September 11, 2017

Maxus: Futures [This Week]

By Maxus London 

Maxus London

Media planning is increasingly becoming a fascinating blend of art and science

We've been busy scouring the most interesting stories from the world of social, mobile and technology. To inform, inspire, and keep you abreast of new launches (along with some thoughts on how to make the most of them and what to do next).


This week…

X Factor’s Viewings Take a Hit

What happened?
It seems The X Factor didn’t receive the viewing numbers on Saturday that they would have liked for the return of series 14. The show recorded six million viewers which is the lowest launch the talent show has seen since the very first series back in 2004, when around five million tuned in.

So what.. 
Unfortunately for Simon Cowell, this only maintains the ongoing trend of declining audience numbers for the show.  Its best performance was in 2011 which saw an impressive high of 10.8 million viewers on launch night but it has sadly taken a downwards spiral in more recent years.

Simon Cowell says that “what’s important for us is to keep the young audience interested in the show”. He has hinted at changed formats of the show yet again by, introducing more of the middle shows, and less of the live shows and is encouraging more people to write their own songs to give the performances more originality.

In better news, The X Factor was clearly the most popular show of the night with the highest viewings, beating Casualty which aired on BBC1 with 3.5 million viewers.  This year’s judges include Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh. Although, there have been rumours of Cheryl Cole making a comeback to the judging panel.

It will be interesting to see how The X Factor fairs next Saturday up against the return of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1. Last year Strictly’s launch show smashed its own records by gaining more than ten million viewers.

It seems the X Factor may need a good sob story to win some more viewers.

Author: Rebecca Dawson

Extreme Social

What happened?
This week we introduce a new feature highlighting bizarre uses of social media. Some may be innovative; some will herald transformative ways of driving sales or building brands; many will be utterly pointless. Either way, hopefully they offer inspiration or a warning of what not to do.

So what..
In third place is Heinz in Brazil, who have taken it upon themselves to turn #foodporn envy into lunchtime satisfaction. Heinz are targeting users in Sao Paolo who are browsing food stories at lunchtime with an ad from a local burger chef. Users who swipe up on the post have the option to receive the contents of the post delivered straight to them (in a personalised Heinz box, of course). Demonstration here.

Next up, Citroën, who have gone to extreme lengths to honour a retired French carpenter who decided to spend six years of his retirement carving a 2CV out of wood. The final product can be seen in Citroën’s online hall of fame, and in the last week of August, Citroën used their social platforms to honour the carpenter. Instead of posting tweets in the conventional manner, they carved them out of wood, took a photo and posted the result.

In first place, and speaking of extreme lengths, carving tweets may take a long time, but NASA’s latest tweets are definitely travelling further. To honour the 40th anniversary of Voyager 1’s journey through space, one lucky tweeter has had his tweet beamed 10 billion miles to be archived on the spacecraft. The #MessageToVoyager was one of peace and humanity to any non-human life forms out there. If the message gets picked up it could give Twitter’s stagnant user numbers some much-needed growth.

Author: Tom Dunn 

Thorpe Park scares Londoners

What happened?
Employing a method to truly demonstrate a taste of the experience itself whilst gaining exposure, Thorpe Park scared the living daylights out of Londoners this week.  A truck mounted installation featuring live (or dead?) zombies soaked in over 50kg of animal ‘bits’ is touring the streets to promote the 2 walking dead (AMC TV show) themed mazes for the resort’s fright nights.  And if that is scary enough to make you drop your phone then worry not as you may also see o2’s creative use of OOH addressing that very subject on the very same streets.  Their ‘oops’ broken screen replacement campaign involves ‘modified’ (think wonky/broken) billboards featuring the look of a broken screen, creating a good physical representation of the problem at hand.

So what..
With significant stand out moments in recent years the experiential and OOH space continues to push the boundaries further.  In a unique space with almost limitless opportunities we can see once again that creative thinking can give those ‘absorbing messages’ something that can’t be experienced from other channels.  With the lack of true targeting on an individual basis (or parental control) the Fright Night campaign is certainly not without an element of risk.  However, you can be sure that this particular piece of activity will be quick to separate those interested in visiting the mazes from those that are not by delivering the message in such a strong way.  Both campaigns will trigger an emotional response and in the case of o2 the relatability of the issue (most people seem to own a phone with a cracked screen these days) and the way it has been delivered, will for many be the key to the response it forces from them.  The additional media, social and word of mouth exposure for both campaigns will ensure that the message is driven far wider than just to those lucky enough (or not in the case of Fright Night!) to experience them first-hand.

Author: Mark Smith

Trivago Woman

What happened?
For several months now, London’s tube has been subject to a (hostile? Who knows) takeover from the “Trivago Woman”. A simple ad, promising “Ideal hotels for the best prices”, it appears in virtually every underground station, usually multiple times. The buzz around the ads has ramped up recently, in the trade press and elsewhere (I particularly enjoyed this contribution from the Guardian).

So what..
The large sums of money invested clearly demonstrate that Trivago are on a bit of a roll. Indeed, they reported 67% growth in revenue for the first half of 2017 and have doubled their users outside of Europe & the Americas. Trivago have put this success down to increased brand awareness, so perhaps their latest efforts are designed to maintain this momentum in Europe. But what are we to make of it as a media strategy? On the one hand, we know that famous advertising outperforms rational advertising (and emotional too. Think GoCompare). The creative execution itself is also unusually simple and distinctive, which means Trivago is probably seeing excellent short-term increases in visitors & sales.

But doubts remain – at least for me. The first red-flag for me is the odd choice of season to run these ads. Late summer is rarely the time that people book holidays, so despite the likely growth in sales, this can’t be their only goal. Trivago must also expect these ads to drive their brand value. But again, a short-term “takeover”-style campaign is a strange way to achieve this. Studies suggest that strong brands build over time – often years of sustained investment. Unless Trivago have found a lot of spare cash down the back of the sofa, they can’t expect to maintain this level of exposure over the required horizon.

Media planning is increasingly becoming a fascinating blend of art and science, and with a little more of both, I can’t help but feel Trivago would have come to a rather different conclusion about how to spend their (considerably sizable) pocket money.

Author: Robin Sheridan