Good things do not always take time

AJ’s studio team has many impressive attributes but speed is possibly the most surprising to those who believe good creative takes time.

As a leading late space buyer, the very nature of AJ’s business requires our artworkers to turn ads around far quicker than most other studios; we are producing creative at speed on a daily basis.

Usually you’d pay more for this.  If you want something in a hurry, you have to be prepared to pay it – ‘express delivery’ more expensive than standard.  Not so at AJ; we charge less per hour than most other design studios.  For those selling via catalogue, for example, where listings are potentially simple but extensive this is a significant advantage.

Unlike speed and cost, quality and creativity are hard to measure objectively, but we know the standard of our work is high.  We see this most clearly through our creative workshops where the artworkers are free from the constraints of existing artwork.

AJ’s experience and expertise is in selling products and services off the page.  We understand lead generation, and deliver on growing business through increased ROI. This also makes us well suited to companies using additional channels beyond press advertising to generate additional sales, such as catalogues or inserts.

In short, lower cost, faster turnaround and better response sums up what AJ’s studio can do for you.

To find out more about how you can work with AJ, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or

The results are in

Last week we told you about new creative we were running in an AB split in the Daily Telegraph’s Saturday section.  Having recently re-connected with Donald Russell, this was our first attempt to improve their press results.  How did it go?

  • Ahead of target in four days

The total orders from both ads were 25% ahead of target in just four days.  We’re confident this will hit 40% once mature.  This result is in stark contrast to an ad run by Donald Russell’s previous agency which fell short of target by 35%.

  • Control copy holding its own

Contrary to expectation (and hope), the control copy has taken the majority of orders so far.  On Monday it had 60% share, now it’s nearer 55%.  Maybe the new AJ copy is the tortoise rather than the hare on this occasion and will take the line in the end.  With the benefit of hindsight, the AJ image was slightly dark for newsprint.  Delicious but dark – perfect for a magazine.  Learning from this, the image has been worked on for this weekend.

  • Strategy implemented produced better results

We put these improved results down to a combination of factors:

  1. Better creative. We enhanced the direct response elements of the control copy and ran a completely new look against it, both of which generated a much higher response overall
  2. Media placement. We took a 25 x 4 in the Daily Telegraph’s Saturday section under food and drink editorial on a right hand outside edge
  3. Late space rate. We waited for short term rates with a free AB split
  • Building from here

We’re running the AB split in the Times this weekend, having worked on the image and enhanced the call to action/tracking within the ad.  The control copy is also booked to run in the Observer.

Revised AJ creative
Control creative

We will take each week as it comes; testing, learning and building confidence, so we grow the spend based on results.  This is a perfect example of how we help clients who have given up on press fall in love with it again.  We never give up on making a difference.

What to know more?  Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or

I is for Inserts

For the first time, the i is taking loose inserts.  This is a great opportunity for AJ clients and one we’ve grabbed with both hands.  Here’s why.

The i is a top-performing title for AJ clients.  Its profile of ABC1, with 74% in the 45+ age group, is perfect for the majority of our DR customers.  And its new insert offering has key benefits we have been quick to exploit.

The i has a total print run of 360,000, broken down into four regions.  For a designer and manufacturer of water softeners, such as Kinetico, the ability to advertise regionally is an attractive option as it protects against wastage.  We ran their new insert in the South only where water softeners are an increasingly necessary household item.

The inserts are solus and mid-week only.  This gives clients great standout and weekday exposure in contrast to many other titles only taking multiple inserts at the weekend.

Early signs look encouraging for Kinetico from the insert we ran on Monday, with Aquability testing it next week in addition to their existing advertising channels.  With AJ accounting for 25% of those who have tried this alternative method of lead generation in the last couple of weeks, we are confident it has much to offer our clients.

To learn more about how AJ uses inserts successfully, see Look and feel: why inserts work

Welcomed back into the fold

With the barbecue season almost here (we hope), AJ is particularly excited to be working with Donald Russell again, and looking forward to             re-building their results.

Producing a hard-hitting, good-looking direct response ad to overcome tired off-the-page results is the key challenge we’re addressing in our  re-engagement with Donald Russell.

The obvious place to start was the Daily Telegraph.  It has great coverage of their target audience, relevant editorial within the Saturday section and the ability to run an AB split free of charge.  To test our stunning new ad against their control copy, we’ve bought short term space under food and drink editorial this weekend; fingers crossed we’re celebrating on Monday.

AJ creative
Control creative

We’re also running an in-house competition to guess the percentage of orders each version takes; the AJ team member with the closest estimation wins a delicious box of quality steak to enjoy.  What’s your guess?

If you’d like to see what AJ can do to refresh your creative and revive your results, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or

Supporting charity spins AJ’s wheels

Members of AJ’s team took part in a 10-hour spinathon in central Bath at the weekend helping to raise over £10,000 for Bath’s Royal United Hospital Cardiology Unit.

AJ’s mentor, Rob Walsh, lost his brother unexpectedly from a fatal heart attack a couple of years ago.  His spin teacher lost her father in similar circumstances, leading them to hatch the idea of a spinathon to raise money for the local hospital’s charity, Forever Friends, and the British Heart Foundation.

Now in its second year, the event saw 50 spin bikes set up in the city centre under the direction of a team of spin teachers keeping the cyclists motivated.  AJ sponsored two of the bikes with six of the team taking part.

AJ’s owners, Ann Gardiner and Alice Buttling

“I enjoyed it more than I expected, even if a little uncomfortable by the end,” said New Business Director, Lesley Bowman.  “There was a great atmosphere and it was an invigorating experience,” commented Jack Gillett, Media Executive.  “I believe if you can, you should, so was very happy to sign up and support such a worthy cause.”

Jack Gillett, Media Executive and Lesley Bowman, New Business Director

Event co-organiser, Rob Walsh, said, “The people and instructors who took part were fantastic along with great support from family and friends. Even though it took a lot of organising, it’s all worth it when it’s for charity in memory of Ken and Neil.”

To make a donation:

Needing to scratch an itch

The beginning of 2017 has seen Attinger Jack re-engaged by two clients. What brought them back?

At AJ, we have a single-minded approach to advertising.  We’re solely about Direct Response and we’re good at it.  Clients see a measurable return on investment through our commitment and expertise.  Being clear about what we do, we attract clients who want what we offer.

From time to time, though, clients’ objectives change, making our approach less effective or attractive to them.  The reasons for this are diverse, and it’s sometimes just the need to scratch an itch. Thomas Sanderson chose to try brand-led creative and a regional approach to advertising; Kinetico aimed to raise their brand profile through a regional radio campaign; Donald Russell focused on customer retention rather than acquisition and Tempur needed to increase retail distribution so shifted to retail support and brand awareness.

When this happens, we don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole; we want to remain confident we are doing the best job for the client.  We part on good terms, with clients acknowledging we delivered everything we could when their focus was DR.

“You’ve all been an immense help this last 12 months……your advice in relation to all things DR has been top notch.”  Richard Gray, Digital Acquisition Manager, Thomas Sanderson

But those who explore alternative routes often miss the accountability of results and ROI delivered by direct response.  Our door always remains open for these clients and we are delighted when they find their way back, as two have done recently.

Quality meat producer, Donald Russell, has re-appointed AJ to handle their press campaign, having struggled to hit their targets without a strong customer recruitment plan.  We’re working on ‘new look’ creative to test against their ‘banker’ copy, learning and building as the campaign develops and the results come in.

Kinetico, designer and manufacturer of water softeners, is also keen to return to DR.  We are now in the midst of an exciting new spring campaign spanning press, TV and inserts.

It is the greatest compliment and the most satisfying endorsement to be asked to work for a previous client again.  With so many agencies to choose from, all claiming to deliver results at a new business stage, it speaks volumes when clients trust AJ with their DR campaigns and come back when the time is right for them.  As the saying goes, “If you love somebody, let them go; if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.”