Friday, 3 December 2010

Antler appoints HMDG to global advertising account

Premium luggage brand Antler is delighted to announce that after a
competitive pitch it has appointed the London-based advertising
agency
HMDG (Hurrell, Moseley, Dawson & Grimmer) to its global
advertising business. The review follows the acquisition of the Antler
business by private equity firm
LDC (Lloyds Development Capital) in
the spring of this year.

Antler, which is headquartered in the UK and has offices in North
America and China, is marketed around the world. In the UK it trades
with major retailers such as John Lewis, House of Fraser and
Selfridges plus hundreds of independent stores as well as its own
retail shops.

Next year Antler will launch a major new integrated marketing
campaign, having already become a partner of the Virgin Racing
Formula One team in 2010.

David Benjamin, Managing Director of Antler said:
The Antler brand has not invested in significant and high profile
marketing activity for some years. With a new range of exceptional
products coming to market we are ready to remind everybody of
Antlerʼs great product strengths.
This is the start of a new chapter for one of Britainʼs best loved brands

Nick Hurrell, partner at HMDG said:
Antler is a famous British brand, and with new private equity backing it
is ready dramatically to accelerate its marketing activity. We are
delighted to have been picked to go with Antler on that journey.

About Antler
Antler has been in the premium luggage business for over 80 years
and has maintained its UK leading market position by
following strict principles of design, quality and innovation whilst
always assuring maximum product functionality. Recent
changes in airline regulations have led to the development of a new
generation of super lightweight and cabin friendly
products which Antler are now introducing to markets across the
world.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Facebook’s recent launches may have run Foursquare out of town.

Many thousands of moons ago in the digital world (about 2006). I used to have a theory about social networking sites. This theory was that they had a half life, a bit like a piece of radioactive waste. The theory stood up quite well for a season of conference speeches, as Friends Reunited, Bebo, Second Life (I like to think my ’get yourself a first life’ comment helped this particular site’s demise) and even the mighty MySpace lost favour with their previously fanatical users.

Then along came Facebook, and I needed another theory (or a longer time span to judge it by.)

However as The Social Network was going big and hitting Hollywood, the latest piece of mass owned technology (geo-tagging on smart phones) was spawning a number of threats to Facebook. Gowalla, Rummble, Foursquare and numerous other location based services have been gaining traction by getting users to Check in their location via their smart phones in order to let their friends, fans or mere digital acquaintances know their whereabouts.

Bright Young Things

Briefly Foursquare has been the digerati’s new favourite social app. I was staggered to hear that over 4500 people earned an ’Epic Swarm’ badge by checking in simultaneously at a recent American Football game, until I realised that it was a 49er’s game in San Francisco down the road from Silicon Valley and smart phone penetration was probably about 200%. Therefore the market usage figure for Foursquare was disappointingly low!

Then in August this year Facebook Places was launched. Has Facebook Places killed Foursquare dead overnight?

I used to run a media company full of bright young things who had already binned Facebook as too mass, and not cool (read “geeky”) enough for their liking.

No doubt this lot will be part of the five million current users of Foursquare and will for the time being carry on gathering “Mayorships” and earning badges.

The problem for Foursquare is that the launch of Facebook Places will not only stall its consumer growth plans - as Facebook Places is automatically added to Facebook profiles - its companion service Facebook Deals also drives a sledgehammer through Foursquare’s commercial aspirations. (Don’t feel too sorry for Foursquare’s founders, who took out $4.6m in the last round of funding).

Facebook has spend the last five years getting brands to set up pages and fan bases. These communities can now be carefully harvested and the investment payback started through offering Facebook Deals to those checking in.

Freedom of choice

So is this the future for new brands on the web? Launch, wait for one of the big boys to copy your best bits and deliver it seamlessly to their larger audience base, then quietly drift into the ethersphere and a become a distant memory? It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Wasn’t the internet supposed to encourage freedom, proliferation of brands and consumer choice? The actuality is that it is dominated by a hegemony of superbrands: Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon. The web is increasingly offering consumers a parsimonious choice of suppliers.

Forget Chris Anderson’s long tail. Consumer herd mentality has meant that the internet is like a docked Weimaraner. Nothing wagging here except tongues in Mountain View.

Talking of Google, the recent news of Facebook launching an email service is perhaps harder to understand than its launch of Places. There is already messaging and chat on the service and by Zuckerberg’s own admission, kids don’t use email.

But if Google’s failed social network Buzz was a shot across Facebook’s bow then the announcement of the email service for all 500 million Facebook account holders is a broadside against the Big G.

Those that have seen recent user stats from the USA will have seen Facebook overtake Google in terms of time spent with each brand. The addition of Places, Deals and now mail will have ramifications in even the most powerful board rooms of the West Coast.

So back to the death of Foursquare.

The good thing with Foursquare is that users still have the control in the way they communicate their location other people in their network. You can still check-in in secret, just for your own amusement.

Facebook Places current set up means that you subject all of your friends to your updates all of the time, spammer status assured. Unless your friends switch off their notifications (of which there are already detailed guides on how to do on YouTube) your status updates all automatically.

A previous oft quoted rule of website creation was, if you do one thing, do it well. For a limited constituency of Foursquare users then this rule may prevail.

Now I’m off to oust Rina our own pet digerati as Mayor of HMDG.

Original article can be found in Marketing Week.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Life's a pitch

8 November 2010 by Greg Grimmer

Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, talks pitches: “Bad news, say goodbye to your social life, friends and family, you are going to spend the next three, four or maybe even six weeks producing endless data and charts that my boss will throw away 24 hours before the pitch to make up his own version that the client will hate and violently disagree with”…

As we approach the silly seasonal time of the year and the awards season takes full hold of the marketing world’s social life, I thought it was time to reflect on another year of client/agency pitches and the enormous time and emotional cost that these sometimes fruitless exercises inflict upon the marketing supplier world.

For anyone that has spent time in an ad agency, media agency or digital agency (and there seems to be a growing number of people on the media owner side of the fence who have done) they will remember the dread of their manager wandering over to their desk with an awkward smile on their face and proclaiming: “Good news you are working on the so and so pitch”…

Reading between the lines what they really mean is: “Bad news, say goodbye to your social life, friends and family, you are going to spend the next three, four or maybe even six weeks producing endless data and charts that my boss will throw away 24 hours before the pitch to make up his own version that the client will hate and violently disagree with.”

It didn’t always used to be like this. I, like others of my era, used to view new business as a preferential hobby, one that challenged you to look at new markets and gave you a chance to impress the boss, get a pay rise and have a night out on the lash (win or lose)… So why the change?

Well part of this shift can be blamed on the economy – my business partner Nick Hurrell has a great line on this when he says we are looking for clients who are looking to get married, not ones that are coming out of a messy divorce… meaning that the best clients appoint a new agency to start something new, not to leave something bad.

However, I was drawn to the recent YouView creative pitch, where you can’t help noticing the chaos surrounding the creative appointment of Adam and Eve. This was after a big headline in the trade press saying that CHI had been appointed but lost the business because of a clash with their TalkTalk business, and among rumours that RCY+R were also close to the appointment but fell down because of their BBC ties. Somewhere in the process, OMD got appointed despite their (or maybe because of their) long standing relationship with Channel 4.

What a mess, and this was a client without an incumbent! Now I’m sure there is no one party to blame in this case and we have all worked on pitches where there seem to be underhand practices at play, but usually the winning agency and client senior team get to work well moving forward. However, for the winning agency team it is often the case of one thing worse than losing a pitch is winning a pitch…

So, what are the other causes of this general pitch malaise? My agency HMDG was recently tipped off by one of the many pitch brokers that exist in the sector that our credentials, approach, and work were liked by a client and to expect to be included in the pitch list. Four weeks down the line, after supplying copious documents and case studies, we were informed that as a young company without the necessary bureaucratic processes in place we were unable to proceed. A bit like the clash situation, it seems to be an excuse. “No we don’t have any live fashion business and neither did we at the start of the process six weeks ago so why put us through the mill!”… “Yes we handle one of your minor competitors in Asia and have done since you first asked us to pitch!”… Irritating and annoying but too often excuses given by the client procurement team at the end of an unsuccessful process.

Now any sales professionals reading this will probably be thinking get over yourself Greg. We have to pitch daily (to often poorly prepared or non existent agency briefs) and it is true, sales teams have to pitch constantly and will undoubtedly suffer disappointment more often than not. This is one reason that despite being one of the more sales orientated agency folk, I still doff my cap to those on the other side of the fence, the job you do is tough. This notwithstanding, the fundamental difference is that agency pitches normally have to produce bespoke content for each and every pitch and media owners will normally re-cycle the majority of the content. Also on the agency side, a field of 10 will only produce one winner, whereas there can be multiple winners on the media owner side.

So what can be done? Well better understanding the procurement industry remains a goal for most of the agency new business people I know. Also, being clearer, stronger and better prepared for the pitches you do want to participate in must be a prerequisite… (I remember gaining more respect from my management team after walking away from a pitch than I ever did for winning one). It is the life blood of any business and especially in agency life, as my first creative director told me very early on in my advertising career. There’s only one thing guaranteed in advertising, you will lose business!

This cheerful ditty keeps me going on the new business trail, looking for those clients who want ambitious, forward thinking work for their business. The pitch won’t go away but try and enjoy it and don’t treat it as a punishment – it should be a chance to recommend new things and have some fun in the process.

So, life’s a pitch but then you try (and try again)…

http://mediatel.co.uk/newsline/2010/11/08/lifes-a-pitch/

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Interview with girl-next-door Joanna Page as she lands her first modelling gig


She was the epitome of the girl-next-door in Gavin and Stacey, but beneath the cheery smile and bubbly persona hid cheekbones like a pair of chicken fillets and the smooth, clear skin of a child.

Which is presumably what Superdrug saw when they decided to make Joanna Page their new face and star of the brand's new TV ad campaign.

We caught up with Joanna, 33, who's married to Emmerdale star James Thornton, 34, to try to find the key to her natural beauty (we’re sure it helps that even her dad moisturises!).



I see myself as down to earth, quite simple, tomboyish. James sees me as really feminine and sparky and positive – a bright, shining star.

I looked at myself the other day and thought, 'Am I ever going to age?' My mum's nearly 60 and she looks really good and my dad and all his sisters all look really dinky and really, really young. I think I've got their genes. I hardly drink and I've never smoked, but I do sunbathe because I love it when my freckles come out.

I never dreamed of modelling. I'm comfy in front of the camera, being an actress, but this is a dream come true. I wouldn't wear make-up to go to college, but I'd dress up as different people. So to have the opportunity now to do this with Superdrug and pose in front of the camera is just so much fun. To have bright red lips and smoky eyes and have my hair done and then just stand there and pout is brilliant.

Superdrug Vitamin E Illuminating Moisture Cream is absolutely amazing. It's not expensive at all, it smells of holidays and it just illuminates your face – Mum can vouch for this because she lathers it on all over her body. It gives you a glow and really wakes you up.

I'm naturally blonde. My dad's 58 and he’s still got blonde hair and it's thick with a bit of a wave – perfect hair. My mother has got really fine, rubbish hair. I've got her hair, in Dad's colour.

My dad uses Nivea and my mum used to use Oil of Ulay. She used to tell me always to put moisturiser on with an upward movement so you don't pull the skin and not to forget your neck and your chest. And to backcomb your hair to make it look a bit thicker. That's what I've inherited from her! And positivity – being ambitious, believing in yourself and not worrying about what other people think about you.

I've never dieted or had a problem with my weight. But now I'm in my 30s, I think it's important to start working out, not just to look good, but for your heart. You forget about that, don't you. But I'm getting older now and should be in my prime. If I'm going to get really fit, it has to be now.

I'll be guaranteed to do something at least three times a week, even if it's just doing 50 sit-ups before I go to bed or a few press-ups when I get up or taking the dog for a run down to the newsagents or going for a swim. As long as you do something that gets your heart going every day.

I don't know if they’re doing any more Gavin and Stacey Christmas specials. We'll never do a new series but I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a phone call in a couple of years to say we’re doing another special and that would be really nice. I love working with them all; they’re so much fun. It would be lovely for us all to meet up, have a laugh and spend a few weeks messing around.

See the full article at Hello!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Who the XXXX is Clare Enders?

...Or to put it another way - "where has the media voice of the agency world gone?" asks HMDG's Greg Grimmer.

It has come to my attention over the last few months that we have a new 'Empress of Media'. Regular readers of MediaTel Newsline, or MediaGuardian or MediaWeek or indeed virtually anywhere will have seen Enders Analysis, and more specifically Claire Enders, proclaiming regularly and bluntly about all things media.

Now I myself am not shy of a bit of self promotion, happy to turn up at the opening of (selective) media envelopes, and speak at conferences, weddings, and barmitzfah's, but Ms Enders is making me seem like a recluse. She is everywhere and not shy of making a few enemies along the way.

Now I have never met Claire but mutual acquaintances have told me she is sharp, clever, funny and enjoys being the centre of attention (obviously!) and that she is running a successful business - but why has she suddenly become the doyenne of the media circuit? And more to the point, why is it that she has been the lone media voice in areas where we would expect to hear from our trade bodies and media super groups?

In fact it is not just the media circuit - the ubiquitous Enders can even be seen at House of Commons' select committees criticising government ministers' naivety and lack of basic media understanding. However, Ms Enders' latest move is the one that has really caught my eye - she is taking on big Rupe himself. The News Corp Evil Empire. I am envisioning Enders in Princess Leia plaits and Big Rupe dressed up in his best Darth Vader kit. Surely this is not a battle of equals?

Now running a 'small business' (Companies House definition not mine) registered in Dundee, I can see the business benefit for Claire and her eponymous firm of creating waves and column inches out of not just their reports and forecasts but also her occasional fight-picking abilities (she has proved several times that she isn't scared of the big boys). But normally her forthright views are on old media's habit of tying up capital in fixed assets, or new media's obsession with forgetting to remember the lessons of history.

This time she is just trying to stop a seemingly smart piece of corporate manoeuvring by a media maven, or at least raise some serious questions about it. However, the real reason that I am perplexed by Enders asking the government to investigate News Corporation's purchase of the remainder of the BSkyB shares that it doesn't currently own, is the fact that this significant piece of media lobbying is being fronted by a small management consultancy and not by the normal media establishment of the IPA, ISBA, or indeed the media agency super groups who have obvious client interests to protect.

I remember Chris Locke, now of the great media buying behemoth VivaKi, then of Mediavest, writing an amusing piece in MediaWeek after the now defunct consultancy Michaelides and Bednash won 'Media Agency of the Year'. Chris argued that as they spend no money on media they could not possibly be the agency of the year. And if M+B could win, then so could his mum as she spends nothing on media either.

In another memory recall test, I remember the Monopolies and Mergers Committee investigating the potential power of Rank Screen Advertising when they got to about 80% of the cinema advertising market - a media that was then, as now, less than 1% of the total expenditure in the UK market. It was big news - media directors in advertising agencies got animated about the subject.

There was a similar noise around about the same time Rupert Murdoch took control of the failing mid-market tabloid Today from the union-busting Eddie Shah. The advertising world was nervous of the increasing might of the Murdoch media stable and activated both regulatory bodies and lobbying groups to monitor the deal's progress.

Today - some weeks after Enders' document was mailed to Vince Cable, where it apparently lay un-opened for some time, the rest of the newspaper industry has come together to petition the business secretary... but why the deafening silence from the media agency establishment when News Corporation are adding to their power once again? Are the likes of GroupM and OPera content with Claire Enders doing their work for them, or is the IPA Media Futures Committee (dominated by the CEO's of all the major buying agencies that equate for about 85% of all money spent on media in the UK) about to pronounce on the subject of Sky's ownership? Will Enders Analysis be able to rest easy as both TV viewers and advertisers have their interests looked after by those that control the income streams to the majority of Murdoch's empire?

Or are we now in an era where the major agency groups are too cosy with the major media owners and deals have been struck across boundaries away from the influence or control of a single government?

Surely that couldn't happen today in our egalitarian web-based economy... well maybe not, but of course that is a web that is basically run by three companies - Google, Apple and Microsoft.

And Claire, if you are reading this, I'm sure I wont have to remind you of the wise words of Mr Wilde - "there's only one thing worse than being talked about..."

See the article in full at MediaTel

Thursday, 7 October 2010

'We're just like Gavin and Stacey': Actress Joanna Page on her long-distance marriage

By Jane Gordon

Bubbly blonde actress Joanna Page talks (and talks and talks) to Jane Gordon about being mistaken for her Gavin & Stacey alter-ego, falling for her heart-throb husband, and a teasing new TV ad























It’s difficult to work out who came first – the actress Joanna Page or the character Stacey Shipman (née West) that she played so successfully through three series of Gavin & Stacey. Listening to Joanna talking at breakneck speed in her lilting Swansea brogue – about everything from her dog Daisy’s indigestion to her childhood love of boiled egg and soldiers – is rather like tuning in to a lost episode of the series that turned her from a serious actress (she has worked with the RSC and the National Theatre) into a comedy star and a Welsh national treasure.

‘I never thought the time would come when it would be cool to be Welsh. When I was at Rada I learned to do Irish, Scottish and English accents, but nobody ever wanted to hear Welsh and I am so proud to be in the show that made it happen. I love it, I love my accent and I love being part of the new Welsh mafia. There’s Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon, Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins and Matthew Rhys who was at Rada with me and is now a huge star in the States. Oh my God, it’s amazing!’ she says.

Joanna punctuates almost everything she says with ‘Oh my God!’ Or ‘It’s amazing’ (and sometimes both) in a way that should be irritating but somehow isn’t. The 32-year-old actress is so enthusiastic that she can even inject sparkle into childhood recollections of visits to the Swansea branch of Superdrug (we meet to talk about her new role as the ‘face’ of the high-street retailer in a major advertising campaign). Much more intelligent than Stacey, she was urged by her Mumbles comprehensive to apply for Oxbridge but was determined to go to drama school. If she does resent the fact that she has become synonymous in the public consciousness with her TV character (who also said ‘Oh my God’ and ‘It’s amazing’ a lot), she’s not saying. Instead she emphasises the positive effect it has had on her life.

‘People really do think I am Stacey. Someone said to me the other day that they were watching Love Actually on TV and they hadn’t realised “Stacey” was in it. I said, “No, Stacey isn’t in it, I am in it.” But I don’t mind because people loved the show,’ she says with a good-natured grin.

It isn’t the first time that Joanna’s real personality has been confused with that of a role she played on TV. Her husband, the actor James Thornton (heart-throb farmer John Barton in Emmerdale), 34, fell in love with her at a screening of the 1999 TV dramatisation of David Copperfield, in which they both appeared but never actually worked together. ‘He fell in love with my character Dora, and he thought that I would be this very posh person with a very, very English accent who would think that he was a bit of rough,’ she says, laughing at the idea.

For her part, it was watching him – as Ham Peggotty – pull the young David Copperfield (played by a ten-year-old Daniel Radcliffe) on to his shoulders that prompted her to say to her mum, ‘I want that man to be the father of my children.’ But the couple didn’t actually meet until Joanna’s actress friend Maxine Peake called her to say that she was working at the National Theatre with someone who said he was in love with her.

‘By that time I had also seen James in Playing the Field, in which he was this moody, arrogant football coach who rode a motorbike and wore leathers and I thought, “Oh my God, he is so sexy.” When we met I was terrified that he wouldn’t like the real me because I wasn’t Dora. The first thing he said to me was, “You look different.” He told me later he honestly thought I was going to be in a pink ballgown. But once we got over that we just didn’t stop talking.’

Joanna talks so fluently and so fast (she says it’s to cover up for her shyness) that it is difficult to imagine how James (whom she describes as ‘Northern and brooding and very much like Heathcliff’) ever manages to get a word in edgeways. ‘When we are out I talk and talk and talk, and people always think that he is very quiet, but when we go home and I can relax I don’t need to talk and he starts up. Do you know what we argue about? The fact that he interrupts me, talks over me and doesn’t let me get a word in edgeways in the house,’ she says.

An only child, Joanna was encouraged to act at the age of seven by her parents (her father is a mechanic and her mother works in financial services) to overcome her shyness, and she believes that the success of her relationship with James – they married in December 2003 – is down to the fact that they come from close ‘ordinary’ families (his in Yorkshire, hers in Swansea) and share the same work ethic, values and opinions. Ambitious and careful with money, the couple have built up an impressive property portfolio of buy-to-let flats in Wales, Yorkshire, Bulgaria and even Brazil, to give them financial security against any downturn in their careers. Their main base is a house in East Dulwich, South London, which they share with her ‘surrogate baby’, Daisy the jack russell. And their latest purchase is a small flat in Leeds that will be a home from home for James when he is filming Emmerdale.

‘It’s a long-distance relationship now – a bit like Gavin & Stacey when they first met. James is up there all week, then he will come home on Friday and go back on Sunday. But we are both busy and it works because it’s always fresh. I am always excited when he comes home.’

She laughs when I suggest that they could become a power couple – a British Brangelina perhaps – insisting that their lives are so ‘cosy’ and dull that the only shots the paparazzi would get of them would be, ‘Oh my God! Us sitting on the sofa eating a takeaway and watching a DVD.’

They are clearly supportive of each other’s careers. Since James joined Emmerdale he’s acquired a growing female fanbase (she says as many people now stop him for pictures and autographs as stop her), but despite spending so much time apart they have complete trust in one another.

Earlier this year James was knocked down in an accident near their home, which left him with a broken leg and a head injury. ‘He crossed the road – it was night time – and a car came from nowhere and he went right over the bonnet, breaking his leg and smashing his head. He was still conscious and the first thing he did was call me on his mobile and I rushed down – there was blood everywhere but I was surprisingly very calm. I went with him in the back of the ambulance and it was all rather surreal – he wanted me to take pictures. They were sewing him up – as an actor he was worried that scarring might affect his work – and I was filming him on my phone. It was like an episode of Casualty,’ she says.

Tiny – she is just 5ft 1in – and impossibly pretty, with perfect skin and naturally blonde hair, Joanna looks closer to 22 than 32 (she says that a taxi driver who picked her up from home the other day asked if James was her dad). Dressed today in a Whistles frock (since she turned 30, Whistles and Reiss have taken over from Topshop as her favourites), she admits a particular weakness for handbags. ‘I don’t smoke, I only ever have the odd glass of wine, I don’t go clubbing. The only vice I have is shopping. I bought this Marc Jacobs – a real splurge – a couple of days ago,’ she says, lovingly showing off her new purchase.

She counts the entire cast of Gavin & Stacey as friends and is particularly close to Ruth Jones (who texts her during the interview) and Alison Steadman. (She is fond of ‘the boys’, James Corden and Mathew Horne, but rarely sees them.) There will, she thinks, be the occasional Gavin & Stacey special but no fourth series.

‘A job like that comes once in a lifetime – brilliant scripts and brilliant people to work with. When they said “That’s a wrap” on the last show
I went back to my hotel and sobbed for two hours,’ she says wistfully. ‘Later I saw Ruth and both our faces were swollen from crying so much. Oh my God! We looked like frogs.’

Joanna’s role in the new Superdrug advertising campaign, promoting the company’s beauty and grooming products, has the potential to be as popular and long-running as Gavin & Stacey. Joanna and Ben Heathcote play a couple newly in love, in an on-screen relationship that is planned to develop in rather the way of Jane and Adam in the BT ads or the 80s Gold Blend campaign. There are other roles too – presenting Sky’s My Pet Shame, a stint in panto in Milton Keynes this Christmas (Dick Whittington, with Luke Perry as King Rat) and a part in a forthcoming episode of ITV’s Marple called The Blue Geranium.

‘Oh my God! I am obsessed by Agatha Christie – my favourite film as a child was Death on the Nile. Being Welsh and growing up in a working-class household, it looked so English with all the costumes, it was so foreign to me: that was my idea of acting when I was growing up. When they said, “Will you be in the Miss Marple story?”, I said, “Oh my God! Of course!” I even had to find a body – although I was so overexcited when it came to the scene that instead of screaming I couldn’t stop laughing,’ she says.

There is, she insists, no particular dream role, but she can do a convincing American accent and is as open to film parts as she is to challenges in the theatre and – perhaps – more TV presenting and voiceover work. A couple of years ago Rob Brydon – devoted father of four and a stalwart member of the Welsh mafia – told her to get on and have a baby, but there are no immediate plans for a family.

‘Eventually I would like to have babies. There is no perfect time and I don’t like planning anything – whatever happens, happens. I have been very lucky in my career and I am sure I could fit a family round my work. James and I have this idea that in a couple of years we will sell all our properties and buy a big house in the country and then have loads of animals – dogs, sheep, pigs. And – oh my God! – maybe a baby.’

See the full article at the Daily Mail

Friday, 1 October 2010

Superdrug makes TV comeback with a new ad

Superdrug has unveiled its first new television advertisement in a decade with a spot starring Gavin and Stacey actress Joanna Page.

The first ad airs tonight (1 October) during the Coronation Street break, and has been created by HMDG, who won the account following a competitive pitch earlier this year.

The campaign will run across TV, in-store and radio during the autumn winter trading period. Media planning and buying was by Zenith Optimedia.

John Messum, HMDG creative director, says: “Superdrug is changing and we’re very excited to be the ones asking people to take another look.”

Dan Jarvis, Superdrug head of marketing, adds: “Our aim is to be the best in everyday accessible beauty and the new campaign has been created to encourage the country to come into our stores.”

Elsewhere, Superdrug will be launching cosmetic and gift ranges under the Accessorize and Glee brands and a celebrity nail range from Andrea Fulerton later this year.

This story first appeared on Pitch, Centaur’s subscription-based online interactive marketplace for agencies and clients to share news, opinion and debate.

See the full article on Media Week

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Inexorable Rise of Brand Response in the ‘00s

The IPA Effectiveness Awards at 30

The Inexorable Rise of Brand Response in the ‘00s

By Neil Dawson

In the book Built to Last, Collins and Porras talk about how companies get caught in what they call ‘The Tyranny of the OR’. The belief that you cannot live with two seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time, that you can have change or stability, you can be either conservative or bold, you can have low cost or high quality, but you can never have both. They found that successful, visionary companies all operate in what they call ‘The Genius of the AND’, driven by the “ferocious insistence” that they can and must have both at once.

Marketers and their agencies have long been caught in their own ‘Tyranny of the OR’ as they have wrestled with how to achieve the right balance of brand-building and response-driving, tactical activity within campaigns. Terms such as ‘Theme and scheme’ or ‘Strategic promotions’ have been variously used to describe this ongoing challenge.

Brand Response is the marketing communications industry’s Genius of the And. It sounds too good to be true. It asks us to live with two apparently contradictory ideas at the same time. It can be simply defined as a strategic and executional campaign approach where brand-building drives response and this response in turns build the brand in a virtuous circle of effectiveness.

Analysis of the IPA Databank indicates there has been a change in the nature of the campaigns on show over time. Brand Response emerged as a significant force in the ‘00s and the trend looks set to continue. This has had significant implications for strategy, creative, media and evaluative approach. While this may risk over-simplification, marketing communications seems to have moved through three distinct phases in the lifetime of the Awards.

1.Brand or Response

Marketers make a choice between two discrete activities. Brand-building and other longer term activities are separate from short-term sales or response-driving activities. They are generally delivered by different campaigns through different channels. Typically TV used for ‘brand’ and direct marketing used for response. The majority of the IPA cases from the 1980s reflect this thinking.

2. Brand and Response

The two elements are treated as distinct but complementary activities within a campaign assisted by some executional links. The Grand Prix-winning Tesco case of 2000 used Every Little Helps and a consistent tone of voice across different campaigns for brand and tactical work.

3. Brand Response

A seamless blend of both types of activity is delivered through a single campaign. The purpose of all activity is to drive response (both short and longer term) while building the brand. Building brands and driving sales are no longer mutually exclusive activities, they are now symbiotic. Critically the two elements create a powerful virtuous circle where brand helps build response, and the response itself helps build the brand. (Specific examples of how this works are given below).

Support for this thesis of the rise of Brand Response comes from analysis of the types of campaign by decade using the new IDOL tool (IPA Databank online). http://idol.ipa.co.uk/

Brand Response is not exclusively a ‘00s phenomenon. There were significant portents in the ‘90s – the definitive case being Direct Line and the famous red telephone. At the time it was regarded as being a sector-specific success rather than as a broader breakthrough in approaches to marketing communications.

The growth of Brand Response has been fuelled by multiple factors:

• Since the mid ‘90s the growth of the Internet has disrupted the business models of existing sectors and created new business sectors such as aggregators. The ability to measure and model consumer ‘response’ has increased dramatically and continues apace. (The commercial value of this ‘response’ remains a matter of ongoing debate).

• Most businesses now operate in a relentlessly short-term environment. Daily, weekly and monthly targets are the norm, the quarterly report has for many become a long-term perspective.

• The downward pressure on marketing budgets of the last decade means that marketers simply cannot afford to divide the Brand and Response tasks in the way they used to.

• Consumers have become more ‘responsive’. It is easier than ever for them to engage with relevant marketing campaigns. They are more willing than ever to respond to the right offer. Social networks have created new opportunities for response in the form of participation and comment without invitation from brands.

• Over the last decade, the marketing communications industry has consistently promoted the value and virtues of joined-up or integrated thinking and execution. Setting aside well-documented interdisciplinary turf wars, this has created an environment where Brand Response has been likely to flourish.

Below are three of the best exemplars of Brand Response. Interested readers are invited to download the full papers from at warc.com. The accompanying commentary is not intended as a summary of the case but rather to show how it demonstrates a Brand Response approach. Data shown are entirely subjective highlights.

Each case approaches the task from both a strategic and executional perspective.
And in each there is a powerful demonstration of the virtuous circle where brand aids response and the response itself is part of the brand-building relationship.

O2 – Brand Response through Total Integration

This is the story of a corporate transformation from ‘troubled’ Cellnet to thriving O2. The new brand was launched into a mature and ferociously competitive market. They faced the significant challenge of building a brand while gaining short-term sales as quickly as possible. Over 80% of investment was sales-driving. The paper describes how O2 adopted a brand-centric approach to all activity.

Integration was delivered at two levels:

1) Visual – to deliver cut-through, which helped drive awareness and led to efficiencies.
2) Strategic – to deliver product and tactical propositions such as Pay and Go, Bolt-Ons and Home which successfully drove sales and longer term consideration.

Econometric modelling shows a short-term payback of 6.3:1 and an ultimate payback of 62:1.

What is so impressive about the case is the speed at which the results were achieved. Significant savings were delivered by the rapidity with which O2 established itself in the market. The Accenture chart shows the length of time each mobile brand took to achieve spontaneous awareness and at what cost. No other brand achieved their goals as quickly or as cost-effectively during this period. In just two years O2 became the most salient brand in the market.

Importantly strategic and tactical propositions created a brand-building experience – Pay and Go, Home and Bolt-Ons completed the virtuous circle of brand response by being distinctive and relevant to the consumer.

Sainsbury’s – Brand Response as an Organising Thought

The Sainsbury’s case is a significant example of a campaign evolution into a Brand Response model. Previous successful campaigns had featured Jamie Oliver and the famous recipe cards. The new strategy was founded on a clear definition of the business problem – a target of £2.5bn extra sales was translated into £1.14 extra per shopping trip. Try Something New Today was created to interrupt ingrained shopper behaviour and drive incremental purchase. The idea has since guided all communications, store design, merchandising, product innovation and company culture. It works with Jamie Oliver in TV ads and on the recession-busting Feed Your Family for a Fiver initiative instore.

Significantly the idea of Try Something New Today was not simply about building brand while driving purchase, the experience of creating and eating something new is a brand-building experience from Sainsbury’s in its own right.

The total effects of this campaign are £1.9bn incremental revenue over two years. Of particular note is the modelling proof, which highlights the value of the Try Something New Today idea at £550m in increased revenue. In other words Try Something New Today led to behaviour change unrelated to media spend which had a huge impact on sales.

118 118 – Brand Response as Cult Phenomenon

This is a great example of highly effective Brand Response activity in a sector land-grab. The deregulation of directory enquiries does not seem like an inspirational subject, yet the cult- like phenomenon of the runners propelled an unknown brand to market leadership and public affection in a short time. The task of driving immediate calls and building a distinctive and motivating brand could not be divided. As well as creating a famous brand, response was key to building the brand via behaviour and ingraining a new directory enquiries habit.

A bold strategy included spending £2m of the marketing budget on getting the so-called ‘golden double’ of 118 118 and beginning to advertise several months ahead of switch-off. This delivered 17 million calls at a time when there was no reason to call 118 118 other than the communications campaign.

The campaign idea was amplified by innovative media approaches which made the runners and their ‘Got Your Number’ catchphrase become a part of popular culture – appearing on Question of Sport, even celebrating the retirement of the elderly 192. The runners became the poster-boys for all journalistic coverage of the deregulation issue bringing high engagement to this dull subject. 118 118 thus owned a new category.

Post switch-off 118 118 dominated the market and charged a significant premium vs. competitors. Market share rose to 44% compared to long-established BT’s 34%.

So we have seen that Brand Response is a significant theme of the IPA Effectiveness Awards in the ‘00s. Two historically separate and apparently contradictory elements have been united in some of the most effective campaigns of the last decade.

Brand Response has generated new learning about strategic and executional approaches to business problems. By definition it is highly relevant to retailers and other service brands where the consumer experience is critical in fuelling brand perceptions. However sectors such as FMCG are not immune – the recent Walkers ‘Do Us A Flavour’ campaign seems to be inspired by Brand Response principles.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that the test of a first rate mind was the ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

Successful marketing communications in the ‘00s passed this test as it increasingly embraced Brand Response. And there is no sign of this trend abating.

Please get in contact with us to hear more about Brand Response.

The Rise of Brand Response or "Why take two bottles into the shower"

Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, on why we should all take note of Brand Response...

This week I have had the honour of speaking at Nokia World - a collection of the finest brains in the mobile business - and the privilege of attending Conde Nast Digital's take on the multi platform world. Two high profile well-attended events, both fronted by the most senior executives in their respective companies.

Within the presentations though were two very conflicting messages. The theme of the mobile conference was that mobile must get ROI . It must deliver direct response to clients to change marketers perception of the channel (and crucially their spend behaviour). Over at Vogue House, they have invested for the long term by creating beautiful digital vehicles for their brands (mainly on beautiful Apple based products) and now have a long list of brands using these platforms for branding campaigns.

So here we are again - Brand or Response?

Many words have been written on this subject, normally by media proponents of one of these specialism's over the years, and usually with the conclusion that that they are totally separate disciplines. Instead of trying to add to these I have instead chosen to plagiarise my partner Neil Dawson's work on the subject. Being a researcher by training and an account planner by trade rather than write subjectively about the subject, Neil has done some thorough research using the IPA effectiveness award winners over the last 30 years to work out if Brand Response is a passing trend or something more important.

Brand Response sounds too good to be true. It asks us to live with two apparently contradictory ideas at the same time. It can be simply defined as a strategic and executional campaign approach where brand-building drives response and this response in turns builds the brand in a virtuous circle of effectiveness. Neil's analysis of the IPA Databank indicates there has been a change in the nature of the campaigns on show over time.

Brand Response emerged as a significant force in the '00s and the trend looks set to continue. This has had significant implications for strategy, creative, media and evaluative approach. While this may risk over-simplification, marketing communications seems to have moved through three distinct phases in the lifetime of the IPA Awards.

1.Brand or Response 80's

Marketers make a choice between two discrete activities. Brand-building and other longer term activities are separate from short-term sales or response-driving activities. They are generally delivered by different campaigns through different channels. Typically, TV is used for 'brand' and direct marketing. The majority of the IPA cases from the 1980s reflect this thinking.

2.Brand and Response 90's

The two elements are treated as distinct but complementary activities within a campaign assisted by some executional links. The Grand Prix-winning Tesco case of 2000 used Every Little Helps and a consistent tone of voice across different campaigns for brand and tactical work.

3. Brand Response 00's

A seamless blend of both types of activity is delivered through a single campaign. The purpose of all activity is to drive response (both short and longer term) while building the brand.

Building brands and driving sales are no longer mutually exclusive activities, they are now symbiotic. Critically, the two elements create a powerful virtuous circle where brand helps build response, and the response itself helps build the brand.

Support for this thesis of the rise of Brand Response comes from analysis of the types of campaign by decade.

Brand Response is not exclusively a '00s phenomenon. There were significant portents in the '90s - the definitive case being Direct Line and the famous red telephone. At the time, it was regarded as being a sector-specific success rather than as a broader breakthrough in approaches to marketing communications.

The growth of Brand Response has been fuelled by multiple factors:

  • Since the mid '90s the growth of the internet has disrupted the business models of existing sectors and created new business sectors such as aggregators. The ability to measure and model consumer 'response' has increased dramatically and continues apace. (The commercial value of this 'response' remains a matter of ongoing debate)
  • Most businesses now operate in a relentlessly short-term environment. Daily, weekly and monthly targets are the norm, the quarterly report has for many become a long-term perspective.
  • The downward pressure on marketing budgets of the last decade means that marketers simply cannot afford to divide the Brand and Response tasks in the way they used to.
  • Consumers have become more 'responsive'. It is easier than ever for them to engage with relevant marketing campaigns. They are more willing than ever to respond to the right offer. Social networks have created new opportunities for response in the form of participation and comment without invitation from brands.
  • Over the last decade, the marketing communications industry has consistently promoted the value and virtues of joined-up or integrated thinking and execution. Setting aside well-documented interdisciplinary turf wars, this has created an environment where Brand Response has been likely to flourish.

Whether it is Sainsbury's 'Try Something New', 02 bolt-ons, the 118 118 runners or the Russian Meerkat, some of the most iconic and effective campaigns over the last decade have been undoubtedly Brand Response.

It a significant theme of the IPA Effectiveness Awards in the '00s. Brand Response has generated new learning about strategic and executional approaches to business problems. By definition it is highly relevant to retailers and other service brands where the consumer experience is critical in fuelling brand perceptions.

However, sectors such as FMCG are not immune - the recent Walkers 'Do Us A Flavour' campaign seems to be inspired by Brand Response principles.

There is no sign of this trend abating, we should all take note...

See the article on MediaTel

Thursday, 16 September 2010

HMDG joins Coty's roster of agencies
















The cosmetics and toiletries company Coty has appointed HMDG to its global roster of agencies. The agency landed the brief without a pitch.

HMDG will be responsible for the advertising for an Adidas product launch next year. Activity will run globally across online, point-of-sale and outdoor.

Earlier this year, Adidas introduced a special edition of the male fragrance Pure Game, to celebrate the football fans and participants of this summer's World Cup.

Since its partnership with Coty in 1985, the brand has become a leader in the male fragrance market and is distributed across 82 countries.

In July, Coty hired JWT UK to handle the global digital advertising for Rimmel London after a three-way pitch.

The HMDG founder Nick Hurrell said: "Coty is a creative, commercial and hugely influential business working with many of the world's best-known brands. We are delighted to have joined its roster of agencies."

See the article at Campaign here

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Nestlé Milky Bar: Raisin & Biscuit variant’s launch ad successfully evoke grown-ups’ fond memories









By Nick Hurrell - Partner, HMDG

This is a very likable ad, which shows various, unlikely, members of the public auditioning (I guess) to appear in the next Milky Bar Kid ad.
There is something universal about the appeal of this approach to adults of a certain age, who, as children, will have dreamed about being cast in the role. I feel I have some authority to comment on the subject, because I have always had Milky Bar Kid specs and, as a child, also possessed the requisite amount of long blond hair. However, there were height restrictions, apparently, so I was not picked.

That said, a lot has changed since then – not least the fact that, in the marketing world, we are now plagued by endless TLA’s (Three-Letter Acronyms). Nowadays, they sell chocolate bars with BFY (Better For You) ingredients, as here; the ad breaks are dominated by POS (Punters On Screen), and the Milky Bar Kid (MBK) no longer seems to carry a gun.
Oh, and Nestles has changed its name to Nestlay.

If I were picky, I would say that we were getting lots of MBK in this ad, and insufficient Raisin & Biscuit SKU – but, be fair, the spot will prompt me to look out for the Milky Bars next time I’m in a CTN, and I might even pick up the BFY version, even though there’s no chance that it will taste as good as the original that I remember.

The ad relies on the ubiquitous crowdsourcing, or at least crowdcasting. (I’m starting to wonder just how actors are making ends meet now that they no longer get to appear in commercials.)

The thrust of the ad is that viewers should go to the website to audition, which I did – and a very nice site it is too. The prize is to get selected – which, again, I didn’t; but good luck to all those who do.

For me, the best new element in the campaign is the endline: ‘Ungrow up’. Reading back over what I’ve written, the ad has had exactly the effect on me that it was meant to: to make me reminisce about Milky Bars and get me back on the white stuff at the CTN.

Not just that, but the auditions are restricted to the over-16s, so the strategy is clearly to recruit MBGs (Milky Bar Grownups). This shouldn’t be too much of a struggle.

This ad may not guarantee that the Raisin & Biscuit variant’s launch breaks all records, but next time I’m being pestered for chocolate by my four MBK lookalikes, the Milky Bars will be on me.

View this article in Marketing magazine’s Adwatch, 8th September 2010.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Auto Trader 'Auto Trader is now mobile' by HMDG

Auto Trader, the UK motoring website, has launched a new £2 million campaign to promote its mobile platform.

Created by Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer the ad features an animated robot named Auto, who personifies the characteristics and functionality of the Auto Trader brand for consumers.

In the ad, the robot appears as an advisory companion to customers who are deciding which car to buy. The TV campaign will launch during the England vs
Bulgaria game this Friday and is supported by digital and Out-Of-Home activity. John Messum, Creative Director of HMDG, said the robot would "freshen up the campaign".

Log in to Campaign Live to view this article

Kärcher Paper is Shortlisted for IPA Effectiveness Awards 2010









HMDG was pleased to find out that our submission to the 2010 IPA Effectiveness Awards has been shortlisted. Full details can be found here

Here’s a summary of the paper, looking at our 2009 campaign for Kärcher Pressure Washers.

Men Just Want To Have Fun: How getting to grips with the complex mind of man became the catalyst for growth for Kärcher Pressure Washers

Despite being available in the UK for many years, high pressure washers remained a relatively underdeveloped category. By assessing the male psyche, and employing brand advertising to a category with no history of it, Kärcher were able to deliver results. Carefully planned television slots were used to target the male audience, through exploring the playful satisfaction connected with power tools. Despite a small marketing budget, this campaign was a catalyst for strengthening Kärcher’s relationship with consumers and retailers. The campaign delivered a short-term payback of between three to five times the total 2009 budget of £570,000.

See the full TV ad, and other work, here

Friday, 27 August 2010

Dreaming about Digital Sheep in an Electric Haze

Greg Grimmer argues that although online media is “currently very in vogue due to immediate measurability”, we can’t rely on numbers only – so avoiding becoming a “digital sheep”…

Two pieces of mainstream media news caught my attention this week; the Deloitte report on television (TV advertising is great – online and mobile less so), and WPP’s profit figures citing traditional media’s fightback against the web as a reason for their rude health. So I thought we could take a look at the some of the aspects that are holding digital media, and indeed digital revenues back.

Or perhaps more truthfully, I will give my view on effectiveness within Digital Media advertising today, and why it is like counting sheep.

Thinking about this, I was reminded of some advice given to me very early in my media planning career by one of my first Planning Directors: “As soon as you spend it, measure it.”

The measurement meant wasn’t the counting of eyeballs, but the creation of bespoke research to ascertain the positive effect, if any, of the actions of myself and my colleagues.

This simple and effective advice saw me through the first decade or so of my career in the halcyon days before media fragmentation, and certainly before the digital explosion that hastened the onslaught of the information age.

“But what have sheep got to do with anything?” I hear you ask .

Well, the notion of counting sheep to get yourself to sleep is hopefully something you wont be thinking of over the next couple of screens, but those that are interested in ovine metrics might like me have come across the old adage of there being ten sheep for every one person in New Zealand.

Well, due to the power of god’s own interweb you can rest easy. This fact, according to the kiwi governments own website, is indeed true.

Unfortunately, the same site then spends too long telling the WWW audience that this is statistic is contrary to many ill placed Australian notions that there are in fact only three million kiwis and sixty million sheep, a ratio of twenty to one.

You know what guys – twenty to one, ten to one, that’s still a lot of woolly friends – and by making the number more accurate it doesn’t change the joke.

When you are counting in millions, the actual number becomes far less important than the overall picture you are trying to paint.

If New Zealand Farmers could successful bred and sell sixty million sheep then this would indeed be a better number than forty million. If the natural resources or the market could not take this number then sixty million would be a bad number.

Online marketing, like antipodean sheparding, is full of big numbers. A Google being the biggest number of all of course. But, as we all proceed in our digital lives, it is worth remembering that we should keep all numbers relevant, and bigger sometimes brings with it less relevance.

Whilst it may seem difficult to believe for those of a more tender age, the paucity of information in media was a true phenomenon until at least the mid Nineties. Therefore, the judicious use of quantitative data to ascertain the success and justify the continuation of media investment was a simple but useful lesson.

Now as we enter the second decade of the information age, I am reminded of one of my favourite Oscar Wilde quotes now over one hundred years old but never more apposite: “It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.”

Within my new silo free agency I was discussing this phenomenon with an account handler and a copywriter, and all of us were bemoaning the fact that our latest TV commercial wouldn’t be judged for four/six months whilst its online cousin was being judged by its click through rate ONE DAY after launching.

The availability of the data means that decisions are often made to change, stop, or amend, far quicker in online than in other media channels.

“Why did you change it? Because I can.” This should be the mantra we should all try to avoid.

We shouldn’t however be surprised by this. It is with in the professional lifetime of most people in media that decision making, amendment, and approval, has transferred from Royal Mail, to telephone, to fax, to Email.

A process that may once have taken weeks, is now often actioned within hours (if not minutes).

So, the future for the bright, is digital.

We must acknowledge this and that it is a one way street.

There are no negative integers in binary.

We are stuck with a new marketing world that gives us great measurability and crucially immediate measurability.

One of the much returned to debates in marketing strategy, forever highlighted by the always assertive Professor Patrick Barwise is that of Efficiency versus Effectiveness. This debate is never more relevant than in media investment, targeting, and deployment.

Online media – and specifically I will focus here on online media as opposed to the vague term, “digital media” – especially search, and some elements of display, are currently very in vogue due to their immediate measurability.

They are also manipulated to become ‘more’ efficient through a combination of human and technology inputs. Indeed their effectiveness is also trumpeted due to the simplistic ROI that can often be shown in a dollar in / dollar out fashion.

This however is the nub of the issue.

Online media is very good at counting.

E-commerce businesses make a science out of this methodology and indeed Google as the world’s largest, most powerful, media owner, built it’s ‘do no Evil’ Empire out of this base simplistic counting process .

However, we should not and indeed must not conclude that, because we can count direct actions (even in dollars, pound or Euros), we are making a positive contribution to the advertising effectiveness debate. Numbers are vital to the role we all play in the marketing process, but to rely on numbers only, or to follow only the biggest most immediate numbers, will only involve lots of worried sleepless nights – even given the presence of electric sheep.

See the full article at MediaTel

Friday, 13 August 2010

Consumer Magazines' Most Innovative Marketing Strategies











Many magazines have diversified away from traditional advertising to promote themselves to new readers. Media Week presents some of the most innovative examples from the first six months of the year.

Wired magazine ran a £250,000 advertising campaign around its first anniversary issue in April, which included mobile messages that “self-destructed”. The title also ran a “scratch off” cover in June.

See more at MediaWeek

Monday, 9 August 2010

HMDG Wins Superdrug Ahead of Pre-Christmas TV Ad Drive














Superdrug, the UK's second-largest health and beauty retailer, has appointed HMDG to its UK advertising account.


The retailer currently spends £6 million a year on advertising, according to The Nielsen Company, but is expected to increase its spend to £15 million as it takes on the market leader, Boots.

The company, which previously managed its advertising in-house, appointed HMDG after a four-way pitch and is planning a major TV campaign in the run-up to Christmas.

The retailer's most recent retained agency was Euro RSCG, which was appointed to handle branding work in May 2005. Superdrug, owned by the retail group AS Watson, parted company with the agency the following December as it switched its focus from TV to press ads.

HMDG's first Superdrug campaign, which will run on terrestrial TV channels, will highlight the retailer's value proposition.

Superdrug's media planning and buying, which is handled by ZenithOptimedia, is unaffected by the review.

Steve Jebson, the commercial director at Superdrug, said: "We are clear on our strategy, our purpose and branding and we are ready to go out and start talking to our customers."

He added: "We want people to take another look at Superdrug and hopefully reassess some of the perceptions they might have had."

Read the article at Campaign