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Straight Talk with Nigel Hollis

Nigel Hollis Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Under Armour appeals to women to help power growth

The story of Under Armour cannot be described as rags to riches but nearly $3 billion in sales is a long way from selling T-shirts from the trunk of a car.  Moreover, Under Armour has just been named as Ad Age's 2014 Marketer of the Year. The accolade comes not for marketing to its traditional target of male athletes, but their female counterparts. A move that required the brand to step outside its comfort zone.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why Lidl’s Surprises ad should be no surprise

The hard discounter Lidl is facing a tough challenge in the UK even though its success to date has put traditional supermarket brands on the back foot. Lidl is reasonably well-known for offering low prices but a minority thinks the brand will meet their needs and even less find it appealing. To gain market share Lidl must challenge people’s belief that cheap prices mean poor quality and the Surprises ad does just that.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Placement of a Toyota ad highlights issues with digital ad buying

A few weeks ago Sue Elms and I were discussing the rise of programmatic ad buying and she noted that really little had changed since the old days. As she put it, you still had to brief the media buyer you just did not buy them lunch to do so. Joking apart Sue was addressing a really important issue: proper briefing and auditing is necessary irrespective of how the media plan is bought.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Monty the Penguin Wins Battle of the UK Christmas Ads After All

A couple of weeks ago I posted about two UK retailers’ Christmas ads: John Lewis’s Monty the Penguin and Sainsbury’s Christmas is for Sharing. I suggested that the Sainsbury’s ad was the better of the two for its ability to touch an emotional chord with the UK public. I had little evidence for this opinion other than my own feelings and professional experience. And apparently I was wrong...

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Coffee Wars: Kraft teams up with McDonald’s while Starbucks goes premium

A while back Starbucks gave Kraft the cold shoulder when it took back grocery distribution from the food company. Now Kraft seems to have found a new partner in McDonald’s and plans strong support for the national rollout of McCafé bagged coffee. Meanwhile, Starbucks will introduce new stores focused on upscale coffees.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Are Amazon’s aspirations ever going to come true?

According to the New York Times, Amazon’s sales in the third quarter of the year fell $250 million short of expectations. This is nothing new for the online retailer. Losses at the twenty year old company have been getting ever larger, making me wonder why investors continue to be so bullish on Amazon. Just when do they expect it to make good on its potential?

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Coca-Cola hopes Fairlife milk will rain money

By now I am sure that you will have heard that Coca-Cola’s newest play to reduce its dependency on soda is to launch a new brand of milk in the USA. Fairlife is a joint venture between Coca-Cola and the Select Milk Producers dairy co-op, which has less sugar but more protein and calcium than regular milk. It will also cost more.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Brands must distinguish between human motivations and technological change

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been a pervasive meme spreading through society in general; and the marketing community specifically. The meme holds that humans are changing and that the old rules do not apply. The problem is that if marketers take this at face value, and act like everything is changing then they will fail to leverage the true power of branding.

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