June 4, 2024

Google’s AI-Powered Search Revolution: What Advertisers Need to Know

Google’s recent announcement about integrating generative AI into its search engine marks a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. As the tech giant rolls out its AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) in the US, with plans for a global launch in the coming months, advertisers must adapt to stay ahead of the curve. Here we explore the implications of Google’s AI-driven search for advertisers and provide actionable insights to navigate this new frontier.

The New Search Landscape Google’s SGE introduces a conversational, AI-generated narrative that dominates the search results page, pushing organic links further down. This shift has the potential to disrupt traditional SEO strategies and significantly impact referral traffic to websites. Early analysis suggests that publishers and brands could experience a 40-45% decline in referral traffic as Google’s AI engine, Gemini, creates content based on its own recommendations, minimising the need for users to visit the source websites.

While the new search format may present challenges for organic traffic, it also opens up new advertising opportunities. Google has begun testing ads that appear above, within, and below the AI-generated results. Advertisers must now consider how to optimise their ad content and placement to ensure maximum visibility and engagement within this new context.

To succeed in this AI-driven search environment, advertisers should consider:

  1. Prioritise ad relevance: With AI-generated content dominating the search results, ads must be highly relevant to the user’s query to capture attention and drive clicks.
  2. Adapt ad copy: Advertisers should experiment with ad copy that complements the conversational tone of the AI-generated results, ensuring a seamless user experience.
  3. Leverage AI-powered tools: Utilise Google’s AI-powered advertising tools, such as responsive search ads and smart bidding, to optimize ad performance and stay competitive.
  4. Monitor performance closely: As the new search format rolls out, advertisers must closely monitor their campaigns’ performance and make data-driven adjustments to maximise ROI.

Preparing for the Global Rollout While the SGE is currently limited to the US, advertisers worldwide should start preparing for the global launch. Australia, in particular, may experience a delayed rollout due to the ongoing Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry into search and the Federal Government’s media bargaining code. However, this presents an opportunity for Australian advertisers to learn from the US experience and refine their strategies accordingly.

For advertisers to stay ahead of the curve, here are some initial recommendations:

  1. Stay informed: Keep a close eye on industry news and updates regarding the global rollout of Google’s AI-powered search. Publications such as https://www.therundown.ai/ as well as Google's Blog.
  2. Analyse and review the performance of US-based campaigns to identify best practices and potential pitfalls.
  3. Adapt strategies proactively: Begin adjusting advertising strategies and budgets to accommodate the anticipated changes in search behaviour and ad performance.
  4. Foster collaboration: Work closely with agency partners and industry peers to share insights and develop innovative solutions to the challenges posed by AI-driven search.

Embracing the AI-Powered Future Google’s integration of generative AI into its search engine represents a significant milestone in the evolution of digital advertising. While the shift may present challenges for traditional SEO and referral traffic, it also opens up new opportunities for advertisers to engage with their target audiences in innovative ways.

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May 30, 2024

Can AI and Humans Be Friends?

As advertising and marketing undergoes a rapid transformation at an unprecedented pace, it is crucial to recognize the revolutionary power and impact of generative AI is having on our daily working lives. At Collide-AI, a division of Now We Collide, we are at the forefront of this revolution, harnessing the capabilities of AI to find new and exciting ways to deliver projects, while uncovering incredible efficiencies along the way. However, amidst the excitement surrounding AI, it is essential to acknowledge the irreplaceable role of human creativity and expertise in shaping the future of how we work.

In this new era of AI, ‘The Age of Intelligence’, I firmly believe that the success of our industry lies in the synergy between this advanced new technology and human ingenuity. While AI offers immense possibilities, it is the human touch that truly brings the magic to life. At Collide-AI, we have identified four critical human skills that are essential for thriving in this AI-driven world: critical thinking, emotional intelligence, ethics, and passion.

Critical thinking is a foundation upon which we build AI-powered campaigns. It allows us to analyse the vast amounts of information and outputs generated by AI, ensuring its accuracy, and to make strategic decisions based on the insights provided by the machine. Critical thinking allows humans to discern between valuable information and noise, ensuring that AI-generated content aligns with the desired objectives. This human discernment is crucial in navigating the complex landscape of AI-driven advertising, enabling us to create campaigns that are not only data and insights driven but also strategically sound.

Emotional intelligence is another vital human skill that sets us apart, providing critical human input. While AI can generate visually stunning and highly personalized content, it is the human understanding of emotions that truly connects with audiences on a deep level. Our team’s ability to empathize with the target audience, craft compelling narratives, and evoke powerful emotions is what transforms our AI-generated content into memorable and impactful experiences. By combining the efficiency of AI with the emotional depth of human creativity, we can create campaigns that forge lasting bonds between brands and consumers.

Ethics and responsibility are at the core of everything we do at Collide-AI. As we harness the power of AI, we are acutely aware of the potential risks and challenges that come with this technology. Our human judgment and moral compass ensure that we develop and deploy AI in a manner that is transparent, accountable, and aligned with our values. We should actively work to mitigate biases, protect user privacy, and promote inclusivity and diversity in the AI-generated content we create. By upholding ethical standards, we not only create a responsible approach to working with AI  but also contribute to shaping the future of AI in our industry.

Passion is a driving force behind our work at Collide-AI. Our team’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible using LLMs fuels our innovation and sets us apart in the industry. Don’t be content with simply leveraging AI for efficiency; be passionate about exploring new ways to combine AI with human creativity to create truly groundbreaking concepts, strategies and outcomes. This passion is evident in every project we undertake, from meticulous attention to detail in our AI-augmented content, to the ongoing pursuit of delivering exceptional results for our clients.

Our recent collaboration with ESPN on the “Your Home For Hoops” campaign exemplifies the power of combining AI with human creativity. In our third year of the campaign, we set the ambitious goal of using Generative AI as the main creative, design, and animation pipeline. By leveraging generative AI, we aimed to create a unique visual style and experience that would captivate basketball fans and excite them about ESPN’s basketball offering.

The success of the campaign relied on the seamless fusion of artificial intelligence and human expertise. Led by Bob Connelly, Now We Collide’s Director of Generative AI, along with our in-house team of creatives, strategists, and technologists, we worked hand-in-hand with our very own AI diffusion pipeline, guiding its input data and generated outputs, to ensure that it aligned with ESPN’s brand identity, resonated with their target audience, and adhered to the quality standards we were after. The human touch was essential in refining the AI-generated content, injecting emotional depth, and crafting visual narratives that struck a chord with basketball fans.

Throughout the campaign, we relied on critical thinking to evaluate the AI’s output and make strategic decisions that would maximize the impact of our message. Human emotional intelligence allowed us to understand the passion and excitement of the game, the players and the moments, enabling us to create gen AI outputs that truly connected with audiences on an emotional level.

The success of the “Your Home For Hoops” campaign is a testament to the power of combining AI with human creativity and ingenuity. By leveraging the strengths of both, we were able to deliver a campaign that maximized reach and engagement within the rapidly growing niche audience of basketball fans. This campaign serves as a great example of what is possible when we embrace the synergy between AI and human ingenuity to find new ways to create.

As we navigate this exciting new era of AI-driven advertising, it is crucial to remember that technology is a tool, not a replacement for human creativity. The future of advertising belongs to those who can successfully navigate the intersection of AI and human expertise, leveraging the strengths of both to create truly groundbreaking campaigns.

By fostering a culture that values critical thinking, emotional intelligence, ethics, and passion, we are poised to lead the industry into a future where AI and human creativity collide, delivering unparalleled experiences for brands and consumers alike.

The “Your Home For Hoops” campaign is just the beginning of what we can achieve, and as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible with AI, we remain committed to our belief that the human touch will always be the driving force behind the most impactful and memorable campaigns.

The rise of AI in advertising presents both challenges and opportunities. We are excited to be at the forefront of this revolution, leading the way in harnessing the power of AI while celebrating the irreplaceable value of human creativity. 

As we embark on this exciting journey, we hope brands and advertisers will join us in exploring the limitless possibilities that arise when AI and human creativity find synergy. Together, we can create a future where advertising not only informs and persuades but also inspires and connects on a deeper, more meaningful level.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

COLLIDE-AI is a groundbreaking division of full service agency Now We Collide, dedicated to providing state-of-the-art generative AI solutions for advertising and marketing. By harnessing the power of advanced AI technologies, such as large language models, Retrieval-Augmented Generation (RAG), and synthetic media creation, Collide-AI empowers businesses to create captivating, data-driven content.  

A synergy of human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to create a new paradigm of possibilities.

For more visit: https://nowwecollide.com.au/collide-ai 

To find out more about the ESPN Your Home For Hoops project visit: https://nowwecollide.com.au/nowwecollide/hoopsai 

January 11, 2024

Continuing to grow our HubSpot partnership

We're continuing to see huge benefits and tangible results for the organisations we are working with that are utilising HubSpot as part of their integrated digital and social media strategy. As a HubSpot agency partner, we are helping our clients build out strategies that include a clear understanding of the customer and the customer lifecycle by integrating the HubSpot CRM. This then connects directly to the development of creative strategy and optimises creative, channel performance, media performance, ROAS, and informs ongoing optimisation. More information and how we achieve this is here.

So it's no surprise to us that HubSpot was recently named a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms for the third consecutive year. Marketing Hub, HubSpot’s marketing software, is powered by its Smart CRM, unifying data and leveraging HubSpot AI to help marketers craft personalized journeys that attract, engage and delight customers and prospects. Customers using Marketing Hub for six months have seen an 81% increase in deal close rate, 108% increase in web traffic, and 115% increase in leads.*** You can read more about the Gartner B2B award here.

If you're interested in understanding how Now We Collide is using HubSpot as part of our broader service offering and how it can impact your digital and social marketing efficiencies and drive customer growth, please drop us a line.

August 5, 2023

Threads – suddenly you’ve got huge scale instantly, which no other ‘Twitter killer’ has been able to achieve.

August 5, 2023 - Article featured in MediaWeek

Last month, Meta launched Threads, the app widely reported to be a ‘Twitter Killer’ – or perhaps now, an ‘X killer’. 

As an app, Threads is more focused on text and dialogue, with Meta saying that the platform “offers a new, separate space for real-time updates and public conversations.”

With the app now out there in the world, Mediaweek caught up with Keir Maher, managing partner at Now We Collide – Meta’s local agency of record.

“It’s been interesting – Meta have come back really strongly this year,” Maher says, reflecting on how the year has been for Meta so far. “ It’s good for us to be part of that journey after last year’s ups and downs across the tech industry, I don’t think anybody was really out of the firing line for that.

“It’s been good to be back this year, and with things like Threads launching, it just means there’s more to come.”

Now We Collide works with Meta as part of their B2B side of the business, and in that space, Maher says that the team have been pleased with the launch of Threads.

Everybody is blown away by how quick the take up has been, in terms of the interest that there’s been from creators’ brands. ChatGPT had the fastest growth ever, and now three months later, that’s been blown out of the water by 10 million new users in six hours.

“I think it was a super smart move from Meta to make it so easy for people to access Threads through their Insta account, and at the touch of a button say, ‘Yes, I want to follow everyone that follows me on Insta, and everyone that’s on Insta that follows me can follow me on Threads’. Suddenly what you’ve got is huge scale straight away, which no other ‘Twitter killer’ has been able to achieve, because they’ve had to build scale from scratch.”

The ‘Twitter killer’ – or perhaps ‘X killer now – label has been following Threads since it first launched, however, Maher says that anyone who is pushing that line probably hasn’t spent much time on Threads.

A lot of people are saying it’s a Twitter killer because it’s the same as Twitter – they haven’t used it if they’re saying that, because it’s not the same as Twitter. You can’t use hashtags for content discovery yet, which is what drives Twitter. There’s no area within Threads to find trending content at the moment, it’s a single feed, whereas Twitter is all about picking news trends, sports trends, and music trends in their native menu – there is no native menu in Threads yet for that.”

When it comes to the rapid take-up of Threads – the app took only 5 days to record 100 million users – Maher says that Now We Collide will always focus on the value equation, because “there needs to be some kind of value equation between the consumer and the platform itself.” With some very famous backers of the app, however, he’s feeling positive about the future.

“You’ve got Chris Hemsworth with 3.7 million followers already on the platform, Tourism Australia, they’re on there with 155,000, you’ve got Nike with 2.5 million followers, you’ve got Netflix with 3 million followers. Even Anthony Albanese is on there with 51,000 followers. The fact that you’ve got all these content creators already there means you’ve got brands looking for that first-mover advantage. We’ve been talking to the partners and the clients that we have on how they can take that first-mover advantage, experiment with the platform, and see where it goes.”

While Meta isn’t offering advertising to clients just yet, Maher says that it could be a service that is just over the horizon.

“There’s still more development to come. At the moment, they’re not offering advertising to clients, so that first mover advantage is from an organic point of view – what can clients do to test, learn, and experiment while they’re building out? Threads are saying that monetisation is not a priority for them at all this year, Zuck himself is saying that his vision for Threads is to create an open and friendly public space for conversation. 

“Meta has very good ad tech tools, they’ve got the tech stack, they’ve got the tools for finding people and delivering relevant advertising messages. It makes sense that over time that could possibly come in, but at the moment there are no plans to do that in the foreseeable future.”

Published by

Keir Maher

Now We Collide - Managing Partner

December 13, 2022

‘Experience the Unforgettable’ with BridgeClimb Sydney

BridgeClimb Sydney is putting one of Australia’s most iconic experiences back on the itinerary of international travellers, with a new campaign from independent creative agency Now We Collide. 

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November 18, 2022

Why AI is the assistant every creative needs

Full article published by The Australian

If you work in advertising or digital marketing, some of today’s emerging technology might seem a little threatening. But just as television didn’t kill the radio, intuitive AI won’t spell doom for human creativity either. Ryan Bodger, Chief Creative Officer at Now We Collide, explains why we should look on the bright side.

 Not long ago I was working with a client and telling them about the improvement I’d seen in AI-generated copy. They were, it’s safe to say, dubious.

So we did a little experiment and produced a few different versions answering the copywriting brief they’d sent our way. Oh, and one we slipped in there was produced by an AI source. 

Lo and behold, their preferred option was penned by the machine.

Others were at it before us. In 2018, Lexus released an advertisement completely scripted by AI. The company used IBM Watson, an AI system, to analyse 15 years of award-winning car ads. Watson managed to identify the elements of successful ads that resonated most with audiences - and did it with aplomb.

If this sounds like an unconvincing way to open a piece reassuring you that the machines aren’t going to put creatives out of business, well, fair enough. 

But bear with me, because where pure creativity is concerned, I’m convinced AI is the assistant we need right now and not an existential threat. Here’s why. 

In the media and technology industries machine learning has thus far mostly been associated with measurement. In recent years we’ve been swamped by a sudden deluge of data with no way to make sense of it. The solution was AI.

Ask most people and they’d say machines replacing human brains for repetitive tabulation tasks is a good thing. Well, AI can do something very similar for creatives. There are now huge efficiencies to be had in developing concepts and getting them back to clients quickly. 

At Now We Collide, for example, we’re already experimenting with art and text generators like Open AI & Broca for copy, tagline and idea generation. And we’re running tests on video and animation solutions that can help our designers come up with new ideas and expedite existing ones (see below).

We’re also using MidJourney, Dall-e2 and Stable Diffusions DreamStudio for visual concept development and content generation. It’s a new and exciting world - and one that can make us much more efficient as businesses.

In many cases, having this AI in our toolkit means tasks that would’ve taken two to three weeks from conception to delivery can be achieved much quicker. And this is especially important when speed to market is key to keeping share-of-voice high for most brands.

Measuring up in a creative space

In the world of measurement you’ll often hear people from tech companies extolling the virtues of giving the AI the richest data possible. The theory being that what you put in correlates strongly with what you get out. This is having some interesting knock on effects in the creative realm.

We’re now considering the types of roles the intersection of human output and AI technology is creating. There’s now a place in businesses like ours for what we are calling the Prompt Architect or Engineer. This is a role that involves working with AI, providing it with the right stimulus, or ‘prompts’ in order to get the best possible results. 

Of course, we’ll never replace the human element entirely, but the ability to maximise the output of AI shapes as a very important new job skill. It’s an interesting inversion to think that great results can come from humans learning machine learning language, rather than us teaching AI what to do.
And if you’re not convinced of AI’s efficacy yet, well, we’re already seeing some exciting developments in the fashion and cosmetics space. In the example pictured below, the model, hair and makeup were all created by an AI source in under two hours - derived from refining a single prompt sheet of images.

Image generated in Midjourney

And while AI used in this way could be disruptive for the fashion industry, it’s fair to assume this approach isn’t going to work for everyone just yet. But given the potential, I think that brands and marketers will certainly be interested in faster, more cost-effective ways to get their messages to market.

For creative businesses, there are simple ways you can experiment too. Being a big basketball fan, and working with ESPN on creating ‘Your Home For Hoops’ brand platform, I’ve started a BallArt Instagram account as a way to experiment and explore new visual concepts. Just by showcasing what’s possible via AI creativity, it provides us with a way to quickly realise which ideas work with a specific audiences.

Image from @ballart76

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the rise of machine learning in the creative space for me, though, is the ability to generate fresh ideas and new ways of thinking at a much quicker pace. A lot of effort goes into ideation, and having a collection of thought starters can be a very powerful thing.
If you’re still not convinced, then consider this. For agencies - particularly smaller Indies like us - leaning into this technology can also be a great selling point for clients. It’s a sign you move with the times and embrace agility - and that you’re not afraid to experiment with new trends in the quest for success. 

For brands, I say, don’t be scared of it. Embrace it, test it and work with those who are doing likewise. At the end of the day, it’s just another software solution, but one that could really make a difference to your next campaign.

November 14, 2022

Creating history with ESPN and the Opals

For just the second time in history, Australia played host to the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, and in a first, ESPN would be broadcasting a major sporting event, live from Australian shores. Now We Collide was given the task of creating a social media led creative campaign that targeted a wide Australian audience alongside basketball fans to drive tune-in to ESPN’s live broadcast.   

The creative strategy involved featuring high profile Opals players delivering inspirational lines to camera from a New York training camp, which NWC managed remotely. We then combined this footage with unique cell animation, game footage and commentary stings to set the scene for the home town showdown. Multiple exports were created with different calls to action. The first was to create awareness in the lead up to the competition, we then tailored messaging to game specific tune-in as each game approached. The creative was then A/B tested with sound on and sound off versions across different platforms. 

The semi-final game creative - Opals v China on ESPN.

We ran the campaign using a blended social media strategy with the goal of reaching the widest possible audience and combining this with ‘active engagement’ to achieve video view completions. 

The Opals did Aussie fans proud in the world cup, bringing home the bronze medal after narrowly missing out on the gold medal match. The USA claimed their third championship on the bounce but there was another winner out of the competition and that was the success of the sound on, vertical format video in our creative campaign, something that Now We Collide has been championing for a while now - Vertical video keeps soaring. 

Sound on environments such as TikTok and Instagram Reels proved to be a great format to drive reach and engagement where we used the celebrity and inspiration of the Opals players to deliver piece-to-camera with a more ‘native’ feel to the TikTok/Reels world during the campaign. Also, because people tend to actively scroll TikTok and Reels as opposed to the more passive scrolling provided by other formats, audio becomes more relevant and powerful when making creative choices on these platforms. The TikTok campaign also included some tactical enhancements such as premium placement in feed and Super Like interactive add on.

The campaign reached over 2.5 million viewers across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok while engagement and 100% video views performance achieved was significantly above benchmarks and KPIs set. Not only that, and most importantly, the event has become one of the most successful for ESPN Australia in terms of audience numbers and viewing figures.

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November 11, 2022

Vertical video keeps soaring

Just over 2 years ago we wrote about the Rise of Vertical Video and how we saw it as “one of the biggest opportunities for brands” at the time. Shift forward 2 years and it's clear that the prediction has become a reality. During that time we have seen the exponential growth of Instagram Reels, in 2021 Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram announced a focus on video and the tripling of Reels maximum running length to 90 seconds (while ads have a maximum running length of 60 seconds) – with over 1 billion active Instagram users every month the move into vertical mobile video has been one of the driving forces behind the success. Reels has now been expanded to Facebook as well which in turn increases the views and discoverability of Reels across both platforms.

Ultimately though, Reels was a response to the growth of what was then a new-comer to the vertical video scene – TikTok. TikTok has grown rapidly and whilst we recognised 2 years ago that they were a serious competitor to the incumbent leaders in social video at the time (Facebook and YouTube) we didn’t foresee quite how big they would get. In fact, data from the recent Hootsuite / We Are Social report shows that TikTok now leads in average time per month spent in app across Android devices globally:

TikTok’s undoubted success has been driven by their AI algorithm and the ability to curate and recommend the most relevant content to keep viewers hooked and scrolling for more. In this sense, TikTok has become a quasi social media and entertainment platform in one. TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly active users itself and is projected to reach somewhere between $8bn - $12bn in ad revenue in 2022.

Not to be out-done, in late 2020 YouTube launched their own YouTube Shorts vertical video and short-from platform for videos 60 seconds and less. YouTube Shorts is already driving 1.5bn monthly views and has in our eyes the advantage over both Instagram and TikTok in that it plugs into both the creator community of YouTube and the overall Google ecosystem, particularly search. Demand for YouTube Shorts has been soaring, in April this year Google CEO, Pichai announced that YouTube Shorts, is generating 30 billion views per day, which is four times more than the same time a year earlier.

So what does all this mean for brands and advertisers? In a word, plenty. There are the obvious creative ramifications we discussed in our original article – vertical video needs to be filmed or produced with the vertical 9:16 format front of mind mind – utilising all the available pixel space to maximise engagement with a feeling that is native to viewing and platform experience. With videos across all vertical platforms primarily watched with sound-on, this means that dialogue, sound and sound design has become more important than ever and revokes many of the previous recommendations around creating for a sound-off viewing experience.

This also means that video content including people and dialogue directly to camera within the creative has become more important than ever – driven by the success of a plethora of content creators – and for advertisers this is an important consideration. We have run a number of organic and paid campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube in which we have A/B tested different creative and we have interesting findings where for certain categories and demographics, people speaking directly to camera and engaging with audience one-to-one, have significantly out-performed all other creative.

One thing we have also been working on as an agency is optimising video creative for 95%+ or 100% video completions. This is because the video platforms are often optimised to reporting on a 3 second or up to 6 second video view and while this might be relevant for the platforms themselves to report on, this isn't necessarily a true gauge of how consumers are interacting with a brands content or ads. While there has been lots written on the demise of the average attention span there is also plenty of evidence available to confirm that if you reach the right people, at the right time with content that is relevant and of interest/engaging, they will dedicate as much time as needed. So we believe a truer reflection of campaign success is to understand and report on those higher video completion rates and optimise the creative and media strategy accordingly.

Data from numerous campaigns we have run here at Now We Collide over the last 2 years has shown that the growth in vertical video has been accompanied by much higher video viewing completion rates and the associated cost efficiencies which can be achieved and by optimising video to the vertical format, even higher engagement and efficiencies can be achieved.

So for now at least the rise of vertical video continues and is now an essential part of any digital and social media strategy and should be integrated into the channel mix accordingly.

August 2, 2022

Cross-border creativity and the landscape for content production has shifted.

Appearing in Mumbrella

Five years ago, if you’d suggested to your boss that all staff should work half their week at home, I reckon you’d have been met with raised eyebrows.

But things have changed fast and employers have come to see hybrid work not just as something that’s viable – they’re now viewing it as genuinely advantageous.

This shift in how many in our industry are operating is just one reason why indie agencies have shone so brightly over the past few years.

We are now increasingly seeing how important agility is to powering innovation and delivering results. Speed to insight plus the ability to adapt and move quickly has become critical, and smaller agencies typically work without the legacy baggage of larger, traditional agencies.

The playing field has levelled between indies and larger global agency networks. Why? Technology improvements, shifts in the way we work, and access to global resources such as talent, research, software, hardware – you name it – mean clients no longer need to rely on big players to coordinate international creative ad campaigns.

The game has changed, permanently

The events of the last two years years caused a seismic shift in the way agencies needed to support their clients and this has continued into 2022. Indie agencies with a willingness to adapt have been able to thrive throughout thanks to a number of factors which were already in play, but have now become even more significant.

The first is their ability to leverage a satellite network of talented experts. These highly skilled and experienced professionals provide invaluable support, with small agencies better placed to flexibly choose who they engage for appropriate projects.

Additionally, with the advent of more advanced virtual work technologies, smaller, unencumbered agencies can more easily bring these experts into the fold to work in a more mutually productive way.

Secondly, I believe indies are uniquely positioned to deliver work remotely. In the past, large international agency networks had a monopoly on global client relationships, and great emphasis was placed on having many important people in rooms together.

But the game has changed. Now, a client in the UK typically cares a lot less if the agency they’re working with is in London or Sydney. And that’s a good thing, as it makes operations more efficient, opens up avenues to new talent, and drastically lowers overheads.

In this evolving context, we’ve seen a stack of indies doing great things lately. There’s a genuine ability to develop ideas and create content that is entirely market-specific, even when produced remotely.

A great example of this model succeeding is the ‘Checkout Catch’ campaign from Catch Group, supported by AJF GrowthOps. With both the agency’s creative team and Catch Group headquartered in Melbourne, they were faced with a challenge when a second lockdown was imposed. Ultimately, the campaign was shot in Queensland, but directed via real-time feedback from interstate – and the results didn’t suffer an iota.

Overseas examples are plentiful too. Remote filming worked a treat for US-based creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address. It produced terrific ads including Miller Genuine Draft’s ‘Unapologetically Beer’ and Shutterfly’s ‘Make it a Thing’ – both are well worth a look.

Staying creative and embracing adaptability

One of the reasons I chose this industry is because it is a ‘people’ industry – collaboration and human interaction are at the heart and that will always be the case.

However, now clients have more options than ever before to engage the right agency, they no longer have to hire the global agency group to get the best results. The playing field has been levelled and smaller agencies now have access to the same networks of expertise and resources.

The lesson of the last few years is that the old rules really no longer apply. Technology has shown us that businesses can thrive when their employees predominantly work from the comfort of their homes. Similarly, creative businesses don’t need to be leviathans to deliver brilliant results for their clients.

So if you don’t think you need a room full of VIPs to shoot the lights out with your next campaign, then consider what a smaller agency partner has to offer.

November 26, 2021

Find The Blue Beer: An integrated campaign for Sauce Brewing Co

Loved by locals and enjoyed (responsibly) by craft beer enthusiasts, Sauce Brewing Co is an independent microbrewery in Sydney’s inner-west. Based in Marrickville, the brewery has developed a cult following amongst avid craft drinkers, highly regarded for its lineup of easy drinking ales and hop-heavy IPA’s.

As part of their ongoing growth, Sauce Brewing tasked Now We Collide to develop an integrated campaign to support the distribution of Caribbean Fog. Juiced up with Azacca and El Dorado hops, Caribbean Fog is a fruity, sessionable pale ale that’s recently found its way into the fridges of a number of key retailers.

To celebrate their entry into major bottle shops, Sauce Brewing launched ‘Find The Blue Beer’, a promotion to drive taste and trial of their summer friendly tropical ale. In the spirit of supporting a local Sydney business, Now We Collide joined the project to lead the strategy, creative, production and media distribution of the campaign. The team photographed and designed campaign material in-house, rolling out a suite of creative assets to feature across OOH, social media, digital and in-store POS. 

Taking an integrated approach to media, the campaign reached customers using hyper-targeted OOH with precinct and neighbourhood posters and targeted digital and social media to reach lovers of craft beer in Sydney locations. The team worked with Sauce Brewing to identify key audiences and used Facebook and Instagram targeting to reach customers based on location, demographics, interests and behaviours. The extensive social campaign also drove new followers to Sauce Brewing’s social pages, increasing brand awareness of their wider lineup of products and their craft brewery experience in Marrickville. 

blue beer now we collide campaign

To support the in-store promotion, we also created a suite of POS deliverables to appear in independent bottle shops and major alcohol retailers, to encourage trial of Caribbean Fog at point of purchase.

blue beer campaign now we collide agency

Through development of the ‘Find The Blue Beer’ campaign, Now We Collide helped Sauce Brewing to paint Sydney blue with it’s Caribbean Fog beer. With a strategic suite of OOH and social assets, the campaign increased brand awareness of the brewing credentials of Sauce Brewing, keeping their product top of mind for craft drinkers and beer lovers in search of their next taste adventure.

November 2, 2021

Instagram: New Tools For Creators

Article: Instagram

Instagram has released an exciting new batch of features, arming users with a shiny toolbox of toys to play with. The new features provide creators with greater freedoms, empowering them to collaborate, commercialise and fundraise for charitable causes. Take a look at the three biggest updates for Instagram.

Collaboration

An exciting feature designed to increase engagement, Instagram has launched ‘Collabs’ which allows two accounts to co-author Posts and Reels. The move is a win for creators, influencers and brands, encouraging users to create partnerships and collaborate on the platform. The feature will also improve the feed for users as it reduces the frequency of followers seeing duplicate pieces of content from two separate accounts. When posts are created in ‘Collab’ mode, both accounts are able to see a shared like count, view count and comment section.

This new feature is exciting for marketers as it provides brands the ability to streamline social campaigns that are based on partnership. This year Australia has seen a number of high profile collaborations such as the recent Dominos x Vegemite and  Bundaberg Rum x Bundaberg Ginger Beer product innovations.

Link Sticker

A big win for smaller accounts, Instagram is beginning to roll out ‘link stickers’ for all users, a function that allows users to include hyperlinks in Stories. The feature was previously offered only to verified accounts and high-profile creators. The barrier set a perceived benchmark that often drove users to break the hallowed 10,000 follower count.

The wide deployment of the ‘link stickers’ feature is seen as a valuable win for small businesses, who now have the ability to include links to their products and services on their Stories. The move sees Instagram improve its ability to act as an ecommerce portal for brands of all sizes. The democratization sees a leveling of the digital playing field. For example a small local clothing boutique will now have access to the same app features as a global brand. The update compliments existing features such as Instagram Shops.

Instagram is also rolling out desktop functionality, allowing users to upload photos to the platform directly from their web browser. The new updates allows users to edit, filter and post from the comfort of laptops and desktop computers, however the feature is yet to be added to iPad and tablet devices. The update essentially gives all users the same experience of industry social media managers, who have long used 3rd party apps to bypass the previous restrictions. The emergence of desktop posting will likely push users towards uploading curated content of a higher quality, as creators look to leverage desktop software such as Canva to create image and video assets.

Fundraiser
The rising influence of digital activism has also been boosted, as Instagram announces the rollout of a new ‘fundraiser’ feature. The function allows users to create a fundraising initiative for not-for-profits, with subsequent posts appearing in the feed. Instagram trialled a similar fundraising feature during the global pandemic by allowing users to include fundraising links during live streams for charity. It’s important to note the feature appears to suit time-sensitive initiatives, as fundraisers can be set up for up to 30 days. No doubt major charity platforms such as GoFundMe and Donorbox will be keeping close watch as Instagram moves into the humanitarian space.

September 8, 2021

Now We Collide launches new APAC brand strategy for TMX

READ THE ARTICLE: B&T, Adobo Magazine, Marketech APAC, Campaign Asia

Now We Collide has been appointed to create the new brand strategy for leading supply chain consultancy TMX, as it expands rapidly throughout Australia and across APAC.

Founded in Melbourne in 2010, TMX works with major consumer brands including UNIQLO, Australia Post, BMW, L’Oreal, Kmart, Asahi, and Coles to create end-to-end digital and supply chain solutions. The business’ success has propelled during the pandemic, attracting significant new investment to enter several new markets across APAC. 

Now We Collide was brought on to develop a universal visual identity that would translate across multiple languages and markets to support this growth. The new integrated brand campaign encompasses digital and social media strategy in addition to a full suite of creative for both organic and paid media.

The work is driven by high-end 3D animation and the aesthetic is dynamic, fast-paced, visually informative and warm to echo TMX’s brand purpose to ‘invent tomorrow’.

Travis Erridge, CEO at TMX commented: “TMX is the leading solutions provider for a number of traditional bricks and mortar retailers which are navigating new digital supply chains. Our new brand strategy firmly establishes our credentials as a true innovator in this space across APAC. 

“Now We Collide has been an absolute pleasure to work with. The team’s strategic insights, creative development and in-house production capabilities have been the perfect combination to provide a new platform for us to continue driving results and focusing on customer acquisition and engagement.

“Navigating through the nuances of each APAC market is no small feat however Now We Collide were experts in providing consistency of message. We're looking forward to continuing our partnership with Now We Collide as we continue our growth across key markets.” 

Keir Maher, Managing Partner & CEO at Now We Collide added: “It’s always a privilege to support a successful Aussie business that’s making such big waves on the international stage. 

“The visual identity, language and style guide of the campaign is very unique in the category and goes to the heart of TMX as an innovator. We’re proud of this campaign that translates TMX’s unique story onto a global platform and best of all, we’re already seeing the strategy provide positive business outcomes for the team at TMX.”

CREDITS:

Now We Collide 

E.P. & Strategy Director - Keir Maher

Chief Creative Officer – Ryan Bodger

Client Services Director – Naomi Young

Creative Director - Kurt Toohey

Motion Designer – Jamie Hoy

Project Producer – Michele Marquet

Copywriter – John Kerswell

TMX

Natalie Liang – Director of Marketing & Communications

Nhung Nguyen - Marketing & Communications Manager, Vietnam

Grace McLean - Marketing & Communications Executive

August 19, 2021

Blockchain: The Great Digital Disrupter

As the Digital Marketing industry grapples with issues of data inflation, consumer privacy and the death of Cookies, could Blockchain technology be the silver bullet to fix the industry's woes? Beyond disrupting the stock market, changing the face of real estate and revolutionizing the music industry, Blockchain tech has the potential to change the way brands, ad buyers and consumers interact online. 

Here are Three Ways Blockchain can change Digital Advertising for the Better

Transparency

In an era where ad buyers and brands are placing less trust in the metrics and data provided by major Internet players, Blockchain has the potential to provide a solution that offers greater transparency. The decentralized nature of the tech empowers Blockchain to conduct trusted transactions, whilst providing greater accountability when needed. Blockchain could for instance provide a digital dashboard for ad buyers, who are given the opportunity to assess and review in real time the specifics of how well various ads are performing. The tech addresses the marketing industry's current problem concerning trust and accountability, ensuring brands are receiving the ROI they’re promised. This new technology could even spark the end of Bots, infamous for inflating campaign metrics and infuriating brands and campaign managers alike. To every bot that’s skewed a campaign, we bid a fond farewell! And we offer an apology to those Bots who were just trying to make the world a better place.

Targeting

A 5 minute scroll through a user's social feed often offers intriguing, enlightening and sometimes bewildering examples of poor ad targeting. Since the invention of Cookies, brands have long struggled to walk a digital tight-rope ensuring their messaging reaches the right consumer at the right time. By using Blockchain technology, marketers have the potential to target consumers using a wider, more legitimate data set.

For example, currently if a Web user is regularly searching for news stories about the English Premier League, they may become the target for ads for football boots or playing equipment. The current systematic programming makes this assumption based on browsing habits and does not realise that the consumer (60+, Male) has no interest in actually playing the sport, but is instead a casual fan of the game. 

In comparison, Blockchain technology has the potential to identify consumers with a proven payment history of purchasing boots and sporting equipment and as such target ads accordingly. 

In essence, the introduction of Blockchain technology enables brands to no longer target ads based on consumers' casual browsing habits, but on hard sets of data with a proven conversion to purchase. With stronger data sets, Blockchain is able to reach the right customers with laser-target precision. The technology will also ultimately provide a benefit to the consumer, who will no longer feel their web experience is disrupted by random advertisements that have no personal relevance. Blockchain may signal the end of consumers feeling bemused at the sight of an advertisement for football boots, whilst they patiently wait for an incoming hip replacement.

Empower Consumers

The introduction of BlockChain technology also marks the beginning of a great power shift between media vs consumers. As Google currently controls 90% of the search engine market, some tech leaders liken Google to a tollbooth where ‘producers of information have to abide by certain rules or directly pay to be reachable’. We are now beginning to see the rise of purpose driven search engines to compete with the major internet players. A prime example is Brave, an online search engine touted for shifting power back into the hands of web users. The site allows users to block programmatic ad sets, opt in to view more personalised ads and in return receive 15% of the ad revenue. Essentially the new browser opens up a ‘Paid to Play’ system, which incentivises consumers willing to offer up their data. There are a number of key benefits to the system, not only do consumers begin to view more personalised ads, they are openly encouraged to share their data for reward. The browser places a monetary value on consumers' browsing habits and provides greater transparency to users concerned about the value of their personal data set.

In conclusion, we’re only beginning to see the impacts of Blockchain technology within the digital advertising space. As the rise of Bitcoin continues and consumers begin to become more familiar with the capability of Blockchain, we expect the technology will continue to change our daily phone scroll and web browsing experience. 

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