We need to talk about Newt

Newt is our Agency dog. Although not with us every day, she’s quite a regular, accompanying MD Alice on her days in the office most weeks.

Newt is very small but she has a very large presence. Mostly well-behaved, extremely cute and relatively docile, she can turn feisty without warning when a dog appears in the office next door. And the larger the dog, the bigger her reaction.  She can also be rather lively when male visitors arrive, particularly those wearing wide legged trousers…for some reason these give her the most cause for complaint but we’ve yet to discover why. Perhaps we should introduce a dress code?

With the wealth of newspapers and magazines surrounding her in the Agency, it’s no wonder that Newt is rather interested in current affairs and she has rather strong opinions, particularly on two issues. With this in mind, we thought we’d give her a chance to voice these today:

Leave or Remain?

I’m definitely not one to languish about indoors all day. Any excuse to get out onto the fields or charge through the woods chasing squirrels and I’m there. I also love running along the canal with my mum (even if she does run like a whippet).

Meat or Plant Based?

Well vegetables have their place – particularly when poached in chicken stock – but I would struggle to give up my meat dishes. I’m particularly enjoying beef stew at the moment and believe me, with the miles I’m currently clocking up, I need it!

Newt is currently helping Alice raise money for The Dorset County Hospital Charity in support of Alice’s stepsister, Becky. Alice is nearing the end of her 365 day challenge and has kept her pledge to run every day, whatever the weather and wherever she is.  You can find out more, and offer your support to  Alice (and Newt)  at  Alice’s Just Giving Page

The only certainty is uncertainty and the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees…

 

In the advertising environment you have to be able to substantiate every word you say and if you don’t then you can’t get your ad onto the TV screens.  If you run a press ad and even if just one person questions your claims or disagrees with what you say, the likelihood is that you will have to change your ad. 

So, here at AJ, we are finding it increasingly frustrating that the people running our country seem to have no such requirements to adhere to.  We’re days away from the due date to leave the EU and nobody seems any the wiser.  The ‘brightest minds in the country’ still can’t tell us what the consequences of leaving will be, either with a deal or without one – and the various parties can’t even agree among themselves.

So, what does it all mean?  Well, it’s a great time to be advertising in National Press! People are consuming more news now than ever, with many reading a wider variety of titles to get a fuller perspective on the range of thoughts and opinions out there – and so get closer to the truth.

If you can make your advertising budget stretch a little further – and have the flexibility to make things happen quickly – you should be able to see some positives out of this negative time.

Let’s get on with discovering what life is like outside of the EU and see what happens, surely it can only be better than this? And in the meantime, make the most of it while you can and if we can help you do so, all the better!

When does it pay to go prime?

Our client, David Salisbury, in prime position on the front page October 3rd 2019

We are often asked about pricing for Display and we have lots of clients who love the idea of Display and have tested it over the years but in the majority of cases the Classified sections deliver the best results in terms of cost per response. 

At AJ we are totally focussed on delivering the most efficient media schedule and therefore 75% of our ads run in Classified sections, albeit with many of the ads running facing or under matter as we negotiate hard on this.  However, you will always miss a proportion of the readership in these sections so it is a balance and you need to know exactly when the offer of a short term Display site will stack up.

Our client, Harrington & Byrne in prime position on the back page of the Telegraph 3rd October 2019

For example, Times Pages in Display are 250% more expensive than Classified and you could be just pages ahead – this will never give you a better result.  Daily Telegraph front page and back page solus sites are 100% more expensive than a 25 x 4 in the Saturday section – so this absolutely does.  The ads look great, punch way above their weight and they are amazing value: win, win. Which is why on one of the biggest news days in the last few weeks, the day after Boris’s so called announcements, we had not only the front page, but the back page too.

So if your schedule lacks some smart buying, or you have the desire for a bit more brand exposure – but you still need results  – then give us a call.

TV can have a big impact even with a small spend

People talk about TV and the ‘halo’ effect that it has on all your other media spend but how much do you need to spend for that to happen?                      Actually, if you get it right in terms of creative and planning,  not much.

We have introduced four of our press clients to TV so far this year,  with the first month’s media spend being around 15k (production costs of commercials have ranged from 5 to 20k) and they have all had their best ever sales months whilst they have been on TV.

This is most remarkable for Aquability, who spend over 2 million a year in press,  inserts and online and have been doing so for 20 years. Aquability went on air in July and had their best EVER month of sales with just 10k of TV spend.  So what made Aquability take the plunge into TV after so long? Their sister company, Eden Verandas, went on air in March and have remained on air ever since due to the huge uplift in brand search and sales that the TV campaign has created.

So, if you are stuck in a rut with your current media plan, then 25k could change your business dramatically. Why not give us a call to discuss how we could help with our seamless script-to-screen service?

Quooker appoints Attinger Jack

We are very excited, and rather proud,  to have won the Quooker account for press & TV from September.

This is a real case of playing the long game – we first met with this client over four years ago and we have always felt that we could make a real difference to their business.

The appointment comes at an exciting and important time for Quooker,  coinciding with the launch of their incredible new product ‘The Cube’.  This includes new TV creative, the main objective of which is to both build the brand and drive sales through the retailers.  We also felt that there was a huge potential market in selling direct, something they currently do by default from their advertising rather than running a true DR campaign.

We’re looking forward to building a long, rewarding relationship and helping Quooker to grow their already very successful business even further.

Whatever the weather, the run must go on……

Back in February, we wrote that our MD, Alice Buttling, is running every day of 2019 to raise money for The Dorset County Hospital Charity in support of her step-sister, Becky.

Despite successfully fighting breast cancer and being in remission for two years, Becky’s cancer returned late last year and is incurable.  Alice is determined to do what she can to support her and now, with nearly eight months of her challenge completed, Alice has clocked up a mighty 1,100 km.

“ I have managed to get out and run every day,” says Alice. “ And whilst I am looking forward to a rest, I have mostly enjoyed it.  I use the time to think about my amazing step sister – who has now finished her three months of chemo and is continuing to fight hard while striking things off her bucket list.”

Obviously tinged with sadness, thinking about Becky brings mixed emotions; “While running I have had lots of laugh-out-loud moments, remembering (many!) daft things we’ve done together and happy memories growing up.  I’ve also been lucky to have lots of running partners – my most loyal being my lovely dog Newt, who is by my side for every run (as long as I am not running overseas as I am doing this week!)”

Alice has also been joined by friends and family on many occasions and her favourite runs are with her three boys.

“I have run in the dark, rain, wind and snow and I am really enjoying the summer sunshine (and the odd shower). The terrain varies from road and canal paths to running across fields and even through a river! I have run whether at home, work or on holiday and I’m actually enjoying exploring new places too, which is great. I wouldn’t say I’m counting the days…….but it is just over four months to go before a lie in! “

If you would like to support Alice, you can do so at the link below. All donations are very gratefully received, thank you.

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

To learn more about The Dorset County Hospital Charity please visit:  http://www.dchft.nhs.uk/charity/Pages/home.aspx

 

It’s coming home, it’s coming home….football’s coming home

This Friday sees the Women’s World Cup kick off in France. While defending champions USA are co-favourites with hosts France, The Lionesses are hotly tipped to win the title for the first time.

Despite a few disappointing results in the run-up friendlies, the team – and the pundits – are confident that The Lionesses have the skills and the determination they need to win.

Lucozade Sport, who is committed to encouraging more women and girls to play football,  has created a commercial that brings together the excitement and drama of the World Cup along with the real, every day experience of women in football. Cleverly re-wording Baddiel and Skinner’s much-loved Three Lions anthem we think Lucozade Sport and their agency Grey London, have done a great job.

Great TV makes people think and gets people talking – and often singing too. We hope you’ll all be watching and supporting – and singing along. Come on England!

England v Scotland Sunday 9th June, 5pm

You can see the commercial via this link to The Drum https://www.thedrum.com/news/2019/05/29/lucozade-sport-puts-money-where-its-mouth-with-womens-world-cup-campaign

Are you copy ready?

Leaving things to the last minute was always a weakness of mine,  as several long-suffering relatives in receipt of questionable Christmas presents can attest to . Unlike gift-giving, when it comes to buying space, leaving it late is an excellent strategy and one that can deliver the best deals.

But as last minute space does not always come in straightforward sizes you need to be prepared if you want to reap the rewards. Having the ability to quickly adapt your copy to suit, means you can get cheaper rates, prime sites and better ROI.

Most of our clients have the standard full page and half page creative, but as well as that we have 10 x 8 strips (perfect for the front page of the Telegraph), 20 x 2 (ideal for the solus site next to the crossword in The Times), half page vertical (often available facing matter in Stella), and 10 x 2’s (share squares).

Having an adaptable portfolio of varied sizes gives you flexibility and allows us to take advantage of any deals that come up (not just for those in the standard sizes)  thus giving you the most value from your media spend. This is real short term buying – often literally 30 minutes from the deadline, making the office a hive of activity and enterprise even at the end of the day and this outcome will add great value to any schedule.

Contrary to getting to the airport on time and thoughtful present-shopping, buying space stands alone in the category of things you can leave to the last minute – admittedly with the correct prep work, and the right team, working with you.

To learn more about the effectiveness and the impact of holding a range of sizes, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk.

What do you say when everything you say will be closely examined?

No, I’m not talking about what do you say when you meet your in-laws for the first time, I’m afraid that social minefield is left for you to navigate. This article concerns advertising vitamins and supplements.

In the vitamin and supplements market you can’t make any claims on your products without supporting evidence from vigorous clinical trials. So, although the ingredients may be widely known to have a range of benefits you can’t usually say it in press. We must find ways to say something, when you can claim nothing. A useful tool in this exercise is the employment of imagery, such as images of muscles glowing red to indicate pain. Another valuable weapon in the arsenal to combat these constrictions is an editorial, one which talks around the relevant issue or topic rather than the product itself, and then follow this with a claim-free ad.

Finding the most effective ways to get strong results without compromising the ASA rules is not easy, but it is possible – attached is some editorial that we ran in the Mail for our client, Tower Health, which delivered great results. To finish, a word of advice: when meeting the in-laws, I would avoid talking about politics.

 

To learn about how AJ can improve communication between you and your customers contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk.

 

In it to win it

Competitions are a great way to boost the volume of your customer database.

Everyone loves to win – perhaps it’s an evolutionary trait hardwired into our animal nature as part of the survival of the fittest concept. The growth of civilization has seen a prize change from first dibs on prey into usually a monetary bounty, yet the attraction of winning is as great for us as it was for our prehistoric ancestors. So how can you use this innate desire to win to further your business?

The introduction of GDPR and the resulting spotlight on email communication saw many clients’ databases take a hit – as did the media owners’ – resulting in a severe decline in the volume available to target by email.

Online competitions are a great way of adding volume to your database, with opted-in data. For a prize value of about £500 you can often get thousands of entries (approx 15% will be opted in) which you can then add to your database.  We have also found that a good runners-up prize, such as a robust discount or offer, can be extremely effective, with a really strong conversion rate. Ultimately, the benefit of offering a competition is that you can create volume of opted-in data in a short space of time that can be garnered and made profitable very quickly.

To learn how AJ can make you feel like you’re winning again, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or email lesley@aja.co.uk