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The Month That Was March 2023


Read time: 24m

And just like that, it’s that time again: time to recap on the previous month. We’ll give you a heads up, we’ve seen updates, rebrands, AI takeovers and more – it was busy!

So, without further ado, let’s give you the lowdown on the month that was March 2023:

A busy month for design

Pushing the boundaries, transcending expectations and sparking discussion is what great design does, and March 2023 did not disappoint. Heinz ditched the ketchup bottle for the vodka bottle, old William Shakespeare got a rebrand and that’s not all… It’s probably best to just read it all for yourself:

  • Heinz added a new product to their line, in a strange collaboration with Absolut Vodka
  • I ♥️ NY vs We ♥️ NYC: Which do you prefer? (Don’t panic – the old logo isn’t going anywhere)
  • Shakespeare’s Globe have reinvented their typeface, in honour of the 400th anniversary of the First Folio

Heinz x Absolut Vodka

Pasta alla Vodka – a staple dish hailing from Italian origin – took social media by storm back in 2020, when international supermodel Gigi Hadid took to TikTok to share the simple, but delicious, recipe. Often dubbed as the ‘Gigi Hadid pasta’, Heinz are making a splash with their own version of the sauce. Crafting an unlikely partnership with premium vodka brand, Absolut Vodka, the jarred sauce has hit the supermarket shelves, ready for curious customers to get their hands on.

A quirky collaboration if we ever saw one, the duo had a tough challenge when it comes to branding. Merging two distinctive, recognisable brands together can look incredibly messy, and you face the risk of losing at least one of the brands’ identities. Luckily, this partnership has been executed pretty seamlessly. Simple, and slightly retro-looking, both brands gain equal footing on the packaging, with their logos both gaining a focal position.

In terms of promotional material, Wunderman Thompson were the creatives behind everything – developing a series of clever posters to promote the campaign. Each poster brings in outlines of an Absolut Vodka bottle, and bold all-caps copy using the Futura Extra Bold Condensed font. All in all, the posters are definitely eye-catching, and sure to pique a shopper’s interest.


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A post shared by Wunderman Thompson (@wunthompson)

So, what do you think about this unique collaboration? A clever marketing campaign or a mockery of Italian cuisine? We’ll let you be the judge of that one…

We ❤️ NYC logo

Adorned on tourist merchandise, NY billboards and more, the I ♥️ NY logo is nothing short of iconic. And when something is so recognisable, even the slightest tweak can cause uproar. But before you panic, Milton Glaser’s classic, much-loved logo is definitely not getting replaced, we’ve just got a new version for a different purpose.

The reimagined logo, designed by art director and designer Graham Clifford, instead reads as “We ♥️ NYC”. The idea behind the campaign is that it’s aimed at people living in any of the five New York boroughs, urging them to get together and do something for the community – hence, the use of “We” over “I”.

Other than that, Clifford’s logo makes use of an adapted Helvetica font, inspired by signage we’d see down in the subway, a far cry from the original logo’s rounded American Typewriter font. And instead of Glaser’s simple, 2D heart, Clifford’s version is a 3D, rounded version – reminiscent of an emoji.

The aim is to build on Glaser’s legacy, rather than eradicate it. Glaser’s logo is as simple and timeless as it gets, and replacing it would be almost impossible. Luckily, that was never Clifford’s intention. Instead, we’ve got a reimagined version that works as a rallying cry to bring the people of New York together.

Shakespeare’s Globe

We’ll bet you didn’t think you’d be hearing an update on William Shakespeare’s branding, did you?

In honour of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the Globe went to Typeland with the task of reimagining their typeface for the upcoming summer season.

Already affiliated with Shakespeare’s Globe, Typeland were handed a very strict brief. Mainly, keep things clean and contemporary while incorporating the peculiar, whimsical illustrations from the original woodcut of the First Folio. Essentially, bringing this 400-year-old branding into 2023. And the result?


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A post shared by Shakespeare’s Globe (@the_globe)

Alphabet style lettering made up of intricate, summertime illustrations, anything from fruit, flowers and animals to Masonic symbols and instruments. From here, the Globe has launched five summer-themed posters, each taking inspiration from nature, and of course, making use of the new typeface. All in all, a brilliant way to refresh the branding and merge tradition with modernity.

Let’s talk social

From TikTok bans to new social media platforms, March was a whirlwind. Let’s see a few of our top updates for social media in March 2023.

  • TikTok is to be banned on parliamentary devices and the wider parliamentary network
  • LinkedIn now facilitates in-app scheduling. Hey, it’s better late than never!
  • Meta is in the process of developing a new decentralised app (in direct response to Twitter’s downfall)
  • Instagram launched new advertising formats: Reminder ads and ads in search results

TikTok to be banned from UK parliamentary devices

Never a stranger to controversy, TikTok dominated the headlines in March. It was announced that the Chinese-owned, video-sharing app would potentially be banned across the US government amidst fears that China is using the app as a tool to spy and spread propaganda. Of course, TikTok profusely denied these allegations, but it hasn’t stopped the rumours spreading.

Flying back over to the UK, Parliament is set to ban TikTok from “all parliamentary devices and the wider parliamentary network”. This means that any MPs or parliamentary staff that have TikTok installed on their personal devices will encounter a block if they try to access it via the WiFi. Of course, this has sparked criticism, with MPs not afraid to share their outrage.

The secretary of state for energy security, Grant Shapps, shared his thoughts by sharing a clip from The Wolf of Wall Street, with the character stating “I’m not f**king leaving!”.

@grantshapps This morning the government announced a TikTok ban on government devices. That’s sensible. I’ve never used TikTok on government devices and can hereby confirm I will NOT be leaving TikTok anytime soon! #politics #news #foryoupage #FYP #trend #wolfofwallstreet #imnotleaving #tiktok ♬ original sound – Grant Shapps

It’s clear what his opinion is on the matter…

Introducing in-app scheduling on LinkedIn…finally!

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s always better late than never! LinkedIn has finally launched their native post-scheduling feature to assist content creators with managing and sharing their posts.

Though you’ve been able to schedule posts to LinkedIn on third-party apps for a good while now, in-app scheduling allows you to tag people more easily and better see how posts will be formatted in the app. There isn’t much else to say about this one, other than the fact it’s good news!

The end of Twitter?

After Elon Musk purchased Twitter, we’ve been following the steady decline of the platform ever since. Of course, this decline comes hand in hand with other platforms trying to worm their way in and take over the space.

And it comes as no surprise that it’s Meta trying to get involved, with plans to launch a decentralised app dedicated to sharing text-based, timely updates with followers.

At this stage, we don’t know much as the project – codenamed P92 – is still in its earliest stages. However, what we do know is that Adam Mosseri, the main man at Instagram, is leading the project, and that Meta plans for this app to be totally decentralised.

We’ve had no further elaboration on this part, but decentralisation typically means that users will be able to set up their own, independent servers and set server-specific rules for how their content is moderated.

We’re excited to see how this one pans out, but we’ll probably be waiting a long while…

Good news for Instagram advertisers

Instagram is useful for a load of things, giving users access to all sorts of interesting content, as well as opening them up to a world of new brands, products and even upcoming events. All of which advertising can help to reach a wider audience.

In March, Instagram launched two new ad products to give businesses more visibility: reminder ads and ads in search results.

  • Reminder ads: Users can choose to opt-in, where they’ll receive three handy notifications before an event – the day before, 15 minutes before and at the time. Of course, this is convenient for users to keep tabs on their favourite brands’ launches and events, and makes it easier for businesses to announce and remind their customers of what’s to come.
  • Ads in search results: This is a pretty simple advertising format, allowing businesses to connect with people actively searching for products and content – where ads will show up in the feed and allow people to tap into the post.

All in all, this offers businesses a wider scope of opportunity to base their advertising efforts.

PPC in March 2023

Captivating customers and driving conversions is the main goal for any marketer, and there’s always plenty new in the world of PPC. Let’s take a look at (just a few!) of the updates and advancements that went down in March:

  • Microsoft Advertising have improved their services – including new tool for local search ads in Bing
  • A new feature from Google Ads is set to roll out, the GA4 Audience Builder
  • Google enhanced their Discovery Ads with an array of new features

Microsoft Advertising upping their game

Providing businesses with better visibility and a richer online presence, Microsoft Advertising has enhanced Bing’s local search results. Running on the local results entity in Bing’s search engine, marketers can now use local search ads to promote their products and services to prospective customers in the area.

Additionally, they’ve also developed a new code-free custom conversion setup wizard, which as the name suggests, allows you to set up custom conversion tracking without the need to update the website code. Easy and simple.

Streamlining audience creation with GA4 Audience Builder

A new Google Ads enhancement offers you easy access to the GA4 audience builder directly in the Google Ads UI, streamlining the entire audience creation process from start to finish. All it takes is linking your Google Ads account to Analytics property and following the necessary steps to create the connection.

As a result, you gain a better understanding of your customer cycle and elevate your future remarketing campaigns. This feature hasn’t been rolled out across the board yet, but it should be available in Google Ads in the coming months – keep your eyes peeled!

Google enhances Discovery Ads

As you’d expect, Discovery campaigns are designed for consumer discovery as users browse through the content that interests them. And Google is taking this format up a level with new tools that enable brands to offer a tailored experience and gain more accurate data insights.

For instance, offering product feeds for tailored ad experiences, allowing retailers to use lifestyle images and short text with their Google Merchant Center. As a result, this delivers more relevant ads, with advertisers saying they’re able to achieve 45% more conversions at a similar average cost-per-acquisition.

Additionally, Google has improved reporting and measurement features to allow for better optimised campaigns. All in all, these updates offer advertisers the chance to engage wider audiences, drive conversions and optimise campaigns to the very next-level.

SEO updates in March 2023

It’s always good to stay on the ball with the wonderful world of search – there’s never a dull day in SEO! Well, you might disagree on that one, but we certainly think so…

  • Step aside ChatGPT, Google have their own answer – introducing, Bard
  • Google’s March 2023 Core Update: A brief rundown
  • We’ve got some new guidelines from Google regarding AI-generated content

Meet, Bard

Cast your mind back to last month (a long time ago we know), when we spoke heavily about ChatGPT and its colossal impact on the world of SEO and content creation.

On a very similar note, this month we’re talking about Bard. Another Artificial Intelligence tool, Google’s Bard is still in its infancy, but set to make waves. Two years ago at Google HQ a new language and conversation tool was born – Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). Back in 2023, the Googlers have been busy, working on their new experimental conversational AI service that’ll be powered by LaMDA. And yep, you guessed it, it’s Bard.

Developed to enhance copy, increase productivity and widen your scope, Bard will be a useful tool for many, especially when it comes to Search. With more people looking to Google Search for more compelling, deeper insights, rather than just a quick one and done fact-check, we’ll see AI-powered tools, like Bard, come into their own – summarising complex information and varying perspectives into an easy-to-digest format.

While this is great news all-round, it’s not without its faults – as we say, it’s still new and in its experimental stages. Because Bard learns from a wide range of sources that reflect real-world biases, it can sometimes infiltrate and provide inaccurate, misleading information.

Bard is not quite ready just yet, with Google still rolling out experiments and tests. However, you can join the waiting list here to try it out for yourself.

Google’s March 2023 Core Update

Remember Google’s September Core Update? Well, we’re six months down the line and Google has rolled out another HUGE update, which lasted a whopping 13 days and 7 hours. Following the update, a list of over 7,000 winning and losing domains has been collected, in terms of their Sistrix Visibility Index scores. The top three absolute winners this time round were:

  • Wikipedia
  • Amazon
  • Ebay

And then when it comes to the losers, the top three were as follows:

  • Wiktionary
  • Urban Dictionary
  • Free Dictionary

Though there was no definitive pattern compared to other core updates we’ve seen, it’s clear to see that dictionary sites lost out in terms of visibility. On the other hand, the data shows how eCommerce and shopping represented the biggest winners in terms of overall growth. As it stands, it’s predicted that the search landscape will be rocky as we continue into 2023. But we’ll just have to wait and see. If you’d like to learn more about the results of March’s core update, head here to read all about it.

AI-produced content guidelines from Google

Following the rise of AI – with the likes of ChatGPT and Bard hitting our screens – Google has released a new set of guidelines for AI-generated content. Though this has been a topic of contention for quite some time now, Google has finally given their overarching view on the matter.

The general consensus is, as long as it’s valuable content, it doesn’t really matter how it was made. It’s a matter of striking that age-old balance between creating useful content and getting it seen by users.

The most important thing that comes out of the guidelines is that using these tools will still require some form of human intervention. After all, tools like ChatGPT simply regurgitate content it has found elsewhere rather than adding any additional value, opinion or unique thought.

We’re still unsure about what a penalty would look like from Google for using purely AI-generated content without adjustment or input from the ‘author’, but we don’t want to be around to find out. Basically, by all means use AI and leverage it to its full potential, but make sure you oversee it.

Hello, April

If March was anything to go by, we best start getting ready for a busy month in April, too. So, to make sure you never drop the ball with your marketing strategies, why don’t you enlist the experts?

With a full team of specialists, covering everything from graphic design and social media to SEO and PPC, we know what’s new, what’s good and what to do to keep your marketing in tip-top shape. Interested? Get in touch today!

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