Tag Archives: Facebook

Fannying about with fans

Facebook fans; they’re fantastic. They’re every marketer’s fantasy. We all fancy as many as we can get. But not all marketers are fanatics; for some it is fandabbydozy, for others it is all still new-fangled and unproven.

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Milking TV’s goodness

Well, Yeo Valley nailed it, they gave it 120%, they took that ad break and they made it their own. They even, to use a couple of Kelly Rowland-isms, both “brought it” and “put it dowwwn!”

BBH’s new TV ad for Yeo Valley is an impeccable and affectionate parody of boy band videos that was hugely entertaining and extremely well branded, but it was also a masterclass on how and why great creative TV advertising works as well as it does. Read more on Milking TV’s goodness…

Real-time rules

Not long ago you couldn’t read an analysis of the future of TV viewing without someone (including us) predicting a world where we would all live by our own personalised TV diet.  The story went like this: we now have the ability to create our own TV schedules on-demand, so… er…we will.

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Rose-tinted testicles

My highlight from this year’s Media 360 was when John Nolan of North One TV, talking about the dangers of nostalgia for a bygone TV era, just stopped himself before advising delegates not to look at the past through “rose-tinted testicles”. I can ‘testify’ it is indeed a dangerous game.

At Thinkbox we try to avoid rose-tinted anythings at industry events.  There is still the occasional danger that a speaker will get the basic facts about TV wrong and we’ll have to put our arm in the air and correct the telly bollocks being spoken . Read more on Rose-tinted testicles…

With this social media you are spoiling us

There are a couple of things one could read into the fact that the BAFTA Television Awards – broadcast live on Sunday night – enjoyed its biggest TV audience since 2008.

The first is that it might reflect the renewed interest and passion for all things TV. TV has been undergoing something of a renaissance, with record viewing figures, new ways to watch, and – for commercial TV – a growing share of advertising revenue. It wouldn’t be surprising if a celebration of its best in class echoed this trend. Read more on With this social media you are spoiling us…

The Winner Takes It All

So that’s it then.  After weeks of following the contestants, marvelling at their talent (or lack of it) and getting immersed in their life stories, last weekend the ultimate winner emerged: Adam.  Adam?  Matt, surely?  No, dear readers.  While the rest of the UK, including most broadsheet journalists, marketers, agencies and MPs it seems, was being sucked in by the enormous telly magnet that is The X Factor, the Alps family was engrossed in the final of Australian Masterchef on Watch.

We’ve got our own Facebook fangroup, a fraction of the size of the X Factor Facebook group fair enough, but still a place for us fans to express our support.  We tweet about whether Callum, Marion or Jonathan would have been a more worthy winner, though there aren’t enough to propel the hashtag into Top Trends.  But we love those guys.

This programme is a phenomenon in Australia, delivering the highest ratings of their TV year and it’s the 4th highest viewed TV series this decade down under.  It is the offspring of the original British Masterchef, the format owned by UK production company Shine, but it feels worlds apart.  The rather tense British series, with granite-faced John Torode and Greg “cooking doesn’t get any tougher than this” Wallace has blossomed in Australia to a joyful expression of a sunny, generous, multi-cultural society with some of the best raw ingredients in the world.   Over 16 weeks, with 6 episodes a week, we saw 24 competitors, representing the incredible diversity of Australia, battle it out with great civility and courtesy.

So, a great show, but also a perfect illustration of the burgeoning global market that is British TV formats.  The UK is now the biggest exporter of TV formats in the world, from Strictly Come Dancing to Come Dine With Me, all part of the UK’s successful creative industries which now account for 8% of GDP and growing.   And The X Factor will shortly be joining this select band of globe-trotting UK programmes.  It will be fun seeing how that translates over the Atlantic; who on earth will be the American Louis Walsh?  Your guesses please below.

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The love that finally dares to speak its name

I’ve got used to reading articles from organisations which operate largely within internet marketing with a nice cup of tea by my side, so that I remain calm.  But I recently read one the other day from Comscore (the major internet research company) that made me think someone from Thinkbox must have infiltrated them, bound and gagged its staff, and started writing blogs for them.

It was entitled ‘The Lure of TV Advertising for Internet Businesses’ and it examined why so many online businesses are now advertising on TV. It gave three reasons why TV is so attractive to online businesses:

1. TV viewing is growing
2. No other medium can compete with TV on instant impact and reach
3. The effectiveness of TV has not declined, probably the reverse

Remember, this is Comscore writing! I urge you to read it for yourselves. Although they are writing about the US all their points hold true for Europe.

It struck a chord, not only because it felt like we’d written it, but also because a couple of months ago we ran our own analysis of online brands advertising on TV and found they had become the fastest growing TV advertising category.

We found that investment in TV advertising dominated online brands’ advertising investment (over 70%). Investment had grown by nearly 2,000% over the last five years (172% a year) and the number of online brands on TV had increased by 700%, with two online brands in TV’s Top 10 spenders.

The main reason for this is clear and empirical: online brands have first hand, immediate experience of TV advertising’s ability to create online traffic. 94% of the UK claims to have gone online as a direct result of watching TV in the last 12 months, according to our research.  And this activity is one reason for TV advertising’s market-leading growth this year; even brands with a long purchase cycle, like cars or banks, can see the interest that their TV ad has generated, even if they have to wait for the sale.

We’re seeing this in action at the moment with our new TV ad. Our ad has been on TV for less than a week and already it has been sought out on our website and YouTube over 300,000 times, Harvey has garnered nearly a 1,000 Facebook friends and our website traffic is up 400%. However, you won’t catch us confusing cause and effect.  We know that’s only happened because our ad has been seen over 50,000,000 times on linear TV already.

Online brands are enjoying the immediate traffic that TV creates, but in a few years’ time they’ll be blessing their TV investment for building them brands that can withstand new entrants.  I am always very happy to say that search and websites are the best thing that’s ever happened to TV advertising – I don’t find it even slightly embarrassing or compromising – and I always hoped that, one day, internet companies and specialists might return the compliment.   Big thanks, Comscore, for starting the love-in.

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TV weaves through the MediaGuardian 100

It might just be me, but the annual MediaGuardian 100 – just published – provides a lovely insight into the many ways TV touches upon our different media and various parts of our media lives. It is an elegant – albeit accidental – exposition of convergence and shows how TV is the strong and consistent thread running through almost every aspect of the media landscape.

The set-up for the list betrays a lingering – though thankfully declining – propensity to play ‘old’ or ‘traditional’ media off against ‘new’ or ‘digital’ media. The front page introduces the 100 (which comes with a heavy disclaimer on how it was chosen) by saying:

“Back in the heady days of 2001, [the list] was topped by big broadcasters, AOL and someone called Gordon Brown. How things change…This year, more than ever, digital dominates, with the rise of social media bringing new challenges to traditional businesses. Will newspaper bosses ever dominate the lists again?”

Now I can’t answer that last question, and I suspect the answer is no-one really knows.  But the direction of travel seems to be most definitely from text to audio-visual, whatever technology or platform you’re looking at.  

A Thinkbox interpretation of how TV (an almost entirely digital and very social medium) figures within the top 10 alone will, I’m sure, convince you that TV is truly where it’s at.

Here is the top 10:

1. Steve Jobs, Apple: makes flat devices with screens that let you watch more TV; TV on the bus, TV at work. If he could make faded jeans and black roll necks with screens on, I’m sure he would.
2. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google: search is hugely driven by TV programmes and ads.  Joined the TV business by buying YouTube, a recent convert to ‘proper’ professional TV, making it another TV platform.  Recently announced the coming of Google TV.
3. Mark Thompson, BBC: works for a company that makes some of the best TV in the world, and a pioneer of on-demand TV with iPlayer
4. Rupert Murdoch, News Corp: the Daddy of pay TV.  Trying to buy all of Sky.  MediaGuardian says he is ‘betting the future on television’
5. Evan Williams, Twitter: nothing gives a better window into how TV’s shared ‘virtual sofa’ encourages real time debate and chatter than Twitter. It would be a lot quieter without TV
6. Simon Cowell: fronts and owns some of the biggest TV shows in the UK (and isn’t exactly small on US TV)
7. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook: owner of the home to countless TV programme and advertising fan pages and conversations. Facebook without TV would be a less exciting, and visited, place.
8. James Murdoch, News Corp and BSkyB: chairman of a major UK TV company
9. Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary: obviously will have more than a passing interest in all things TV, especially how it is funded
10. Archie Norman, ITV: chairman of the largest commercial UK TV channel group

And we need not stop at the top 10 (at 11 is Martin Sorrell, who makes a fair bit of money from commercial TV; at 12 is Jay Hunt, controller of BBC1…).

Obviously, even I might struggle to see the TV-ness of some of the people in the 100 (Clay Shirky, [no. 93], for example – although he was only too happy to use TV interviews to plug his new book, on sale at all good bookshops priced at £20 – or you can get the gist for free here).

But my point is that, although this blog is an obviously TV-centric way of looking at it (radio and newspapers could have a go too), I’d suggest it is as valid – if not more so – as banging on endlessly about global ‘digital’ technologists.  The list should be at least as much about the people who make the content, professional or not, that makes digital platforms, broadcast and online, worth visiting.

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More cushions on the virtual sofa

I saw an ad for Sony’s new generation of internet TVs this morning. The interesting part about it was the new functionalities it chose to focus on; in this case, the ability to merge Facebook and Twitter into the TV viewing experience.

A lot of discussion has taken place about what internet-enabled TVs will be used for. As one of those lucky people invited to the launch of Microsoft’s Web TV product over a decade ago, I am pretty sure it won’t be what Microsoft had in mind; lots of unrelated information appearing over the TV content being viewed. TV is an immersive (and predominantly shared) experience and anything that distracts from that experience will generally not be welcomed.

Instead, it will be web-delivered apps that enhance the TV experience that are most likely to succeed in this market.  Along with enhanced search for on-demand TV content, I can think of few that improve the TV viewing experience as well as being able to ‘chat’ about it with our friends and family. This is what people have done with TV since the year dot and, as our recent TV Together research demonstrated, if they don’t have anybody in the room to share it with, then the ‘virtual sofa’ created by our increasing array of communication tools – phoning, texting, Messengering, emailing and now the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – do the job very nicely.  

So I think that the integration of social media is a sensible use of broadband-connected TV sets.  Two notes of caution though; because TV viewing is a mostly shared experience, on-screen chat about what you’re watching might not go down well with the rest of the family.  And people are already using separate devices – fixed and mobile ‘phones and laptops – that deliver this functionality very well so it might not be a killer app that will sell these TVs on its own.  But we welcome any new development that lets people share their telly love more easily.

The virtual sofa just got comfier.

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