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British Vogue plots next phase of diversity drive as ethnicity focus courts bigger ad budgets

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British Vogue claimed its revamped approach to diversity has seen revenues rise and attracted a range of previously untapped advertisers, successes its publishing director hopes will continue as the magazine grows its inclusion agenda beyond ethnicity and into age.

The 100-year-old brand went through a raft of changes last year when Alexandra Schulman, its editor-in-chief of 25 years, was replaced by Edward Enninful: the title’s first black, male, and openly gay editorial chief. He immediately began addressing historic criticisms that Vogue was racially non-diverse in both its content and staff base, selecting Adwoa Aboah as his first cover model in for the December 2017 issue.

The cover and issue were lauded, but when the February issue was revealed to be fronted by white actresses Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, Enninful was criticised for slipping back into the whitewashing days of before.

Yet the inclusion of 50-year-old Kidman was actually part of a strategy to promote another kind of diversity.

“One of the areas of diversity that Edward takes very seriously is age,” explained the brand’s publishing director, Vanessa Kingori.

“He has a lot of friends in the beauty industry, the fashion industry and the film industry and they witness the challenges of people aging in and out of the spotlight. Without much fanfare about her age, Nicole Kidman was on the cover and there was a really interesting response of ‘Where’s the diversity?’ It’s really interesting that people can’t see [diversity of age].”

She noted that the act of putting people of colour on magazine covers has become an easy shorthand for open-mindedness, and while she believes this representation is a good starting point, “it’s only the beginning”.

“What I want to know is, what about hard conversations?” Kingori said. “What about things that are more difficult to convey on the cover? I’m a big advocate of true inclusion.”

Kingori, who joined from GQ as Enninful prepared to make his Vogue debut, sees it as her job to prove that diversity is “good for business”.

She revealed that digital revenues have risen by more than 25% since Enninful’s takeover and a “whole new plethora” of brands have come knocking at the door. These include the likes of Nike, which is embracing Vogue’s fresh embrace of health and wellness coverage alongside its fashion editorial, and, interestingly, Christian Louboutin.

“When we spoke to Christian he said, ‘I’ve never felt the need to advertise because everyone knows what my brand is, but now you’re the only brand that’s speaking in a language that reflects mine’,” explained Kingori. The shoemaker is just one of the brands showing particular interest in Vogue’s branded content unit, which the publisher describes as “one of the most important pillars of our advertising”, alongside experiential.

“[Content marketing] is still about beautiful imagery – perhaps even more so – but it’s also about narratives that reflect intelligent women that are challenging,” she said. “Now we talk about women’s triumphs and challenges, such as miscarriage. That would never have been Vogue territory before. Brands have been really engaged with the [new] editorial narrative.”

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Key takeaways from Mark Zuckerberg’s European Parliament inquisition

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Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg continued his atonement tour yesterday (May 22) with its latest stop-off at the European Parliament where he faced (at times heated) questions from members of the Brussels-based assembly. The Drum highlights pertinent talking points for media observers.

Under continued public scrutiny given the revelations over foreign interference in elections, fake news, and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, faced his interrogators in the European Parliament yesterday (May 22).

Zuckerberg remains resilient under (sometimes) terse questioning from MEPs

Today's pre-cooked format was inappropriate & ensured #Zuckerberg could avoid our questions. I trust that written answers from Facebook will be forthcoming. If these are not accurately answered in detail, the EU competition authorities must be activated & legislation sharpened.

— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) May 22, 2018

Some had hoped the extent of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) would be a harbinger of Zuckerberg receiving a more testing time than his earlier Congressional appearances in the US. Although ultimately, these hopes were not met. Critics, including the assorted elected representatives, argued that Zuckerberg’s testimony consisted of hackneyed stock answers that have formed his long and varied ‘mea culpa’ since the extent of the Cambridge Analytica hack first emerged in March. This included the regurgitation of recent measures including limiting access to Facebook user data to third parties. “Let me be clear, keeping people safe, will always be more important than maximizing profits,” Zuckerberg told attendees. Despite some tense moments, Zuckerberg emerged largely unscathed, with the Silicon Valley titan resorting to some familiar tactics under questioning from Members of the European Parliament (MEP), with Facebook now set to return answers in writing. Among the ongoing concerns include queries over the separation over Facebook’s different services, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, plus “shadow profiles”, with Zuckerberg promising to provide written responses in the coming days. Although this response was not met with universal acceptance (see Tweet above). “Will you allow users to escape targeted advertising?” pressed one MEP. “I asked you six ‘yes or no’ questions and I got not a single answer, and of course, you well asked for this format for a reason.”

Some politicians claim they are feeling the pain almost as much as publishers over Facebook’s algorithm update

My message to Mark Zuckerberg today: Stop telling us Facebook is a “platform for all ideas”. The evidence shows your algorithms censor conservative opinions. pic.twitter.com/HWLabaDcP9 — Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 22, 2018

Some MEPs went on to highlight the differing social attitudes towards freedom of expression between the US and EU, but it was UK MEP and arch Brexit-er Nigel Farage who stole the show in this line of questioning, quizzing Zuckerberg on Facebook’s status as a “politically neutral platform”.

He specifically honed in on Facebook’s algorithm change dating back to January 2018, which demoted posts by businesses, brands and media outlets. The one-time UKiP leader and vocal Donald Trump supporter then went on to allege that the changes were politically motivated in the wake of the success of both electoral campaigns in 2016.

“What is absolutely true is that since January of this year you changed your modus operandi, you changed your algorithms and it has led directly to a very substantial drop in views and engagements for this that have got right of center political opinions,” he said.

Zuckerberg denied such allegations adding that Facebook remained unbiased and that it was a “platform for all ideas” adding that the algorithm change was specifically engineered to help surface content from friends and family in its users’ Newsfeed. “We made a number of changes this year to make sure that we’re showing people’s friends and family and community content more than public content in general,” he added.

Questions remain over ‘shadow profiles’

#Zuckerberg avoiding @SyedKamall’s question ⬇️

He says #Facebook needs to collect non-users’ data for security. No answer on whether they can see what’s collected, delete it or if it’s used commercially.

Who needs Interpol when you have Zuckerberg?#ZuckerbergHearing pic.twitter.com/hUfAQGA03Z

— Conservative MEPs (@ConMEPs) May 22, 2018

Some MEPs pressed Zuckerberg on “shadow profiles” whereby the social network is able to track users around the internet even if they are not a registered user on the social network with UK representative Syed Kamall asking Zuckerberg how non-users can stop the social network collecting their data.

“What do you do with this data, do you commercialize it? And if you do that is it morally acceptable?” he asked.

Zuckerberg responded by reminding attendees of its “clear history feature” but did confirm that such tracking was an activity it engaged in, albeit this was motivated by the need to protect the data of its registered users.

“It’s very important that we don’t have people who aren’t Facebook users coming to our service and trying to scrape the public data that’s available,” he said.

“So one of the ways that we do that is that with people who use our service even if they’re not signed in we need to understand how they are using the service to prevent bad activity.”

However, this response was likewise not met with some frustration with some alleging that he attempted to avoid such direct questions (see Tweet above).

Facebook is reminding politicians of its EU investment amid growing speculation of antitrust action

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The growing public scrutiny of Facebook, as well as its ‘duopoly’ stablemate Google, comes amid growing speculation that the pair will be subject to more antitrust action, with some asserting that the upcoming GDPR laws were motivated by EU politicians seeking to disrupt their market dominance.

However, in his prepared remarks, Zuckerberg was keen to underline the extent of Facebook’s investment in the EU, including how its platform helps bring voters to the polling booths that may otherwise have abstained from the electoral process.

“I am determined to keep building tools that keep bringing people together in meaningful new ways while we work to address our safety and security challenges as well,” said Zuckerberg.

He then went on to reiterate the extent the job creation Facebook has generated across the EU’s member states, with the social network on course to employ a workforce of 10,000 in 12 European cities by the close of the year.

Zuckerberg later went on to underline how the UK housed Facebook’s biggest engineering team outside of the US, the extent of its artificial intelligence research in France, the data centers it houses in Ireland, Sweden, as well as a third offering planned for Denmark due to open in 2020.

“We will continue to invest in Europe in the years ahead, we’ve committed to providing 1 million people in small businesses with digital skills training by 2020,” he added.

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Storytelling in a universal language: how brands can leverage music to reach audiences

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It is passion. It is culture. It is love. It unites people and fights hate. It triggers memories and stimulates emotions. It's funny, heart-breaking and kind. That’s the power of music. Nothing compares with its capacity to embrace diversity, transcend borders, and bring different people together. That’s why people call it the world’s universal language.
The challenge for brands, filmmakers and artists is how to tell their story through music. It has been a core part of advertising since the early days of radio, as brands attempted to cement themselves into the audiences’ memories using jingles. But now, music plays a more important strategic role than simply trying to boost brand recall.
Technological disruption has changed how brands need to think about music. As voice-activated search enters living rooms through virtual assistants like Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple Home Pod, how should brands relay their information on these devices? It’s increasingly important to focus, not only on how your brand looks, but how your brand sounds.
Additionally, with a growing trend of content being consumed on mobile with sound-off, brands need to entice audiences to switch it back on – one method is to become renowned for creating great content with great music. Many brands are adapting by finding ways to tell their stories with no sound, but I believe this approach will prove less effective as it underestimates the influencing power of music.

A study from Nielsen a few years ago looked at the effectiveness of more than 600 ads, and the research showed that those with music performed much better across four key areas—creativity, empathy, emotive power, and information power.

Leveraging artists and songs

Popular songs are most effective at invoking some kind of emotional response because the viewer will already have an existing connection with the track. When brands get it right, the benefits are immeasurable – viewers connect, enjoy and remember the commercials better, artists get massive exposure, and it elevates the brand image. Think Cadbury x Phil Collins, Apple iPod x U2, Volvo Trucks x Enya, and the recent Samsung x Elton John. All memorable and compelling pieces of content perfectly synced and driven by a famous song.
But of course these music rights come with a hefty price tag, and therefore, many marketers opt to leverage up-and-coming artists instead, which can also prove to be very effective and has its own unique benefits.
Firstly, less-known artists are much more open to being featured in commercials, because the opportunity can often provide the exposure they need to become famous. It’s essentially like having a music video produced by some of the best creative minds and getting it broadcasted across screens worldwide. One example is Sony’s Bouncing Balls commercial which brought indie artist Jose Gonzalez to fame, with ‘Heartbeats’ becoming a huge hit in numerous countries.
Secondly, when a brand is renowned for using great new music, it adds an aesthetic value people begin to expect from its content, making them sit up and turn on the sound when it comes across their social feeds. They trust the brand to help them discover new artists, and it’s another reason for them to like and share the content. A good example of this is Apple, a brand that has been using great new music across all their communications ever since the launch of the iPod.
Infuse into the creative process

Traditionally, Japanese ad agencies leave music down to the production company – simply selected and inserted into commercials at the editing stage. But agencies that truly appreciate the power of music, infuse it directly into the mix right from the very beginning of the creative process.

At TBWA\Hakuhodo, we have partnered with progressive music studio Black Cat White Cat, giving us access to music professionals who we can bounce ideas off and develop creative concepts together. We team up with top-level composers as well as up-and-coming musicians and artists to inject dynamic new perspectives into our work.
It’s crucial in setting the tone of any commercial and helps catapult a distinct emotional connection, as well as a unique sound for the brand. The tempo is also fundamental to instilling the desired mood for the content, with up-beat songs stimulating happiness and slower songs making the audience more reflective. The music also enhances the structure and continuity of our storytelling and helps emphasize certain parts.
Most importantly, it puts music at the core of our creative process to provide an elevated immersive experience that takes the audience to a different place and builds a stronger connection with the brand. People can close their eyes, but they can’t close their ears – so give them something they want to listen to, and the rest will follow.

Kazoo Sato is the chief creative officer and executive creative director at TBWA\Hakuhodo.

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Marketing Day: Quora’s native image ads, DAA’s ‘PoliticalAd’ icon & the story of data

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Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

From Marketing Land:

Recent Headlines From MarTech Today, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Marketing Technology:

Online Marketing News From Around The Web:

The post Marketing Day: Quora’s native image ads, DAA’s ‘PoliticalAd’ icon & the story of data appeared first on Marketing Land.

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