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

 

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

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…….

With 2018 drawing to a close, we find ourselves reflecting on another year in the life of AJ and the direct response world. It’s been an interesting one, filled with many challenges and an exciting one too. We’ve clients stepping outside their comfort zone, testing many new ideas and we’ve welcomed a raft of new clients on board too, bringing new areas of expertise into the business. And we’re delighted to welcome back three clients who have returned after testing the waters elsewhere.

We’ve said sad farewells to a couple of members of the team but we’re also delighted to have been joined by fabulous, fresh talent bringing their knowledge and expertise – along with a lot of energy!- into the fold.

There are so many people we have worked with over the last 12 months who have helped us to run our business, and to be part of it, and we’d like to say thank you.

 

 

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

 

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 lesley@aja.co.uk

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……

Time to spruce up the garden

According to author, Margaret Atwood, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  At this time of year, we’re busy preparing our gardens for the summer ahead.  To stay up with the play on the latest trends in garden design, AJ team member, Jack Gillett, visited this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

The Chelsea Flower Show offers inspiration and ideas on creating a look for your garden or outdoor space, however big or small, rural or urban.  Like a fashion show, what’s on display may seem unattainable to the average gardener, but it’s the concepts being displayed which trigger a thought or form the start of a plan.

                      

With unparalleled knowledge and experience in the home improvements market, AJ’s client portfolio includes manufacturers of top quality conservatories, verandas, awnings and garden furniture, such as David Salisbury, Eden Verandas and Out & Out.   How these can blend with a garden is an ever-present element of the world-famous Show.  The BBC/RHS People’s Choice Award winner, the Morgan Stanley Garden, featured a stunning oak and limestone loggia surrounded by formal and informal planting.  It illustrated perfectly the opportunity for synergy between a manmade structure and the natural world.

With this year’s design trends at Chelsea also including water, textured walls, angular paving, copper elements and wall niches, there’s plenty to complement and enhance every garden and outdoor space.

To find out more about our work in the garden and home improvements market, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk

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: http://bit.ly/2r0vwQa

It’s all about the people

Creative director and industry commentator Dave Trott couldn’t agree more.  “When you choose an agency, you’re not guaranteed a better result because they’ve got more technology and more data.  Your best bet is always people with brains and experience.  It’s never about technology and data, it’s always about people.”

Attinger Jack is not only a leading direct response agency, but also an excellent team of individuals, reflected in the feedback we receive from clients.  “It has been a pleasure working with you over the past 3 years – you are all amazing people.” Sydney Smith, Thomas Sanderson.

Leading the team at AJ are three key people in three key roles.  Media and Managing Director, Alice Buttling is now recognised as one of the best media buyers in the business and an expert at gaining the most for a client with whatever budget is available.  As Client Services Director, Ann Gardiner brought an impressive background running major accounts within established London agencies when she joined Attinger Jack in 2005.  She oversees all account handling and client management.  Tim Blackshaw provides the creative genius to Attinger Jack, leading the artworkers and designers and driving the best direct response creative in the business.

They are also acutely aware their most valuable asset is the team around them and treasure it.  They understand a happy, well-nourished team leads to outstanding work, satisfied clients and business growth.

The Team at AJ is driven to achieve the very best for its clients; whatever it takes is done.  Everybody understands how the AJ business model works and what’s needed to succeed as individuals.

Nurturing talent is an important part of the agency’s culture – a critical factor in building success according to Paul Frampton, chief executive of Havas Media Group, UK & Ireland. “Talent, chemistry and creativity are the lifeblood of success in any agency.  Businesses that genuinely engage and empower their talent have been proven to grow faster.”

If you’d like to work with this committed and talented team of professionals, please call Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk

Quarter one results start the year well

Attinger Jack’s first quarter figures make encouraging reading, giving the agency confidence its results-driven approach is the right one for its clients.

December is traditionally a hard month for DR agencies but AJ has seen increased profit for the second year in a row.  The agency puts this down to valid Christmas offers producing an increased ROI for many clients.  The resulting client confidence has produced increased spend and enabled AJ to do what it does best – grow existing clients’ business.

Large clients continue to be Aquability, Nationwide Mobility, Harrington & Byrne and Serious Readers, with new 2016 client, Cashmere Centre, entering this quarter’s top 10.

A developing area of activity for AJ is inserts.  AJ is working smarter in this area and exploring a variety of related substitutes when it suits the right clients, e.g. wrap throughs and backing boards/carrier sheets.  With a desire to continually test and review, this channel is opening up to offer a wider range of opportunities beyond the traditional.

Solus emails are also being used successfully with clients such as Eden Verandas.  AJ prefers to use publisher-distributed emails, buying a targeted database and supplying creative.  With integrated tracking methodology, click throughs, brochure requests and conversion rates are all monitored closely.  For some clients, this has a marketing percentage of just 5%.

The strength of AJ’s relationship with media owners continues to be an important factor in securing the best media deals, particularly late space offers, an AJ speciality.  The latest example is the new Interiors feature in the Telegraph’s Saturday, launched last week, in which AJ secured three of the nine spaces, including the hero image.

A growing AJ skill is to attract previous clients back to the agency, and as 2017 continues we hope to report back on how and why accounts have returned to us.  This is one of the most satisfying endorsements of a job well done; repeat business.

To find out more about how AJ can grow your business, contact Lesley Bowman on 01225 758222 or lesley@aja.co.uk.