Blog

‘The more you tell the more you sell’ – true or false?

For an industry that’s been established for well over a century, you’d think that advertising would be on a par with rocket science, with all its fundamental principles and techniques distilled into a proven formula.  The surprising truth is how little the industry has changed since its birth at the end of the 19th century. Sure, the digital age has...
Add comment

Read More...

Do what I say, not what I do – Facebook’s multi-million ad spend

What’s your opinion of a Labour MP who publicly espouses the virtue of state education yet in practice sends his own children to a private school?  Tony Blair, Harriet Harman and more recently Diane Abbott have been slammed for doing so, and branded ‘sell outs’ and ‘hypocrites’. Whatever your opinion of their principles, their decision clearly reflects the fact that...
Add comment

Read More...

Celebrity endorsement is great, but creativity is King!

“It’s silver, but is it gold?” “It’s a great ad, but does it have legs?” are questions that are often bandied about here at the agency.  By which we mean, does an ad idea have the potential to become a long running campaign with scope for endless variations on a theme?  Does it have the repeatability that will make...
Add comment

Read More...

Digital marketing is dead. Long live digital media!

Would you employ a handyman with only a hammer in his tool box?  True, there are some jobs that only a hammer can do, but there’s more to property maintenance than banging in a few nails.  Similarly, there’s more to marketing than firing off a few tweets, useful though they can be in raising a company’s public profile. But to...
Add comment

Read More...

Christmas competition Week 3

Could you be a Simpsons Creative A to Z Christmas Competition winner? Here is game three. Simply try and identify as many TV shows as you can and submit your answers down below. Your entry for this game needs to be submitted by 4pm on the 18th December. The person who identifies the most TV shows will win a bottle of Champagne (in the event...
Add comment

Read More...

Christmas competition Week 2

Could you be a Simpsons Creative A to Z Christmas Competition winner? Here is game two of three. Simply try and identify as many brands as you can and submit your answers down below. Your entry for this game needs to be submitted by 4pm on the 11th December. The person who identifies the most movies will win a bottle of Champagne (in the...
Add comment

Read More...

Christmas competition Week 1

Could you be a Simpsons Creative A to Z Christmas Competition winner? We’ll be running an A to Z competition over the next three weeks. Simply identify as many pictures as you can from each game and submit your answers down below. Your entry for the first game needs to be submitted by 4pm on the 4th December. The person who identifies the...
Add comment

Read More...

Ads that put the ‘Ho! ho! ho!’ back into Christmas!

Who was it who said Christmas comes but once a year?  Nowadays it occupies the entire last quarter, and all the major retailers have already launched their Christmas ads.  So how close do they come to encapsulating the magic and meaning of Christmas?  Well, depending on how you define it, very close or nowhere near! Basically, Christmas ads come in...
Add comment

Read More...

Commercials without a break: celebrating 60 years of itv

I’m just about old enough to have witnessed the first screening of ITVs first commercial – “Tingling Fresh SR Toothpaste”.  But since our TV – a hand-me-down from our rich relations – was a heavy wooden cabinet with a 12” screen that only received BBC transmissions from Crystal Palace, my earliest viewing memories are of a young and earnest...
Add comment

Read More...

Craft makes a comeback – break out your magic markers!

I confess to feeling a twinge of sympathy for Willam Morris and the Arts & Crafts Movement, who were nothing if not ambitious in their attempt to reverse the Industrial Revolution, fearing that mass reproduction would sound the death knell for craftspeople and their livelihood. I felt the same way myself about the digital revolution when it first made in...
Add comment

Read More...

The silver economy is about to go gold!

When Richard Ingrams of Private Eye fame launched The Oldie magazine back in 1992 I suspect he did it in his usual contrarian spirit as a counter blast against ‘yoof’ culture. I remember thinking at the time it would be more of a symbolic gesture, a fingers-up to the world, than a solid business proposition. After all, who wants to...
Add comment

Read More...

What ‘type’ are you? New book reveals all!

As a copywriter and type designer I have had a life-long love affair with the printed word, so The Type Taster – How Fonts Influence You, a new book by Sarah Hyndman, had a particular fascination for me. Not, I hasten to add, because it’s just an esoteric work for typographical nuts like me. On the contrary, it’s simply...
Add comment

Read More...

What will 2015 bring? Strap on your jet pack!

Futurology is a hit and miss affair: where, for example, are the jet packs, flying cars and rocket planes that were confidently predicted would become part of our daily lives back in the 1950s? On the other hand, the February 1950 edition of Modern Mechanix also predicted we’d be shopping by picture phone, cooking on a solar range and...
Add comment

Read More...

Reaching new heights for Woodall Homes

When a client decides to work with a new local agency, it can represent a huge leap of faith. But it takes something extra special for a client to choose an agency that is based in a different part of the country. Woodall Homes, the Midlands Property Developer that specialises in building new homes in the Peak District, recently commissioned...
Add comment

Read More...

Are you a Cinderella, a Snow White or a Dorian Gray?

Are you a Cinderella, a Snow White or a Dorian Gray? If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’m not surprised because these are three business models I’ve just invented to describe the difference between brand perception and customer experience. So let me illuminate. Taking the worst case scenario first. If you’re a Dorian Gray your brand perception is...
Add comment

Read More...

Simpsons Creative Quiz 2014

Thank you for entering our Mastermind Challenge competition at Bishop’s Stortford Means Business 2014. Some of the questions turned out to be quite challenging, but we were impressed by the general level of marketing knowledge! Why not have another go at our quiz? The ten questions below are randomly generated from our database, so you won’t get the same set of ten twice....
Add comment

Read More...

Creating a social media plan – Part two

As we said in our last post on this subject, new users of social media have a bit of a learning curve to go through, but getting your approach right from the word go will save time and aggravation later on. In Part Two we take a look at the ‘Rules of Engagement’ (more preparation!) then, getting involved. Finally,...
Add comment

Read More...

Want more media coverage? – Create your own!

With another royal birth in the offing, expect a rash of opportunistic advertising to cash in on the happy event. When Will and Kate’s first born arrived, our local pub landlord put a chalkboard outside his premises (an early form of social media) inviting locals to come in and wet the baby’s head. A nice touch I thought, and one...
Add comment

Read More...

Creating a social media plan – Part one

As social networking goes mainstream as a marketing tool, many small businesses (and some not so small) have rushed to sign up with Facebook, Twitter etc. without any clear idea about why they need them or how to use them. They’re there because they’re there, so to speak, without a business goal or marketing plan in sight. Making social media...
Add comment

Read More...

Of penguins, pelicans and toucans

When I was old enough to read anything more advanced than my ‘Janet and John’ primers, one of the first books I took down from the family bookcase was a Pelican (Penguin’s non-fiction imprint). I couldn’t tell you what the title was, but I do remember being puzzled by the fact that it didn’t begin (like all my other...
Add comment

Read More...

A retail revolution that takes no prisoners

Last weekend my wife frog-marched me into Freeport, the designer shopping ‘village’ in Braintree, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the ‘village’ in the cult 60s TV series The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan. It’s all cutesy gingerbread architecture: the shops have gables and verandas, and I counted at least three turret clocks surmounting cupolas and other faux architectural...
Add comment

Read More...

Marketing is poised to go ‘back to the future’

Remember Treets, ‘the sweets that melt in your mouth, not your hand’ and Polo, ‘the mint with the hole?’ Both slogans are examples of a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition – the marketing formula that depends on finding and promoting a key point of difference between your product and that of your competitors, even if it isn’t exactly...
Add comment

Read More...

Refresh before you retweet

We are increasingly being asked to take on the management of an existing Twitter account for a client. It is not unusual for these accounts to be following a very high number of unrelated accounts that have been acquired by a mass untargeted ‘follow’ campaign. This in turn means that any followers gained are likely to have been as...
Add comment

Read More...

Why you need a responsive website

More and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet which, in turn, has led to a large shift in the way we view content and how this content is delivered. This increasing trend of mobile use means that we must take these users into account when we set about designing a website. Mobile devices come in a...
Add comment

Read More...

How can I attract more visitors to my website?

“If you don’t see what you want, please ask” is a sign you’ll sometimes see in shop windows.  For online shoppers it’s a guiding principle. When they don’t see what they’re looking for they drop a description in their Google search box, and the website that comes up with the best match will top the list of search results,...
Add comment

Read More...

What happens if my website goes down?

So you’re almost ready to step out onto the World Wide Web. Before you go online however your web designer will ask you how you want to ‘host’ your website: whether you’ll handle it yourself or have him do it for you. To return to our car analogy, that’s the equivalent of asking you whether you want to join the...
Add comment

Read More...

What should I include in my website?

Launching a website is a bit like opening an office or setting up shop. Probably the first thing you’ll want to do it put your name above the door or at the head of your home page in this instance. That’s why we mentioned the importance of taking a look at your company name and logo in Part One...
Add comment

Read More...

What kind of website do I need?

So you want to create or update your website. Where do you begin? A good place to start is to ask yourself why you need a website, or to put it another way, to think about what kind of website you need and what you expect it to do for you. Commissioning a website is a bit like buying a...
Add comment

Read More...

An A to Z of fonts: what’s what, what’s in and what’s out

Serif or sans serif? Roman or italic? Regular or bold? Display or text? Can you look at a font, recognise it, categorise it and, most importantly, specify it for any given application? If you can’t, don’t worry. Given the growth of digital typography – by the most conservative reckoning there are more than 50,000 fonts commercially available – even...
Add comment

Read More...

Emerald is the new black: Pantone dictates fashion in the ad industry

Once upon a time ‘memories were made of Kodachrome’ and cinema’s latest releases were brought to you in ‘glorious Technicolor’. But with the coming of the digital age these famous systems of colour reproduction have faded into obscurity, even if, in Technicolor’s case, the name lives on as an old label for a new technology. Uniquely amongst them one colour...
Add comment

Read More...