8 minutes estimated reading time
Demand fall offers glimpse into oil industry’s future | Financial Times – what this story about fuel demand fall fails to take into account is feedstocks. Feedstocks are precursor chemicals derived from oil and gas that go into materials for pretty much everything we make from medicines, electronics and food packaging to stretchy yoga slacks
What we Learnt From Accidentally Printing Over a Billion QR codes on Cadbury Chocolate | LinkedIn – market leaders ultimately didn’t see how this potentially large ongoing investment would truly deliver on their biggest challenges (like most brands, driving penetration into relatively light users) and so they pulled the plug on funding what felt like had become a bloated concept. – found via Matt Muir’s Web Curios newsletter. Less a meditation on the woes of QR codes. China and other markets have demonstrated that used in the right way QR codes can be of enormous benefit in bridging the real world / online interface. Instead it highlights the kludgy dodgy business cases in terms of digitalisation of FMCG products.
Twitter Q1: sales up 3% to $808M as it swings to a loss on COVID-19, mDAUS hit record 166M | TechCrunch – surprised it hasn’t relooked at its direct response offerings like it used to have with cards. There has been a demand fall for brand-based marketing as a brand winter sets in. Personally speaking, the only Twitter ads I have seen recently have been promoting Nokia’s recent financial results
TikTok tops 2 billion downloads | TechCrunch – but this doesn’t necessarily mean 2 billion users….
Start Chatting | Reddit Help – back before I joined Yahoo!, the major internet companies (outside of Aol) had moved away from operating chat rooms themselves – allowing Lycos to largely have the business to itself. Lycos even had white labelled offers for some of the other firms, or a transfer of customer base put in place. The reason was the fear that somehow the internet would generate the Pete Townsend effect and make us all ‘curious’ about child porn and bring down the end of the world – or something similar. Yes, I am being a bit sarcastic, but at the time it was a PR issue for these businesses and the gains from chat rooms were marginal. It is interesting that Reddit are expanding into chat rooms, presumably trying to find even meagre veins of revenue with the demand fall in brand advertising both online and offline. It will be interesting to see how things go
My urge to splurge is over and won’t be returning soon | Financial Times – when he thinks back to his public bout of destruction in 2001, he mentions two things that seem relevant to today’s unsettling times. First, a lot of the thousands of people who came to gawk at him began to talk unprompted about their own possessions, and how they really only cared about photos, gifts or things they had made themselves. I suspect a lot of us have thought about what really matters lately. Second, he says people were unexpectedly kind to him.
Facebook may lose seal of approval that gives ad buyers confidence they get what they buy in advertising, WSJ reports – The company failed to address advertiser concerns arising from a 2019 audit, concerning how Facebook measures and reports data about video advertisements, the Journal reported, citing a notice from the Media Rating Council (MRC). “These exchanges are part of the audit process. We will continue working with MRC on accreditation, as we have since 2016,” a Facebook spokesperson said. The MRC confirmed that the audit of Facebook is in process but did not provide details, citing its policy.
Marketers’ strategic responsibilities are eroding away to nothing | Marketing Week – Marketers are becoming more and more responsible for the communication aspects of the marketing mix – with social media, PR, CRM and e-commerce all increasingly under their control as the other tactical and strategic challenges dissipate. By my best estimate, communications should be about 8% of the marketing function’s duties. It increasingly appears to take up almost all of it. I can’t say I am that surprised by this. For all the fetishisation of big data, there is a lot of dodgy decisions being made out there. Brand tracking surveys are not being done, you have major FMCG brands relying on past correlation with Twitter opinions to substitute for more expensive surveys. The marketing communications mix isn’t based on research data but the fear of digital disruption
Major Malaysian publishing house Blu Inc shuts, 200 staff laid off | Campaign Asia – Malaysian publisher for Harpers Bizarre, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Weekly. Malaysia hasn’t been hit hard by COVID compared to other Asian markets. This feels like the canary in the coal mine for the media sector in general
Mediatel News: UK ad market to lose £4bn in spend this year, says AA/Warc – the interesting bit is that the advertising demand fall is both for online and offline channels involved in brand advertising. This doesn’t bode well for brand equity moving forwards
This Should Be V.R.’s Moment. Why Is It Still So Niche? – The New York Times – The bad news is that V.R. is still not what sci-fi movies taught us to hope for — a fully immersive experience that transports us to another dimension and gives us all kinds of virtual superpowers. Even the leading systems still lack some basic features and, outside of gaming, there isn’t much you can do on a V.R. headset that you can’t do more easily on another device. Is this a technology issue or a lack of a killer application or compelling content?
Google Meet Is Now Free For Everyone – too little, too late for Google to try and catch up with Zoom on market share and mind share
UK ad market to contract by £4.2bn this year | WARC – some interesting anomalies in this. In particular the lack of decline of out of home versus TV, direct mail, radio and magazines
UK agency staff numbers fall for second year despite growth of media shops | Campaign Live – it will be interesting to hear hypotheses on the why there has been a demand fall in the creative sector
Disney claims media rights to all #MayThe4th replies to one Tweet – SlashGear – this looks like a social media accident waiting to happen
Zoom is so popular even a Google exec’s child prefers it, report says – Business Insider – but then Hangouts suck
China, Offline Retail Isn’t Going Back to Normal | Gartner L2 – electronics retailer Gome adopted a common strategy for combating the virus in its more than one thousand stores—all customers must undergo temperature checks, masks are mandatory, and the entire big box store will be periodically disinfected. Local beauty retailer Wow Colour similarly mandated that all employees undergo regular temperature checks and wash hands, and specified the disinfectants that will be used to regularly clean its stores. JD even mandated that only three hundred customers are allowed in a store at a time
The success of the Macintosh idea – The Mac emboldened a new breed of nonconformists (a composite community of intellectuals, artists, designers, independent developers, mavericks in corporations, etc.) and spurred the creation of powerful Macintosh user groups, such as the BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh User Group), which had a sort of double mission. On the one hand, it was a resurgence of the 60’s counterculture with “roots in The Hacker Ethic and Berkeley Radicalism,” as Stephen Howard and Raines Cohen put it. On the other, it was a pedagogical platform, as Reese Jones explained: “I see two different sets of people in our group: those with computer experience who are just now seeing new avenues to follow in computing, and those with little or no experience who are just now seeing what computing can do. We must provide for the different needs of both, but we have in common that our eyes are just being opened to something new and different.”
Covid-19 causes a new wave of economic nationalism | Mercator Institute for China Studies – interesting that the bargain hunting by Chinese companies is being led by state owned enterprises – it could be seen as state directed policies and would be relying on a government open cheque book
Accepting, suffering or resisting: study groups Britons’ response to coronavirus lockdown – Reuters – King’s found 93% of the suffering said they were following lockdown rules completely or nearly all the time, compared to just 49% of the resisting. The latter were around 10 times more likely than the other groups to say they had met up with friends or family outside their home. – The resisting group skewed young.