Letters - 30 May-6 June 2006

Magic and Logic report (Isba/IPA/Cips), BBC Magazines, IGA Worldwide, Chemistry Communications.


Marilyn Baxter, Author, Magic and Logic report (Isba/IPA/Cips), PPA marketing

Media Week's article 'Ignorance' must be fought, claims trade body report (page 9, 23 May) rightly drew attention to some of the challenging issues for agencies raised in my report, Magic and Logic.

However, I would like to make it clear that this report is not a critique of agency performance, but rather a survey of what the best practice agencies, marketing and procurement clients are doing right that results in business success and profitability for all the parties.

Yes, agencies have to up their performance to achieve best practice in a whole number of areas if they are to produce ideas that are profitable both for clients and for agencies themselves.

However, it's important to say too that there are similar challenges in the report for marketing and procurement clients.

The report contains a clear acknowledgement that all the parties involved have a joint responsibility to act in ways that are more likely to produce a win/win situation.

To quote from the report: "Agencies cannot create more profitable ideas for clients without best practice performance from clients."

I would like to challenge your readers to go through this report (visit www.magicandlogic.co.uk) and see how they measure up to the best in the industry.


Peter Phippen, Managing director, BBC Magazines

I was delighted to see Carat's Sue Elms enter the debate about Big Britain (Letters, page 25, 23 May). The point of the Big Britain study was to open up a debate about the mainstream consumer in this country who perhaps had the focus that other more "sexy" groups such as youth and the ageing population have had. In this regard, Elms' comments are very welcome as part of that debate.

However, she believes that the 20-million figure Your Future Ltd's (the agency we commissioned to challenge the Middle England stereotype) research highlighted as the Big Britain group, seems a little utopian and is cynical of the 56% figure representing the 25 to 70-year-olds of the population that share the 10 values.

However, it's worth reiterating that 44% of the population did not agree that they shared the values that make up Big Britain's positive majority.

Elms also highlights only one of 10 values mentioned in the research - the claimed "concern for the environment". She says that people's claims to be "concerned" are not to be believed, as though through all the focus groups, in-depth interviews, and quantitative surveys, the naive researchers have been hoodwinked.

She asserts that only those "actively involved" in environmentalism are really demonstrating their conviction and uses the shorthand "liberal values" to describe the values of Big Britain, saying they apply only to a small minority.

Actually, the values of Big Britain are much subtler than this and cannot be labelled so easily. In applying this old label, Elms misses the fundamental premise of the research - that the labels of 20, or even 10, years ago just don't work any more.

The surprising thing about the Big Britain research is not the findings. All the political parties and smart businesses have already recognised these changing values and the massive influence of this very large proportion of the population.

For example, Stuart Rose, chief executive of M&S, even attributed his company's recent success with the "hidden influencers" our research identified when he said in a recent Evening Standard interview: "Customers like to shop at a place which shows it is on the button on issues like organic, even if they don't always buy those products themselves." And the overwhelming reaction from agencies and clients alike has been "this is what we're finding too; let's compare notes". The only surprising aspect of the research, and why we launched it, is that there are some who continue to talk as though nothing has changed.

With all due respect to Media Week, Big Britain was not analysed thoroughly enough, so I'd suggest that those interested in discovering the robustness of the research and how it can help their company, log on to www.bigbritain.com, where they can dissect the findings and methodology and decide for themselves.


Justin Townsend, CEO, IGA Worldwide

The much reported news that TV advertising spend has seen a dramatic slump during the "upfronts" week in the US comes as no surprise, as advertisers continue to rethink their strategy in light of increasing media fragmentation.

We see this trend being echoed in the UK. The increased take up of personal video recorders such as Tivo has brought about evolving TV viewing habits and an ever more disjointed audience.

Last month's reports that ITV experienced a 20% drop in impact among the 16 to 24 age bracket spell out the fact that TV is no longer performing as the big-brand medium it once was.

Much has been made of advertisers turning to the internet as an alternative medium, yet other new media such as in-game advertising are also starting to encroach upon TV budgets.

With in-game advertising networks soon set to achieve the same reach as a mid-sized TV network, innovative mediums such as this not only allow advertisers to measure effectiveness, but also enable them to hit the lucrative 18 to 34 age bracket. As advertisers continue to have second thoughts about TV, the time has come to look at the full range of alternatives, rather than blindly leaping on to the internet bandwagon.


Phil Cutts, Director of marketing, PPA marketing

In answer to Nik Vyas (Letters, page 25, 16 May), it appears that the PPA doesn't need to do any more trade campaigns, as clearly we've jumped on the WOM (word of mouth) marketing bandwagon and employed other trade bodies to promote our medium for us.

Well done RAB for realising that mags are, as Vyas says, "engaging, impactful, experiential, tactical, creative ..."


Imogen Stott (over 30, still some way short of 40 and not bitter), Senior planner, Chemistry Communications

Media Week's annual 30 under 30 feature just proves how ageist media is. Surely it's much more of an achievement to be over 30 and still clinging to a job in this fickle industry?

Over 40 and still here? Well let's face it, you're a walking miracle. Time you were honoured, I say. Note to editor: Content idea: 40 over 40 - the veterans who remember the golden days. (Birthrates being what they are, it's good to stay onside with the wrinklies).

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