Brand Republic's top stories of 2007
As Brand Republic takes a break for Christmas and the New Year, we leave you with a 10-part round-up of 2007 as told through some of the site's most-read stories, from Brand Republic, Campaign, Marketing and Media Week.
1 Social networks rule the world
This year was dominated by developments in social networking, as Facebook took up the baton from MySpace, YouTube and Google as the hot digital media property.
Brands embraced Facebook, with Cadbury twigging that the existence of a 14,000 strong group 'Bring Back Wispa' was reason enough to do just that. O2 went one better by starting its own group offering a prize of a £50,000 party to the university able to make the most Facebook "noise". More than 63,000 people joined in 11 days.
Over-50s brand Saga liked the idea of social networking so much that it started its own, perhaps sensibly deciding not to gatecrash the Facebook-Bebo-MySpace party.
2 Ad chiefs take on new media
Maybe new media owners are partying too hard, warned Publicis chief Maurice Levy, who said in November it's all going to crash again because there is too little online adspend to support the market.
This was after Sir Martin Sorrell hit out at Google in April, as WPP's "short-term friend and long-term enemy", when the search giant lined up a $3.1bn deal to buy online display ad network DoubleClick. Sorrell went on to swallow smaller network 24/7 Real Media in May, while Google has just received regulatory clearance for the DoubleClick acquisition.
3 Hammers fall on Virgin Media and Emap
On the day of Virgin Media's launch in February, news broke that rival pay-TV operator Sky had slashed the amount it pays to carry Virgin's channels by 75%. This started a war of attrition that lingered throughout the year.
An equally gruelling year for Emap, including redundancies, resignations and then a full-scale auction, culminated with H Bauer agreeing to buy its consumer magazine and radio divisions, with GMG and Apax taking the B2B division on December 21.
In other media stories, the launch of ShortList was well-followed by publishers and advertisers curious about a free alternative to the established men's magazines. Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday enraged music retailers by giving away the new Prince album.
4 Media bosses move on
Fru Hazlitt's surprise switch from Virgin Radio to GCap Media, where she has just been appointed chief executive on December 20, was one of the year's most-read stories, but equally well-followed was Christine Walker's announcement she was retiring from Walker Media.
Likewise, PHD's Jonathan Durden left the agency he founded, but chose to look for spiritual development at creative agency Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy and in front of the Big Brother TV cameras.
Sadly, Nigel Johnson, the IDS agency sales associate director who passed away in October, will also be missed by the media industry.
5 Adland sees high-profile exits too
Rupert Howell switched sides, leaving his role as EMEA chairman of McCann Erickson and joining ITV months later as managing director of brand and commercial.
Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R was hit by the departure of chief executive James Murphy, creative director Ben Priest and planning director David Golding in June. The trio resigned to set up their own agency, which is yet to launch.
In another high-profile resignation, Bruce Haines quit his chairman and chief executive position at Leo Burnett UK after disagreements about the future management structure, following the integration of Leo Burnett and sister agency Arc.
6 Green claims under the microscope
This year green went mainstream as a marketing issue, but readers picked up on two cautionary tales.
Firstly, Boeing received an ASA ban for a print ad that promoted its commitment to helping the environment, but was found to have made misleading claims regarding how much CO2 per passenger its 747-8 Intercontinental plane emits. The ASA also ruled against Ryanair and Shell.
Secondly, research indicated the strength of consumer scepticism about brands' claims to be green. The Ipsos MORI survey showed four out of five Britons now believe companies pretend to be ethical just to sell more products.
7 Beauty backlashes
When it comes to ad claims, the cosmetics industry has had a fair few brushes with the ASA. This year it was L'Oreal's turn for a dressing down after one eagle-eyed viewer complained that Penelope Cruz was wearing false eyelashes in L'Oreal's Telescopic Mascara TV spot.
While Dove manufacturer Unilever got on the right side of public opinion in May by banning size zero models from its advertising. However, it stumbled when the latest Dove viral campaign provoked calls of hypocrisy from those who said the message conflicted with Unilever's Lynx/Axe marketing.
"Onslaught", the follow-up to the lauded "evolution", juxtaposed a little girl with hundreds of cosmetic advertising images, with the message "Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does". One video response used Lynx/Axe advertising images of scantily-clad women instead with the message "Talk to your daughter before Unilever does".
8 The logo must die
The backlash of the year was the public reaction to Wolff Olin's logo for the London 2012 Olympic Games. One Facebooker (no, you can't escape it) rode the wave of bile by starting a group petition objecting to the logo, then cynically "hijacking" it to push his unsigned band to the 4,000 members.
9 Monkey and Kurt live
ITV Digital icon Monkey was resurrected by Mother for a different client, PG Tips, five years after disappearing from TV screens. Again paired with Vegas, the public welcomed the puppet back.
Saatchis had less luck bringing back dead music icons Kurt Cobain and Sid Vicious for a Dr Martens ad. The agency was fired by the client for running the print ads, showing Kurt and Sid wearing the boots in heaven, without its permission.
10 BBC furores
One of the things that warms certain industry hearts is a good "BBC in the dock" story. We all know about the Queen and the phone-ins, but don't forget the 91 complaints about Jeremy Clarkson strapping a dead cow on his car roof, or the dementedly filthy HIV awareness viral, or the fuss over product placement on 'The Apprentice'.
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