Madison Ave Insights

Marketers Predict Trends to Watch in 2014: Insights from Brown Shoe Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Will Smith

Posted in Digital, Marketing, Mobile

Concluding the three part prediction series, I turn to Will Smith, Brown Shoe Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, to get his thoughts on what 2014 holds for the retail industry.

2014 Predictions within the Retail Industry and How They Have the Potential to Affect Marketing and Advertising, with Brown Shoe Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Will Smith.

 

Q
What are your 2014 predictions within the retail industry and how do they have the potential to affect marketing and advertising?
A
One of the biggest trends we need to pay attention to as marketers is the increasingly savvy, mobile customer.  Where customers once got their product information from a newspaper, TV ad, or billboard, today it’s in the palm of their hand.  Mobile is becoming an essential part of Famous Footwear customers’ shopping experience.  They are on-the-go and demand convenience and access to the latest shopping trends as well as savings.  A significant percentage of visits to famous.com come via mobile devices, and we see this only continuing to increase in the future.  To that end, we recently launched a new mobile app that reinforces our goal of creating an “easy-to-shop” experience for our busy customer in our stores and online.

The new app provides our loyalty members instant access to the savings they earn through the Famous Footwear Rewards program.  They can see and redeem the points they’ve earned any time – this is a benefit exclusively for app users. Rewards members can also receive other exclusive offers via the app, gain more opportunities for bonus points, and easily plan and track purchases.

While there are exclusive benefits for Rewards members, Famous Footwear’s app gives all our mobile shoppers easy, convenient access to the shoe styles and brands that fit their lifestyles. As our consumers continue to rely more on their mobile devices, we’ll continue to look at features that will make the shopping experience easier for these busy families.

Bottom line, the customer expectation for immediate, easy access to information is only going to increase and marketers will need to stay on top of, or better yet, ahead of the curve in order to win.

Marketers Predict Trends to Watch in 2014: Insights from LPGA Chief Marketing Officer, Jon Podany

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Mobile

Continuing with predictions on what the rest of 2014 will hold, I turn to Jon Podany, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), to get his thoughts.

The Way The Industry Sees It

2014 Predictions within the Sports Industry and How They Have the Potential to Affect Marketing and Advertising, with LPGA’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jon Podany.

 

Q
What are your 2014 predictions within the sports industry and how do they have the potential to affect marketing and advertising?
A
1) Increasingly global – We are certainly seeing this with the LPGA (we have eight different countries represented in the top fifteen players in the world), but I see it continuing in other sports as well. More games among the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), etc. are being played overseas, there are an increasing proportion of international players in sports, and the distribution of content continues to expand globally. The Sochi Winter Olympics and World Cup in Brazil will further highlight global sports this year.

2) Increasingly mobile – More and more sports content is consumed on mobile devices, whether it’s sports apps, social media or watching sports on mobile devices. Along with this, people are getting their information in shorter information bites (e.g., 140 characters on Twitter).

3) Increasingly user-generated content – Sports teams/leagues continue to seek new ways to tell their own story and produce their own content and are not relying solely on others. It started with NFL Network, MLB Network, and others, and has expanded to Big Ten Network, Pac 12 Network, Longhorn Network, social and digital media, etc. At the LPGA, we have hired a video producer – and may hire another in the coming year – to increase the amount of video content we distribute.

4) Increased focus on game day experiences – Ticket sales and full stadiums are very important to teams/leagues, and it has become increasingly difficult to fill stadiums due to HDTV and competition for people’s time. Sports teams/leagues have to continue to find ways to make game day an experience that is worth paying for (e.g., huge video boards, interactive seat experiences, other entertainment options, etc.).

Q
What’s the coolest thing in your office?
A
As far as the coolest thing in my office, I would have to say it’s a tie between the pictures I have of my wife, and I with Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer. Two the finest gentlemen I’ve ever met and greatest ambassadors the game of golf has ever seen.

 

Marketers Predict Trends to Watch in 2014: Insights from Dunkin’ Brands® President, Global Marketing and Innovation, John Costello

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

It sure didn’t take long for 2014 to shift into high gear.

Little more than two weeks into the New Year, we’re already knee deep in stories with big implications for marketers in the retail sector (charged anything at Target lately?), sports marketing (the ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s suspension for the 2014 season), and the food services industry (with Hershey’s announcement of 3-D printed chocolate).  As Ron Burgundy would say: “That escalated quickly.”

With the news of early 2014 in mind, I reached out to some of the most knowledgeable marketers in those three sectors, and over the course of the next three weeks, I will share with you their predictions about what the rest of 2014 will hold for their industries, and how it might affect marketing and advertising. The series will kick off with John Costello, President of Global Marketing and Innovation for Dunkin’ Brands; followed by Jon Podany, Chief Marketing Officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA); and culminate with Will Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at the Brown Shoe Company. Of course, I couldn’t help asking about the coolest thing in their office, as well.

The Way The Industry Sees It

2014 Predictions within the Food Services Industry and How They Have the Potential to Affect Marketing and Advertising, with Dunkin’ Brands® President, Global Marketing and Innovation, John Costello

 

Q
What are your 2014 predictions within the food services industry and how do they have the potential to affect marketing and advertising?
A
1) The customer is evolving as Millennials, Hispanics, and healthier eaters are all growing in influence, spending, and power and as Baby Boomers move into retirement years.

2) Consumer confidence could improve, but will remain mixed as consumers deal with job insecurity, the complexity of the new health care laws, and concerns about government dysfunction.

3) Traditional meals and eating are giving way to: “I want to eat what I want, when I want, and where I want.”

4) Innovative food at a good value will be more important. People continue to look for interesting and differentiating food choices, but also want good value. Consumers don’t want cheap food; they want great, interesting food at a good value.

5) Consumer engagement is changing as people want to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch, and where they want watch. I think the shifting media landscape will require focus against both old and new media. For example, while new media is booming, TV viewing is up compared to where it was a year ago.

6) Substance will replace hype as social media comes of age and leverages the power of a recommendation by a friend, which is the most powerful marketing tool. At the end of the day that is what social media has the power to harness.

7) Technology is changing the way we engage with consumers and delivers both functionality and value. For example, a mobile app can be used to pay, obtain coupons, find a store, research a product, look-up nutritional information, and share thoughts with friends.

8) Internet retailing will continue to grow as Millennials and Digital Natives begin to exert more buying power. Bricks and mortar stores can continue to thrive and survive by ensuring an in-store experience that is relevant, interesting, and entertaining. We used to go to the store because it was the only place to buy something. Now, we need a reason to go. If retailers give consumers a good reason to go to the store, people will continue to go there.

Q
What’s the coolest thing in your office?
A
The coolest thing in my office is a picture of a thirty-three inch Sea Run trout I caught in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia. A close second is a photo of our senior leadership team and franchisee leaders pushing the buzzer at NASDAQ to launch our IPO in July of 2011.

 

Youth Marketing: How the Founder & CEO of Shop Jeen Builds a Customer Base

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

It seems youth marketing has always been a hot topic in the advertising world. As young people move from the “discovery” phase of their tween years to the “experimental phase” of young adulthood, they shift from being motivators of their parents’ buying habits to influential consumers in their own right. But today that demographic is extremely important. Not only are today’s young people the first true digital natives and harbingers of how digital media will influence how we all interact with brands, but also, as baby boomers age and their $400 billion in annual consumption slows, retail, food, and entertainment companies are counting on millennials to fill the gap.

One marketer that has been particularly successful in tapping the youth market is Erin Yogasundram, the twenty-one year old founder of Shop Jeen, an online boutique that sells everything from dollar packs of Ouija gum to $530 filigree sunglasses. Yogasundram launched Shop Jeen in March of 2012, while she was a junior at George Washington University (GWU). She started out with posting cell phone photos of new products to Instagram and filling orders out of her dorm room. The Instagram feed and the business were such an immediate hit that Yogasundram walked away from the remainder of her full-ride scholarship at GWU and moved to New York City, where Shop Jeen now has three offices, nine employees, and half a million Instagram followers.

The Way I See It

  • I see a retail industry increasingly focused on millennial and youth marketing. As baby boomers age, their $400 billion in annual consumer spending will fade. The world will turn to millennials to make up the difference.
  • I see a demographic increasingly inclined to shop at multi-brand retailers and to do their shopping online.  According to recent research by Piper Jaffray, roughly eighty percent of teens shop online. Piper Jaffray’s research also confirms millennials’ growing reliance on peer recommendations when making buying decisions.
  • I see a social media market in continued flux as young people gravitate toward new platforms; according to the latest semi-annual Pew survey on teens and social media. While Facebook still has the largest number of teen and millennial users and those users have their largest networks on Facebook, the percentage of teens citing it as their most important social network has fallen by half, from forty-two percent in the fall of 2012 to twenty-three percent in the fall of 2013. In that same period, the percentage of teens citing Instagram as their most important network doubled.

The Way the Industry Sees It

 

I sat down with Shop Jeen’s founder, Erin Yogasundram, to discuss her brand and how she uses social media to build a customer base.

 

Q
Where did your initial vision for Shop Jeen come from? What niche or need did you want to fill?
A
I started the company, junior year, in my dorm room at The George Washington University. I had worked a few internships in the fashion industry in high school as well as during my winter and summer breaks in college.  I was working three part time jobs in retail, and one day I thought, I could do this myself.  I have always been an entrepreneur, and for example I sold autographs online when I was twelve and owned a shoelace selling business in high school. While working retail, I found that I had a keen eye for what would sell well.  I was always suggesting new brands for the stores to carry and had an invisible hand in the buying process.  I had about $2,000 saved from working retail and blew it all on a Celine bag (the bag was very rare, and had a wait list process at the time).  I have always been a workaholic and never a bookworm, so I quickly realized I could have used that money to start a new venture for myself.  I then sold the Celine bag for $3,000, yielding a $1,000 profit!  I decided to pool my money into wholesale purchase orders to fund my new venture.  Initially the site was to be a hub for the “best of Etsy.”  Etsy was gaining popularity, but it was very difficult to navigate and find the good stuff.  I used my keen eye, combined that with my researching skills, and I was able to find the cream of the crop on Etsy.  I negotiated wholesale terms with the sellers on there – most of which did not know what wholesale even meant when I approached them – and Shop Jeen was born.  I coded the original website from trial and error CSS writing.  I sold on campus at every event possible.  And I slowly started bringing on more well-known brands to gain traction and reputation in the industry.  Though we do carry some of the same brands as Bloomingdales, Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic, Bergdorf Goodman, Nasty Gal, Spencer’s Gifts, and ASOS, our curation is what makes us unique. So unique, in fact, that those retailers would not normally be mentioned in the same sentence.
Q
What’s your curation process like? How do you decide what makes it on ShopJeen.com, and how have your decisions affected revenue?
A
Our Creative Director, Amelia Muqbel, and I work very closely to decide what products are sold, our marketing strategy, our social media voice, the look of our graphics, etc. Everything Shop Jeen stands for is a true representation of the two of us. Luckily, we somehow managed to find each other in this massive world. We share a very unique sense of style, thought-process, and outlook on the world, which is why we work so well together. I think our cohesive mindset comes across when you visit Shop Jeen.  We approach everything from a different angle than everyone else, and I’d say this has aided our success.  We quickly pull apart “competitors’” strategies and try to do the exact opposite.  It sounds crazy, but it’s been working! A lot of retailers are trying to mimic each other in order to come out on top, but if everyone is doing the same thing, how boring is that going to be for the consumer?

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Changing How We Watch Changes How We Sell

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Media

In just a few short years, DVRs and video-on-demand have dramatically altered how television is watched. In 2006, fewer than two percent of households owned a DVR. Now, more than half do. The use of DVRs has changed along with market-growing penetration. Instead of just being time-shifters, many viewers are effectively becoming collectors, stockpiling so many shows on their DVRs that they don’t have time to watch them all. As a result, they’re also watching shows later, at a time when it’s convenient to them.

As The New York Times reported recently, this fall’s television season saw a surge of viewers watching shows four to seven days after the initial air-date. Broadcasters and cable networks typically base their ad prices on so-called C3 ratings or the amount of viewership over the course of three days of delayed viewing, and view those later impressions as effectively uncompensated.

The Way I See It

  • I see people spending A LOT of time in front of a screen. According to a recent survey from eMarketers, adults in the U.S. spend four hours and thirty-one minutes in front of a television and an additional five hours and sixteen minutes in front of a computer, tablet, or smartphone screen every day.
  • I see some doors opening while others close. While most viewers fast forward through at least some of the commercials on their DVRs and services like Dish’s AutoHop continue to proliferate, many networks are creating apps that allow viewers to easily access their favorite shows on their phones or using dynamic ad insertions to update ads embedded in shows viewers’ access through video-on-demand services.
  • I see a growing integration of TV and social media as viewers use tablets and smartphones to engage with friends or networks while watching TV.
  • I see the very meaning of “watching TV” changing as viewers increasingly access programs from a variety of devices. While televisions still dominate living room viewing, a recent survey by Motorola shows that most bedroom TV viewing now takes place on a tablet.

The Way the Industry Sees It

TargetCast has had great success as an agency helping its clients navigate these churning media waters.  I sat down with Audrey Siegel, TargetCast’s Agency President, to discuss how shifting viewing habits have changed how TV advertising is sold and used.

 

Q
A lot of the discussion around changing viewing habits has been focused on viewers being able to skip or fast-forward through commercials, or view ads later, because of delayed viewing. Are there other, more subtle trends in viewer behavior that are getting overshadowed by these larger issues? If so, do they represent opportunities?
A
It is certainly true that increased consumer control over multiple aspects of their viewing behavior has forever changed the medium at its core.  The ability to time-shift viewing is really the tip of the iceberg.  We must now add to time-shifting the viewer’s ability to platform shift, to actually change the location of their viewing as well as the time in which they view a particular program.  In effect, dayparts are becoming intensely personal; “my primetime” supplants generic primetime.  The language around the nature of the viewing experience – at-home, lean-back, me time – must now recognize mobile as well as multiscreen viewing.  All of this viewing, ultimately, will be wrapped in the cloak of digitized delivery, of both ads and programming, and will open up television advertising opportunities for addressable messaging and dynamic creative versioning.  This ultimately will make our most mass medium most personal, promising greater viewer engagement and potentially greater brand engagement as a result.
Q
How have changes in viewing habits altered our ability to track the effectiveness of the advertising that does get seen? What opportunities does that create?
A
Tracking the effectiveness of TV advertising has long been a promise unfulfilled.  We have settled for surrogates – such as program engagement, ad awareness, and commercial ratings – but in fact have not been able to directly connect television advertising with marketplace effectiveness in the most direct manner.  The increasing digitization of the video medium, as well as the multi-screen nature of program and ad delivery, brings us closer to the realization of effectiveness metrics.  In addition, as we build more complex multi-channel attribution tracking and modeling applications, we will better understand not only the effectiveness of one video channel, (television) but its impact on, and relationship with, other video elements (mobile, online) as well as other messaging channels (search, social).

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

#GivingTuesday, Take Two

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Marketing

As we reported last year, there’s a new entrant into the “holiday days” tradition – #GivingTuesday. The brainchild of New York’s 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the giving season and is celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Participating nonprofits encourage donors to make an online gift on #GivingTuesday and to share stories about their gift and the causes they support on social media, tagging each post with #GivingTuesday. In 2012, the initiative’s first year, #GivingTuesday participants comprising more than 2,500 nonprofits from all fifty states saw more than $10 million in total donations. That’s a forty-six percent increase over online donations on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving the previous year. And the size of the average gift increased by twenty-five percent.  This year, Blackbaud is reporting a 90% increase in donations over last year.  In addition, below I had the chance to discuss this year’s results in length with Henry Timms, Interim Executive Director at 92nd Street Y.

So what led to #GivingTuesday? It started with Black Friday, named because it was the day a store’s profits turned from red to black. As retailers pushed their Black Friday opening hours to before midnight, Thanksgiving itself became Grey Thursday, with Cyber Monday becoming the day shoppers went online to make the purchases they didn’t get to over the long Thanksgiving shopping weekend. And then there’s Super Saturday, the last mad rush of shopping and sales on the Saturday before Christmas. The holiday shopping season can account for as much as forty percent of a retailer’s annual sales. In 2012, shoppers spent almost $60 billion on Black Friday alone.

The Way I See It

  • I see a continuing resurgence of charitable giving since the economic downturn. In 2012, Americans gave more than $316 billion. That’s up three and a half percent from 2011, and the third year of increasing contributions in a row.
  • I see mobile and online giving becoming an increasing part of the philanthropic landscape. Online donations grew by fourteen percent in 2012. That’s four times the rate giving has grown overall.
  • I see social media campaigns being the new wave of peer-to-peer giving, with donors using their social networks to find out about and develop trust in new causes and organizations.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Henry Timms, Interim Executive Director at 92nd Street Y, to discuss the creation of #GivingTuesday and their goals for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.

 

Q
92nd Street Y and the UN Foundation had a sizeable group of “influencers” contributing support and expertise to the project. How did that group come together, and what did the members bring to the table?
A
When we first thought of #GivingTuesday, we reached out to experts in the philanthropy and social media worlds who could help us turn this idea into a successful and constructive initiative.  The notion of “a day for giving back” after Black Friday and Cyber Monday resonated with people immediately, who were really forthcoming with critical pieces of advice that set us on the right course. One big idea came from Matthew Bishop, US Editor and NY Bureau Chief for The Economist, who emphasized the importance of #GivingTuesday being the “opening day of the giving season.” Other suggestions we received early on were incorporating education and toolkits into the campaign, and creating an open-source movement. Our early advisors included my mentor Kathy Calvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation, who has been an extraordinary partner in these efforts and her expertise and digital savvy have been at the heart of getting this to scale.   We also engaged our networks by taking the idea on the road to Chicago, Silicon Valley, and elsewhere. We invited people in those areas to brainstorm, help us shape the concept, and spread the word.
Q
What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome in the launch of #GivingTuesday?
A
We needed resources and amplification. Both of these challenges were met – and overcome – with the help of a tremendous number of people who lent their time and expertise to #GivingTuesday.  In our first year, we launched seventy days before #GivingTuesday, and having enthusiastic and influential ambassadors like the White House and Bill Gates were especially helpful in putting us on the map. In addition, by making the movement open-source, we tried to empower leaders and influencers in their respective fields to take the movement on as their own and spread the word through their networks. The creativity and entrepreneurialism we saw around #GivingTuesday is really inspirational.
Q
How did the results meet with your expectations? What went better than you expected? Or not as well?
A
The results of the campaign remind us how generous people really are. On Wednesday last week, Blackbaud reported online giving was up ninety percent over #GivingTuesday in 2012. Obviously these kinds of results exceeded all of our expectations.  We could not have imagined seeing this kind of impact in the second year of this initiative, and we want to thank the countless people around the world that helped to make “giving back” such a proud start to the giving season. In the United States, 8,500 partners (and a total of 10,000 worldwide) – nonprofit organizations large and small, along with their corporate and business supporters – demonstrated how innovative and entrepreneurial that sector is. The range of partners is also extraordinary – international corporations and nonprofits like Microsoft, Unilever, Care and United Way; local food banks and animal shelters; campaigns in developing countries (in partnership with the UN Development Programme) that celebrated local heroes, including a group in Burundi holding a blood drive.
Q
How has what you learned last year shaped what you’re planning this year?
A
This year, we focused more on being a hub for education. We gathered the best resources and voices across sectors to provide nonprofits, corporations, religious and learning institutions, and families and individuals with a framework for sharing best practices and helping people to come up with innovative ways to raise funds in better, smarter ways. We offered Google hangouts and Facebook Q&A’s, and Google teamed up with Mashable to hold the first-ever Google Hangout-a-Thon on #GivingTuesday, where the individuals who were running campaigns could share their successes and spread the word about their causes.  One of the messages we emphasized this year was the importance of integrating #GivingTuesday into an organization’s overall year-end fundraising campaign.  With more time for organizations to plan, we saw much more of that this year.
Q
How has social media shaped the way people give?
A
Social media is providing a space in which a whole new generation of philanthropists is essentially coming of age.  It’s clear that “sharing” has become part of our culture, and it’s also clear that people are interested in sharing their passion for causes they believe in.  The “#unselfie” is a great example of this.  As you may know, “selfie” was chosen as the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary.  #GivingTuesday turned that idea on its head with the “unselfie,” encouraging people to take photos the share how and why they were supporting the causes they believe in.  More than 7,000 photos with the tag #unselfie were posted around #GivingTuesday on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Facebook.  Social media campaigns like the #unselfie delivered the #GivingTuesday messages that every act of giving helps and you don’t have to be wealthy to give back.
Q
What kind of data are your participants collecting from #GivingTuesday donations, and how are they using it?
A
One kind of data, which came in right after #GivingTuesday last week, was reported by the companies who process online giving, and that data showed huge increases in giving on #GivingTuesday 2013 when compared with #GivingTuesday 2012.  Blackbaud reported a ninety percent increase in giving among the nonprofits using their service, and DonorPerfect reported a one hundred sixty-two percent increase among their clients.  Paypal reported a 99.9 percent increase in total online and mobile charitable donations this year, compared with #GivingTuesday last year. But #GivingTuesday is also about shift in thinking, and we will be gathering data from our partners to tell their stories.  We are collecting photos, videos, and anecdotal evidence that will ultimately provide a picture of the campaigns and initiatives that took place on #GivingTuesday.  We are also monitoring social media for results posted by partners, and for feedback that comes in via social media.  (The hashtag #GivingTuesday was used 269,000 times on December 3 and #GivingTuesday trended on Twitter for a good part of the day.) In addition, we’ll be surveying our partners in the coming months and ultimately sharing that information with them so we can all continue to build on the best, most successful ideas and campaigns.
Q
What’s the most interesting thing in your office?
A
Really, the most interesting thing in my office is the meetings that happen there. We have an incredible team at 92Y, and the way they are re-imagining what our organization can deliver is really inspiring.

The United Kingdom’s Take on Self-Regulation

Posted in Advertising, Regulatory

They had the Beatles, we’ve got the Eagles. They have Big Ben, we have the Washington Monument. There are endless comparisons to make between British institutions and those born in the United States, and things are no different the advertising field. Today, we’re talking specifically about advertising industry self-regulation, which both the United States and United Kingdom got serious about in the latter half of the twentieth century. In 1962, the United Kingdom advertising industry established its Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which adjudicates claims of non-compliance with the British Code of Advertising Practice. Nine years later, the National Advertising Review Council – now known as the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council (ASRC) – was formed in the United States.

Both are non-governmental, industry-funded bodies that self-regulate advertising. And over their similar timelines, they have both matured into respected forces with broadened mandates (both, for instance, are tackling online behavioral advertising) that enjoy near-total industry compliance with their decisions. Of course, they are not identical. While the ASA is something of a “one-stop shop,” the ASRC has established a number of subject-specific investigatory and adjudicatory departments such as the Children’s Advertising Review Unit and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program. Also, the appellate process is substantially different in the United Kingdom, where appeals cannot go forward until an Independent Reviewer agrees to accept them.

But what fun would it be if we did things the same? That would be like tuning in to Breaking Bad and getting Downton Abbey: Albuquerque.

The Way I See It

• I see advertising industry self-regulation since the 1960s as an almost unqualified success, with enormous benefits to the public (in the form of more honest advertisements), advertisers (in access to efficient dispute resolution), and the image of the advertising industry as a whole
• The success of self-regulation has undoubtedly staved off more restrictive legislation that would have been enacted in its absence, giving the industry both here and in the United Kingdom a greater chance to define its own path.
• I see a critical moment on the horizon with the emergence of concerns around mobile advertising and food marketing to children, giving the industry a chance to again prove the value of self-regulation in those areas.

The Way the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Tim Lefroy, CEO of the Advertising Association, an industry forum critical to shaping the self-regulatory scheme in the United Kingdom, to explore the topic further.

 

Q
What are the biggest differences you see between the self-regulatory system in the United Kingdom and United States?
A
We are two nations, divided by different principles and legal systems. You have the First Amendment. In Europe we have the Human Rights Act. In the United Kingdom, where the free exchange of ideas remains highly valued, the reality is somewhere between the two. United States self-regulation ultimately has the Federal Trade Commission as its backstop, but it is administered state-by-state by the Better Business Bureau. Our Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – the investigator and judge – is completely independent and has been for fifty years. The codes are written and updated by industry and are often enshrined in United Kingdom and European legislation. In part due to the lack of a First Amendment, the United Kingdom is more exposed to the whims of politicians where threats to bans or restrict advertising freedoms in lieu of social policy are commonplace.
Q
Is it important for the public to understand that the advertising industry is policing itself, and if so what’s the best way to get that message out?
A
Let’s be honest. Whether it’s Fred Bloggs or John Q. Public, advertising is low-priority for most. Our industries and their output pass most people by, most of the time. But if we want politicians to appreciate how self-regulation in advertising works – for industry and for consumers – we must advertise that fact. The ASA has a mission that advertising in all media is legal, decent, honest, and truthful. Those four words have, over the years, been reinforced through advertising. There is a strong correlation in the United Kingdom between trust and confidence in our system and the ASA being active in promoting legal, decent, honest and truthful advertising. A little advertising for advertising can go a long way.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!

Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference: Demonstrations

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Media

We’re all familiar with the classic product demonstrations in television commercials: who hasn’t seen re-enactments of the super-absorbent paper towel, or the dish detergent that cuts through grease with a single drop?

How do we define a demonstration?  Well, a demonstration is just that: a way for advertisers to show the product functioning as it actually would, as objective “proof” of performance.  As such, it is especially important that demonstrations actually consist of a true and accurate portrayal of the product.  When the FTC began bringing enforcement actions concerning advertising demonstrations in 1959, it encountered cases where products or props had been doctored, enhanced or replaced to achieve the desired performance, and the advertiser had not disclosed any modification.  Even if the product claim itself was not false, the issue was that the demonstration was false.   For example, in the early 1990s, Volvo ran an advertisement which showed a monster truck crushing other cars, except for a Volvo station wagon, in order to show that Volvo vehicles would provide superior safety in a collision.  However, the commercial was produced by weakening the competitor vehicles’ roofs and reinforcing the Volvo’s roof, and then subjecting the Volvo to less severe crushing by the truck – none of which was disclosed to consumers.  Subsequently, the FTC issued a consent order requiring Volvo to stop depicting demonstrations that involved undisclosed mock-ups or material alterations to products.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the post here!

Brand Activation Association Marketing Law Conference – Data and Unfairness

Posted in Advertising, Digital, Mobile

As we interact online, we leave a breadcrumb trail of data – both personally identifiable and anonymized.  This information can be pulled straight from data shared – name, age, or address – or can be extracted from browsing habits and usage patterns.  So what restraints are put in place to stop unchecked collection and use of this data?

One touchstone used by authorities in determining data-related policies and definitions is the concept of “unfairness.”  This term is used prominently in the FTC Act and is part of the fabric of consumer protection in the United States.  In addition, unfairness is being used in policymaking and enforcement efforts to determine what types of data collection, storage or use may be impermissible because conducted or structured in such a way that do not adequately protect consumers from harm.

Peel back the curtains and read the rest of the Q&A here!