Lego, O2, Next: 5 things that mattered this week and why

Lego returns to advertising to ‘fire up’ creativity

It’s been 30 years since Lego launched its last global brand campaign. This week it broke that hiatus with a fun and energetic piece of creative looking to get those creative juices flowing.

Proof that Lego knows its audience spans the generations, ‘Rebuild the World’ shows Lego in a modern light while also tapping into that sense of nostalgia.

Every character, animal and vehicle featured in the campaign is based on an existing or past Lego toy. Lego says it wants people to reconnect with its roots. It can probably bet some parents have already added Lego to their children’s Christmas lists.

But Lego’s return to advertising is more than that. It believes it has a role to play in equipping children with the skills they need in a future job market that is set to be disrupted by automation.

It is a call for children to embrace their creativity and parents to encourage it. This campaign marks the start of Lego’s efforts to address that. In our eyes, a world with fewer smartphones and more Lego would be a much better one (as long as we’re not treading on it). EH

READ MORE: Lego’s CMO ‘fires up’ creativity in first global campaign in 30 years

William Hill is on a mission to promote gambling’s social side

William Hill wants to squash the negative stereotypes with a new campaign celebrating the social side of gambling.

The first piece of work from 72andSunny Amsterdam since the agency won William Hill’s European business in June, the ‘It’s who you play with’ campaign features a group of friends messaging each other about their weekend’s bets.

The idea is to position William Hill as a premium, yet accessible brand, while also countering the image of gambling as a solitary pursuit that can become isolating and scary.

Global brand and marketing director, Charlotte Emery, is keen to elevate the tone of advertising across the gambling industry, which for years has been characterised by direct response, odds-focused adverts that play up to stereotypes.

Interestingly this campaign is a change in direction from the stylised, high concept advert William Hill unveiled in April featuring heavyweight boxer and brand ambassador, Anthony Joshua. Rather than “borrowing” from Joshua’s values and integrity as a sportsman to raise the brand’s profile, Emery wants the new campaign to celebrate the strengths of William Hill.

The campaign also shifts the focus onto digital, reflecting the bookie’s ambition to become a “digitally-led, internationally diverse gambling company”.

William Hill has, in part, been forced in this direction by the government’s decision to cut the maximum limit per spin on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2, which in July resulted in William Hill announcing the closure of 700 UK high street betting shops.

Expect the digital focus of the business only to grow stronger once Ulrik Bengtsson, formerly William Hill’s chief digital officer, officially kicks off in his role as CEO on 30 September. CR

READ MORE: William Hill promotes social side of gambling to squash negative stereotypes

Japanese culture at the core of O2’s Rugby World Cup campaign

As the best rugby players in the world descend on Japan for the Rugby World Cup, O2 has taken inspiration from the host nation for its latest campaign. But it treads a fine line between championing Japanese culture and avoiding falling into lazy stereotypes.

The spot, titled ‘Be their armour’, is the latest instalment of the #Weartherose campaign and opens with masked warriors on horseback who descend on a local village where they help the residents build England-theme Samurai armour which features the red rose symbol. England players then don the armour and are ready to take on their competitors.

Twitter users have accused the mobile giant of cultural appropriation and others have simply been left confused by the advert.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion but perhaps what they don’t know is that O2 worked very closely with England coach Eddie Jones who is half Japanese and has a home in the host nation.

The team at O2 says Jones helped them devise the creative concept and gave his blessing to go ahead with the commercial.

O2’s head of sponsorship was quick to explain that the brand shares “common ground” with Jones and that respect is at the core of everything the business does. Though, there will always be those who beg-to-differ.

Perhaps when more tournament or team sponsors begin to unveil their Rugby World Cup activations, we will we get a better idea of who’s really fallen foul of lazy cultural stereotypes. EL

READ MORE: O2 champions Japanese culture in England Rugby campaign

Next opts for targeting over mass reach

NextNext has the kind of brand awareness most businesses would kill for. According to YouGov BrandIndex, 93.5% of UK adults are aware of the brand, putting it fourth in a list of high street fashion retailers behind just Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Primark.

And so the company is shifting the focus of its advertising away from ‘traditional’ channels and mass reach to ‘digital’ channels and targeted messaging. This is especially the case in its overseas business, where the amount spent on non-digital media is set to fall from £2.7m in 2018 to £700,000 by 2020, while digital spend rises from £3.3m to £10.5m over the same period.

“[Overseas], no amount of brand advertising could possibly talk to everybody,” Next CEO Simon Wolfson told Marketing Week. “This is where digital marketing has been so useful, in that it’s allowed us to pinpoint people we are most likely to get sales from and make them aware of the brand.”

Certainly, Next has no need to increase awareness. But what it must be wary of in its push to targeting is prioritising short-term sales over long-term brand building. Wolfson admitted Next needs to do a better job of showcasing the breadth of its range, suggesting a need to build brand saliency and highlight its points of difference.

IPA research has shown the ratio between short- and long-term marketing should be 40:60. Next seems to be a prime example of a company that could do with reminding of that. SV

READ MORE: Next opts for targeting over mass reach to boost sales

Why gaining loyalty from DTC consumers is vital

direct-to-consumer brandsSo much has been written about direct-to-consumer (DTC) but far less has been written about consumers themselves. With that in mind, the IAB has released a report that attempts to close this gap.

In its survey of 2,000 consumers, it found the vast majority of people (97%) were aware of at least one of the top 50 DTC brands named.

It found that values and traits bonded DTC consumers more than demographics, with 9% of DTC customers aged over-65.

However, most useful was the findings that DTC are influencers among family and friends. For example, three-quarters of those considered heavy DTC consumers (74%) say people often come to them for advice when buying new things, compared to 29% of online shoppers generally.

Gaining brand love from them is also vital as 80% of heavy DTC purchasers say if they find a brand they love they will tell everyone about it, next to 52% of the UK population generally.

Plus they are likely to spend more, with three-quarters (75%) of heavy DTC consumers say they are likely to buy a product from a brand they trust without even looking at the price. By contrast, just 29% of online shoppers say the same. MF

READ MORE: The key attributes of DTC consumers

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