Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA News Roundup: TMW Unlimted, Circus Street, Skout and many more

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Pride in London has appointed UNLIMITED agency TMW Unlimited as its integrated marketing agency of record. The contract of at least two years follows a competitive pitch. Working alongside the Pride in London marketing team, TMW Unlimited will be responsible for the annual campaigns that coincide with each year’s parade, as well as providing strategic and creative support throughout the year. The objective of all communications will be to champion LGBTQIA+ voices and raise awareness of issues and challenges affecting these communities. TMW Unlimited will work in tandem with Pride in London’s media partners, alongside production partners Getty Images and My Genderation, to bring the campaigns to life across several channels, including iconic OOH locations across London, digital, social, influencer, radio and press. UNLIMITED’s Human Understanding Lab will be used to measure the impact of the campaign. The agency uses the Human Understanding Lab to help inform agency work and drive the biggest impacts in behaviour change campaigns. Over 1.5 million people attended last year’s parade, which was the 50-year anniversary of the original march. It was accompanied by the successful #AllOurPride campaign which highlighted the links between the last five decades of activism with the current achievements and struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community. With its 2023 campaign, Pride in London and TMW Unlimited will focus on celebrating trans allyship at this year’s march. This year’s Pride in London will be held on Saturday 1st July 2023.

Circus Street, a specialist provider of online training in digital skills for global enterprises, has released data that shows how skills training priorities for businesses have changed before, during and after the pandemic. Circus Street, whose clients include Coca-Cola, Nike, GM, Pfizer, and Nestlé, looked at the most popular skills courses from 2019-2022. In 2019, businesses favoured a range of marketing skills including performance, social media, mobile, as well as general ecommerce skills. A mix of training that had largely remained unchanged in previous years.  As the pandemic hit in 2020, customer experience and ecommerce skills soared in popularity as businesses were forced to acquire new expertise in response to lockdowns. 25% of training in 2020 was related to customer experience and ecommerce, falling to 8% in 2022. 2021 shows a clear shift to focus on digital transformation with 27% of courses taken focusing on these skills, up from 7% in 2020. Digital transformation training then drops to 13% in 2022 as data skills training has gained in popularity. In 2019, just 9% of training was dedicated to data skills, before falling to 7% in 2021. However, at the end of 2022, four of the five most popular courses taken throughout the year were data related, accounting for 33% of all training. 2022 also saw renewed interest in agile project management training – up from 8% in 2021 to 14% in 2022. 

Cheshire-based B2B PR and communications agency Skout has announced it has become 100% employee-owned to secure its long-term independence and achieve its growth ambitions of £3 million revenue in the next five years. The decision to establish an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is Skout’s pledge to prioritise its team’s career development and the succession and business direction of the agency. Skout’s leadership team believe that employee satisfaction and purpose are pivotal to being an exemplary long-term B2B partner to clients.The EOT has acquired a 100% controlling interest in the business from founder Rob Skinner and director Claire Lamb who will continue to serve as the management team for the foreseeable future. The Trust will oversee the business, acting as a guardian of Skout’s values and culture and ensure its direction remains in the employees’ best interests. Employee ownership does not change Skout’s focus, it is business as usual. Skout has been supported through the process by the specialist employee ownership consultancy, Baxendale, as well as Cactus, a corporate advisory and growth consultancy for agencies.

Ogury, a specialist in personified advertising, has unveiled new capabilities providing brands and agencies with attention measurement metrics at the campaign level, through integrations with attention economy leaders Adelaide Metrics and Lumen Research. Ogury’s Personified Advertising technology targets personas instead of individuals, to generate the highest level of attention. In a cookieless world, targeting the right audience is the starting point of any performance measurement, and this is the foundation of every campaign delivered by Ogury. Moreover, the company’s creative team works closely with advertisers, enabling them to reach the intended personas across web and in-app environments, with innovative and highly performing formats. Ogury is launching a series of direct integrations with companies specialised in attention measurement. With Adelaide Metrics and Lumen Research as its first partners, the company provides its clients with attention metrics across the globe. Lumen Research combines state-of-the-art eye tracking technology – deployed on the largest attention panel in the world – with advanced machine learning to create a formula to measure attention. Adelaide Metrics uses advanced machine learning to score media’s probability of attention and outcomes on a 0-100 scale of AU – its omnichannel metric and the only attention metric that incorporates business outcomes into its model. It is calculated using hundreds of quality signals, like ad size, coverage, clutter, in-view duration, and full-funnel outcome data. These integrations enable advertisers to have their campaigns measured and verified by highly respected attention measurement specialists to validate their performance and the ad message’s memorability. Brands and agencies working with Ogury are given the option to choose which of these two specialists to run their campaigns with, measuring their performance in a transparent and accountable way.

Semetrical is a digital growth agency, whose co-founders have a history of bringing ground-breaking technical SEO solutions to market, including Lumar (formerly Deepcrawl). The agency is now excited to announce its latest release, Tomo, a new, free robots.txt monitoring tool. Tomo, which gets its name from the Japanese word for ‘friend’, is a free SEO tool that helps marketers avoid negative traffic impacts and crawling issues on their website from an incorrectly configured robots.txt file. It quickly shows users which of their website’s URLs are available to multiple crawlers, including Googlebot, helping users to improve their overall crawl efficiency. The Tomo app allows users to configure tests for multiple URLs and user agent tokens, which can be run against their live website robots.txt file to see if it produces expected results. Tomo can also be used for testing new robots.txt files in development before they go live. Tomo’s unique ability to alert users on live robots.txt changes quickly, allows for a rapid response to mitigate the impact of erroneous or unexpected changes.

Empathy.co, innovator in ethical discovery, launches its new Open Innovation entity. The new, industry-first project is an innovation-led, go-to-market approach to rapidly test, validate and share new tech solutions in a public forum. Dedicated, multi-disciplinary squads will follow a “building in public” mindset and work together with new and existing Empathy.co partners across the retail and tech sectors. The Open Innovation methodology moves away from ‘productised’ technology by collaborating with retailers to understand real business problems and create solutions that better serve retail brands. Open Innovation is already working within retail brands such as Carrefour, Kroger and Bosch to deliver a new wave of innovation within the eCommerce sector.  While working with Empathy.co’s existing partners to explore new areas of innovation, the Open Innovation team is also calling on retail brands to engage with them directly through workshops, seminars and innovation days to connect with product teams, designers and developers across the eCommerce and tech sectors.

Magnite, the independent sell-side advertising company, announced that Banijay Rights, the global distribution arm of content powerhouse Banijay, has chosen Magnite and ad server SpringServe to help monetise its free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) platforms. Banijay Rights will leverage Magnite’s SSP and SpringServe’s ad server technology across its FAST channel inventory globally. Banijay has produced world-famous shows including, Deal or No Deal and Survivor and these technology integrations with Magnite and SpringServe will help deliver broadcaster-level premium inventory across this high-quality content. Banijay Rights recently announced the launch of its new FAST channel, Horizons, featuring premium UK entertainment content from its 160,000-plus hour catalogue. Horizons was added to its suite of live FAST channels in September – which now stands at 22 FAST channels and over 110 live streams. Magnite’s SSP will provide Banijay with monetisation tools specifically built to support premium, long-form video and high-quality viewing experiences. SpringServe’s ad serving capabilities offer Banijay enhanced insight, transparency, and control to enable more efficient and accurate management of advertising for more optimal video ad experiences. Banijay will have access to ad serving innovations including SpringServe’s BingeWatcher product which automates the creative review process to help improve ad experiences and drive campaign success.

Bolton-based digital marketing agency The Audit Lab has secured three award nominations in two months for their impressive work with quite the risqué client. Digital award season is in full swing once again, and the agency – based on Spa Road in Bolton – has previously won at the UK Content Awards 2022 for Outreach Campaign of the Year, and received silver at the Northern Digital Awards 2023. Their campaign for sex toy company UberKinky – Introducing Ruby Payne – is up for another three awards this year: UK Digital Growth Awards – SEO Campaign of the Year, Prolific North Creative Awards – Creative Courage Award and the Drum Roses Awards 2023 – Brilliant Use of PR.

Ecommerce agency Fluid Commerce (Fluid) has announced the launch of its own, fully-operational ecommerce website, Wolvende, which sells premium office products and desk accessories. Wolvende was set up by Fluid’s Managing Director Adam Hindle and Ecommerce Director Carl Walker. It was created as a showpiece for Fluid’s team to demonstrate their expertise in launching and scaling an ecommerce retail business. The site was developed using Hyvä, a brand-new Magento frontend. The business has used Fluid’s in-house expertise in paid search, social and Amazon marketplace to raise brand awareness, drive traffic and sales.

Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, is collaborating with NVIDIA to fast-track the development of cutting-edge tools and technology to enable next-generation content and experiences. The “Catalysts and Connectors: Tools for the Creative Industries” Challenge is part of MyWorld, a unique collaboration of organisations, from across the West of England region’s creative and technology industries, led by the University of Bristol and funded by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund. To kick off the challenge, Digital Catapult with NVIDIA rallied local businesses to explore how advancements in technology will provide new opportunities to create, deliver and assess experiences, focused on new forms of reality capture, real-time collaboration and creation, and multi-platform delivery of experiences and content. Participating companies will receive up to £50,000 of funding from MyWorld to help develop a proof-of-concept prototype, or innovation to extend an existing project or product. 

Econsultancy, a global provider of digital marketing and ecommerce insights and training, has launched ‘Winning The Race for Digital Skills: The New Best Practices of Effective Learning’ – a report examining the key aspects of how organisations and individuals can better approach learning and developing new skills to adapt to operational complexity. It reveals the urgent need for businesses and professionals to bridge the digital skills gap to remain competitive in a tumultuous global economy and evolving digital business environment. Supporting findings from Econsultancy’s 2023 Digital Skills survey, reveal that most (83%) of senior executives in the UK say their organisation’s growth depends on rapidly evolving their employees’ skills and capabilities to meet emerging customer and business needs and 92% report that their plans require skills that are new to the business. Only 27% say that the business currently has the digital skills to accomplish their goals. Digital transformation and digitalising the customer journey are key drivers behind the growing urgency to evolve employees’ professional ability, with almost two thirds (63%) of brands saying their customers are looking to replace offline experiences with digital experiences.

New research shows that Brits remain glued to their phones, and news consumption via mobile and social media is on the rise. When looking for the latest news updates, two-fifths of UK adults do so mostly on their phones (39%). The majority of adults in the UK check the news at least twice a day (55%), with a further quarter checking at least once a day (25%) – an increase from 2022. Politics (54%), sports (33%), and tech (26%) remain to be the most popular topics; however, the consumption of political news has decreased by 4% from 2022. Tickaroo commissioned strategic insight agency Opinium to survey 2,000 UK adults about their news consumption habits. It revealed an increase in news being consumed on mobile, a reduction in attention spans with shorter-form content preferred and a decrease in political news consumption. 

A new AI-based tool that will help marketing teams looking for innovative ways to engage customers, has been launched by ScoreApp, the SaaS platform for building quizzes, assessments, and scorecards. AI Quiz Builder, the first of its kind in the world, makes it easy to create online quizzes that can quickly deliver valuable customer insight and feedback. The ScoreApp AI Quiz Builder has been designed to meet demand for quizzes as an effective, lead generating, customer engagement tool, that overcomes survey fatigue amongst consumers. It streamlines the quiz creation process of researching, writing, and editing quizzes by leveraging the power of AI. With just a few simple instructions, businesses can create quizzes tailored to their specific needs, including categories and questions. The AI wizard will provide a selection of categories and questions to choose from, which businesses can edit or use to ask for more suggestions. The ScoreApp AI Quiz Builder also creates a landing page, builds dynamic results, and emails in a matter of seconds, making the process even easier for businesses. The platform’s intuitive interface and easy-to-use features ensure that even those with limited technical knowledge can create high-quality quizzes.

Xtend, a provider of next-generation marketing technologies, has announced the global launch of its AI-first retargeting engine that will enable e-commerce platforms to activate, monetise, and re-engage customers far more accurately. Built on a large-scale AI model, Xtend provides an algorithm that makes accurate predictions based on typical user profiles, instead of usual marketing funnels. Xtend can anticipate a user’s next preferred engagement with a brand – whether via discovery, product comparisons, or a flash deal, so brands can reach, convert and re-engage their users more effectively. Xtend will also incorporate a large section of owned and operated contextual e-commerce inventory, tagged as “SHOPit”, to create a more native environment for users to interact with e-commerce offers outside of their core platforms. Through SHOPit, a platform-agnostic plug-and-play solution, Xtend is able to accurately pinpoint lapses in the user journey and effectively help businesses retarget using unique and customised user scenarios, and AI Generated Content (AIGC) native creations. 

Subway® has launched a new campaign, ‘Two ways to Subway,’ for the brand’s biggest UK-menu innovation to date, the Subway® Series. The new campaign includes an eight-figure investment, one of the largest marketing spends in the UK and Ireland in Subway’s nearly 25-year history, launching on 31 May across multi-media channels, including TV, VOD, OOH, PR and social. The campaign celebrates Subway Series, the brand’s biggest-ever menu transformation. For the first time in Subway’s history, guests now have two ways to Subway across its 2,300 plus restaurants. Guests can choose from 15 all-new irresistible chef-inspired creations, for a simple, fast, and tasty Subway experience, or continue to create their own custom-made Sub, Wrap, SubMelt®, or Salad options. The creative, developed by Saatchi & Saatchi, will kick-start a nationwide debate highlighting that there are two types of people in this world. There are those who prefer to customise and create their own meal and those who are very happy to enjoy someone else’s creation. The question is, which one are you? The new campaign is supported by Publicis Groupe agencies MSL UK, Taylor Herring, Digitas, and media agency EssenceMediacom and Teneo for PR in Republic of Ireland. 

Michael Kors is excited to announce the launch of a luxe and immersive window experience from today at La Rinascente in Milan, Italy. Taking over the iconic department store’s walkway and windows, across from the Duomo, the experience will transport passersby to the island of Capri at sunset while showcasing the brand’s Summer 2023 fashion. Created in partnership with immersive experience studio Pixel Artworks, and inspired by Capri’s idyllic Marina Grande, the projected illusion invites visitors to stroll along the beautiful harbour’s wooden dock at sunset as waves lap gently against the pontoons and schools of tiny fish glint in the sea. Sleek, cedar-decked yachts, moored nearby, drift in and out on the tide. An extraordinary sound collage of Capri— the rhythm of the waves, the plink of halyards against masts, the soft murmur of talk and laughter from a waterfront restaurant—surrounds guests as they walk, engaging the senses and deepening the evocative experience. Within the six large window displays, the theme of Capri glamour and luxury is extended to showcase ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear from MICHAEL Michael Kors and Michael Kors Mens. To celebrate the opening of the experience, Michael Kors hosted an intimate cocktail hour with friends of the brand at La Rinascente’s terrace bar with Dj set by Valentina Georgia Pegorer. The display will continue through June 5, 2023.

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