Snapchat soon to be an ad-fest

August 20th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

snapchat 300x300 Snapchat soon to be an ad festSnapchat is about to change the way it does things. Soon enough, you’ll be seeing ephemeral adverts, news and videos from brands, as well as the usual 5 second shots of people’s penises and boring videos of cats.

The company is working on a new service called Snapchat Discovery that will show ‘branded content’ to users.

It’ll inevitably end up with a bunch of people complaining about it on Twitter.

Apparently: “The product would let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen, like they do with photos and other messages on the app before disappearing.”

Of course, Snapchat need to make some money on their popular app and have gone to the people who like spending cash the most – advertising companies. Snapchat turned down a huge bid from Facebook who tried to take over it, and since Snapchat refused all offers, pretty much all messenger services decided that it’d be easier and cheaper to simply copy Snapchat’s product.

Snapchat Discovery looks like it’ll see the light of day in November, just in time for everyone to get swamped with Christmas adverts and the like.

ditto pic 300x219 Tumblr and Ditto: stalking your photos for brandsIn ‘web-stalking brand awareness reach’ news, Tumblr have teamed up with Ditto Labs. Ditto analyse photos posted on social media, and scan them for any brand-related data.

Basically anything can be deemed as data, from a brand of drink being drunkenly held aloft, to a sportswear label seen on a garment.

Apparently this deal will give advertisers the chance to see how they’re being perceived.

It’s a new way of research without badgering you on the street or filling in a form, but still feels a little stalkery.

But the futuristically named T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr, stated: “If Coke wants to understand the nature of the conversation we can sift through and deliver it to Coke.”

He ominously added “Right now, we’re not planning to do anything ad-related.”

Yeah right. Either way, looks like Yahoo!, who bought Tumblr, are finally throwing a bit of weight around in a bid to start making more money on the blogging portal.

Volvic get the decorators in

August 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Everyone! Volvic is having a redesign!

The Danone owned company have unveiled a new look for its complete range of water fluids and because water needs advertising, it will be relaunched with a £1 million pound campaign across press, TV and online.

volvic 459x500 Volvic get the decorators in

The blue labelling has now been abandoned in favour of a more pleasing green redrawn volcano.

It is said the redesign will help distinguish Volvic from the rest of the water market. And taps.

Alastair Strang, who is all brand lead for Volvic said, “We are thrilled to be bringing this new look for Volvic to British consumers. Consumer testing has shown us that this fresh new look differentiates Volvic from its competitors and has a much stronger stand-out on shelf.”

It’s all a bit Peckham Spring water to us.

2007 mad men 005 200x300 Virgin media ad banned for ‘misleading’ customers over potential savingsWe all know advertising is supposed to make you want to buy stuff, but we have a reasonable expectation that the adverts we are subjected to are not a bunch of outright lies. That’s what the Advertising Standards Agency is there for,right?

However, just because businesses can’t lie, doesn’t mean they aren’t found guilty of stretching the truth a little bit. Strictly speaking, you might consider it lying but the ASA calls it ‘misleading’. A new ruling from the ASA has just banned  a Virgin Media advert claiming that Sky customers could save over £400 a year by switching, when chances are, they actually couldn’t.

A regional press ad for Virgin Media Ltd compared Sky’s ‘The Family Bundle’ with Virgin Media’s ‘Premiere Collection’.  The ‘receipts’ shown in the advert listed the features and monthly total price of the respective packages. Sky’s Family Bundle was priced at £103.65 and Virgin Media’s Premier Collection at £67.99. The advert stated an “Annual saving with Virgin Media £427.92″.

The problem was not, actually, with the facts- while Virgin had handily included the cost of BT Sport, which is actually paid to BT rather than Sky- Virgin maintained that 100% of Sky customers who took the exact combination of services set out would achieve the claimed saving. Nor was this disputed by the ASA. Virgin also claimed that the trifling detail of the exact amount of consumers holding this particular combination of services did not affect the comparison being made or a consumer’s understanding of the price saving.

However, on this point the ASA disagreed, given that fewer than 0.1% of Sky customers did have those services, and could therefore possibly save over £400. The ASA noted that the ad was phrased conditionally, and that Virgin Media did not claim that all customers would save over £400, however the ASA felt that “it was necessary for a reasonable proportion of consumers to achieve the claimed saving,” adding that “using the comparison in this example, only a relatively small proportion of Sky customers would save to the degree claimed. “

As a result that advert was banned on the grounds of misleading by exaggeration. Moral of the story- don’t believe everything you read in the papers and do your own research when comparing costs of broadband and television services.

Electronic cigarette advert banned

August 14th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

leolites 300x207 Electronic cigarette advert bannedAn advert for an electronic cigarette has been banned.

The LeoLite ad with the tage “Love your lungs” has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, after it looked like the ad was suggesting that their brand of electro-tabs were somewhat healthier.

Unsurprisingly, the watchdog wasn’t having the “Love your lungs” aspect, seeing as the very last consideration of a smoker is loving their lungs.

The manufacturers of the electronic cigarette E&L Distribution claimed they just wanted a catchy relevant slogan.

Yet an ASA spokesman said: “Within the context of the ad, we considered that consumers, particularly those who were existing smokers, were likely to interpret the claim ‘Love Your Lungs’ as meaning that LeoLites e-cigarettes contained properties that were not harmful to their lungs or that they would experience an improvement in the health of their lungs if they used LeoLites products.

“We also considered that the claim could also be interpreted to mean that consumers should ‘Love Their Lungs’ by switching from traditional cigarettes.”

That’s LeoLites told then.

telesales telephone Charity fundraisers are misleading vulnerable peopleCharity is obviously a good thing and getting funding is increasingly difficult thanks to the sheer number of charities around and, of course, people are tired of being charity-mugged in the street and having justgiving accounts shoved up their noses online.

However, there’s something worse than being-a-bit-annoyed going on as fundraisers are under fire for the way they’ve been treating the elderly and vulnerable.

Channel 4′s Dispatches have done an undercover investigation and found one company telling the undercover reporters (posing as fundraising staff) to make sure a woman suffering from depression and another caring for a terminally-ill daughter got repeat calls asking them for money.

Dispatches reporters worked at NTT Fundraising in Bristol and London-based Pell & Bales, who raise funds for charities including Oxfam, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Unicef and Barnardos.

The show also spoke to a family who claim that a firm exploited a family member with dementia. A lady called Emma Frost was outraged when she found out how many charity direct debits were being taken from her late father’s bank account. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

 

“I think really his vulnerability which would have been very clear because he was so confused – he couldn’t string a sentence together – must have been exploited because nobody could possibly have missed that,” she told Dispatches.

As we all know, and was backed up by the investigation, fundraising firms will resort to the dark arts to get what they want. Customers saying that they didn’t want call-backs were indeed on the end of repeat calls, and one NTT supervisor said someone who was suffering from depression should not be deleted from their database because being depressed was not a “get out of jail free card”.

One of the undercover reporters was told that they were expected to meet targets despite the fact that a statement on the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity website clearly says that “our fundraisers are not given personal financial targets”.

The show will be broadcast at 8pm tonight on Channel 4. It is clear that an urgent review of the sector is needed.

pg tips tea bag1 287x300 Pyramid bags are officially better than round ones, says ASA Tea aficionados have argued the toss about different shaped tea bags since the dawn of time (well, ok, that’s not exactly true).

But hotheaded tea drinking chimps everywhere are now going to have to concede that PG Tips pyramid bags DO let out more flavour than Tetley’s round ones.

Tetley were furious when Johnny Vegas and that godforsaken monkey appeared to trash their round teabags in a recent advert. They sit at the kitchen table and do a test to see which teabags are best, with Monkey concluding that:

‘PG Tips uses pyramid bags, so if we test one against a regular tea bag … you’ll see the tea has got more room to move, freeing the great fresh taste for a perfect cuppa.’

Tetley said that although they weren’t mentioned in the ad, it was obvious that as they are purveyors of round teabags, they were being targeted and ‘denigrated’ by a knitted primate.

BUT the Advertising Standards Authority upheld PG Tips claims, and enraged the Tetley teafolk by saying that pyramid bags WERE better, and that their round ones basically suck.

‘Unilever provided test results which showed that the infusion of tea, at 40 seconds and two minutes into brewing, was greater when using a pyramid teabag than when using a round teabag. We therefore concluded that the ad did not exaggerate the capability and performance of the advertised product and was not misleading.’

FIGHT!

Can Fred save Premier Foods?

July 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

fred Can Fred save Premier Foods?Premier Foods are relaunching Mr Kipling and bringing Homepride’s Fred back in a hope to reverse its fortunes, after revealing a £54.9 million half year pre-tax loss.

Sales fell 6.1% to £364.4 million in the first half of the year as difficult market conditions in the supermarkets sector hit the food group.

Along with Mr Kipling and Homepride, the company also looks after OXO, Bisto, Sharwoods, Batchelors, Ambrosia and, oh, Loyd Grossman.

As well as that lot, the company’s ‘support brands’ include Angel Delight, Birds, Saxa, Paxo, Atora, Cadburys (cakes end), Smash, Marvel, McDougalls and Lyons.

Or what they call in the trade ‘ambient grocery’. Amazing.

Basically, if you don’t own or use at least one of those items, then you’re a social outcast and deserve to have urchins point and laugh at you in the street.

Gavin Darby of Premier has tried to calm the unrest by saying: “We grew profitability and most of our ammunition is yet to fire. The second half of the year will see a number of new product launches.”

The company is rumoured to be ploughing £30 million into a marketing spend, with new Mr Kipling adverts happening in August.

Following that, there’ll be a number of other product launches, including Bisto gravy and casserole pastes, Batchelors deli-box cous cous, Sharwood’s mini poppadoms and Cadbury sponge pudding desserts.

Cous-cous. I ask you.

And jolly floury chum Fred returns Bowie-ly to our screens after seven years, for the first major Homepride adverts in a decade.

For the period Premier Foods said trading profit was up 2.1% to £48.1 million, better than analysts expected, and it said profit expectations for the year remain unchanged.

Gross profit margin rose from 33.2% to 34.6%. The pre-tax loss  was largely because of a write-off of financing costs.

Looks like they’re banking on a revival of ’80s food.

Deathwatch: Wonga puppets

July 15th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Wonga+TV+advert 300x199 Deathwatch: Wonga puppetsWonga, the unethical and dodgy payday lending company, is having an image overhaul.

They’re planning to ditch the “cuddly” puppets too. Which plays havoc somewhat with the definition of cuddly, but there you go. They’re off.

Incoming Wonga chairman Andy Haste, former chairman of insurance giant RSA, has said he didn’t want Wonga to be associated with ‘anything which inadvertently attracts children’.

Which is a relief, because the only children who’d be attracted to those puppets are the sort that need counselling.

Mr Haste added that he wants Wonga to become more ‘customer focused’ and change its business operations, even if that means it makes less money in the near term.

It’s all part of the government’s attempt to put a cap on lending and stop these asshats from rinsing the vulnerable for all they’re worth.  As of July 1, lenders must put ‘risk warnings’ on television adverts. They are also banned from rolling over loans more than twice and must check potential customers can afford to take out debt before giving them loans.

The Wonga news comes weeks after Wonga said it had agreed with regulators that it would pay £2.6 million in compensation after chasing struggling customers with fake legal letters to pressurise them into paying up. Classy.

Mr Haste said the company, must review rates, fees and charges and no longer be seen as targeting ‘the young and the vulnerable’. We can assume they’ll have to stop sponsoring Newcastle United then?

He said: “Wonga is a company that needs to go through significant change if it is to have a sustainable future. Some serious mistakes have been made. The company admitted those mistakes and it has apologised for those mistakes. Wonga has understandably faced a lot of criticism and I know that we need to repair our reputation and regain our right to be an accepted part of the financial services sector.”

Which is all waffle as you can imagine, but ultimately the godawful pensioner puppets are no more. Now if we can convince Dolmio and Compare The Market that the puppet thing isn’t working, we can have a lovely big bonfire.

Warburtons overtaken by bears

July 11th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

warburtons paddington 300x225 Warburtons overtaken by bearsBread vendors Warburtons are to be renamed Warbeartons.

Don’t panic, it’s just as a promotional tie-in with the slightly creepy looking Paddington movie that’s due to hit the cinemas in November.

Six million ‘half-and-half’ products (sort of half-arsed ambidextrous white and brown bread efforts) will feature the marmalade sandwich loving bear on its packaging.

There will also be a roadshow touring the country in the form of a double decker bus, with freebies, goodies and adventure guides for families. And as we’re in the social media age, if anyone uploads a picture of themselves near the bus, they’ll be entered into a competition to win a family holiday.

No specification as to where the holiday will be, but it’s unlikely to be Peru.

A brand director named Megan Harrison reckons: ”Devoting our packaging to Paddington and taking him on a tour to visit families across the country is a great way to inspire families to go out and have their very own adventures like Paddington”

“Plus, they can get creative with innovative sandwich recipe ideas to help fuel those adventures on the way”.

Paddington half half range 300x212 Warburtons overtaken by bears

So that’s four months of branding ahead of a film about a bear that looks like an axe-murderer. Well done there, everyone.

websites  People confused by copycat ‘government’ websites Confusion reigns amongst consumers, who are regularly bamboozled and misled by fake websites posing as official ones – particularly copycat government websites.

Savvy web users might be able to spot a rubbish fake crown logo or a web address called ‘giveusyourdetails.gov.passport.’ But others are regularly being led down the garden path, according to research by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA is so concerned about this that it’s launching a new awareness campaign, which will lead people to official government web pages and away from the dodgy ones.

It’s also considering tougher enforcement of fake sites and advertisers, pledging to work with Google and Bing to weed out the infiltrators.

Although 8 out of 10 people surveyed could spot the official passport application site, some of the other sites posing as government sites are quite convincing. Only half guessed that a site replacing Births, Deaths and Marriage certificates was actually a commercial website.

‘We’re focused on tackling any sites that continue to mislead, in support of other enforcement activity.’ Said Miles Lockwood from the ASA. ‘We’re also working with search engines and government to ensure the public are protected. In the meantime, always start at gov.uk to access a government service.’

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook will soon open advertising hellmouth From ’10 Great Tips to Reduce Belly Fat’ to irritating photos of Fitflops and exotic holidays, Facebook ads rank highly on everyone’s s***list.

So you may be interested to learn that Facebook is changing the way it tracks and shows ads. ‘Hurray!’ you cry, ‘No more crappy ads!’ Well, er, not quite. Because the two changes that they’re introducing appear to contradict each other completely.

The first new feature is quite useful. Firstly when you get an ad in your feed, you’ll see a blue arrow at the bottom. If you click on the arrow you’ll see a menu with a tab called ‘Why are you seeing this?’ It allows you to understand the Facebook tracking process – for example, maybe you ‘liked’ a page about sinks in 2008 and now you’re always seeing ads for sinks, etc.

You can then adjust your settings to opt out of ads for sinks by removing sinks from your list of interests.

So far, so good. But you’re not going to like the next new addition at all. Facebook said yesterday that they are going to do a Google on you and start tracking your web and app activity, then show you tailored ads.

If that makes you feel paranoid and itchy, you can opt out by adjusting the tracking settings on iOS and Android. However, Facebook might not be that interested in telling you about that, and annoyingly, they have said they will not be honouring the ‘do not track’ option, meaning you might get ads anyway. Hmm, wouldn’t want their users personal privacy to get in the way of a nice revenue stream, eh?

So the upshot of all this is that Facebook is about to get approximately one million times more annoying, but don’t worry – there’s a little blue arrow that you can constantly press to get rid of ads.

GREAT!

Ray Ban ask for nudes

June 6th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

In a weird marketing moves, Ray Bans – who make sunglasses – are asking for nudes online.

Seriously. Ray Ban have actually asked their customers to send in photographs of themselves in their underwear. What is this? Snapchat?

ray ban nudes 498x500 Ray Ban ask for nudesOf course, some people aren’t happy about it, while others think the whole thing is rather funny, if a little odd.

Here are some of the highlights from Twitter’s responses:

@danlucas__  said “loooool the thirst for nudes is real” while ‏@Harryh999 spat “idiotic idea”. Meanwhile, ‏@JWard113 says “why are you encouraging people to post photos of themselves in their underwear? that’s pretty inappropriate.”

‏@CivicCentrePL1 pointed out that this campaign is “not really appropriate to advertise thise on the D-Day anniversary. #DDay70″

Perhaps the most blunt response (at the time of writing) was from @Dick_Bastardly who simply got in touch with Ray Ban and Bestival to say: “you dirty c*nts.”

green houses 300x225 ASA ruling to open floodgates for anti Green Deal claims?There could be more bad news for the Government’s blighted Green Deal scheme. A new ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) could mean that Green Deal operators face having to hand back tens of thousands of pounds to consumers after the Green Deal Finance Company was found to have mis-sold the cash-saving benefits of the scheme in their advertising literature.

The ASA ruled on three separate issues- marketing claims that the Green Deal payment plans are the cheapest on the market, assurances that the so-called Golden Rule would deliver “peace of mind” with financial savings that were equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill and the failure to publish details of hidden charges, including arrangement and assessment fees, as well as exit penalties.

While the ASA ruling itself does not affect Green Deals already done- it merely requires the offending advertisements be removed or revised- consumer lawyers are warning that the ruling could set a precedent for disgruntled consumers to seek redress for Green Deal mis-selling.

Consumer law solicitor Kerry Gwyther, a partner at leading national law firm TLT, explained that while the ASA ruling does not necessarily mean potential Green Deal mis-selling cases are in the bag, it is often a good starting point for claims of misrepresentation.

“The ASA normally use Trading Standards’ levels of determining misleading claims and its rulings do go a long way in helping to present a successful case. While there is no automatic right of action, the ASA ruling very often means the advertising is in breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations that can lead to further action being taken,” he explained.

“A consumer is entitled to take proceedings using Common Law and some parts of the Consumer Protection legislation if, as a result of this ruling, they feel they have been misled into signing up for the Green Deal. If a consumer has been induced to enter into an agreement by misleading claims, a court may well find in the consumer’s favour and they may well be able to walk away from the contract without further payments or seek damages for any losses suffered” he added, sagely.

Advertising law specialist Mike Northern agreed , commenting that consumers would now be able to use the ASA ruling in any future court action, suggesting that “a judge would be influenced to find in favour of an application supported by an ASA adjudication like this.”

The complaint was brought by South East-based Crystal Home Improvements, who were very concerned that consumers were being treated unfairly, and not at all concerned that Green Deal alternatives might be cutting into their profits.

A spokesman for the company told ClickGreen: “We are happy with the ASA decision that confirmed our suspicion that the Green Deal was being mis-sold to consumers. This is not the first time we have successfully challenged the Green Deal and we will continue to highlight the many disadvantages of this poorly run scheme.”

However, before getting too excited, it is important to note that the Green Deal Finance Company itself is a business to business organisation, and the ASA noted that leaflet ruled as misleading was probably not viewed by a vast number of people. Any claims of mis-selling would have to be made as a result of being fraudulently enticed by advertising using similar claims to those outlawed in this ruling.

You’ve got to hand it to Pepsi for creating a pretty cool World Cup marketing ploy – a vending machine that dispenses freebies if your footie skills are up to scratch.

The #futbolNow interactive drinks dispenser is fitted with motion sensors that track your movements as you try to play keepy uppy with a virtual Messi, Van Persie or David Luiz. If you can keep the ball in the air for 30 seconds and face a series of skill challenges you can earn bonuses – including a free Pepsi Max.

Pepsi have toyed with interactive vending machines before, including one which allowed you to buy drinks for your friends via Facebook. But this is a lot more fun.

So expect to see a lot of slack jawed people in front of vending machines this summer, jiggling about and making arses of themselves in public for a free can of pop.

We’re sure failed attempts will go viral, and there’ll be a few lols when a fat lad hits the deck and ends up with his head wedged in the drinks drawer…