Talk Radio has appointed TBWA GGT Simons Palmer to handle the
station’s creative account without a competitive pitch.
The decision comes after TBWA created a press ad for Talk Radio earlier
this month to promote a radio phone-in featuring Tony Blair and Gordon
Brown fielding questions on the Budget.
Kelvin MacKenzie, chief executive of Talk Radio, said of TBWA: ’I like
the speed with which they move. They were particularly impressive when
we had Tony Blair and Gordon Brown come in and they had a full-page ad
ready to go by six o’clock that day.’
Paul Bainsfair, chairman of TBWA, said: ’Kelvin’s enthusiasm is totally
infectious. We are looking forward to helping him make Talk Radio a big
TBWA replaces Walsh Trott Chick Smith, Talk Radio’s agency of record
since 1996. The station built up a history of controversial advertising
with Walsh Trott, and last October the Advertising Standards Authority
ruled that all its posters must be pre-vetted.
Talk Radio spent pounds 1.2 million on advertising in 1998 and says it
will spend around pounds 2 million over the next year.
Thanks to all of you who called about our cloning by a rival
magazine last week. Yes, our lawyers were watching, but that’s not much
use when our lawyers are their lawyers! Suddenly, I understand
Meanwhile, if you had shelled out pounds 500,000 for Larry Barker in the
CampaignLive Fantasy Agency League, then you might have thought the
title was yours after BMP DDB’s outstanding performance at the Campaign
Press Awards last night. But two small points: the league season hasn’t
begun yet; and runaway early leaders can come down to earth with a bump
- just ask a Villa fan.
It is unlikely that BMP will blow up, such has been its recent
Even more remarkable is the ability of successive Volkswagen clients to
commission and support daring and effective creativity. In any other
year, ’protected species’ would surely have cleaned up, but this year
belonged to ’wedding’ and ’fish and chips’.
I thought the biggest press winners were terrific - not least because I
recall being stopped dead in my tracks seeing them in their original
context. But beyond the cream, how much impact does press advertising
currently have on the public, particularly when other media are so
Contrast this with the commercials sector, where since this year’s BTAAs
there have already been the new Guinness, NSPCC and The Sunday Times
films to prove that the traditional 40- or 60-second commercial still
has a huge place in the media landscape. Each transcends its status as a
commercial to be genuinely provocative, moving and memorable. On posters
too, the ’fcuk’ campaign and current Territorial Army ’lenticular’ work
has achieved the same cut-through - if not at the same emotional
There hasn’t been a recent press execution that has achieved the same
impact. This may simply be because all the latest work is dreadful, but
I don’t think this is true. Instead, it may be a result of three
distinct developments, not necessarily negative.
The first is the increasing use of press ads as a response vehicle, but
this is not new. The second is that much press advertising has become
inter-changeable with poster executions - often, but not exclusively, as
a six-sheet. Look at the winning VW, Adidas and Virgin work in the Press
Awards book of the night.
The third development is better media planning. Perhaps, given the
genuine proliferation of press media and particularly magazines, press
advertising is now better planned and less jarring. There is very rarely
a Benetton-style fuss. It is responsible certainly, and probably
effective - but there’s less noise. The advertising doesn’t make the
client’s budget go further through free editorial.
Perhaps the real conclusion is that what’s happening to press
advertising is proof that the changed media landscape, improved media
planning and genuinely integrated campaigns are making a real difference
to the ads - at last.