News in the Ads #7

“Every little counts” reads the Tesco’s infamous tag-line, and I believe that here, which is why I am giving you 5 headlines dominating Adland this week. A small effort to keep updated in this dynamic industry.

1) Top retail brands throw open Westfield Stratford City stores
The retail sector received a much needed boost on the 13th September when doors opened at Westfield Stratford City, the largest shopping centre in Europe.

-> For London shopping fanatics, like myself, this is great news. Although I am slightly startled by how big this mall sounds.. can my purse stretch to see and try and not buy in 300 shops, 70 restaurants and the UK’s largest casino? However, the centre, usefully located right next to the Olympic Park, promises to provide a next-generation shopping experience for consumers that are increasingly migrating to shopping online. These changes include going green, providing in-store navigation and new on-site product branding, which I look forward to seeing.

2) Channel 5 launches Big Brother Facebook voting app

-> In a move that surely signals the power and prevalence of Facebook in our daily lives, viewers can now vote for which contestants they want to leave the Big Brother house via the official Big Brother Facebook page using the social network’s Credits payment system. Viewers are able to buy bundles of Credits which allocate them a certain number of votes (e.g. 10 Credits = 12 votes = 63p) which is rather clever as it encourages you to watch the show more and vote more in order to use up excess Credit.

3) Change at Channel 4 Online
Channel 4 has unveiled a new line-up of interactive video ad formats as it aims to forge closer relationships between its viewers and advertisers, while at the same time allowing advertisers and agencies to buy video-on-demand ads based on demographic data.

-> Channel 4’s online advertising just got a whole lot more complicated folks. The broadcaster has released four different formats that feature different ways for for viewers to interact with the ads ahead of video-on-demand (VOD) shows, whilst also allowing advertisers to target audiences through the provision of demographic data. This is supposed to help advertisers forge closer relationships with audiences and engage with them in new ways. The only problem is that I usually find ads for VOD unbelievably annoying.

4) Microsoft and Waterstone go on the attack.
In two separate stories (but linked by the idea of being the underdogs/challengers to a monopolised market), Microsoft is to launch tablet software to rival Apple, while Waterstone’s is to launch an e-reader to compete with the Amazon Kindle.

-> I frankly smiled when I heard these stories as I believe competition is a brilliant means to bringing down market prices and improving product quality. Microsoft is to release a trial version of operating system Windows 8, that combines aspects of both PC and tablet software (let’s hope it is the best of both worlds). While, Waterstone’s is to enter the hardware/digital market, most likely by partnering with a major electronics company. The resulting device is expected to be launched in Spring 2012.

5) Gordon’s buys bespoke pre-show theatre slot
Theatregoers will be able to watch a 90-second ad for Gordon’s Gin before the curtain goes up at selected performances in a placement sold by Pearl & Dean.

-> Advertising gone mad, or advertising genius? Somehow I think both. Gordon’s have become partners with the Ambassadors Theatre group, to enable the brand to create a great Gordon’s experience at 26 theatres across the country. In a media first, the gin company have produced an animated graphical sequence of a Gordon’s and tonic mixed ‘theatrically’ in four “acts” that will be projected onto the stage curtain. The spot is designed to reinforce the new positioning of Gordon’s as the first drink of the evening and includes the fresh strapline “Shall we G&T started?” (geddit?) to its target audience of cultural 35+ year-olds. No pantomime or matinee showings then for this ad.

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