Category: The Mission Control Communications

Creative Commandments worth listening to and learning from.

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One thing I discovered a very long time ago was that it pays to use your ears a lot more than your mouth in this business. You can learn so much if you are simply prepared to shut up and listen to people with real experience and then intelligently, adapt and apply those insights and that knowledge, with relevance to your own business.

With that said, it’s time for me to shut up and ask you to listen to some snippets from the Cannes Creative Commandments series. This is an ongoing series of posts from Cannes that I share with my own team at The Mission Control Communications, and I hope you find them as useful and inspirational as we do.

These short snippers include thoughts from: John Hegarty, David Droga and Anna Qvenners.

Mission Accomplished!

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ABOUT: AS A MULTI-AWARD WINNING INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING AND BRAND DESIGN CONSULTANCY, THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS AND DEDICATED SCIENCE AND HEALTHCARE STUDIO, THE MISSION DISCOVERY, WORKS WITH CLIENTS AND THEIR IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAMS TO CREATE INTELLIGENT AND AGILE SOLUTIONS THAT EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE AUDIENCES IN TODAY’S DISRUPTIVE AND HIGHLY COMPETITIVE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE, ENABLING BRANDS TO THRIVE. WE WORK WITH BRANDS SPANNING SOME OF THE MOST TIGHTLY REGULATED SECTORS OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING IN THE WORLD, WITH FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES RANGING FROM – LIBERTY MUTUAL SURETY TO PHARMACEUTICAL, BIOTECH AND LIFE SCIENCE GIANTS. OUR WORK IS ROOTED IN SOUND INTELLIGENCE SUPPORTED BY A STRUCTURED SERVICES ARCHITECTURE THAT COMPLIMENTS CLIENT NEEDS ACROSS STRATEGY AND POSITIONING, ADVERTISING AND DESIGN, BRAND ORIGINATION AND EVOLUTION, PROJECT AND CAMPAIGN PLANNING, ENGAGEMENT AND ACTIVATION, AND INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CULTURAL ALIGNMENT. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THEMISSIONCONTROL.COM AND FOLLOW THE MISSION CONTROL ON LINKEDIN, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.
© THE MISSION CONTROL COMMUNICATIONS LTD., 2017.

Multi-award winning art director calls time after 7 years to join The Mission Control Communications.

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It was confirmed today that Jim Magee, former art director at Navigator Blue, has joined The Mission Control Communications as Executive Creative Art Director, following the completion of a number of award winning projects with the Irish Football Association (IFA).

Best known for his work across media – TV, Print, Digital and Web, Jim has successfully completed projects for brands including An Post, Punjana, Heineken and most recently, the IFA’s Northern Ireland Euro 2016 Dare to Dream campaign and Team Launch Event – both picking up Gold Awards at this year’s CIPR NI Awards, and winning UEFA’s Best Fan Engagement Campaign in Europe.

The decision to hire Jim was easy,’ said managing director Patricia Killoran. ‘We’ve been a massive fan of his work for a long time and when the opportunity came up to chat with him, we took it. We set up a chemistry workshop with the rest of the team to make sure there was a mutual dynamic and that was that. The rest, as they say, is history.

The appointment comes following an extensive and rigorous search process that looked at candidates from three countries. Indeed – the nature and scope of The Mission Control’s client base required a very specific skill base and unique mindset – someone capable of conceptualising and implementing individual projects and complete campaigns with regional relevancy on a global basis for brands operating in multi-billion-dollar sectors.

We see Jim bringing a fresh dynamic to the agency,’ said Patricia. ‘We have a team very used to success and it was important that we found a person that could enhance that expectation and work with our client partners to deliver campaign outcomes that really do change lives. Our clients span a diverse range of sectors, but collectively, they all share a common requirement – validated project outcomes that reflect their position as market leaders.

Mission Accomplished!

ABOUT: As a multi-award winning international advertising and brand design consultancy, The Mission Control Communications works with clients and their in-house marketing teams to create intelligent and agile solutions that effectively engage audiences in today’s disruptive and highly competitive global marketplace, enabling brands to thrive. We work with brands spanning some of the most tightly regulated sectors of advertising and marketing in the world, with Fortune 500 companies ranging from – Liberty Mutual Surety to pharmaceutical, biotech and life science giants. Our work is rooted in sound intelligence supported by a structured services architecture that compliments client needs across strategy and positioning, advertising and design, brand origination and evolution, project and campaign planning, engagement and activation, and internal and external cultural alignment. For more information, please visit TheMissionControl.com and follow The Mission Control on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
© The Mission Control Communications Ltd., 2016

Poking holes in targeted ad algorithms

Broken dreams in faded colored times

 

David Sable, Global CEO at Y&R and a noted Linked in influencer published an article back in September 2016 that pretty much encapsulated something that we’ve been talking to clients about for ages.

His post set out to question just how targeted those ‘targeted’ Facebook and Google ads really are.

At almost 44, I was fortunate enough to start in the advertising industry before the digital wave hit. That gave me the luxury of working at a time when we were encouraged to question everything and campaign strategies were in many respects, much more ‘human’.

Today, with brands pumping millions into social media every year, it’s crucial that marketing teams born into a digital generation interrogate the data coming from Facebook and Google as opposed to giving into blind faith. Remember, both of these companies make hundreds of millions every year from advertising, so their data is not neutral and whilst the conferences, workshops and courses are all fun, they are designed to encourage you to buy ads. We all have a worth to Facebook and Google.

So let’s start by taking a look at how Facebook profiles ‘you’.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences and check out the thinking. Facebook say:

“How we determine your ad preferences:  We use information from a few different sources to figure out which ads might be relevant and useful to you. Things like your Facebook profile information, activity on Facebook and interactions with businesses can all influence the ads you see.”

Now, in the minds of many, Facebook and Google are infallible sources of pure data to be trusted with a fanatical belief. But the evidence would seem to suggest that in fact, their algorithms are fundamentally flawed and far from being in-depth, with the preference used to pigeonhole one’s points of interest often being tenuous to say the least.

Based on Facebook’s statement, the algorithms would seem to be pretty linear in their approach, failing to take into account human nature and that often, the online personas people project are very different to who they really are. We’ve all liked that page because we felt morally obliged to but never went back to it. We’ve all hit like on something just to keep a friend happy, but never bothered to actually read the article or watch the video. It’s just basic human nature rooted in the need for acceptance.

Like Mr., Sable, I think Google would struggle to know who I really am. For example, my search history covers topics related to work, which considering the scope of our client base, can be pretty diverse. Then there’s the fact that my granddaughter was addicted to Peppa Pig for three years and watched it every evening on my laptop before graduating onto a German speaking Gummy Bear song. So to say that Google or Facebook knows me well enough to target me, would be stretching a truth and a waste of your marketing budget.

I guess the moral of the exercise is that as a species and as consumers, we’re a lot more complicated and fickle than the algorithms would care to admit. Think on that the next time you’re putting all your eggs into a social media only basket.

Mission Accomplished!

Ad blocking and why it could actually be good for your brand.

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If you’re a marketer, you’re probably very aware of the latest wave of panic sweeping through the industry – namely ad blocking. It looks like people have finally cottoned onto the fact that they don’t have to sit and be force fed ads on a daily basis like chickens in a battery farm.

Historically, ads have been the unspoken price society paid for free content. But it looks like it’s a price people are no longer willing to pay. When Apple released its latest version of iOS in September, it gave millions of users their first proper taste of a fully native ad blocking reality.

Whilst publishers and advertisers are the unwitting casualties of the new iOS operating system – many believe that there is a bigger strategy at play. One in which the pawns are now being sacrificed as Apple makes a decisive move against Google. Remember – Apple doesn’t make its money from ads, unlike Google.

In 2014 Google made almost $60billion from advertising but according to PageFair, during the same period, ad blocking cost it a further $6.6billion. It’s not only Google that will be feeling the pain.

Mike Germano, chief digital officer at Vice caused a stir earlier this year at a conference in New York when he said: ‘I love my audience, but fuck you, ad blockers – 20% of my revenue is gone’.

This raises an interesting conundrum. How do publishers pay for generating the quality content people want without advertising revenue? Some publishers have responded by introducing paywalls whilst others are exploring anti-ad blocking technology.

The FT is probably one of the best examples of a brand and business model to have adapted to the situation. Its subscription-based model has something in the region of 500,000 paying subscribers.

But ad blocking isn’t actually something new. For an old hand like me, I first encountered it way back in the early 90’s when I started out in the industry. Back then it wasn’t some piece of clever code created by a hipster in a trendy warehouse with cappuccinos on tap, it was a chunky piece of black plastic, usually made in China, though sometimes Thailand, that came with big coloured rubber buttons and we called it the remote control or ‘commercial killer’.

The remote control was one of the most fearful and powerful pieces of ad blocking technology ever invented. Yet I don’t recall their being the same level of fear as there is today. Back then, the industry just responded by creating better ads. We looked at the problem but better yet, we understood people and what led them to flick between channels.

Looking back on it, the answer really wasn’t that difficult. By creating content that people liked, we actually had them tuning into see the ads. People would talk in the pub about the ads they’d seen. Brand slogans worked their way into our everyday speech. Hell – the brands even started to merchandise characters from their campaigns, opening up new streams of revenue.

But when digital arrived, things started to change and it wasn’t necessarily for the better. Publishers and agencies made fortunes for doing very little and brands quickly realised that they didn’t have to put as much effort into reaching people. They had a captive audience. This led to a degree of arrogance and bit-by-bit, the relationship that existed with people changed. But what brands failed to recognise was that as publishers sought to standardise platforms with page templates set to basically allow for the maximum number of paid ads to appear, their hard won relationship with customers was being steadily eroded.

It was inevitable that society would eventually rise up against the meritocracy and arrogance of the industry. So when Apple introduced their upgrade to iOS in September it gave millions of users their first proper taste of a fully native ad blocking reality.

This brings us to an important crossroads. Whilst some publishers and brands are responding by exploring anti-ad-blocking technologies, testimony to just how deep rooted, the arrogance of the sector is, others are embracing the opportunity that now exists.

Think about it. If people are opting out of seeing ads, it means they won’t be seeing your competitors’ ads either. That allows you to get both imaginative and strategic with your messaging and positioning. It allows you to get up and go out into the real world and get to know your customers as something more than algorithms. Remember the old Ogilvisym, ‘your target audience are not A,B,C1 demographics. They are your mother, your father, your brother and your sister’. In other words they are real people.

It challenges you to think about the content you’re creating and makes you ask yourself, is this just all about me, or has it a worth and relevancy to the people I want to influence? You know that saying about thinking outside the box – well it’s time to start thinking outside the standard 728 x 90 pixel box.

For the first time in a long time, brands have an opportunity to get to know their customers again – as people and not digital personas. Ad blockers are not the end of digital advertising – instead they are simply a much needed kick up the backside that will force agencies, brands and publishers to respect their customers and stop taking them for granted.

Mission Accomplished!