Letters 30 August 2005

Creativity has to achieve an objective, Electronic is not the answer, Agencies know their options, and Hello! started the ball rolling.

Creativity has to achieve an objective

Sarah Newton, Head of Telegraph Create

Regarding Seeking the Source of Innovation, page 22, 16 August.

"Placing a fruit in a lady's stocking, holding it between your legs and then attempting to knock an orange from one point to another... Chanting like a medieval monk..."

So, what does that sound like? A self-help book for the sexually repressed or a team of intelligent media people paying no doubt extortionate costs to "get in touch with their creative side"?

I am all for supporting a team, having fun while you work, employing a "yes, can do" culture, coming up with ideas in the pub or going on day trips to put a team in situ to get into the mindset of the brand and its target audience.

I also understand that these techniques work, as time out of the daily routine often inspires new thought. But come on, spending good money for a glorified jolly under the guise that it will inject creativity into a team?

You'd probably get more creative antics on a weekend booze-up at a trendy country house hotel in Somerset – and have had more fun doing it! (You'd undoubtedly get better understanding of your clients if you brought them along too.)n There's a lot to be said for a highly motivated team having the full support of its peers, comfortable in the knowledge that ideas can be expressed.

But that said, we all know that creativity has to answer a brief, achieve an objective, be accountable and offer ROI. Not to mention that it must be executed effectively and with the full support of our clients.

But fruit in tights and dog collar fetishes? Is it any wonder that some of the media world still have a job convincing their clients that creative executions offer a sound marketing alternative for their businesses?

Electronic is not the answer

Roger Gane Research director RSMB Television Research Ltd

Poor old Kelvin – he didn't understand radio audience measurement when he was running a radio station, so I suppose we shouldn't expect him to understand it now (Letters, page 18, 23 August).

Whatever the merits of electronic measurement, it would not in itself solve the problem of the volatility of audience estimates in London or anywhere else. This stems from the sample size and the problems of measuring a particularly fragmented market.

Possible solutions – or ways of reducing the problem – were noted elsewhere in the same issue. These – rightly – did not include electronic measurement.

Indeed, since this will be more expensive than the present diary system, its adoption could lead to a reduction in sample sizes – thus increasing the problem rather than eliminating it!

Agencies know their options

Fiona Jewiss European search manager, Advertising.com

I refer to your article (Search engines rise to media's front row, page 22, 9 August) about the rising awareness of search engines as an advertising medium.

It is true that there has been a slow uptake in taking full advantage of the opportunities that search engine marketing has provided to advertisers. However, it cannot be inferred that there is a lack of understanding or options available among media agencies.

On the contrary, a vast number of companies have been created to provide whatever service an advertiser requires, be that a licensed piece of technology to run their paid-for search, a specialist search engine optimisation company to get the best possible position in the natural listings or a full-service agency which will work with the search engines on behalf of the advertiser, performing all bid optimisation and editorial work.

Digital media agencies are following the trend, building specialist search teams which have the resources to deliver against advertisers' objectives.

The difficulty seems to be in changing the mindset of the traditional, big brand advertiser to understand the role search plays in online and offline sales.

The measurability of online advertising has forced the companies that work in that arena to deliver against very tight objectives, with very little emphasis being placed on the benefits that the advertiser will feel in the footfall in their stores.

According to research conducted by AOL/NOP in 2004, 76% of people surveyed had researched a product online and bought the product offline. The 71% of people that consider search engines to be a very important source of information (taken from your article) will, no doubt, be part of that group.

While advertisers should not be encouraged to lose sight of the ROI of their advertising campaign, the advertiser who takes full advantage of the possibilities of search engine marketing, places a higher value on keywords that convert well online for them, with the added bonus that there is also likely to be a rise in offline conversions for that product.

The expansion of search will continue through the diversification of the search engines' product lines, with their content networks being a significant part of that growth.

The real growth will come when the big advertisers offline realise the huge gains to be made by effectively using search and online as part of their overall branding strategy.

Hello! started the ball rolling

Sally Cartwright Publishing director, HELLO!

In your ABC supplement (23 August), you had an article on women's weeklies, in which you refer to IPC's Now as "the original celebrity title".

Sadly, memories seem to be rather short in the magazine business, but I definitely seem to recall launching Hello! in 1988, and so creating the celebrity marketplace in this country.

To the best of my knowledge, OK! was next in line, launching as a monthly in 1994 and then changing to a weekly format. Now launched after OK!

And while I’m being picky, it would be nice if, very occasionally, someone acknowledged that Hello! was actually the first glossy weekly.

That was one of our earliest taglines and for the first 10 years of its existence, Hello! was generally priced at twice at much as any other women's weekly.

But then, I dare say Grazia can recognise a good line when it sees one.

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