behavioral segment.
- The Content in Which An Ad Runs Can Create Problems for Any Brand. Of the campaigns analyzed, 72% had at least some impressions that were delivered adjacent to objectionable content—chiefly adult-oriented or “hate sites” (e.g., white supremacist content). While this did not translate to a large number of impressions on an absolute basis (141,000 impressions across 980 domains), it is important to note that 92,000 people were exposed to these impressions. This demonstrates that brand safety should be of concern to all advertisers.
- Fraud is the Elephant in the Digital Room. Fraud is an undeniably large and growing problem in digital advertising. The results showed that an average of 0.16% of impressions across all campaigns was delivered to non-human agents from the IAB spiders & bots list. Although this percentage might appear negligible, there are two important considerations to keep in mind. Only the most basic forms of inappropriate delivery were addressed in this study. When additional, more sophisticated types of fraud are considered, the problem will only get larger. Like brand safety, fraud should be an important concern for all advertisers.
- Digital Ad Economics: The Good Guys Aren’t Necessarily Winning. The study showed that there was little to no correlation between CPM and value being delivered to the advertiser. For example, ad placements with strong in-view rates are not getting higher CPMs than placements with low in-view rates. Similarly, ads that are doing well at delivering to a primary demographic target are not receiving more value than those that are not. In other words, neither ad visibility nor the quality of the audience reached is currently reflected in the economics of digital advertising.
These findings suggest that measuring all dimensions of ad delivery for every placement in a holistic fashion is critical and that optimizing delivery in-flight is a necessary step in the campaign management process. The findings also support the argument that any digital GRP metric must account for validated, not gross impressions. This validated impression measurement must include ‘viewable impressions,’ based on the very simple notion that if an ad is not seen, it cannot possibly deliver its intended effect.
“With 31% of vCE Charter Study impressions not being viewable, it is now abundantly clear just how important in-view measurement is to online campaign validation,” said Abraham. “In order for any digital GRP metric to be relevant in the online space and to be cross-media comparable, it must include validated ‘viewable impressions’ in its calculation. While audience and geographic validation are crucial – and should not be ignored – if a digital campaign rating does not also take into account whether or not the ad had the opportunity to be seen, then the metric fails to deliver a true apples-to-apples comparison to all other media.”
About the vCE Charter Study
To better understand issues associated with display ad delivery and validation, 12 leading marketers participated in a U.S.-based charter study, called the vCE Charter Study. The goal of the study was to quantify the incidence of sub-optimal ad delivery across these key dimensions for the advertised brands, and in so doing, frame the relative importance of each for the industry. Key validation dimensions included: in-view, audience delivery, geographic delivery, brand safety and fraud.
Select Study Participants: Allstate, Chrysler, Discover, E-Trade, Ford, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kimberly Clark, Kraft, and Sprint
Time Period: December 2011
Total Campaigns: 18
Media Placements: 2,975
Site Domains: 380,898
Ad Impressions: 1.8 billion
Format: All ads were display, delivered via iframes
Upfront Digital: Politics, Weather Mashup | Bing Cans Strategists | A “Pinterest for Fashion Brands”
- Political ads alongside weather forecasts? Where better to find local reach for political ads? Cox Digital Solutions has reached an exclusive ad sales agreement with The Weather Channel, reports Media Post. Cox Digital is now the exclusive seller of political advertising across The Weather Channel’s weather.com. Media Post calls the contract part of a larger digital strategy for Cox Digital, similar to one it struck with Yahoo. Beth Lawrence, EVP of ad sales and media solutions for The Weather Channel, explained the attraction by saying that “Local reach is The Weather Channel’s sweet spot [while] political advertising is Cox Digital Solutions’ area of expertise.”
- Microsoft's's Bing may have “Tempered Its Ad Strategy” with two “High-Profile Firings,” reports AdAge Digital. Microsoft last week dismissed two consumer-marketing executives, General Manager Eric Hadley and Director Sean Carver, both of marketing communications. Microsoft cited violations of company policies related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor procurement. These violations included using non-Microsoft-approved vendors, mismanagement surrounding Microsoft’s “Bing Bar” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and unauthorized first-class flights. Ad Age called Hadley and Carver the “bold-face names associated with some of Microsoft's most high-profile marketing,” such as contracts with Jay-Z and LeBron James. Hadley was honored as an Ad Age Media Maven and inducted into the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Hall of Achievement.
- CBS, in an attempt to “boost its share of the nearly billion-dollar fantasy-sports business,” has opened up its CBS Sports website to outside developers for creating fantasy sports apps, reports the Wall Street Journal. Fantasy sports enables participants to assemble teams of pro athletes, then compete based on the players' real-life performance. Most fantasy leagues are hosted by a small group of websites, which includes Yahoo Sports, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com; but has faced growing third-party competition by “mom-and-pop fantasy operators.” CBS Sports executives hope to create a hub for those operators, by enabling them to build products on the CBSSports.com platform; the site will offer both free and paid apps, with CBSSports.com keeping a 30% share of sales.
- Belvedere Vodka on Friday kicked up a Facebook firestorm, reports Adweek, and has since apologized. The company usually runs elegant-looking ads promoting a smooth-vodka lifestyle. Friday’s ad may have depicted a woman falling into some guy’s lap, or may have depicted some guy restraining a woman who was trying to get away (which is how the websphere took it). Adweek reports that Belvedere’s Facebook and Twitter pages were “immediately inundated with howling protests” and the ad disappeared. Saturday at 1:35 ET, Belvedere President Charles Gibb issued a statement on the Facebook page that he personally apologized for the “offensive post,” that he was “investigating the matter to determine how this happened,” and that the company would make a donation to the anti-sexual violence organization RAINN. RAINN’s immediate response (at 1:56 PM Saturday), also on Facebook, was “Nice to see a company that not only undoes its mistake but looks for a way to do good afterwards.”
- Pinterest does not yet take advertisers, but Trendabl may be the answer for brands. Trendable is a new iPhone app, similar to Instagram and Twitter, but tailored to fashion, reports Women’s Wear Daily. Trendabl is a photo-sharing platform on which users either take pictures or upload images from their libraries, and tag by label, price, retail availability. Already on board: Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Barneys New York, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Current/Elliott, Harley Viera-Newton and Brad Goreski.
- Business-to-business publishers use Apple platforms more commonly than Android platforms for digital magazines, reports B2B Online. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) conducted a survey finding that 68% of respondents currently publish for the iPad and 58% for the iPhone: but just 35% of respondents are currently publishing on Android-based tablets and 38% for Android-based phones. The online survey was conducted in February, with 85 publishing executives participating.
- “Comcast's XfinityTV is giving college hoops fans a chance to check out all the Madness in one place,” writes Multichannel News. Comcast has aggregated coverage of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship at http://xfinity.comcast.net/sports/cbk/, where Comcast subscribers can stream games live; this regardless of the network on which a game airs, be it TBS, TNT, TruTV or broadcaster CBS. The microsite also brings in video from ESPN, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, AP and Reuters.
- No word yet on if/how it will work in advertising, but PixyKids, a social network aimed at kids 6-12, has raised $3m in funding, reports SocialTimes. The funding comes from ATA Ventures and angel investors. PixyKids is a new social network focused upon parent-approved entertainment, social interaction and creativity. The site will have a heavy bent toward creativity, offering kids a platform to share their art, photos and videos. CEO Rajul Kadakia has billed it as “Facebook Meets Disney.”
- The CW is “Pushing the boundaries to where its young TV viewers are,” writes Media Post, “as well as helping its TV advertising sponsors,” by releaseing a new mobile app where full episodes of CW shows can be viewed the next day—ads intact. Before, those episodes were available three days after airing. In fact, the most recently aired five episodes are available on the app, which in turn is available for iPad, iPhone and Android. CW is home to “Vampire Diaries,” “Gossip Girl,” “America’s Next Top Model” and “Gossip Girls,” among other properties.
- Rush Limbaugh posted his first tweets yesterday, reports CNBC, with links to two stories that were supportive of him after the recent advertiser boycott. (This after Limbaugh referred to a female birth-control advocate and law student as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”) A bold move, considering the considerable backlash against him on Twitter. Limbaugh created the Twitter account in 2009 but never used it. “There’s an army out there that wants to be mobilized, and so, I figured, use Twitter for it,” he said on his radio show. One story by Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson accused Limbaugh’s opponents of “astroturfing” advertisers. As of Thursday, Limbaugh had more than 100,000 followers.
- eBay has selected Publicis Groupe's Digitas to handle its digital media and digital creative, reports Ad Age. Digitas beat out a trio of finalists, which included Organic and Swirl. The deal does not as yet include social media, and it is unclear if that will be assigned to a different agency. eBay's North American CMO Richelle Parham worked at Digitas for 12 years, finishing as senior VP and general manager at Digitas in 2007.
- The social media source that women trust most is the –alas—ad-unfriendly Pinterest. That according to a survey by BlogHer, as reported in Adweek. When asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81% of American women said they trusted blogs and Pinterest; 73% said they trusted Twitter; and 67% trusted Facebook. By “trust,” BlogHer means making a purchase acting on recommendations from the various sources. Sixty one percent had acted on a blog recommendation, 47% on one from Pinterest. Facebook came in at just 33%, and Twitter, 31%. Because Pinterest is populated with reposts, it is more an indirect marketing outlet than a marketing outlet.
- What makes a campaign go viral? Humor is overrated, suggests David Sable, CEO of Young & Rubicam. He is one of the global judges for the Microsoft Advertising Story Awards. (The awards were conceived to honor truly innovative multiple-screen campaigns.) Sable said on the Microsoft Advertising Blog that his current favorite campaign is Kony 2012, aimed at bringing a former Ugandan warlord to justice. Sable calls it one of the great viral stories of all time, “And it’s a sad story, but it’s a story people wanted to share because [it’s an] important story…we need to be taking people to a place where we’ve moved them. That could be funny…but if we don’t create that story in their head and let them make that story their own, we haven’t done anything.”
- An unhappy user is suing Apple for false advertising, reports BizJournals. Plaintiff Frank Fazio filed a complaint in San Jose, California, claiming that the Siri voice command function on the iPhone 4S does not work as advertised. Part of the complaint reads “When [Fazio] asked Siri for directions to a certain place, or to locate a store, Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer." This may be the first of a spate of such suits. Apple settled last month over the reception problems of the iPhone 4, with a $15 offer or a new wrap-around case that supposedly solves the problem.
- Discovery Communications has penned a digital content licensing deal with Amazon.com, says The Hollywood Reporter. The deal will add series from several networks to Amazon’s Prime Instant Videos streaming service, including shows from TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel. Among the programs covered by the agreement are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Animal Planet’s Whale Wars. Prime Instant Video's total title count now stands at 17,000+ offerings.
- Ad agency BBH is defending itself for its “Homeless Hotspots,” in a Digiday interview. It seemed like a good idea: have homeless people carry around 4G wireless equipment that made them into mobile hotspots, and enable them to accept donations (a suggested $2 for 15 minutes) for WiFi access. Participants from the Austin, Texas Front Steps Shelter wore T-shirts identifying themselves as “homeless hotspots.” Critics saw it as objectifying the homeless. But BBH Labs’ Head of Innovation Saneel Radia compares it to the street newspapers that homeless people sell (e.g., “The Big Issue”), which are generally well accepted by homeless advocates. “When we announced the plan, Mark Horvath (he founded Invisible People) ended up loving the idea and helped us figure out some of the mechanics of the project,” said Radia. The program is still in effect in Austin, but BBH appeared more interested in spearheading the idea, than in owning it or taking it national.
- Helping us make sense of the Yahoo/Facebook battle, paidContent has translated the 10 patents into plain English. You can try to make sense of the gobbledygook like “US Patent 6907566 US Patent 7100111 and US Patent 7373599 Method and system for optimum placement of advertisements on a webpage (Filed 1999, Issued 2005),” but it boils down to “Placing an ad on a webpage based on what users have done before.”
- Fox Digital Studio will debut a 7-episode comedy series on Myspace, reports Adweek. Sponsored by Taco Bell (which will enjoy heavy brand integration), "Let's Big Happy" will star Angela Sarafyan as a music blogger who tries to make it in LA, but ends up being a guerrilla marketing savant for upstart bands. While Myspace appears to be the social network that got clobbered by upstart Facebook, it is the preferred medium of bands and musicians. Myspace in Q2 will launch Myspace TV, which will somehow integrate traditional TV content and the social media experience. As Myspace Entertainment President Roger Mincheff told Adweek, "Imagine watching a football game or a concert or even just a favorite sitcom, yet being able to interact, chat, engage with your friends and really make it a shared social media experience." If successful, Myspace will effectively boil the two-screen experience down to one screen—the computer or mobile device.
- Digiday, which bills itself as “The Authority on Digital Media, Marketing and Advertising,” has taken a chip out of what it calls “Publishing’s Privileged Class.” Digiday’s Josh Sternberg described car-comparison sites as “A magical land in digital publishing where ads sell out, ad networks don’t exist, and advertisers clamor to close deals at high CPMs in an upfront process.” Sternberg interviewed agencies including Digitas, and car sites including Kelley Blue Book. With cost-per-thousand impressions (CPMs) nearing $100, the director of advertising products for Kelley Blue Book justifies the cost with the high returns on the price of an automobile; while Sternberg describes “Don Corleone-type tactics” whereby automakers cannot afford to ignore the comparison sites, else they risk “conquesting”: purposeful promotion by the car site of competitor brands.
- Time has launched a new sports blog, “Keeping Score.” As MediaBistro reports, the blog ismore than stats and scores, “its goal is to tackle all the related controversies and issues.” The site will be edited by Sean Gregory, a Time veteran of 10 years. The new blog will be somewhere between Sports Illustrated and Sports Business Journal in coverage, with the business, economics, culture and politics of sports.
- Toyota has launched a multipronged ad campaign based on the Hasbro boardgame “Life,” “to drive millennial attention to the just-released ‘city’ version of [its] hybrid Prius,” reports AdAge. The campaign will integrate TV spots with spots on YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and other digital outlets. Also in the works: an online car configurator for potential buyers. “Life” may seem like an old chestnut (it was created in 1860), but Saatchi & Saatchi Strategic Planning Director Sara Bamossy told Ad Age that its research shows the 25-35 target market grew up playing the board game, and “life for them is a constant media stream of information”: they’ll welcome the classic board game tie-in with new media. (It will be interesting in a decade to see how car makers market to a generation that grew up on “Angry Birds.”)
Ever heard of Ser Padres magazine?
Probably not. But you should. It featured what was perhaps the most effective single magazine advertisement of 2011, for cleaning products, and from Target Stores. In Spanish.
Michal Galin, who is executive vice president of research at GfK MRI Starch (which measures print-ad effectiveness) clocked the 10 most effective magazine ads of 2011 in an AdAge column. Not only weren’t the products particularly sexy, but they “”were not necessarily the ones with the most expensive creative or the highest media spend,” wrote Galin. The ads included coupons, M&Ms, detergents, iPads and travel apps. Sure, there were two attractive women, but not appealing to male consumers. One flat-stomached model advertised Skechers fitness shoes, and another Oil of Olay bath products, but in health-and-wellness journals with largely women readerships.
GfK MRI's Starch Advertising Research division studied a whopping 87,000 one-page and two-page print ads that appeared in consumer magazines in the calendar year, 2011. The company developed an "Engagement Score" compiled of the percentage of readers who read a particular ad, and those who took any action because of the ad. The 10 best-in-category ads had not only “stopping power,” said Galin, but also elicited a response like visiting the website; clipping the in-ad coupon; recommending or buying the product.
What they did do was choose their outlets carefully, then create a strong connection with the buyer. For example, an Xbox "Halo" ad appeared in the Official Xbox Magazine, and an American Airlines ad in American Way magazine. These advertisers took no chances, they chose magazines in which they have a built-in appeal to readers.
Tied for first place: a Spanish-language ad in the publication Ser Padres; and an ad for the WWE SummerSlam professional wrestling event in (not surprisingly) WWE Magazine.
The appeal of wrestling is obvious, and the readership guaranteed to be engaged —but just what is Ser Padres?
It is a Meredith publication, and the Spanish-language version of Parents magazine, published since 1990. “Ser Padres' goal is to be the primary source of inspiration and information on family, home and health,” says its marketing materials. Why this is remarkable is that a WWE event in a WWE magazine is practically guaranteed engagement. Cleaning products in Ser Padres must compete with clothing to medications to financial services and insurance has a harder time competing for attention.
Two ads, for Bed Bath & Beyond, and by Walmart for NatureMade vitamins, offered clippable coupons. NatureMade ads appeared in the health-and-wellness magazine All You, while the Bed, Bath & Beyond ad appeared in the May issue of Better Homes & Gardens.
“Either there's something wrong with the methodology here, or magazine advertising is even worse than I thought,” grumped co-founder Wayne Best of Cog NYC, a creative agency. “This is one of the worst collections of ads I've seen. If they were effective it was the coupons or the products themselves, not the job the agencies did.”
Best is right in that the ads (and their buyers) are risk-averse and playing it safe. Of course, young mothers are interested in keeping clean homes, and of course, a 20-year-old gamer who reads Official Xbox Magazine might be interested in the game “Combat Evolved Anniversary.” But with consumer ad pages and newsstand sales on the decline—largely because consumers are having a hard time coughing up the $2 to $5 dollars it takes to buy the magazines—it is simply good business sense to play it safe.
If it proves nothing else, Ford Motor Company’s venture into reality TV proves that at least one U.S. auto maker has money to spend. Ford is teaming up with NBC and an eight-time Emmy -winning reality producer for “Escape Routes,” a prime-time show that will air on Saturday nights on NBC and mun2 beginning March 31.
“Escape Routes” is a broadcast/interactive mashup, that features a cast of six teams of two participating in a road-trip competition with real-world challenges, all the while driving the new Ford Escape.
The Car Connection describes Ford as “not your typical automaker—especially when it comes to media onslaughts.” Car Connection credits Ford with choosing alternatives to splashy trade-show reveals, and with building excitement and anticipation for a new vehicle’s arrival. "Escape Routes" will run for six conescutive weeks and wrap in May, just as the new Escape arrives in dealerships.
“Escape Routes” will air for six consecutive episodes, and will be hosted by reality TV personality Rossi Morreale who has hosted “a variety of network and cable TV programs” (all short lived—do you remember “Belly of the Beast?” “Celebrity Drive-By?” “Temptation?”). The show airs Saturday evenings at 8 P.M./ET on NBC and will also air on mun2, bicultural cable network for young Latino Americans, Saturday nights at 11 P.M./ET. This is the first time Ford will air a series using both a general market broadcast and bilingual cable network.
“Escape Routes” bears some resemblance to the 11-year-old “The Amazing Race,” which is no accident. It is produced by eight-time Emmy Award-winning producer Elise Doganieri, who is also behind “The Amazing Race.” She says of the interactive element, it is “designed to engage viewers throughout the show and encourage them to participate in the challenges…the real-time twist where consumers have the ability to follow their favorite team in the digital space.”
“Escape Routes” pits the six two-person teams (the usual mix of 18-30 year-old hipsters, boffins, model-types and brother/sister teams) against one another in real-world challenges as they arrive in a new city in each episode. The journey begins in Los Angeles before heading to New York, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco and Las Vegas/L.A. At each stop, the teams will engage with online followers and “tap into the fabric of the local culture.” Viewers will be able to interact with and compete alongside the six teams throughout their adventures at escaperoutes.com. “Not only will viewers be able to follow along in real time, but followers will have the ability to impact the outcome of the game,” said Donagieri. Fans will be able to talk to the cast, Rossi and the Ford and NBC team behind the program on March 8 at 3:30 P.M. EST via a Google Hangout.
It will be interesting to see how NBC treats the show if it tanks in the ratings. As a prime time infomercial, it is likely to complete its six-show cycle regardless of its ratings draw.
Sex may sell in advertising, but so do black eyes, cold sores, and suppurating ulcers from meth injections and cancer-riddled lungs.
New research from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals that stern warnings about sun damage and fungal spread, for example, are not enough to motivate consumers. In order to work best, ads also have to “disgust and gross us out.”
“Fear creates uncertainty and insecurity over what to do, but disgust gives us a very strong impulse to avoid and distance ourselves from the item or situation as quickly as possible,” explains W. P. Carey School of Business Marketing Professor Andrea Morales, lead author of the work. “When you add a disgusting message or image to an advertisement, it can significantly increase the ad’s effectiveness.”
The new research from Morales and her colleagues, called "How Disgust Enhances the Effectiveness of Fear Appeals," was just posted online by the Journal of Marketing Research. It points to successful, disgusting campaigns, such as one by the New York City Department of Health that centered on images of soda turning into gobs of fat. Department officials say sugar-rich beverage consumption in the area dropped by 12% after the campaign. Other popular advertisements in the disgusting category include the ads for the antifungal medication Lamisil, featuring “Digger the Dermatophyte,” a pus-colored rat-like creature which lifts a toenail and climbs under it. Other examples are a pain-medication ad featuring a pair of feet covered in fire ants, and an anti-smoking matchbook with graphic images of decayed, blackened teeth. A new series Febreze campaign shows blindfolded people in filthy rooms, but smelling pleasant odors thanks to the spray.
“Disgust dramatically enhances persuasion and compliance above and beyond just fear appeals,” says Morales. “You have to go beyond scare tactics to produce a strong and immediate avoidance reaction or a change in behavior. For example, disgust is especially good at motivating people toward losing weight, quitting smoking or changing another behavior to improve their health.”
In particular, the research discusses a real ad campaign in Britain that showed graphic images linking cigarettes with fat-filled arteries. The 2004 campaign by the British Heart Foundation and the local Department of Health was so successful that the United Kingdom’s government is planning to print these pictorial-warning images on all tobacco products sold in the U.K.
In a series of five experiments, the researchers repeatedly found the same thing. When people looked at ads with neutral messages or those simply meant to induce fear, they didn’t work as well as those using disgust.
For example, 155 undergraduate students looked at various versions of a real anti-meth ad with the same words and format, but different, altered images. The version with a teen whose face was covered in open sores was found to be much more effective than the versions with a picture of a coffin or two teens sitting side by side. The coffin, while scary, didn’t portray an immediate, imminent, disgusting threat.
Another experiment involved showing participants a sunscreen ad with identical images, but different text in each case. The most persuasive version talked about “open sores that crust and do not heal for weeks,” “scaly red patches” and “wart-like growths that ooze and bleed.” The reaction to it was far more significant than a neutral ad version and one that simply talked about “a severe sunburn” and the “possibility of heat stroke.”
But - No Gross-Out Tobacco Packaging
The W.P. Carey research was released just one day before tobacco-companies successfully sidestepped a "gross-out mandate." As CNN reports, Federal Judge Richard Leon in a 19-page ruling struck down the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The act would require tobacco companies to place graphic images (of diseased lungs, diseased gums, etc.) on their products warning of the dangers of smoking. "Unfortunately, because Congress did not consider the First Amendment implications of this legislation, it did not concern itself with how the regulations could be narrowly tailored to avoid unintentionally compelling commercial speech," ruled Leon.
The act would have required tobacco companies to rotate nine written warnings on their packaging and ads, such as "Cigarettes are addictive" and "Tobacco smoke causes harm to children." The messages wouldl include alternating and graphic images, including diseased lungs and gums and a corpse. A group of tobacco companies, chief among them R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard, appealed the act, complaining that the warnings would be cost prohibitive and damage promotion of their product.
TED (Technology, Education, Design), the non-profit dedicated to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” has announced the winners of its second Ads Worth Spreading initiative on the opening day of TED2012 in Long Beach, CA. This year's 10 winners were “carefully curated to shine a spotlight on ads which break the mold through longer-form, idea-based storytelling.”
Interestingly, and as Adweek observes, the ads generally push beyond the 30-second mark, and frequently appear online rather than on television. Entries ranged from 30-second spots to 5-minute mini-documentaries, as well as several custom-made pieces humanizing companies and causes.
The Ads Worth Spreading challenge attracted entries from 39 countries, and is designed to recognize intelligence in advertising and and reward “the kind of ads that inspire people to watch, learn and share,” said the company in a release. "We sought out ads that were driven by ideas," said TED Curator Chris Anderson. "At TED, we've seen the power of imagination and innovation. We want to reward companies that have invested in longer-form, beautifully crafted campaigns that value human attention and intelligence, and take the time to tell a thought-provoking story."
The ideas are at times downright strange. For example, the “Rethink Breast Cancer” spot by john st. Toronto features self proclaimed “hot guys” demonstrating breast-cancer self exams—the premise being, “Women are more likely to watch a video if it features a hot guy.” The L’Oreal Paris spot features athlete/model/actor/activist, and dual-prosthetics wearer Aimee Mullins, pushing L’Oreal’s message “Because you’re worth it” beyond its “spend on yourself” origins.
For this year's challenge, and in addition to accepting entries via YouTube from agencies and marketers, TED called upon 25 industry Advocates and six Nomination Teams to seek out compelling ads in six specific categories: Talk, Social Good, Cultural Compass, Creative Wonder, Brand Bravery, and Storytelling.
As Ronda Carnegie, Head of Global Partnerships at TED described, "This year's winners spanned across many categories, drawing from culture, technology and brand expertise. L'Oreal confronted the definition of beauty in a talk, Prudential exhibited powerful storytelling, and Chipotle raised the bar with its creative animation that beautifully communicates their message."
Next year, TED pledges to further evolve the Ads Worth Spreading challenge and engage in deep one-on-one conversation with the global advertising community to share what the organization has learned. Additionally, TED will open up TED.com as an incubation platform for testing and launching great creative.
TED solicited entries for this challenge via a channel on YouTube.com. The judging system for Ads Worth Spreading was hosted by AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers) and Zester. Ads Worth Spreading was also supported by Contagious Magazine, 4A's, IAB, IAA, Art Directors Club, and the Advertising Club of New York.
Out-of-home advertising revenue rose 4% in 2011 over 2010, to reach $6.4 billion, says the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). That increase was consistent for each quarter of the year with total growth up 3.0% in the fourth quarter.
This comes as a bit of a surprise. As Media Life observed, when media think tank Kantar Media releases its final tallies for 2011 in March, out-of-home “will probably be the fourth-fastest-growing category, behind Spanish-language media, cable TV and the internet.” Out-of-home or OOH advertising at 4% significantly outpaced the 1.5% growth pace of overall advertising through the first three quarters of the year. It is also well ahead of radio, the only other media to announce full-year results so far, and which was up 1% in 2011.
Out-of-home advertisements come in the categories of 1) billboards, which includes posters, 2) street furniture like bus benches and kiosks, 3) transit like bus exteriors, and 4) alternative, a catch-all category that encompasses skywriting, blimps, cartons and cups and dry cleaning bags, among others.
“Out-of-home performed well last year,” said OAAA President & CEO Nancy Fletcher. “More brands are recognizing the value out of home advertising can add to a strategic media plan.”
Several industry categories performed well all year, most notably the Schools, Camps & Seminars sector, which was up 22.4% for the year. Other notable growth categories were Media & Advertising; Financial; and Miscellaneous Services & Amusements, which is comprised mainly of local brands. The Communications category flattened in 2011 after a decrease in the fourth quarter.
Four of the top five advertisers increasing out-of-home media spend last year were financial brands; namely Chase, Prudential, JP Morgan, and Citi. Five of the top 20 advertisers increasing out of home spend were in the Media & Advertising category.
“Out-of-home advertising outpaced the overall ad business and other local media last year,” said Stephen Freitas, OAAA Chief Marketing Officer. “The industry has grown steadily for the past seven quarters, and that growth trend is expected to remain strong.”
OAAA issues full industry pro forma revenue estimates that include, but are not limited to, Miller Kaplan and Kantar Media (which is not adjusted to reflect changes in data sources), and member company affidavits. Revenue estimates include billboard, street furniture, transit, and alternative media, as well as digital platforms for advertising spend.