All posts by Lucy Mulvin

Happy 20th Birthday to display advertising! How far creative advertising and marketing technologies have come…

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This year the display advertisement celebrated its 20th birthday – which is quite remarkable when you think about it!

 

Back in 1994, AT&T became the first company ever to launch a banner- ad which appeared on HotWired.com – now known as WIRED – and the advertising industry changed forever.

 

In this modern age of digital marketing, where advertisers are afforded multiple channels through which to reach their target audience, it feels very odd to imagine a time before advertisements were popping up on your computer screen or mobile device. The advent of new technologies has brought about an exciting new era of marketing possibilities and brands are becoming more and more creative with it.

 

The ways in which marketers are able to interact and engage with a target audience continues to evolve in line with the new technologies that make it all possible, and this is applicable both online and in a bricks and mortar in-store environment. Whether via real-time push notifications sending offers and incentives through tools such as iBeacons, or click and collect services made available through an app on your mobile device, the purpose of advertising and marketing tools nowadays is centred on making the whole experience more convenient and essentially better for the end user. AT&T’s banner-ad may look very simple now, but that humble beginning paved the way for the display advertising industry as we now know it.

 

Thanks to the data which can now be acquired through display advertising and marketing tools, whether it is through measuring click rates, frequent searches and dwell times, brands and businesses are now able to gain a better understanding of their client base and can begin to communicate with them on a more personalised and contextual level. These data analytics also encourage marketers to be regularly accessing and re-evaluating their marketing strategies, ensuring that the content is always fresh and relevant.

 

The world of creative advertising has come a long way in 20 years and it isn’t just about selling a product or raising the awareness of a brand. Display advertising is now an invaluable tool for enhancing engagement and as new technologies continue to emerge, marketers are only going to get more creative with their strategies. Here’s to all the exciting developments another 20 years will bring!

 

Great company, plenty of laughs and a rooftop BBQ in the sunshine!

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Last Wednesday we had the pleasure of celebrating Liberty’s 32nd Liquid Lunch in glorious sunshine with the drinks flowing and sausages sizzling on the BBQ.

 

 

On The Rooftop Bar at The Driver the Liberty team were joined by media and analysts from a wide variety of industries to share an evening of fun, laughter and some impromptu dancing!

 

At Liberty, we take great pride in our lasting relationships with media and analysts and it was lovely to all get together and let our hair down.

 

It was a highlight for us to be able to introduce Scott Beaver, a member of Liberty’s expanding team in the US and to properly welcome Liberty’s newest team member in the UK, Katie Finn.

 

After a fantastic evening, it was back to reality the following day at Liberty Towers – with one or two funny anecdotes and a freezer full of much needed ice lollies!

 

Thank you to everyone who made it down to The Driver to help us celebrate in style. It was great to be able to catch up with our Liquid Lunch regulars and to have the opportunity to get to know some new faces a little bit better.

 

We hope to see you all again at our next Liquid Lunch later in the year – it was a delight, as always!

To boldly go where no-one has gone before…!

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As someone who was raised by two avid sci-fi fans, it’s fair to say that I’ve watched quite a bit of Star Trek in my time. I may have also been to a Star Trek convention (or two…).

 

 

I remember the days when admitting you were a ‘trekkie’ was something people would happily tease you for but in recent years, with the help of cult TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, people are starting to realise that nerds are actually pretty cool.

 

One thing that I love the most about working in tech PR is that the industry is always evolving and with that evolution comes new and truly innovative products that make you go ‘wow!’. The reason why I mentioned Star Trek is because the majority of tech that really has the wow factor for me are the gadgets and gizmos that remind me of classic sci-fi TV shows of the past.  Star Trek especially showcased technology that seemed so mystifying and futuristic at the time, and that wasn’t even that long ago really when you think about it.

 

Recently an iPhone case that acts like a tricorder with built in sensors to read a person’s vital signs was unveiled. On top of this we’re also seeing major developments in simulation and virtual reality technology that can transform your gaming experience to make you feel like you’re on a holodeck.  With technologies like this available today, Star Trek really doesn’t seem so futuristic any more.

 

It wasn’t just Star Trek that seemed to predict the future of technology.

 

I can’t help but think of The Six Million Dollar Man when I read about 3D printed body parts. “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the technology to build the world’s first bionic man…”. Prosthetics have been advancing quickly in recent years, maybe not quite to bionic man standard, but enough to really change people’s lives. Only recently we heard about how a motorbike accident survivor had his life transformed when surgeons were able to reconstruct his face using 3D printed parts. Just last year a man was able to use a 3D printer to create a new hand for his son, after using the internet to research the technology.

 

You can’t watch Back to the Future or Minority Report without seeing glimpses of familiar tech that was once considered so far away, and this actually excites me quite a lot. Personally, I’m eagerly awaiting a hoverboard (and not a hoax!) or the ability to teleport.  And in no way is that embarrassing…

Touchscreen devices are the new favourite toy for children of the digital age – is that such a surprise

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I was on the bus this morning and in front of me there was a little girl watching her mum chatting on the phone and mimicking the action with her banana.

 

 

Funny, yes, but it also made me think about the digital world that children today are born into and how to that child the smartphone her mum was talking on is as normal as the banana she was holding.

 

A recent study carried out by the Michael Cohen Group has made headlines by claiming that touchscreens have become the new must-have toy for children, overtaking the traditional dolls and board games of generations past. More than 60 per cent of parents participating in the study, across a variety of household income levels, claimed that their child uses a touchscreen device from as young as 2 years old.

 

According to Cohen’s report, the main activity children are using touchscreen devices for (quite rightly) is gaming and play, closely followed by using the devices as a tool for learning and education.

 

The technology industry is certainly a fast-paced one and you just have to look at the wonderous plethora of devices available now compared to that just five years ago to see how quickly the industry is evolving. With that in mind, it isn’t that surprising that some people do worry about exposing children to so much technology at a young age. A report released by Ofcom last year highlights just some of the fears expressed by parents where their children and technology is concerned, particularly with such a strong media focus on the rise of cyberbullying. Some parents even said they feel that their children understand the internet and technology more than they do so feel it can be hard to properly monitor.

 

Is this relatively sudden influx of technology really going to be damaging for children? In the ever growing technical age that we live in surely teaching children from a young age how to safely and responsibly use devices can only be a good idea, especially when it’s highly likely that technology will play a large part in their future education, as well as later when they enter the world of employment.

Can a book worm ever learn to love her Kindle?

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I’ve always been one of those traditionalists who preferred the feel of a good book in my hands to the plastic feel of an e-reader.

 

 

I love looking at my book case and feeling that silly sense of achievement, taking in just how many adventures I’d read from cover to cover.  I guess you could say that it was pre-destined for me to be a bit of book worm, born into a house where almost every inch of spare wall space was covered in book shelves and I was even named after my Dad’s favourite fictional character from The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

Books are such a personal and unique thing. I still have battered and grubby copies of my favourite books from when I was child that I know I could never part with. Each mark or little tear takes me back to a time long ago and I often wonder if my children will be able to have this same experience when they grow up. A Kindle can never give you that wonderful musty ‘book’ smell that transports me back to days gone by. The thought that I could just delete a book that I had enjoyed from my digital library makes me feel strangely sad.

 

Understandably, taking the plunge into the world of the e-reader was a big step for this die-hard book lover, but even I have to admit that it can be a bit tricky trying to read a huge paperback on the busy commute. It does also help with the constant battle I have with myself trying to decide what books to squeeze into my suitcase before a holiday – having everything saved in one place does have its advantages.

 

Looking back at my university days I would have much preferred storing everything on a Kindle instead of lugging a heavy backpack full of text books around the place. But in everyday life I am a person who reads for pleasure, from start to finish. I love getting lost in quirky book shops and could spend hours rummaging through the second hand book stall on South Bank. Logging into a virtual book store using an electronic device just doesn’t have that same appeal. No matter how convenient it might be.

 

For me, an e-reader is a thing of convenience. And, as much as it does feel weird to admit this, they do have their uses. If using my Kindle means that I can take all six books that I can’t choose between on holiday and still have room in my suitcase for more dresses then it can’t be all that bad really can it? Eight million people in the UK are said to now own a Kindle or e-reader in one form or another so I guess they must be doing something right. That being said, I’m still not so sure. As convenient as my Kindle is and as revolutionary I think it is in terms of technology, in my mind you will never be able to beat that feeling of turning the page between your fingers.

The rise of on-demand video streaming – can legal streaming services really give the consumer what they want and eradicate piracy?

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I’ve been thinking recently about just how far, in a relatively short space of time, society has come in terms of how we view film and TV. Gone are the days of the VHS, and due to the video streaming revolution, it’s looking like it won’t be that long until the DVD is a thing of the past too.

 

To my mind, the big question here is what has changed? Is it simply that the modern day consumer is just more demanding; wanting things right here, right now? Or could it be that the rise in illegal internet piracy has called for a new age of TV and film consumption?

 

Piracy has had a huge effect on the TV and film industry, as well as the way in which we consume content. While everyone knows illegal downloads are as the name suggests,  nobody really seems to take that into consideration when there is something they are just desperate to watch. When series 3 of Game of Thrones was launched first in America earlier this year, the first episode broke all piracy records with data from Torrent Freak showing that it received a staggering one million downloads on BitTorrent in less than a day.  While this could be considered as a massive compliment to the show’s creators, it could affect their profits in the long term ultimately resulting  in the cancellation of your favourite show.

 

As a result of the increased consumer need for on-demand TV and film a number of legal streaming services have emerged in recent years. One such service is Netflix, which was launched in the UK in 2012.  Neflix is easily accessible and affordable, costing just £6 a month for an unlimited amount of use.

 

As well as holding the UK broadcasting rights to Breaking Bad, which can only be described as one of the most popular TV dramas of the moment, they have also produced a variety of original TV shows. These have proven to be hugely successful and have received widespread industry praise resulting in them receiving 14 nominations at this year’s Emmy awards – three of which they went on to win.

 

Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix original series ‘House of Cards’, hit the nail on the head when describing how today’s viewers like to “binge” on TV – preferring to watch entire series in one chunk rather than an episode a week like they had in the past. Netflix has proven to be so popular because it provides just that.

 

For all of its good points, as one of Netflix’s near 38 million subscribers, I have to admit there are quite a few films on there that I have never heard of or seem a little bit dated. For example, currently in the ‘new releases’ section the majority of films came out in 2011 or 2012.  That being said, it came out last week that Netflix has been using illegal pirate websites as a way of identifying what content is in demand and using this to help them select new shows. While piracy is bad it is also an incredibly accurate way of tracking what are the most popular shows of the moment. This new approach could be a big step closer to services like Netflix meeting more of the short term needs of the consumer by having a more targeted range of content.

 

Personally, I think legal on-demand streaming services have both revolutionised and heavily influenced the way in which we now consume content and they are more than capable of keeping up with the needs of the consumer in regards of accessibility and cost.

 

Will on-demand streaming ever be enough to make piracy obsolete? If Game of Thrones has taught us anything it’s that when people want to watch something that desperately and there is a way of watching it as soon as possible, they will – whether it’s legal or not.

 

What do you think?