Robin Langford Robin Langford Premium Content Editor, Performance Marketing World

This week on PMW: Meta’s new agency, early Christmas for John Lewis

Why did John Lewis launch its Christmas ad two weeks early? Who won Facebook’s lucrative Meta account? And it's all change at TikTok’s top. We round-up the biggest stories in performance marketing this week...


Power up: new tools for performance marketers

The marketing landscape is becoming ever more fractured, and brands are demanding more safety measures to ensure they do not appear next to inappropriate content. As such, DoubleVerify (DV) has launched its Authentic Brand Suitability solution with Tremor International, allowing Tremor Video and Unruly advertising clients to create a centralised set of brand safety and suitability and fraud controls across campaigns and devices. Traditionally, advertisers have used ad blocking to prevent their ads appearing in unsuitable environments – however, brands still incur the cost of this media. This tool aligns pre- and post-bid settings, significantly reducing wasted cost of media through pre-bid avoidance. DV data shows an overall 26% lower block rate for programmatic media properties. 

Adtech firm Ogury has launched a new ‘Header Ad’ format, focused on improving users' advertising experience. The Header Ad appears at the top of mobile screens which resizes once users begin to interact with content on the webpage, yielding higher clicks per minute (CPMs) than traditional top of screen ads. The format is certified by the Coalition for Better Ads, and the non-intrusive format delivers ad content whilst respecting and improving a user’s advertising experience. Users can also expand the ad in full screen mode, or they can simply close the ad via an exit button. As with all Ogury formats, users are given choice and control over their ad experience.

Mastercard-owned e-commerce verification platform Ekata has teamed with Singapore’s Advance.ai on a suite of B2B digital identity offerings and risk prevention solutions for customers in South and Southeast Asia. Through the partnership, Ekata’s account opening platform will be incorporated into Advance.ai’s service offerings — which include digital identity verification, risk and credit scoring and digital lending — to deliver data and risk information to its customers. Advance.ai, part of Advance Intelligence Group, works with companies in the banking, financial services, FinTech, payments, retail and eCommerce vertical markets. Mastercard bought Ekata for $850million in April.

Clubhouse has announced that its audio chat app will support 13 new languages, making the app accessible to millions of people that do not speak English and allowing them to use Clubhouse in their native language.Local language support will mean the app experience, such as prompts, notifications, descriptions, topics and more, will be displayed in a user’s native language. The update was developed in response to community feedback, having been one of the most requested features in non-English speaking markets. The feature will be rolled out on Android first, followed quickly by additional languages and iOS. The first wave will see the app available in the following languages:French, German, Hindi, Indonesian Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Malayalam, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, Tamil, Telugu. 


Get inspired: latest campaigns and brand wins

Swedish food company Oatly has gone very post-modern with a clever ad-within-an-ad that many performance marketers will appreciate. Shot in The Netherlands, the spot begins with a bus stop, then includes a boat, a truck, a newspaper, a billboard, an organ player, social media and a mural. The Oatly Department of Mind Control, its in-house creative team, created the ad. 


John Lewis has launched its much-anticipated Christmas ad from long-time agency Adam&Eve / DDB earlier than expected this year, after an early surge in online searches for festive products. The Ozone Projects's Christmas insights across its publisher partners support these findings, seeing its audience growing earlier and currently at a rate just over 9% faster than last year, due to a combination of factors including pandemic fatigue and the threat of shortages. As a result, the brand is deploying more inspirational Christmas editorial in preparation for a more celebratory 2021 festive season. The two-minute ad, entitled Unexpected Guest, was launched in an email to loyalty cardholders at 6.30am on Thursday before hitting the department store’s website and social media channels at 8am, and getting its first TV airing at 8.15pm during The Pride of Britain Awards on ITV.



Zenith UK has won the consolidated ZPG/RVU business which includes Zoopla and Confused.com as well as retained Uswitch. This news follows the competitive pitch that took place earlier this year. The decision comes as the three brands align their agency relationships to form a stronger and more collaborative approach. The move to align the media planning and buying strategy across the three brands follows the recent acquisition of Confused.com by ZPG’s comparison arm, RVU. Confused.com, Uswitch and Zoopla have worked together through an extensive pitch process to find an agency that will help drive them forward in their future growth ambitions. Zenith has been appointed to represent all three brands after winning the Uswitch account in 2020, and will begin working with Zoopla and Confused.com in the coming months, under the new collaborative approach.

Lego is hosting an augmented reality Harry Potter mystery hunt to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its wizard-themed toy range, in partnership with agency The Producers.The UK-wide experience, which takes place on 6 and 7 November, requires participants to solve clues in a race against time. Lego is hosting an augmented reality Harry Potter mystery hunt to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its wizard-themed toy range. The experience (which can also be played online), requires participants to solve clues in a race against time. City hunts in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff will each use a three-foot gold Lego Harry Potter statue as the starting point. Players will then use their phones to solve hidden AR clues to unlock three secret words that reveal the location of a life-size Lego Ford Anglia, the flying car that featured in the books and films. The finder of the car will win a range of prizes including Lego Harry Potter and tickets to Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.  

Publicis has created an entirely new spin-off agency to work with cleaning equipment firm Kärcher. Dubbed Publicis Boost. Kärcher chose the team as its global agency partner after a multi-stage competitive pitch. Ebiquity advised on the process. The agency will handle content, commerce, PR, performance, production and media planning and buying for the brand. 


Global technology firm Xiaomi has launched the new Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE smartphone in Europe with a regional marketing campaign that put the Xiaomi fans in the spotlight. The ‘New Talent’ campaign ran across six countries including UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Netherlands, and invited members of the public to put themselves forward to be the star of the marketing promotion.The competition saw more than 300 people enter from across the six countries by sharing a photo to their social media and explaining why they wanted to represent Xiaomi. The shortlisted candidates were then invited to a series of professional photoshoots taking place in different European cities. The 52 finalists had their images and bios uploaded to a special ‘New Talent’ website, where more than 18,000 people voted for their favourite to win.   The campaign was supported with promotion across Xiaomi’s social channels including Facebook, Instagram and the Xiaomi community forums – where fans could share, comment and like to show support for their favourites to win. Voting closed for the competition on the 10th October and two winners were announced from each of the six countries. All country winners were then flown to Milan to take part in the final group photo shoot for the Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE advertising campaign, which launched at the end of October.  


UK comparison site Confused.com partnered with the Danish technology-based market research company AudienceProject to start measuring who actually saw their online ads and if they could invest their advertising budget more efficiently.On the reasoning behind entering the partnership with AudienceProject. With AudienceProject’s cross-media audience measurement platform, AudienceReport, Confused.com is collecting insights on de-duplicated campaign audience reach and frequency across channels, as well as insights on the incremental reach of their online video and TV campaigns. This provides the comparison site with a holistic view of their campaigns’ performance, supporting both the planning and optimisation of campaigns.

Riot Games is set to announce the launch of its global campaign to promote the upcoming League of Legends Netflix series, Arcane.Together with London based creative agency We Are Collider, the fully integrated campaign will feature a blend of experiential, digital, social and out-of-home activations in Paris, London, Madrid, Istanbul, Singapore and Los Angeles happening throughout the month in line with the staggered release of the episodes.The campaign will see the city of Piltover brought from the screen to the real world, with pop-up stores showcasing the magic of ‘Hextech’ from the series. The first activation saw the Burj Khalifa taken over with a bespoke video on Sunday evening, with the Paris store opening tomorrow, and the London hoarding ready to be dropped on Saturday.

House of Fraser has become House of Festive as it launches its 2021 Christmas TV campaign - created in collaboration with What’s Possible Creative Studio and The Specialist Works, both part of the What’s Possible Group. At the heart of the campaign is a reminder of the joy of Christmas, gifting and shopping and features a multi-generational cast luxuriating in the fun, extravagant, festiveness of the season – everything they can find at the ‘House of Festive’.T he creative is a collaboration between House of Fraser and What’s Possible Creative Studio. Media strategy, planning and buying is managed by stablemates The Specialist Works - both part of the recently launched independent marketing business - What’s Possible Group. The campaign is aimed at Christmas gifters, in particular those who see the Christmas shopping trip as an annual event, buying for all, and so needing the unique mix of brands and departments on offer at House of Fraser. The campaign centres on AV broadcast media through linear TV, BVOD and Sky AdSmart and will be supported with OOH, radio, digital and in-store activity.


Disney has launched a global 3.5-minute Christmas film about a family with Filipino roots that is destined to play in global markets, complete with 12 local-language versions of its soundtrack song, optimised for maximum performance across regions. 



Nespresso UK is partnering with Guardian Labs, the Guardian’s branded content division, as part of a new sustainability campaign, devised and brokered by media agency, Zenith. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of Nespresso’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and belief  that coffee can be a force for good. The partnership consists of a front-and-back Nespresso wrap of Guardian Labs’ supplement, included within the Guardian Saturday paper. This content follows on from a digital sponsorship campaign launched last month, including bespoke ads which featured in the Guardian’s podcast. In addition to the Guardian Labs sponsorship campaign, Zenith has supported the partnership with video ads on YouTube, all of which are running through global ad tech platform Good-Loop. Through the company’s brand new “This Ad Plants Trees’ format, every time someone watches these ads, it unlocks a free donation to fund tree planting around the world. Good Loop will plant at least 136,217 trees as a result of this campaign alone. 


The Times and The Sunday Times have today launched The Times Earth Ad Fund - a £1million advertising fund for sustainability SMEs and charities. Five winners will earn £200,000 of prime Times, Sunday Times and Times Radio advertising inventory to promote their products or services to the influential Times audience with the titles also offering help and advice on messaging, marketing and branding. The Times Earth Ad Fund, welcomes applications from SMEs that have no more than 25 employees, but at least one, or turn over no more than £5m per annum. Entrants must detail a sustainable initiative, invention, product or service that will help Times readers lead more sustainable lives. Sustainability and Environmental Charities of any size are also eligible and encouraged to apply.


The changing marketing landscape: partnerships, mergers and rebrands

After much speculation, Facebook-owner Meta has hired Spark Foundry as its global media agency. The Publicis Groupe-owned media agency takes over the account from WPP's Mindshare and Dentsu. The estimated $1billion global media account will see Spark Foundry (previously known as MediaVest) will handle media across Facebook and its other brands. WPP’s Mindshare had handled Facebook since 2014 but declined to repitch.

Saber Interactive, a global game publisher and developer, best known for World War Z, NBA Playgrounds and Snowrunner, and Anzu, an in-game advertising company, have signed an exclusive partnership deal for an upcoming unannounced Saber title. The partnership will see the two companies collaborate to bring blended in-game ad placements to a highly anticipated AAA title, set to launch on PC and console later this year. The move will mean Anzu’s placements will be implemented within the game from day one, giving advertisers an opportunity to reach players at launch via ads that are built into 3D objects that sit within the game’s environment.


Rakuten Advertising and Xandr – AT&T’s advanced advertising company – have expanded their partnership with Xandr’s Global Supply Evangelism Team (GSET) and the adoption of Xandr’s Monetize SSP. With the adoption of Monetize SSP, premium inventory that sits within Rakuten Advertising’s unified portfolio across connected TV (CTV), digital video, and native will be available in the Xandr marketplace. In Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greece and Poland, Xandr’s buyers will be offered CTV and video inventory across Rakuten Viki, Rakuten TV and Rakuten Viber. The portfolio will be promoted globally through GSET and have monetisation services and deals set up for buyers in-market on their behalf.

VidMob, a platform for Intelligent Creative has announced the acquisition of advertising automation company Chiligum.  As a result of the acquisition, VidMob is now able to offer full-stack creative operations solution for marketers. This allows more brands to tap into creative optimisation, which has grown in importance due to an increasingly fractured marketing landscape. VidMob’s technology enables brands to understand the impact of messaging and creative on advertising campaign performance and provides real-time insights that can be implemented by creative teams.  With Chiligum, ads can be instantly versioned and personalised at scale, which is particularly valuable for brands with large product catalogues, dynamic pricing and promotion needs, or the desire to deliver personalised advertising. 


The Datrix Group has acquired Adapex, enabling Adapex’s publishing partners to maximise data-driven revenue via artificial intelligence. Datrix, the leading global provider of AI solutions that help companies transform data into monetisable insights, said that joining forces with Adapex, the leading technology company providing digital advertising operations to publishers, will enable the companies to help publishers and a wide variety of other sites better monetise audience data and chart a future for open web advertising just as audience information disappears from the market in the privacy-first, cookieless era. Adapex helps more than 700 sites with 20 billion monthly impressions leverage ads to monetise their relationships with audiences. Datrix provides a world-class data analytics and monetisation solution to some of the world’s largest companies.

Astro, a fast commerce startup in Indonesia, has obtained a US$4.5million) seed funding.Traders are World Founders Capital, AC Ventures, Lightspeed Enterprise Companions, and Goodwater Capital.The startup will use the funds to construct and strengthen the know-how and operations groups and increase into new areas in Jakarta. Launched in September 2021 by Vincent Tjendra, former affiliate VP at Tokopedia, Astro affords greater than 1,000 merchandise starting from day by day requirements (snacks, recent fruit, and greens) to emergency over-the-counter medicines. The agency claims it does the product supply in quarter-hour and operates 24×7. At the moment, Astro has serves clients in Senayan, Permata Hijau, Gandaria, Kuningan, SCBD, Kemang, Cilandak, Cipete, Puri Indah, Kebon Jeruk, Kelapa Gading, and PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk) areas.

Silicon Valley based tech company Treasure Data has won an extra $234million in a new funding round, led by Softbank Corp. Treasure Data is a leading enterprise customer data platform (CDP), and the investment will be the largest single funding round for a CDP to date. The investment reflects the company’s global ambitions, and the growing appetite from the industry to deliver data-driven customer experience in a secure and privacy-compliant way.

Tremor International has struck an exclusive global ACR data partnership with VIDAA, a smart TV operating system and content platform. The VIDAA OS is preinstalled on most TVs manufactured by Hisense, one of the top global TV manufacturers, and also integrated into a number of premium OEMs, so the value goes beyond just the privacy-safe data from millions of Hisense TVs to include ACR data from top OEMs that use the VIDAA OS like Toshiba.


Ones to watch: movers and shakers in performance marketing

TikTok’s owner has seen a big change at the top this week. ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming has stepped down as chairman, to be replaceded by Liang Rubo as new CEO. The development comes as the company, along with its peers such as Alibaba and Tencent, faces mounting pressure amid China’s crackdown on internet titans. In an internal letter to employees, 38-year-old Zhang said he is making the transition to spend more time on “long-term strategy, corporate culture and social responsibility.” It was also recently reported that ByteDance is gearing up for a major business reshuffle and will set up six new units.  Zhang will remain as a member of the board at ByteDance.


MediaCom has appointed Adrian Walcott as its first external board advisor to drive its ‘People First’ strategy.  Adrian will be responsible for leading the cultural, inclusion and business transformation at the UK’s largest media agency. He will also provide an external viewpoint on MediaCom’s culture and work in partnership with the leadership team. Walcott brings a wealth of experience having worked for some of the UK’s most recognisable companies such as Barclays and Eurostar. He is also the co-founder of oturningback2020.com, a social enterprise focused of encouraging more people from diverse backgrounds into the communications industry and launched consultancy Brands With Values.


Mobile marketing automation leader Upstream has appointed George Kalyvas as its new Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). Kalyvas – currently Chief Operating Officer and a 12-year veteran at the company ­– takes on an extended role to ensure seamless to market leadership and execution. Upstream announced the new appointment as part of a plan to strengthen its team to support a period of accelerated growth. Verticals, customers, revenue and profitability at the company are forecast to grow significantly over the coming years as the company’s innovative customer engagement and acquisition solutions – under its recently launched ‘Grow’ mobile marketing platform – are rapidly adopted by mobile network operators (MNOs) and other enterprises in some of the world’s most promising markets. 


TV ad measurement and attribution TVSquared has announced the appointment of Debbie Wogan as chief revenue officer (CRO) and Jessica Hindlian as senior vice president (SVP) of identity and partnerships. With identity a hot-button issue throughout the adtech sector, Hindlian joins TVSquared to lead the ongoing development of its identity-resolution strategy, bringing over 20 years of TV and adtech experience ,including roles with Nielsen and TransUnion. Wogan brings more than two decades of digital sales leadership experience, working with large-scale advertisers, having previously held senior roles at Amazon, Spotify, Catalina, and BlogHer.


Independent ad platform Adform has appointed Barbara Daliri Freyduni to its Board of Directors. Daliri Freyduni joins Adform with over twenty years of marketing experience for global brands, having overseen growth strategies for Microsoft, Netflix, Google and Zalando. She is also currently Chief Growth Officer at cryptocurrency exchange, Bitstamp. As a member of the board at Adform, Barbara will contribute her advertiser-side insights on digital marketing to the company’s strategy decisions.

Zefr, a global data company for brand suitability in video, is announcing the appointment of Jan Jacoby as Commercial Director DACH. In his new role, Jacoby will focus on spearheading the growth of Zefr’s contextual video data platform in the DACH region.  Jacoby joins Zefr after five years in management and digital consulting. He also has over a decade of experience in adtech, working for the likes of eBay, Yahoo and AutoScout24.


Bazaarvoice has named former SAP and IBM marketing expert Zarina Lam Stanford as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). With the appointment of Zarina, Bazaarvoice - the leading provider of product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) solutions – is well positioned to deliver its mission to enable brands and retailers to mobilise the full potential of user-generated content (UGC) and how it can unlock growth opportunities by harnessing the power of consumer voices. Prior to joining Bazaarvoice, Stanford was Chief Communication and Marketing Officer of Rackspace Technology and held senior sales and marketing executive positions at publicly held companies such as IBM and SAP, and private equity firm Syniti. Stanford was recently named among the 2021 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business by the Asian American Business Development Center (AABDC) and is a member of the Marketing Academy CMO Fellow.

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