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Four media strategies that emerge from world’s top 100 media campaigns

Media 100, the recently released WARC report, analyses the world’s top marketing campaigns and highlights media strategies imbibed by global brands

WARC recently rolled out a report that uncovers trends from the world's most-awarded media strategies, and brings together insights and opinion from the creators of these award-winning ideas. It is based on the WARC Media 100, an annual ranking of campaigns based on their performance in media competitions from around the world.

Making use of location data, the importance of collaboration between agencies, utilising unexpected media placements to gain attention and innovations of out-of-homes are the four key themes that emerge from WARC’s analysis of the world's top campaigns for media excellence.

Location data

Data is now a universal currency, so it’s not how much one has got that’s the issue, but how one uses it. The increasing sophistication of campaigns that use geographic data and targeting, and the seamless integration of those data sets, stands out as a key differentiator.

Canada's VIA Rail 'Data vs Car' campaign (ranked No. 2) created a highly personal and impactful message by using real-time customisation to target individual drivers, generating 11.7% uplift in train ridership. 'Hijacking the Largest Shopping Festival in the World' (ranked No. 12) for global clothing brand Uniqlo, drove foot traffic to its stores in China on Singles' Day through the combination of online and offline purchase data.

Amrita Randhawa, CEO, Mindshare APAC and Executive Chair, Mindshare Greater China, said, "This year's WARC Media 100 rankings inspire not just because they use data well, but because they use it in a complex, layered, thoughtful way that focuses on the consumer experience."

Similarly, Spotify demonstrates that data makes for great entertainment, and Argos shows that by constantly refreshing your data, you can keep people engaged over a long-term campaign.

Importance of collaboration between agencies

The campaigns in the Media 100 demonstrate that combining media, creative and PR right from the start help improve the chances of good results; but equally, each campaign has to find its own unique way of making collaboration work. Mediacom worked with various agencies from the start for its Gillette campaign 'I Don't Roll on Shabbos' (ranked No. 1) to boost its deodorant sales in Israel. The success of 'The Awesome is Here' campaign for Mexican beer brand Cerveza Victoria (ranked No. 3), involved working with government agencies and other bodies to improve discrimination rules.

Matthew Mee, Global Chief Strategy Officer at MediaCom, said, "Inclusion around great ideas often means working far beyond the immediate club of advertising capabilities and event technology partners, and that requires a different approach."

Unlocking new campaign strategies for maximum impact

Brands can't just buy eyeballs, they have to work hard to earn consumers' attention, and they are using unexpected media placements to deliver complex, multi-channel activations that harness the interplay between advertising and culture.

The Media 100 ranking includes a number of campaigns that use unorthodox media placement to generate attention.

'Dundee - The Son of a Legend Returns Home' campaign for Tourism Australia (ranked No. 9) launched a fake Dundee film to make Australia top-of-mind for high-value US travellers. For 'Batman Barges In' (ranked No. 23), entertainment giant Warner Bros high jacked UK's TV Channel 4 to engage with a new market segment to promote its Lego Batman Movie.

Procter & Gamble kept viewers guessing whether or not they were looking at a Tide ad, and Gillette surprised Orthodox Jewish worshippers on the Sabbath.

Chris Colter, Strategy Director, UM Sydney, said, "This year's WARC Media 100 reveals brands are increasingly ditching tired and predictable conventions, and injecting themselves in new contexts to seize attention. Whilst not a new strategy, it's the sophistication in which brands are activating this that poises them to win."

Out-of-home is innovating fast in response to digital competition

Far from being left behind in the rush to digital, out-of-home has found a new lease of life as it adapts to the shifting media landscape. Outdoor media owners are proving their creative credentials and pushing boundaries to work with marketers and agencies and help them showcase brands in ever more unusual ways. That might be through reactive, data-driven campaigns like Data vs. Car and the Highway Gallery for Louvre Abu Dhabi or physically rebuilding billboards for O2's Oops, Volkswagen's Rammed with Confidence, and Netflix's Altered Carbon.

These campaigns prove that out-of-home is successfully using its scale and impact to divert consumers’ attention away from their screens. Executive summary – continued the best ideas rarely happen in isolation, but collaboration with others isn’t easy – there is no magic formula to make it happen.

Click here to view full report.

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