Monday, 30 November 2009

John Messum joins HMDG

Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer (HMDG) has appointed John Messum as Creative Director.

John has been with the agency for the last six months as head of art and also working with clients, leading the agency’s pitch for and creative directing Auto Trader while also helping run the department day-to-day.

He was until May 2008 part of a five-strong management team in London working on advertising and design projects at Farm and its sister agency Leith in Edinburgh following their acquisition by Cello.

Previously, he had helped found Leith London in October 2001 and before that he was Joint Head of Art at Saatchi & Saatchi overseeing national and European brands including Lexus, Sony and P&G (Oil of Olaz, Pampers and Ariel) and NSPCC.

John started his career in 1988 at Saatchi & Saatchi and for nearly ten years he worked on many famous UK campaigns such as Silk Cut, for which he received Silver and Bronze awards at the Cannes Advertising Festival; and British Airways, for which he won six Campaign Press Silver awards and a Silver nomination at D&AD. In 1997 he was hired by HHCL & Partners as Head of Art working on the launch of British Airways’ low cost airline GO. He most awarded campaign was for the Nurses Recruitment campaign through S&S, which won three pencils at D&AD, a Gold at Cannes and a Silver at The One Show.

John Messum said: I’m very excited to be joining HMDG. The agency feels vibrant and there’s a good momentum at the moment, lots of pitches and great work. I look forward to helping the agency grow further faster next year.”

“John has made a huge contribution to the agency since he has been here,” adds Nick Hurrell. “We are delighted that he has decided to move in.”

Al Moseley set to leave HMDG

Al Moseley has resigned from his post as a partner at Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer.

Al joined the newly formed HMDG 18 months ago as ECD and partner, adding his name to the agency's masthead, he leaves the agency in January 2010. The agency will retain its current name.

"I learned a lot at HMDG - who wouldn't joining a start up in the middle of the biggest recession ever recorded" said Al Moseley. "Over the past eighteen months I’ve worked with some of the most fascinating and challenging clients of my career, notably the Prince Of Wales for his Rainforest Project creating a campaign that featured the Dali Lama and Kermit the Frog, amongst others.
I didn't achieve everything I hoped for at HMDG but in the current business climate who has. However, I enjoyed the experience and they’re a great bunch of talented people who are going to do great things, I am sure.”

Al was instrumental in attracting his successor, and the agency’s new creative partner John Messum. John has already been at HMDG for the past six months and previously been part of the management team at Farm, helped to found Leith London and served as head of art at both HHCL and Saatchi.

John said of Al’s departure “ I’ve enjoyed working with Al and he has bequeathed me a team of talented people, and whilst we are sorry to see him leave , I feel confident we will now reap the rewards from the time he has spent nurturing the agency's creative output.”

Greg Grimmer on behalf of the partners at HMDG said “We are proud of the work we have achieved in Al’s time here and wish him well as he returns to Amsterdam and the global creative scene. Al leaving HDMG will be a sad day for both him and us and we hope we will always remain his favourite agency in London”

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

WIRED wins Launch of the Year at last night's BSME Awards 2009

Condé Nast is delighted to announce that WIRED magazine won Launch of the
Year at last night's BSME Awards 2009 at the Hilton Hotel. WIRED's editor
David Rowan was there to collect the Award.

The magazine, which launched in April this year with the May issue, was
commended by judges for being "a beautifully crafted, forward-thinking
magazine that gives its readers an informed and intelligent insight into the

Is winning everything ... and do awards even matter anymore?

In his latest monthly column Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, argues why in a year full of redundancies, unemployment, missed bonuses, and tightened corporate belts - the awards season isn't an anachronism that should be quietly and quickly put out to grass ...

Here we are again, it's the business end of the year. Pitch results, financial year-ends, and the true test of any business' mettle - the awards season. As the nights draw in, and the air grows colder, the skirts get shorter and the male definition of black tie gets stretched further down The X Factor rather than the Bond route, will we all seek to judge our own peer group by the number of times they visit the stage of the Grosvenor House Hotel?

This year, more than many previously, I am hearing dissent about the relevance of these glamorous (but fatuous?) shindigs. Are they not just money making enterprises for the publishers of the magazines they purport to represent the readers of? Are they not so omnipresent that each individual award is cloaked with invisibility due the plethora of similar rewards?

In a year when there have been redundancies, unemployment, missed bonuses, and tightened corporate belts all round - surely the awards season is an anachronism that should be quietly and quickly put out to grass?

Well as someone that neither personally entered, not corporately won anything this year I would say no. Despite the obvious call for a reduction or postponement of the awards in our sector . They should and will remain a staple entry in every ambitious agency CEO, Sales Director and Junior media person's dairy, and I will now discuss some of the major reasons for this.

For a large spending client of my agency, HMDG, I recently sat in on their pitch for a new media agency. A number of the global major marketing services groups were invited to tender - each of those chose one of their most suitably equipped media agencies to take part - and each of those then prepared an excellent lengthy submission full of erudite thinking, excellent value, and all equally full of ROI busting case studies for well regarded client businesses.

After this elongated process the client's decision came down to two sets of people and a single question - what differentiates you from your competitor? The winning CEO without blinking cited the X number of awards won at a planning event the evening before, and cheekily filled in the gap for his competitor. It was a Tour de Force, confident without being arrogant, unarguable in its facts, and compelling in its strength.

Success breeds success, any budding touchline Alex Ferguson will tell you this and the truth is as relevant to our business as it is to a sporting analogy. Clients like to be in an agency that is fashionably successful, sales managers like to work for a brand that is recognised as best in its category, media planners like getting pay rises and job offers for writing award papers.

Moreover, there are other tangible benefits. I enjoy being asked to judge such events as you get to analyse first hand what your peer group think are their best examples of productivity, creativity, and all round good workmanship, and I am rarely disappointed.

My personal rule, which I try and instill into my contemporary judges is - when this award is announced on the night, is there going to be a general nodding of heads and acceptance even amongst competitors or is there going to be outcry and a feeling of 'who the hell were the judges on that category'. Quite often people are swayed by an excellent face to face presentation or pitch theatre, but more often than not thorough work across a year or longer will be rewarded.

So, awards are good for companies and peoples financial health, and arguably increase both productivity and creativity (but you won't have to go far to find those that would argue otherwise). So what about the other effect of awards, the evening out for all of those that make it to the aforementioned Grosvenor House or its smaller siblings the Park Lane, Dorchester or The Hurlingham? Of course it is only a small number of individuals that make it up on stage (unless of course you count some of the mass invasions by the agencies/ sales teams for the premier awards which seems to have become the fashion of late) but what about the rest of us? Those who attend knowing that it is not going to be your night to go home with a bauble or two.

Well the answer is of course go and enjoy it ! Have fun mingling with friends and colleagues past, present, and no doubt future. This year more than most we all deserve a night out ... and sometimes its not just about winning, or even the taking part but just attending and enjoying it - whilst obviously aspiring for next year.

Directly and to the point ... the new rules of direct response

In his latest monthly column Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, puts his haunted memory of being booed at the recent Direct Marketing awards aside for a moment to explain the new golden rules of response advertising ...

Once upon a time in a world very different from today a recently launched Channel 4 and a still all-powerful British Telecom held a big conference to set out the rules of direct response television.

Back in this golden era there was a reason for these two companies to show an interest in such a subject. Channel 4 had set up a new sales team and had some pesky new dayparts to sell called "coffee time" and "Nighttime" - and BT was not only the one phone company in existence but it was also operating in a pre-mobile, pre-sms, pre-internet world. Its only competition for advertiser response was the humble coupon, still even today a difficult fulfillment method via television.

Fast forward nearly two decades and the first attempt to rewrite the golden rules of response advertising was made last week at the sumptuous Soho Hotel. Tess Alps and her effervescent Thinkbox marketing team, led by imperturbable research director Dave Brennan, set out to look at whether the 'rules' as written in a pre-digerati world still have any relevance to today's marketers.

For reasons of age and career history - and no doubt availability - I was invited to take part in this rewriting of the rules and enjoyed the experience perhaps more than you might expect. As a keen student of military history (can I recommend others to read 'Generals' by Mark Urban) I can spot that the 'Frenemy' tactics of Thinkbox and Google can now be likened to the entente cordiale between the French and British at the height of Empire.

Of course telephony in its many modern forms may not in this case take the place of an emerging German superpower and may be closer to a still powerful but decaying Russian imperial state. Both television and the internet still need and use phone responses to handle customers but many marketers are moving to online only customer handling techniques. In airlines it is not just the modus operandi of Ryan Air and EasyJet, BA have gone that way as well. The online insurance aggregator market (which was unsurprisingly featured heavily at the Thinkbox conference) has grown entirely through the online response channel. Although how, when and why people choose to respond and visit these sites was of course the subject of much debate before, during and after the conference.

So what are these new rules I hear you ask? Well like most things in life the conclusions drawn by the aforementioned unflappable Dave were less didactic than as set out by someone far less amusing back in the 1990's. But conclude he did and you will find this work on the excellent Nickable stuff section of the Thinkbox website.

Perhaps even more interesting was the reaction from the audience in the Q+A session . The issue of response from advertising is now an issue that effects all client side marketers . Whilst most will still have brand health measures, econometrics models and other forms of measurement in place, nearly all also try and count the immediate effect of their television advertising.

Now this should be viewed as a positive by all parties, but there will be certain constituencies that are nervous at this ever-increasing trend. They shouldn't be but neither should any of us think that immediate response is still the ten minutes immediately after a spot is aired.

The other debate that has matured and evolved and become more complicated over the past two decades is that of brand versus direct. I recounted last week how, as an advertising bloke, I was booed at the Direct Marketing awards whilst collecting a prize (a memory that still haunts me today). The warring camps of Direct and Brand have merged in many organisations only to be replaced with new silos of Online versus Offline.

As we debated the nine or ten different types of creative and media strategies on my now famous response ladder, I urged the same dedication be given to the channel in which you want response channeled through. But the biggest question of all - and the first question we should all ask - how much response does our business need?

Traditional TV advertising is dying and other boy crying wolf stories

In his latest piece for Newsline, Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, says that the death of TV advertising has been greatly exaggerated.

Elsewhere on MediaTel you will find some fine and some aphoristic comments on ITV and the tough job facing the incoming chief executive. As always when the traumas affecting ITV are covered by the fourth estate, not far away there will be further commentary discussing the fact that traditional TV ads are dying.

I've always thought that this was an unfair debate. Traditional is such an odd word to describe such a vibrant media. The dictionary definition? "Observant of tradition; attached to old customs; old-fashioned."

Who in any media wants to describe themselves as any of these things?
When did a media or creative brief ever ask for a traditional solution?
Who thinks that a live TV commercial featuring sky divers is in any way traditional?

Let me answer these for you. No one, never, and not on your Nelly.

For those readers of a certain vintage the golden age of television advertising may seem a distant memory. But traditions are for Morris dancers and pipe smokers, not for cutting edge media luminaries like you, dear reader. So, lets go find the problem - why did the golden age disappear? Who is responsible for the fact that the majority of Britain's best loved TV ads are for brands that will never air again? Where are the Smash , Hamlet and Cinzano ads of the 21st Century? Who told Levis, Boddingtons and Tango to stop using TV and spend their money on other media, despite building up their businesses via Television? The usual suspects; all of us are guilty in some shape or form of killing the joy of TV advertising.

Media planners have become intoxicated with online and ambient solutions, diverting money to stunts that will only be seen by their Charlotte Street Facebook friends.

Creative agencies are guilty of thinking of advertising as an art form rather than a sharp instrument with which to brand clients' businesses. Also they stop caring about their own product as soon as the film is shot - with a bizarre and unhealthy interest in the number of views achieved on YouTube.

Television contractors took the money and ran. Once upon a time a wise sales director taught me that TV stations were paid for people to watch ads not programmes. After years of neglect, this is a distant memory. Nowadays the prime position - first in a break - that used to be reserved for the bastion of UK creativity is now hidden behind a poor quality, cheaply produced, unfunny, sponsorship ident and a host of programme trailers for the channel's own output.

Just about the only medium print journalists talk about the demise of in more florid terms than their own is television advertising. It remains a bĂȘte noire to anyone with a BTEC in media studies that anyone actually still watches TV. Yet if you go to the excellent Thinkbox website you will find that commercial viewing, revenues and ad effectiveness are all in rude health, it's just that no one seems to like this story, while even fewer want to write about it. My favourite press ad of the year was in the IPA Effectiveness Awards brochure where Thinkbox thanked the one non-TV advertiser in the whole awards for helping prove their point.

Clients love films portraying their brand, however recent times have seen them wandering toward the more measurable, more 'accountable' media. But let's remember that just because you can count something doesn't make it effective .

Regulators... don't get me started. Whatever happened to honest, decent and truthful as the benchmark? Beer does make you feel more sexy, lager consumption does make you more amusing. Car ads are right to talk about the emotional thrill of driving. One sector at a time, regulators are making it harder for adverts to sell in an entertaining way, all of which is why we have seen a catastrophic trend in the oft quoted TGI statement of people enjoying ads as much as the programmes. Down 57% in 15 years to an all time low.

We are all guilty, but we can all do something about it. However, whether this needs to be on traditional telly is another debate for another day.

I shall be speaking at a Thinkbox conference in October, on the power of television to create immediate and powerful responses. The speaker before me is from Google. He, I believe, is replacing Yellow Pages in the marketer's armoury. I will be using arguments that haven't changed since Colgate first hit our screens in the 1950's. Television advertising remains an amazingly powerful tool for brands - I defy anyone who saw the galaxy of fantastic ads in the half-time break of the England v Croatia game last week to claim the traditional TV spot is dead.