No.10’s response to its Brexit ad blitz impact shows it’s too easy to fall back on reach- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

There’s something close to optimism in the ad land air as the “uncertainty” of 2019 is replaced, at least for now, with a measure of certainty. We’re leaving the EU for better or ill and some delayed plans are back on the front burner.
With that in mind, analysts are looking back on the ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign of October 2019 and asking whether the £46m of taxpayer money spent was worthwhile. Putting aside the fact the ad blitz ultimately prepared the public for a deadline that was never met (a Brexit extension was granted by the EU last October), did it achieve its objectives?
Well, if the objective was for people and business owners to seek further information on how to actually prepare, then The Tempemail Audit Office (NAO) suggests it did not: the figures show that those seeking information about Brexit did not notably change as a result of the campaign.
However, the proportion of UK citizens who reported that they have looked or have started to look for information on Brexit did not notably change on the back of the push. It ranged between 32% and 37% during the campaign and was 34% when the campaign stopped.
Of the extensive report into the campaign’s effectiveness, the bit that caught my eye was the Cabinet Office (responsible for Brexit preparations) response. It claimed grandly that the campaign reached 99.8% of the population, with average opportunities to see the range of billboard, print, TV and online adverts an impressive 55 times. The implication being that this delivery was a measure of success for the campaign.
I’m always sceptical when reach and frequency are offered as evidence that advertising was worthwhile. The opportunity to see an ad is not a view, and it’s a long way short of advertising awareness. It’s a measure of the total impact delivery across all platforms, with an effort made to dedupe for total incremental reach.
And in the modern digital world, where impacts are cheap and unreliable, it’s become devalued to the point of worthlessness.
Prior to the advent of Mediaplanner+ which uses IPA Touchpoints Data to deliver multimedia coverage and frequency, agencies used a formula that was both simple and inaccurate. If TV reached 60%, and radio reached 60%, then 84% of people were exposed in total. The assumption being that 60% of those who didn’t see it on TV heard it on radio (60% + (100%-60%)*60%)=84%). That is clearly flawed, for instance people who watch a lot of TV might also listen to a lot of radio so deduped reach could potentially be a lot lower.
Mediaplanner+ introduced actual deduped reach from various JIC systems and purports to be a much more accurate measure. Conveniently however, if one inputs a national 60% reach campaign on TV (140 adult ratings), combined with a 60% reach campaign on radio (400 adult GRPs), it combines to give… 84% reach of adults. So pretty much exactly the same result as the old fag packet excel formula we used to use.
But even if the figures were accurate, reach does not convert to ad awareness without an effective media vehicle, creative cut-through, a digestible message and a host of other factors I don’t have space to list.
Worse than that, modern reach calculations assume all exposures are equal. So 140m digital banner impressions bought for £50k on an exchange with 50% viewability are given the same weight as 240 adult TV ratings costing ten times that amount and with 100% in view (and no bots in sight).
Facebook has managed, by dictating reporting language, to convince some media planners that video impressions are the right metric for measuring the reach of their campaigns. However, a recent Ebiquity study showed that of 5.3m Facebook video impressions, only 35,000 were audible and completed. That’s much less than 1% of the impacts having genuine value. Unruly did much better with 2% of impacts having value.
Given these flaws, why was the government focusing on reach and frequency, when a quick look at YouGov Profiles from October 2019 reveal that 75% of the population claim to have seen Government adverts on preparing for Brexit? Its own research pitted a figure of 73% too; both are significant numbers, and ones that could be used to indicate an advertising success story.
Especially if you’re Dominic Cummings. Six weeks after these ads ran the Conservatives won a landslide General Election victory built on a Brexit platform. So that’s £46m well spent surely?
Simon Crunden is managing director at Republic of Media. He tweets at @SimonCrunden

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P&O Ferries brace for Brexit with business as usual reassurances- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

P&O Ferries is countering fears that Britain will be left all at sea following Brexit by mounting a public information campaign designed to calm passenger fears.
Running across the national press, out-of-home and social until ‘Brexit day’ on 31 January, the campaign is designed to assuage nervous passengers with images of serene blue skies and sedate waters accompanied by messaging designed to reinforce the message that the ferry company will continue to connect Britain to the continent.
Devised by Publicis Poke, the advert includes messages such as ‘No-one leaves without a deal’, ‘Go make your own European Unions’ and ‘Out of Europe, into Europe. We do it every day’.
Sarah Rosier, director of passenger sales at P&O Ferries, said: “As a heritage brand that operates in the travel sector, we have been connecting our customers’ journeys by sea for over 180 years, so it’s just business as usual for us to sail in and out of the EU daily. We wanted to let our customers know that however the current situation resolves, we are well prepared and committed to transporting people, as well as cargo, to where they need to be.”
Dave Monk, executive creative director at Publicis Poke, added: “The world’s a pretty noisy place at the moment. Sometimes it’s best to strip things back. Keep it simple. This timely yet timeless print campaign offers up a little touch of charm and calm in amongst a backdrop of that din.”
Publicis Poke was formed last year from a merger of Publicis London, Poke and Arc.

// Featured in this article

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Brexit means clear your cookies for democracy – gpgmail


Brexit looks set to further sink the already battered reputation of tracking cookies after a Buzzfeed report yesterday revealed what appears to be a plan by the UK’s minority government to use official government websites to harvest personal data on UK citizens for targeting purposes.

According to leaked government documents obtained by the news site, the prime minister has instructed government departments to share website usage data that’s collected via gov.uk websites with ministers on a cabinet committee tasked with preparing for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

It’s not clear how linking up citizens use of essential government portals could further ‘no deal’ prep.

Rather the suspicion is it’s a massive, consent-less voter data grab by party political forces preparing for an inevitable general election in which the current Tory PM plans to campaign on a pro-Brexit message.

The instruction to pool gov.uk usage data as a “top priority” is also being justified internally in instructions to civil servants as necessary to accelerate plans for a digital revolution in public services — an odd ASAP to be claiming at a time of national, Brexit-induced crisis when there are plenty more pressing priorities (given the October 31 EU exit date looming).

A government spokesperson nonetheless told Buzzfeed the data is being collected to improve service delivery. They also claimed it’s “anonymized” data.

“Individual government departments currently collect anonymised user data when people use gov.uk. The Government Digital Service is working on a project to bring this anonymous data together to make sure people can access all the services they need as easily as possible,” the spokesperson said, further claiming: “No personal data is collected at any point during the process, and all activity is fully compliant with our legal and ethical obligations.”

However privacy experts quickly pointed out the nonsense of trying to pretend that joined up user data given a shared identifier is in any way anonymous.

 

For those struggling to keep up with the blistering pace of UK political developments engendered by Brexit, this is a government led by a new (and unelected) prime minister, Boris ‘Brexit: Do or Die’ Johnson, and his special advisor, digital guru Dominic Cummings, of election law-breaking Vote Leave campaign fame.

Back in 2015 and 2016, Cummings, then the director of the official Vote Leave campaign, masterminded a plan to win the EU referendum by using social media data to profile voters — blitzing them with millions of targeted ads in final days of the Brexit campaign.

Vote Leave was later found to have channelled money to Cambridge Analytica-linked Canadian data firm Aggregate IQ to target pro-Brexit ads via Facebook’s platform. Many of which were subsequently revealed to have used blatantly xenophobic messaging to push racist anti-EU messaging when Facebook finally handed over the ad data.

Setting aside the use of xenophobic dark ads to whip up racist sentiment to sell Brexit to voters, and ongoing questions about exactly how Vote Leave acquired data on UK voters for targeting them with political ads (including ethical questions about the use of a football quiz touting a £50M prize run on social media as a mass voter data-harvesting exercise), last year the UK’s Electoral Commission found Vote Leave had breached campaign spending limits through undeclared joint working with another pro-Brexit campaign — via which almost half a million pounds was illegally channeled into Facebook ads.

The Vote Leave campaign was fined £61k by the Electoral Commission, and referred to the police. (An investigation is possibly ongoing.)

Cummings, the ‘huge brain’ behind Vote Leave’s digital strategy, did not suffer a dent in his career as a consequence of all this — on the contrary, he was appointed by Johnson as senior advisor this summer, after Johnson won the Conservative leader contest and so became the third UK PM since the 2016 vote for Brexit.

With Cummings at his side, it’s been full steam ahead for Johnson on social media ads and data grabs, as we reported last month — paving the way for a hoped for general election campaign, fuelled by ‘no holds barred’ data science. Democratic ethics? Not in this digitally disruptive administration!

The Johnson-Cummings pact ignores entirely the loud misgivings sounded by the UK’s information commissioner — which a year ago warned that political microtargeting risks undermining trust in democracy. The ICO called then for an ethical pause. Instead Johnson stuck up a proverbial finger by installing Cummings in No.10.

The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary committee, which tried and failed to get Cummings to testify before it last year as part of a wide-ranging enquiry into online disinformation (a snub for which Cummings was later found in contempt of parliament), also urged the government to update election law as a priority last summer — saying it was essential to act to defend democracy against data-fuelled misinformation and disinformation. A call that was met with cold water.

This means the same old laws that failed to prevent ethically dubious voter data-harvesting during the EU referendum campaign, and failed to prevent social media ad platforms and online payment platforms (hi, Paypal!) from being the conduit for illegal foreign donations into UK campaigns, are now apparently incapable of responding to another voter data heist trick, this time cooked up at the heart of government on the umbrella pretext of ‘preparing for Brexit’.

The repurposing of government departments under Johnson-Cummings for pro-Brexit propaganda messaging also looks decidedly whiffy…

Asked about the legality of the data pooling gov.uk plan as reported by Buzzfeed, an ICO spokesperson told us: “People should be able to make informed choices about the way their data is used. That’s why organisations have to ensure that they process personal information fairly, legally and transparently. When that doesn’t happen, the ICO can take action.”

Can — but hasn’t yet.

It’s also not clear what action the ICO could end up taking to purge UK voter data that’s already been (or is in the process of being) sucked out of the Internet to be repurposed for party political purposes — including, judging by the Vote Leave playbook, for microtargeted ads that promote a no holds barred ‘no deal’ Brexit agenda.

One thing is clear: Any action would need to be swiftly enacted and robustly enforced if it were to have a meaningful chance of defending democracy from ethics-free data-targeting.

Sadly, the ICO has yet to show an appetite for swift and robust action where political parties are concerned.

Likely because a report it put out last fall essentially called out all UK political parties for misusing people’s data. It followed up saying it would audit the political parties starting early this year — but has yet to publish its findings.

Concerned opposition MPs are left tweeting into the regulatory abyss — decrying the ‘coup’ and forlornly pressing for action… Though if the political boot were on the other foot it might well be a different story.

Among the cookies used on gov.uk sites are Google Analytics cookies which store information on how visitors got to the site; the pages visited and length of time spent on them; and items clicked on. Which could certainly enable rich profiles to be attached to single visitors IDs.

Visitors to gov.uk properties can switch off Google Analytics measurement cookies, as well as denying gov.uk communications and marketing cookies, and cookies that store preferences — with only “strictly necessary” cookies (which remember form progress and serve notifications) lacking a user toggle.

What should concerned UK citizens to do to defend democracy against the data science folks we’re told are being thrown at the Johnson-Cummings GSD data pooling project? Practice good privacy hygiene.

Clear your cookies. Indeed, switch off gov.uk cookies. Deny access wherever and whenever possible.

It’s probably also a good idea to use a fresh browser session each time you need to visit a government website and close the session (with cookies set to clear) immediately you’re done.

When the laws have so spectacularly failed to keep up with the data processors, limiting how your information is gathered online is the only way to be sure. Though as we’ve written before it’s not easy.

Privacy is personal and unfortunately, with the laws lagging, the personal is now trivially cheap and easy to weaponize for political dark arts that treat democracy as a game of PR, debasing the entire system in the process.




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Despite Brexit, UK startups can compete with Silicon Valley to win tech talent – gpgmail


Brexit has taken over discourse in the UK and beyond. In the UK alone, it is mentioned over 500 million times a day, in 92 million conversations — and for good reason. While the UK has yet to leave the EU, the impact of Brexit has already rippled through industries all over the world. The UK’s technology sector is no exception. While innovation endures in the midst of Brexit, data reveals that innovative companies are losing the ability to attract people from all over the world and are suffering from a substantial talent leak. 

It is no secret that the UK was already experiencing a talent shortage, even without the added pressure created by today’s political landscape. Technology is developing rapidly and demand for tech workers continues to outpace supply, creating a fiercely competitive hiring landscape.

The shortage of available tech talent has already created a deficit that could cost the UK £141 billion in GDP growth by 2028, stifling innovation. Now, with Brexit threatening the UK’s cosmopolitan tech landscape — and the economy at large — we may soon see international tech talent moving elsewhere; in fact, 60% of London businesses think they’ll lose access to tech talent once the UK leaves the EU.

So, how can UK-based companies proactively attract and retain top tech talent to prevent a Brexit brain drain? UK businesses must ensure that their hiring funnels are a top priority and focus on understanding what matters most to tech talent beyond salary, so that they don’t lose out to US tech hubs. 

Brexit aside, why is San Francisco more appealing than the UK?


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Fitbit, Andela, AfricaTech, startups and Brexit, plus content moderation – gpgmail


Programming note: Happy Labor Day!

To our U.S.-based readers, happy Labor Day weekend. Extra Crunch will be off on Monday and will resume publishing next Tuesday.

Reminder: EC ticket discounts for Enterprise Sessions and Disrupt SF

Next week, we will be hosting our Enterprise Sessions event at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It’s a killer lineup, and directly follows up on Ron and Frederic’s Extra Crunch coverage around quantum computing, next-generation cloud services, artificial intelligence, and data center orchestration. I just checked in with the events team, and we are down to the last dozen or so tickets before the fire marshal gets angry — so if you want to join us, please snag a ticket soon.

I will be at Yerba Buena all day, so if you are a subscriber and you are attending next Thursday, feel free to reach out — would love to meet any of you in person.

Meanwhile, gpgmail Disrupt SF is about a month away, and it also has a stellar lineup. This year, we have a dedicated “Extra Crunch” stage focused on helping founders build their companies, from how to fundraise without dilution, to massively growing a team at scale, to how to build a brand and reach out to media. In addition, we will have a special Extra Crunch members-only lounge space as just one of a couple of ways we are trying to make our premium readers feel special at our biggest event of the year.

Today is the last day before ticket prices rise, so if you’re interested in coming, be sure to get an order in.

For all gpgmail events, EC annual subscribers get a 20% ticket discount. Just reach out to customer service at extracrunch@Gpgmail.com and they will get you all squared away.

Fitbit’s CEO discusses the company’s subscription future

Our hardware editor Brian Heater got a chance to sit down with James Park, CEO of Fitbit, about a topic near and dear to my heart: consumer subscriptions. With the rise of consumer fitness subscription startups like Peloton, which recently filed its S-1, the business model of fitness is being upended, and now Fitbit is preparing to move even more in this direction. Be sure to also check out Brian’s earlier analysis of the state of the smartwatch.

Heater:The narrative around Apple’s last several quarters, as far as how they’re allocating, is a shift into content. Do you think that more and more of the revenue is going to be generated by content and services versus hardware?

Park: Yeah, I think more of our profits, because of the gross margin profile, will be generated by the software and services. But I think the good thing for our category in general is that unlike smartphones, the hardware portion is still rapidly growing in many countries around the world.

If you look at smartwatches, they’re growing 30% or higher per year. And for us, in the first half, trackers actually grew 51% year over year. So there’s still a lot of innovation and growth in the hardware portion of wearables. But where we do see things rapidly taking off is in software and services.


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How UK VCs are managing the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit – gpgmail


Grab your economic zombie mask: A Halloween “no deal” Brexit is careening into view. New prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the country will leave the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal — “do or die” as he put it. A year earlier as the foreign secretary, he used an even more colorful phrase to skewer diplomatic concern about the impact of a hard Brexit on business — reportedly condensing his position to a pithy expletive: “Fuck business.”

It was only a few years ago during the summer of 2016, following the shock result of the UK’s in/out EU referendum, the government’s aspiration was to leave in a “smooth and orderly” manner as the prelude to a “close and special” future trading partnership, as then PM Theresa May put it. A withdrawal deal was negotiated but repeatedly rejected by parliament. The PM herself was next to be despatched.

Now, here we are. The U.K. has arrived at a political impasse in which the nation is coasting toward a Brexit cliff edge. We’re at the brink here, with domestic politics turned upside down, because “no deal” is the only leverage left for “do or die” brexiteers that parliament can’t easily block.

Ironic because there’s no majority in parliament for “no deal.” But the end of the Article 50 extension period represents a legal default — a hard deadline that means the U.K. will soon fall out of the EU unless additional action is taken. Of course time itself can’t be made to grind to a halt. So “no deal” is the easy option for a government that’s made doing anything else to sort Brexit really really hard.

After three full years of Brexit uncertainty, the upshot for U.K. business is there’s no end in sight to even the known unknowns. And now a clutch of unknown unknowns seems set to pounce come Halloween when the country steps into the chaos of leaving with nada, as the current government says it must.

So how is the U.K. tech industry managing the risk of a chaotic exit from the European Union? The prevailing view among investors about founders is that Brexit means uncertain business as usual. “Resilience is the mother of entrepreneurship!” was the almost glib response of one VC asked how founders are coping.

“This is no worse than the existential dread that most founders feel every day about something or other,” said another, dubbing Brexit “just an enormous distraction.” And while he said the vast majority of founders in the firm’s portfolio would rather the whole thing was cancelled — “most realize it’s not going to be so they just want to get on.”


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