Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Our must-reads... and the list goes on...

Sally in our office loves Wuthering Heights.
Hayley says it's A Book of Matches.
Sarah K's favourite is Life of Pi.
Jen shows her dark side with A Clockwork Orange.
Gaby went for Michael McIntyre's autobiography.
Sarah A adores Perfume.
Rebecca smiles every time she thinks of The Water Babies and is forever haunted by First They Killed My Father.
Kate eyes lit up when she talked about A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Jenny devoured The Catcher in the Rye.
Moluk was sad when she finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Lisa's imagination was captured by The DaVinci Code.
Claire cried over If This is a Man.

HMDG girls' favourite magazine The Stylist has a sister site, which has produced a list of the 20 Books You Must Read. Favourites like To Kill a Mockingbird are featured, along with a few surprises. Sign up to emeraldstreet to receive the list, or choose one from our own favourites.

The church next door often has second hand book sales too, for those who love a bargain.

The art world's smallest canvas

You may never have considered your fingertips much. Clean, hopefully, trimmed, perhaps polished or painted occasionally. That may be about to change..

This September, Nailphilia is showcasing an exhibition which looks at the fingertips as a habitat for art. Stunning, thought-provoking and outlandish designs are displayed at's execution room on Vyner St in Hackney... well worth a look.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Free events at More London

More London's free summer events at The Scoop are well worth checking out. There's early-morning bootcamp for the hardy, theatre for the thesps and films for popcorn-lovers. Particularly of note though is the excellent exhibition 'Rites of Life' - an outdoor photographic display which examines worldwide ceremonies and events that mark the transition from one life stage to another.

Listings are found here:

Camden Fringe

The 6th Camden Fringe is on this month, running events right across the borough. The Fringe aims to give the chance to perform to anybody wanting to showcase their talents, and features acts from up and coming talent right through to experienced somebodies.

Hamster Town, Out Damned Spot and The Cabaret of Potty People are just a few of the incredible productions - not to be missed.

Check out the full listings here:

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The youth who fell to earth

Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, on how media consumption habits change in the holiday season…

A number of things influenced my choice of subject this month and the prudes among you will be pleased to hear that Jim Marshall’s Skittles predilection isn’t one of them.

On returning from my annual family sojourn to the sunshine (more of this later) I – like most of my media brethren – have spent many hours catching up on emails, newsletters, trade mags and the general information overload that we all deal with the moment our feet are back ensconced at our work stations.

Two pieces struck a chord, potentially due to the fact that I had been spending extended time with ‘The Grimmer Youth’ and watching first hand their interaction with the media world and the human race. Firstly Dave Brennan’s piece here on MediaTel’s Newsline on the porkie pies told by everyone when asked to self-complete research questionnaires.

For those that didn’t see Dave’s piece, it was a very ingenuous article about the lies told by the great and good of our industry – who all work 20 hour days, save for a quick read of the Economist or a snaffled listen to the Today programme. It reminded me fondly of my old girlfriend who was ad manager of the now defunct Just 17 magazine, who once proudly told me that according to TGI Just 17 readers (average age 14) were more likely than Vogue readers to “drink champagne regularly”.

The second piece that rose to the top of my virtual mailbox was the earth shattering news that young men use computers. Well knock me down with a featherlite.

This remarkable insight was provided by The Great Male Survey, developed by It stated that 72% of young men said they relied on online sources for their news consumption. It went on to say that almost a third of the men (28%) never read a newspaper. Now I’m no mathematician but if 28% never read, that means that 72% must have said they do read newspapers, spookily enough the same amount that are relying on online for news. Work that one out.

At this point I was drawn to my modern day Disraeli – the ever reliable Tess Alps, who hilariously and charmingly debunked and their ilk in her very apposite blog post about the International Pear Foundation.

Anyway, back to young men and their love of computers and ‘The Grimmer Youth’ holiday media consumption.

Having spent meticulous hours packing every network enabled device they could find, the unwashed youth begrudgingly accompanied their handlers into sunnier climes among much talk of “there had better be Wifi”.

Onto 3am Gatwick hell and perhaps the most surprising find, and first sign of an urbanite adolescent ‘chillaxing’, was the preference for magazine reading on planes ahead of iPads and DS’s. Avaricious reading of the duty free catalogue was soon added to by the stealing of my GQ and Wired and a none too perfunctory glance through a particularly top shelf version of Heat.

This revisionist trend continued on arrival and whether it was the sun, the sea air or the (unfulfilled) chance of pubescent sex, the digital devices were, if not forgotten, certainly neglected in favour of more traditional media channels throughout the quinze jours.

There are of course good reasons for this – the much-heralded hotel WiFi was limited to certain hot spots within the campus and did not include teenage rooms. Additionally (and thankfully) one aspect of the criminally insane data roaming charges on smart phones abroad meant that favourite device number one was virtually obsolete for a fortnight.

On arrival TV viewing of foreign channels became a compulsory part of the day for both budding polyglots. I was impressed by the dedication to the news channels and also the ability of Grimmer Minor to articulate the editorial difference between CNN, BBC and Russia Today. Whilst talking about the US debt crisis (broadly – We’re F@@ked; They are F@@ked and so are we; they are F@@ked and deserve to be). A shared addiction to the Tour de France also breached language boundaries and reminded me (as well as the tribe) that some sports are best served as edited televisual feasts rather then real time text tickers or indeed live events.

Other local media also made an impact – I once remember the late great Peter Howard Williams of cinema-fame winning a raft debate by proclaiming “have you ever seen anyone stand up and clap in front of a poster site”. Well Peter, I have now. After 10 days of Greek salads, teenage eyes spotted a McDonald’s poster, and gave it that very response. Other outdoor ads also had the same immediate response effect. The ad plane tagging a Calipo advert at 3pm daily on the beach produced immediate repeated sales. Far more effective than the now Famousily (sic) Effective Grey advertising plane at Cannes this year.

So, half a month passed without Facebook shutting down (19 holiday ‘friends’ were added swiftly on return though) and in hindsight I thought this media behaviour doesn’t really differ greatly from home consumption. Like the media industry I concentrate my vitriol about failed exams and late nights on the omnipresent Facebook or Xbox… but in reality all media are still playing a part in teenage behaviour and also, contrary to what any youth based media owner will try and tell you, these muddy funksters are the easiest consumers to reach because they are never away from media.

Free newspaper and magazines are grabbed happily on school commutes in a way that wasn’t available to previous generations unable or unwilling to pay their 20p for the Soaraway Sun.

Whilst at home, as with every parent in the last fifty years, I say too much TV is consumed, but with ‘The Grimmer Youth’ – in common with their contemporaries – it is almost always at least dual screen and at times simultaneous conversations via networked devices (Skype on the laptop, Facebook on the iPad, IM on the smart phone and Xbox live headphones).

At times this makes me think of the scene in the great Nicolas Roeg movie – ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. David Bowie as a humanoid alien who comes to earth to get water for his dying planet. Due to his high intelligence he regularly consumes multiple screen images. He then starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business on earth…

Now this made me think… technology genius… Larry Page? Do no evil? Perhaps a theme for another day.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Online communities provoke action in face of UK riots.

News of the recent protests across the UK has spread like wildfire over social networking sites, showcasing the reactions of a shocked nation. Sites like twitter and facebook have been used by protesters to organise riots, however it enabled police to track their movements, who have also said that they will prosecute those who used Smartphones to co-ordinate rioting and looting.

Conversely, online communities are uniting in a movement to reclaim the streets. @RiotCleanUp was set up by artist Dan Thompson – with #Riotcleanup trending on twitter, co-ordinating communities to help the dispossessed in the aftermath of the riots. ‘The Londonist’ also reported that up to 300 residents in Enfield had joined together to deter looters following a twitter campaign. Online communities are responding to the youtube video of a student hurt in the riots who was robbed as he lay bleeding on the street, with the lovely, while DARE have created which is aggregating some of the positive ways Londoners are pulling together.

The Great British sense of humour has been in evidence too, with #OperationCupofTea demonstrating a light-hearted ‘make love, not war’ attitude, whilst café chain The Breakfast Club are trending on twitter with #hugsnotthugs, offering a free cup of coffee for anyone who gives their staff a hug.

In the commercial sector, businesses such as JD Sports and Currys have been badly affected by the looting. Gumtree and eBay have vowed to assist police following concerns that goods stolen by looters may appear on their sites.

Will be keeping track of more positive reactions over the next few days.

Friday, 5 August 2011

HMDG appoints Lisa Rokny as Marketing Director

HMDG has appointed Lisa Rokny as the agency’s first marketing director. She will become immediately responsible for the company’s marketing output and business development efforts. She joins the agency on August 8th from CBS Outdoor where she is currently the head of digital creative and development.

Lisa has over a decade’s experience in marketing, communications and creative development, in both traditional and digital media companies. She started in publishing for EMAP, developing creative solutions for advertisers and extending magazine brands such as FHM, Q, and Empire into events, online and TV. Lisa has also worked at Yahoo – developing many brands’ presence and positioning on the Internet, both editorially and commercially.

In 2007 she joined CBS Outdoor Digital, where she led creative & production services, content strategy and proposition development. Her focus has been to bridge the gap between traditional and new media channels, developing integrated solutions for brands.

Lisa said of her appointment;
“This is a great time to be joining the agency and I’m really looking forward to being part of such a talented and experienced team at
HMDG. I hope to add skills that clients will find both interesting and relevant to their current needs.”

Greg Grimmer added; “After a successful first half of the year with a number of new account wins we have been able to expand with a number of key appointments and the attraction of the calibre of talent such as Lisa outlines our ambition for further growth “

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The real winners at Cannes

Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, explains why Google and Facebook dominated Cannes conversation…

I have a tough taskmaster in my MediaTel editor. She demands relevance, humour, erudite observations and the occasional plug. So here goes, trying to please a multi-headed task master again.

I shall start this month’s regaling at the salubrious Haymarket Hotel. MediaTel’s first foray into joint media and client based events, this inaugural one being centred around mobile and retail. A stellar list of UK retail marketers attended, together with a smattering of agency folk and Shaun Gregory’s evangelical O2 media team.

Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, explains why Google and Facebook dominated Cannes conversation…

I have a tough taskmaster in my MediaTel editor. She demands relevance, humour, erudite observations and the occasional plug. So here goes, trying to please a multi-headed task master again.

I shall start this month’s regaling at the salubrious Haymarket Hotel. MediaTel’s first foray into joint media and client based events, this inaugural one being centred around mobile and retail. A stellar list of UK retail marketers attended, together with a smattering of agency folk and Shaun Gregory’s evangelical O2 media team.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Auto Trader launches £2.5m ad campaign

Auto Trader has launched a £2.5m television and online ad campaign to promote its new-look website that facilitates the sale of new cars.

The TV ads break today (4 July) and will run for six weeks across ITV, Channel 4, UKTV, Channel Five and Sky, to promote, which launched earlier this year.

The campaign has been created by HMDG and focuses on the concept of the website being the best new online car showroom, by pushing the range of cars available and its user-friendly research and comparison features.

In addition to the TV slots, the campaign will also run online via VoD sites, as online display on sites including and Facebook, and at this week’s Goodwood Moving Motor Show, which Auto Trader sponsors.

Matt Thompson, marketing director at Auto Trader, said: “Our New Cars site has already become one of the leading destinations for new-car buyers in the UK and this campaign aims to make it number one.

“Its scope and reach make it an ideal platform to reach a targeted audience with a clear interest in making a purchase, allowing advertisers to reach local buyers in the way and at the time that will get the best possible response.”

In September, Auto Trader launched a £2m campaign, created by Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, to promote its new mobile platform.

Auto Trader is wholly owned by Trader Media Group, which is itself owned by a joint partnership between Guardian Media Group and private equity firm Apex.

View the full article at Campaign Live

Auto Trader launches £2.5m New Cars ad campaign

“Greatest new car showroom in the www to reach over 20 million consumers from July 4th”

Auto Trader, the official presenting partner of the Goodwood Moving Motor Show, will be launching a new £2.5 million TV and media campaign to promote its New Cars website ( on Monday 4th July. The campaign launches with a new TV advert in July appearing on all major commercial channels with the aim of driving consumers across the UK on to the New Cars site.

Advertising agency HMDG created the new campaign around the concept of the ‘Greatest new car showroom in the www’ – a theme that encompasses both the range of cars available on the site and also its user-friendly research and car comparison experience, which has been designed as a result of extensive consumer research and beta testing to help consumers identify and purchase the right new car for them.

Media channels to be used in the campaign include TV, Video on Demand, online display, social, eCRM, SEO, PPC and public relations. The campaign also involves Auto Trader’s sponsorship of the Goodwood Moving Motor Show, which takes place on Thursday 30th June.

Since its launch earlier this year the New Cars site has secured over 2.5 million page impressions 1 to date, with over 600,000 unique users in its first month, demonstrating the power of the Auto Trader brand name and the customer reach it provides advertisers both on a national and regional level. Research conducted on Auto Trader’s New Cars site shows that 84 per cent of users are actively looking to buy a brand new car2, a clear demonstration of the value of the site and its ability to provide quality leads. 61 per cent of visitors further stated their intention to buy a new car in the next 3 months4.

Matt Thompson, Marketing Director at Auto Trader, comments: “Our New Cars site has already become one of the leading destinations for new car buyers in the UK and this campaign aims to make it number one. Its scope and reach make it an ideal platform to reach a targeted audience with a clear interest in making a purchase, allowing advertisers to reach local buyers in the way and at the time that will get the best possible response.”

Nick Hurrell, Managing Partner at HMDG, adds: “The New Cars launch is a major strategic step for Auto Trader. The advertising campaign is also moving up a gear, as we launch the greatest new car showroom in the www.”

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Keep taking the tablets

In the guise of a ‘proper journalist’, Greg Grimmer, partner, Hurrell Moseley Dawson & Grimmer, talks tablets with GQ’s Dylan Jones, The Guardian’s Chris Pelekanou and Wired’s David Rowan…

As the latest Apple fanfare surrounding the iPad2 hits full volume I thought it was an apposite time to look at the effect that the rise of the tablet is having on the much maligned print sector.

‘Digital media is killing newspapers and magazines’ has been a drum beaten loud and hard (ironically the loudest by print journalists) – so is the tablet the saviour of every press baron or are they fooling themselves by investing into a technology and ecosystem that they don’t control or understand?

I was a sceptic of the iPad when it launched. I saw it as superfluous digital device that would have to be viewed as an addition to my current gadget portfolio, not a replacement for my iPhone, MacBook , or iPod… (I am ‘Apple Maxed’ according to the Urban Dictionary).

However, one year on I am a convert – the iPad has found a place in my screen-based time schedule and not really at the expense of any paper-based products.

I use it primarily (as do other family members) in a multi-screen environment, when the crucial power struggle of the television remote has been lost. I find myself either using Wiki or IMDb to add bon mots to my family’s proletarian viewing habits (for example, did you know Chloe Madley was an underwear model?). Or more likely I can be found gently stroking my way through beautifully designed pages of a magazine app.

Condé Nast were early pioneers of the magazine brand online and therefore it was no surprise to see them also pioneering in the iPad stakes . The group’s New Yorker edition is a thing of beauty and one of the highest rated apps.

Condé Nast’s British-based colleagues were not far behind and Vogue, GQ and Wired have all produced stunning versions over the past year. Even as I write this another iconic print brand Wallpaper has announced it is joining the fray.

Taking a step back from my normal stream of consciousness, I thought I would pretend to be a proper journalist and go and ask some experts from the print field why they are producing tablet editions and what they make of them…

Dylan Jones at GQ, one of the most respected print editors in the UK, takes a very enthusiastic view of app design strategy: “The whole process of putting together our iPad edition has totally re-energised the team, and we have all been invigorated by it. Not only has it caused us to look at the whole process of magazine production in intense detail, it has also made us look differently at the entire way we commission and fill the magazine. In all, it’s been thoroughly instructive, and our print title will be all the better for it.”

So, it is not only viewed as an additional channel for content but influencing the content itself. A view which is supported by the leading newspaper on iTunes and articulated by the commercial director of The Guardian Chris Pelekanou: “The browser is an incredibly powerful tool in informing the world 24/7, therefore a far more effective platform to break news on.

“Due to their ‘lean back’ nature, the iPad and other tablet devices, enable content providers to publish news in an edited finite package, that can reflect and analyse what’s going on in the world.

“This gives strong brands, through design, functionality and compelling content, an opportunity to demonstrate their uniqueness once again and ultimately this scarcity enables you to charge for that content.”

This latter point is a crucial one in the way that the smart print owners are approaching the tablet arena. It is especially interesting from the organisation who’s editor has openly championed the free internet in response to News Corporation’s paywall strategy. Is it not news that people will pay for in future but editing and design?

This is a topic picked up on by David Rowan, editor of the unrivalled influencer of the future Wired. “If a magazine company is to add any value to consumers, and have a reason to exist, it has to do what the internet doesn’t do well,” he said.

“Where we can beat the open internet is in curating carefully the stories, people and ideas that we are genuinely excited by each month – and in creating a design and interaction experience that it pretty tough to replicate on a computer browser.”

You would expect Wired to be active in this arena but what struck me with David’s response (as with Chris and Dylan) was the unbridled zeal for this development – a far cry from the doomsayers of the past decade, where press owners tip-toed with intrepidation around the monetisation of their web-based products.

David returned to this theme: “Suddenly the iPad gives us the chance to achieve both in creative and experimental new ways. We curate a monthly package of stories and multimedia in a coherent whole; and we do so using video, design, panoramic photography and interactive design tools that re-imagine the user experience. We’re still learning, but we’re pretty excited by the creative possibilities of re-imagining what Wired magazine can be in this multimedia, real-time digital format.”

With iPad2 sales already forecast to be five times those of the launch version and other tablet manufacturers trumpeting better experiences, the opportunity for magazine brands will continue apace.

However, I am struck that of course in amongst the 800,000 apps on iTunes, Android and Ovi, the reader themselves remain a powerful editor and it is the iconic consumer brands fuelled by both print history and modern day innovation that are most likely to succeed.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Ancestry targets Royal Wedding fans with TV push is capitalising on the upcoming Royal Wedding by launching a TV campaign targeting viewers with questions about weddings in their own family history.

Ancestry, one of the world’s largest online collections of historical records, encourages viewers to visit the website to find out more information about their own family.

The ad, which launched on Friday, questions where viewers’ parents met and asking where their grandparents tied the knot.

Created by HMDG, the 30-second ad shows a montage of vintage photographs and film, accompanied by light-hearted captions and statements such as, “we married in secret”.

John Messum directed the ad, while Big Buoy produced the spot. Peter Crothers was the writer on the ad, and Trupesh Gajjar was the art director.

Initiative handled the campaign’s offline activity, while Essence handled online activity.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Over the pond TV - the unstoppable rise of Sky

Greg Grimmer says HBO has built a paid-for subscription business in the US by producing high-quality drama – a feat not managed by Sky or indeed anyone else in the UK. Sky’s belated response to this has not been to try and re-create the formula with UK talent tub, but to import in its entirety – I give you Sky Atlantic. So well done to Sky for the next phase of its world domination and farewell to free-to-view high-quality US dramas on the BBC, ITV & C4…

The proliferation of television channels since the advent of satellite and cable in the late 80’s has given broadcasters (not normally) known for their love of marketing some testing problems. Suddenly it wasn’t just about the content, the old adage that ‘people watch programmes not channels’ just wasn’t true in the arena of a 400 channel EPG.

Then clever marketers s got involved and spawned the likes of Dave, Blighty and Yesterday, leaving the family numbered channels looking slightly tawdry and dull.

It used to be a ‘build it and they will come’ strategy for programme makers, this then turned into a ‘buy it and they will come’ for the lazier programme directors as they imported (normally but not exclusively from the US) tried and tested dramas from other markets – including ITV, the BBC and most notably Channel 4.

Now Sky – or should I say BSkyB (at least while there are still other shareholders) – had circumvented this problem in a number of interesting an successful ways. Firstly, and of course most controlling, is the control of the hardware – that little set top box (does anyone still put it on top of their new plasma set?) gave them the ability to ensure branding of the television service and not just the broadcast stream.

This has been augmented by Sky+ and more recently HD and 3D. It also gave them further control through the design, numbering and interactivity of the EPG. But we all know what Sky is really known for and what accounts for its fantastic growth story of the past two decades – sport and within that football and within that the Premier league.

Various competitors have come and gone over the 20 years and most have left with their tales between their legs and their wallets emptied – ITV digital and Setanta both failed to break the stranglehold on football and paid for it with their businesses.

However, while sport is obviously content (and arguably the best content we export?), Sky has tried and failed over the last twenty years to break out from sport as its raison d‘être. Sky Movies/Box Office have some fans but have always been overshadowed byDVDs (or videos before them). Meanwhile, Sky One is still a vehicle for the Fox-produced Simpsons and not much else.

Elizabeth Murdoch (before her success with Shine) was one of many content directors who failed to grab hold of the Sky branded channels to create anything approaching the distinctive look and feel of the BBC, Channel 4 or even ITV – whose domination of the ‘Big and Live’ Saturday night is often over-looked by naysayers of that particular broadcast brand. Various British-produced comedies, dramas and entertainment shows have fallen unloved from the Sky schedules. I personally wept at the demise of Harry Enfield on his short run on Sky before gloriously re-claiming him as he returned to theBBC in his Harry and Paul guise.

So what of now. I will return to The Simpsons as my inspiration (and perhaps the inspiration of a Sky scheduler). A running gag throughout the jaundiced family story is every time anyone checks into a hotel, talks about cable TV or acknowledges TV, they will make a gag about HBO and how it always costs more/ isn’t included/ isn’t available.

So why is this relevant… well my dear reader, HBO have built a paid-for subscription business in the US built not on sport or even movies but by producing high quality drama, with Hollywood A-list casts and behind-the-camera support. A feat not managed by Sky or indeed anyone else in the UK.

Sky’s belated response to this has been not to try and re-create the formula with UK talent tub, but to import in its entirety with a rebrand of its EPG – the best channel rebrand since Dave.

I give you Sky Atlantic.

After its launch on 1 February, one of my HMDG colleagues announced: “I’ve series linked the whole channel… It’s that good.”

And sure the content is superlative. From the new Boardwalk Empire and Blue Bloods, through to classic dramas like The Sopranos and Entourage, to the genius that is Curb Your Enthusiasm… and that is before the new series of Mad Men even starts.

But for me the real genius of Sky Atlantic is the branding – the fact that most of the content will have been conceived, written, shot and financed on the Pacific coast is irrelevant.

Sky Atlantic at a stroke makes us Brits think of the closeness of the one-sided special relationship, of NY-Lon, of US citizens finding our accent and manners sexy and suave. Had this channel been called Sky Hollywood, Sky USA, SKY America or even HBO UK, the love and affection I have heard from all corners for this new addition to the EPGwould be lessened.

So well done to Sky for the next phase of its world domination and farewell to free-to-view high quality US dramas on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.