The Drum Show – 8/11/19
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:00:28] Hello and welcome to The Drum Show powered by Disruptive Live. I’m Stephen Lepitak, Editor of The Drum. Today our guests are Lara Crisp, Editor of Gransnet and Jacqui Kavanagh, Senior Vice President of Revenue at Refinery29. Thank you for joining us both. After the bangs and explosions of bonfire night, we take a look at some of the things that have been blowing up in advertising over the past seven days. The Advertising Standards Authority has launched an investigation into BrewDog after receiving a number of complaints about its new advertising campaign. BrewDog launched the U.K. wide campaign this week to promote its non-alcoholic IPA punk AF. The ad simply reads “sober as a motherfu”, writes Imogen Watson. Just one day after it was revealed, the U.K.’s advertising watchdog confirmed to The Drum that it has received 14 complaints challenging whether it was likely to cause serious or widespread harm. A further 10 complaints also challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for display in a medium where it could be seen by children, sparking a formal investigation with social media driving much of the conversation. Some had pointed out that the billboards were placed near schools and visible to young children as a result. More than the outcome of the complaints made to the ASA will follow in due course. Brittany Kaiser the former Cambridge Analytica Business Development Director turned whistleblower, has conceded that while Twitter’s politcal ad ban is a brave move. It’s not a long term fix. Kaiser instead said she’d prefer a technical solution to stop the spread of fake news, as well as campaigning for people’s right to have greater ownership of information stored on them by businesses like Facebook. She described Twitter boss Jack Dorsey’s decision last week to halt all paid for political campaigning on Twitter as heroic in the face of there being no other solutions for tracking and tracing political misinformation and discrimination online. Read more of Kaiser’s views in Rebecca Stewart’s write up for Web Summit online. Brexit negotiations, combined with a steep, steep decline in consumer confidence, have seen recent ad spend forecasts spell doom and gloom for the industry. However, in the run up to the crucial Christmas period, retailers are using their media budgets to weather the storm rather than succumb to it. But conversations with big Christmas spenders and media agencies tell a different story. Asda’s top marketer, Andy Murray insists that it’s still investing in long term brand building this Christmas, even against the uncertain political backdrop. However, he is trying to get more value from that spend. Iceland’s top marketer, Neil Hayes was similarly dismissive of suggestions that ad spend during the festive period was being curtailed as a result of the current political and economic environment. You can read more on that story on The Drum website and hear the full views of both marketers on there too. And now it’s time to talk to our guests about the stories that caught their eyes this week. As I said before joining us to discuss afterwards the representation of older people in advertising. We have Lara Crisp, Editor of Gransnet and Jacqui Kavanagh, Senior Vice President of Revenue, at Refinery29. Hello both
GUESTS [00:04:00] Hi.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:04:01] So hello. What news stories caught your eyes this week?
LARA CRISP [00:04:09] So the one that caught my eye was an Australian telecommunications company called Optus. And they have done a campaign, I think, wanting to sort of demystifying the 5G network to their customers. And what they did is they chose a number of different groups of people, all starting with the letter G. So they had five guitarists, five geniuses, and they also had five grannies. And in that particular show, they had four of the grannies who were, I would say definitely in their late 70s or beyond, sitting at a tip, sitting around the table in what looked like sort of a very sparse community hall. And then on the other side of the screen, they had their friend wheeling up to them in very sort of very slowly in her mobility scooter. And literally the entire ad was this woman just squeaking along the floorboards on to the table and then basically hitting the table with a bump. She didn’t even stop before she got there. And it’s just what? It’s so patronising. It is a completely cheap laugh. It totally undermines everything that I mean, the average age of a first-time grandparent in the U.K. Is actually 49. So nothing close to granny, grannies. Grannies is always used in a very sort of pejorative way and I just, I think working on Gransnet, I know that none of our users would have seen themselves in that ad or it wouldn’t have resonated because they wouldn’t have seen themselves represented. And I think that that is probably the main issue, is that 78% of the people that we’ve surveyed anyway say that they find themselves underrepresented and misrepresented in ads. And if you’re not going to show your audience, if your audience are going to see themselves in your ads, they’re not going to buy. Yes, I’m very excited on that.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:06:06] What was your story?
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:06:06] For me, my story wasn’t necessarily one that caught my eye more could not escape my focus, which was that we finally have closed our deal between Refinery29 and Vice. We have joined the Vice Media Group and it has been a whirlwind of a week, but incredibly, incredibly exciting for everyone involved, for our teams, for theirs. For us, reading amazing articles like Nancy Tribute are our CEO is on stage a fast company and really honing in on and focussing on our international business, which is seeing really, really rapid growth in the past few years and how that’s going to be a continued focus for us moving into 2020. So what does Refinery29 in India look like? What does Refinery29 in Russia look like? Watch the space. But that has been the thing that has been top of mind for me, of course.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:07:02] It seems to move very quickly in what she’s been going on behind the scenes?
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:07:07] Well, you know, we, we’ve been in a process where these things have to close and all the legal stuff has been happening behind the scenes. And we have been and very importantly, we’ll continue to remain an independent business. Our editorial will, if nothing else, grow and expand very rapidly. And, you know, it’s there’s been a lot of administrative stuff, but for the most part, we’ve been. We’re now just in this period where we’re kind of a show us yours and we’ll show you ours. And that’s really exciting. We’re finding a lot of synergies is a lot of differences. But the key thing is that there’s just obviously amazing people on both sides.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:07:49] Well, thank you for coming. It’s been a busy week. Thanks for having me. A lot of you ask about Gransnet. What can you tell us about the “say”?
LARA CRISP [00:07:58] Sure. So we started about eight years ago now. And it is a social networking site for the U.K.’s 14 million grandparents. We are a sister site to Mumsnet and we work in a very similar way. So our users are mostly foreign-based. People come onto the site to talk to each other and support each other and have a laugh with each other. And they talk about everything. I mean, at the moment, obviously, politics and “Brexit” is is dominating the forums. And those and those conversations can get quite animated, shall we say. But there’s loads of really interesting conversations. There was one yesterday on someone who wants to know if she was being selfish by taking a lover. There was one about this one. I think today about one grandson who’s stealing from her. There’s also the really interesting kind of like real-life sort of stories going on there all the time. And I just think it’s such a rich source of what companies can really find out what the issues are for this demographic, you know. They come out asking advice from each other on beauty tips or where they should go traveling or all sorts of things and I think just sort of really gives you a really good indicator of what people over 50 are all sort of worried about and what and what really what they’re interested in. It’s a really, really strong really sort of supportive community. They I think they, it’s anonymous as well. And I think that’s a real selling point that people can come on and they can talk about things that they wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable talking about with their family or with their friends. And I think that that makes a big difference. People feel and feel that they can be more open.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:09:47] So we’re going to talk about the representation of older people in advertising. And the reason for that is this week, Getty Images, once the destruct aging collection, which is internationally and the depiction of older people in media and transform, has depicted advertising that’s something I think Refinery29 straight to do with a project earlier this year called Refinery59. Can you tell us about that?
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:10:12] We actually have a really rich history. Even before we very recently relaunched Refinery29 for one day as Refinery59 to shine a spotlight on this issue or this focus for us editorially even back in 2016. One of our most successful pieces of content ever is a really beautiful piece that I recommend that you seek out and read written by Karen Franklin about the unexpected upside to menopause and what that looked like for her. And one of my favourite lines from it was Karen saying, But “aging without compromise is one of the most deliciously subversive things that a woman can do”. And I just loved that line. It stood out for me so much. So we’ve been having this conversation for a long time. And part of Refinery’s DNA, of course, is representation and finding those areas where they have been underrepresented and speaking to them directly for all self-identified women. So we’re Refinery59 for us was you know, we have a small percentage of traffic. I think about 15% of our audience are over the age of 50, which a lot of people may not think. In fact, we skew a little bit older than most people think. Our sweet spot is probably around 32 mark. But part of our strategy as a business, of course, is to continue to grow and scale our audience but to do it in a very strategic and smart way. So this community of 15% over 50s, we wanted to speak to them and grow them. And like you’re saying, build a community there and grow our editorial there. So Refinery59 is a year’s worth of content. And the content is everything from our best-performing franchises like Money Diaries. We profiled, I believe, a 62 year old pensioner in Cornwall. She did her money diaries for us or what it’s like to be fired when you’re 50 years old, dating diaries and what those looked like. There’s really amazing and very rich content on site there we’re really, really proud to be running that partnership with the AARP.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:12:12] It seems so talking about the ad that… earlier, it seems as though brands aren’t really getting it yet. So even when I think of representation and advertising, I’m still thinking whether it’s originals and there or less. What? What are your audiences seeing? What are you seeing out there? Is that changing at all?
LARA CRISP [00:12:34] Is it changing? I think I am seeing occasionally more as sort of I think better advertising that does sort of representing older people. I think they feel that they still are invisible for the most part in ads that they just not represented at all. And when they are, it’s really bad representation. There is, you know, when they are either represented as sort of a gnarled old crone, as their words and on the forums or sort of it’s very glossy pensioner, blindingly white teeth. And I mean, the reality is that most of them are sort of in the middle. They just normal real-life kind of looking, people. And those are the people that they want to see in ads. Those the people they want to see themselves or sort of maybe a slightly more aspirational version of themselves in ads, but not, you know, not these sort of these two extremes. And they also very, very conscious of sort of tokenism and ad and I think some advertising agencies that are sort of having sort of a token older person in an ad and that’s great that it’s sort of shifting and that people are being included. But it’s, I think, done in quite a forced way. And people are aware of them. And it just doesn’t seem very authentic and doesn’t seem like a really natural way of doing it.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:13:50] Can you understand why this is a problem for the advertising industry? Because it seems it does seem to be internationally this is an issue.
LARA CRISP [00:13:58] It’s a major problem because almost half of the people that we surveyed said that they would actively avoid brands who did not represent them or who patronize them. So people are. I mean, the over 50s, there 23.6 million consumers we’re talking about in the U.K. and they have they own 80% of the U.K. disposable income. So you’re talking about a massive amount of money that people have and are willing to spend. I mean, there’s massive potential there for brands as massive potential. They get it right. Do they speak to them in a way that sort of engages, I suppose, with this audience properly. There’s so much potential, but it’s just getting that right tone of voice, you know, properly representing them. I mean, I know when we were working, granted, it’s so frustrating, sometimes particular, I think in the earlier days, less so now. But when we used to do press, we would write nice, cool and it would be published. But the image that was chosen to sort of to be sort of next to the article was always sort of a real sort of old person stabbing at the computer with one finger, which is obviously nothing like our users. They’ve just said that that’s not them.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:15:07] Because I can think of brands, I mean, Barclays had an ad campaign where they would have the people understanding technology. And that’s probably as positive as I can really think of anything recently.
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:15:20] Oh, I can have a couple. And I think actually a really interesting part of this conversation is, of course, there is the advertising where you’re speaking directly to that age demographic. But also, you know what it feels like for younger in our case, self-identifying women to look at women who are older them than them and are successful and aspirational in a way that you wouldn’t expect. I don’t know about you guys, but Joan Didion in the Celine print ads for me was the most exciting thing I’ve seen in fashion for a very long time. Equally like the new New Balance print ad. I don’t know if you guys have seen that either. It is absolutely superb. And it really plays on. New Balance is known as like the dad trainer. But it’s a very chic, a very cool older French woman who is just dressed in the best outfit ever. It would cause more balanced trainers. And I think that there’s, you know, that speaks to lots of people on lots of different levels.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:16:18] Are there any brands you think?
LARA CRISP [00:16:20] So I was on my commute, actually, and saw an ad by the hair and it was a woman who was a picture of a woman. And obviously the hair product. And she, and she I think it was about her dating life or something. And she just happened to be an older woman. It wasn’t like it was made a big thing out of it. She just happened to be the person in that had happened to be old. And I think that’s the way to do it is just to have someone who, incidentally, happens to be older. But isn’t. But isn’t this a really token gesture? But I will say there’s another there’s the Lumen dating app. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but they are amazing. Their ads are incredible. They are so they so clever, they so witty. And they so they just challenge the stereotype of older people and older people dating as well. So. Well, they’re fantastic.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:17:16] So what more do brands of industries have to do to fix it. Do you think there’s a desire to fix that as well?
LARA CRISP [00:17:23] I think there is a desire to fix it because I think obviously everyone’s looking at the data and knows that they are and knows that the money is there and knows that people are willing to spend. I think people are getting past these outdated assumptions that older people are frugal and don’t hold onto their cash. I mean, that, you know, there’s there’s all these sort of old outdated stereotypes. But I think it’s just it’s happening. It’s happening really slowly. I think people need to we need to be moving faster now because otherwise, we’re just going to shut down. When can be losing out on these on this opportunity?
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:17:57] I think it’s interesting to look at it. You know, there still is a long way to go. But you know how we- I can speak more broadly to a partnership we launched now back in 2017 called the 67% project. And that is not tackling age as a topic, but at the time was tackling the fact that over 67% of women in the US are between a dress size 14 and 16 and represented in 1% of media and advertising that you see. And back then in 2017, as a part of this very large partnership, it was kind of our Editor in Chief actually saying we’ve screwed up. We haven’t shown these women enough on our site. We’re going to flip everything and they will be report represented and 67% of what we have on-site. Plus, we launched with Getty actually back in 2017, a bank of images that represent these women just going about their lives and being amazing and what they’re doing. So we have come a long way in the industry on things like representing diversity and representing changing how we perceive body image. But really, it’s down to things like this Getty launched that those images are available and it’s Refinery contributing those images. And Dove launched their show us partnership, which we loved. And we spoke so much and it reached so far. And I think they worked with girl gays in L.A. on that one. So I think there is work being done. But this is just the beginning. I think what we can do.
LARA CRISP [00:19:28] I mean, there is an argument that the advertising industry is inherently agest and that it is a very young workplace and that people there aren’t there isn’t that there aren’t enough older people actually working within working on the campaigns. So I wouldn’t go so fast. I think that people think that the right research needs to be done. If you don’t have someone already working on a campaign or you know who is of that demographic, you need to just really do your research. And we do a lot of insight, work on grants and we have done with brands like L’Oreal and Debt, etc. And it’s brands that come into the site and engage with the audience and ask questions. And you can immediately as soon as they answer, if you if they stop broadcasting or trying to very sort of action to sell something. But just that of that engagement already just builds brand love. You can see that already there are tons of great.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:20:25] Brands, it’s a huge consumer base out there that you’re just not tapping into properly. Start thinking about it better. Thank you for that. That was fascinating. And I’ll speak to you in a minute. So next up is the bullshit buzzword. There’s one thing we all hate in the business is jargon. Each week we’ll be asking one industry luminary to share their bullshit buzzword that they’d love to vanish. This week we have Debbie Morrison, Managing Director of Ebiquity to share our word.
DEBBIE MORRISON [00:20:57] Hi, I’m Debbie Morrison. I’m Managing Director of Global Partnerships at the Ebiquity and my bullshit buzzword hate thing is Ideate. Where the hell did that come from? I mean, it’s just such a vile word. It must be American. But, you know, why can’t you just say when a brainstorm some ideas, where does Ideate come from? I don’t know and it’s not welcome. Thank you.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:21:23] Lara, Jacqui, do you have a bullshit buzzword you would vanish yourself?
LARA CRISP [00:21:30] I think the words really annoy me are things like millennial and baby boomers, the things that’s kind of the kinds of things that kind of really make us. I don’t know. It has this really sort of competitive edge but against generations. I think that’s really unhelpful, number one. And I think that, okay, boomer thing that’s going around the moment is just terrible. And I understand the frustration from it. But I mean, obviously equally terrible is the snowflake millennial thing. So, I mean, I get it. But that they just really unhelpful stereotypes. Again, it’s just it’s demarcating everything by age rather than by life stage and by, you know, that they’ve been far more helpful ways of segmenting audiences and by doing it that way. I find them really annoying.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:22:17] Yes, generations of war almost…
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:22:22] Mine is much, much less. I suppose, politically charged. I just really dislike the word wheelhouse when people say, oh, it’s not in my wheelhouse. But what is a wheelhouse? Why is it a wheelhouse? That’s very language. It pops up in e-mails like I’d say for me at least once a week.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:22:37] Really?
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:22:38] No. Yeah. Wheelhouse.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:22:40] I hardly ever hear that in the U.K.
JACQUI KAVANAGH [00:22:44] There you go. My gift for media.
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:22:46] And now it’s time for our work of the week. Every day, The Drum website shows the world’s best advertising does work on our dedicated platform, Creative Works. You can even post your own work on there for the world to enjoy. Our readers vote on the projects they liked the most to crane the work of the week. So let’s take a look at who has taken the owner. This week’s Work of the Week winner is from Unilever, leading brand eunuchs to promote its vegetarian sausages in the Netherlands. Let’s take a look **plays video**
STEPHEN LEPITAK [00:24:27] You can vote for your favourite ads each week on the Drums creative work section sponsored by Adobe Stock. And finally, here’s an overview of what’s coming up over the next seven days in the world of The Drum. Next week, we announce the winners of both The Drum Social Purpose Awards and the Drum Advertising Awards. You can watch the nominated work for both ceremonies held on Wednesday in London on their respective websites and are well worth checking out. Elsewhere, The Drums I know new business conference Pitch Perfect will take place on June 20 from November. The event aims to help explore how agencies can win new business and better work alongside their clients as a result. The event will be at the atmosphere of venues in Westminster, with tickets still available to buy online. And finally, Tuesday will see the return of most digital day, where agencies from all around the U.K. go into schools with coding briefs to give kids a taste of what it’s like to work in the sector. As the need for digital talent increases. This new initiative has involved hundreds of agencies and thousands of schoolchildren over the years. You can follow the progress of the schools on The Drum website throughout the day, on Tuesday. And that’s another episode of the show. Do followers on Twitter at The Drum and LinkedIn for future updates, take care.