Media: Double Standards - A creative approach to consumers on the move

The business of getting advertiser messages through to travellers in London can be hampered by a retail downturn, a "slow" summer or even a wave of terrorist attacks.

GRANT WOODTHORPE - TRADING DIRECTOR, METRO

- What audience do you target in London and why is this covetable for advertisers?

The same audience we target nationally - urbanites: young, working, upscale and affluent. I don't think I need to explain why this is a valuable audience, it speaks for itself.

- How does working in the London market differ from working elsewhere in the country?

The only real difference between London and the rest of the country, as far as our urbanite audience is concerned, is their respective infrastructures. We have to find different ways to reach urbanites outside London - for example, we use buses, trains and trams outside the capital.

- Do you sell against each other or would you encourage advertisers to use outdoor alongside print?

We would encourage advertisers to use ideas. Good ideas should work across any platform.

- Who is your biggest competitor in London? Will there be more in the next few years (if so where will they come from)?

We compete with any media that has the attention of and an affinity with our audience. I'd be surprised if we didn't see other free newspapers in the near future.

- Have the 7 July terrorist attacks on London had much influence on advertising?

We noticed a small blip. It's difficult to separate the terror effects from the retail downturn, or simply a "slow" summer. Metro has been mercifully impervious to any revenue decline.

- With the reduction in the number of Tube passengers, how did you convince advertisers that buying space on the Underground was the same value for money that it was previously?

We still distribute 500,000 copies in London and could do more, but we don't want to over-supply the market as it's a case of quality over quantity. Barring the actual day after the bombings, our circulation hasn't suffered at all, so there isn't a value for money argument to be had.

- If you didn't work in London, which market would you most like to move to?

I love working in London, but if pushed I would like to work in New York. Although it is more competitive in terms of the free newspaper market (there are two of them vying for the same audience), it's a vibrant, young city that feels closer to London than any other city in the world.

- Who would you single out as someone to look out for in your company/industry at the moment?

I would single out Simeon Adams. We've just drafted him in as the planning director from Mediaedge:cia. He's a very talented individual that brings a lot of intelligence, energy and creativity to our team.

- Where did you go on holiday this year?

I snowboard regularly and took multiple trips to Chamonix and Mayerhofen this season - mostly long weekends. I've recently got back from a family holiday in Le Lavondou on the French south coast.

- What do you do outside work?

I watch Bolton Wanderers when I can, and go clubbing less often. I love snowboarding and being in the mountains, and I've just started playing golf - pretty badly.

PETER CHARLTON - SALES DIRECTOR, VIACOM OUTDOOR

- What audience do you target in London and why is this covetable for advertisers?

Getting London right is critical for most advertisers, and we offer London's most valuable audience - consumers on the move. They're affluent, educated, and generally hard to reach with other media. Plus, of course, they actually welcome the presence of the advertising we run - how many other media owners can claim that?

- How does working in the London market differ from working elsewhere in the country?

It's where our product offering is strongest. The London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and London buses are three of the jewels in the outdoor crown, so our audience levels in London make our ad proposition an extremely viable alternative to any other media.

- Do you sell against each other or would you encourage advertisers to use outdoor alongside print?

We feel very strongly about the medium as a whole and realise that convincing clients about the power of outdoor is as much our job as selling our individual formats. We are also keen exponents of proving the value of outdoor within a multimedia environment. Some of our recent consumer research has proved insightful in showing the strengths and weaknesses of each medium.

- Who is your biggest competitor in London? Will there be more in the next few years (if so where will they come from)?

London ITV right now. You'd have to assume media proliferation will continue, but it's hard to see how this would bring about additional ways to capture and captivate London's consumers on the move - our core proposition.

- Have the 7 July terrorist attacks on London had much influence on advertising?

It caused a temporary blip in the Underground usership figures (largely driven by the necessary line repairs), but no noticeable impact on advertising - for which we thank all our supporting clients.

- With the reduction in the number of Tube passengers, how did you convince advertisers that buying space on the Underground was the same value for money that it was previously?

It's not an issue that arose. The usership dip was small - mostly down to reduced tourist usage - and our customers were tremendously supportive in what could otherwise have been a very difficult period.

- If you didn't work in London, which market would you most like to move to?

Newcastle! I'm originally from there, it's a vibrant place at the moment, we have an all-encompassing advertising proposition in the city, with rail, bus and metro and I could get to see the "Toon" play on a regular basis.

- Who would you single out as someone to look out for in your company/industry at the moment?

I am continually blown away by the work our Impact team produces. The digital team in particular are ahead of the game in an area that will see the biggest outdoor innovations and growth in the next ten years. The new VOICE team is our unique strategic unit. They're going places that our market has never been before.

- Where did you go on holiday this year?

Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in Italy - almost better than Tyneside.

- What do you do outside work?

I'm currently training for the New York Marathon - so I spend most of my spare time pounding the London streets. I get to see a lot of bus ads!