Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Britannia battles for attention with digital

Despite slowing a little, Britain's annual growth figures are the best since 2007 according to Reuters yesterday. The announcement reminded me of seeing advertising in London's Canary Wharf last summer. A large advertising poster for the Financial Times particularly caught my eye. It shows that in this age of intrusive mobile ads, a large printed poster still works.

Mobile ad craze
Marketers are forever chasing the latest trend. As a result, many just end up copying. The world is now awash with boring, unoriginal copy. Mobile ads are in. Go digital. Content is king. So marketing is full of serfs. We all just surf past them.

Mobile ads can be great when they work. Most of the time, they are just downright irritating. They keep popping up. Your interest is in the material the ad has just hidden. You probably click on "skip ad" as quickly as possible. You were meant to retain the brand, but probably don't. If you do, it is associated with your irritation. 

So many mobile ads are poorly constructed. How many ads do not show the "x" to close within your screen, whichever way you turn your smartphone? Sometimes old-fashioned print works best. It can work well alongside digital marketing. Print often has more enduring and positive effects than pop-ups.

I often notice billboards and large posters. They usually catch my eye when I am waiting for a train or bus - even when I have my smartphone in hand. Their size and more professional production lead to greater retention. Isn't that what advertisers are after?

Piccadilly Circus digital billboard
The clarity of the digital billboard in London's Piccadilly Circus is absolutely amazing. A video captured on my mobile simply doesn't do it justice. You must see it for yourself. My favourites were the Coca Cola, Samsung and Dyson ads recently. However, not every company has their sort of advertising budget.

When I saw the Financial Times poster last summer, I had just turned a corner. The live ticker announcements on the Reuter's building were still fresh in my mind. Various economies weren't doing as well as Britain. Then I saw the FT's poster showing Britannia climbing back onto her plinth.

On closer inspection, I saw that Britannia had her foot planted on a lion's snout. Let's face it Britannia is no lightweight, sylph-like figure. She's a mature woman. Her hips and finances went pear-shaped.  She's back. This resilient warrior has survived many battles. (There should be more of her in finance).

The lion supporting Britannia's return to her plinth is another visual representation of Britain. The British lion is strong, despite some obvious discomfort. The British economy is emerging from a tough time.

This poster campaign had a strong emotive appeal for any Briton, a message for investors in the UK and a strong association with the FT's brand. Paying attention is optional unlike with mobile advertising. The potential for retention is far greater. I recall this ad even though I saw it last year. I can't remember the brand of the mobile ad that irritated me this morning. The best digital is great, but print isn't dead.

Anglicity's Karen Andrews
Karen Andrews runs
Anglicity Ltd. She is
a content writer and
marketing consultant. 

If you are interested in content marketing, please contact Karen Andrews is an experienced financial marketer with versatile and original copywriting skills.

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