Data. Measurement. Analytics. 

In today’s connected age, advertising and marketing heavily relies on these at every stage. And it makes sense too on one level, as the consumers themselves are always connected. 

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We are on our phones 185 to 225 minutes every day, with over 52% of us checking it within five minutes of waking. We are spending more and more time at work staring at screens, and we prefer to ‘window shop’ and then shop online rather than put on pants and go to the store. We don’t know a term or word or information, we search online. Information as well as misinformation is at our fingertips. And all our activities leave tire tracks on virtual roads for brands to track.

Going back in time

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But you see, I am sometimes a little old school. While I acknowledge and believe in the power of the right data harnessed correctly, I am also a storyteller who believes that stories are capable of magic. Stories like they have always been told by poets, writers, filmmakers and more.

Let’s start with an example. Have you observed the reactions of audiences when they watch a movie, a play, a poetry recital? What are the emotions they feel, and what are the reactions that are elicited? No algorithm can influence emotion the way a heartfelt monologue or a perfectly timed comedic slip of tongue can. 

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What the algorithm CAN do however is make sure the right audiences know that their favourite actor is going to have a new movie, it can find out what they did not like about a scene and if it offended anyone so that the next ones are better. In other words, data can tell me if 60% of those who attended a play liked it more than the last, but numbers cannot tell me what appealed to them more this time.

Marrying data with content

And this is where I make my primary point – it is crucial for brands that their strong data is married to good content. Several brands invest heavily in getting the information, but not enough in reading between-the-lines with that information, and then turning it back into a story.

According to me, the journey of content and data should be as below:

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Step 1:

Gather crucial data that helps you know your target consumer and demographic

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Step 2:

Read between the lines to find out the key factors that influence this consumer – what do they care about, what are their thoughts - what is it that ‘makes them tick’

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Step 3:

Use the data and analysis to paint a picture for that consumer in a way that emotionally resonates

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Step 4:

Go back to data to make sure that consumer experiences that story

Location is not just a stage prop

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Televisions are used to tell larger stories, and mobile gives you the opportunity to get personal and intimate. When it comes to location based advertising, your placement also plays a role in the story. 

Are you advertising in a salon? Alright. Imagine the setting – calm, positive, a place where women feel good about themselves, feel pampered. They want brands to make them feel happy too. Give them information that makes their lives easier, or benefits them, adds value with a discount or offer, or makes sense in their otherwise busy life. They have the time to look at your message for more than 3 seconds, to listen to you and consider what you are telling them. They want context, more information and detail. For example, ‘We want to make you feel just as relaxed as you are feeling right now’, would be a great start for a product that makes chores easier. And it builds on the location. It tells them the story, and tells them you are listening. 

Find your perfect story, and then find the right stage to showcase it to your consumer – give it the spotlight it deserves.

Rouge Media can help you get your story across to the right audience with our socio-demographically targeted networks, and wide reach. Ask us for more details on how we can take your brand to your consumer.


Haem Roy

Marketing at Rouge Media

T: +1 416.360.8120 x 249

e-mail: h.roy@rougemedia.com

Haem Roy has been telling stories for brands for over 11 years across advertising, marketing, branded content, radio, television and now Out of Home. As the Marketing lead, she builds and showcases the story of Rouge Media, and continues to believe in magic.

The quick guide to buying the best location-based media for your brand

No one knows the brand better than the brand managers and brand marketers themselves. They know the habits of consumers, consumer journeys, what makes them tick and what they don’t like. The next step is to reach that consumer you know very well.

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A great and impactful way to do so is Location Based advertising. If your brand has a key demographic, location based advertising lets you target your communication to that primary demographic in a concentrated way. Rather than risk overspill and hence lower ROI, location based advertising makes sure you are spending your marketing budget on showing your ad to just the consumers it interests.

Alright, so you have decided to invest in location based media. But how can you ensure you get the maximum bang for your buck? Here is a quick guide - from one brand marketer to another.

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1.   Pick the right location

Your consumers frequent several places during the course of their journey. But it is key to pick the locations they spend the most time at, and the places where they are most likely to view your message. A fleeting glance will not do your communication any good. For example, when speaking to a female demographic, our clients choose the Rouge Women’s network because a woman spends an average of 45 minutes to 2 hours at a salon every visit, with plenty of time during that visit to view the ad in its entirety and maybe even think about it or search about the product online. That’s a marker of a good location for your brand to be in.

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2.   Give them an incentive

Location based advertising is not bombarding a mass message. It is specifically telling a certain consumer about something they are interested in. And the best way to push them closer to purchase is to offer them an incentive when you have their undivided attention. When given a coupon, or sale offer or a special discount, consumers are more likely to remember your brand and move it to the top of their list of considerations. If not a sweet deal, give them something to engage with. For example, they can scan a QR code or text a number to get a deal, or get more information. The important part here is to incite them to further engage with your brand.

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3.   Customize the communication

A TVC or poster will not fail to be noticed in a specially selected location. However, why stop there when you can go a step further and make it memorable for longer? A sure fire way to build good recall for your brand is to offer entertaining and customized communication. Branded content is a great way to start this. Local cues and references are another good option. For example, you could offer tips about a topic that is related, or you could make a short film, or even just refer to the weather and connect it back to your brand. Or even build an emotional connection through something they are passionate about. I always say, start with your consumer insight and find what is entertaining for that consumer, and then find the sweet spot where it matches your brand. That’s your connection.

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4.    Don’t stop there

Make it an experience for your consumer. Offer free samples to drive them to purchase, or retarget them so they don’t forget within the next 48 hours. As most top marketers and brands know, the key to leading the market is not to remind consumers about you in a big way once in a while, but to ensure you are never forgotten in the first place.


Location based advertising is a great medium for your brand to stand in the spotlight, and speak directly to your target audience. What will you do with the stage you are given?

Connect with us if you want to know more about location based advertising, or advertise in any of our targeted networks, or even just chat and get our recommendations.


Haem Roy

Marketing at Rouge Media

T: +1 416.360.8120 x 249

e-mail: h.roy@rougemedia.com

A Balanced Meal

(Article originally published on HuffPost and AW360 for Advertising Week New York)

Cooking Blindly


Imagine for a moment: you are in a new kitchen with all the tools, recipe and ingredients in their exact quantities to prepare your favorite meal. Now let us assume that at no point through the cooking process do you taste the food, or test for completion using any of your other senses. In the end, you might produce a good meal; you have, after all, followed the process and quantitative directions while cooking. However, there is a chance that the food is not quite done, or possibly overdone as you did not account for the nuances and particulars related to working with unfamiliar equipment.

Neglecting to incorporate qualitative data has meant you may have missed an opportunity for the meal to be as ideal as possible. You might find the concept of cooking without using any of your five senses ridiculous; however, marketers sometimes fall into this very trap. In the age of Big Data, advertisers are hyper-focused on quantitative benchmarks and measures, which occasionally causes us to overlook qualitative data that is necessary in understanding the complete scope of what we aim to accomplish.


The Data Trap

On November 8, 2016 as the world watched Donald J. Trump become the 45th President of the United States of America, many people found themselves scratching their heads wondering how this came to pass. Polling data on the day of the election from 10 major polling organizations indicates only 1accurately predicted a Trump victory. Additionally, according to RealClearPolitics.com, Trump was only higher than Clinton in the polls on July 22, 2016. Another key consideration here is that according to Bloomberg, the Trump campaign only raised 54% of the amount raised by Hilary Clinton.

Regardless of where you fall politically, it is noteworthy that despite leading in both investment and independent polling figures (key quantitative benchmarks), the Clinton campaign missed something. The diagnosis of the errors in the polls suggest "nonresponse bias" was the primary cause for error, whereby a statistically relevant number of groups of people in support of Trump were not captured enough in polling data to accurately reflect the outcome. Ultimately, this meant that there weren't enough assumptions baked in to the polling forecasts to account for the social (qualitative) phenomena which were tied to a significant amount of Trump votes.

So… what can we, as marketers and advertisers, use as learnings from this?

How Qualitative Marketing Has Been Employed

Qualitative data is challenging to analyze and can therefore, make evaluating success difficult. Because of this, we sometimes shy away from integrating it into strategy or giving it necessary weight in discussion. When we examine real-world scenarios where qualitative data is overlooked or not rigorously considered and incorporated, even the best plans are prone to fail.

As an example of a scenario in which qualitative data has helped guide strategic thinking for marketers: consider your most recent dentist visit, and how -- in many situations -- you walked away with some free toothpaste. The strategy is simple; by leveraging an expert, the objective is to keep your brand top-of-mind when the consumer makes their purchase decision at the first moment of truth. The use of a professional effectively creates an implied endorsement for the brand and product which can provoke a thought and hopefully action at shelf.

However, from a measurement standpoint, we are not sure how much toothpaste the consumer already has at home, meaning the consumer may not have an immediate need to buy and therefore switch. If they are using a competing product, and have a large enough inventory at home, you may not realize the success of your efforts until six months later. Yet, when they reach the end of their current inventory, it might prompt a try-and-switch scenario.



I would recommend we all consistently challenge ourselves at the following three key touchpoints as we plan to be more effective at incorporating qualitative data:

  • Pre-Campaign: Look for opportunity using qualitative data from observation and patterns in conjunction with quantitative data to create more tightly-woven plans. For example: leverage key life moments such as going to college, or becoming a mother. Alternatively, look for opportunities to leverage professionals and perceived experts like dentists (from the example), beauty stylists, mechanics etc.
  • During Campaign: We need to experience our campaigns as much as possible to grasp how they work by putting ourselves in the shoes of our consumers. Experience the qualitative aspects of the campaign this way while also gathering your quantitative success measures. Live it to understand it, and then market it!
  • Post Campaign: Leverage efficiency studies in addition to ROI to help measure and understand both data sets to measure success and brand health

The same way we use both measurements and instinct with cooking, as marketers we should incorporate qualitative and quantitative data in our marketing efforts and strategies. Qualitative data will help us better understand the drivers behind quantitative information. Leveraging qualitative insights may also highlight strategic opportunities not previously considered. Most importantly, asking these questions and demanding this level of detail will not only ensure we cook up the best possible plans but that we also innovate.

Finally, as with the world of food, remember that you should never be afraid to try new things!

Aaron DeFaria

Aaron DeFaria

Vice President Sales (USA) at Rouge Media 

M: +1 (310) 448 3244

e-mail: a.defaria@rougemedia.com


How can your brand engage and attract the massive US student population that has enough spending power?


As of today, the U.S. student population totals over 20 million young adults. 

Who are these students? Why should advertisers care? And how can marketers engage successfully with this group of consumers? 


Let’s start with the caring part. 

Marketers should care because of the sheer numbers.  A twenty million consumer group is big, over $400 billion in annual spending power big! During this year’s back to school season alone, students will spend more than $70 billion on various goods and services.  Furthermore, college students offer a clear market entry opportunity for advertisers.  If an advertiser successfully connects with students during their college years, it can translate into a long-term relationship between the brand and the consumer.  Under the right circumstances, today’s young adults will become future brand loyal consumers.  Just remember how cumbersome it still is to change banks, or to switch wireless providers.  It is critical for the long-term success of brands to start a relationship with consumers early.   

So, who is this American college student that we are talking to?

 It must be significantly noted that there is no longer a gender skew - the US student population is getting increasingly female.  By late 2016, women out-numbered male students, 11.7 million to 8.8 million.  Secondly, college enrolments are becoming increasingly diverse: the proportion of Hispanic and African-American student populations increased dramatically between 2000 and 2015.  Lastly, the discretionary spending powers of these young adults has been increasing constantly as a larger number of students are working full or part time. 


Now that we know who and why, the question becomes how can brands engage with these young adults? 


1.    Catch them Out-of-Home! 

Media consumption patterns are changing.  We are seeing a dramatic decrease in TV viewership amongst college students. In addition, close to 30% of US internet users will use an ad blocker in 2017.  With the recently exposed fraught in online media, even digital is facing real and fundamental challenges.  Out-of-home, on the other hand, works increasingly well when trying to connect with young adults: 51% of adults 18+ surveyed noticed a poster advertisement in the past month, the number going up to 61% for people age 18-24.  Out-of-home media is unavoidable, it is effective when compared to other media, and it works exceptionally well when targeting young consumers.  No wonder at Rouge Media, we are obsessed with out-of-home media. 



2.    The Place-based advantage


Because of today’s wide plethora of media options available to students, attention spans are limited.  Three out of every four millennials multi-task during commercial ad breaks on TV - they text, surf the web, engage on social media, etc. What does this mean for marketers? Very little time to get their point across, or finding alternative ways to communicate with this audience. College campuses are where so many young adults are in one place and spend the most amount of time. In today’s challenging media landscape, these campuses then can provide advertisers a scalable reach and frequency medium, helping brands score points in a contextually relevant setting. For example, despite all the questions surrounding the future of brick and mortar retail, three out of four college students plan to do their back-to-school shopping in-store.  Two out of every three students will do their back to school shopping in bookstores located on college campuses this year. Rouge Media enables marketers to engage with these students through a Digital OOH network it operates in over 500 colleges/university bookstores across the US. Our digital capabilities help reach an audience that is increasingly difficult to reach.  Our in-store digital media options allow brands to act quickly, so we can place advertisers at the right time and in the right location.          

3.    On-site Mobile & Social Amplification.

Not surprisingly, the younger generation is technologically savvy.  For students, this means smartphones. Students and their mobiles are inseparable as they spent more time on it than watching TV, and brands find the need to be present where they are.  Not just that, in order to be relevant to this young consumer group, brands also need to stand for something meaningful and give students the option to share the brand experiences. Rouge Media recognizes these dynamics and understands the importance of offering mobile amplification options.  By effectively integrating the mobile device to engage with students – in harmony with out-of-home media - the overall place based communications effort becomes more impactful.  It also helps extend the campaign’s overall reach and effectiveness.  Finally – and not unimportant - it will help provide marketers with valuable campaign insights.     

Intrigued?  Want to know more about how to communicate with young adults at universities?  Or with women and men in well-defined, targeted verticals?  Rouge Media markets place-based, permission-based media solutions in contextually relevant consumer environments.  Let’s talk!

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Erik Bottema   

Chief Revenue Office (USA) at                 Rouge Media 

M: +1(646) 581-6670

e-mail: e.bottema@rougemedia.com


Sources: Deloitte, OAAA, OnCampus Research, Market Watch, Forbes, FluckU, Nielsen