Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Written by Nick Hurrell, reprinted from Luxury Briefing magazine, 26th April 2009

The daily news of businesses being razed to the ground gives ample cause for pessimism. Despite this, the recession can be a time when the new models, the new habits and the new opportunities make themselves apparent.

This special recession is no different and is already yielding new fruit for the optimistic and opportunistic among us.

An analogy: if you have a mortgage, and your repayments are dropping you have two possibilities: one, to spend the money you save; two, to take the opportunity to invest that money effectively and reduce your mortgage debt at an accelerated speed. The benefit of the former: jam today. The benefit of the latter: a long-term benefit brought forward to the medium term.

Brand management is rarely a short-term exercise, so brand owners who
invest in the media face a similar choice. To cut budgets now and let those media funds provide relief from other, immediate pressures. Or maybe to do the contrary, as so many of the cleverest speculators seem to do, and invest now to achieve a disproportionate effect. As an average across the UK media landscape, discounts of around 20% versus last year are not uncommon. In some media that discount is as high as 30%. Television airtime is currently available at the rate card of 17 years ago. We even see entrepreneurial media owners who are ready to invest space/airtime in return for a share of the revenues that ensue. This pricing regime will not last forever. Media inflation will soon return. If your brand is responsive to media stimulation, now could be a peculiarly fertile moment to create impressions in consumers’ minds.

Then there are the creative opportunities provided by the proliferation of new media choices. Aston Martin is keen that the lifelong adulation of its brand – so prevalent in the UK – should be encouraged on a global basis. A well-meaning Canadian admirer created a fan site for Aston Martin on Facebook. In short order, in cyberspace and from his bedroom, he was able to gather a thousand other fans around him. On behalf of Aston Martin, we thanked and rewarded him for his initiative, and took control of the site. Less than one year on, there are over 160,000 fans of the brand now enrolled on the site. The media cost of this exercise: zero pounds. This is social networking in action.

The communications agency landscape is changing rapidly too – as the recession lays bare the shortcomings of the traditional agencies. Those entrepreneurs who are creating the new agencies are eschewing the siloed approach so popular for so long, so all communications disciplines are embraced under the same roof, by the same team. Media thinking is no longer isolated from the creative process – “how could it be?” you rightly ask. These moves seem to be common sense, indeed this recession seems to be restoring common sense across numerous businesses, not just in our sector.

So, a time of possibility, opportunity, and even optimism for brand owners, marketers and agencies with ambition. I like to think so anyway.


The London Clinic hands HMDG Cancer Centre launch brief. HMDG has been appointed to handle the £0.5M launch communications for the new Cancer Centre at The London Clinic which will open in December 2009.

The appointment follows presentations from a number of undisclosed agencies. The task will include digital, print and direct marketing alongside all media planning and buying.

Karen Bullivant, Marketing Director said: “Our purpose built cancer centre
is another milestone in the Clinic's continued expansion and this campaign
presents real opportunity to showcase our expertise and innovation. We are
excited about tapping into HMDG's creativity and teeming energy!”

Neil Dawson, partner at HMDG said: “We are delighted to be working
with this most prestigious of clients. The London Clinic is a unique institution which combines a great heritage with a compelling vision for the future of healthcare”.


Kärcher, the world leader in cleaning machines, has appointed Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer (HMDG) to develop a global advertising campaign.

HMDG’s worldwide campaign will run across 43 markets to support existing products, to help launch new ones and celebrate the brand’s upcoming 75th anniversary.

The business will be run out of the company’s Winnenden headquarters by the global marketing team headed by Bernd Ruetzler, Vice President Marketing, Brand Management, International. HMDG won the business after being invited to pitch for the global assignment, following the success of its UK pressure washer work. The resulting ad, ‘Clean to the Beat’, has generated much-improved UK sales and is becoming a cult “classic” on youtube.

HMDG has been tasked with positioning Kärcher pressure washers as the most enjoyably effective way to clean with water. The company targets traditional key purchase periods during the year including Easter and bank holidays.

The campaign, encompasses TV, print, online, POS and promotions.

Nick Hurrell, co-founder of HMDG, said of the significant incremental win: “We are delighted to be assigned by Kärcher for this. We have helped deliver strong sales growth in the UK this year and hope to do even better next year. We’re starting to feel like part of the family.”


On May 19th Neil Dawson our planning partner went to speak at the Norwegian Stella Conference on the subject of the headlines from the 2008 IPA Effectiveness Awards. Like the IPA Awards, the Stella awards are judged on commercial effectiveness. They are held every other year and are open to all Scandinavian agencies.

As well as picking out some of the important learning from Johnnie Walker, Sainsbury’s, COI and Radley, Neil talked about some of the challenges facing those seeking to prove payback- in particular how to demonstrate the contribution of media and in particular digital. He spent his spare time feasting on smoked herring at the world-famous Theatre Café in Oslo!


Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer (HMDG) has been appointed to launch, a new consumer parcel delivery service and the first of its kind in the UK.

Positioned as a distinctive and desirable alternative to services currently available, is an innovation in home delivery where customers book a parcel collection online for one of the service’s 7,500 couriers to collect.

Nick Hurrell, partner at HMDG said: “The Royal Mail is unlikely to be chuffed about this launch. Quite simply, it means you’ll never have to queue in a Post Office to send or receive a parcel again.”

HMDG has been responsible for communications strategy, digital creative, media planning and buying (in partnership with Zed Media). Given that the business will be web-driven, the launch media is 100% digital. The launch budget is £2 million.

Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer has developed a branded character for the launch: a friendly parcel person called Millie who will help introduce the service in all online media, DM, and national and local PR.

The campaign will launch nationally on May 14th and run to the end of the year, appearing on high profile appropriate sites such as eBay, Orange and MSN. is a service provided by Hermes, formerly Parcelnet, the experts in home delivery, handling 110 million parcels every year in the UK and 22% of all Europe’s packages.