Media: Double Standards - The ins and outs of the cross-platform approach

It's not always unwise to put all your eggs in one basket. IPC Unite and Bauer Media show the benefits of having one team to cover all the platforms.

MATT SIMS HEAD, IPC UNITE

- What are the benefits to advertisers of your cross-platform approach?

A single point of access for advertisers who want to reach audiences that span all of IPC's publishing divisions and platforms. We work closely and collaboratively with the individual IPC divisions, teams and businesses to develop and package unique joined-up advertiser opportunities, utilising all the divisional expertise within IPC.

- Is this confined to your brands/products or can you offer a package involving other media owners?

As part of the Time Warner UK Ad Council, we work with Turner Media Innovations' brands and AOL and its associated companies, such as Bebo and Time Inc. This means we can put together packages that reach a rich variety of audiences. Working alongside IPC Ignite, Unite adds an additional element to the RSVP consortium - extending its proven success in the men's market and applying it to IPC's female audiences as well.

- How does digital media fit into all this?

The digital platform is of massive importance to us as our audiences consume our content in a variety of ways. We have more than 60 sites reaching more than 16 million unique users each month, so digital is integral to every pitch we take to market.

- How do you work with media agencies in the process of developing campaigns?

No two campaigns are the same but all go through an established process that ensures they're unique, bespoke to the brief, workable, results driven and never over-complicated. Unite builds the campaign into an easily digestible and simplified strategic plan and we collaborate with the divisional teams on the creative ideas, detail and execution.

- What's the most interesting campaign your team has developed so far?

One of the most challenging was for the COI School Food Trust. We developed a cross-platform campaign that gave school dinners a more positive image in the eyes of mum, challenging her to think again about the quality of school food. Through multi-titled print advertorials, we proved school dinners were good food, then we drove readers to a specially created online forum where they could share their own thoughts and viewpoints on school food.

- What is demand like from clients for cross-media solutions?

It has grown hugely over the past year. So far in 2008, we've developed pitches for more clients than in the previous two years combined.

- Are you worried that the downturn will put pressure on budgets for this sort of bespoke activity?

No - as budgets get squeezed, it'll be media owners who can provide access to scaleable audiences via both their own and other media brands in flexible and collaborative ways who will benefit clients. And clients want true partnerships that are about integrating the right brands and companies with a long tail benefit for both.

- What are you own favourite media brands?

In the morning, it's Milkshake on Five or Boomerang for the kids. In the evening, it's Uncut or Q and unchallenging TV (Spooks is now filling this slot), unless Later ... with Jools Holland is on. Radio 2 and BBC Radio London fulfil any radio needs, and the BBC News website keeps me informed.

ADRIAN SERLE COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, BAUER MEDIA

- What are the benefits to advertisers of your cross-platform approach?

Our strategy is to connect audiences with excellent content whenever, however and wherever they want - print, broadcast, online or mobile. Our competitive advantage as a multimedia group and reputation as media innovators is a direct result of the personal relationships our brands have with their audiences. Being closer to our consumers provides us with unrivalled audience and market insight.

- Is this confined to your brands/products or can you offer a package involving other media owners?

We have further enhanced our youth radio reach through a partnership between our dance station, Kiss, which broadcasts in London, Bristol and East Anglia, and Galaxy (Global's dance station), which broadcasts in Manchester, Birmingham, Yorkshire and the North-East.

- How does digital media fit into all this?

Digital isn't an add-on feature. It is an integrated part of our consumers' lives and our business. With all campaign creation, we start with insight into audience needs, desires, attitudes and lives, then create the right idea and deliver it across the relevant platforms.

- How do you work with media agencies in the process of developing campaigns?

We were the first to market with bespoke cross-platform solutions and have always had great relationships with our media agencies who support this approach. They value our ability to respond quickly and innovatively in a fast-moving market and find us easier to work with and understand.

- What's the most interesting campaign your team has developed so far?

Those that spring to mind are an Electronic Arts six-figure campaign for Xbox running across FHM, FHM.com, Zoo, Zootoday.com, Empire and Bauer Media's television channels 4Music, The Box, Q, Kerrang! and Kiss TV. Another would be Diet Coke, which is running across Heat, Heatworld and Heat radio.

- What is demand like from clients for cross-media solutions?

Demand from clients for bespoke multi-touchpoint campaigns that fully engage with consumers is stronger than ever. We see a steady demand for fully integrated campaigns: DPS, retail sampling, click-through, video-on-demand, mobile and advertising-funded content, all of which can be embodied within one big idea.

- Are you worried that the downturn will put pressure on budgets for this sort of bespoke activity?

Trading is definitely challenging, but as the home of some of the UK's best-known media brands, we can offer clients and advertisers reach and depth.

- What are you own favourite media brands?

Kerrang!, as I worked on it for three years and it is a long-established brand that still has an unbelievable relationship with its consumers. I'm a frequent user of illbelatehomeagaintonightdarling.com.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).