The ride-sharing app Uber has developed a new technology that it plans on using to track driver behaviour. Designed to improve passenger safety the technology will specifically monitor if drivers are travelling too fast or braking too harshly. Uber and drivers will receive data about their driving performance, along with safety tips on how they can improve their journey. Partnering with the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving this announcement shows a true dedication to using cutting edge technology and data to not only improve consumer experience but in the long run, save lives. The shift in ambition demonstrates how important aspects such as efficiency, safety and the environment now are in the automotive industry and their business objectives. With these aspects being increasingly important to consumers we expect to see a rise in automotive businesses focussing their attention on purposeful product development and marketing that not only engages the consumer but benefits their livelihood. Read, learn and share away.
- Apple plans to acquire the artist owned streaming service Tidal
- Snapchat announces Chat 2.0, aimed at combining video, audio, stickers and GIFs
- Facebook Messenger for business updates galore (including GIFs, obviously)
- Memes, EU citizens and Canada. What the UK digital fallout from Brexit can tell us?
- Why Facebook algorithm shift toward friend and family content is good news for social video
- How Uber plan to use mobile technology to track employee driving performance
- Hologram Karaoke is a thing and means you could take the stage with your favourite artist in the future
- Apple patents technology which could prevent people using their iPhones to film at gigs, but have released 4 new emoji packs to make up for it
- Old Spice have launched an 8 bit social game and you’re the star
- Speaking of social gaming, remember Farmville? How social gaming can suffer from an over-reliance on Facebook
- More Brexit? What we can learn from opposing Brexit social media strategies
- What are the possibilities of Oculus Rift lifting it’s device restrictions
Please do share anything interesting you spot on Twitter with #OMDFWD
Tim Shank can guarantee he’ll never leave home without his keys. Why? His house keys are located inside his body. Shank, the president of the Minneapolis futurist group TwinCities+, has a chip installed in his hand that can communicate electronically with his front door and tell it to unlock itself. Shank is one of a growing number of “biohackers” who implant hardware ranging from microchips to magnets inside their bodies. Some biohackers use their implants in experimental art projects whilst others who have disabilities or medical conditions use them to improve their quality of life. Whilst the long-term health risks of the practise are still unknown, many biohackers claim that, if done right, implants can be no more dangerous than getting a piercing or tattoo. With 25% of Australians found to be “at least slightly interested” in paying for purchases through a chip implanted in their bodies, it looks like we could be looking at a very advanced future for contactless payment. As always, share anything interesting you spot with #OMDFWD
By Bastian Mathes, Director Insight Planning at OMD Germany, and Johannes Laakmann, Manager Brand Experience at FUSE Germany
How a financial institution used eSports to reconnect with young people
Just a couple of years back, who would have thought that someday millions of people would spend hours watching other people play video games? And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening right now on Twitch and YouTube Gaming.
The number of people tuning in to watch game-oriented content is growing steadily. In terms of viewer numbers, Let’s Play videos or eSport broadcasts are as big as music videos or major sports events. And if you consider that 80% of millennials at least occasionally engage in some sort of gaming activity, the gaming content audience is only going to grow even further. Gaming has now turned into a “viewing medium”. (If you want to know more, check out our first post on that topic.) And, the industry keeps innovating to facilitate this development. Just a few weeks ago, Twitch.tv announced Stream First, a new initiative that aims to make sure that developers are building broadcasting capabilities directly into their games.
All this opens up great new opportunities for brands to connect with millennials who are increasingly escaping from the influence of traditional media. These opportunities mostly remain untapped so far. That’s why we created “Press Play”, a comprehensive presentation that we sent out to our clients to help them get a grasp of this dynamic industry and assess the marketing value for their businesses.
However, while eSports is increasingly capturing media attention, there’s not a lot of robust data available to inform marketing strategies. Consequently, many brands are still hesitant to build it into their marketing agenda. It takes a brave client to leave the beaten media track, ready to embrace a test and learn mentality over predict and control decision-making. Especially in a category that is traditionally rather conservative, like financial services.
An unusual suspect
Frankly, Wüstenrot, Germany’s oldest and biggest building society wasn’t that high up on the list of clients that we expected to be interested in eSports. But in hindsight, we couldn’t have asked for a better business case.
The challenge: Young people aged 18-29 are an important audience for Wüstenrot. But, unfortunately, they don’t want to spend much thought on house saving plans – the sort of service that Wüstenrot is primarily associated with.
So how could we help Wüstenrot connect with these guys in a meaningful way?
Gaining independence and determining their own lives is hugely important to millennials. We wanted to show them what Wüstenrot’s brand promise “Dreams become Reality” could mean for them, because building a house might not be on their agenda for a while. In fact, it might not even be what they’re dreaming of at all.
Not everybody’s dream
That’s why we partnered with ESL, the world’s largest eSports company, as well as five ambassadors from the German gaming and eSports scene.
We produced five short-form video documentaries that provide an authentic glimpse into the unconventional lives of professional gamers, shoutcasters and broadcasters. The influencers talk about how they managed to turn their passion into a profession, the obstacles they had to overcome and what it takes to actually make a living from gaming. Original content that sends a clear and credible message: Wüstenrot will help you make your dreams come true.
These influencer videos formed the centre of the content ecosystem that we crafted for Wüstenrot. In order to connect with eSport fans on a broader scale, we sealed a sponsorship deal with Germany’s biggest national eSport event: the ESL Championship Spring Season 2016. The ESL partnership provides the perfect platform to help distribute the content across digital broadcasting platforms and social media, driving traffic to Wüstenrot’s dedicated ESL microsite. Additionally, Wüstenrot will have a prominent presence at the ESL Championship event to pick up and deepen the dialogue that they successfully started with eSports online.
“You should offer Ubisoft courses in marketing.”
The campaign is still up and running so we aren’t able to share final results just yet. The ESL Championship Finals will take place on May 7th and 8th in Duisburg. But, the initial reactions that we received from the eSports community since we released the first video on February 26th have already exceeded our expectations, making it evident that we chose the right approach and picked the perfect influencers for the campaign.
Here are some Facebook comments that refer to the campaign:
- “This is how advertising should be. You should offer Ubisoft courses in marketing.”
- “I think it’s awesome, that Wüstenrot supports e-sports!”
- “You guys definitely understood the target audience.”
The lessons we learned
It wasn’t just Wüstenrot’s first foray into the exciting world of eSports, it was ours as well. We worked with various OMD units – from content to programmatic – to get this off the ground. But none of that would have happened without the passion and courage that Wüstenrot put behind this campaign and the experience and support of the guys at ESL. Open collaboration and communication between our client, ESL and all agency disciplines throughout the whole process were crucial for the successful implementation of this campaign.
Another important factor that facilitated the project was the groundwork that we had done in advance. We started “Press Play” as a proactive initiative working with some junior colleagues from the agency without a concrete client assignment. Our industry is not short of “next big things” and hypes, which can make it difficult to separate a real opportunity from a flash in a pan. So we didn’t know if it would lead anywhere. Nonetheless, we invested time and resources to fully understand the topic and build a solid argument rather than just throwing in some buzzwords. We prepared a holistic assessment of what’s happening in the gaming and eSports category based on the available data, and that´s what we should do more of. If we want to help our clients stay culturally relevant, we have to implement tools and processes to stay ahead of the curve, identify trends early on and invest the effort to present that information in a comprehensible and consistent way.
Last but not least, before the kick-off, it’s important to spend some time thinking about how to measure success and gather learnings along the way. We commissioned OMD’s research department to set up a consumer survey, in order to evaluate the impact of the campaign. We also made sure to document the planning, production and execution process to ensure we’d have enough material to build a business case post-campaign.
If you want to learn more about eSports and whether it can do something for your business then please get in touch [email protected] and let’s play.
By Bastian Mathes, Director of Insight Planning at OMD Germany, and Johannes Laakmann, Manager Brand Experience at FUSE Germany
Opportunities for brands in the world’s most dynamic entertainment category
Towards the end of 2014 Farshad Nayeri tweeted an interesting experiment:
“Fill in the blank and I’ll tell you your age: Mi _ _ _ _ _ ft.”
At the time, Microsoft had just announced they’d be buying Swedish Studio Mojang, maker of mega-hit game Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. Obviously, the situation isn’t quite that explicit yet the experiment clearly outlines an important truth:
The media reality of young people is fundamentally changing. And, gaming is a key element of that new reality.
Driven by the proliferation of mobile devices and the increasing popularity of online games, the number of gamers has grown extensively over the last few years (and it’s not just teenage boys anymore). The stats from Germany below show a balanced gender ratio and distribution across all age groups among gamers.
Do you play?
Source: Bitkom 2015
Basis: German population 14 years plus
This development has had a significant impact on the overall media usage of gamers. TV remains the Germans’ most beloved leisure time activity with around 205 minutes of daily usage among 14-49-year-olds. But with 55 minutes average daily usage, the same age group is already spending significant parts of their media time budget on gaming. For comparison: the average time a user spends on YouTube per day is approximately 15 minutes. More drastically this trend can be witnessed among 16-18-year-olds who spend as much time gaming as they do watching TV (124 vs. 128 minutes).
“Gaming is not a fringe phenomenon anymore but equally normal to watching TV or going to the movies”, summarises Dr. Axel Pols, Chief Economist of Germany’s digital association Bitkom. His statement also indicates a transformational shift in the industry:
Gaming is increasingly becoming a “viewing medium”
Gaming-oriented content and events are attracting massive audiences and offer a huge opportunity for brands to connect, especially with younger people who increasingly escape from the influence of traditional media. “Let’s Play” videos for example, where people watch gamers play and comment on games, are one of the most popular categories on YouTube. It’s such videos that made 26-year-old Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie, the world’s most successful YouTuber with more than 43 million subscribers, (plus quite a few other millions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc).
The second big trend that is a testament to this shift is the rise of eSports – competitive tournaments of video games among professional gamers. Just a couple of years back, such events consisted of a few passionate hard-core gamers being watched by a handful of viewers in temporarily equipped local gymnasiums. Nowadays, eSport championships fill whole stadiums and are broadcasted globally to millions of fans. The eSport “disciplines” are varied but the most popular ones are so called MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas) like Dota 2 or League of Legends (LOL). The latter game being played by 67 million people every month! The best among them are celebrated by thousands of enthusiastic fans, gathering huge followings on social media. The last LOL World Championship in Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena sold out in six minutes and was watched by 36 million people via live-stream – figures that other live sports events can only dream of.
The go-to channel for fans to follow the games online is however not YouTube but Twitch.tv, a platform specifically designed to stream video gaming. Gamers can set up their own channel to broadcast their gameplay and interact with the viewers via an integrated chat function. While YouTube remains the market leader in online video (including “Let’s Play” videos), it has failed to create a gaming-oriented live streaming service early on. Consequently, Twitch.tv benefited from the rapid rise of eSports, growing from 3 million unique users in March 2012 to 55 million in July 2015, now serving 100+ million monthly unique users. Therefore, it didn’t come by surprise that Amazon was willing to pay close to a billion US$ for Twitch.tv in 2014 after a bidding war, where apparently Google was also involved. Google’s reaction – a standalone service YouTube Gaming which was launched a year later in August 2015.
Hype or opportunity?
The eSport trend didn’t remain unnoticed of course. Major media outlets picked it up (check out Vice’s 5-part documentary here) and triggered the interest of marketing departments. Coca-Cola, for example, is running a partnership with League of Legends-maker Riot Games, hosting various public viewing events in cinemas across the US.
“This is a new form of media consumption and the world is changing (…). Theatres have been very receptive to eSports even with blockbuster summer movies playing,” says Matt Wolf, Head of Gaming at Coca-Cola. And whilst we’re seeing some big global brands engage with eSports – mainly the “usual suspects” like Red Bull, HTC, Samsung to name a few – a lot of potential remains untapped. Because despite all the facts mentioned above, many brands are still hesitant to consider gaming as part of their marketing strategy. “Not relevant”, “too niche” or “doesn’t fit the brand” are some common preconceptions. Maybe some marketers still remember how “in-game advertising” was hailed the next big thing 10 years ago…and failed to meet the expectations. But what’s different today is that since then gaming has become one of the biggest entertainment industries globally. It has developed into an ecosystem of touch points and spawned new content formats that brands can use to connect with their audiences in new ways.
Generally, gamers and eSport fans are open for brands to join their community. We conducted a qualitative survey among gaming and eSports enthusiasts and found out that 90% of them take a positive view of brands that get involved with eSports, Moreover the majority not only consider those brands more sympathetic but even would prefer them during a purchase decision.
If they stick to the rules, that is.
Unsurprisingly, advertising formats that disrupt the gaming or viewing experience are perceived as negative, whereas more native brand integrations score more positively. Connected to that is the expectation of long-term commitment. Brands should avoid blunt badging exercises and generic short-term campaigns but craft long-term partnerships with bespoke content to create a true value exchange between the brand and the community.
eSports and game-oriented content is not a fad but an emerging entertainment category that’s here to stay. The opportunity for brands (and us) lies in the fact that they cannot just participate in it but actually shape it. The biggest challenge, however, will be to avoid just applying the traditional ad models and formats (as we usually tend to do).
Let’s look at this opportunity as a blank canvas and work with relevant clients to come up with fresh ideas that will help them use this trend to connect with the right people, and to grow their businesses in meaningful ways.
Wonder what this could look like?
Watch this space. Next week we’ll share with you a great case that we’ve been executing with a client here in Germany…and it’s not one of the “usual suspects”. You’ll be surprised.
This week in OMD FWD. The Super Bowl is all about the anticipation as advertisers can’t wait to tell their client’s big game story. We even had teasers of teasers this year. But for the Super Bowl’s 50th Anniversary what scored, and what just wasn’t worth the $5million price tag for a 30-second spot? Scroll down to find out more about the best and worst of the ad extravaganza. We’re pleased to say OMD clients’ Heinz, Pepsi and Doritos pulled it out the bag! Read, learn and share away….!!