AJ’s Print Challenge is on

A writer’s job is almost done with a headline like that, who could resist such an offer?

You may not think to come to AJ when you’re looking to save money on print, but we can deliver great results in this area.

AJ is well known for our press and late space buying but we also buy large volumes of print through our insert and door-drop programmes. Through our insert work we’ve found it’s crucial to keep on top of print prices. Our experience has taught us that using the same company time after time tends to result in service declining and prices rising. If this sounds familiar we can help.

At AJ we’re increasingly helping our clients with their print requirements.  Many clients will send us their print brief and we’ll pass it on to our network of a few trusted printers, who always deliver in terms of product and price.

We understand how a small price increase can affect the bottom line and we strive to make every penny count, regardless of where it’s spent. So, let us know next time you have a print requirement. We’ll send on the same brief to our printers, as you do to yours, to ensure a direct comparison.  In the rare event we don’t save you money, you’ll still have peace of mind that you’re getting the best deal possible, and a glass of Champagne in your hand. Win, win!

We’re currently offering a bottle of Champagne to the first 5 people to send in their quote, regardless of the outcome.

Challenge AJ to get you a better deal – contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk.

Come rain or shine

Like clouds heavy with rain and the brightness of a summer sky, our lives are made up of both darkness and light. When life throws some darkness our way, it can be hard to see through the clouds however, it’s at times like these that the best of us knuckle down and make sacrifices to do something positive and serve as an inspiration to others. Recently, AJ’s own Alice Buttling received some desperately sad news. Her step-sister Becky, who having fought breast cancer and been in remission for two years, was told that the cancer had returned and that it is so aggressive it is incurable.

Facing this diagnosis with awe-inspiring bravery and selflessness, Becky is determined to fight on. In emulation of Becky’s courage and resilience Alice has taken up a mighty challenge in a bid to raise money for Becky’s chosen charity, The Dorset County Hospital Charity.

Alice has set herself the goal of running every day in 2019, come rain or shine, with a target distance of 500 miles. Completing this Herculean task, alongside duties as a single mum of three and Agency MD, will be a truly impressive feat and one worthy of sponsorship. So many of us have felt the cruel touch of Cancer in our lives or witnessed it in the lives of our friends and family – not surprising given the fact there are more than 360,000 new reported cases in the UK every year.

If you would like to offer your support you can donate by visiting Alice’s JustGiving page below and follow her progress via Facebook. Alice has Attinger Jack cheering her on, along with her many other supporters and we hope many of you will also show your support for this exceptionally deserving cause.

We know you can do it Alice!

Alice’s Just Giving Page:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alice-buttling-smith1?fbclid=IwAR2AmM995xTig7HM4eu3tmbXwgUMhYHl7zU0mOjIg2sf4kb3e7t7wReebhE&utm_campaign=pfp-share&utm_content=Alice-Buttling-Smith1&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_source=Facebook&utm_term=VJnJPpZDn

Learn more about The Dorset County Hospital Charity visit here – http://www.dchft.nhs.uk/charity/Pages/home.aspx

 

Beating the January Blues

January can be a tough month. Most of us are busy fending off the temptations which can derail our New Year’s resolutions and the dizzy heights of Christmas and New Year parties seem a distant memory. In this period there can be a parallel slump in both energy and response rates, but we’ve found a great way to beat those January Blues.

Like a jogger keen to shed some turkey and mince pie-related weight gain, the key is to get active early. This means the spirit of post-Christmas sales are still present. In previous years we’ve found that shopping momentum, driven by deals, can continue well into the third week of January. This can be a lucrative period, there are deals to attract customers and the dreaded January credit card bills haven’t yet dampened their enthusiasm.

We made the most of cheap deals from the papers closing the first weekend of January and encouraged our clients to keep spending, particularly during this first weekend. Following this strategy, we’ve achieved particularly great results in January for Cashmere Centre and H&B.

To hear more about how AJ can stave off your January Blues contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk.

Our client’s welcome return

No, thankfully global warming hasn’t reached its peak yet, we’re talking hot results. At Attinger Jack we’re helping our client Woolovers capitalise on their peak business season.

With winter’s chill approaching, knitwear becomes the most appreciated part of anyone’s wardrobe and for Woolovers it’s a crucial time for their sales. Woolovers have used AJ in the past but then parted to focus on a change of direction into brand and online. Though, when their results had fallen to a point of not being cost effective, they got back in touch. They wanted to see if we could bring back the cosy and comforting numbers they enjoyed when we worked together previously.

So, we did some analysis and came up with a low risk plan to see if we could warm things up again. We managed to secure cheap rates, better positions and new titles to test, as well as going back into banker titles like The Telegraph and testing some prime sites, like the OBC. Results were so strong that the budgets have increased, and press has again become a key driver on new customers.  We think this quote from the client sums it up nicely….

‘Our previous Media agency wasn’t performing; the ROI’s had fallen to a level of negligible return and spend had declined to almost nothing. We moved the business back to AJ and immediately saw a difference. We worked to a tightened budget but they managed to deliver as much media coverage with positive ROI.

AJ have bought some great positions, which have really worked well, so much so, we have now increased the budget’.

We hear the CEO, regarding our efforts in the press, even quipped “It’s a licence to print money. Do it!”. It will make the cold winter mornings on our way to work that much easier knowing we deliver such brilliant results for our clients.

To hear more about how AJ can help you capitalise on press content contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk.

 

Black Friday sales – trick or treat?

Hot on the heels of the last commercial ‘event’, Halloween, we’re fast approaching Black Friday. But how easily are consumers persuaded to part with their money?

Shoppers used to eagerly await the January sales for the post-Christmas bargains. Then the sales moved forward to Boxing Day, seeing the keenest camping out over Christmas to make sure they were at the head of the queue.

Now we have adopted Black Friday from the US. Starting as a single day flash sale of electrical goods the day after Thanksgiving, it extended quickly across every retail sector. Joined by Cyber Monday in recent years, the last weekend of November has become a pre-Christmas shopping bonanza. Last year spending increased by 6% over this period.

As the sales move earlier and earlier, starting even nearer the beginning of November this year, how does this impact Christmas sales?  Do sales increase overall or simply move forward, leaving consumers shopped out by mid-December?

It would appear not, Boxing Day sales increased last year.

Clear trends are also appearing in pre-Christmas spending. Black Friday (or Black November?) has become a time people buy for themselves, leaving December to remain as the key time for buying gifts.

Can we therefore simply create ‘events’ and expect people to keep spending money?  It seems we can.

Chinese Singles’ Day began in 2009 as a bargain day for young singletons. Held on the 11th November, maximising the single number (11.11), it is now the biggest shopping day of the year for all Chinese shoppers.  Sales rocketed from $9 billion in 2014 to $18 billion just two years later.

So where is this going?  Grey Monday, Pink Wednesday, Divorced Day……….?!  Wherever it goes, consumers are keen to spend.

Find out how we can help you capitalise on that appetite.  Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.

Success for AJ and its clients

AJ clients featured time and again among the business winners celebrated this week at the inaugural Express Home and Living Awards.

At a sumptuous lunch for 350 in Covent Garden’s elegant De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, AJ found itself on the podium three times collecting awards for clients; more than any other agency attending the awards ceremony.

AJ’s Ann Gardiner and Jack Gillett

Alongside agency giants such as Mediacom and Mediavest, AJ punched well above its weight positioning its clients successfully in a range of categories. AJ’s well-crafted entries ensured its clients’ top-quality products and services were recognised up against well-known brand names such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

AJ’s co-owner and Client Services Director, Ann Gardiner, hosted the agency’s table at the Awards:

“I’m so proud of what AJ and our clients achieved here today. I am pretty sure our table won the most awards, which shows just how well we stack up against larger, London-based agencies.”

David Salisbury triumphed as Best Outdoor Building Supplier.  The judges recognised the company’s unrivalled technical innovation, describing its orangeries and outdoor rooms as ‘top quality, thermally efficient and designed to fit around customers’ lifestyles’.

New AJ client, Dream Doors picked up two awards, taking out the Best Money Saving Product and Best Kitchen Supplier awards.  This is great news for a company looking to improve results, having recently appointed AJ to revive its direct response campaign.  These awards underline its position as a leading supplier of stylish replacement doors, transforming kitchens at an affordable price.

AJ client finalists:

  • Best Money-Saving Product             Kinetico Water Systems
  • Best Money-Saving Product             Dream Doors
  • Best Outdoor Living Furniture          Out & Out Original
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier        David Salisbury
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier        Eden Verandas
  • Best Retirement Living Solution      Nationwide Mobility
  • Best Kitchen Supplier                        Dream Doors

 

AJ clients impress

AJ’s clients short listed in the inaugural Express Home and Living Awards have reason to celebrate.

All AJ’s client finalists shape up well against their opposition, according to the judging panel comprising some of the UK’s most respected journalists and designers in property and interior design.

‘Technically brilliant’ is how the judges describe Kinetico’s Premier Compact water softener.  Noting its ‘neat and pleasing design saves money and has a positive environmental impact’ illustrates why it’s on the Best Money-saving Product short list.

In the Best Retirement Living Solution category, Nationwide Mobility’s inflatable bath lift, The Bathmate, is deemed a ‘great idea for people no longer able to climb in the bath’.  Its simple design makes it a highly popular mobility product.

Outdoors, two clients are vying for the ‘Best Outdoor Building Supplier’ award. ‘Uber-stylish and contemporary’ is how one judge describes Eden’s glass verandas, with David Salisbury’s orangeries and garden rooms noted as being ‘top quality, thermally efficient and designed to fit around customers’ lifestyles’.

Bridging outdoor and in, Out & Out Original’s ‘upmarket range of outdoor lounge furniture’ is ‘durable enough to withstand sun and rain outdoors and stylish enough to be kept inside in a conservatory or garden room’.  The company’s impressive environmental credentials also set it apart.

Short-listed in two categories, Best Kitchen Supplier and Best Money-Saving Product, is AJ’s newest client, Dream Doors.  We’re excited to be working with a company described as making the ‘updating of tired kitchens look easy’ using the latest computer design software.

Congratulations to all our short-listed clients.  We wish them every success at the Awards on 26th October.

AJ clients on track for Express Home and Living Awards

Five of AJ’s clients have been short-listed in the inaugural Express Home and Living Awards, celebrating the UK’s best household products, services and retailers.

When the Express first announced its new awards celebrating the best of British home and living solutions, AJ was quick to encourage its clients to enter.  The awards comprise 15 categories, judged on design innovation, ease of use, sustainable sourcing, customer service and value for money.

AJ’s finalist clients are featuring in the following categories:

  • Best Money-Saving Product              Kinetico Water Systems
  • Best Outdoor Living Furniture          Out & Out Original
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier         David Salisbury
  • Best Outdoor Building Supplier         Eden Verandas
  • Best Retirement Living Solution       Nationwide Mobility

Here’s a taster from the entries we submitted on behalf of our clients, highlighting how each company and its products fit the attributes being judged.

Best Money-Saving Product: Premier Compact Water Softener, Kinetico Water Systems

Kinetico’s Premier Compact Water Softener is powered by water – not electricity – making it both economic and environmentally sound.  Its patented technology removes damaging minerals from hard water as it enters the home, eradicating limescale and its associated problems.

The increased efficiency of appliances using softened water can save a family of four up to 12% on energy bills and £400 per year on groceries.

The Premier Compact’s reliability and performance, together with Kinetico’s excellent customer service, led to it being chosen by the National Health Service for their ‘Home Kidney Dialysis’ programme.  Kinetico water softeners are also used in such prestigious establishments as Buckingham Palace and the Savoy Hotel.

Best Outdoor Living Furniture: Outdoor lounge furniture sets, Out & Out Original

Out & Out Original’s outdoor lounge furniture design combines outdoor durability with indoor style, allowing the lounge sets to look as good in a conservatory as in the garden.

Out & Out Original understands its moral and ethical responsibilities to both its furniture makers and the environment.  Using a number of natural materials, including FSC-certified sustainable eucalyptus and recycled teak, the company works to ensure valuable resources are retained or replenished for the future.

This range of furniture is also fit for purpose, with features essential to its use outdoors.  These include UV stabilised resin, 100% polyester cushions with removable covers and tempered glass on coffee tables.  It is designed to wear in not out, making it cost-effective and robust.

Best Outdoor Building Supplier: David Salisbury Orangeries and Garden Rooms

David Salisbury describes itself as ‘engineers in wood’. Every product design is unique and precision-made, remaining in keeping with its surroundings.

The company was an early adopter of environmentally-friendly policies, installing a biomass boiler over 10 years ago, feeding it with timber shavings and offcuts generated during manufacture.  Factory roof solar panels provide 20% of the company’s power supply reducing its footprint by over 88,000kg CO2 per year.

Every aspect of a David Salisbury product is considered carefully, and corners will not be cut at the expense of quality.    The company demonstrates unrivalled technical innovation as well as a commitment to excellence in customer service.

Best Outdoor Building Supplier: Glass verandas, Eden Verandas

Eden’s glass verandas allow customers to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather.  The high-quality materials used give customers total confidence in their outdoor living products.   Eden’s glass verandas can complement any home, new or old, large or small, and can be retro-fitted giving maximum versatility, with the option of converting into a glass room at a later date.

Eden Verandas offer a free design service with a no obligation quote. Designers are based throughout the UK, providing a local business experience coupled with the peace of mind gained from a national company.

Eden’s glass verandas add value to any home and any lifestyle.

Best Retirement Living Solution : The Bathmate, Nationwide Mobility

Nationwide Mobility is a company with a simple philosophy – it is dedicated to offering the best possible bathing solutions for those no longer able to enjoy safe bathing at home.  With over 20 years’ experience, Nationwide Mobility has a deep understanding of customer needs.

The Bathmate is an inflatable bath lift offering a simple solution for those having difficulty stepping in and out of the bath.  It doesn’t require installation, fitting into a customer’s existing bath, gently lowering the customer in and out by inflating and deflating at the touch of a button.

The Bathmate’s uncomplicated design makes it one of the most ingenious and popular mobility products available.

We’ll keep you posted on their progress; the winners are announced on  Thursday 26th October.

 

 

 

Relevant and appealing or intrusive and unnerving?

We already know the power of loyalty cards in allowing retailers to target offers to our individual product preferences.  The same is happening in TV.

We now have the flexibility to watch whatever we want when we want across several formats; we aren’t tied into the same schedule as everyone else.  National Grid doesn’t have to cope with the spikes in power usage seen previously in nationally-significant televised events.  No longer are millions of kettles put on or fridge doors opened simultaneously during ad breaks.   A cliff-hanger episode of EastEnders in 2001 finished with a 2290MW power spike; today spikes rarely top 200MW as our viewing habits become more and more disparate.

Aligned to this substantial viewing variety, so-called addressable TV advertising allows ads to be carefully targeted; advertisers paying for audience segments and impressions rather than content.  In effect, it’s direct mail in a TV format.  It’s not new in Britain but is gaining momentum and the UK is believed to be at the forefront of the sector’s development.  Addressable TV allows neighbours to watch the same ad at different times or to see different ads even if they’re watching the same programme.  It offers ads appropriate to a consumer’s individual circumstances, aiming to be more appealing and engaging.  And it seems they are.  Sky has seen a marked reduction in channel-switching during ad breaks when ads are relevant.

For advertisers, the benefit of this targeted approach is the ability to create a personalised strategy giving greater flexibility with creative, deeper insight and less wastage.  It’s particularly attractive to smaller, regional or more specialist companies with less budget available than mainstream TV advertising demands.  Although cost per impression is undoubtedly higher, many advertisers believe it’s a price worth paying to gain precision and save on wastage.  But it’s not for everyone.  Bigger brands often prefer to keep talking to as wide an audience as possible.  As a result, the breadth of TV advertisers is increasing; two thirds of Sky’s advertisers are either new to TV or new to Sky.

A valid concern for advertisers, though, is around measurement and attribution; critical to get right but harder to achieve with audiences watching TV in a myriad of ways.  There is also little consistency between platforms; each broadcaster using their own approach.

According to the US Video Advertising Bureau, addressable TV is bigger than LinkedIn, Instagram and Wikipedia.  Sky is the market leader in the UK with AdSmart.  Having struck a deal with Channel 5 earlier in the year, the company has just announced an agreement with Virgin Media, expanding the reach of its platform considerably.  Channel 4 is also active in this area, with ITV due to launch in the next couple of months; their aim to attract online advertisers.  Those broadcasters without a set-top box have to use a different mechanism to target audiences based on census-type data.

At AJ, we’re keen to try addressable TV with a new client offering a premium product.  Having used direct mail previously, due to its targeted nature, addressable TV is the obvious choice as a new and suitable alternative to attract high-end customers.

To find out more about how addressable TV could work for you, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk

Sunday Times advertorials join the party

Following in the footsteps of the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times is joining the growing number of newspapers producing their own advertorials section mirroring those compiled by Alison Cork.

 

As we’ve reported previously in New interiors feature for Telegraph’s Saturday, Alison Cork writes advertorial-style pages for several papers including the Telegraph, Times, Evening Standard, Mail, Mirror and the Sun.

One by one, newspapers are beginning to run their own version of these pages; this weekend the Sunday Times becomes the latest.  A major disadvantage of the Alison Cork pages is the size and position ‘lottery’ of being hero or almost zero without any control.  Like the Telegraph, the Sunday Times is running a more equitable system of all advertisers receiving the same space.  This makes our life as planners much easier with more predictability and consistency.  Our clients have enjoyed fantastic results from the Telegraph’s new Interiors section so we’re excited about what this new Sunday Times opportunity can offer.

If you’re keen to see what these advertorial-style pages can do for your business, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk