AJ is a full service Direct Response advertising agency based in the beautiful city of Bath. We're unique in terms of the cyclical and structured process in the way we work. Starting with initial analysis then developing responsive creative through to testing a multitude of different ideas. We are also one of the leading late space buyers in the UK and in difficult economic times you need to think smarter to make your media budget work harder. That's why AJ's media trading floor source unbeatable daily deals and late space offers from newspapers, magazines and television stations for all our clients. The result is better prices and far more opportunities to increase response and reduce cost.
Anybody can say they’re different, but we can actually prove it. Nearly every time we meet a new prospect we’re told their existing agency doesn’t work the way we do. With many years experience in Direct Response, we understand the need to be accountable and that everything has to deliver a measurable result. In fact, we’re totally results driven.
We also never give up. We never simply blame the market, red tape, product or title for lack of response and come up with new ideas to ensure that we're testing continually to get the best results. When we hit a “sweet spot” we’re quick to ensure the client is given every opportunity to maximise a winner. This approach has led to us having an amazing track record for growing clients' businesses, many of which have then gone on to to be sold. These include Dial-A-Phone, Toolstation and Aquability
We remain passionate about newspapers and magazines and still see them as key to a Direct Response campaign for years to come despite declining circulations. However, we also understand the importance of multi platform campaigns with each aspect working together whilst remaining fully focused on Direct Response.
We like to be fully involved in a client's business as we can to help them not only generate leads and sales via advertising but ensure they get the best out of their data. We’re not big on ‘Big ideas’ but we have lots of small ones that we constantly put forward. The whole team at AJ understand that success for a client is success for AJ, they all have the Direct Response culture and work together to achieve the best results for our clients.
In the current climate things are difficult, people have less disposable income, circulations are down, and competition often high. For us it is not just about buying the media cheaper, it’s also about buying it smarter.
As you explore our website, you’ll see lots of examples which demonstrate that we really are one of the hardest working Direct Response agencies in the UK.
Product claims and substantiation are often one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in direct response advertising. Particularly on television.
At AJ we see any difficulty as a challenge rather than a problem. We're highly skilled at finding a way round an issue whilst still conveying a product or service's benefits. A recent commercial for Nourkrin, a hair restoring product, took countless discussions with the advertising authorities and script revisions. In the end we overcame what we could or couldn't say about its effectiveness through clever filming and careful choice of words. The end result was an impactful and responsive ad and a very happy client.
How do you communicate the benefits of a product without really saying anything because of legal restrictions? Difficult, but we did it and within a very tight budget. A beautiful head of hair captured in slow motion conveyed more than we could have ever said in words about this hair-restoring supplement for women.
Our Direct Response philosophy is to create profitable off the page advertising for all our clients. Three key elements contribute towards this - a desirable product with a good offer, responsive creative and the right media cost. Once an advertisement has appeared, our first port of call is to look at the response analysis. If we find the response is particularly robust we discuss with the client its roll-out potential within the confines of their advertising budget.
AJ tested a 25x4 colour ad in the Daily Telegraph. Due to the success of this first ad, during a period of one month we rolled out the Snowdrops creative into 15 titles across 8 different sizes.
For all our clients, our single-minded goal at AJ is to grow their business. This becomes a win, win, win situation for the client, the media and for the agency. To deliver this, we have four clear objectives:
Produce responsive creative and a continual range of fresh ideas.
Buy media at the lowest possible cost and develop ongoing testing strategies.
For our clients to produce a desirable range of products with great offers.
Once active in the marketplace we need continued refinement, which we address via regular analysis review meetings.
Developing this strategy for our Direct Response clients has proven to deliver success as the following three case studies of Dial-A-Phone, Toolstation and Aquability illustrate.
Dial-a-Phone was one of the first direct selling mobile phone company’s in the UK. Using offer led adverts in National press on a daily basis, they eventually became the biggest in the UK and were bought by Carphone Warehouse. AJ played a major part in their growth and success.
Dial-a-Phone had launched their business but came to AJ to help develop and grow it further through off-the-page advertising. With daily refinement of creative and media, their sales grew to £200m over a period of 10 years. All aspects of the creative were coded and tracked via their call centre. Annual advertising spend went up from £1m to £18m during the growth period.
A direct competitor to Screwfix, Toolstation is a company selling building materials and tools to the trade and the consumer. Thanks to AJ, Toolstation has gone from a newcomer to the market to challenging Screwfix for the number 1 position in the UK. Toolstation’s success led to its recent purchase by Travis Perkins.
AJ started working with Toolstation in 2005 when they were just 12 months old. DRTV was used to build a database via a brochure request (delivering a CPL 2% below its nearest competitor). Toolstation's database grew rapidly and store launches began database mailing with a 8 mile radius ensuring instant footfall. Investment from Travis Perkins allowed rapid store aquisition, with an average 3 stores opening per month until they reached 100 stores nationwide. Travis Perkins bought the remaining shares for complete ownership in 2012
|Second commercial, “Hokey Cokey” was established to drive footfall whilst still building the Toolstation database via brochure requests.||Third commercial, “The Heist” focused on driving viewers to their website and brand building.|
With AJ’s help, Aquability have grown to become the biggest bathing solution company in the UK with an annual turnover of £30 million. Competition in this sector has grown over the years but by constant product development and new advertising solutions Aquability have remained the unquestionable leader.
Finding a point of difference
A direct seller in a crowded mobility marketplace, Aquability needed a point of difference. AJ created “Fitted in a Day” as the unique selling point with a combined testing strategy of off-the-page and TV advertising. AJ helped to grow Aquability’s business to a turnover of over £30m and subsequently helped successfully launch 3 further new businesses.
One of the strategies we first recommend to help grow a client's business is to establish press as a strong and reliable response channel. Once this is in place, we then look at testing a range of other media vehicles such as inserts, online, TV, radio. The different advertising environments these vehicles sit in enable us to reach different audiences and increase lead volume. We have particular expertise in DRTV, creating low cost, high impact commercials that sustain long-term repeat viewing and generate impressive response levels.
Brennan is a classic example of how AJ builds a client's business through a range of channels. Once we’d maximised response levels in press we looked at other ways to reach potential customers. The result was we helped grow business by over 400% in just 12 months!
We met with Martin Brennan in May 2010. He had an enterprising product to sell called the JB7. Initially Martin’s business was a self contained operation, but over a period of time we demonstrated to him that we could help grow his business . We first reviewed his exisiting activity, identifing the winners and looking at how we could improve his marginal performing titles. From this we were able to slowly grow his press activity. We did this via titles, sections, sizes, and positions. During this period we also grew his creative portfolio. Once press was firmly established we then looked at testing other media such as inserts, online, TV and radio, reaching different audiences in different environments with a large portfolio of creative.
It is of paramount importance at AJ that we continually come up with new ideas for our clients whether offer, media or creative led. We regularly review a client's response analysis in order to identify when and where fatigue is setting in and then make the appropriate changes to the advertising to rejuvenate performance levels. Other ways AJ delivers new advertising ideas to our clients is by organically brain storming, having discussions with the media and then coming up with a creative idea to match.
In the competitive mobility market it’s necessary for AJ to refresh creative on a regular basis. Here are some Aquability off-the-page ideas created over a 4 week period at NO CHARGE to the client.
A typical opportunity, a chance arose for AJ to place inserts in the Yellow Pages Directory at a very short term and attractive rate. We immediately offered it to our clients and Regional Hearing Services and Aurora PV took up the offer. It proved to be very successful.
The Team at AJ is driven to achieve the very best for our clients. Everybody understands how the AJ business model works and what we need to achieve as individuals. We believe we work harder at this goal than any other agency. Whatever it takes to achieve the best for our clients, we do it. Every day the team is asked to do the impossible, from working to very tight deadlines to our receptionist pulling us out of meetings based on a media rep offering us free space with 5 minutes to prepare the artwork.
With a constant stream of late space offers coming into the agency, the media and creative departments at AJ need to work closely together to take advantage of them. This often means creating or re-sizing an advert within minutes of a booking and supplying it to a waiting publication within a few minutes more. How about that for team work!
Media & Managing director
Alice Buttling-Smith, Media & Managing Director/Joint owner
Media is key at AJ and Alice’s many years of experience have made her one of the best buyers there is. No one generates greater value from a client's budget or a better return on investment.
Client service director
Ann Gardiner, Client service director/Joint owner
At AJ we want our clients to feel cared for as well as successful. Ann does a great job of liaising between client, media, creative and production and keeping everybody happy.
Tim Blackshaw, Creative director
A true all rounder with many years of brand as well as direct response experience. Tim is the best in the business for being able to produce impactful, highly responsive advertising that looks good too.
Vicki Hampton, Financial controller
With AJ’s spending many thousands of pounds on media bookings every day cashflow is crucial to ensure everything runs smoothly. Vicki does an amazing job of making this happen.
New business director
Lesley Bowman, New business director
A difficult job but one that Lesley handles with relish thanks to AJ’s wealth of experience across a wide spectrum of products and services. She also never gives up!
George Fineman, Receptionist
A key role here at AJ. With media owners constantly calling with late space opportunities its important they’re passed through to the right person as quickly as possible.
Senior media planner buyer
Clare, Senior media planner buyer
A welcome new addition to our busy ‘trading floor’ media department, Clare is constantly testing new titles and new sizes to make sure we’re always getting the best response and value for our clients.
Junior media planner/buyer
Nikki Hodgkinson, Junior Media planner buyer
When you work for a fast moving agency like AJ you learn fast and Nikki is already proving to being a great asset to the media floor looking after analysis, sourcing media packs, rate details and availability.
Matt Gregory, Production manager
Matt does a great job of ensuring the daily flow of media bookings into the studio is matched with the artwork needed and then dispatched in time - a vital role especially when dealing with tight deadlines.
Sam Wakeman, Artworker
One of the most technically skilled art workers in the business, Sam’s lightening speed on the Mac enables the studio to meet the constant need to generate last minute artwork for late space bookings with ease.
Vince Hunt, Artworker
Vince’s previous experience with catalogue artworking means he’s a master of detail. A highly creative as well as professional art worker, his retouching skills are in use on a daily basis.
Rachel Snowdon, Artworker trainee
New to the ways of AJ, Rachel is already showing she has grasped the need to be able to react at a moment's notice to unexpected media bookings with the kind of fast, accurate art working we need.
Illustrations by Sam Wakeman
Testing is of paramount importance for our clients at AJ. This gives us an opportunity to see if a new idea is worth rolling out. Typically and when appropriate, we perform A/B testing primarily in the Daily Telegraph - an accurate way of establishing the performance of the test through simply providing two media codes and advising the client's call centre of this test. The following 9 varied testing ideas were developed by AJ with the support of our clients.
Cooked meat or raw meat – which hero image should it be? Between the client and ourselves, we weighed up the pros and cons and decided it was best for the customer to choose. We therefore ran an A/B test in the Daily Telegraph. The raw meat image proved to be the clear winner.
Short-term opportunities do not always come in to AJ in the usual traditional formats. However, our media department is supported by a highly skilled creative team and studio. Both are capable of responding immediately and to producing artwork to any required size – often within minutes of a booking!
At AJ we carefully analyse where a client's current advertising is missing the mark and then apply our direct response expertise and creative skills to produce a much more responsive advert in any number of sizes. We also monitor results and fine tune accordingly where needed – at no cost to the client.
Free creative doesn’t mean second rate creative at AJ. Every time we pick up where a previous agency left off we’ve improved not only the stand out of and sale focus of their advertising but greatly improved their response levels as well.
New AJ Creative – We focused on bringing the trousers to the forefront of the ad, emphasising the seasonality and introduced brochure request.
New AJ Creative – Focusing on the vegetable imagery to emphasise the organic freshness, making the offer bigger and telling the true story of Riverford.
New AJ Creative – Simple changes such as: placing a Lemon in the ad to emphasis the product, using a yellow tint to bring out the copy and a more stand out headline.
New AJ Creative – We brought more structure to the proposition and communicated clearly the benefits on offer.
Attinger Jack began in Bridport, Dorset in 1980 and is now one of the UK's biggest buyers of short term media.
Founder David Attinger built on his background in direct sales to create a hardworking, focused advertising agency with a common drive - to make efficient, hard-hitting Direct Response advertising. A reputation for growing clients' businesses soon grew, borne from phenomenal success achieved from day one with little known companies such as Dial-a-Phone and Toolstation. Today, Attinger Jack is based in Bath and owned by Managing Director Alice Buttling-Smith and Client Services Director Ann Gardiner. The team has a great shared history and growing our clients' business remains the focus for everything that we do.
3 key people. 3 key roles. Alice, Ann and Tim’s expertise and experience have played a major part in AJ’s success. Their combined skills mean that any client joining AJ can be sure of getting the very best media rates and positions, the most responsive and cost effective adverts and a customer service second to none.
Alice - 07785 954565
Alice Buttling Smith joined Attinger Jack in the accounts department in 1995. She is now recognised as one of the best media buyers in the business and an expert at getting the most for a client from their budget.
Ann - 07876 325718
Client Services Director
Ann Gardiner arrived in 2005, with an impressive background running major accounts within well established Ad agencies in London. She oversees all acount handling and client management.
Tim - 077870 536540
Tim Blackshaw has provided creative genius to the team for nearly 20 years and continues to lead our talented team of artworkers and designers, driving the best direct response creative in the business.
Over the 30 years we have been in Direct Response Advertising we have accumulated a wealth of experience across a wide group of genres. Maximising this knowledge and experience, while protecting our client confidentiality, is a process that has been fundamental to the growth of the following clients:
At AJ we offer free* creative to encourage clients to test and to make their ads perform to the best possible response level. The defining factor is delivering profitable advertising to ensure the process continues. It is in everyone's interest for the ads to be successful; the client, the media and at AJ. Our business model makes this more likely to deliver.
* minimum spend of £20k
AJ is a specialist Direct Response, full service advertising agency. We hope we have been able to clearly demonstrate how we work and proved that we can deliver across all areas relating to Direct Response advertising.
If you would like to meet with us to discuss either one stage or two stage advertising, please call either Alice Buttling-Smith or Ann Gardiner on;
or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Or complete our contact form and we'll get in touch with you.
15 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2PH
Client retention is of utmost importance to everyone at AJ and it is always nice to feel appreciated for all the effort and hard work we deliver to our clients across all the different skill sets.
Achieving the results we deliver for our clients involves a lot of hard work from everybody in the agency. In the process, we create an amazing amount of adverts, a staggering amount of artwork and make a huge amount of media bookings at short-term rates. The following film shows you, in one year alone, just how much. The figures are quite amazing.
We do not have any current vacancies however if you are a freelancer with solid direct response advertising experience you can send your CV and a brief covering note to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Client retention is of utmost importance to everyone at AJ but it is always nice to feel
appreciated by the hard work we delivery to our clients across all the different skill sets. Below are some kind words.
"We have been impressed from the off with the insight that AJ have been able to gain so quickly into our business model. Their ability to analyse and interpret the results has meant that they have also been able to achieve the target cost per lead quicker than expected."
Marketing Manager, Regional Hearing Services.
‘’ Since July 2008 Attinger Jack has provided LTGL Ltd with an innovative, adaptive and responsive DM solution which is a rarity in today’s market place. Over the last 12 months they have worked hard, consistently and in a focused way to deliver a high volume of new customers to my business in a cost effective way. Their attention to detail, ability to deliver the right creative and also interpret the results and move forward effectively has accelerated the growth, enhanced profitability and projected the GardenBargains.com and the business rapidly forward.’’
Managing Director of Lead The Good Life Limited
"The most important part of the testimonial I can provide is about the experience and confidence of the team. Tim and Alice’s certainty about a 60 second advert being what we needed to get our message across was the thing that carried the whole project to success. I was very sceptical, and if they had not been so sure of their ground we could so easily have stumbled into a nondescript “standard length” advert that would not have been up to the task. And although we already had the initial concept for the advert, Tim and the production team turned this into a highly professional finished article, which is now doing more for us than a “mere” DRTV advert."
Marketing Director, Toolstation
"I have personally worked with Attinger Jack for nearly 14 years and the Company over 17 years and can honestly say they are a pleasure to deal with. I work closely with my dedicated media planner, Helen Gower who does a brilliant job of getting the best deal for us and working to our budgets. I am also in contact with Ann Gardiner daily about all aspects of media projects and she is extremely good at progressing them, ensuring deadlines are met and generating new ideas to increase our business. We have been extremely impressed with a recent campaign they did for us where they designed some recommend a friend cards which has resulted in a substantial amount of additional business for us. Tim Blackshaw and his team are particularly good at designing our adverts, marketing material and TV campaigns. We have regular review meetings with the whole team and feel their dedication to our companies second to none. I would have no hesitation in recommending Attinger Jack."
Marketing Director, Aquability
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