The brütha AdVenture

AdVenture is the first pan-European competition which gives you the chance to experience what it is like to work in an advertising agency. This competition is open to students from Universities around Europe.

This years brief was to raise awareness about Online Behavioural Advertising and increase transparency of OBA, explain the choices users have and show how users can exercise their choice over OBA.

Online Behavioural Advertising (OBA) is an online advertising technique which consists of serving ads to users based on their previous browsing activities. OBA is a means to serve more relevant ads to internet users, based on their inferred interests, thus decreasing “waste” and irrelevant advertising. OBA also finances online services and content that otherwise might not be available or that users would have to pay for. Many internet users, however, have a low level of awareness and understanding of OBA and the choice mechanism available to them. Explaining and showing how OBA works and how consumers can manage their online privacy in relation to OBA will educate internet users about online advertising and personal privacy, while strengthening user choice over OBA.

A jury of industry professionals created a shortlist of the top 10 teams from all the entries across Europe. In round 2, the judges selected the 3 finalists from the top 10:

Team Country Campaign
brutha the UK Nothing Despicable About Me
Team 2 Belgium Zip it (FOUR+ONE)
Me Gusta Romania Oh! If I knew…

The 3 finalist teams pitched their campaigns during the edcom Annual Conference and the winning team will spend a week in Cannes for the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Bournemouth University have only ever had one team make the finals back in 2010, Team Bubblewrap.

This year, Paul Martin and Rosa Greenslade, Account Planners at Brutha, were in Argentina as part of Bournemouth Universities student exchange programme which meant they were unable to attend the pitch. Myself, Creative Director, and Ben Gardiner, Account Manager, represented 50% of Brutha at the EdCom Conference on the 25th of May 2012.

Before the final pitch, the judges were each given personalised post cards all the way from our Bruthas in Buenos Aires explaining why they could not attend.

Once each team had pitched their campaign, the judges spent just short of 2 hours deciding on the winning team…

Me Gusta from Romania won 3rd place, followed by Team 2 from Belgium in 2nd. Winning our first award as a student agency, Brutha were given 1st place and will be jet setting to the Cannes Lions Festival on the 17th of June.

Watch this space to see what we get up to in Cannes… see you there bruthas.

Brütha – Student creative communications agency. We’ll be the best brutha you’ve ever had.

As part of the Campaign Planning unit at Bournemouth Uni, we are required to integrate the entire resources of an advertising/marketing communications agency. It is a process which when ideal involves a creative and productive business partnership between agency and client organisation. In reality the development of campaign plans exerts considerable pressure on individual and corporate skills and is sometimes terminal for both advertising ideas and business relationships.

This unit features extensive individual and group role-playing on realistic projects. Whilst this unit’s primary focus is on advertising, it requires students to think about complete communication plans and issues related to practicality when attempting to implement integrated plans. The unit intends to give students a sense of what it’s like working within an agency context, developing good teamwork skills, responding to clients appropriately and having to develop marketing communication solutions and then sell them convincingly to others.

Our agency is called Brutha, you can Follow us @brutha_agency

Sean Bone – Creative Director

Ben Gardiner – Account Manager

Rosa Greenslade – Account Planner

Paul Martin – Account Planner

We created an agency showreel to show clients our company ethos. Called ‘The Agency’, the showreel is an Advertising agencies take on ‘The Office’

In recent weeks we have had a successful pitch to Bath Travel where we created a Google Chrome spoof to kick off…

Check out the rest of the campaign here:

On Friday we pitched for the IAB and will be entering the AdVenture competition next week, so keep an eye out to see our campaign soon! With around 240 University rivals, the top 10 will compete in the 2nd round in Buckingham  for a chance to win, and go to Cannes.

With the Campaign planning unit at an end, we will soon be releasing some final agency videos and work. Here’s some more of what we’ve been up to…

 See ya soon Bruthas

Serial Greenwashers?

“Greenwashing has been popularized as a symbolic reversal of the long-standing public relations practices of corporations to appear legitimately environmentally ‘friendly,’ ‘responsible,’ ‘sustainable,’ or just ‘green’” (Kendall 2008).

1. BP and the Environment
Founded in 1909, British Petroleum celebrated its 100th birthday back in 2008. It is the world’s third-largest Oil and Gas Company and has a presence in over 80 countries. For the financial year ended December 2010, the company reported total sales of $297 billion (Mintel 2011).

1.1 The Oil Spill Saga
BP’s environmentally friendly brand has been tested by damaging incidents in recent years, including a Texas refinery blast and an Alaska pipeline spill (Bloomberg Businessweek 2010). But, in April 2010, the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, costing 11 lives, and leaking millions of gallons of oil into the sea. The saga has cost the oil giant billions of pounds in clean-up costs and compensation (Channel 4 News 2011). Since the accident, BP’s stock market value has declined by approximately $25 billion (Bloomberg Bussinessweek 2010) and in a report from Channel 4 News in 2010; Barack Obama likened the BP oil spill to 9/11. “In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11, I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”
The oil spill has been extensively destructive to BP due to the justifiable accusations of negligent behaviour. BP, Halliburton and Transocean were the three key companies implicated with the Macondo well, and the US Presidential Commission said; “Many of the decisions made increased the risk of the Macondo blow-out clearly saved those companies significant time. BP did not have adequate controls in place to ensure that key decisions in the months leading up to the blow-out were safe or sound” (Channel 4 News 2011). Using the already unpopular Tony Heyward as a spokesman to apologise was a further mistake. Met by immediate cynicism from consumers, the message only received further negativity. BP struggled to take the right course of action. Their inability to be honest, transparent, and sincerely apologetic, was ultimately their downfall (Blair and Hitchcock 2001).
BP attempted to put a figure on the rate of oil spewing into the ocean claiming the leak was only 5,000 barrels a day (The Guardian 2010). However, it was later revealed that the size of the oil was 20 times its public estimate, and in fact the rate could reach 100,000 barrels a day. In a statement in The Guardian (2010), Ed Markey, head of the House sub-committee on energy and the environment said; “This document raises very troubling questions about what BP knew and when they knew it. It is clear that, from the beginning, BP has not been straightforward with the government or the American people about the true size of this spill.” Their disregard only provides further credibility to their lack of commitment to the wellbeing of the environment. Lord John Brown (2003), retired group chief executive of BP said, “[the oil industry] is one of the world’s most successful corporations but it does not have a single objective”. It could therefore be argued that in an industry with such a narrow corporate vision, the most important aims for BP are to deliver good returns to its shareholders and investors.

1.2 Corporate Social Responsibility
In BP’s Sustainability Report (2012) they state; “Our approach to sustainability covers issues relating to governance and risk management, safety, the environment, the energy future and our local and global socio-economic impact.” This claim gives the impression that BP disregards the ongoing problems in the Gulf of Mexico and is guilty of 3 of Futerra’s 10 signs of greenwash; ‘no proof’, ‘irrelevant claims’ and ‘out-right lying’ (Futerra Sustainability Communications 2011). “Any attempts to sway public conception of environmental problems in order to obscure the interests of specific strategic alliances are greenwashing” (Kendall 2008). It therefore seems to be obscure that they would release such a statement knowing the extent of environmental damage caused in recent years. BP, however, operate in a society where environmentalism is becoming increasingly popular. “Most western markets have been affected by green consumer behaviour… such as changing buying habits of environmentally oriented consumers and boycotting behaviour that resulted from media reporting and pressure group activity (Wagner 1997).
The oil industry will to continue to battle with negative associations. What is evident in modern society is that energy is a necessity. Therefore oil is critical in the way we live our daily lives. Although BP has made some profound mistakes, “the [oil industry] is widely considered dirty and arrogant, populated by companies that need to be huge in scale to compete rather than human-sized. They are therefore seen as frightening, apparently all-powerful, dealing in huge numbers and seemingly unaccountable” (Brown 2003). With the culture of environmentalism becoming more mainstream, companies like BP need to be transparent to prove their CSR statements are truthful. “Brand fundamentals, such as trust, honesty, and quality, still count with consumers… it’s not enough to promise, you have to deliver” (Wade 2009). BP have had a public relations backlash but are setting new initiates to improve their operations saying; “We are working hard to restore trust in our ability to operate safely and responsibly wherever we do business” (BP Sustainability 2012).

2. Recent Communications
2.1 Greenwashing for individual gain
Last week, BP called on its contractor Halliburton to pay all costs and expenses it incurred to clean up the oil spill (The Guardian 2012). BP has spent $14bn in response to the spill and set aside $20bn for economic claims and restoration work (BP Sustainability 2012). What appeared to be an admirable effort from BP was tarnished when figures were released that the oil giant had more than tripled its expenditure on advertising following the oil spill. According to CNN Money (2010), “BP spent over $93 million on corporate advertising, which is three times the amount that the company spent on ads during the same period last year.” Scott Dean, BP’s general manager in press relations said; “Our objective has been to create informational advertising to assure people that we will meet our commitment.” However, Gene Grabowski, senior vice president of crisis and litigation practice at Levick Strategic Communications, argued this kind of approach was “unsurprising” and they are giving consumers want they want to hear” (Financial Times et al 2010). With huge amounts of money still to be paid in compensation, BP’s increased advertising spend is completely unjustified. This behaviour demonstrates BP’s desire to greenwash by spending more money on major branding and communications in the hope of increasing the green perceptions of their brand. “Energy is perceived as a much greener industry than travel in the United Kingdom, this is indicative of the significant environmental brand work done by BP and Shell” (Wade 2009).
A portion of the increased ad spend was used to utilise internet advertising (Wall Street Journal et al 2010). This was unsurprising considering BP had faced widespread criticism which has been particularly vociferous on social media. A Facebook group called ‘Boycott BP’ has recruited nearly 800,000 members since its launch and encourages consumers to avoid all BP petrol stations and brands (Boycott BP 2012). As well as committing to a variety of initiatives to quell the oil leak, BP had to find a way to combat the constant negative conversation online, and created ‘The Deepwater Horizon Response’ account on Twitter. With 5,700 followers, this has formed a key part of BP’s efforts to ensure news about its latest activities were easily accessible (Financial Times et al 2010). David Nicholas, a BP spokesman said; “we want to ensure that we can get out information about the response to this incident and spill as rapidly and widely as possible… Twitter is a clearly popular medium that can complement other, more traditional, communication efforts.”
These communication channels have been set up to aid BP’s public relations, but action speaks louder than words. The investment could have been used to support their environmental action. BP provides further evidence of greenwashing by running search ads on Google linked to the area of its website hosting the live video footage of its attempt to quell the leaking well on its YouTube channel (Financial Times et al 2010) which shows false images of an already oil free coast line.

BP are “presenting emotional appeals enhancing the organisations image by emphasising their positive actions, no matter how trivial, and downplaying any negative aspects, no matter how significant” (Kendall 2008).

2.2 ‘Beyond Petroleum’
Ogilvy and Mather created BP’s campaign ‘Beyond Petroleum’ along with their new logo, the ‘Helios’. The re-branding was a means of “expressing BP’s desire to be different and distinctive, a constructive, positive force, and a new company in an old industry” (Brown 2003). However, John Grant (2007. P. 85) argues that the BP logo is, “Imagewashing… designed to confer associations without substance.” Kendall (2008) says greenwashing often takes a propagandistic approach and “rather than substantially changing business practices so as to earn a better reputation, firms turn to PR professionals to create one for them.” Greenpeace quickly picked up on the logos false representation and created a print campaign asking consumers to take action by designing a more fitting logo.

The result of the campaign was a rival Sun shaped logo setting over an oil spread ocean:

Similarly, many of BP’s ads in previous years had imagery that spoke of the company’s commitment to the environment. For example, the TV advertisement with the slogan saying BP is making ‘Gas stations, a little better, baby’. BP’s advertisements have often been targeted by Greenpeace and it was not long until BP was dubbed, “Burning Planet” by Greenpeace (Grant 2007. P. 85). With Greenpeace now campaigning against them, BP took a stand, and remained committed to their message. “But ‘Beyond Petroleum’, perhaps the most famous example of greenwashing, was still a disaster. It back fired, became a focus of criticism, not support” (Grant 2007. P. 84). The ‘Beyond Petroleum’ tagline was ambiguous, and without considerable environmental action, lost credibility. “By simply blocking holes in pipelines, BP was able to make huge strides in the 1990s, beating its targets on reducing carbon emissions” (Grant 2007. P. 84). This effort was not profound enough for BP to make environmentalism the foundation of their communications strategy and brand their ads so heavily with ‘greenness’. Grant (2007) believes BP should have said, “We’re decades away from really getting beyond petroleum, but at least ‘we’re trying’ would have been fine.”

2.3 BP Target Neutral
Target Neutral is a not-for-profit initiative funded by BP since 2006. Offering to neutralise consumer’s emissions by investing in carbon reduction projects, BP says “Carbon offsetting is a good option for these remaining CO2 emissions. Not only does it help the environment directly, but it funds investment in sustainable alternative technologies” (BP Target Neutral 2012). Grant (2007) disagrees with this statement, “Quite a few concerns have been raised about offsetting recently; that it is an inefficient approach… Carbon offsetting is actually a form of cause-related marketing; a small proportion of the purchase price is used to do some good work.” In July 2008, BP became the sixth company to partner the 2012 Olympic Games and activists are voicing their concerns over the sponsorship. “It doesn’t surprise me at all that a company like BP would be making such a big effort to portray itself as a ‘good corporate citizen’ at a time when it is embroiled in so many environmental and human rights controversies around the world” (The Ecologist 2011).
BP have capitalised on the Olympic opportunity to diversify their Target Neutral initiative, offering to offset peoples travel during the Games. The Olympics has become a bandwagon event with the prospect of building positive brand associations (Grant 2007). “[BP] is banking on its sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics to rebuild a corporate image bruised by a recent series of disastrous accidents” (Mintel 2011). It could be argued that BP had become desperate and not only jumped on the Olympic bandwagon, but the offsetting one too. “Biofuels and carbon offsetting were both greeted enthusiastically, but are now controversial, contested and frowned upon” (Grant 2007). The deal is estimated to be in excess of £60 million, and makes BP the event’s official oil and gas partner, responsible for providing fuelling facilities for vehicles used in the Games (Mintel 2011).

Six London 2012 athletes are fronting BP’s Target Neutral programme including World Heptathlon Champion, Jessica Ennis seen demonstrating top tips for reducing your carbon footprint during London 2012. BP chief executive Tony Hayward said; “We want to support this momentous event, which will also provide a unique opportunity to engage with our own large UK and global workforce, the millions of customers we serve each day, and our existing partners in the arts, education and cultural arena” (Mintel 2008). Ironically, the group ‘Art Not Oil’ has created a BP-free gallery where people can submit artwork to contest the sponsorship. Art Not Oil say they have “campaigned against Big Oil cultural sponsorship since 2004 and creates work that explores the damage that companies like BP and Shell are doing to the planet” (Art Not Oil 2012). Much like the increased ad spend, it seems BP might have put their investment to better use in the ongoing clean up in the Gulf of Mexico. However, Target Neutral’ is a not-for-profit initiative funded by BP, and one goes towards helping consumers reduce their travel carbon footprint. It is a worthy step in a direction that may be small, but one that can have a positive impact on the environment.

3. Conclusion
“Greenwashing represents an acknowledgement of the power of symbolic manipulation” (Kendall 2008). The ‘Beyond Petroleum’ campaign allowed an opening for dispute against BP’s green credentials. The ‘Helios’ logo demonstrates how BP has used a propagandistic image symbolising ‘greenness’, a misrepresentation of their genuine impact on the environment. With the mainstreaming of environmental consumerism (Wade 2009), brands must prove their commitment. “Some companies put forward slogans and claims regarding the environmental friendliness of a product without backing them up by the actual greening of manufacturing processes” (Wagner 1997).

The only time we see BP being more transparent in their communications, is in a print campaign where they explaining the improved greening of their manufacturing processes, ending by saying, “It’s a start”.

Due to the nature of its business, BP will continue to fight negative associations with its brand. Also, the infrequency of this transparency in recent communications mean, arguments will often be aimed toward the oil giant’s objective being to enhance the corporations brand image for monetary gain. “BP and Shell get so much flack, not because they are worse than other oil companies, but because they suggest they are better” (Grant 2007. P. 83).
BP’s public relations during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill were catastrophic and will trouble them for years to come. BP failed to be honest and seem genuinely apologetic; they did not effectively work with those now working against them. “Capitulate and cave into the pressure taking whatever businesses costs and disbenefits are incurred… be pro-active” (Blair and Hitchcock 2001).
Before the oil giant can boast environmentally friendly claims, they must do something more constructive in line with the environmental principles they preach. Oil is an industry indispensible to modern society and consumers are savvy to the damage caused by fossil fuels. The greenwashing committed by BP has been evident. Although BP does uphold a legitimate commitment to the environment, in future they must be they must show how they are improving their processes, and extending commitments, without greenwashing the fact that those processes are still harmful to our environment. With honesty, perhaps BP can begin to restore trust in their ability to operate safely and responsibly wherever they do business (BP Sustainability 2012). “Trust is the gateway to aspiration. This is true for individuals and institutions of every sort. Once you have trust, and know how to sustain it, there is no limit to the aspiration” (Brown 2003).

Seeing is no longer believing; brands are now believed when they are also heard, smelt, felt and tasted

“In business, creativity has become the key to unlocking competitive advantage in crowded markets” (Bilton 2007). In traditional media, a typical and effective message should firstly attract the ‘attention’ of the consumer. Secondly, raise ‘interest’ by demonstrating advantages and benefits. Thirdly, convince customers that they ‘desire’ the product or service whilst showing how it will satisfy their needs, until finally leading customers towards taking ‘action’. After defining the desired response the communicator moves to developing an effective message (Clemmow 2010). This model is known as the AIDA model. In practice, few messages take the consumer all the way from awareness through to purchase, but the AIDA framework suggests desirable qualities for any communication (Lin and Huang, 2006). Successfully implementing AIDA in your communications would see your consumers follow you like sheep along that path, responding dutifully in the way your communications required them to. That was the first age of advertising. Experiential campaigns however, help change brands from nouns to brands as verbs, and marketeers create the desired effect with the use of innovations, users, tools, and mechanisms. “If you think your brand is a noun, you are likely to be among those marketers who fear loss of control. But if you understand that your brand is a verb, you recognise that no matter what changes to our media landscape might occur; brands will always have control over how they behave” (Bigham 2011).

“Staging brand experiences is not just about entertaining customers, it is about engaging them” (Pine and Gilmore 1999). It could therefore be argued that experiential advertising turns the age old AIDA marketing model on its head. Switching the order to attention, action, interest, and desire, simply attempting to directly change behaviour and thereby educating the audience through active participation (Pine and Gilmore 1999). “The second age began with the realisation that it wasn’t what advertising did to people that made it work; it was what people did with advertising. They used it actively, in different ways, to find out more, to relate to a brand, and to confirm or change their attitudes or expectations” (Clemmow 2010). In this instance, advertising became less rational and simplistic, and more complex and emotionally engaging. “By challenging the way things are done and developing unexpected scenarios, by searching for unprecedented angles of attack, brands can aim to be more engaging with the power to transform markets” (Flynn 2002). An example of this in practice was the Febreze ‘Breathe Happy Experiment’ created by Grey. People were blind folded and taken into unclean places, such as an old dirty hotel room, that had been sprayed with Febreze. Participants were asked to describe what they could smell until their blind folds were removed and they discover the power of Febreze fabric refresher. “A well-known name is linked with mental associations, empathy, and personal preference” (Kapferer, 2008).

Brands have also recognised the opportunities that lie within the digital space and want to replicate the same experience they can give consumers online, offline. One way this transition translates well is through real-world game experiences, sometimes referred to as ‘gamification’ (Nathans 2011). “Gamification means taking game mechanics and theory into the real world. When used in an experiential capacity, it can be an incredibly effective tool for marketers” (Nathans 2011). Saatchi & Saatchi used this idea of gamification and took the popular app Angry Birds to the next level. With the aim of leveraging the popularity of the game, they created a connection between the love of Angry Birds and T-Mobiles entire smart phone product range by installing a life sized Angry Birds game.

The video of people playing the game was watched by approximately 5 million people in a week. Digital however, has not replaced traditional media. Instead it has created new opportunities for more engaging communications through real-world game experiences allowing brands to encourage trial and participation. It is said that to produce more intrusive advertising strategies to give brands more substance and weight it is important for brands to make a clean break from the status quo and create disruption to create connectedness (Dru 2002 and Flynn 2002). With more agencies looking to provide similar consumer experiences for their clients, traditional media could now be described as the ‘old world of marketing’, usually consisting of; campaigns, consumers, channels, and messages that aim to understand what people think. It could be argued that experiential campaigns are the ‘new world of marketing’ (Clemmow 2010). Marketeers may find it more effective focusing on consumer’s attitudes first (Pountain and Robins 2000). Not just understanding what people watch, but what they do, and promptly eliciting ‘action’ from consumers.

A digital example of this was in 2010, Heineken sponsored the UEFA Champions League and developed a new global brand essence; ‘Be a Man of the World’. However, being an official sponsor can mean little in the eyes of consumers. AKQA discovered that most people watched the UCL at home whilst using their phones and most fans did not have a team to support. Recognising that simply asking drinkers to be men of the world was not enough, a call to action was needed to counter passive consumers. “As Heineken’s essence implied sociability and conversation, we knew that digital media would be the key to creating this layer of value for Heineken” (Wassef 2011). Fans still watched the UCL because it is the pinnacle of club football and football fans want to watch regardless of who they support. Heineken Star Player was born out of this insight as a mobile and Facebook app that lets fans interact in real-time with UCL matches, changing Heineken from a beer brand to an entertainment brand (Appendix 2). “By rewarding football fans’ ability to anticipate live in play outcomes and predict what was going to happen through a competitive social game we gave drinkers the means and encouragement to demonstrate ‘worldliness’ by being recognised as a football connoisseur” (Wassef 2011). This again shows how important it is to generate ‘action’ earlier in the AIDA model to build an instant connection with consumers and ultimately develop interest and desire in your brand.

Social media has also been a target for experiential campaigns by creating an integrated experience on and offline. “Physical experiences should complement, not contradict, digital ones” (Squires 2011). This integration has been made more achievable with the growth of smart phones and tablet technology. Unilever launched a ‘smile-activated vending machine’ for its ice cream brands. Described as ‘an ice cream truck for the digital age’, it utilises augmented reality and facial recognition technology in a ‘smile-o-meter’ that assesses the expressions of passersby.

When shoppers smile broadly into a camera, the vending machine takes a photo, which is then displayed on a touch screen, and gives the individual the option to upload it to Facebook, allowing consumers to interact live and share content with their online community. Participants will then receive a free ice cream of their choosing as a reward for their efforts (Marketing Week 2010). Many brands use social media platforms as a means to build their relationship with consumers creating an online social experience to interact with their customers on a more personal level.

Without a higher the level of meaningful interaction, brands can fall into the same old AIDA format with the idea of “selling as a sequence, moving a prospect from ignorance to action” (Wood 2010). In the social community space, brands are expected to offer an incentive to current and potential fans by creating an online experience with regular intimate connection. If this is missing, fans and followers can be as damaging for brand image as they can be positive. The proliferation of new media channels and user-generated content can see brands lose control of a community if they become stagnant or inactive, and see negative conversation spread online (Bigham 2011). This was evident after Gap’s failed attempt to redesign its logo causing mass amounts of negative conversation online and ultimately led Gap to revert to their original logo (AdAge 2010 and The Atlantic 2010). With the influx of brands jumping on the social media bandwagon, simply having an online community of fans and followers is no longer an innovative solution to experiential communication. It may be wise of brands to subject social media to the same rigour of strategy and research as traditional media campaigns. “Brands need to see social media as a long-term engagement channel, rather than something that can be turned on and off” (Squires 2011). Coca-Cola utilises its social community to become masters of owned media. They created the ‘Happiness Truck’, a live stunt in which a Coca-Cola delivery truck was converted into a happiness machine on wheels delivering free Coke and constant doses of happiness to unsuspecting consumers.

The experience touched only a handful of consumers live, but the video of the event extended to millions of their social fans online resulting in mass viral sharing (Bigham 2011).

However, it would be wrong to say that traditional media is obsolete. Experiential marketing programmes do not continually execute communications in the same way traditional media channels do. TV, Radio, and Print can reach a mass audience with repetition of a message to increase the chances of campaign recall (Madden and Fisher 2011). The engaging experience brands can offer in an online social community proves that although experiential campaigns do not reach a mass audience, they also do not simply broadcast a one-way message. Instead the channel seeks to provide a two-way dialogue, hands-on experience and a more intimate engagement between the brand and consumers (Madden and Fisher 2011). “One of the reasons that experiential marketing is becoming more and more important is that what people are craving is genuine experiences, rather than just communications. It’s an opportunity to engage with something, rather than traditional communications which are just one way” (Marketing Week 2010). However, there have been questions and speculations as to how the channel can be accurately measured. “Traditional channels are measured in standard and industry accepted ways, whereas experiential marketing has very few measurement norms”, putting marketers in a challenging position of balancing an increasing demand for the channel with undefined ways to ensure accountability (Madden and Fisher 2011).

With the global expansion of the digital age, there are now new rules in Advertising. Traditional media where you listen, watch, and read, has seen significant change and agencies are now often looking to substitute status-quo thinking with something bold and new (Clemmow 2010). We are now in the age of action. Getting consumers to interact and engage with campaigns has become a very popular and powerful tool (Flynn 2002). With the constant growth and development of the digital age, experiential advertising online creates a playground for creativity that allows consumers to vote, share, compare, compete, discuss, poke, buy, send, play, ask, order, train, monitor, dislike, and more. “Creative expression seems most effective when it is seamlessly continuous with its content” (Negus and Pickering 2004). Although experiential campaigns cannot compete for with traditional media for reaching a mass audience, sensory marketing provides consumers with authentic experiences. By turning the age old AIDA marketing model on its head and dealing with attitudes first, experiential marketing simply aims to directly change behaviour by utilising action. Rather than traditional channels which are just one way, it could be argued that in an experiential campaign; consumers are interrupted from their usual routine and thrown into action with Brands. Ultimately creating an experience that aims to engage consumers first, and build interest and desire second. “There’s no doubt that experiential marketing has captured the imagination of marketers and brands across the globe. Effective brand experiences can reach and engage people in new and meaningful ways, and reward consumers on an emotional and rational level in a way traditional techniques never could” (Nathans 2011).

Creating social communications to give a voice to underprivileged youths

1. The Underprivileged Youth – A History
“Through the years, [underprivileged youths] have been stereotyped as lazy, unmotivated know-it-alls who do not respond to lectures from parents and instead, are extremely prone to the views of peers” (Bao and Shao 2002). In this study I will investigate the extent to which the voice of underprivileged youth has become mute due to preconceptions of unjustifiable anti-social behaviour caused by narrow media representation and recommend ways in which a social communication might best address this situation. “Unemployment rates are higher among young people than among the general population and as a result there is a serious risk of their marginalisation and exclusion” (Hammer 2003). According to Hammer, the concept of social exclusion continues to place the non-financial aspects of life, particularly the problem of social isolation, of highest significance. “There is a major problem in our society with children growing up not knowing the difference between right and wrong. This is not about poverty, it is about culture. A culture that glorifies violence that shows disrespect to authority, and that says everything about rights, but nothing about responsibilities” – Prime Minister David Cameron (BBC News 2011).
In 2000 however, youth unemployment was around 16%, more than twice the unemployment experienced by adults at 7%. It could therefore be argued that young people experience extreme forms of marginalisation when exposed to prolonged unemployment coupled with the disintegration of social networks that blind the individual from the community (Hammer 2003 and Byrne 2005). Perhaps the real cause for concern is that marginalisation and failure to integrate underprivileged young people into typical societal roles, can lead to them suffering from the general capacity to share in the quality of life and participate in the social activities that characterise what is perceived to be ‘normal’ society.

2. Recent Marginalisation
2.1 Tuition Fee Protests
“Nick Clegg’s first and most painful political pratfall was to campaign against university tuition fees and then acquiesce in their increase to £9000 a year” (Mail Online 2011). 50 people were arrested when tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused during what was meant to be a peaceful protest against higher tuition fees organised by the National Union of Students. “Smashed windows, damaged furniture and daubed walls with graffiti, sparking a four-hour stand-off in Westminster” (The Telegraph 2010) was branded as “irresponsible” in a statement from Downing Street. Although, Academics at the University of London justified the violence by saying it had brought the tuition fees row “media attention across the world” (The Telegraph 2010). It could be argued that this violence was fuelled by higher education becoming elitist (Byrne 2005). Many underprivileged youths and their families do not have the funds to attend University because of the increased tuition fees. On the other hand, it seems that what could have been a move in the right direction for young people’s voice in society has in fact prolonged and inflated the public’s perception of youth to be one of hostility and immaturity. The tuition fee increase went ahead as planned charging students up to £9,000 a year from 2012, triple the current £3,290 fee (The Telegraph 2010). It seems ironic that the extreme action made by these students in an attempt to gain a voice has in fact proved to be detrimental to the cause, creating only further marginalisation of underprivileged youths.

2.2 The London Riots
“At the heart of all the violence sits the issue of street gangs. Territorial, hierarchical, and incredibly violent, they are mostly composed of young boys, mainly from dysfunctional homes” – Prime Minister David Cameron (BBC News 2011). In this article David Cameron explains his views on the causes of the London riots in August, laying the majority of blame on the underprivileged youth. “We are acting decisively to look at the deeper problems that have lead to such a hardcore of young people to carry out such appalling criminality” (BBC News 2011). With the BBC and the Prime Minister at the heart of this message, this media representation gains credibility to the presumption of the riots being unjustified. “The young people stealing flat screen televisions and burning shops, that was not about politics or protest, it was about theft” (BBC News 2011). Cameron seldom mentioned any other potential causal links for this protest but instead, continued to rely on repetitive messages to the public promising justice. “I have this very clear message to the people who are responsible for this wrong doing and criminality. You will feel the full force of the law, and if you are old enough to commit these crimes, you are old enough to face the punishments” (BBC News Politics 2011).
The Greenslade Blog (2011) says that the reporters on the ground failed to interview enough of the people involved. “Were the voices of the rioters and looters themselves reported? There is also a belief among many black people, particularly young ones, about stereotyping and bias”. The BBC is one of a majority of news sources ready and willing to condemn the ‘youth thugs’. In the BBC editorial guidelines they state that they “strive to be fair to all… BBC content should be based on respect, openness and straight dealing.” BBC also has an obligation under the Ofcom Broadcasting Code to “avoid unjust or unfair treatment of individuals or organisations in programmes” (BBC Editorial Guidelines 2011). Therefore it would seem unfair for the BBC to refer to the youths in such detrimental terms. The BBC’s articulation of empathy for the underprivileged youths should have been conceived as a passive reflection of the [youths] and an active effort to get [the British public] inside [youths] reasoning (Gerdes et al 2011).
There are, however, more empathetic articles, such as the following assertion by the Guardian (2011), “Too many of these young people assume they are not going to have any ordinary, human, respectful relationships with adults – especially those in authority, the police above all. Too many of them inhabit a world in which the obsession with ‘good’ clothes and accessories – against a backdrop of economic insecurity or simple privation – creates a feverish atmosphere where status falls and rises as suddenly and destructively as a currency market” (The Guardian 2011). The overwhelming use of unfavourable terms used to describe youth when referring to the riots may have made it difficult for the British public to show any empathy or remorse towards youths involved. Instead allowing people to warrant the same opinion as the BBC and taking their opportunity to ‘other’ the rioters (Gerdes et al 2011). “When self-fulfilling prophecies are possible, beneath every peaceful community, there lurks an ugly riot” (The Economic Times 2011).

2.3 Youth Service Cuts
Choose Youth, a group of more than 30 national youth sector voluntary organisations from across the country protested in London over cuts to youth services. Government have cut investment into places where young people can learn life skills, such as in a youth club or after-school clubs. A Unite survey released to coincide with the rally showed each council in England and Wales spends 28 pence per young person per day on services for young people, a drop of 12% on the past year (BBC News 2011). Deyontae James, a 17 year old from Wolverhampton said their message to government was that they did not deserve to be unfairly targeted. “We are on the verge of being old enough to vote, we demand to be heard, or else. I think they’re cutting young people’s services because we’re easy targets, because we can’t vote and we can’t hold them to account” (BBC News 2011).
It could be argued that these cuts are another potentially alarming way of turning youth into a failing generation. During the 1980s recession for example, cut backs on youth services led to mass youth unemployment. Apprenticeship schemes were discontinued and unskilled jobs, which had gone to early school leavers with no qualifications, were the first to be made redundant. “Overall, the number of young people going straight from school to employment had fell dramatically from 56% in 1976 to 15% in 1986” (Jones 1997). BBC News (2011) state, “the modern day cut backs on youth services make people fear Britain could see a repeat of Augusts’ riots on an even wider scale, unless young people have enough to do.” It could therefore be argued that the British public had a cognitive dissonant view of youth, in reference to the aforementioned London riots, and Cameron’s choice to create a somewhat negative perception of the youth rioters was in order to justify his future plans for cutting youth services allowing the public to achieve some level of consonance and justice (Festinger 1957).

3. Previous Communication Campaigns
3.1 Media Stereotyping
In 2007, David Cameron spoke about how some young offenders just needed love, caricatured by his opponents as his “hug a hoodie” speech. But what had been an attempt for political gain between the opposing parties; instead simply turned the hoodie into a stereotype to be forever associated with thuggery. “These are cheap thoughtless sound bites of the party political dogfight, be they from Labour – ‘hug a hoodie’ or Conservatives – ‘asbos on embryos’” (BBC News 2008).

The hug-a-hoodie concept became part of David Cameron’s attempt to re-brand his party. Ryan Florence’s gesture was a demonstration of how the patronising expression and stereotypical ‘hoodie’ character, led him to act controversially through an outburst of youth revolt due to continued frustration of being without a significant voice in society. This image “encapsulated the moment when David Cameron’s much mocked hug-a-hoodie expression came face-to-face with what he now describes as Broken Britain” (The Independent 2010).

3.2 Shock Tactics
Challenging the boundaries of public taste through a hard-hitting approach, Barnardo’s created the ‘Break the Cycle’ communications to change public opinion of troublesome youth, challenge discrimination, and force the public to think differently. The communication fits well under the expectancy violation theory (Burgoon and Hale 1988) by creating unexpected films starting with the stereotype of a ‘bad’ youth with aggressive and violent behaviour. The films progress to slowly show viewers the other side to the same child, the side characterised by painful vulnerability. “The intention was to create tension between these two different sides, in order to force viewers to stop thinking in absolutes and start seeing young troublemakers as desperate children in dire need of support. It was essential to force the audience to actively engage and come to their own conclusions, recognising and reappraising their prejudices” (Cockbain and Harrison 2009).
The online audience could switch between two sides from a child abusing their social worker, and with a click step in and break a young girl’s cycle of abuse by lending their support to a troubled young-offender. This interactive format intensified audience engagement, and the films end by positioning Barnardo’s as a support for troubled youth (Barnardo’s 2011). Most recently Barnardo’s released a new TV advert called ‘Life Story’, telling the life story in reverse of Michael, a 25 year old who has turned his life around into a 5 year old vulnerable child. The hard hitting story shows that with Barnardo’s help, Michael’s story didn’t have to end like it began, calling for the public to fight for a troubled child’s future (Barnardo’s 2011).

The Barnardo’s adverts show a great deal of empathy to underprivileged youths, and challenges the stigma attached to their willingness to change and be good (Gerdes et al 2011). The message aims to give faith back to society and helps to provide convincing solutions that validate their belief.

3.3 The Next Generation

Through the use of a TV campaign Direct Gov were able to use many of the ‘Compliance Gaining’ tactics (Marwell et al 1967 and Turner et al 2010) with the aim of getting more young people to consider higher education as an option. The advert reminded students of their ‘past commitment’ to education and by raising awareness of the benefits of Higher Education. Direct Gov also explain how with their ‘expertise’ and financial support, there is no limit to students’ potential. In the advertisement Direct Gov have a young male reciting a rhyme throughout that describes how throwing away the chance to go into higher education will be ‘punishing’ in future, wasting a dream of potential accomplishment. “Dreaming up success – no, that’s not enough for me, oh what a waste, if I don’t taste the opportunity.” The young male then receives his ‘reward’ after taking on the role of several different aspirational jobs and he concludes by saying; “I’m everything I could possibly be.” Linking this to Altercasting (Turner et al 2010), the general audience expects this young male to behave in a manner that has been consistent with youth. In this case, however, the character being situated in different desirable jobs shows the audience how young people can be successful whilst they are still young, rather that when they are grown up. This role helps to provide the public with some confidence that young people can be successful as the future generation of our country.

4. How can social communications change public opinion?
The continued marginalisation of underprivileged youths in contemporary media has consistently created further preconceptions undermining the supposedly unjustified anti-social attempts to gain a voice in society. The irony of this behaviour being the root cause for marginalisation has made it difficult for underprivileged youths to integrate into societal roles. Ultimately this has created a constant loop of frustration where the desire to be heard leads to them to act aggressively consequently being overlooked as members of social activities that characterise what is perceived to be ‘normal’ in modern society (Clift and White 2011).
With the extremity of voiceless underprivileged youths, it would be appropriate to use expectancy violation in a social communication with the aim of confronting the British public with their prejudices and forcing them to start thinking differently (Burgoon and Hale 1988). To attack the current perceptions and prejudices, the communication must be unexpected to show the public the absurdity of their preconceptions. In doing this you can hope to convince them that the anti-social behaviour and more considered specific prejudices they hold might be wrong and by undermining these negative preconceptions, begin to address the context in which these actions were one of frustration and attention, not one of unjustified thuggery (Tappy and Arning 2003). In the long-term, I would hope that the offer of positive reasons to re-evaluate public opinion would have a positive impact on society. Perhaps even if the social implications of this social communication were accepted by just a small percentage of people, it would be the foundations that could shape a new perception of underprivileged youth, giving them a greater voice in society.

Fiat eco:Drive

Fiat Eco:Drive is a free to download software that new Fiat car owners can use to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. Using a USB port in the car, Eco:Drive monitors driving habits to later upload to your laptop for drivers to analyse and find recommendations for key areas of improvement. Eco:Drive shows you how to help contribute to social responsibility goals and cut down on fuel costs by up to 15%. By setting short term achievable goals with a monetary incentive, Eco:Drive makes it simple for drivers to learn better ways to lower their CO2 emissions and reduce fuel consumption.

“Evidence to date indicates that eco-driving can reduce fuel consumption, thereby reducing CO2 emissions” (Ni and Barkenus 2009) and so, eco driving has become a mainstream issue and a bandwagon for brands to latch onto in order to promote their green credentials. There seemed to be a clear thread running through eco driving communications being released around the same time as Eco:Drive.

These advertisements were always putting the car owners at fault whereas the Eco:Drive campaign doesn’t just treat car owners as part of the problem; it empowers them to be part of the solution, offering practical benefits while empowering and engaging consumers in meaningful ways to educate them about important issues affecting their lives (Ottman 2011). The Fiat Group code of conduct sets out environmental policy guidelines that reflect those published in official documents since 1992. Fiat say; “the desire to minimise the environmental impact of its cars is one of the driving factors behind the choices made during the entire life cycle of its products” (Fiat 2011). Fiat state they have been committed to reducing environmental impact for around 30 years, and their dedication to the cause has shown in recent ad campaigns.

In 2009, the European Commission Climate Act was confirmed; meaning the fleet average to be achieved by all cars registered in the EU was to be 130 grams per kilometre by 2012, a 19% reduction (European Commission Climate Act 2010). It could be argued that Fiat created Eco:Drive out of obligation rather than a genuine interest in the environment. This could be Fiat’s means to greenwash consumers into believing they really cared about the reduction of CO2 emissions when in fact they were only using Eco:Drive to create a brand perception of ‘greenness’.

Fiat did a study and found consumers behaviour changed most significantly in the first 30 days of eco-driving. The average eco:Driver saved 6% on fuel consumption, cut 1,088kg of CO2 emissions, and saved £480. The top 10% of Eco:Drivers tripled these results (Fiat Eco Driving Uncovered 2011). Arguably the results show pedestrian savings for personal drivers, although the study also reveals that if we were all eco-drivers in the EU we could save:
– 37 billion litres of Oil; five times the annual oil production at the world’s biggest oil rig
– 90 million tons CO2; the same as Portugal’s yearly emissions
– 43 billion Pounds; the same as the investment in renewable energy in the EU in 2009
The campaign results show success in reducing CO2.

The Fiat advertisiment shows consumers the perceived consequences of using Eco:Drive; its ease of use, the reduction of their fuel costs, and helping the environment. This feeling of accomplishment creates a desire for consumers to engage with the campaign. The success of the campaign links well with the means–end chain perspective (Kärnä, Juslin, Ahonen, and Hansen 2001), that suggests consumers think about product attributes subjectively in terms of personal consequences. According to the model; “marketers should specify advertising strategy in terms of how the product will be related to the consumer.” The Eco:Drive advert does this very well by communicating the appropriate means–end connections between the product attributes and consumers’ goals and values.

Due to Eco:Drive technology only being fitted into new ‘Blue&Me’ Fiat cars, the campaign creates a sense of environmental elitism. Only consumers that can afford a brand new Fiat car would be able to use Eco:Drive. Perhaps it could also be said that Fiat used Eco:Drive as an incentive to sell more of their new fleet of automobiles. Although, environmentalism has become more accessible over time as green became mainstream and fashionable, therefore driving prices down to become more affordable (Dunlap and Morrison 1986). However, this theory is outdated. With recession looming over the current economy, people’s willingness to pay premium price for environmentally-friendly products has faltered. What Eco:Drive does well is emphasises the need for such products to offer added-value benefits such as saving money on fuel costs.

To conclude, marketing and advertising campaigns have long been shifting from persuasion to action. Getting consumers to engage and interact is fast becoming a more favourable choice (Kapferer 2008). Eco:Drive does not just treat car owners as part of the CO2 emission problem; it empowers them to be part the solution (Ottman 2011). The expense consumers must go to in an effort to be more ‘green’ creates an opportunity to be more eco-centric if you can afford it (Kilbourne 1995). This has caused a depreciation in consumers’ willingness to be more eco-aware ranking ‘eco-friendliness’ 10th in a list of the most important features to consider when buying a car (Mintel, 2010 and Belz and Peattie 2009). While passenger cars are responsible for 22% of total EU emissions of carbon dioxide in 2006 (Defra 2008), it could be argued that Fiat are the ‘best of a bad bunch’ (Futerra Sustainability Communications 2011) as being a car manufacturer, they are still polluting the atmosphere with high amounts of CO2. However, Fiat is a small car manufacturer committed to environmental innovation and campaigning of environmental issues. In modern society, the automobile has become a necessity. Fiat eco:Drive has shown that through a combination of innovation and the willpower and endeavour of consumers, corporations can have a positive impact on the reduction of CO2 emissions.

To Hull and Back

After literally being to Hull and back, Nigel Pearson returns to Leicester City to finish where he left off. The Leicester fans will welcome Nigel back after he took The Foxes to League One glory in Leicester’s lowest league point in their history, followed by narrowly missing out on a Championship Play-Off Final place after they lost on penalties to Cardiff. As a Leicester fan myself, I found it difficult to understand why we would let personal issues be the reason to let yet another top manager like Pearson go.

When Sven took over I saw a bright future for the club. Sven’s name alone made players who were ‘Premier League’ quality want to play for Leicester. After a tough season full of changes and loan players the new Thai owners took over the club, and with it came huge investment. The club had huge ambitions and it was exciting times for Leicester fans.

Although this season we haven’t delivered results that match expectations, I always felt the players needed time to gel. Every home game you could see glimmers of the team improving. We played good football. But, I felt Sven bought naively. Too many central players, no wingers, (and although people may not agree) selling Hobbs, who was the most promising young talent we had to Hull was a massive mistake. These players Sven brought in were great footballers but the formation and the way we played was too narrow. This is why we struggled to break teams down and score goals. Remember, “There’s only one way to beat them, and that’s around the back.” When Sven was let go, I thought it was the wrong decision and typical Leicester, yet another manager gone. I think he at least should have had until Christmas, we were in touching distance of the play offs. But it seems the owners are ambitious, and having invested a lot of their money they wanted better results faster than Sven gave them.

So what now? Honestly, I think Pearson is a step backward. Now he inherits a team built and bought by Sven – until January. Can he attract the same players Sven could? I’m not so sure. However, what is clear is that Pearson is a player motivator. He got us into the Championship Play Offs, off the back of a promotion from League One, with arguably a worse team. And of course, he was somewhat successful at Hull. It’s going to be an interesting season for us City fans, but we’re used to it. I love my club and will back anyone in charge, so best of luck to Nigel and the boys. I always said being a Leicester fan was like being an England fan, and I will try to remain positive. When you’re smiling.

It is impossible to rejuvenate a brand without modifying its outward appearance and communication. Norwich Union used bold, sometimes radical, creativity as the energy source for injecting new life into their brand – Aviva

“Survival means change. It is impossible to rejuvenate a brand without modifying its outward appearance and communication. Bold, sometimes radical, creativity has been the energy source for injecting new life into tired brands”

This essay is a discussion of the effectiveness of Aviva’s UK re-branding of Norwich Union. The main idea behind the re-branding was to streamline the company internally. Aviva is an international company, and has always been Aviva abroad. Norwich Union were too localised and Aviva needed to think globally to become more competitive and to reach Chief Executive Andrew Moss’ vision of creating; “One Aviva, twice the value”. So to avoid the situation when the company has one name in the UK and a different name internationally, they had decided to go with one name, Aviva. With lots of misunderstanding and questions, and during the recession, what was an important shift for Aviva to rejuvenate their brand, left consumers feeling unsure and uneasy about how the name change would be beneficial.

On the 1st of June 2009, Norwich Union, the trusted name that had been around for 200 years and the UK’s largest insurer completed its re-branding to Aviva as part of the group’s strategy to grow and transform to compete at a global level. “International markets are now more homogeneous than ever before, so brands are replacing all their local brands with global ones” (Kapferer, 2008). Any brand would expect to see their customers expressing concerns about such a change and so Aviva went through a period where they focused on building the awareness of the Aviva brand beginning with major advertising campaigns over the 2008 Christmas period and onwards into 2009. They did this in the hope that it would encourage an increase in customers’ confidence in the Aviva brand.

The change was decided as a part of the transformation set out in October 2007 by Chief executive Andrew Moss, with the vision of creating; “One Aviva, twice the value”. A consistent, recognisable name, and brand across its markets around the world was an important part of Aviva’s strategy to succeed in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace, uniting under one brand. In 2008, Aviva initiated the programme that was ‘more than a name change’, but a renovation of their brand and business to create a streamlined, simplified modern way to improve efficiency and reflect customers’ preference.

Norwich Unions final creative leap
As Norwich Union, the group made their final major creative leap with their adverts featuring Mr. Happy. Happy was the ‘face’ or more, ‘voice’ of the Norwich Union brand. He featured in a series of adverts filmed as if from his point of view where he would be giving away great deals on insurance to customers that seemed to his colleagues and friends as a bit foolish with the tagline; ‘Get yourself a Happy quote’.

The ads were always consumer-centric but always from the companies’ perspective looking outwards. Happy works as a brand character representing a friendly boss who loves to please customers. This personality would have been developed to make these characteristics rub off on the brand to build consumer perceptions of Norwich Union as a caring, and welcoming place to have insurance with.

Notably key to the re-branding of Norwich Union was; ‘Soon to be Aviva’ being written under the logo throughout all of their final advertisements. This was a great way to prepare consumers for the change and allow them to make clear connections between this brand and Aviva. This was the best way to build consumers up to the brand change, it was important not to re-brand with no preparation. “The time factor is crucial; one must wait until customers are aware of the change” (Kapferer, 2008).

Becoming Aviva
2009 was a challenging year, with strong competition and the recession impacting on all lines of business. More customers are searching for cheaper deals. Aviva’s name change was a risk, and a costly risk at that in such tough economical times. “Brand transfers are admittedly the most risky facet of the change. In customers minds, a well-known name is linked with mental associations, empathy, and personal preference” (Kapferer, 2008).

Their re-branding was made official with an ad created by AMV BBDO starring Bruce Willis, doing what he does best, delivering the action that made his films famous. Walter Willis looks distinctly worried in the seat alongside him as the pair takes a breakneck drive through a New York street. The message is spelt out loud and clear; ‘would Walter have been a success in movies if he hadn’t changed his name to Bruce?’ With a large budget Aviva did exactly what they wanted; “brand awareness of its name change increased from 35 per cent of its customers to 80 per cent within three weeks of the adverts being screened” (The Sunday Times, 2009). Joining Willis is a host of big celebrity names including Elle Macpherson, Ringo Starr and Alice Cooper, posing the same question ‘What’s in a name?’

“More than two-thirds of marketers believe that Aviva’s rebrand from Norwich Union has been a success. 67% of marketing professionals said the high profile six-month campaign has successfully communicated the name change.”

Andrew Moss, Chief Executive at Aviva said; “The advertising campaign cost us between £10m and £20m pounds – but it was worth every penny” (The Telegraph, 2009). With such a cast of celebrities, the ad created a lot buzz which helped to extend the campaign further through earned media. “Your job is to surprise; surprise is what gets people talking. This is why brands tie up with celebrities” (Kapferer, 2008). Aviva made all the right moves, reassuring customers that it was a name change and nothing more, keeping the same logo, the same colours, and the same corporate identity, they were able to speed up brand resonance. Consumers thought it was nothing more than Aviva breathing new life into the Norwich Union brand. “Advertising plays an important role in influencing consumer perceptions and creation of images which go far beyond the normal functional factors which may affect the choice of a brand.” (Yeshin, 2006)

One Aviva, twice the value
Soon after the success of the name change from Norwich Union, Aviva began to air a ‘mini drama’ type series of adverts that was then extended over a considerable period of time. Starring Paul Whitehouse as the brand character, he represents the average Brit and whilst being known for his humor represents a father figure. The ads were designed to arouse a sense of involvement through drama and humour which makes for good entertainment creating an engaging message. He is incorporated into many different mini storylines dramatising his social and family life as father of the family. Aviva create an image of their brand being the hero by showing Whitehouse taking part in different activities he would not normally be able to do, but now can because he was able to save money on insurance with Aviva. An example would be; saving money on car insurance to spend on ballroom dancing with his wife.

Throughout Aviva are able to explain their product benefits; 12 weeks free on your car insurance with the tagline ‘Get the Aviva deal’. The same mnemonic music used in the old Norwich Union ads has also been used throughout their new campaign. Along with continued consistency within the brand, the ongoing plot transfers added impact to the brand by evoking human interest improving campaign recall and resonance with the audience. In the UK life market, Aviva had built a leading position across a broad product range. They had gained competitive advantage through product development; including offering a 12-months free life cover to new parents, and taking actions to simplify the business making it easier for customers.

Life ‘assurance’ from Aviva
The final of the Paul Whitehouse advertisements selling Aviva’s life insurance is heavily ‘pathos’ led and caps off a host of humors and light-hearted adverts. During the final ad he plays the father and walks through his home talking about his family’s financial protection as they pack for a holiday.

Based on the Facets Model of advertising effectiveness (Wells et al, 2009), it is here that it seems like another in the series of humorous ads initiating perception through recognition and recall. At the end of the ad, it becomes apparent that Whitehouse is talking after he has already passed away. This uses the cognitive facet using the post-death setting to demonstrate that while events can be unavoidable, life insurance can make a difference for the families left behind. The use of persuasion is applied when the father character, tells viewers he has peace of mind, knowing his family has financial security. The ad makes best use of the affective facet throughout, but most prominently when showing that his daughter is able to go to university, while his son can enjoy his swimming lessons until ultimately the realisation of the father watching how life is continuing for his family after his death. Aviva have utilised the affective facet to apply a transformation of the audience’s emotions of togetherness, love, and warmth, aiming to transfer these feelings onto the brand. Amidst this, the emotional engagement uses behavior by creating a hidden call to action intended to engage the four in 10 adults across the UK who have no financial protection (Mintel, 2010); ‘secure your families future with life insurance from Aviva’ for as little as £5. “It is commonly accepted that changes in beliefs lead to changes in attitude” (Wells, 1997)

Aviva have taken a risk with a post-death perspective rather than the traditional what-if risk-focused route and treating it with a sensitive and more down to earth approach which helps to connect with the consumer. “Basic emotions such as happiness or love can be connected to the brand” (Mooij, 2005). According to Aviva every 29 minutes in the UK a child under the age of 16 loses a parent (Mintel, 2011). Life insurance is a very difficult topic but, at the same time it is still an important issue, using a pathos led ad has the advantage of consumer’s not raising their defences because they are not being sold to directly. Where there is lower motivation for people to invest in insurance, emotional advertising can be most effective. Since the ad was aired, Aviva have seen a rise in full-year profits on the back of improved sales of life assurance policies and cost cutting. Pre-tax profits in 2010 came in at £2.4 billion, up 35% on the £1.8 billion posted in 2009. Total sales rose by 4% to £47.1 billion. (Mintel, 2011)

Direct Line, Direct Competition
Aviva are the UK’s largest general insurer with a market share of 10% (Aviva plc, 2009) with turnover worth more than £45 Billion worldwide. Their main competitor for general insurance is Direct Line, and specifically in health insurance, Prudential. Direct Lines original advertisements focused on building the identity of their brand character, the red phone. Now they have a similar strategy to Aviva, their ads contain humorous and relatable scenes featuring comedian Chris Addison as a Direct Line salesman. He sits with customers and explains the benefits of having insurance with Direct Line with the identity and mnemonic jingle still capping of the advertising to continue brand consistency. However, the Aviva advert engages so well on an emotional level because viewers do not have to concentrate on facts or information, they can just enjoy the story.

Although Pru have not spent money on a TV advertising campaign in the UK for many years, they are still a huge competitor due to the size of their company. They have seen huge growth and expansion mainly through takeovers and they invest huge amounts in international markets. Currently Prudential have a big advertising campaign in Asia explaining ‘The Power of Listening’ to their customers. With Pru proving to be a formidable competitor in foreign insurance markets, it was vital that Aviva remained competitive by creating their global brand.

Viva Aviva
To be competitive, change and innovation is vital. Aviva’s re-branding was imperative to see the company grow and transform into a complete global brand. Customers were once misunderstood; expressing concerns about this change from the well know Norwich Union. A year later and now those customers are talking about it as if it happened 5 or 10 years ago. Aviva has transferred the loyalty of their customers and positive association they once had with Norwich Union to Aviva and “greater customer loyalty leads to greater future certainty” (Butterfield, 1999). Aviva’s costly and risky advertising campaigns were key to the success of the building of brand awareness, inspiring customers’ confidence in the Aviva brand. Aviva can be proud of their; “One Aviva, with twice the value” because now they have achieved their goal of becoming a consistent, recognisable name, across its markets around the world and uniting under one brand.

Throughout 2009, Aviva’s commitment to deliver service excellence has driven improved satisfaction and advocacy results (Mintel, 2010). Aviva have continued to inspire innovation and the modernisation of their brand after launching a free iPhone app to help customers manage claims more quickly (Mintel, 2010). No longer should insurance advertisements feature morbid scenes, Aviva have raised the standard for advertising insurance and set the bar high. This means the industry may start moving away from the conventional way to promote insurance. Just because it is bleak does not mean we shouldn’t promote it, Aviva had a broader vision of the future. It was this fundamental change in the way they operate and communicate with their customers that means Aviva are now fit for the future and the ever changing global market place.

Pandora’s out of the box

So, 9 Blog posts later and I think 2 key themes that I have noticed and found to be most interesting are the power of social media and digital privacy problems. After reading a few online articles I came across a recent case study on ‘Pandora Radio’ to help explain the future regulation of digital privacy and its effects and social media.

Pandora Radio is the free personalised radio which allows you to stream music on your iPhone or iPad. By choosing the name of one of your favourite artists or songs, Pandora will automatically create a “station” that plays that artists music and more just like it. It’s a great way to listen to the music you love whilst exploring new ones. However, Pandora Radio’s free app has been found to be supplying advertisers with huge amounts of user information by tracking users’ age, sex, ID, zip code and precise geographic location, which in many cases was updated in a continuous loop. It’s funny that just a few weeks ago in a previous blog post; ‘They’re watching you’, I was talking about how ‘brands have the responsibility to protect consumers’ privacy, and perhaps we should see governments intervene in regulating the use of consumer data’, and then we see the Pandora app story across our internet news screens.

It turns out that Pandora appears to be integrated with a number of advertising libraries including; AdMarvel, AdMob, comScore, Google.Ads, and Medialets. What this means is that consumers personal information is being transmitted to advertising agencies in mass quantities. This behaviour is most probably happening elsewhere and will continue to happen until application developers are given strict privacy regulations. The information gathered makes it very easy to determine who someone is, what they do for a living, who they associate with, and any number of other traits about them. I am on social networking sites and know about targeted advertising and cookies, but when this quantity of consumer data is being collected to the extent that your geographical location can be found; it’s no different to stalking.

A federal grand jury is investigating smartphone privacy, and legal experts said, “in general, companies rarely end up being charged with a crime. Companies in the federal government’s cross hairs often reach non-prosecution or deferred-prosecution agreements that allow the targets to avoid being criminally charged. In exchange, the companies may agree to concessions, including monetary payments or promising not to engage in future wrongdoing, among other things.” However, makers of apps could also face complaints of unfair and deceptive trade practices from the Federal Trade Commission. Such complaints can be aimed at companies that fail to tell customers how they are collecting information or are violating their own terms of service. “Hopefully this will bring about a big change in the industry and make companies be more responsible in what data is being collected,” said Ginger McCall, assistant director at Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Companies and Advertisers currently are tracking consumers information without any sort of permission or regulation. It is obvious that an intervention is needed, but what is still unclear are the details of how any ‘Do-Not-Track’ mechanism would work without disrupting the speed and ease of internet browsing. “Greater transparency is needed regarding the reliability, track record, and operation of government and commercial data mining systems. In addition, questions remain about the extension of consensus safeguards around government data mining to commercial data mining, the extent and speed of adfunded web services’ adoption of identity management systems, and the broader social impact of greater online anonymity.” (Rubinstein, Lee, and Schwartz, 2008) In late 2010 cnet News said, “The most obvious approach is for people to configure their Web browsers through a cookie to flag themselves as opting out from behavioural advertising. But that requires cooperation among browser makers and advertisers, and without a law enforcing compliance, web sites could presumably ignore the please-don’t-track requests.”

Firms that are ‘Green’ and Socially responsible are often seen to be more desirable. If other firms (like Pandora) start, or continue to exploit consumers private information they may see a backlash against them. This could cause a negative impact on a firms brand image as well as a drop in consumers using their services. The impact would be far greater if their reasons are due to anger and fear of exploitation rather than a simple disinterest or dislike for the brand. As I have mentioned on previous blog posts, the online masses work as a long tail, and negative conversation online can be driven very fast. “Perceptions of unfairness are likely to lead to a variety of negative behaviours that firms’ cannot afford to ignore. Firms need to be proactive in developing their privacy policies. Not only are consumers becoming increasingly aware of online privacy breaches but they are also better equipped to prevent privacy intrusions and retaliate against firms that are perceived to have acted inappropriately.” (Ashworth and Free, 2006)

To conclude, brands do have the responsibility to protect consumers’ privacy. Protecting customers, being truthful, and fulfilling their promises is the best way to improve brand image and build lasting relationships with consumers. Exploiting them for their personal information to gain an advantage over competitors is wrong, and in the long-term, ineffective. Governments need to intervene in the regulation of consumer data usage with more serious consequences. Technology is moving forward at a very fast rate, and it is important for regulations to keep up to ensure the consumer is protected.

They’re watching you

During this weeks lectures I found the term ‘Dataveillance’ very interesting. This is the systematic monitoring of people’s actions or communications through the application of information technology. Dataveillance would be mostly implemented through the use of what is known as a ‘Cookie’. Cookies are small pieces of data that save information when you visit websites. For example, cookies allow search engines to remember your searches and online stores to remember the items saved in your virtual shopping cart. This information can then be very helpful for consumers, improving efficiency and speed whilst using the internet. This is often why you receive emails from Amazon or Tesco recommending products you may be interested in, and why you see ads that are more relevant to you.

However, this information is often abused being shared, or sold to companies in order to build huge amounts of information and create consumer profiles. Brands have the responsibility to protect consumers’ privacy, and perhaps we should see governments intervene in regulating the use of consumer data. Similar to what I have mentioned in a previous blog post; “Social ‘Private’ Life”, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising said, ‘Permission-based advertising could become the norm and understanding this is vital for success, requiring a fundamental shift in mindset. Brands will have to earn the right to be in this space.’ What this means is before brands can give away information to advertisers they will first need to have permission from their users.

Some Smart Phone applications have the ability not just find out your social habits and personal details, but they can actually map your GPS location at any given time. Consumers should have the power to decide their own levels of privacy. In the video below Steve Jobs talks about how mobile phones and applications must be regulated to ensure privacy, in particular location. The extent to the amount of information that can be collected can affect brand image and more importantly the privacy of real people, it’s time to see some real regulation before online data mining goes too far.


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