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Singapore turns 53: how are brands marking the occasion?

Marketing/ Advertising/ PR

Singapore turns a year older this week, celebrating her 53rd birthday. There will be the usual National Day Parade, which is held annually, where the country shows off her military might and spectacular fireworks.

It has been an eventful year for Singapore, with the historic Trump-Kim summit taking place in the little red dot. We take a look at the unique ways brands are celebrating ‘brand Singapore.’

Texas Chicken Singapore

The Atlanta-based fast food company enlisted the help of Makcik Halijah and Auntie Bee Li to engage in a rap battle to find out who made the best sambal chilli.

The Workers’ Party

One of Singapore’s most successful opposition parties, The Workers’ Party went for a ‘quieter’ approach, releasing a two minute video on the soundscape of Singapore.

Grab

The ride-sharing company brought back its widely popular #GrabDurian for the fourth year to tap into Singaporeans’ love for durians.

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It also encouraged commuters to share a story about a great experience with a Grab driver, merchant or delivery partner (Grab Hero) to stand a chance of winning a pair of NDP tickets.

Philips

The Dutch consumer electronics company launched its PerfectCare Expert Plus pressurised steam generator iron featuring its patented OptimalTEMP technology that guarantees ‘no burns on all ironable fabrics’ to celebrate National Day.

Why? It says the iron is the ‘world’s first zero-burn innovation borne out of Singapore makes ironing pains a relief with unparalleled speed, comfort and protection.’

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Starhub

The telco is honouring the can-do and never-give-up Singapore spirit and hopes to rally all to help them achieve what they have set out to do by shining the spotlight on five inspiring five #TogetherWeCan Singaporeans stories. 

It is encouraging its customers to redeem 53 StarHub Rewards Points and StarHub will contribute $5 to the desired cause.

The five personalities come from diverse backgrounds. They are Lim Seng, who hopes to become the first Singaporean in space, professional tennis player Sarah Pang, who hopes to one day play in the WTA, Sazzad Hossain, founder of SDI Academy, who provides basic English education to help migrant workers adapt to Singapore and reduce workplace accidents, Peter Draw, artist and creator of the Ai Movement who uses his art to spread happiness and inspire children to follow their dreams and Joel Seah, a social worker at Care Corner’s CROSSROAD Youth Centre, who guides the youth and teaches them skills that they need to excel in life.

Foodpanda

The food delivery company unveiled the nation’s ‘ultimate tummy report’ and what makes Singaporeans’ tummies growl. 

The report pitted neighbourhoods against each other and found out that Singaporeans do not just love fried chicken, they are also obsessed with the comfort food.

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CNN’s Sunita Rajan on reinvention and adopting a consultative approach

Marketing/ Advertising/ PR

CNN hosted its first CNN Experience in Singapore in June, for its commercial team to bring its business to life and talk more than just news to marketers.

At the event it showcased its content solutions, like video storytelling platform Great Big Story (GBS), its branded content studio Create and its Tourism Advertising Solutions and Knowledge (TASK) group. Hosted at the Andaz hotel, the media owner also brought along star power, like the host of its ‘Quest Means Business’ show Richard Quest, to wow existing and potential clients.

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Speaking to The Drum after the event, Sunita Rajan, senior vice president of Asia Pacific advertising sales at CNN International Commercial (CNNIC), says the Turner-owned brand is keen to hold more events because, ultimately, its job is not only to tell the story, to get it right and to balance the story with analysis and facts. She adds that it also needs to be able to deliver content and the broader kind of agenda of news to its customers and consumers who have their own passions and interests, which go beyond just the headlines of the day.

She also points out that as this means it could be in sport, travel, business, health, style and design, it means CNN can continuously articulate to that and get people to understand what it does beyond news, but with the news as the core because that is the gateway to how people experience the CNN brand.

“The second reason, obviously, is to be able to acknowledge, and thank, and make sure that our partners in the room, and that’s partners across all of our commercial businesses, whether it’s advertising, sales, or affiliate, or distribution, or hotel sales, all know and feel reassured of the business that they place with CNN, which is a lot, and we don’t take that for granted for a moment,” adds Rajan.

In addition, she stress that is very important for CNN to make sure that its customers and clients’ base are constantly kept updated on what the company is doing, because the market is always changing, which means that technology and consumer habits are moving at such a fast pace, forcing the company to constantly iterate and evolve.

That means CNN has to create new tools, new products and new ways telling its story, as well as new ways in which it works with brands, Rajan explains, pointing out there is not enough time to be able to knock on individual doors. 

“I think is really important is to demonstrate to the industry why being the number one brand in the news’ business and a worldwide leader is a sense of responsibility that forces us to lead the way in the market. And to make sure that by doing that, we adhere to what is our DNA and core, which is storytelling with facts first, but also to test and learn, place some bets and do things differently because if we don’t, then who will?” she says.

Constant innovation and reinvention

While reinforcing its leading position in the market is important, it is not about CNN being a maverick or going rogue, notes Rajan, but being able to innovate and creatively reinvent itself because that is what brands are looking for from a commercial point of view and what CNN’s audiences want and expect.

Products like GBS are a good example of Rajan’s point. “We placed an investment and a bet really in launching a product for the first time in 35 years, which was targeted at the millennials, and it has continued to attract a very high proportion of millennials, but they’re not the only audience that we have. But to do it well and do it in a style which delivers a product that audiences see has got a differentiated place in their consumption,” she explains.

“We are not Vice or BuzzFeed, but we clearly are very high-end cinematic storytelling with 4K video, a website and a product that is, again, has in less than three years, has gained 10 million fans and two billion video views, which is pretty baffling.”

That applies to Create as well, which Rajan says is more than just producing branded content that is shot with in 4K, with CGI, drones or 360 video, because that can be bought. Brands can also work with their own creative agency or hire a boutique creative agency to do that.

What Create brings to the table then, is the audiences and the targeting capabilities of CNN, explains Rajan. “The data targeting capability is key and the insights that we bring to the conversation where we’re able to sit down with brands, we take the social handles, we do some research using Launchpad to consult, advice and speak to brands and tell them about how content on social should look, at a presale stage.”

“We are able to tell brands what CNN consumers and audiences think about their brand and their stories, and how they should be thinking about the stories they want to tell, before we even enter into a discussion about what the concept should be, or what approach we should take. That’s pretty powerful, that’s propriety. So, we’re not just producing great content through gut feeling, and with, it’s power of mediator, that’s important,” she adds.

Putting on the consultant’s hat

A few weeks after The Drum’s conversation with Rajan, CNN announced that it was turning CNN Reach, which sat within Create to act, conduct and deliver audiences and audience acquisitions, into a consultancy unit.

Aside from offering first, second and third-party audience targeting, the media owner said Reach will also plan and create campaign content; advise on, and execute distribution and media buying, both on and off CNN’s own platforms and across the company’s products.

Rajan and her team will work with the new Reach team led by Leo Urushibata, CNNIC’s director of content optimization, which currently has four staff with content strategy, planning, paid media buyers and digital marketers, and audience development skills from Singapore.

While Rajan did not reveal this information during her chat with The Drum, she had hinted that CNN was moving towards that direction, as the media owner is realising that its clients and brands have gone beyond just buying regular advertising slots, as conversations now begins with an audience strategy, a data strategy, content strategy and finally the media strategy.

“We have got success, and we are still on that journey, the job is not complete. But for us, success is how we have been able to evolve and hold on to our premier clients and our key partnerships, but also attract a lot of new clients who are on that journey whether that’s, they are first time advertisers on TV, or whether they’re shifting a large percentage of their business to digital and they still want to advertise on TV,” she explains.

Rajan adds that more importantly, it is not just about where the spend is, it is about how brands perceived their partners today. “They are looking for storytellers, and they are looking for authentic trusted storytellers who can help tell their story. But they are also looking for that contextual environment where they feel that they can trust the environment and they can trust the authenticity of the environment for their own created messages.”

“That’s where the conversation begins, and that’s how we then build out our data strategy, which is, we’re in the unique position as a global player to be able to deliver audiences at scale. We also got the number one position on social of any news’ brand.”

With consumers now having various multiple sources of getting their news with the plethora of outlets these days, including platforms like Facebook and Google, as Rajan notes, it is important for traditional media owners like CNN to come up with a strategy that not only allows them to survive, but also the ability monetise its audiences who are coming to them on all its digital platforms.

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The Nashville Number System: What Is It?

Music

Guest post by Soundfly Mentor Andre Madatian. This article originally appeared on Soundfly’s Flypaper

If you ask almost any Broadway Street musician in downtown Nashville, they will tell you that the Nashville number system has gotten them through at least a song or two, if not an entire set, on a honky tonk stage at some point in their career. Some don’t even leave the house without their iPad filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of Nashville-style notated charts before heading to work or a weekend run of shows out of town. But there is something quite definitive and unique about the way Nashville creates their charts — almost like a universal language amongst all of the musicians in the local community.

But how are these charts read and understood? And why, if I’m not in Nashville, should I care?

From an outsider’s perspective, the notation can look like hieroglyphics at times, and has even been known to confuse scholarly musicians on first glance! The truth is that this form of notation is useful beyond the city limits of Nashville, in any situation where you might need a last minute player to sub in, or if you want to get hired on more session jobs. If you’re familiar with chord numbers, you’ll immediately recognize that aspect, but what are all these other symbols and how do they change the timbre or flow of what I’m playing in relation to the band, in real time? We’ll cover all of that.

Understanding the System

Let’s take a look at a typical “Nashville-style” chart below.

The first thing that we notice is the title of the song, which in this case is, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen. Generally, to the right of the song title you will see the name of the person who is responsible for creating the chart; in this instance, it’s “C. Marshall.” Let’s listen to the song, and see if you can follow along with the chart innately.

Now that we are a bit more familiar with the song, let’s start to analyze the technical and musical aspects of the chart. To the left of the song title, you will usually see the key and the time signature. Referring to the above example, this particular song is in E major and is in 4/4 time.

Navigating Tonality

Here’s where it gets a little complicated. What makes the Nashville system unique from other conventional notation charts is that the chord symbols always reflect the major key. For example, since we know that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” is in the key of E major, we see a “1” on the chart which indicates that the musician should play an E major chord.

But let’s say, hypothetically, that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” was in the key of E minor. The chart would then be notated in its relative major key. For example, the top left of the Nashville chart would be written as G major/E minor and the first chord would be notated as a “6-” as opposed to a “1-.” The reason for this is to keep the chart simple and to avoid having to use accidentals all throughout the chart.

Sight-Reading the Song

Moving forward, we notice that the chart is broken down by song sections. The first section is labeled “Intro” and it’s noted that it should be played on an acoustic instrument (likely guitar, but not specified). Other sections include the Verse, the Turn (“band in” indicates where the rhythm section should start playing), a second Verse, a Chorus, a third Verse, a second Chorus, and finally an Outro.

Let’s start by analyzing the chord symbols of the Intro. We see the numbers “1 5 4 5” pretty much throughout the entire song, so this will be a simple tune to read. The numbers reflect the diatonic chord symbols of the indicated key. So for this song, “1 5 4 5” in the key of E major will be E major, B major, A major, and B major.

Now that we know which chords to play, it’s important to understand the rhythmic values of each chord. This is where the uniquenesses of the Nashville number system begin to come out. You’ll notice that there are lines appearing underneath the “1 5” and “4 5” throughout the entire chart. This line indicates where the measures start and end. So usually, if there are only two chords above each line, it means the chords are played as half notes unless otherwise suggested. You may also see dashes or extra lines accompanying the underline, to denote other rhythmic subdivisions, such as the first chord being held for three beats and the second chord for one beat, for example.

With no rhythmic indicators, you’d play the “1” chord for two beats and the “5” chord for two beats, completing one full measure, and the same goes for the “4 5” progression. If you see a chord with no line underneath, that’s an indication that the chord should have a whole note value, or four beats in a 4/4 time signature. In this case, you’ll notice that there is a “>” symbol on most of the “5” chords throughout the whole chart. This sign indicates a “push” or slight syncopation on the chord. So instead of playing the “5” chord on the start of beat three, we will play this chord on the “and” of beat two.

Rhythmic indications are often left vague in the Nashville number system, so many people who write these charts make a point to notate a specific rhythmic pattern for reference. In the above chart, there’s a dotted quarter note for the “4” chord and an eighth note for the “5” chord followed by a half rest under the first Verse.

Aside from a couple rhythmic changes in the last Chorus, this song is quite repetitive in terms of harmonic and rhythmic structure. Something to take note of is the “(acoustic)” indication in the fifth measure of the last Chorus. While performing this song, I would know to cue the rhythm section to stop playing at that measure. However, this chart fails to notate whether or not the rhythm section comes back in. Since I’m already familiar with this song, I know that the band comes back in on measure nine of that section, but that should have been indicated in this chart. The more information provided the better!

Lastly, we see that the Outro is repeated. The creator of the chart used both a double dotted bar line and a written note to prepare the performer, since musicians may not always be unified in their ability to to sight read.

Although there are a few variations of the Nashville number system, the above example is a current depiction of what you may see when asked to sub for a gig in downtown Nashville. Some charts are more detailed than others but having a simple chart can be a great source of reference, especially in an environment like Broadway Street, where musicians are served up requests constantly throughout the gig. It’s important to understand these charts, not only for playing the Nashville circuit, but also if you want to create handy reference guides for session players, or to make it easy for anyone to play your music accurately.

If you’re still a bit confused and want to go through how this system works with me, get in touch here and I can help you out personally — that’s what Soundfly’s Headliners Club is all about! If you’re interested in working with me on your next music project, fill out this form to tell us about your goals and be sure to mention my name in your response!

Otherwise, get out there and start chartin’!

Advance your skills and open up more opportunities in music. Explore Soundfly’s growing array of Mainstage courses that feature personal support and 1-on-1 mentorship from experienced professionals in the field, such as Orchestration for StringsUnlocking the Emotional Power of Chordsand The New Songwriter’s Workshop.

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Ad fraud & brand safety remain the biggest programmatic issues say DTA USA judges

Marketing/ Advertising/ PR

Transparency has been one of the biggest buzz words in the programmatic industry for a few years now and it’s not going away anytime soon. Over 10 years in and programmatic is continuing to change the face of marketing and as always, there are bumps in the road.

The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA 2018 has introduced a new category, the ‘Improvement in Media Effectiveness Award’. This category will seek submissions from teams tasked with achieving improvement in the performance of their clients’ media spend specifically in the areas of transparency. 

The Drum spoke to four industry experts from Business Insider. Trust Metrics, SalientMG and Beller Tech, who are also judges for The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA 2018, on what areas of transparency are either lost or problematic in the industry right now.

Jana Meron, senior vice president, programmatic and data strategy, Business Insider

The biggest problem with regards to transparency is the lack of standardization across platforms. While DSP and SSP technologies continue to optimize programmatic media buying, they’ve also made true costs harder to pinpoint.

Right now, if you were to compare SSP and DSP reports, you’d find varying results, not just from a revenue perspective, but also from a brand perspective. SSPs and DSPs categorize companies and their brands differently, making it difficult to align advertisers’ brands. Inconsistencies also make it challenging to match up dollars from one platform to another.

The media buying process has become more and more complex as platform intermediaries are introduced, blurring the spend flow from start to finish and making ROI more difficult to calculate.

Marc Goldberg, chief executive officer, Trust Metrics

Most advertisers consider a quality site in “brand safety” as just the absence of hate, porn, and other evils. Quality is the presence of good publishing features. Brands need to revisit the 101 of advertising and align with quality (which can be subjective), then optimize any KPIs that don’t improve on their own. This happens a lot with viewability, where brands run toward high clutter and slide show sites designed to achieve viewability, while walking away from publications that put users first. Brands assume their numbers provide transparency, but a spreadsheet can’t disclose the poor environment these viewable ads are served in. Viewability is a measurement, not a target. Quality is the target; measure viewability second.

Mack McKelvey, founder, SalientMG

Ad fraud and brand safety are extremely important issues affecting every advertising and marketing professional today. However, transparency in mobile location data should be getting more attention. All sorts of brands rely on consumer foot traffic information to measure mobile ad performance, understand ebbs and flows in customer behavior and learn more about demographics of people visiting business locations. But not many marketing professionals realize, for instance, that their decisions to run mobile ads in-app or on the mobile web can have a huge impact on how precisely the ads are measured.  There’s a lot of complexity that should be made more transparent to marketers.

Rob Beeler, founder, Beeler Tech

Some of the solutions that bring transparency also add to the lack of it. During a research project for the 614 Group we found that agencies and publishers assumed that if they used the same vendor, both parties would see the same numbers. That’s often not true. Solutions that serve both buyers and sellers often report different numbers to each side because of how and why they count events like viewable impressions. This causes confusion, discrepancies and a lack of transparency from solutions whose purpose is to bring transparency to the market.

Meron, Goldberg, McKelvey and Beeler are all judges for The Drum Digital Trading Awards USA. The entry deadline is Thursday 30 August, download your entry pack now and show the industry the outstanding work you have been producing.

Headline sponsor of these awards are MiQ

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Thierry Henry resurrects Renault ‘liason’ to explore ‘va va voom’ on Sky Sports

Marketing/ Advertising/ PR

Renault and Premier League legend Thierry Henry will explore ‘va va voom’ for audiences watching Sky Sports.

Renault is set to run Henry idents on Sky Sports Premier League coverage, showcasing Clio, Captur and Megane RS. It will tap into nostalgia for the strikers’ glory days using the classic strapline.

At the height of his power in 2002, the Frenchman, who was capped 123 times by his nation, signed on to underline the sleek appeal of Renault’s cars. He starred in the ads alongside his at the time girlfriend Claire Merry. 

After the success of the campaign, va va voom was entered into the Oxford Dictionary. It means: “The quality of being exciting, vigorous, or sexually attractive.” During the ad’s original run, as Renault was touting its va va voom, Japanese Mazda was wowing audiences with its catchy ‘zoom, zoom, zoom’ strapline.

On his return to the Premier League and Sky Sports as the car brand’s ambassador, Henry said: “It feels great to reignite my long-stating ‘liaison’ with Renault, especially as I’m returning to the team during its first journey into football. Having played in stadiums across the world I know first-hand the passion fans have for both life and their favourite sport.

“I’m looking forward to helping Renault publicly celebrate this passion over the course of the Premier League season, while injecting some ‘va va voom’ back into British football.”

Vincent Tourette, managing director, Renault UK said the work will follow up on an “amazing World Cup summer” to see Henry explore the brand’s wider ‘Passion for Life’ ethos.

After a plaudited playing career at Arsenal and on the national level, Henry is in steady employment as a football pundit, offering his views in French and English. He is the fifth highest scorer in the league, sitting at 175 goals of 0.68 per appearance.

In explaining ‘va va voom’ to UK audiences Henry previously explained “va va voom is always cool, but cool is not always va va voom”.

Enjoy some of the classic ads below. (Apologies about the video quality). Since 2001 Publicis delivered the va va voom creative. Henry came aboard in 2002 to legitimise it.

Video of Thierry Henry Renault Clio Va Va Voom TV commercial 1
 
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Henry was also a prominent ambassador for Nike, Pepsi, Gillette and more during his playing career.

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Freddie Flintoff serenades new audiences to tout Cricket World Cup’s ‘Carnival’ atmosphere

Marketing/ Advertising/ PR

The ICC Cricket World Cup is coming to England and Wales in 2019, and to mark the occasion former England star Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is singing his way through the streets with an assembly of fans.

‘Festival’ was directed by Peter Cattaneo of The Fully Monty fame. It sees Flintoff launch into song and dance, backed by some of cricket’s most passionate fans, influencers and a brass band.

Flintoff approaches the famous Oval venue before opening the tournament in 2019. Slipped among 19 dancers and 100 fans are Radio 1 DJ Greg James, cricketers Charlotte Edwards, Phil Tufnell, Kumar Sangakkara, and influencers such as Josh Pieters, ReevHD and Danielle Haden.

Cattaneo hinged the work on capturing the “genuine enthusiasm for the game” while bringing together the fans to “create a real global celebration”. The ICC believes there are more than 1bn cricket fans across the world to attract with this work.

Agency Matta delivered the work to fit into the wider ‘Are You In’ campaign.

Matt Campbell, its executive creative director, said: “The challenge in the brief was to sell cricket as more than just the game on the field. It’s the whole colourful experience, the national costumes, fancy dress, musical instruments in the crowd and the infectious passion, particularly of South Asian supporters, that create a unique atmosphere and experience that British sport’s fans will love.”

Adrian Wells, marketing director of the Cricket World Cup said the film aims to introduce new audiences to cricket too, informing them of the off-field atmosphere as well as the proceedings in the Oval and beyond.

“This is something we are uniquely able to create in multi-cultural Britain,” he said. “Seeing Freddie sing and dance is not what you would expect from cricket, and that’s the point – we hope to show cricket in a new light and engage new fans.”

Vote for the work in The Drum’s Creative Works.

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Who’s taking part in this series of A League of Their Own?

Showreels, Trailers, Tv/ Film

James Corden, Freddie Flintoff and Jamie Redknapp will return for the 13th series of the sports-based game show alongside new addition Romesh Ranganathan, who will replace comedian Jack Whitehall as a regular panellist.

A League of Their Own has been a lot of fun, is something I’m contractually obliged to say despite the physical challenges, which I would describe as some of the toughest experiences I have ever been through,” joked Romesh Ranganathan. 

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What’s on TV: 6 August – 12 August

Showreels, Trailers, Tv/ Film
(Credit: BBC)

True Love or True Lies?

Monday: MTV, 9pm

You’ve seen Love Island, and now it’s MTV’s turn to stick a bunch of attractive people in a confined space to see if they’ll find love. Six couples compete to prove their relationship is best. The catch? Some of them aren’t couples at all.

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