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At MI we accelerate growth for challenger brands, working collaboratively with our clients to deliver immediate impact and sustainable growth. This concept is not new, but its highly effective when executed well. We see it exemplified by leading brands every day. Our team is always on the lookout for the latest inspiration from innovative brands, agencies and media owners adopting the “accelerate growth” concept. On this note, we wanted to share some of the lessons we’ve learnt from brands along the way. 

Our New Business Director, Nicole Allan, is going to kick off the series with an oldy-but-goody: Direct Line’s The Fixer. 

Marketing Insight: how Direct Line took on price comparison sites 

In 2013, Direct Line’s position in the market was faltering. With the increasing dominance of price comparison sites, its ‘come to us direct’ approach wasn’t having the same pull. One effect of price comparison sites on the insurance market was that they were forcing a race to the bottom. Price alone was driving consumer behaviour and brand loyalty was hard to build. 

Understanding that joining the race to becoming the lowest priced insurer wouldn’t turn around its decline in revenue, Direct Line decided to focus on brand, instilling a new brand direction across every element of its business. The brand understood that consumers don’t spend their days dreaming about the events when they have to call up their insurers. In fact, they turn to insurers in a moment of need when they just want their problem to be fixed. With this marketing insight in mind, Direct Line decided to reinvent itself as ‘The Fixer’ brand. 

Media Innovation: introducing Winston Wolf’s ‘The Fixer’ 

Working with creative agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, Direct Line looked to the ultimate Fixer, Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolf, to sell its new ‘We’re on it’ brand proposition to consumers. The campaign launched in a 30-second TV spot opening with the line, “I’m Winston Wolf, I fix problems”, with Harvey Keitel’s character shown fixing a range of customers’ insurance problems. When it launched, Direct Line Group’s then marketing director, Mark Evans, commented to Campaign Magazine, “The idea of being a ‘fixer’ is a re-frame of the role of insurance. Rather than believing that we can ‘protect’ our customers, we simply want to make their problems disappear with as little hassle as possible.” The TV ad was supported by activity across geo-synchronised OOH, mobile & radio, direct mail and social media.  

This fixer mentality wasn’t just about the external advertising campaign, but about a real step change in how the business operated internally and for its customers. Direct Line decided to go nation-wide with its #DirectFix campaign, using social listening to hear the gripes of the nation and fix their everyday problems. Evans told the story of one Direct Line staffer who, “picked up a tweet from a customer complaining he couldn’t watch a boxing match because his television hadn’t arrived. He drove home got his own television and delivered it to the customer.”  

That same year, the UK was hit by devastating floods with Carlisle being one of the worst hit areas. Direct Line diverted its team and delivered over 100 #DirectFix boxes containing everything from portable phone chargers to treats for children to those customers affected by the floods.

Accelerating Growth: what lessons can we learn? 

In the year following the launch of its ‘We’re on it’ positioning and Fixer campaign, according to Hall & Partners 2016 Ad and Brand Tracker, Direct Line became the most distinctive brand in the market. It was also voted the most empathetic company on Twitter by the Harvard Business Review. Most importantly, by January 2015 Direct Line had halted five consecutive years of decline and reversed the business’s overall revenue, a year ahead of target. 

In today’s economic climate, the results of Direct Line’s Fixer campaign are a worthy reminder that consumers will pay a premium for the things they care about. It also highlights the important role the marketing team can play in making a step change across a business. By fostering a culture where innovation is reality, not just empty words, Evans said that the marketing team, “gained stature with our CEO and we certainly have a bigger share of voice across the company.” 

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In our next ESG interview, we speak to Aisha Graham, Production Manager at Happy Hour Productions to hear a view from the creative side of the industry. Aisha joined Happy Hour in 2018. Prior to advertising, Aisha worked in manufacturing but decided on a career change and moved to Bristol to start her career in media. At Happy Hour, Aisha spearheads sustainability initiatives, processes and practices within the business. 

Q. Tell me about what Happy Hour are doing currently that relates to ESG and sustainability and your involvement in this.

A. Throughout my life I have felt strongly about environmental, social issues and injustices. I come from a family of social workers and dare I say, hippies, who care immensely about sustainability (both out of need and responsibility) and about fairness for all. This foundation seeped into all aspects of my life and career which developed into an attachment to ESG within the workplace.

At Happy Hour, I spearhead our sustainability initiatives, processes and practices (e.g. paperless office, switching to reusable cups and flasks, refillable hand soap bottles, swapping paper for cotton towels, working with our cleaners to use 100% eco-friendly products, hiring electric vans for shoots and more). I also organised a work placement for five Bristol students to gain experience in the notoriously hard to break-into TV industry. I am always striving for improvements and updates to business practices and accountability, community engagement and diversity & inclusion. And I am committed to staying informed and taking steps towards addressing ESG issues, through both work and personal actions.

Outside of work, I am always trying to reduce my family’s carbon footprint. I shop in our local refill grocery store, use cloth nappies for our baby, don’t eat meat and last year we upgraded to an electric car which has been incredible.

As an SME, Happy Hour has the unique opportunity to engage all co-workers in the development and continual refinement of our ESG strategy and principles.

Our workplace culture is ‘earth-first’, and we’re proud that over 85% of our employees either cycle, walk, use public transport or drive an electric vehicle to work. We have also introduced other initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint, such as:

  • Using 100% renewable energy suppliers
  • Promoting a paperless office (we’re almost there!)
  • Creating and implementing a sustainability-focused shoot guidelines policy which leads with the five ‘Rs’ – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. This is especially important as, when it comes to shooting, elements like props, sets, lighting, catering transport etc. can contribute hugely to landfill waste and carbon emissions
  • Building relationships and switching contracts to local businesses that have certifiable green credentials
  • Actively involving and training staff with organisations such as AdGreen, Albert, Green Alliance, Giki Zero. Here’s a little more info on these businesses:

AdGreen: Its purpose is to motivate the advertising industry to reduce the negative environmental impacts of production and enable the community to measure and understand waste and carbon emissions.

Albert: Is the home of environmental sustainability for the screen industries – to share, learn and act on our impact, including free, bespoke training days to everyone in the TV and film industries.

Green Alliance: Is an independent think tank and charity focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. Since 1979, it has been working with the most influential leaders in business, NGOs and politics to accelerate political action and create transformative policy for a green and prosperous UK.

Giki Zero: Is a B Corp and United Nations Race To Zero Accelerator for employee engagement, led by sustainability professionals and supported by climate experts, on a mission to help people cut carbon.

 

Q. Do you think advertisers/ clients should be planning media investment with ESG goals in mind?

A. Absolutely. Consumers value brands that demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Advertisers and clients should consider ESG factors in their media planning to not only contribute to sustainability but also to appeal to a conscientious consumer base. By doing this, they can not only make a positive environmental impact but also enhance their brand reputation.

 

Q. Are advertisers/clients and their agencies leaning forward on this topic collaboratively?

A. Yes, we’ve seen a noticeable shift towards collaborative efforts between advertisers and agencies in addressing ESG issues. Many clients now see the value in aligning their brands with sustainability goals and agencies are proactively incorporating ESG considerations into their strategies. This collaboration is fostering a more responsible and ethical approach to advertising, creating a win-win situation for brands, agencies, production companies and consumers alike. This almost always plays a part in the pitch/tender process and can start as early as the RFI, with clients wanting to make sure that their supply chain is supporting them in achieving their ESG goals.

 

Q. Who is inspiring you or innovating in this area at the moment?

A. From a creative point of view, we’ve recently seen a couple of genius, hard hitting ads which went out in the run up to COP28.

The first by Lucky Generals really makes us think about our individual carbon footprints when it comes to pensions and how/where they’re invested. The ad uses actress Olivia Coleman to deliver a satirical message about the damage that obliviously investing into pension funds is having on the environment, cleverly using humour and emotion to deliver hard hitting messages.

Check out the ad here

The second is by 4Creative, developed to promote Channel 4’s Climate Change Season and question the damage being done by those at the top. It pokes fun at those stereotypes in power who aren’t taking climate change seriously, asking are they doing enough to reduce their “carbon skid mark”. It certainly raises a few eyebrows and gets you thinking!

Check out the ad here

 

Q. If you were King/Queen for the day, what ESG policy would you decree?!

A. That all able-bodied, employed adults do compulsory water-ways clean-ups, once a week, for three hours. Whether rivers, ponds, seas or oceans, wherever is local to them. This time would be within working hours and would be classed as a minimum ‘donation’ from each employer to the climate emergency.

Happy Hour Productions is a leading TV and video advertising agency, covering everything from animation to live action, all delivered in-house, under one big, happy roof in Bristol. It is currently ranked in the top 35 creative agencies in the UK, and in the top two outside London.

Happy Hour is well experienced in developing original TV ads and video content for clients of all shapes and sizes, from scale-ups to well-known brands, across all sectors including retail, food & drink, education, financial services, property and travel.

 

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We have kicked off the week with some positive news.

It is fair to say that the previous few months have been a whirlwind for our team, from new business pitches to getting new and exciting work over the line. Throughout this, our team as always have remained dedicated, enthusiastic and driven to deliver nothing but the best for our clients and prospects.  

We understand that a pitch requires a whole team effort. We want to ensure that everyone is involved within the process, whether that be in the room or those who assist in the research and planning phase. Whilst we strive to deliver for our clients, we recognise the extensive effort and pressures that can come with the pitch process.

As we are committed to establishing a positive experience, we have opted to officially sign up to a great initiative led by the IPA – the Pitch Positive Pledge.

So, what does this mean for us as an agency?

From a new business standpoint, it signifies our commitment to a standardised and accountable pitching process. This includes maintaining quality briefs, reasonable requests and appropriate timelines.

From an agency perspective, it goes without saying that our people are our number one, so we really focus on prioritising our team’s well-being. We work as a united team and with that comes with strongly formed relationships. Ultimately, we are here to back each other up every step of the way.  

To streamline our pitching process, we are aware of our responsibilities as an agency and see the importance of cutting through the noise, by ensuring our clients make it clear on what they don’t want to see at a pitch and not wasting advertisers time through diligent work.  

We strive to continue on our positive path by harnessing this momentum to accelerate growth for our clients whilst fostering agency growth in the right way.  

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We’re delighted to introduce this week’s guest Laura Chase, Chief Commercial Officer at WeAre8, a digital ecosystem built to transform the $800 bn digital ad market by putting people, Publishers and our planet at the heart of the economics.

Laura leads the WeAre8 commercial team, playing an integral role in launching and growing the platform in the UK. As part of this, she has developed partnerships with all major agency networks and created WeAre8’s Publisher partnership framework, onboarding PinkNews, Hello! and The Independent.

Prior to WeAre8, Laura spearheaded Hearst’s social responsibility and sustainability offerings and lead the creative solutions and experiential team. Laura has experience leading high performing sales, partnerships & content teams and is deeply committed to transforming the ad industry by putting people and the planet first.

Q. Tell me about what WeAre8 is doing currently that relates to ESG and sustainability.

A. Our whole business is built with ESG in mind. Sue Fennessy, our inspirational Founder and CEO, wanted to address the negative societal and environmental impacts social media and digital advertising has created across the world, all whilst offering brands a more effective, transparent and waste free ad model.

At the heart of our ecosystem is our hate free social app.  WeAre8’s first-in-market verification process enables us to eliminate hateful and harmful content giving our citizens a premium, elevated and inspiring feed that leaves them feeling positive.  When people choose to watch ads on WeAre8, 60% of every £1 or $1 that comes into our business is given back to people, charities and the planet.

Our ad model is a far more sustainable choice for brands.  Because people consciously and intentionally choose to watch each and every ad, we are able to completely eliminate e-waste.  WeAre8 also invests in climate solutions, in partnership with Ecologi, helping projects in the world’s hardest hit areas every time an ad is viewed.

 

Q. In terms of your advertising portfolio, it must be a no brainer for Charities but are you finding that the big corporates are also very interested, or others in-between?

A. Yes – it’s a real mix. We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands over the past couple of years including Unilever, McDonalds, Nike, Nestle, Mars, eBay, Mondelez, Heineken, Audi. It is great that so many brands are focused on improving their ESG impact and spending their budget somewhere more meaningful. The important thing that we always remind brands and agencies is that with WeAre8, you don’t need to compromise on performance to make positive impact. With every campaign on the app brands will get 67X more attention than on Instagram and can expect to see CTR’s of around 5%.

We should be a BAU partner and all of the positive impact that happens behind the scenes supports brands in delivering against the corporate ESG goals.

 

Q. Are advertisers and agencies leaning forward on this area collaboratively, do you think one is pushing more than the other?

A. Some (brilliant) clients really lean in and others are driven by their agency. There’s a lot of positive intent across the industry, but we all do need to come together more to force the change we want and need to see.

Everyone – clients, agencies and media owners can and absolutely should be doing more and pushing each other.  Progress over perfection.

We should also be sharing and celebrating new innovations, best practice and brilliant people more.

 

Q. Are there any brands you see implementing a robust strategy in this space and if so, what are they doing?

A. One client that we work with who really stands out for me is giffgaff. There is an amazing team over there who are deeply committed to collaborating, learning and improving. More generally, brands such as Vinted, eBay, Backmarket are inspiring others through their concepts and are important in driving change and the circular economy.

 

Q. Outside of the brands themselves, are there any other people/partners/companies who are inspiring you?

A. Scope 3 is excellent. It works tirelessly to help agencies and brands make better media choices – offering new tools and services to improve the industry.

I also want to shout out to someone in my team at WeAre8, Jess Stead. Jess is still fairly early on in her career, but she is deeply committed to her own knowledge and how she can do her bit to contribute towards positive ESG change within her work. She does a lot of it off her own back. We need people like this coming through.

 

Q. What do you think will be the focus of the industry in 2024 with regards to an ESG agenda?

A. Reducing and eliminating fraud and e-waste is critical. The internet is now worse for the environment than air travel. Brands and agencies should all be focusing attention on how they do more with less. From a wider ESG perspective also mental health, kindness and supporting each other is key for brands to consider. Not just how we show up, but where we show up. We need to think about how we can make media as an industry healthier for humanity.

There’s lots of positive things happening already which gives me hope.  We just need much more of it.

 

Q. If you were Queen for the day what ESG policy would you decree?

A. More than one (sorry)…

  1. Enforce the criminalisation of hateful and harmful content
  2. More reward and recognition for the businesses and people doing the best work in the sustainability space. We should make them all feel like absolute heroes so future generations are inspired to take a cleaner, greener more planet friendly path.

 

About WeAre8

WeAre8 is all about making a BIG impact on the world through small daily actions. People can get paid and change the world every time they watch an ad with WeAre8 – either in app or with our premium publisher partners on the open web.

We were excited to launch Real Techniques ‘Our Tools. Your Way’ campaign this week.

As reported by Campaign, the launch saw an OOH stunt light up iconic London landmarks with a call to arms to ‘#MakeYourStatement’ and settle long-standing makeup debates across the social beauty community while celebrating individuality and creative beauty styles.  

The launch had influencer support, with Izzie Rogers taking to Oxford Street to talk all things beauty with healthy debates and sharing Real Techniques’ make-up tool samples.  

Real Techniques media will go beyond OOH, with activity running across TikTok, Instagram and YouTube until mid-March, with various bursts throughout the year. The campaign showcases that Real Techniques has the makeup tools for whatever look you want to achieve, whoever you are. 

We were excited to launch Real Techniques ‘Our Tools. Your Way’ campaign this week.

Emily Hudson, International Marketing Manager at PPI beauty, said: “We are proud to emphasise a fundamental truth: the tools we use are not mere accessories, but essential partners in the artistry of makeup. We believe in empowering cosmetics enthusiasts to elevate their beauty routines, recognising that quality tools are the unsung heroes behind every flawless look. We know that everyone has their own makeup secrets and hacks, and we want the #MakeYourStatement campaign to get the audience debating about them.”  

 

Wendy Chung, Senior Account Executive

Its fair to say that MI’ers are keen to step under the spotlight, our Senior Account Executive Wendy Chung is up next to give us the inside scoop on how she got into the industry and what she loves about agency life.  

Wendy Chung, Senior Account Executive

What led you to a career in media? 

After studying for my bachelors in Taiwan, I decided to apply for my masters in media at Kings’ College London. Luckily, I was accepted, and my media chapter commenced. Studying abroad was always on my radar, so I knew it would happen someday.  Like many industries, media is so broad, so I wasn’t too sure which avenue I would eventually go down. The one thing I was sure of, was that I was drawn in by the creativity and diversity that the industry had to offer. After completing my master’s, I had set my heart on joining a media agency. I felt that being within an agency environment was a great stepping stone and platform to begin my professional career. London really is such a central hub for all things media, with various ideas and opportunities available so when I was offered the role at MI, it was a no brainer to accept and join the team.

 

What do you love about agency life? 

Agency life means that there is always something to learn and people to learn from. Being part of an agency allows you to act as a communication point with clients. We’re the intermediary for their work to push for the results that they are striving for.

What I love about MI as an agency is how personable it is. My move to the UK was quite daunting, but MI welcomed me with open arms. At no point did I feel like the new kid on the block, the team really took me under their wing. From day dot I felt at ease. The culture and environment here is great and there is so much internal diversity. I joined when we were coming out of lockdown and it was fantastic to experience agency life and interact with the social bunch that work there. Following such a big move meeting new people is so important, so I really count myself lucky to be here and working with likeminded people. The moment I started my role at MI was the moment that I felt like I was really building a life here in the UK.

 

What is your proudest and most memorable moment at MI?

Generally, I get that ‘proud’ feeling whenever a client is satisfied with my work. When a campaign does well and converts, you know that the hard work behind what you set out to do has paid off. It’s great to be able to share client campaign results that speak volumes to the work we do.

Andermatt is a client that I am proud to be working on, I really get the see the whole overview and progress of our campaigns. This is a completely new sector for me, but I love the concept of the company. Because we employ a burst strategy for its campaigns, I am able to get a really good understanding of its audiences and what makes a campaign successful. I guess you could say that I now know the ins and outs of the great outdoors of Switzerland!

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the world of media? 

It may sound cliché, but I joined MI at an entry level and as media is so broad, I went into the role with a learning attitude. Learning concepts and remembering processes is one thing, but getting your hands dirty from the get-go means that you can become involved in all areas and accumulate more and more knowledge over time. It’s good to remember that when you do begin a career in media, or any industry for that matter, not all elements of a role will be interesting. You will be on a steep learning curve so have an open mind and keep learning from those around you.

 

Who’s your role model and why? 

This is super random, but it is one of my friends. I’ve known her since we were about 10 years old, and I really admire her outlook on her life and career. In a sense, I have followed in her footsteps as she left Taiwan after high school to move to Canada. I suppose we are on similar paths, and her move really spurred me on to have the courage to come and build my life here, sometimes seeing someone do something for themselves makes you think ‘I want to do that!’

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ESG has got us talking, it’s got us thinking and it’s got us doing. It’s a complex beast that is now core to what so many agencies and brands consider to be valuable and important for the future of businesses. We’re all at different stages in our ESG journeys and that’s what this series is all about. It’s about sharing thoughts, hearing from others about what they’re doing and who’s doing it well, and keeping the conversation going – as well as hopefully getting some key nuggets of insight along the way!

We’re going to be joined by a range of real ESG trail blazers in our eight-part series, interviewing people across the industry who are invested in the topic, whether professionally or personally.

We are joined this week by Alice Date, Group Sustainability Manager at Talon OOH. Alice has a wealth of experience in the realm of Sustainability. Previously working in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services team at EY Melbourne & Sydney, Alice played a pivotal role in propelling her team to global recognition by Verdantix as leaders in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) consulting. Adding to her professional expertise, she has completed the Sustainable Supply Chain Management programme at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and continues to champion sustainability best practice.

Q. Tell me about what Talon is doing currently that relates to ESG and sustainability and how you’re involved

A. I am Talon’s Group Sustainability Manager, which is a new role for the company. I lead on the development and execution of our internal sustainability strategy. Day-to-day, this involves developing new processes and policies, upskilling our teams and working with our suppliers. I also get involved externally through industry working groups and holding discussions with various stakeholders across different agencies and media owners.

Q. Do you think advertisers should be planning media investment with ESG goals in mind?

A. Definitely – given clients are consumer facing they have probably (and hopefully) already started considering sustainability and have set strategic goals. Sustainability extends into all facets of the business, including media, so we are seeing more pressure mounting on marketing functions to help their business achieve sustainability goals. If marketing teams aren’t already facing this pressure, it’s only a matter of when – as agencies we therefore must be cognisant of what to expect.

Q. Are advertisers and their agencies leaning forward on this topic collaboratively?

A. I have been surprised how far behind the industry is in sustainability generally, but progress is happening. So far, the collaboration happening seems to be being pushed by the clients themselves, Giffgaff for example has been pushing its agency to think creatively about its media planning and buying in support of its ‘Up To Good’ strategy which is awesome. I would however love to see agencies take a leading role in these conversations. Adland has climate tunnel vision at the moment, but sustainability encompasses a much broader set of topics so it’s important that we start collaborating on the bigger picture.

Q. Are there companies you feel have already demonstrated a robust strategy in this space and if so, what are they doing?

A. Yes, I have seen a few companies asking the right questions which is the best place to start. They want to know where their media is being placed, by who and using what materials. I’m seeing carbon reduction tabled as a lever in planning more and more often, but whilst it may be a consideration in planning, other key levers like price are still dominating the conversation.

Q. Who is inspiring you or innovating in this area at the moment?

A. I have really enjoyed seeing what Not On The High Street did for its recent Christmas campaign – not only is its messaging consistent with positive consumer behaviour change (Don’t Gift Landfill) but the billboard has also used materials in production that were donated to people experiencing homelessness through Crisis. It’s this ultimate combination of considering both messaging and waste that make this space so exciting, it’s exactly what the world needs more of.

 

 

Q. What do you think key players in the industry might be focused on in 2024 with regards to an ESG agenda?

A. I don’t see climate impact disappearing from focus in 2024, but I would love to see other environmental issues like biodiversity and waste acknowledged. The UK government has already mandated reporting against TCFD (Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) and, with the TNFD (Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures) on the horizon, I think this will be the next wave. Our industry has always been good at highlighting social issues, but we must start thinking of them within the realm of sustainability and discussing them with the same rigour as climate change.

Q. If you were Queen/King for the day, what ESG policy would you decree?!

A. I decree that all advertising messaging must contribute positively to society either through positive consumer behavioural change or due to the impact of the product or service being advertised. Our industry has a HUGE role to play in the change we need to see!

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We are excited to announce our involvement in the digital marketing course at the Claude Littner Business School (CLBS), University of West London (UWL).

Our CEO, David Sequeira along with the data & digital teams will be educating students on media business strategy, the role of a media and planning agency and working effectively to deliver for clients. We are also joined on the module by data technology solutions provider, Onepoint and Daniel Levine, Founder & CEO of Tryb with expertise in content creation and influencer marketing.

We’re privileged to have been asked to participate in something which gives our team the opportunity to share our specialist digital marketing knowledge, a keen focus area for our agency as we continue to push forwards with digital innovation. It is brilliant to have a hand in introducing exciting future talent to the industry who one day may end up being digital leaders themselves. We value the importance of giving back as a business as part of our corporate responsibility strategy .

The course is run by university tutor, Colin Webb who has had an influential and entrepreneurial career in media, holding various Non-Exec, CEO and MD roles building businesses in media across FMCG, Healthcare, B2B and Financial Services sectors globally, among other ventures.

Other members of the MI team will be joining David to deliver specific sessions and workshops across a range of specialistic topics. The course will go into depth on improving reach via digital channels; optimisation, selection and integration of digital channels and developing data-driven digital channel optimisation plans. The aim is to provide students with real life experience to build their career profiles.

 

David comments “Being involved in this new digital marketing module at UWL is valuable for MI. It reminds us why we do what we do and it gives me and the agency the opportunity to give back by sharing our knowledge and experience. It’s going to be exciting to see students engage, hear their ideas and see the journey they’ll go on throughout.

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A month in and there’s already a dynamic outlook for the year ahead in the ad industry. As an agency we have forecast some interesting themes which will shape the work we are doing with clients and the journeys we choose to take new clients on. Here’s three trends which have caught our attention over the month of January that we think will have some influence this year.

Private equity interest in media and advertising businesses

In the current economic climate with high interest rates and ongoing inflation, we’re seeing a potential shift in investor focus towards our sector. The media industry is known for being low in capital requirements but high in cash generation, making it attractive to private equity investors.

But why the sudden interest from private equity? Well, it’s pretty simple. Businesses that generate cash consistently and don’t need a lot of capital are particularly appealing when borrowing costs are high. Private equity firms are recognising this and are actively acquiring companies in our sector to create larger, more competitive entities.

The appeal of cash-generative businesses becomes even more apparent in a high-interest-rate environment, where leveraging debt is a common investment strategy. Private equity firms typically bid for companies, borrow the rest of the money, and then aim to quickly repay the debt to maximise returns. And to do that successfully, you need a business that generates reliable cash flow.

So, it’s no surprise that private equity firms are becoming increasingly interested in what we have to offer. Our sector’s adaptability to digital trends and innovative solutions in content creation, distribution and advertising technology make it an attractive investment opportunity. However, there are challenges such as regulatory scrutiny and competition from tech giants that investors need to consider. Overall, the media and advertising sectors are seen as lucrative investment opportunities for private equity firms looking for high returns.

 

Brand experiences – what’s sparking interest

There’s been attention drawn to some compelling trends in consumer brand experiences, in a recent report shaped by market intelligence tools, social listening and AI audience profiling.  There are themes to draw out from some of the findings which range from being fun or useful to being human and playing into what the industry has been talking about early in the year at various predictions events.

One brand experience trend is referred to as “Kidulting rules”. It’s an experience that allows adults to indulge their inner child and access a state of mind that takes them back to their childhood, offering fun, nostalgia and prompting an emotional connection. It’s quite an interesting advertising technique given the pressures on people in today’s tough climate and allows a sense of escapism.

Then there’s “The age of AI”. We hear AI mentioned daily and it’s impossible not to talk about how it could revolutionise many things in our industry, one of which is brand experience. There’s risk involved of course and advertisers need to act with caution, but there’s also many benefits to be had, particularly when defining yourself against a competitive market using data and measurement to access key insights.

Additionally and very importantly, “Bringing ‘human’ to B2B” encompasses a shift towards B2B advertising becoming more relatable. We know emotion is important in the storytelling of a campaign and B2B brands are now recognising that this strategy can work well for them. It’s helps build trust, relatability and it makes something which could be quite cold and corporate, personal. On the theme of bringing emotion to a campaign, connecting with audiences and feeling human, MI recently  for our client Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) with Good Agency, shedding light on Motor Neurone Disease and the effect it has on lives and families. Titled “The Love Inside,” it’s a campaign we’re immensely proud of.

 

The evolving AV landscape

The digitisation of traditional TV poses a significant challenge in planning, buying, and measuring AV campaigns, requiring media experts to adapt to changing consumer behaviours.

It’s apparent that TV advertising is changing as more people use CTV, live and on-demand platforms. These platforms are transforming how ads are delivered, offering more personalised and interactive experiences. Streaming services allow advertisers to target specific audiences better using data, and they can now incorporate interactive elements like QR codes and second-screen experiences to engage viewers. This shift from traditional TV methods to more tailored approaches mirrors strategies seen in digital advertising. It’s a topic at MI we’re plugged into and have provided thoughts on recently.

However, linear TV remains important, especially for certain advertisers. At MI, we recognise the value in traditional TV and use it to client’s advantage when it’s the most effective choice for their strategy. Linear TV still offers broad reach and diverse demographics, making it suitable for brand awareness campaigns aimed at a wide audience. Linear TV combined strategically with digital campaigns will increase overall reach and frequency across platforms, a strategy we excel in executing for our clients. Also, advanced analytics are increasingly used to measure the impact of linear TV ads and refine targeting strategies. Advertisers leverage these insights to create more relevant and effective TV ads, ensuring that linear TV remains relevant and effective in the digital age.

 

Sources:

The Media Leader – PE Article  

Campaign – Top 10 brand experience trends 2024

The 2024 Advertising Landscape: Key Trends and Strategies for Media Buyers | LinkedIn

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Appointment comes alongside two promotions within the data team.

As featured in Campaign’s Movers & Shakers update today, MI Media has appointed Jack Glover to the new role of senior data analyst to support the increasing volume of data analytics and modelling work the agency is undertaking for clients including The Children’s Society and Kindred.

Alongside this appointment, MI Media has made two internal promotions. George Hobday has been promoted to Head of Digital and Data, taking the lead on the strategic direction of MI Media’s data solutions for its clients. Femi Allen has been promoted to Data Analyst in recognition of the work he has done in integrating clients’ first party data into MI’s measurement solutions to improve insights into the impact of marketing activity on clients’ businesses.

Reporting into George Hobday, Glover will lead MI’s development of improved data architecture, bolstering the existing team’s modelling capabilities to improve efficiencies in data analysis.

Glover joins MI Media from OMD UK where he was responsible for delivering insight from marketing mix models to brands such as McDonalds, to aid strategic planning around marketing budget allocation and resource distribution.

David Sequeira, CEO, MI Media said, “Robust data analytics has long been integral to clients’ marketing strategies. Jack joins the team with a proven track record of translating complex data sets into actionable insights to drive reactive and strategic marketing decisions. Together with George, Femi and the rest of the team, we’re perfectly positioned to evaluate media activity’s impact on business-critical metrics and empower marketing teams to make better-informed media decisions faster.” 

Glover said, “I’m hugely excited to join the team at MI Media. I believe in the power of leveraging data analytics and machine learning for marketing purposes, something MI has placed at the heart of its strategy for 2024. Already I have seen the effects of the great employee recognition and supportive team environment that MI prides itself on and look forward to continuing the hard work of the team here.”