Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

NDA News Roundup: The Trade Desk, Jugo, Mastercard and many more

Global advertising technology company, The Trade Desk, has announced a partnership with the world’s largest dedicated online supermarket, Ocado Retail, that will enable advertisers to create the connection between their ad campaigns and customer sales across the open internet. Ocado is the first grocer in the UK to give direct access to its customer behaviour data, allowing marketers to optimise their audiences and attribute campaigns through The Trade Desk. In a first for the UK’s grocery retail industry, Ocado will provide advertisers with access to consented shopper data and insights. Ocado suppliers and The Trade Desk’s clients will be able to leverage Ocado’s first-party audiences to precisely reach in-market shoppers and drive key marketing objectives, such as customer acquisition to build brand loyalty over time. Furthermore, targeted campaigns can be optimised using Ocado data to close the loop between advertising spend and sales. This new partnership makes it easier for brands to reach the right audience across the open internet and beyond, including the industry’s fastest growing channels such as connected TV and digital out-of-home. This marks a significant development in comparison to existing on-site solutions, where ad campaigns only run on retailer-owned inventory.

Jugo has announced a new partnership with GDS Group’s Roundtables (more widely known as Meet The Boss) to elevate virtual events. GDS Group is trusted to deliver outstanding experiences by the world’s most loved technology companies, including IBM, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services. GDS Group will use Jugo’s immersive technology to create and provide highly immersive virtual roundtable experiences for senior executives looking to share their expertise, gather new insights or network with prospective partners more deeply. Jugo’s self-serve events platform will enable GDS Group to deliver elevated virtual experiences, making every digital connection feel more real than ever before.  

evolvist; a pioneering AI creative platform, built by ex-WPP colleagues, has launched to market. evolvist combines multiple Artificial Intelligence APIs with human insight to create unlimited, original & high quality advertising images in seconds. As the recent buzz around AI intensified, the founders identified an opportunity to take advantage of artificial intelligence’s ability to create novel assets for advertising. The idea was to eradicate the requirement of a photoshoot or video production when creating ad campaigns for digital platforms including Meta and Google, offering an AI generated output, able to produce sets of creative assets immediately with no rights management issues. The vision was clear – give all brands access to affordable, high quality creative assets at scale. With extensive understanding of the self-serve ad platforms, the founders quickly realised they could close the problematic gap between creative asset briefs, shoots, post-production & campaign launch which delay time sensitive marketing campaigns and affect performance. evolvist’s output is superior to stock photography, does not have any usage rights as each asset is original and the tool can be used to make multiple iterations and amends via a simple drop-down menu. The tool has been engineered using market intelligence and human integrity garnered by 50+ years of first hand, digital advertising experience spanning the largest Hold Cos and Global brands.

Lionel Messi has surprised a team of children to launch the new UEFA Champions League Mastercard mascot kit – including several little Leo namesakes in a new film, Passing on the Love of Football. Priceless, and inviting four young fans to join him in a huge 15 metres by 7 metres street-art mural. The latest campaign from Mastercard celebrates Messi’s influence on the next generation of football fans and follows research showing that one in four parents (24 per cent) would consider calling their child ‘Leo’ after the footballing icon, with 59 per cent saying he is a positive role model for inspiring determination and dedication. A Mastercard ambassador since 2018, Messi’s positive off-the-field impact includes social media, where he currently holds the record for the most liked Instagram post of all time. Over on Twitter, fans have also called him the ‘GOAT’ (Greatest of all Time) over one million times since mid-December, double that of his closest competitor. The street-art mural, which was painted and captured on film in Paris ahead of the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixtures, includes a QR code that links to an innovative augmented reality filter, enabling fans to become a mascot and put themselves in Team Leo alongside Messi.

HubSpot, the customer relationship management (CRM) platform for scaling companies, has announced the launch of two new tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – content assistant and – to help its customers save time while creating better connections with their audiences. The introduction of content assistant and builds on HubSpot’s earlier investments in AI including conversation intelligence, data quality tooling, data enrichment, predictive AI, content optimization, and more. Powered by industry-leading artificial intelligence systems from OpenAI, content assistant and create efficiencies for marketing, sales, and customer service professionals. 

For the third year running Cadbury with the help of its global agency of record, VCCP, is flipping the Easter egg hunt ritual on its head by challenging the expected generosity in the season with something unexpected and more meaningful, in the latest integrated Cadbury Worldwide Hide campaign. To help tap into the generous nature of the heritage brand and celebrate Easter, Cadbury is once again giving people a platform to hide digital purple eggs anywhere in the world via Google Street View. The hider can even choose to send a real egg straight to their loved ones homes once the egg has been found. Following the success of the last two years which saw over a million eggs hidden, Cadbury is taking the campaign to the next level. This time by creating localised DOOH creative using anonymised hiding spot data from the Worldwide Hide platform. The bespoke digital ads will appear in nine key cities up and down the country, including Bristol, London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Cardiff Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow. They will feature real hiding spots used on the platform, each from the city where the ads are displayed. For digital and social creative Cadbury will use the anonymised hiding location data from the Worldwide Hide platform to create interest-based that will showcase eggs hidden in a range of spots relevant to interests. For instance, Birmingham Botanical Gardens for gardeners and garden lovers. A 20” film showing a giant purple egg placed in locations around the world including on the beach, in the forest and in a small village has also been created and will run on TV across the country.

Unitary, the startup building contextual AI to automate content moderation, is announcing that it has raised $8 million in funding led by Ian Hogarth at Plural and strategic angels, including technology marketing leader Carolyn Everson who is joining the board. The funding will be used to grow the team developing its AI technology, accelerate partnerships and continue its open-source work to keep everyone safe online. The new funding round will enable Unitary to continue to develop its technology and support its open-source work, whilst the addition of Everson to the board will be extremely valuable to the company as it scales up to reach platforms and protect advertisers and users around the world. Everson, former VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Meta, has spent her career building high-performance teams in the digital media ecosystem at companies including Microsoft and Viacom and also sits on the corporate boards of The Walt Disney Company, The Coca-Cola Company and Under Armour.

SheSays, the global careers and mentorship creative network for women and non-binary people, has launched a powerful and honest social campaign that shows the real reasons why women and non-binary people are resigning from roles within creative industries and answers the question ‘why has she gone?’. The visual campaign, which is a series of six resignation letters, was created from insights shared by over 100 women and non-binary people within the advertising, marketing, and media industries, in various positions, to expose the truth behind why they are leaving jobs. With 71% leaving roles and 55% stating the experiences ‘increased their mental health issues around stress, anxiety and depression’ SheSays wanted to be honest about ‘why has she gone?’. The creative uses dark humour to show the horrendous lived experiences of many women and non-binary people working in our industry. It acts as the voice for many who can’t speak up and unveils the real letter that so many would have wanted to write. Each letter addresses core issues of sexism, sexual harassment, menopause, mental health, being ignored and unfairly overlooked. 

Creditinfo Group, the global service provider for credit information and risk management solutions, has announced a multi-market partnership with VisionFund International to provide analytics and automation solutions throughout their global Microfinance Network. Creditinfo’s credit risk analytics and automation solution will help VisionFund to expand their customer base whilst controlling costs. This will enable VisionFund to increase financial inclusion and improve economic conditions for lower income clients around the world. Creditinfo will draw upon its global and regional experts to support the implementation of these solutions over a three-year period. Initially, Creditinfo will provide its solutions to six of VisionFund’s markets with a view to extending them to additional VisionFund’s markets in due course.

Samsung is the new official partner of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, presented by Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer, starting 9:30am this Sunday, the 12th of March. Samsung aims to promote its premium home appliances and Bespoke Home line-up through this new partnership with Channel 4. The sponsorship bumpers will be shown during the programme breaks to show off the full range of Samsung appliances, from Dual Cook ovens to the Jet vacuum range. The sponsorship will last for 12 months and includes product placement which will also see the whole Sunday Brunch kitchen kitted out with top-of-the-range Samsung products, including ovens, hob, warming drawer, microwave and an American fridge freezer. The partnership will also be promoted online and in-store by Samsung’s retailer partners. Although the focus will be on domestic appliances, Sunday Brunch will also feature other Samsung goods on the show, such as their state-of-the-art Frame TV. Also part of the partnership, Samsung will be sponsoring one of the show’s regular editorial segments called ‘TV for Pets’. Samsung’s media agency Starcom brokered the new partnership with 4Sales and Remarkable, the Sunday Brunch producers. Creative agency, Exposure, has produced the sponsorship idents. 

HIGHLANDER, the world’s first global long-distance hiking event series, has appointed PR agency The PHA Group with a press office brief that spans event promotion, journalist and influencer engagement, as it launches into the UK for the first time this year. From the 5th – 9th of July, the Lake District, England’s largest national park and a world heritage site, will serve as the inaugural UK location for the internationally acclaimed event series. Continuing its expansion across the globe, The PHA Group’s Sport and Fitness division will be raising awareness of the event across the UK’s media and influencer landscape. 

Last week, the WWF, the AI/CC Creative Community and Brave Bison collaborated on an initiative to coincide with WWF’s annual #WORLDWITHOUTNATURE campaign, which encourages companies to remove wildlife from their branding to highlight the dramatic loss of biodiversity in the world. The AI/CC Creative Community was invited to imagine what a world without nature might look like. The images and videos were made by creators using visual AI tools, with the aim to raise awareness amongst the public, encouraging them to appreciate and protect the environment. The end goal is to help to stop these macabre images from becoming a reality. The resulting work reflected a wide range of thoughts, emotions and personal ideas to imagine what a world without nature might look like and mean. The results of this provide a bleak warning, with many of the images showing desolate landscapes, gas masks and ghostly images of animals from future extinction.  

SoundOut, a specialist in sonic branding and marketing testing, is now offering brands and agencies the ability to match any brand to trending music on TikTok. The service indexes the top 100 trending TikTok tracks against over 200 brand attributes on a weekly basis and, via SoundOut’s OnBrand SaaS platform, enables brands to instantly define their brand and campaign priorities, and rank all 100 tracks in order of closeness of match. The service is complimented by a new partnership with leading Gen-Z sonic branding agency Loud Parade, offering brands the ability to license, find similar tracks for commercial use or have their own bespoke compositions created for a more personalised and authentic appeal.

Digital product business Apadmi has recorded its best-ever trading month in January 2023, a year-on-year increase of 68 per cent, thanks to a raft of new, high-profile client wins and annual renewals of their long-standing clients. EventUK and DayInsure both came to the company, which is headquartered in Salford, for system integration and the creation of digital products across mobile and web. They joined Apadmi’s impressive list of existing clients, which includes Domino’s, NHS, Wattbike, BBC, Co-op, Argos and Chetwood Financial. The revenue increase comes after Apadmi predicted in August 2022 that turnover was set to grow by 66 per cent in the current financial year following expansion across Europe and the acquisition of The Mobile Company. Its continued diversification of services has also been popular, as the company further expanded its guidance on strategy and consultancy and user research as well as the creation of mobile apps and websites. 

 Qlik® has announced that the UK’s largest family-owned department store, Fenwick, has adopted Qlik Cloud®, to advance its analytics capabilities and empower more employees at the company to use data in their day-to-day roles. Fenwick, which launched its first store in Newcastle in 1882, is known for premium shopping and dining, with categories across beauty, fashion, food and furniture. The company continues to seek ways to use data to increase efficiencies, support operations and boost performance. Fenwick required an intuitive, fast and cost-effective system, armed with the best governance and able to scale in line with the company’s ambitions. The move to cloud analytics is playing a key role in Fenwick’s continued innovation. While the chain’s online channel is growing exponentially, stores remain crucial to the brand, which aims to make the relationship between online and in-store offerings as seamless as possible. Developing collaborative apps across the business for effective visualization, reporting and joined-up decision-making is supporting this goal, so all employees can understand the data picture in real-time.

OKX, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange by trading volume and a leading Web3 technology company, has announced the successful integration of 50 different blockchains across its Web3 product offering. This marks a major step forward for its vision of creating the industry’s most advanced and inclusive Web3 ecosystem, and giving users the choice between CEX options on its exchange platform, and owning their own private keys via the OKX Wallet. OKX has an ambitious roadmap for further ecosystem development and product expansion. The company plans to continue integrating new blockchains while also investing in research and development to enhance its existing infrastructure and services. Additionally, OKX will expand its educational initiatives in order to promote greater understanding and adoption of blockchain technology among a wider audience as Web3 solutions grow and evolve.

GTT Communications, Inc., a global provider of managed network and security services to multinational organizations, has announced the expansion of its network of scrubbing centers in partnership with Corero Network Security, the DDoS protection specialists, spanning four continents globally.  Scrubbing centers receive network traffic and remove any malicious traffic that may be associated with a DDoS attack, to ensure only “scrubbed” safe traffic is delivered to its intended destination. The center in Madrid, Spain, is the latest addition to GTT’s global DDoS protection platform, which includes 10 scrubbing centers across Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. The GTT platform uses Corero’s next-generation DDoS technology, within GTT’s global Tier 1 internet protocol backbone, to detect and filter out malicious traffic and complex threats in the network core, in real time.  

Girlguiding, the UK’s largest youth organisation dedicated to girls, has announced the largest rebrand in its 113-year-old history in partnership with global brand transformation agency Landor & Fitch, media agency VCCP Media and earned creative agency Seven Communications. In 2018, Girlguiding recognised an opportunity to refresh its brand to bring it in line with its newly overhauled programme of badges and activities, and core goals: to increase appeal amongst girls in the UK, to attract new volunteers, brand partnerships and investment, and to present as a modern and dynamic youth organisation that equips girls for the future and gives them a safe space. In 2019, the organisation started working on plans with the aims of the rebrand identified to champion imagination and celebrate collective adventure, exploration and curiosity across all four individual Girlguiding sections – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers, while fulfilling its new purpose of helping girls to know that they can do anything.

A new report from Soldo, the European expense management platform, unveils the scale of financial hardship UK employees face due to out-of-pocket expenses. A staggering six in 10 (67%) were found to use their own money for business-related costs at least once a week – with a fifth (20%) saying they put their hand into their pocket daily. This is resulting in employees taking drastic measures to cover the costs, especially when some are left waiting weeks, if not a month (20%), to be reimbursed. Over half (52%) have used personal credit cards, a fifth (21%) have gone into their bank overdraft, and 19% have resorted to asking for money from their friends or family. The research shows out-of-pocket expenses are taking their toll on employees’ financial wellbeing and mental health. A quarter (24%) admit they have less money for groceries and other essentials, 17% are unable to save as much as they’d like, while six in 10 (61%) feel anxious having to cover business spend. As a result, employees are calling out for businesses to change their expenses process. Six in 10 (62%) say they would like their company to provide cards to all employees to completely eliminate the need for reimbursements. Half (50%) want tools to automatically capture receipts (50%), while 45% stated that low-value expenses should come with less stringent approvals. 

Brightcove has announced the launch of Brightcove Ad Monetization, a new bespoke service designed for media companies to better monetize their content. To supplement the service, the company also created a new global advertising operations team to support media organizations and help them maximize their advertising strategy and revenue. Brightcove Ad Monetization will help media companies realize maximum, measurable returns on advertising with actionable insights. The solution supports the monetization of live and video-on-demand (VOD) content with improved yield optimization to fill unsold ad inventory and increase revenue. It includes client-side advertising insertion (CSAI) and server-side advertising insertion (SSAI) capabilities for web players, iOS, Android and connected TV platforms. Brightcove Ad Monetization also seamlessly integrates into independent and existing advertising servers, including Google Ad Manager and FreeWheel.