The long and the BBH of it

This started with a blog post that talks about the IPA’s The Long And The Short Of It (TLATSOI) role in the planning and strategy process of the ad industry.

Thermometer

The Long And The Short Of It Needs The Wrong And The Shit Of It. Feel free to go and have a read and come back.

TL;DR

The IPA’s original research had flaws in the methodology:

  • Focusing purely on successes brings in biases due to the research being taken out of context. Context provided by the ‘complete’ population of good, mediocre and awful campaigns rather than award winners
  • There aren’t any lessons on how not to truly mess up
TLATSOI isn’t a LinkedIn article

Its easy to throw shots over the table when someone has done a lot of work. TLATSOI isn’t an article on the ‘five morning habits of Warren Buffet’ to make you successful.

Les Binet and Peter Field analysed 996 campaigns entered in the IPA Effectiveness awards (1980 – 2010). That would have taken them a considerable amount of time to do. They then managed to write it all up and distill it down into a very slim volume on my bookshelf.

The work is an achievement and Binet & Field deserve our gratitude and respect. Secondly, other marketing disciplines don’t have their version of TLATSOI. We couldn’t critique TLATSOI if it didn’t exist.

Let’s say we want to stand on their shoulders and build something more comprehensive than TLATSOI. Just what would it take?

Working with what you have

Binet and Field worked with what they have. If you’ve ever written an award entry you’ll know pulling it together is a pain in the arse. 996 award entries represents thousands of weeks of non-billable agency time. This was also strained through their empirical experience in the business, which adds a ‘welcome’ bias.

Now imagine if that kind of rigor in terms of documentation and analysis was put into mediocre campaigns. The kind of campaign where the client logo barely makes into the agency credentials deck.

Without a major agency (nudge, nudge, wink, wink BBH) providing all their warts-and-all data, the initative won’t start.

It will be hard to get what is needed. Agency functions aren’t geared up to deliver the information. A technological solution would take a good while to put in place; and like all IT projects would have a 70% failure rate.

In an industry where careers are made and talent attracted on ‘hits’; theres a big chunk of realpolitik to address.

How would you keep a lid on the dirty laundry?

We live in a connected world. To the point that there are now likely to be four certainties. Birth, death, taxes and data breaches. Imagine a data dump, some Excel skills and what was a bit of snark would do to an agency’s reputation? The stain of an ad agency equivalent of the movie industry Gold Raspberries would likely bury careers.

What do we measure?

My friend Rob Blackie started some of the thinking on effectiveness data SLA tiers

A = Tests the objective directly using a Randomised Control Test (RCT) in a real world environment (e.g. measured at point of sale).
B = RCT tests of proximate objective (e.g. brand), direct measurement of impacts without correction for population bias or confounding factors (e.g. a sunny week drives a lot of ice cream consumption). Or case studies (independent), quality survey data on changes in behaviour, testing in an artificial environment. For instance a Nielsen Brand Lift study
C = Case studies (non-independent), data sources that may contain significant bias compared to the underlying population. For instance: Award entries.
D = Indicative data such as PR coverage, social media Likes and similar.
E = Anecdotes. Extra points for quality, and reproducibility across different suppliers / evaluators.

There are challenges capturing long-term branding factors such as advertising ‘ad stock’ or ‘carryover‘. That then takes you into fundemental questions:

How long is the minimum viable time of campaign duration to be considered for assessment?

How long should we be measuring long term branding effects? How do you measure ‘clientside’ quality issues:

  • Resourcing / budgets
  • Product
  • Ambience in the case of client-owned channels
  • Adequate quality briefs. Are the objectives written well? Are they relevant to the business
  • Mission creep or changing company agendas

All of this means that getting to the greater volume of poor campaigns as well as the best is easier said than done. The best way to kick it off would be having large agencies to work together on putting together data sets.

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Things that made my day this week.

The top thing would be catching up with old friends. ‘Old is gold’ as they say. I got to go to the Bicester Village outlet centre (as guide rather than shopper) and the contrast between the restaurants just outside the village was an eye-opener to my foreign guests. My key take away on their reaction: China isn’t going to be jumping up and down to invest in a post-Brexit UK. Bicester Village’s owner has already hedged its bets; it has twin outlet villages in Barcelona, Dublin, Madrid, Milan, Paris Shuzhou and Shanghai – all competing for global luxury buyer spending. They are either in nicer climes or more convenient for East Asian shoppers. They’ve been changing the way Chinese consumers buy luxury and Bicester may not reap the full rewards now.

This documentary on genre defying Chinese group Re-Tros and their first European tour in support of Depeche Mode. People often use the descriptor post-punk. They’re style definitely has a jazz or progressive rock-style improvisation feel to it. The 1980s descriptor ‘electronic body music’ applied to the likes of Front 242 seems to be as good a descriptor as any.

In what has become an internet tradition, Mary Meeker presents her annual trends presentation

And here are the slides

 

If Mary Meeker hadn’t convinced you about the robust state of innovation in the Chinese technology eco-system then this presentation by George S Yip may do the trick.

I started using the Usenet for the first time in years for a research project. I wanted to go back and understand longer term trends. The Usenet archives were a handy primer. The Usenet served a similar purpose to the likes of Reddit. I wanted a native application and this was the best Usenet client that I found. NZBVortex | Simply the best Usenet client for Mac. Many old favourites were no longer in development or supported by the latest version of macOS.

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Huawei sees building alternative to Android as insurance amid US-China trade tensions | SCMP – not a big leap from an OS point of view. The big jump would be the app store since both Google and Amazon’s app stores would be out of reach if Huawei were found guilty

Someone might’ve hacked the company that can hack any iPhone – BGR – another reason why backdoors are bad

Mobile advertising represents 91% of Facebook’s ad revenue | Marketing Interactive – I suspect that there is a lot of wasted ads here. Linking through to sites that aren’t mobile friendly or things that don’t work on mobile for instance

Kraft Heinz works with JKR to introduces quirky new biscuit brand JIF JAF | Marketing Interactive – Kraft Heinz launching product in China going head to head with Mondelez; that spun out of Kraft….

British adults using Facebook less to communicate with friends | Technology | The Guardian – according to Ofcom there is also a wealth divide in how Britons use the internet, with poorer individuals more likely to rely solely on a smartphone to get online and have “lower levels of online confidence and critical understanding”.

APAC markets exceed global benchmarks for viewability, brand safety | Digital | Campaign Asia – fraud rates for campaigns that optimised against fraud remained relatively flat, showing optimisation efforts are paying off by keeping fraud rates low. Singapore and Hong Kong had higher fraud risk at 20.7% and 14.0% respectively, because ad fraudsters tend to follow where the digital spend goes and where CPMs are higher.

Can This System of Unlocking Phones Crack the Crypto War? | WIRED – this sounds dodgy AF. If the US gets access, every country gets access

Facebook beats in Q1 and boosts daily user growth to 1.45B amidst backlash | TechCrunch – basically people don’t care if Facebook invades their privacy or usurps their government. All of that is a mere bagatelle

AMD earnings confirm it’s biting into Intel’s market share | VentureBeat – it likely won’t be permanent

Addressing Recent Claims of “Manipulated” Blog Posts in the Wayback Machine | Internet Archive Blogs – interesting hack that should be in the tool bag of reputation managers

U.S. DoJ probing Huawei for possible Iran sanctions violations: WSJ – interesting that they are getting dinged for similar things to ZTE. Stopping US vendors from selling to Huawei would be a bit less impactful than on ZTE. But it would retarget the Huawei R&D budget away from innovation to replacing American component technology and engineering services currently provided by the likes of Ciena or Qualcomm. This actually fits neatly with Mr Xi’s China 2025 manufacturing initiative that is designed to free the country from relying on international suppliers.

Amazon is releasing a new Alexa gadget specifically geared toward kids – Recode – but what about the privacy settings?

Meet John Hennessy and Dave Patterson, Silicon Valley’s first disruptors | Recode – great read about when Silicon Valley actually made silicon and solved ‘hard’ innovation problems, rather than sociopathic web services. You couldn’t have your modern computer or your smartphone without Hennessy & Patterson

Nike’s Converse Loses Chief Marketer to Supreme | BoF – not that Supreme really needs marketing with its over-subscribed drops. Unless they are changing direction to become more mass affluent?

A French billionaire is being investigated for bribing African officials for lucrative contracts | Quartz – this surprised me. France has used businesses like Total and Elf with the likes of Jacques Foccart to keep a relationship and control in the Francophone. Why are they turning on Bollore now? Especially odd when you think about how China is pushing western interests out of the continent

Electric Autos – Long life – I think it’s more complex, depending on vehicle range and driving patterns will factor into demand. Of course the shit is really going to hit the fan when lithium ion technology fails to provide for transport needs like long distance heavy goods vehicles, becomes too expensive and essential materials become too rare. There is likely to be a pivot to hydrogen combustion engines or hydrogen fuel cells due to superior energy density. The economics around risk, infrastructure and other capital costs will change.

A ZFS developer’s analysis of the good and bad in Apple’s new APFS file system | Ars Technica – this is a good guide. The thing that puzzles me is this. Apple had a working implementation of ZFS running on early beta versions of OS X and then decided not to implement it. Apple adoption of ZFS would be a major boost (it is already supported on Linux and Solaris). It takes about a decade for a file system to mature sufficiently; ZFS has that maturity and is still bleeding edge tech. Apple has a good relationship with Oracle so that wouldn’t be a problem, Larry Ellison is still the shot-caller over there and he still hates Microsoft and Google. Instead they build their own version, which has nice encryption facilities but lacks the data integrity features that ZFS has. It doesn’t seem to be about squeezing the footprint of ZFS for mobile devices either. Apple just decided to go it alone.

Things that made my day this week

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I spent a good deal of the week seeing the family. It was great to have homemade soda bread and finish off my Mum’s Christmas cake. Yes, you haven’t read that wrong, my Mum specialises in making rich fruit cakes for Christmas. They keep for a good few months afterwards.

A good deal of that was spent watching Homeland and assorted  films with my Dad. This included Accident Man – a pretty accurate remake of the Toxic! comic book character from the early 1990s by Pat Mills (of 2000AD fame) and Tony Skinner.

For a brief period from March to October 1991; the UK comic scene had a darker, more anarchic publication than had been previously seen. Toxic! was originally designed to address failings in 2000AD magazine.

The film is so anachronistic in its nature that its audience will be niche. That doesn’t reflect on the quality of the action in the film. It features Ray Stevenson, Scott Adkins (you’d recognise hime host of Hong Kong and Hollywood movies) and Ray Park (who played Darth Maul). Adkins is a bit lean to play the titular character Mick Fallon, which is a surprise given his Boyka role in the Undisputed franchise. Adkins to his credit manages to make it all work.

Both the director and the script writer managed to skilfully blend the unreconstructed misogyny of 1991 with with the great ‘unawoke’ attitudes of a post Brexit Britain.

Watching Wanted: Dead or Alive with Rutger Hauer shows how much the media portrayal of Islamic terrorism has changed over the past 30 years. The plot itself is a bit odd. Sex tape star Gene Simmons plays an Islamic terrorist looking to cause a Bhopal-type disaster as an act of revenge on the United States – where do you even start with that plot?

Hauer’s car has an early generation cellular phone and what seems like some sort of satellite navigation equipment with a monochrome CRT display.

Dated films weren’t the only things that I saw. Whilst I heard of a few people who had a Nissan Leaf; Merseyside is still firmly in the petroleum age. Most of the cars were a decade old on average and I didn’t see any obvious charging stations. Importation of secondhand cars from Japan is still a thing and both J60 and J80 series Toyota Land Cruisers seem to have a loyal following.

For something more recent and music-related, I can recommend this from Resident Advisor: How did UK garage become dubstep?

I think that we must be pretty close to peak-vape. I was in a Wilkinsons store and wandered past the cough and cold medicine section. Wilkinsons is a discount retailer that does a mix of food cupboard staple grocers, household cleaning products and over the counter pharmacy products. A good analogue for Hong Kong readers would be 759 Store.

On the top shelf of the unit above cough and cold remedies was vape fluid and e-cigarettes.

Douglas Rushkoff | Present Shock Economies – great YouTube video which explains why Amazon is likely to be more trouble over time than Facebook ever will be. Well worth listening to during a lunch hour.

Finally Asian Boss had some great vox pop interviews with Beijingers about what they thought of Sesame Credit which is a financial and behavioural credit system being rolled out in China.

Oprah Time: Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert M Cialdini

Cialdini’s Influence is now over ten years old and still stands up. It is a good guide on the psychology of why people say “yes”. The accessible style of Influence reminded of Douglas Rushcoff, or Malcolm Gladwell. Ok Malcolm Gladwell is a poor analogy, Cialdini’s work isn’t candy floss for the mind. This is deceptive as there is usually an inverse relationship between value and accessibility. Exceptions to this heuristic would be the likes of Sun Tzu – The Art of War.

Influence by Cialdini

Cialdini hasn’t been researched within an inch of its life in the same way Byron Sharp’s books have been.

Cialdini provides planners and strategists with starting points for customer experiences. The book isn’t a how to guide for digital journeys but provides first principles. Psychology is not channel-specific.

The Journal of Marketing Research described it as

…among the most important books written in the last 10 years.

The book’s style allowed me to pick it up and put it down, to fit in with my holiday schedule of train travel and family time.

Why should you have Cialdini’s Influence?

  • If your work includes marketing planning or strategy, your bookshelf should have this book. If you are thinking about customer interactions, this book outlines the first principles that you need
  • If you’re a consumer and want to know how you’re being sold to; read this book
  • If you want to get on better with people ( your kids or co-workers); buy this book

My copy is well-thumbed and stuffed with post-it notes around the edges as I go back and forth into it on a regular basis.

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