The Dawn of the Golden Age of Marketing

Thought Leadership

The whole topology of our world will be reproduced in the virtual, and at each integration point in this multi-verse virtual humans will be needed…the opportunities for brands are boundless

Most marketers have seen or experienced some kind of virtual influencer by now and in the three years I’ve been working with VIs, almost all have formed opinions on them; mostly negative.

However, a few recent events have begun to shift perceptions. First, KFC reinvented the Colonel as a virtual influencer in a hugely successful, tongue-in-cheek campaign. Next, Instagram star and digital art project Lil Miquela shared a kiss with supermodel Bella Hadid in a Calvin Klein ad. Yes, the ad has been fairly criticised for its queer baiting and unauthentic portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community (Hadid is straight) but it’s also pushed the discussion around virtual influencers into the mainstream.


Virtual Humans are CGI characters designed to provide customer service and other business functions. At this year’s Cannes Festival of Creativity, Soul Machines presented their virtual assistants to a crowd of eager agency heavyweights…

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These blanket statements demonstrate the reality that large sections of the INFLUENCER MARKETING industry don’t fully understand how the channel really works.

Done correctly however, Influencer Marketing will inform your business about what decisions to make across all your advertising channels. It is the singular best source of intel about your brand, customer and marketing effectiveness.

It works better than any other tool or any focus groups.

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Keeping Spirits Up

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There may be some glass-half-empty predictions for alcohol categories, but the future is looking positive for the spirits industry. Globally, spirits sales have increased by 1.5% to 2.4bn nine-litre cases, and sales are expected to increase over the next five years to a retail value of £282bn while other alcoholic drinks have remained flat or declining.

Lifestyle trends, as well as cocktail culture are playing a major role in driving the popularity of spirits, especially as consumers are increasingly searching for the latest cocktail to drink - and more importantly to be seen drinking. 

Plus today’s consumers are more educated and passionate about what they’re drinking, and spirits is a great category to get people away from their comfort zone. 

Yet one of the biggest challenges for spirits to overcome is that people often feel scared because there is so much variety. 

However, this could represent an opportunity for spirits brands as they could play a role in helping demystify the category and help consumers with finding their new favourite drink – through education and inspiration.

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Snack To The Future

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Snacking is an £18 billion category, growing at 0.3% in value. At the risk of playing buzzword bingo, there's no way to avoid the 'M' word when it comes to this topic. The fact is that millennials have been a huge factor in the snacking revolution. The change they've brought to lifestyles and social attitudes have not only seen us snacking more often, but significantly changed the snacks we eat. "Protenin Balls", pea snacks and beef jerky are the new normal.

Does this spell doom and gloom for out traditional sugary favourites? Not exactly, no.

Here we'll look at why people are choosing healthier options when it comes to snacking, but also why we believe traditional snacks still have a bright future if they evolve.

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Close The Conversion Gap

We are living in an era of unprecedented commercial change.

One by one the retail behemoths are falling. Woolworths, HMV, BHS, House of Fraser, Toys R Us, Maplin: the list goes on. The high street is facing annihilation. Media is fragmenting at pace. Millennials are ambivalent about marketing. So, what the hell do we do?

Against this backdrop we believe brands, marketers and agencies will only thrive if they focus laser-like on one KPI – sales. Unless people are buying, everything we do is just wasted noise. We must all question how every activity, and every pound spent, is helping to deliver sales.

This new research aims to tell brands and agencies what people think about marketing, and how they want to be sold to, in the modern era. To understand which tools work hardest and where best to spend. To gauge emerging consumer mindsets and how they want to relate to brands.

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37 Minutes of Fame: How to Take Off in Airport Retail

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You’ve checked in (online, days ago). You’ve got all your toiletries into one plastic bag (and not a spill in sight). You’re through, it’s time to relax. With ‘Monopoly’ holiday money burning a hole in your chinos.

Or at least, so the theory goes. Airport retailers benefit from a unique state of mind called the ’37 minutes of happiness’. The feeling we all get once we hit the Departures lounge, before our flight becomes ready to board.

However…most of us rush off to buy food and drink for the flight – that’s 15 minutes gone. Then we'll pop to the loo. And with improved efficiency in check in/boarding, it’s only actually 30 minutes to begin with. In reality, only 16% of flyers buy anything.

As lead agency for global travel retailer Dufry, at Live & Breathe we work daily to close the conversion gap in airports. Here are our top six tips for selling success in this unique retail environment.

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Chasing Status: Keeping Up With The Changing Definition of ‘Premium’


Popping bottles, cruising in flash cars and toting expensive handbags (with six month-plus waiting lists)…no, it’s not an episode of beloved Noughties MTV show, Cribs. It’s how (until fairly recently) we’ve all thought about ‘premium’ products and experiences. But attitudes are changing – and so must brands change with them.

We’ve identified the two factors driving this change, and we’ve got four recommendations for staying front of mind in this new age of premium.

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