Do Your Products
Need to Go Online?
Get ready: your toaster
may need (or want) its
own digital identity
How Connected Do
You Want To Be?
Do you suffer from a
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Changes in behavior, not
technology, are driving major
changes in home design
What happens when
2 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
#6 Summer 2013
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Though winter is long past, many of us are still feeling the lasting effects
of our trip to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this past January.
Since its first appearance in 1967, CES has represented the evolution
of modern technology itself. From the appearance of the first VCR
at CES 1970 to the camcorder in 1981 and the Commodore 64 home
computer in 1982, the show has become universally known as THE
place to see the newest, hottest and most amazing tech wizardry.
So when we arrived in Las Vegas (along with about 150,000 other
international attendees), we were ready for technological magic.
But as we walked the floor and spent time with clients, analysts and
partners, we discovered a show that was less about cutting-edge
technology and more about the lives of consumers.
Indeed, the “Internet of Things” was on full display at CES, where even
the plants communicated with iPhones via Bluetooth. From washing
machines to automobiles to thermostats, an unbelievable number of
consumer electronic products are integrating wirelessly.
How fast will it happen? Check out a couple theories in The Converged
Rob Norman (The Internet of Things, p. 6) posits, “It won’t really be up
to us. We can’t opt out of consumption and we can’t prevent progress
As marketers, what we can and must do is speak more authentically
with highly connected consumers (Brand Connectivity, p. 40),
knowing that our targeting models will have to stay fluid (Take Me to
Your Leader?, p. 32) in a world where the path to purchase now looks
more like a pretzel than the old-school funnel we’ve all come to know
(Don’t Get Lost on the Consumer Journey, p. 36).
In the end, we’ll have to resist shiny objects, look for true benefits and
innovate both for ourselves and our customers.
MediaCom Worldwide Chairman and CEO
3BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Matthew Mee is MediaCom’s
Global Chief Strategy Officer.
His primary goal is to ensure
that MediaCom enables
connections with consumers
through smart, effective
content and communications
Andy Walsh is Global
Head of Integrated
Communications Planning at
MediaCom. In his 10 years at
the agency, he has worked
with some of the world’s
largest and most innovative
advertisers, including Mars,
Wrigley, Coca-Cola and Shell.
The founder of HERD (herd.
typepad.com), Mark Earls is
a leading thinker and actor in
changing how we behave as
a group. He is author of the
influential book, Herd: How
to Change Mass Behaviour by
Harnessing Our True Nature
(2009), and co-author of
I’ll Have What She’s Having:
Mapping Social Behaviour (2011).
Sue Unerman is MediaCom
UK’s Chief Strategy Officer
and a leading global
thinker. She was named
Agency Innovator by The
Internationalist in 2012 and
is co-author of the book,
Tell the Truth: Honesty
Is Your Most Powerful
Marketing Tool (2012).
Sara Marie Watson
Sara Marie Watson is
data, the Quantified Self
movement and the internet
at Oxford Internet Institute.
She also works as an
researcher and writer, and
has worked with Crimson
Hexagon and The World
Andrew Newton is Director
of Mobile for MediaCom
APAC. He is obsessed with
helping clients use mobile to
help solve local and global
John Stampfel is Head
of Emerging Digital
at MediaCom Japan.
Originally from NYC, he
has 10 years’ of digital
marketing experience in
Japan and has a particular
focus on creative, mobile
Niall Murphy, Founder and CEO
of EVRYTHNG (evrythng.com),
is a technologist and serial
entrepreneur. He is a sought-
after speaker and presenter.
take me to
06 The Internet of Things by Rob Norman, GroupM
08 CONSUMER, TRACK YOURSELF by Sara Marie Watson, Oxford Internet Institute
11 CASE STUDY: THE CONNECTED DRIVING EXPERIENCE by Daniel Haack, MediaCom
12 Do your Products Need to Go Online? by Niall Murphy, EVRYTHNG
16 Animal Instincts by Kay Dohnke, Das Auto.Magazine
20 I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT by Steffen Krabbenhoft, MediaCom
22 The Converged Home by Chris Sanderson, The Future Laboratory
26 We’re Not Targeting You... by Ruud Wanck, GroupM
28 Connecting Consumers and The Offer by Andrew Newton, MediaCom
32 Take Me to Your Leader? by Mark Earls, HERD
36 Don’t Get Lost on the Consumer Journey by Matthew Mee, MediaCom
40 Brand Connectivity by Andy Walsh, MediaCom
42 WHAT’S MY LINE? by John Stampfel, MediaCom
46 How connected do you want to be? by Sue Unerman, MediaCom
49 CASE STUDY: CONNECTING WITH SPORTS FANS by Jan Neumeister, MediaCom
4 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Do your products
need to go online?
The internet of things allows everyday
objects to be connected to the digital
world. What will this mean for brands?
and The Offer
Mobile and retail ought to be a match
made in heaven, but new solutions
are needed to overcome problems
with traditional infrastructure.
Changes in behavior, not new
technology, are making our
homes more connected than ever.
The biggest social network you’ve never
heard of is a smash hit in Japan and most
Do You Want
Don’t Get Lost
on the Consumer
5BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
the internet of things
By Rob Norman, Global Chief Digital Officer, GroupM
Illustration by Alex Walker
Devices that we used to think of as
inanimate will become aware. Their
newly animated state will impact us
in ways that will be both mundane
and profound, from managing the
crispness of our lettuce to the flow of
blood to our hearts.
The devices we carry are just the tip of
the iceberg. There are also the devices
we wear, like Go Pro cameras, Nike
Fuel Bands and Google Glass. Then
there are the devices implanted in us,
like monitors and pacemakers, which
make us the bearers of multiple nodes
on the internet of things.
Brands represent many things but,
above all, they are shorthand for
trust. The level of trust a person looks
for in a brand of shampoo – that it
should be functionally effective and
uncontaminated – pales in comparison
to the level of trust required when
control shifts from man to machine,
object or thing.
Some devices are active; they help us
to do things. Some devices are passive;
they allow things to be done to us.
Everything is aware, or at least has the
potential to be aware of and interact
with just about everything else.
Some may consider the internet of
things to be a dystopian vision of a
world where we become accustomed
to machines controlling certain
aspects of our lives. Do we want police
departments to know how fast we
drive? Do we want our employers to
know what drugs we take, or what we
eat, drink, buy and throw away? Do we
want our spouses, parents and children
to know where we are at all times?
Everyone has a desire for privacy,
and there are instances where it may
be particularly important that such
privacy is maintained.
The question is: will our dystopian
fear outweigh the utopian promise? Or
will we come to value being rewarded
for our good sense and habits, for
the chance to live longer and better,
for the costs of healthcare to be
re-distributed more equably between
the behaviorally responsible and the
outwardly foolish? Do we relish the
freedom that technology creates more
than we fear the inevitable uncoupling
of productivity and employment that
technology already threatens?
6 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
PERSPECTIVES ON THE CONNECTED CAR
INCREASED CAR SAFETY
The Mercedes/Lexus perspective
revolves around active safety, where
the vehicle’s functions identify and
compensate for driver frailty, the
threat of the immediate environment
and even the terror of parallel parking.
Smart safety will be table stakes
across the board in five years.
INCREASED JOY OF DRIVING
The Audi perspective is that drivers
will be able to choose whether to
engage with the driving experience
– from the joy of the open road to the
drudgery of stop-and-go traffic – or
abdicate it altogether.
Google’s perspective is that human
interaction with the vehicle is a waste
of time that could be applied to a more
valuable, productive activity. To prove
its point, Google has produced a self-
driving car that has been approved
for use in California and Nevada. In
all cases, advanced telematics will
connect us with the places and things
around us, giving brands further
incentive to attach discoverable data
to the environment.
It seems as though we still have
choices but, in the end, it won't really
be up to us. We can't (or won’t) opt
out of consumption, and we can't
prevent the things we consume from
becoming increasingly intelligent.
When we don't run out of ketchup,
we will be pleased. When a smart
car saves our lives, or a chip finds
the dog we love and lost, we will be
delighted. When we get a ticket for
speeding without seeing a cop, we will
When we are denied a job because
our health profile is outside certain
parameters, we will be devastated. As
in all things, the balance felt by the
individual will determine an outcome
more dystopian or utopian.
WHICH CAR SOLUTION
Which perspective ultimately prevails
will be a function of time, place and
attitude. The Audi perspective will
likely prevail in the medium term, given
that people still like to engage with
driving (at least some of the time). But
Google is likely to own the long game,
particularly when all cars will have fuel
cells and limited range. At that point,
optimizing time and cost will outweigh
the pleasure of driving, and self-drive
will become the most carbon-efficient
form of private travel.
7BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Public discourse on data seems to veer
between two extremes: the lucrative
potential of Big Data to provide new
insights and efficiencies vs. dystopian
threats to privacy and the individual.
Unfortunately, these polarizing stories
neglect to address how we consumers
can benefit from our own personal data.
This subtlety is not lost on the
Quantified Self community of
scientists, hackers, developers and
hobbyists (quantifiedself.com). With
a shared belief in the potential of data
to help individuals know themselves
better, these followers are creating
large personal data sets and deriving
correlations and meaningful patterns in
People track for a lot of different
reasons: some have a problem to solve,
while others want to encourage a new
The Quantified Self is a thriving community of enthusiasts tracking
their own behavior and activities. Here’s why they matter.
By Sara Marie Watson, Oxford Internet Institute
Photography by Murray Calder, MediaCom Edinburgh
habit. Still others do it because they
can: technology has made it easy, so
why not keep the data if it might be
Tracking to the Masses
Indeed, finding and using tools to
self-track (without a lot of work) has
never been easier. Wearable sensors
like the Fitbit, Fuelband and Jawbone
Up are bringing self-tracking to
the masses, while apps like Moves
use GPS and accelerometer data to
estimate activity levels.
From APIs to open data, the agenda
from the latest Quantified Self
conference tackled some of the
toughest questions concerning
the technical standards and norms
emerging in our data-driven world.
No other community is as personally
invested in what’s personally at stake.
Self-quantifiers are sensitive to the
fact that commercial tools and apps
require users to accept their terms and
relinquish control over the data in the
process, and some refuse to use apps
that do not allow data export.
The discussions around data handling
seem to be having an impact; Jawbone,
for example, has recently opened up its
And the more these tools can talk to each
other, the more valuable they become
(see box on Tictrac).
My Data, Myself
So what’s all this measurement
measuring? I am a self-tracker and it
helps me understand my body. I can
track calories, exercise, weight and
water intake, among other things.
8 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
When I can see the result of my
choices over time, it’s easier to make
a healthier choice and understand its
impact. Somehow, the goal of “staying
hydrated” is more concrete when I can
break it down into numbers: fill favorite
water bottle 3 times = 64 oz. a day.
Not everything I track is about the
numbers, of course. Data can also be
an autobiographical tool. I check in
using Foursquare, I log my reading
habits on Goodreads, I tweet, I journal.
When I look back on all those traces, I
have a better sense of where I’ve been,
where I am today and where I’m going.
By aggregating social media traces,
apps like Timehop and Momento are
making it even easier for me to see my
I understand its context. A record Fitbit
day of 35,000 logged steps is more than
just an outlier: it’s a day spent wandering
around Venice. I’m building stories
around my data.
We’re also leaving traces of where
we’ve been in the digital world. My
browser and search history, along with
cookies, drives the advertising I see
online. The difference is that muck of
this data lacks context.
Judging by my tech blog reading
history alone, a behavioral targeter
might statistically assume that I’m
a 30-year-old male. And as soon as I
change my marital status on Facebook,
I’m assumed to be in the baby market.
These rough assumptions don’t always
match up with my intentions.
As a consumer, I don’t have many ways
to correct these faulty assumptions,
which messes with the personalization
and targeting potential of Big Data.
consumers more control, not less. When
my own story doesn’t match the story I’m
being sold, we’ve missed an opportunity
for truly meaningful personalization.
Giving me the opportunity to match my
story with my data helps achieve both
personal and commercial objectives.
Sara is a researcher at the Oxford
Internet Institute. She will be joining
the Berkman Center for Internet and
Society at Harvard University as a
Fellow in the fall.
avg this month
avg this month
avg this month
9BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Data may be all around us, but
taking control of it has been a
challenge. Tictrac, for example, is
a personal data dashboard that lets
you aggregate all your activities in
one place, including your calendar,
physical activities, email activity
and even calorie consumption. It
then presents the data in engaging
infographics and emails.
Are you interested in how your
coffee consumption affects your
blood pressure? Or how your
workload impacts your sleep? The
correlations you can establish are
endless. Does the music you listen
to change the speed at which you
run? Combine your activity training
tracker and your Facebook/Spotify
account to produce the result.
Founded in 2010 and based in
London, Tictrac is free to use.
The company generates revenues
by building white label tracking
and advice services for brands
such as Red Bull and health
10 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
While location-based apps like
Foursquare and Yelp have exploded in
popularity over the past few years, they
fail to capture a critical part of the user
experience: actually getting there.
Backed by research that showed that
drivers are spending an increasing
amount of time alone in their cars, the
team at Volkswagen set out to make the
journey as social as the destination… and
at least a little bit happier.
“For Volkswagen, driving a vehicle
doesn’t have to mean just going from
Point A to Point B,” said Jeff Sayen,
advertising manager for Volkswagen.
“There’s the fun of the actual driving
That’s the thinking behind Smileage,
a new mobile app developed by
Volkswagen in collaboration with
Google and creative agency, Deutsch
Making driving social
Set to launch in summer 2013,
Smileage (smileage.vw.com) integrates
social elements into every car ride. By
connecting directly with the car, a
driver can track and share real-time
details of his or her journey on a
choice of social platforms. And by
syncing with Google, in particular,
users can also tag fellow passengers
and share images, while family
and friends can follow along and
Mirroring the success of badges
and points in other check-in social
apps, Smileage also reinforces the
successful precepts of gamification
by awarding points based on factors
such as the length of a trip and
What also makes the app special is
that – while competing automakers have
focused on developing apps customized
for their own drivers – Smileage is
designed to be used by anyone, in any
brand of car.
“We’re excited about this, because
consumers can share their stories
even if they or their friends and family
may not have personal experience
with our brand,” said Sayen. “There’s
a fun-to-drive spirit associated with
owning a Volkswagen, and Smileage
helps deliver the experience of driving
a Volkswagen to someone who isn’t
driving one right now.”
Smart. Very smart.
Of course, current Volkswagen drivers
get special perks. In honor of the classic
road game “Punch Dub” – wherein one
punches his or her driving companion
when spotting a Volkswagen – the app
gives “punch” points for passing another
Volkswagen vehicle and “twinsie” points
for driving by an identical model.
While these targeted features help
current Volkswagen drivers feel like
they’re part of a cool club, ultimately,
“the spirit of the app is to socialize the
driving experience for everyone,” says
Raymond Wicks, a digital media director
at MediaCom, which is handling the
To Volkswagen’s credit, the brand con-
siders Smileage to be just a starting
point. “We look at this app as a road
marker on a long journey,” said Sayen.
“We will continue to use Bluetooth
and emerging technologies to amplify
the positive experience of driving a
vehicle and being able to share the
trip with the most important people in
Volkswagen’s Smileage app can make your next road trip more fun and
social. After all, it isn’t just about the destination anymore, is it?
By Daniel Haack, Marketing, MediaCom USA
Driving Experience +2
11BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
do your products
need to go online?
You may have an online presence, but does
your stuff need a Facebook profile or a Twitter
account, too? If this sounds like something from
a sci-fi movie, it’s time to wake up and smell the
The internet of things is about giving products
and other physical objects their own unique
online identities, and it’s already happening
with high-value objects like cars and fast-
moving consumer products such as soda and
At the simplest level, using a mobile device
to recognize a product and link it to a social
network identity can be enough to give it a
distinct digital identity and power personalized
services and experiences for consumers.
Adding service to objects
A world where consumers connect with their
products (and products connect to other
products) is made possible via the proliferation
of smartphones and the technology of tagging,
image recognition and embedded electronics.
The internet of things allows everyday objects to be connected to
the digital world. What will this mean for brands?
By Niall Murphy, Founder and CEO of software company EVRYTHNG
All of these connections turn an object into
something bigger than itself. The effect is
similar to Nike+, which brings together the
physical proposition (the trainers) with the
service proposition: helping your running
performance, remembering where you’ve run
and connecting you with other runners. This
allows Nike to establish real and meaningful
relationships directly with their customers,
transforming utility-driven product interactions
into meaningful, ongoing experiences.
Verticals such as transportation are likely to
embed electronics faster than consumer goods
companies, but – in many ways – the FMCG
category has the biggest opportunities.
All these connections turn
an object into something
bigger than itself.
12 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Any product can have its digital profile,
just like we do on social networks.
and phyiscal products
can transmit a stream
of data analytics,
based on how they
are made, sold & used.
if you are a brand, this means you can have direct,
one-to-one relationships with your customers through
13BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Large brands can turn
their products into active,
owned media.While verticals such as
transportation are likely to
embed electronics faster
than consumer goods
companies, the FMCG
category has the biggest
By using EVRYTHNG (evrythng.com), large
brands can turn their products into active,
owned media, and companies are waking up
to the possibilities. Diageo, the world’s largest
premium drinks business, has embraced this as
a core strategy. The company is working closely
with EVRYTHNG to drive experiences and
analytics tied to their products.
For example, Diageo made Johnnie Walker
whisky a compelling gift idea in Brazil last year
by enabling the giver to attach a personalized
film tribute to each bottle. Using a simple
mobile website and a unique identity on each
bottle transformed a present into a potentially
emotional, highly personal connection.
And the benefits for Diageo extend far beyond
sales; this type of initiative produces data-
rich insights about usage occasions and sales
channels that could not have been captured
without digital enhancement.
Coming soon to a product
or service near you
The results of the Diageo campaign demonstrate
the appeal for gifting as a specific-use case,
but it’s easy to see possibilities in many other
sectors. Imagine a glucose monitor that is
connected to the Web. It could deliver up-to-the-
minute, relevant information regarding a user’s
particular type of diabetes, age and medical
history anytime, day or night.
And look at Progressive Insurance, which is
now promoting a policy that charges customers
only when they drive their cars. Such a service
is only possible when a car has a digital identity
and recognizes when it’s being driven, how it’s
being driven and who’s driving it.
Connectivity will become an important
ingredient in a surprising array of products and
services. It also offers an extremely disruptive
opportunity for brands to connect directly with
shoppers through their own products.
BLINK was introduced to EVRYTHNG at the
Festival of Media Global 2013.
14 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Traffic jams are an everyday fact of life. In search of answers, researchers
are studying the behavior of ants, as their roads are never congested. And
Volkswagen is already working on communication systems to improve
By Kay Dohnke, Das Auto.Magazine
Thanks to a constant speed and
gaps between groups of individuals,
ants make smooth progress. Slower
animals move to the side and make
room for the others.
16 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Paths to the richest sources are
marked with scents and used by ever
more ants which, in turn, leave their
Traffic jam ahead
Traffic is moving smoothly in a southerly
direction; the motorway is moderately
full. After two or three kilometers, the
road approaches a wooded ridge and the
strip of asphalt inclines slightly. Brake
lights suddenly illuminate, and the
light show moves rearwards from one
car to the one behind with increasing
swiftness. Traffic slows down. Soon the
first cars are standing still: then all lanes
are blocked. If everything is flowing up
front, all is well. But if one person there
brakes, the dynamics of the queue can
quickly bring every car to a halt.
And the flow stops. Traffic jam. Nothing
moves. On the left side, one car shifts
even further to the left to see what is
blocking the way. Nothing is in the way;
a traffic jam has formed out of thin air.
Typical driving behavior and typical
errors can quickly bring traffic to a halt.
Traffic jams develop not only at
bottlenecks and construction zones,
but also on hills, where drivers almost
imperceptibly slow down and cause
the vehicles behind to eventually
brake. At the very same time, traffic is
flowing perfectly between the trees on
the hill. Up there, ants are marching to
a source of food. More and more of the
tiny insects join the steady procession,
yet traffic never slows down or comes
to a standstill.
Researchers are looking at the behavior
of these creatures to gain insights that
can help improve the flow of traffic on
our roads. The development of traffic
jams is simple physics: the more vehicles
there are on a section of road, the greater
the traffic density and the lower the
average speed. A constant speed could
then only be achieved by reducing the
distance between vehicles but, for safety
reasons, that is not an option. Once
a critical mass of vehicles has been
reached, drivers slow down to maintain
the proper distance from the vehicle in
front of them. “Ants behave differently,”
explains Dr. Andreas Schadschneider, a
theoretical physicist at the University of
Cologne who studies complex systems
such as pedestrian, vehicle and other
flows. “Ants can significantly increase
the density of individuals on their roads
without slowing down.”
17BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
“The animals mark the shortest path
with pheromones that the others
can use for orientation.” In essence,
they create invisible guard rails.
Another phenomenon: “We have
never observed an ant purposefully
overtaking another,” Schadschneider
reveals. All animals subordinate
themselves to the common goal, and
thus reach it with optimal efficiency.
Slower animals move to the side,
keeping the main avenue free. “That
only works to a certain degree with
cars,” as the shoulder on motorways is
reserved for emergencies.
Ants also have no problem with
collisions. This too is an occurrence –
indeed, the worst case scenario – that
drivers seek to avoid at all costs by
slowing down or changing lanes. When
vehicle density is high, this behavior
may also promote the development
of traffic jams. Schadschneider adds:
“Ants form themselves into small
queues. After about five or six ants,
they leave a gap between themselves
and the preceding group.” This buffer
prevents the chain reaction that
occurs when a group slows down (and
otherwise leads to a traffic jam); before
the rear group reaches the group that
has slowed down, time elapses so the
first group can speed up again. All
queues stay in motion.
What aspects of ant mobility can
be applied to human traffic? “Their
behavioral patterns result from
communication,” is the lesson
Schadschneider draws. “With modern
technology, we can achieve the same
thing for cars.” A safe increase in traffic
Ants form short queues with small
gaps between them. If a group in
front slows down, the buffer keeps
proceedings from coming to a halt.
We have never observed an ant purposefully
Dr. Andreas Schadschneider, physicist
18 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
density could certainly be increased
by enabling cars to communicate
regarding speeds and distances. “And
the more drivers act in everyone’s
interest (to enjoy smooth-flowing
traffic), the better it works.”
Volkswagen has been working for
some time on Car2X communication
systems designed to improve traffic
safety and flow. Such systems enable
cars to communicate not only with
each other (car-to-car), but also with
fixed landmarks, such as traffic lights
or sensors at intersections or sections
of road (car-to-infrastructure). “Safety
is the first concern, of course,” says
Dr. Thomas Form, head of electronics
and vehicle research at VW. “Proven
assistance functions that warn drivers
about the presence of a police vehicle,
construction site or the end of a traffic
jam (so that they can avoid rear-end
collisions) are a good way to introduce
Work on the next step is already well
underway: “In this phase, vehicles
exchange information about their
environments as well as themselves. A
car preceding another into a curve, for
example, could warn the next vehicles
of traffic jams or construction zones
before the next drivers can even see
them.” That would require more precise
location systems for cars and more
powerful on-board computers. For now,
‘C-to-C’ (car-to-car communication)
remains a vision, although it already
works in experiments.” One of the big
challenges is positioning using, for
example, stationary orientation points
along the road,” says Form.
What is clear is that – in the future
– smooth traffic flow will require
technological assistance. It’s all just
physics to Andreas Schadschneider,
but observing ants can yield important
insights into how traffic flows work.
Originally published in
19BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
I Know What You Want
desires. Just think about your last book purchase,
which triggered an email with uncannily accurate
suggestions for further reading.
Now the science of predictive design is becoming
more widespread, as brands and media try to
provide the information we need as individuals
even before we think we need it.
One of the latest is Foursquare. Earlier this
year, the most high-profile of the many online
check-in services unveiled an app designed to
help it become a suggestion service, using data to
suggest where users might like to go next. Check
into a bar for cocktail hour, and it will tell you
where other users have checked in for dinner.
Foursquare, of course, isn’t the only service
moving in this direction. Google Now uses
weather conditions to recommend the best route
to our next meeting. And it will suggest a gym
– along with the schedule for our preferred class
– when we travel, among many other capabilities
(see box on Google Now).
Predictive design offer a new chance for brands to
be a consumer companion and provide bespoke
utility that will win brand loyalty.
More and more products and services will anticipate what we need,
giving brands a real chance to be a daily part of our lives. Welcome
to the world of predictive design.
By Steffen Krabbenhoft, Director of Mobile, MediaCom EMEA
Some of these services might sound familiar
to marketers with backgrounds in consumer
analysis and direct marketing. What’s different
is that these messages can now be delivered in
real time, with recommendations based on actual
Who do you want to share
you data with?
Whether brands can do this depends on a
number of factors, with the most important
While we know that banks and mobile telecom
companies (along with Google, Facebook and
Foursquare…) already have a lot of information
about us, we also provide a significant amount
of data to brands to which we don’t pay much
attention. Many apps, for example, require
sign-in via Facebook or Twitter and ask us for
access to data and contact lists. Sometimes, you
either allow this access or are prevented from
using the app. Have you ever read the T&Cs for
any of these apps? I didn’t think so.
One brand that is trying to provide a useful
value exchange is Financial Times. Give the
MyFT app access to your calendar, and it will
highlight important articles about the people
and companies with whom you are about to
Ultimately, the ability of brands to leverage
these personal, predictive opportunities will
come down to whether they promise enough
utility for us to trust them with our data. Brands
that fail to check either or both of these boxes
won’t get onto the playing field.
Predictive design offers
brands a new chance to
provide bespoke utility
that will win brand loyalty.
20 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
1. Everything is increasingly connected
and linked. Things connect seamlessly
to people and to other things. As a
result, data is shared. How does Google
see this development and position itself,
e.g. through Google Now? Will Google/
Google Now connect with my fridge,
scale or bin?
Google Now is about bringing you the
information you need before you even ask.
This sort of information is most useful
when you’re out on your mobile device.
Still, we live in a multiscreen world, so
we built Google Now with that in mind.
If you search for a restaurant on your
desktop computer, Google Now on your
mobile device can show you how to get to
that restaurant. If you are reading a news
article on your tablet, Google Now might
let you know on your phone if there’s a
related article available.
2. When things not only connect but also
learn and respond, what does this mean
for life as we know it?
At Google, we believe it’s about freedom.
Google Now is a great example of this: by
bringing you just the right information at
just the right time, you don’t have to worry
about being late for a meeting because of
unexpected traffic, or having to dig through
your email to pull up your boarding pass
when you’re at the airport.
Baris Gultekin,Director of
3. Could Google Now potentially replace
all the various internet destinations I go
to now, like social networks, by always
pulling in what’s most relevant?
Consumers will always need search, and
will always have questions they’ll want to
proactively ask. So even though Google
Now can do quite a few things, there will
always be reasons to explore the internet.
Google Now and the Google Search app
have been a really great starting place
for me on my phone, but they don’t replace
4. What are the opportunities for brands
and advertising in this world of
predictive design (and Google Now)?
Earlier this year we launched several new
capabilities that integrate third-party
data sources. For example, if you’re in the
market for a new house, Google Now and
Zillow can now show you nearby open
houses. Finding opportunities to make
life easier for consumers is at the heart of
predictive design; tools like Google Now
can help serve up a wide variety of utility
all in one place.
21BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Allow me to take you back to the turn of the
millennium. In 2000, the idea that a refrigerator
might connect to the internet was widely seen as a
joke. For many, it was a sign that technologists had
watched too many episodes of Star Trek and failed
to consider the benefit to our everyday lives.
Fast-forward to the present, and all major
domestic white goods manufacturers are
producing connected devices that can make our
homes more intelligent and efficient. So what
has changed? It’s not just the technology: it’s
also our attitudes toward these cutting-edge
devices and their capabilities.
Health and energy reduction
are driving connections
Consumer focus on personal health will play
a major role in creating the connected home.
Bathroom scales, electronic forks and refrigerators
that assess calorie intake, monitor weight and
assess eating habits are already available. Also on
the market are passive self-tracking devices such
as Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike FuelBand.
Today, nearly 20% of US smartphone owners
already use an app to manage or track their health,
and there are more than 40,000 health apps
worldwide. Can implanted devices be far behind?
Technology-enhanced products also get a boost
in areas where consumers seek cost reductions.
Connected light bulbs and thermostats, along
with washing machines that optimize water
usage, for example, help consumers cut their
energy bills. Lighting can detect when a person
is going to sleep, and HVAC can optimize output
by directing air to a specific room (or even a
location inside a room).
homeChanges in behavior, not new technology, are making our
homes more connected than ever.
By Chris Sanderson, Co-Founder of The Future Laboratory
For many, it was a sign
that technologists had
watched too many
episodes of Star Trek and
failed to consider the
benefit to our everyday lives.
23BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Convergence of business
Perhaps the biggest area of convergence is
the merging of work and leisure, or “bleisure.”
According to Britain on the Move, working while
commuting or enjoying the comforts of home has
added an extra £9bn to the UK economy.
This is forcing us to re-engineer our residences so
we have space to work and connections to all the
services we need to be truly productive. We want
our homes to function more like offices, but we also
want our offices to be more like our homes. Perhaps
the biggest change already driven by bleisure is
that a decreasing number of individuals now carry
separate work and personal mobile phones.
such as Slingbox and Roku allow consumers to
stream content to their devices of choice, ensuring
that viewers never miss their favorite shows again.
Disconnected feels dumb
The bottom line is that technology that can’t be
personalized now feels dumb, but there is still
a long way to go. And it’s not likely that we will
totally re-engineer our homes, as the costs would
be prohibitive. A more probable development is
that we will use patches, typically apps, to bring
many of the benefits of connectivity into our lives.
And it won’t be long before the converged home is
not just a futuristic dream but a reality.
Sources: Pew research, Research2Guidance
Established in 2001, The Future Laboratory is a
trend forecasting, bespoke research and brand
information please visit thefuturelaboratory.com.
The bottom line is that
technology that can’t
be personalized now
and desires that will
drive adoption of
the connected home:
1. Health, wellness and
2. Saving money
3. Fewer repetitive chores
and more free time
24 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
In January 2012, the European
Commission announced a compre-
hensive reform of EU data protection
rules, intended to strengthen online
privacy rights and boost Europe’s
digital economy. When the discussions
around data began, lawmakers tended
to view the data debate in black-and-
white terms: data was either personal
(e.g., an individual’s medical history or
political beliefs) or it wasn’t.
Unfortunately, this type of reasoning
pertains to most of the aggregated data
used to deliver targeted advertising.
As the European Parliament prepares
to decide if and how rules on data
should be updated, we are hopeful that
legislators will adopt a more nuanced
approach to this critical topic.
Data is necessary
Having access to accurate data is more
important than ever in today’s complex
and divergent media world. Even the
fiercest advocates of traditional media
would agree that data thrown off by
digital transactions have changed the
role they play in the communication
Consumers travel across a variety of
online destinations, and information
For the digital economy to grow, legislators must adopt
more nuanced approaches to data and privacy.
By Ruud Wanck, GroupM EMEA
Illustration by Jacob Stead
gleaned from digital media offers us
the ability to reach audiences in nearly
every channel in a more effective,
specific manner. If this evolution is
to continue, we need a clear set of
rules that reassures consumers while
allowing for marketing innovation.
Private data should
Contrary to what some privacy
advocates would argue, we believe
that private data should remain
private, and we need to do a better
job at explaining that the data used
for brand campaigns does not include
26 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
There is a new class of data that is neither
private nor non-personal.
The truth is that personal data is
not all that relevant to an advertiser
or its agency. Our business model is
based on our ability to create large
groupings of consumers that share
certain interests, and then deliver
relevant advertising to this target in a
way that produces the maximum ROI.
It’s extremely unlikely that an
advertiser would want to target at the
individual level, and maintaining that
level of data (and the additional privacy
measures that would be required)
would be cost prohibitive.
A key element in the current debate
is the recognition of a new class of
data that is neither private nor non-
personal. It’s called pseudonymous
data: information that has been
processed so that, on its own, it can’t
be specifically attributed to a specific
Marketers use this data to reach the
right audiences in the right place and
at the right time. For example, the use
of pseudonymous data can help find
people who have visited a used-car
website and, therefore, are be more
likely to be interested in purchasing a
The current EU proposals not only
exclude any allowance for pseudo-
nymous data: they actually expand
the definition of personal data. As
a matter of fact, the draft proposals
define “personal data” as almost every
piece of data that could be collected
and used in a digital environment.
This includes information that
identifies a single person. It’s vital
that this be changed as the legislative
process rolls forward.
Marketers need to lean in
Until now, the advertising industry has
not really engaged with legislators.
This is the wrong approach. As the new
Data Protection Act moves through
the European Parliament, it’s in our
best interests to ensure that regulators
understand how the advertising
Numerous collectives have been
actively working with these officials to
explain how marketers treat data, and
how European consumers can be given
effective tools to control their personal
data without negatively impacting
the digital economy. In the meantime,
more than 3,000 amendments have
been filed to the legislation.
Legislators around the world
are waiting and watching to see
what happens in the EU. With PII
(personally identifiable information) a
hot topic in the US, it’s likely that any
new rules adopted in Europe would be
A clear set of rules defining three
classes of data – personal, general and
pseudonymous – will help marketers
and agencies explain to consumers
what information is used and why. It
will also give consumers the much-
needed confidence that their needs
and wishes are respected, with the
additional bonus of advertisers
funding the free content they love on
Source: IAB UK
27BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Mobile and retail ought to be a match made in heaven,
but new solutions are needed to overcome problems with
By Andy Newton, Director of Mobile, MediaCom APAC
Illustration by Mike McQuade
and The Offer
Our mobile phones have the potential to take
us far beyond old-fashioned paper coupons,
create powerful calls to action and propel loyalty
programs that help us obtain the products and
services we love.
Brands are already working in all these arenas –
but there are challenges.
Not all point-of-sale equipment can cope with
coupons on smartphones, and frequent changes
to mobile screen specs – such as the introduction
of Gorilla Glass – have only made scanning more
difficult and unpredictable.
Near field communication (NFC) is gaining
acceptance (as evidenced by its inclusion in
new Samsung and other Android handsets), but
cannot be used broadly until the supporting
retail infrastructure is in place.
These are real barriers to usability, and there’s no
sign that they are likely to be resolved anytime
soon. MasterCard’s new Mobile Payments
Readiness Index (mobilereadiness.mastercard.
com) identified Singapore as the most prepared
followed by Canada, the US and Kenya; even
Singapore’s readiness, however, measures well
below MasterCard’s predicted inflection point.
The shopper marketing examples on display at
the 2013 Mobile World Congress showed distinct
improvements in targeting relevant offers to
supermarket consumers, but we are at least
three to five years away from an infrastructure-
The good news is that solutions that rely on
mobile and active consumerism, powered by
incentives, can sometimes circumvent the need
for point-of-sale technology.
Inaudible frequencies reveal
US-based Shopkick (shopkick.com) is a shopping
rewards program that gives consumers points
when they enter a retailer and scan or buy
products. Recently, the company has been
exploring the use of inaudible frequencies
added to in-store music as a way of activating
points: the frequencies are picked up by the
phone’s microphone and the user’s account is
29BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
automatically credited. The technology can also
be refined aisle by aisle, to help track consumer
journeys and deliver offers throughout the store.
Shopkick reached profitability after just three
years, and currently claims to have 7,500 retail
partners and nearly four million users in the US.
NTT Docomo is testing a similar “online to
offline” (or O2O) system in 170 stores in Tokyo
under the brand name Shoppulatto. Yet another
Japan-based O2O platform is called Smapo
(smapo.jp), and Docomo just launched a second
app named Shoplat (shoplat.net) that mimics
The beauty of these systems is that they overcome
the limitations of traditional geo-location, which
can trigger messages to consumers who are not
near a given outlet. While geo-location targeting
is improving thanks to Google’s indoor mapping
for malls, there’s still room for improvement.
There are additional alternative solutions which
require consumers to scan receipts or product
barcodes, or just take a picture of a product.
This input is then compared to a database, and
consumers can be credited with points in near real-
time. The key commercial benefit is that – though
the personally identifiable information associated
with the shoppers is masked – marketers can see
what other goods consumers are buying along
with their companies’ own products.
Endorse (endorse.com), which was recently
launched in the US, is a free mobile app that
enables consumers to earn vouchers for
redeeming certain products and sharing what
they are buying. The value exchange is identical
to Shopkick’s, in that consumers are rewarded in
exchange for their data.
These types of apps are retailer-neutral and
allow brands to assess shopper habits and
purchase patterns without having to go through
Advantages for advertisers
The advantages for brands of using these kinds of
systems are growing, and behavior- and interest-
based targeting capabilities are improving.
And don’t forget about experiential: Burberry
allows purchasers to scan a product tag and then
watch a film of how the item was made.
Sure, solutions will come and go, but today’s
options allow brands to join the consumer on their
retail journey. So rather than seeing barriers and
waiting for traditional infrastructure to develop,
be honest and open with consumers, jump in and
try something already available. You’re likely to
learn a lot, and delight a few consumers in the
process deliver added value. Today.
Today’s options allow
brands to join the
consumer on their
The beauty of these
systems is that they over-
come the limitations of
30 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Connecting feature phones
with the new world
While smartphone penetration gets the
lion’s share of attention, many people in
Asia and Africa still use simpler, more cost-
effective feature phones to stay connected.
There are an estimated 600 million such
phones in Asia, and most are operated via
pre-paid cards. What many users don’t
realize is that pre-paid cards often allow for
some data usage, in addition to voice and
It can be difficult to jumpstart new
behaviors, but Facebook helps drive
awareness of such data availability via
being optimized for mobile alongside the
mobile ready browser Opera Mini.
Integrating with Video
There is a growing opportunity to link
mobile couponing and offers with video
In some countries in Southeast Asia, for
example, communications networks are
still developing, resulting in the need
for multiple TV plans to accommodate
different TV schedules. For mobile, you
would only need one.
And now that mobile is being used in
conjunction with TV viewing, there are
new opportunities to integrate mobile
marketing. A TV commercial for an ice
cream brand, for example, could deliver
a coupon for the advertised ice cream on
a viewer’s phone.
31BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Take Me to
If you are a science fiction fan of a certain age,
the phrase “take me to your leader” is likely to
transport you back to flickering black-and-white
images of ray-guns, flying saucers, little green
men and plots even clunkier than the sets on
which such space-age dramas took place.
And yet, this phrase is unwittingly front and
center for present-day marketers pursuing an
“influential” targeting strategy: focusing on those
“special” consumers seen as opinion leaders to
whom others look for guidance. Unfortunately,
the world doesn’t work that way.
Why the Leader Myth is
We want the influencer model to work, because
it reflects a widely-held folk fantasy that society
is like a simple village community based on a
clear and visible social hierarchy through which
authority is assigned to certain individuals, like
the religious leader, the doctor and so on.
Further, our training seems only to affirm such
a thesis. If you come from a direct marketing
background, such a structure seem plausible
because of what you’ve been told about the Pareto
Principle, or the 80-20 rule; if you have a more
traditional advertising background, the influencer
model seems to echo our old spot-buying
mentality: if people really are the new media,
then surely we should be looking for the most
trusted and highest-rated individual in any given
population to carry our messages.
While the traditional “influencer” model seemed plausible, it
doesn’t reflect how people make real-life decisions. There is
no one leader that will spread the message.
By Mark Earls, HERD
Modern social networks
tend to be more fluid
and transitory than the
influencer theory suggests.
32 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
33BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
In the real world, things tend to be different:
modern social networks tend to be more fluid and
transitory than the influencer theory suggests.
They also tend to be looser and more widely
distributed than neat little Spirograph-like
Second, influence tends to be mutual, rather than
one-way. In other words, friends and colleagues
often influence each other rather than one having
primacy over the others. This is the central finding
of Nick Christakis’ and James Fowler’s excellent
study of how problems like obesity spread. You’re
not making me fat: we’re making each other fat.
Indeed, humans are more like shoals of fish, with
each individual interacting with those around it
and largely unaware of those further away.
The Influencer Model Works
in Some Instances
There are times when the influencer hypothesis
holds, because there continue to be markets
and aspects of human life in which expertise
and authority are sought out and used to guide
the choices of others (technical and semi-pro
categories are an obvious example). The problem
is it’s getting harder and harder to work out who
actually knows what and who is just making a lot
of noise; nowadays everyone seems to have an
expert opinion and wants to broadcast it to the
world. Thanks to mobile and online technologies,
we all have access to alternative opinions that
readily serve to undermine the authority of any
expert we can identify (or at least muddy the
waters). Let’s be honest here: who hasn’t Googled
their embarrassing problem before arriving in the
doctor’s office, only to assert an inaccurate (and
possible hilarious) hypothesis upon arrival?
The Accidental Influencer
Beware, in particular, of the “accidental influential”
trap: that is, just because an individual has at some
point in the past been an important connector,
doesn’t mean he or she will be again. Each of us
has too many connections for this to be the case.
As those in the music industry know too well,
it’s better to back a broad roster of artists at any
moment, rather than hoping lightning strikes over
Strategies Need to Change
In the end, it’s best to assume there is no leader
to whom you may be taken. More often than not,
it’s the looser, more distributed type of influence
that tends to dominate today’s consumer markets
and behaviors. This is why things often seem so
To counteract such volatility, our targeting
strategies need to play the odds more: lighting
lots of fires and creating numerous opportunities
for people to interact. So before you try to find
the “leader,” it’s worth investigating whether your
market actually has any before you grab your ray-
gun and race out the door.
Humans are like shoals
of fish, with each indi-
vidual interacting with
those around it and
largely unaware of those
The Pareto Principle
(also known as the 80–20
rule, the law of the vital
few and the principle of
factor sparsity) states that,
for many events, roughly
80% of the effects come
from 20% of the causes.
34 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Don’t Get Lost on the
If you are reading this at home, take a look at the
objects around you. Now think about the process
you went through in acquiring these items. My
guess is that, in some cases, the process was
Let’s say that you’re drinking a delicious cup of
tea. Did you do some background research by
looking at videos on expert tea blogs? Did you
run it past your friends before you bought it?
Did you go to different stores to compare prices?
The truth is that while we have numerous ways
to obtain things and an almost infinite ability to
research them, sometimes we don’t expend the
effort. There are times that you want to be an
“empowered” consumer… and there are times
you just want a cup of your favorite tea.
A journey based on rational
and emotional needs
What about more high-involvement purchases,
like your television, kitchen appliances, furniture
and even the pictures on the walls? These could all
be the end product of a decision-making process
in which communications play a bigger and more
multi-layered role than ever before. By way of
illustration, MediaCom’s own Car Buyer Journey
research identified 30 different forms of influence
from communications in the period leading up to
We are now increasingly adept at shuttling between
decision, including brand information, third-party
experts, peer reviews and algorithmically-derived
comparisons. And because of the increasingly
ubiquitous access to the internet, we can do this
exploring anywhere or anytime.
Also, because most of us are not Spock-like
creatures of pure logic, our journeys are not tidy,
linear affairs: most likely, they involve an interplay
between emotional and rational needs as we
backtrack, re-check our facts (until we find ones
that we like) and procrastinate before we actually
Data creates new opportunities to understand how real people find their
way to our brands, and new insights as to how to communicate in ways
that support their journey. But how do you navigate through all of the
information that’s available?
By Matthew Mee, Global Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom
Illustration by Adam Hancher
Our journeys are not all
tidy, linear affairs. Most
likely they involve an
interplay between emo-
tional and rational needs.
37BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Opportunities and challenges
The upside here is clear: lots more opportunity
for communications to play a role in influencing
decisions. The brand that spots the right times to
connect with consumers (and provides the right
content that shifts the decision process in their
favour) will win.
The only downside is complexity, which causes
confusion and alienates customers. Here are five
fundamentals that can help.
1. Look for the category patterns
Journeys may look complicated, but it’s essential
to understand how different kinds of information
influence the decision-making process. Don’t be
intimidated by “big data.” Just bringing together
digital data from across the spectrum can reveal
patterns of intention and behavior between
consumers and the brands in your category. At the
other end of the scale, “method insight” (getting
a real world feel by accompanying consumers
during their decision journeys) is an equally
legitimate way of understanding the nuances in
these journey “patterns.”
2. Understand where communications
can play a role
Identify the most important points at which
your communications can connect with your
customer’s decision-making process. Data can
help inform your view in terms of both the volume
of opportunity and the quality of the connection.
Assess where you can effectively disrupt your
3. Understand what content people are using
Consider the kind of content people are
connecting with right now. What role is it playing
in their decision making? This is not a creative
critique, but a view on the consumer’s use of
“content,” whether it be brand advertising, peer
reviews, retail communications or aggregators.
Where does content need to be emotive, where is
it rational, where is it lean-forward and where is
4. Connect your content
In a world where every screen is a potential
shop window, are you making it easy for people
to navigate your content? Think of your agency
as communication plumbers: our job is to keep
consumers within our communication system by
making sure that all the elements of the plan are
correctly linked together. Think Super Mario.
5. Collaboration is key
Taking a consumer-centered view of the decision-
making journey is a brilliant way to align the
efforts of your agencies with a common vision: the
right objective for the right content delivered at
the right connection point. Far from complicating
matters, this provides a touchstone for creativity
Instead of being intimidated by the expanding role
of communications in influencing decisions, we
should embrace it as an opportunity to understand
more intimately how real people are finding their
for us to create more coherent communications
that support them on that journey.
In a world where every
screen is a potential shop
window, are you making it
easy for people to navigate
38 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Fontainebleau, Miami Beach, US
25-27 September 2013
Organised by Headline partner
This year’s theme addresses:
“Brands without borders – the opening up of media”
Plus, new for 2013:
“A Hispanic content strand”
Book now and join us
700 delegates, 30 different countries, 3 inspiring days
for the most exciting media landscape in the world.
JOIN THE LATAM MEDIA
All brands strive to connect with consumers, but – today – that’s not
enough. As with product RD, innovation must be at the heart of every
communications plan. Here are lessons from Coca-Cola’s successful
“Share a Coke” campaign.
By Andy Walsh, Global Head of Integrated Communications Planning, MediaCom
Photography by Getty Images
Coca-Cola lives on the frontier of building better
connections with consumers. This used to be
a relatively straightforward, one-way exercise.
Today, however, when every touch may lead
to a response, or a forward or more content,
consumers can encounter brand messages just
about anywhere, at any time. Making all these
connections consistent, relatable and relevant is
the basis of achieving true “brand connectivity.”
And while it’s not an easy task, it’s not an optional
A great example of brand connectivity was Coca-
Cola’s 2011 “Share a Coke” campaign, launched
in Australia. The campaign’s purpose was to
help the brand reconnect with its key audiences:
teens and young adults. “Share a Coke” enabled
different levels of user interaction (from “low
engagement” to “highly interactive”), which was
seamlessly integrated into the overall campaign.
Based on the insight that people compensate
for spending more time in the digital world
by spending less time in the real world, Coke
encouraged Aussies to “Share a Coke” with
each other, thereby knitting the digital and real
It was a big idea, smartly integrated and executed.
“Share a Coke” was a brilliantly simple, social idea
that got consumers caring and sharing across
a maze of both digital and real life outlets. Its
masterful combining of content and messaging
in the right places at the right times – in ways
that made it fun for consumers – maximized the
likelihood that the brand’s story would be told...
Integrated Planning: Standing Out in the Crowd, Millward Brown, 2011
40 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Plan a multichannel connections map.
To be seen and to generate a reaction, make sure
your message covers all the important channels of
communication. Thinking across paid, owned and earned
media is the key to better connectivity.
So what can
“Share a Coke”
teach us about
Ask people to react to something
that doesn’t require too much
Design communications with the objective of
motivating (lots of) individuals to personally react,
rather than putting out a call for mass participation.
Many people don’t want to get involved in something
that feels enormous, or they believe their reaction
won’t matter. “Share a Coke” is a great example of
not asking too much while still generating a large-scale
A call to action is more
important than ever.
Consider how every connection could prompt,
ask or point people to another connection in your
communications plan. Keep things rolling! The
“Share a Coke” campaign took full advantage of
41BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
The Japanese spend a lot of time commuting, and
Commuting, in fact, accounts for 28 percent of
mobile device usage in Japan, and social media
use consumes a hefty chunk of that time.
Nine months ago, everyone on my train was
using Twitter, which has been growing rapidly
and now has 20 million users in Japan. Now I
would say that most of my fellow commuters are
Line (line.naver.jp/en/) was launched in 2011 by
NHN Japan after the Tōhoku earthquake. The
app provides free IM and calling via smartphones,
tablets, and desktops. The name “Line” is a cultural
reference to the fact that people had to line up
outside of public phones after the earthquake
because Japanese public phones are programmed
to take priority over networks during and after
Today, Line is the world’s fastest-growing
social network, reaching 50 million followers
in just 399 days. The company’s growth rate is
twice as fast as Twitter and three times as fast
The biggest social network you’ve never heard of is a smash hit in
Japan and most of Asia.
By John Stampfel, Emerging Digital, MediaCom Japan
Photography by Getty Images
In January 2013, Line’s total number of Japanese
followers hit 40 million. Most strikingly, 60
percent of Japanese women in their 20s and
30s now use the platform every day. Growth has
been driven by strong advertising support and
High response rates
Most Japanese of all ages are now comfortable
with the idea of using their phones to source
and communicate information. This is a country
where camera phones have been the norm for
more than a decade and QR codes have been
hardwired into our way of life for nearly as long.
It’s no surprise that Line’s user base roughly
matches Japan’s demographic profile, with 40
percent aged 30-50.
It is the world’s fastest-
growing social network,
reaching 50 million fol-
lowers in just 399 days.
43BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Brands typically add a
million new followers
within a week of offering
What’s especially interesting is that Line and its
parent NHN (which also owns Naver, Korea’s
largest search portal) have been able to monetize
the network by motivating users not only to follow
brands but also to take action. This has made Line
incredible attractive to marketers, particularly in
the retail space.
According to research commissioned by Line,
more than half of female users follow official
brands. In addition, 63 percent of all users read
brand messages, 32 percent have used a coupon
delivered via Line and 27 percent have clicked
on a link.
Opportunities for brands
Unlike Facebook, however, advertisers can only
use the platform if they pay. There is a fixed
rate card and the number of messages is strictly
controlled. For example, a four-week campaign
with five messages will cost Y8 million ($81,000),
while a 12-week campaign offering 15 messages
(at a maximum of two per week) will set you back
Y15 million ($151,000).
Brands can use messages to link to content or
offer coupons, presents and prizes. There are
additional charges if brands want to create
sponsored stamps, a form of emoticons that are
hugely popular in Manga-obsessed Japan. These
are based on client creative but created by Line.
Stamps can drive reach for brands, which may
add as many as a million new followers within a
week of offering official brand stamps.
Marketers have major incentives to remain on Line
for long haul, as a decision to stop paying means
a brand’s account is deleted and it loses not just
followers but also the content that was created.
10-30 year olds
make up over
half of all
ratio of male
to female users.
44 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Brands can use messages
to link to content or offer
coupons, presents and
Retail brands leading the way
None of this tight control has put off potential
advertisers which now include Coca-Cola,
Lawson convenience stores and the Sukiya fast-
food chain. When Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a drug
store chain, needed to attract more customers
aged 10-20, for example, it offered a ten percent-
off coupon via Line and, within five days, more
than 10,000 people had used one – half of
them in the target group. An additional
300,000 people also started following the brand
on Line. One of the most remarkable aspects of
Line’s fast rise and its ad-funded business model
is that so many businesses have bought into it
so quickly. While consumers are quick to leap
onto the next big thing, businesses in Japan are
notoriously wary of new platforms. The constant
search for first-mover advantage is simply not
as ingrained in the marketing psyche as it is in
As Line becomes more global, NHN will get
the chance to see whether these characteristics
apply outside of Asia. Early results appear
promising: Line claims on its English-language
website that is the most downloaded app in more
than 40 countries and available in 230 markets.
Services such as avatar community Line Play
have recently become available in English, and
the app itself is available for iPhone, Android,
Blackberry and Windows phones. In February,
Line signed a deal with Nokia to make it
available on Asha handsets across Asia.
Line’s status as the biggest social network
you’ve never heard off won’t last for long.
38.5% business people
The majority use
LINE to communicate
with friends, family
45BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Do You Want
46 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Is checking your mobile phone the last
item on your nightly checklist and the
sleep with it by your bed? Do you answer
texts at 4am? Are you afraid of missing
an important email, text or phone
call? If yes, you may be one of many
people suffering from a psychological
syndrome called nomophobia, or the
fear of being out of mobile phone
contact. The term is an abbreviation for
According to a 2008 study by YouGov,
53 percent of British citizens suffer
from acute anxiety when their
mobile phones are out of reach.
Given how much more essential the
smartphone has become in the last
5 years, this must now be a massive
understatement. And – who knows? –
nomophobia may be even higher in the
developing world, where smartphone
technology has filled numerous gaps
in traditional communications and
Introvert vs. Extrovert
of course, as being at the constant beck
and call of their smartphones provokes
acute anxiety in some but not all people.
My own sister carries her mobile phone
so that she can be in touch with people
or may even switch the phone off unless
she’s waiting for a call.
Like my sister, I am predominantly an
introvert – which is probably one of the
biggest predictors, outside of age and
life stage, of how connected you want to
be. In her new book, Quiet, Susan Cain
points out that between one-third and
one-half of us are introverts. This can
be a challenge in a world powered by
extroverts: particularly in the world of
Of course, both groups have specific
characteristics and skill sets. Cain
describes extroverts as highly reward-
sensitive, and more willing to experience
pleasure and excitement than introverts.
They’re fired up by buzz, and love
pleasing big audiences. Introverts
Are we slaves to technology or are we empowered by it?
By Sue Unerman, Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom UK
Illustration by Esther Aarts
are better at delayed gratification and
are more likely to be satisfied with
sitting quietly, thinking and writing. In
summary, extroverts love to share and
get rewards from recognition. Introverts
“have a smaller response, and so go
less out of their way to follow up reward
cues.” Most of us have a mix of both
personality types, but I believe that our
predisposition to sharing comes from
whichever type is most prevalent in our
There are some people who are
A recent study published by the British
newspaper The Telegraph indicates the
top ten most annoying updates which,
unfortunately, seem to correlate with
the most common updates on my social
media feeds. How many of these mini-
crimes have you committed, and how
many annoy you when others do so?
I am predominantly an introvert – which is
probably one of the biggest predictors, out-
side of age and life stage, of how connected
you want to be.
47BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
Will our über-connectedness ultimately
make us slaves to the machine?
Top Ten Most Annoying
Social Media Updates
1. Diet and exercise boasters
Those who tell you how far they've
cycled, how fast they ran and how many
pounds they've shed.
2. People who share pictures of
People who tell you about every meal
are boring enough. These people,
for reasons nobody can fathom, also
3. Cryptic status writers
Some are mysterious: I can't believe
that just happened! Others are passive
aggressive: Don't you hate it when
people promise to do something and
then let you down? One thing's for
sure: if you ask them what they're going
on about, they'll clam up.
4. Game inviters
Those who bombard their friends with
requests to play virtual farmers or
digital mobsters or whatever Facebook
game they're addicted to that day.
5. Proud parents
Your child is special and amazing.
To you. The rest of us don't need to
know about every step, sniffle or funny
6. People who share very
You've got blood coming out of where?
Yes, some people share information
that should be reserved for very close
friends and trained medical staff only.
Oh, you're mayor of your local cafe? As
a special prize, I'm going to unfollow
you now. Congrats.
8. Event spammers
While it's great that you're hosting
a hackathon to save badgers, you
probably only need to tweet about it a
couple of times.
9. Constant engagers who
like and comment
a post can be supportive and engaging.
It can also feel a bit like stalking if you
do it too much.
I would really like your business to
succeed. I would like that almost as
much as I would like you to stop talking
Slaves to the machine
Does all this sharing do anything for us
other than fuel dopamine levels in the
brains of extroverts? Evgeny Morozov,
author of To Save Everything, Click
Here: Technology, Solutionism, and the
Urge to Fix Problems that Don’t Exist,
thinks the direction we’re heading will
ultimately be a negative one. Smart
technologies will, in his view, create a
make our own decisions, and where
we are reliant on technology to make
choices for us. He laments the coming
of the much talked-about “smart fork,”
which will tell us if we’re eating too
fast. Or BinCam, which snaps and
posts a photo to Facebook every time
you use your recycling bin. Will our
über-connectedness ultimately make
us slaves to the machine?
Personally, I’m not worried yet. A
recent electronic power outage taught
me to love Twitter by candlelight. The
friendly updates on Twitter provided
by the UK Power Networks customer
service team throughout the four-hour
blackout meant that I was much more
in touch with what happening than
in the pre-Twitter world. And sharing
my impressions on Twitter meant that
I actually “met” and chatted to several
people who work in media, live in my
area and were going through a shared
How much individuals decide to share
methodology of the 21st century. My
view of new technologies is that the
most successful ones are those that
fulfill a natural human desire to come
together as a community, as people
have throughout most of human
history. Living alone, or far from family
and friends, is a late 20th-century
aberration: smart sharing technologies
bring us back together. That’s a
wonderful thing: as long as you can
turn it off at will, and you stay smarter
than the technology.
48 MEDIACOM BLINK #6
Early attempts at mobile TV had been
hampered by poor quality screens
and a lack of viewable content. With
the smartphone and app culture
blossoming in the UK, Sky recognized
the opportunity to deliver the most
captivating live sporting moments to
millions of fans.
Sky ushered in the mobile TV era with
the launch of Sky Sports, and it didn’t
take long for the Sky Go App to become
an instant hit. But with nearly 725,000
apps in Apple’s App Store, how could
we make sure that the Sky app wasn’t
lost in the sea of gimmicky and one-hit
MediaCom developed a targeted media
strategy around passionate sports
fans. The goal was to make them aware
of Sky Go whenever they were viewing,
playing or even thinking about sports.
For the most ardent and obsessive
sports fans, being able to watch
their favorite teams live – anytime,
anywhere – is the ultimate experience.
Our primary goal was to demonstrate
to fans that the Sky Go app delivers a
thrilling, live sports experience. We
also had to prove that it adds value to
a Sky subscription, making users the
envy of those without it.
We wanted to own the times when
fans are thinking about sports but
aren’t able to watch in person by
recommended the Sky Go app as a
fresh and exciting alternative.
Because sports fans are creatures of
habit, we were able to geo-target them
at football stadiums, gyms and other
sports-related venues. Then we sent
them an SMS/MMS suggesting that
they download the app immediately...
and we made sure to target these texts
only to handsets compatible with
our app. Of course, Sky’s poster sites
were tagged with Sky Go messaging,
ensuring that our advertising also
Finally, every time sports fans went
for a mobile fix – checking club news,
breaking developments or the latest
scores – our display ads were there,
urging them to download our app.
More than half a million sports fans
now feed their habit with the Sky Go
app, making it one of iTunes’ most
downloaded apps of 2011. And once
fans downloaded the app, they became
hooked: Sky saw five million streams
in just three weeks. Our SMS activity
delivered average CTRs more than
170% above the existing industry bench
mark, and display CTRs delivered 133%
above average throughout the entire
with Sports Fans
How MediaCom Launched a Mobile App for Sky
By Jan Neumeister, Associate Director, MediaCom UK
49BLINK #6 MEDIACOM
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Do Your Products
Need to Go Online?
Get ready: your toaster
may need (or want) its
own digital identity
How Connected Do
You Want To Be?
Do you suffer from a
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Changes in behavior, not
technology, are driving major
changes in home design
What happens when