North Thinking
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North Thinking

TRENDING NORTH: MAR ‘22

A monthly look at the marketing and advertising industry from NORTH’s point of view.

Here is a list of ways you can help Ukraine.

The Sky’s the Limit
Nicole Shockley, Media Director

Source: Vulture

The South by Southwest, SXSW, conference is an all-in-one film festival, interactive media conference, and music festival. It takes place in Austin, TX every Spring and is a celebration of the arts, tech, education and culture. Several ad agencies and brands use SXSW for PR Stunts, and this year was no exception.

Paramount and ad agency Giant Spoon joined forces and activated over 400 drones to promote the upcoming Paramount+ series, Halo (based on the popular video game). The drones were choreographed to make a number of images, including a scannable QR code 300 ft. tall, 600 ft. wide that took users to a trailer of the upcoming series. It was definitely a breakthrough experience that proves a very local activation can have a huge impact across the world. Although, locals had mixed feelings about it — they thought it was a sign of the apocalypse.

Podcasts Are Here to Stay
Nicole Shockley, Media Director

We love podcasts at North, personally and professionally. Podcast consumption soared during the pandemic, and will continue to increase in popularity according to a recent NPR report. The report states that spoken word (podcasts, audiobooks, and non-music audio) has grown by over 40% in the last seven years — and 8% in 2021 alone. In 2021, 45% of Americans listened to spoken word daily (a 43% increase from 2020) and 57% listened to a podcast.

Listeners are discovering spoken word through friends and family, social media, and ads heard during other podcasts. When it comes to favorite genres, Americans favor podcasts around news/information, music, comedy, movies/TV, and food. Primary reasons for listening to spoken word includes: hearing perspectives outside mainstream media, self-improvement, encouragement and positivity, staying informed, and feeling less lonely.

Spoken word growth is expected to continue to soar, which means this channel should be a cornerstone of a brand’s marketing plan.

YouTube Moves into Podcasts
Madelyn Brennecke, Senior Performance Marketing Manager

A pitch deck leaked this month detailing YouTube’s upcoming move into the world of podcasts. This move is part of their desire to become a more comprehensive home base for creators. This seems a natural next step for YouTube as many popular YouTubers also have their own podcasts, which they share to YouTube through in-studio clips. These clips are also commonly shared to other traditionally visual platforms, such as TikTok.

YouTube already has audio-only listening options as they have made YouTube Music a bigger focus. Last year, YouTube reported that music streaming had reached an all-time high, while YouTube Music itself now has more than 77 million paying subscribers. In 2020, YouTube added audio only ads to maximize YouTube Music. These audio only ads will also likely be included in the upcoming podcast options.

Source: SocialMediaToday

Welcome to the Wendyverse
Madelyn Brennecke, Senior Performance Marketing Manager

Meta shared a new vision within its VR Horizon Worlds for how it foresees brands creating new VR brand experiences in the metaverse. “Wendyverse” launches on Saturday and will be accessible for users with Meta Quest 2 devices. Users will be able to experience the first virtual Wendy’s restaurant where they will be able to “walk behind the counter, interact with friends and embark on a mouth-watering adventure,” says Meta.

While technology still has a long way to go, this shows Meta’s vision for how brands will create future branded interactions and digital experiences, which will ultimately lead to real-world purchases. For example, Andrew Hutchinson from SocialMediaToday explains, “VR worlds could become like an in-store showcase, with brands able to present all of their items in digital form, and users able to ask questions and engage — just as they would with a real-world salesperson.”

“Greenwashing” in Advertising
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

As the rising concern of climate changes continues to be a topic of discussion worldwide, it comes as little surprise that many advertisers, both big and small, have begun utilizing the topic to market their products and services. The BBC discusses the issue of companies using advertising to try and seem more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, through hot button words such as “carbon neutral.” The article calls out Shell, Oatly, and Ryanair, as some of the companies who have made headlines as perpetrators of greenwashing their advertisements, making consumers believe that these brands are the best option out there. Unfortunately, many of these companies have not only been called out for their misleading statements, but some have even stated that the statements are completely false (ie. Shell). As climate change remains a real threat to the world, it is important to continue to hold companies accountable to their claims and make sure that every individual does a bit of research when advertisements claim to be completely “net-zero.”

Disney+ To Add Ad-Supported Tier
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

Disney has truly been making headlines recently, from the massive success of movies such as Encanto and Turning Red, to less positive moments, such as their response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. However, under the radar of all this, Disney announced that coming in the next year, they would be adding in an opportunity for consumers to pay for a cheaper Disney+ subscription, which would allow consumers to afford Disney+. In tandem with that, Disney will now also have the opportunity to leverage ad dollars, as advertisers look to the Disney network for ad placements across all of Disney’s platforms.

How Advertising Can Be a Vehicle of Protest
Stephen Lawrence, Media Planner

With the war in Ukraine continuing to make headlines over the past month, many individuals look around and try to figure out the best ways to help. Most likely, it’s either donating to the Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund or staying vigilant on social media. However, two stories have popped up around how advertisers can take a stand and implement real change. One story is about Rob Blackie, a British digital strategist, who found a way to push digital ads through Russian filters to show individuals in Russia independent news, allowing Russians an opportunity to see more than the news they are provided. The other story is about the BBC turning on their shortwave radio services, so that individuals within Ukraine and parts of Russia will have access to worldwide news. While these small efforts are being made to help individuals in Ukraine, it is captivating to see how advertising can truly be made into an act of protest.

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