Small but perfectly formed

10 x 8

Big, loud, full-page ads are best for selling off the page – fact?  Having more room for images, information, flashes, offers and coupons guarantee you’ll be noticed – right?  Wrong.  Full pages definitely have their place, especially with last minute deals, and are important for driving volume, but smaller, fractional ads can work just as hard.  So, with only 25% space available in a ¼ page, how do you attract attention and deliver positive results?

  • Headline is key; it has to make readers stop and look
  • Strong hero image
  • Clear, compelling offer
  • Key information in bullet points
  • Call to action is phone and website, not a coupon
  • Great position, ideally solus on the page, but certainly under editorial. It’s harder for readers to pass you by under editorial compared to a full page where there isn’t other copy to stop them.
Quarter page
20 x 2 Mono

Many of our small ads become our hardest-working, most cost-effective sizes, including these we use for water solutions provider, Kinetico.




To find out more about how you could be small but perfectly formed, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or

All or nothing – which are you?

Do you cram your advertising spend into one season, then leave the finance team with a headache trying to balance the books the remainder of the year? At AJ, we help clients spread their spend across a longer period and enjoy better results.

Many businesses have a peak season, where the most common approach is to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.  But what happens when the sun goes in?  Overheads remain, while staff are under-worked and cash coming into the business is massively reduced putting strain on the finances.  Businesses need to be geared up for this and have a plan for the downtimes.  Making the most of the workforce keeps them happy and maintains productivity.

So rather than turning the advertising spend tap off when the sun has gone, we have enjoyed great success with expanding our clients’ seasons, taking a number from being six-month-a-year advertisers to running ads all year round.

Reading light specialist, Serious Readers, only ran off-the-page ads after the clocks changed in the autumn, on the basis the results they were seeing didn’t justify spend during spring or summer.  We’ve turned this around by introducing a number of changes, moving from a winter spend of £150k/month to a steady £30k/month all year, addressing and overcoming a major cashflow challenge for the business. A number of factors have helped us achieve it:

  • Adding 40% to their list of ‘banker’ titles by testing an increased range of titles during their traditionally ‘peak’ period
  • Developing a much larger range of sizes – ½ page vertical, 20 x 2, full page, ¼ page. You name it, we have it
  • Introducing new ads to the existing portfolio, so we have around eight different creative executions at any one time
  • Improving the offer and making it more prominent, improving results by 100%
  • Working with a lower budget, we ‘cherry pick’ the best of the best, taking only the cheapest offers from the media we know will deliver the ROI we require

We have also used this approach with the Cashmere Centre, a market leader in quality cashmere knitwear products, extending their September – January media schedule to beyond the Christmas market.  The same is true for their sister organisation, the Pearl Company, which focused solely on Christmas gifts. Water solutions provider, Kinetico, has also moved to year-round activity from just two 4-week campaigns a year.

If you would us to review your media schedule, capture lost opportunities, avoid the peaks and troughs of seasonal advertising and maximise ROI, we’d love to help.  Contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or

The one-stop shop of advertising

The rise of supermarkets heralded the beginning of one-stop shopping.  The benefits of being able to buy food all in one hit were immediately obvious. The same is true for agencies.

Marketing budgets are rarely infinite.  How, where and when they are spent for maximum return are daily choices facing our marketing colleagues.  As we discussed in Media Buying: in-house or agency, deciding to employ outside specialists can bring tangible benefits.  The type of agency can also influence the nature of those benefits.  Full service agencies provide a range of expertise under one roof, including media, creative and digital, rather than offering one without the other(s).

Employing experts within each of the agency’s teams, the saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is not true of full service agencies such as AJ.  To find out more about the skills of our artworkers, take a look at Good things do not always take time, Creative workshops: if it’s broke, fix it and Free isn’t futile.  Examples of our media buying capabilities are found in Making press advertising work, What’s your favourite position? and What’s hot in the heat?

A major disadvantage of using separate agencies is the lack of accountability.  As a full-service agency, AJ is fully accountable for everything it does.  No smoke and mirrors here.  Being located in one office, also means we coordinate creative and media much more easily; efficient communication particularly important in late space buying.

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

Taking a bold approach

The summer dresses are out in force in our office this week as we enjoy the latest burst of hot weather.  Fans of bold, colourful prints, the female members of the AJ team are thrilled we’ve just been appointed by women’s clothing brand, Mistral.

Offering British-designed casual clothing, Mistral uses prints, colours and styles inspired by the surroundings of the Wiltshire countryside in which their head office is based.

Mistral is in a growth phase, keen to attract new customers, with an eye on their competitors.  White Stuff shoppers, disappointed with the company’s latest styles and lack of prints, are a particular focus.

Mistral’s superb summer range has attracted amazing feedback from customers and they’re ready to shout about it.  AJ has been tasked with drawing in direct sales to their website and driving customers to the almost 20 Mistral stores across the country.  To do this, we’re planning a combination of press, direct mail and inserts.

In true AJ style, we’ll be testing, refining and optimising their media schedule, and can’t wait to begin……