MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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In a previous post I mentioned that there were some disturbing trends lurking in WARC’s analysis of campaign trends from this year’s Cannes Lions. To my mind those trends say a lot about the sorry state of marketing practice today.

In the WARC report, my colleague, Graham Page, Kantar Millward Brown’s Managing Director, Offer and Innovation, focuses on the positive in his assessment of key themes from this year’s winners. He notes that news-driven motivation has a powerful impact on sales, that emotionally powerful or humorous advertising has always been effective, and that purposeful campaigns are powerful because they have meaning and command attention. All true. And all too often ignored.

In contrast to Graham’s assessment, the trends that struck me from the WARC report were far less positive.

Lack of budget

In 2018, 20 percent of shortlisted papers claimed not to have any budget, up from 8 percent the year before and reflecting a general decline in budget size. While WARC dresses up smaller marketing budgets as ‘brands become more resourceful’ I see the trend to smaller or no budgets as an outcome of the ‘do more with less’ refrain that has dogged marketing for years. Let’s be clear, the evidence finds that the odds are stacked against doing more with less. If you do not reach new buyers your brand will not grow, and while big budgets are no guarantee of success, they do help you afford the media to reach a good proportion of potential new buyers.

Short-term focus

When it comes to duration WARC does not dress up its finding that ‘short-termism dominates’. 71 percent of shortlisted campaigns had a campaign period of three months or less. That is not a campaign, it is an event. Too many marketers are focused on driving social commentary (the most popular media channel used by 86 percent of those shortlisted) which requires them to come up with a series of shareable events that fail to build brand coherence and have a cumulative impact.

Lack of effectiveness metrics

WARC definitely does not dress up this one, stating,

“Despite regular calls over the years from judges in this category wanting to see clear commercial results, many papers listed impressions as a metric for demonstrating an impact, or regarded flimsy data that was self-serving as sufficient to prove their case.”

As noted by Paula Lindenberg Vice President Marketing, AB InBev Brazil, metrics proving the impact of marketing make it easier to sell creativity and get the budgets to make it happen. But more than that, I would argue that effectiveness stems from setting the right objectives in the first place. If you know how a campaign or activity is going to make more money it makes it a whole lot easier to assess whether that campaign has been effective or not.

What do you think of my assessment of the state of marketing today? Too negative?


Written by Nigel Hollis,Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown.

Monday, 13 August 2018 00:00

The Line Between Hate and Debate

The internet has been billed as the great equalizer, breaking down barriers and giving voice to millions. At the same time, it has allowed for abuse online – whether in the form of hate, harassment or offensive content. The freedom to express is an essential democratic principle, but should it persist unfettered? How and where should we draw the line, and who – or what – should play a role in moderating online debate?

Today, Facebook’s Hard Questions, a series that explores the most challenging issues Facebook confronts, hosted a discussion about the line between hate and debate, featuring a diverse range of views. Moderated by Andrew McLaughlin, the co-founder of Higher Ground Labs and Former Deputy CTO at The White House, the panel includes: Monika Bickert, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management; Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Media Justice Network; Daniella Greenbaum, formerly a reporter at Business Insider; and Geoff King, journalist and lecturer at UC Berkeley. See the full discussion and highlights below.

Monika Bickert on how Facebook thinks about free expression…

“We want Facebook to be a place where people can express themselves. It is about connecting people. It is about giving people a place where they can share things with one another and learn from one another. […]”

“We know that people won’t come to Facebook if it’s not a safe place. We actually do have these guide rails in the form of our Community Standards that tell people ‘this is where we draw the line.’ And we draw the line in most cases because we think that speech might lead to real world harm. […]”

“We don’t allow hate speech on Facebook because it creates an environment where people feel personally attacked, where they won’t feel comfortable coming and sharing themselves. But it’s really hard to define hate speech. […] When we think about how to define it, we think about what constitutes a personal attack. […]”

“The one thing that we don’t remove is where someone simply asserts something false. What we do is try to counter the virality of such content or try to promote or make visible other views.”

The panelists on how Facebook should draw the lines…

“The more that Facebook can adhere to free expression principles, including international guidelines, essentially international law taken on voluntarily, the more robust, uninhibited and wide open debate will be.” – Geoff King

“Whether we’re talking about Facebook, Google, any of these other companies […] at the very top are groups of mostly white people making decisions about whether or not speech is violent, whether or not speech is dangerous. And I have to say that they’re making decisions in their own interest. […] If we’re going to live in an economic system where the public square has been so deeply privatized, then I absolutely expect those private companies to take on decisions that protect all the people.” – Malkia Cyril

“More than 80% of [Facebook’s] users live outside the United States. So if they’re going to adopt any sort of governmental system, it certainly doesn’t need to be [the US]. I do think it’s a good system and it preserves freedom of speech, which I see as an important right and social good. But beyond that, I think that Facebook has this incredible opportunity to be a platform for debate and engagement.” – Daniella Greenbaum

“There are some things where we’re all going to agree. We’ll all agree that you don’t want child sexual abuse imagery online…. But it’s when you get to these edges, around things like hate speech, around what constitutes an actual threat of violence, what constitutes actual harassment or bullying that’s where the conversations are the most difficult and also where the enforcement is the most difficult.” – Monika Bickert

On whether Holocaust denial should be allowed on Facebook…

“There is a classical liberal view of free speech that political debate be uninhibited, robust and wide open. […] That said, Facebook, again, is under no obligation legally to allow that on their platform, and I think that’s largely Facebook’s call, but if Facebook is going to make that decision, it needs to have clarity around its decision, it needs to have transparency around it.” – Geoff King

“It’s not about speech, it’s about power. People are actually dying on the streets because of the speech that’s taking place online. So let me be clear about it, it’s not a question of whether an individual has a right to say whatever’s on their mind. That’s a strict US constitutionalist view of the question of free speech, that’s not my view of free speech. […] What I care about is whether or not anti-Semitic crimes are going up as a direct result of people on a platform allowing individuals to organize criminal activity online.” – Malkia Cyril

“Trying to eradicate bad ideas from platforms is not going to succeed at eradicating these ideas from the world. So I’d rather have more room — whether it’s on Reddit or Facebook or platforms that don’t even exist today — for bad ideas to aired and challenged and debated and brought to light so that we can actually engage in meaningful debate and hope that reason will prevail.” – Daniella Greenbaum

“If somebody promotes the idea of the Holocaust or violence of any sort, we remove that. If somebody engages in anti-Semitic speech by saying ‘Jewish people are…’ and applying a dehumanizing label, [we would remove that]. If somebody mocks survivors or victims of the Holocaust, any of that would violate our hate speech policies. And we also block the speech where countries have told us, ‘this is illegal in our country,’ — then we will remove that speech in that country alone. […] Even if it is a horrible assertion of falsity, whether it’s about the Holocaust or any other world even, we don’t remove content simply for being false.” – Monika Bickert

On who’s affected by the debate over free expression…

“The decision-makers around what speech is allowed and what speech is not are the same people that benefit from that reality. So how do we end up with fairness under those conditions when that is what is happening?” – Malkia Cyril

“Especially for marginalized communities, especially for minorities, especially for groups that are targets of oppression, we need to be supporting the broadest possible speech in the hopes that that speech will be used — and again, this is an optimistic note — in order to stop oppression, in order to help marginalized communities and in order to ensure that minorities always have a voice and a platform on which to say ‘what’s happening here is not okay.’” – Daniella Greenbaum

“Often times with censorship, […] it’s often not the powerful loudest voices, the people with the most access, who end up being affected by those policies, but those policies tend to often times be used against people who don’t have political power, not the dominant ideology.” – Geoff King



Publicis Media India has appointed Sejal Shah as Managing Partner and Head of Publicis Media Exchange (PMX - Mainline) which is the central investment practice of PM.

Publicis Media is among the top three media-buying groups of the country, handling billings of over USD 1.3 Bn and a plum roster of clients such as Nestlé, Dabur, Parle Products, Kraft Heinz, Ola, Fiat, Oppo, Citibank, Lenovo, Axis Bank, Motorola, Sun Pharma amongst others. In her role, Shah is responsible for driving media investments, alliances and partnerships, strategic thinking and direction for all PM clients across markets.

Sejal Shah comes with over 21 years of rich experience and has worked with Publicis, IPG and WPP across functions such as client management, planning, buying, research, operations and automation. She was part of the founding Publicis Trading team. Her last role was as Trading Head, South Asia for Unilever.

Anupriya Acharya, India CEO for Publicis Media says, “We are very happy to have Sejal join us in this critical role. With her rich experience, Sejal will ensure that the complex media environment is well navigated and negotiated for PM client. She will try to bring in not only fresh approaches to deal making as and where required, but also focus on overall value creation for Brands including content, in-programme and other such initiatives.”

Sejal Shah says, “I am thrilled to be with Publicis Media at a time when their growth momentum is at an all-time high and they are well poised to further build on it. Publicis Media client roster not only has some of the most savvy marketers but also is very diverse with strong presence on digital and future facing-streams. It gives us an opportunity to focus beyond the traditional on ROI and effectiveness”

Saturday, 11 August 2018 00:00

Redefining male beauty

In China and Korea, young men are ditching cosmetics conventions and embracing K-pop-inspired beauty.

The conventions that have kept BB creams, concealers and lipsticks firmly in women’s makeup bags are beginning to break down. In the West, brands like Milk Makeup and ASOS exemplify this cultural shift driven by millennial and generation Z men, and now men’s grooming in East Asia is gaining its own momentum.

For many men in South Korea, skincare and eyebrow pencils are as indispensable to their grooming regimen as taking a shower. “Eyebrows are huge in Seoul, to the point that young men say their eyebrows are the most important part of their face,” David Yi, the Korean-American founder of Very Good Light, a blog working to “redefine men’s beauty,” tells JWT Intelligence.

These men are reportedly some of the biggest spenders on grooming products in the world. In part, this is thanks to the influence of K-pop idols and their makeup routines. Euromonitor says that, despite slowing growth in the men’s grooming sector in South Korea, its future remains “dynamic” as more major players and independent brands want in. Plenty of skincare labels are already delivering in this segment. Ssanai offers hair and skincare products in dark, minimal packaging “for fine gentlemen with confidence in their swagger”; DTRT produces toners and moisturizers aimed at men; and Tony Moly and Innisfree both take things a step further with moisturizing camouflage cream (South Korean men are required to do two years of military service).

“The messaging behind the products is that to be a man you have to take care of yourself,” Yi says. “This comes with celebrity males who are the stars in these cosmetic brands’ campaigns.”

Yi’s website went live shortly after CoverGirl appointed beauty vlogger James Charles as its first CoverBoy. While this was a beauty industry breakthrough in the United States, Yi maintains that makeup is already a masculine norm in Korea. LAKA, one of the newest brands on the market, confirms this, he says: LAKA boasts lipsticks in 12 shades and promotes itself on Instagram as being for “both girls and boys.”

“LAKA is amazing as it’s actually gender-neutral,” notes Yi. “I love the fact that the brand uses beauty but has a male look and female look. In the States, boy beauty YouTubers still have a traditional women’s or ‘drag’ look, whereas in Korea there are specific beauty looks for men. I think that’s so progressive—utilizing makeup and having separate looks for guys and girls using the same product.”

It’s a beauty innovation that could potentially serve as a model for brands in China, one of the fastest-growing male grooming markets in the world. Euromonitor predicted in a 2016 report that retail sales in the sector would top RMB1.9 billion ($278 million) at an annual sales growth of 13.5%. While much of this growth is firmly in grooming and skincare products, data from Chinese e-commerce sites like show increasing numbers of male online shoppers buying beauty masks, eyebrow pencils and lipstick.

The surge in interest from men in grooming in China has prompted some drugstore brands like Japan’s Mentholatum to update their products. Mentholatum relaunched its face wash last year to include charcoal, and also introduced a charcoal mask. And a niche but growing group of male consumers is turning to makeup and premium skincare products traditionally aimed at women, as well as unisex brands such as Aesop.

Marketing culture in China’s luxury sector clearly indicates the changing aesthetics around male beauty. From Clinique to L’Occitane, brands are appointing male brand ambassadors with a largely female fan base on social media. Often called “little fresh meat” or “flower boys,” these 20-something pop idols, many of whom were trained as teenagers in Korea’s pop factories, are popular for their soft, feminine features and delicate mannerisms. They show their fans how they adopt upscale skincare products into their daily routines with messages of confidence.

Many of these campaigns are for skincare lines, but Estée Lauder broke boundaries—perhaps inspired by male beauty blogger Li Jiaqi, known as “iron-lipped brother” for his tireless lipstick testing—when it featured its male brand ambassador, singer Hua Chenyu, in an April ad for its #310 Mars Red lipstick. Though he didn’t seem to be wearing the lipstick in the ad, that wasn’t the case for Huang Zi Tao, Korean pop singer turned C-pop star, who applied lip gloss in an ad campaign for YSL last fall. While the brand’s Chinese social media followers haven’t seen much campaign-wise from “Z. Tao” since then—YSL Beauty’s record-breaking debut on Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall this spring featured a female in its ad video—his inclusive message gives clues about beauty’s future direction for Chinese men, even if marketers are still concentrating largely on female clients.

“Makeup allows me to be closer with my dreams,” Tao says in the ad. “For me, makeup is like a weapon. It’s also like a form of creation. It’s a bit like music is a form of inspiration, like dance is a form of flexibility, like performing is a form of energy… I become a new version of myself. A totally free version of myself.”



Leading Tamil General Entertainment Channel (GEC) – Zee Tamil has announced a special show – “Ulaganayagan in Vishwaroopam” celebrating the success and rejoicing the glory of Tamil Nadu’s leading star - Ulaganayagan Padmasree Dr. Kamal Haasan as he is taken down the memory lane from Paramukudi to Makkal Needi Maiam.

The show will be telecasted in two parts – on Sunday, 12th August at 3:30 PM and on Wednesday, 15th August at 3:00 PM.

The special guests of the show were Mr. Ramasamy from Paramukudi who played an instrumental role in shaping Kamal Hassan’s childhood followed by Mr. Annadurai who played the role of the antagonist in one of Kamal Hassan’s first stage plays.

Reminiscing Kamal Hassan’s superhit films from the 1990’s such as Thevar Magan and Magalir Mattum, Nasser spoke about his fond memories with the Ulaganayagan.

Ramya Kannan shared a light moment with Kamal Hassan as they spoke about their experiences during the shoot of Panchathanthiram.

The other popular stars who joined him on the show also included Actress Ambika, Actor Rohini, Actor Sripriya, Actor Shakthi, Actor Robo Shankar, Actor Vaiyapuri and Lyricist Snehan. Fellow Vishwaroopam stars Andrea and Pooja were also a part of the show.

Various Zee Tamil stars including Archana Chandoke, Shree and Fathima Babu also joined the celebrations in honouring the Ulaganayagan.

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