The Abba-Zappa campaign started as a small idea which grew large to encompass all media. This process was facilitated through a client- agency relationship built on openness and a willingness to explore new ideas. The Observer Integrated Advertising, Silver Award 200 years of mischief have changed the face of Sunday The Observer is Britain’s oldest journalism, according to the editor, Sunday paper, founded in 1791 by Roger Alton. one WS Bourne. A string of First was Sport Monthly. Then proprietors followed though it came Food Monthly. And now, on the wasn’t until David Astor acquired third Sunday of each month, there is the paper after World War II that it Music Monthly. was detached from any political Edited by Caspar Llewllyn-Smith, allegiance. In the 1970s it was OMM has to appeal to a broad owned by an oil company, Atlantic church of tastes but, Richfield, and then by “Tiny” unquestionably, it is doing well, with Rowland’s Lonrho. His savage fight major features such as Nick Hornby with Mohammed al Fayed for the interviewing The Boss, Bruce How is it a brief for some and, when one did pop up, was able ownership of Harrods in 1993 led to Springsteen, and Simon Napier-Bell ambient ideas ends up four months to recognise it and nurture it. a For Sale sign being posted over reliving his touring days with Wham! later in a 60-second TV and cinema By way of background the the newspaper once again. It was in China. commercial? Sunday broadsheet market was in purchased by The Scott Trust. Because slowly and, at first decline. The Observer bucked this With no shareholders to force an A small task, a big idea uncertainly, a big idea emerged, an trend as it was able to differentiate issue, nor a press baron to impose There’s a Big Bang theory about idea that could, and did, run across itself from its competitors with the his views, The Observer is free to creativity, which goes something all media from 1 col. x 7cm teeny- invention of Observer Sport Monthly continue “making mischief and like this: you do a lot of research, weeny press ads to beermats, in 2000. This was a new kind of poking its nose where it shouldn’t” you write a brief, you put some very tubecards, posters and an online supplement that appealed to as it has been for over 200 years. clever people in a room together, game. There was even a whole fence armchair jocks through the quality of The market for Sunday you brainstorm, you argue and then built at Glastonbury with the little its writing and photography. broadsheets is highly competitive. suddenly, kaboom. An idea of rockers. Importantly, it did not just In 2000, The Observer was selling brilliance and power explodes on the There were any number of underscore the paper’s sports just over 400,000 copies each room. different stages at which the idea credentials but it attracted new week. Today, it sells over 440,000 Disproving the theory entirely is could have died – but didn’t. readers too. Observer Food Monthly copies and has an audited Mother’s campaign for The Observer Because this is a story of a client soon followed and circulation figures readership of 1,282,000 (NRS). Music Monthly magazine, “From who genuinely wanted big ideas, continued to nudge up to around Its special-interest supplements Abba to Zappa.” pushed the agency for big ideas 420,000. “Then it became a case of what but the chemistry felt right. These “They were good. But not great.” mistakes. Because the newspaper next?” remembers Marc Sands, were people he could work with. For the record, though, “Rapper” business is so fast-moving, though, Marketing Director at The Guardian Mother is distinguished as an was accepted for entry in the Best there is little time to dwell on what and Observer. We researched agency by having appeared to cut Copy section of D&AD in 2002, the went wrong because immediate lifestyles, we looked at love and out an entire department, one which first time a TV commercial had been needs are always pressing. then thought about music. Music other agencies cannot function so recognised. They have a confidence often appealed to a smaller audience, but without: Account management. they were hardcore, dedicated fans. Instead, creative people are Observer Music Monthly helped us expected to work closely with their The campaign has brought The Observer reach these people. They clients, taking and responding to represented a completely new and the briefs, presenting the work and a new kind of reader – which has in turn younger audience for us, and they negotiating its development. There brought new advertisers on board brought with them completely new are no intermediaries to get in the advertisers as well.” way. Music Monthly was launched Now around 100-strong, Mother Free to make mistakes lacking in marketing departments. with two TV commercials created by is not only one of the most lauded Sales went well, so it was This is born of relationships with ad agency Mother. agencies in the UK, with a D&AD decided to approach an even wider both the sales and editorial teams Founded in 1996 to help launch Gold for Britart.com in 2001 and audience. Karen Byrne, Marketing that are based on mutual respect Channel 5, Mother was invited to Silvers for Emap’s QTV and Manager, thought that ambient and trust. One might imagine that pitch for The Observer account by Batchelor’s Super Noodles – it is media might help stimulate both all newspapers would be cultures in Sands in 2002. He remembers that also one of the most profitable. awareness and trial and the agency which ideas flourish but that isn’t the work the agency showed that Of the first TV ads. the agency was duly briefed. The intention was the case. There is often a stifling day was not particularly impressive, produced for OMM, Sands says, for music lovers to come across hierarchy that sees editorial look OMM on their way to and on their down on marketing who look down way back from a gig. on sales. It is a truism that big ideas Perhaps The Observer and change everything. As the “Abba to Guardian get consistently visible Zappa” campaign developed, so it and effective advertising because changed the marketing team’s they provide an environment in thinking – not just about Music which the ideas are bought by the Monthly but how to advertise the people best suited to evaluate other supplements. them? “We realised we’d got it wrong Perhaps the brand’s unique with our initial TV launch,” admits values of intelligent liberalism Sands. “What we’d done was try to appeal to and inspire those who identify an audience whereas with work for it? ‘Abba to Zappa’ we were explaining Or perhaps it is the leadership the product. Big difference and it’s provided by Sands? Not all changed the way we communicate Marketing Directors would have the other magazines.” given the Mini-Pops idea the green It has become a cliché to talk light. It relied on representing about failure as a precondition of actual people, many of them stars success but at The Observer, both with super-sized egos and PR Sands and Byrne cheerfully admit to offices. In other words, the idea had all the makings of a quagmire of do well from us.” suggestions we were able to Byrne was convinced it was a litigation, what with issues of Few clients are as open handed. discuss and agree there and then.” thought worth pursuing. passing off and libel. Yet, in acknowledging so honestly Hers was the idea before the In that sense, the campaign that the relationship is symbiotic The idea before the idea idea and if she hadn’t been as close would have been easy to kill, though and that the agency can, even must, As it happens, a new agency to the creatives as she was, if she the idea itself was easy to buy. have its own agenda, Sands team had just been assigned to The hadn’t been able to cajole them as Sands, though, was determined it ensures he gets the very best from Observer, keen to approach the she did, if her relationship with the should live but took the precaution it. brand with a new perspective. agency was more the traditional of ensuring every suggestion the Rather than a master/servant “There had been a tendency to client than the collaborator, then agency put forward was reviewed by relationship, all too common respond to every brief with an ad the team at Mother might never the paper’s lawyers. between client and supplier, Sands with a gag. We knew there was a have ended up with the award- They were not sparing in their has fostered a partnership in which more distinctive tone of voice to be winning campaign they did. use of red ink. if one prospers, both prosper. found. It was just a question of The team assigned to the task finding it,” comments Creative was Ben Middleton and Stuart Director Luke Williamson. Outhwaite. Their very first thought The campaign helped circulation rise from There wasn’t a written brief. was a literal interpretation of Abba around 420,000 before the OMM’s launch That’s not the way Mother operates. to Zappa, more a press ad than to 441,943 In August 2005 Instead, there were discussions – at anything, a faintly disturbing client end and back at the agency. illustration of a face, the left half The task was clear – to belonging to Agnetha of Abba, the Agency folk are fond of saying One of the essentials for dramatise breadth. The breadth of right to Frank Zappa. clients get the work they deserve. success in developing powerful the paper itself and the breadth of That was rapidly discarded by Sands and Byrne, say the creatives communications is trust. Mother the magazine. The thought of an A the young team as they looked for at Mother, are good to work with and The Observer have a strong to Z of music had been buried more engaging ways to make the because they make quick decisions. relationship in which there is plenty somewhere in the voice-over of the alphabet work for them. They do not dither, which always of room for disagreement and launch commercials and Karen They felt they were making leads to compromise or “death by a debate. thousand cuts.” Nor do they defer Mother’s way of working, with judgement to focus groups. While creative people actively involved in they research the product in some their clients’ businesses, rather detail, they rarely test their than locked away in ivory towers, advertising. They prefer to trust suited Byrne and Sands. It put them their own understanding of the closer to the creative process. brand and rely on a mixture of gut- ‘Abba to Zappa’ is a great feel and experience when judging example of the way we do things,” ideas. explains Yann Elliott, a Creative “We try to be straight,” says Director at the agency. “It’s quite Sands, “so we make decisions possible that if the idea had been quickly. But because we haven’t got presented by an intermediary, an much money, we also try to make account man detached from the sure our agencies can succeed creative process, then it would have against whichever criteria are gone nowhere. Instead, we were important to them. Revenue or able to listen to the client’s creative plaudits, we want them to comments, which triggered off progress when they began looking sheet posters to welcome him or at the style of those early-learning her at the gig. Sample copies of the primers and they began thinking of magazine would be handed out a Janet and John approach to music, before the fan headed home, and with a letter and the name of the hopefully catching the TV ad before band underneath. crashing out. On Sunday morning, Make it more visual, urged point-of-sale in the newsagent’s Byrne, acting as a creative director would remind and enthuse them. as much as a marketer. So the team The original intention had been turned their attention to the very for the new print work to support the graphic style of Derek Bruner. Now old TV commercials, ‘Rapper’ and the thought was that thin strips of ‘Barber Shop’, but Byrne and Sands the A to Z could be flyposted up over tore up plan A and instigated plan B, existing flyers for gigs, The a completely new commercial. They Observer showing that it too was a were prepared to invest more money fan of music. in its production than was normal, It was when the team started not because they recognised the ad looking at the work of Craig would have more cut-through with Robinson that Byrne began to feel more money behind it, but because they were onto something. it had unusual longevity and could Good creative teams spend be used over a period of years. much of their time investigating Indeed, the ad has been re-cut contemporary culture, looking for several times already to meet sources of inspiration. Ben and exactly right. It was contemporary work in TV. tactical objectives. Stuart had been browsing on the and fun, but flexible enough as a While no-one had set out to The craft skills that went into internet and remembered style to be able to portray at a create an integrated idea, they knew making the TV ad didn’t just warrant flipflopflying.com, a website in which glance personalities as different as they had one on their hands. It repeat viewing, they encouraged it. Robinson had created a range of Eminem and Michael Jackson. allowed The Observer to be there For instance, in just the two seconds micro-characters with just a handful Robinson’s little figures seemed to with the music fan at every point of given to him, Michael Jackson turns of pixels. embody all those quirky, clever his or her journey. white. In Q for Queen, Freddie Using these as inspiration, Ben values that the newspaper stood Before going out for the evening, Mercury leers at the private parts of began drawing himself, starting with for, let alone Music Monthly. the fan could play an Abba to Zappa the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The the Beatles. He wanted to test the If the media plan had been to game online and subscribe to the nuances give the commercial its minipops style to see if it could flypost over flyposting, not only were reminder e-mail that Music Monthly energy. work. His designs were enough to there legal issues, but Byrne was out on Sunday. In the pub, on There is anecdotal evidence that encourage Byrne to commit money realised the idea was brilliantly the bar, the fan would see beer-mats many of The Observer’s core target for development costs. Now the elastic. It worked on tee-shirts, in with some of the twenty-six group videoed the commercial to agency could commission Robinson print, in ads the size of a postage characters. Others would be watch it again and again. Others to work with them on the project. stamp and on four-sheet or ninety- featured on free postcards. And still downloaded it from Then it became a matter of six-sheet posters. It would even more of them would be there on four- www.abbatozappa.com, offering Robinson trying different styles and further proof that in these times of e-mailing them to the team. One, a TiVo and Sky+, if advertising more rounded sketch of a Beatle, “As a result of OMM and the advertising behind it, content is engaging enough, people struck everyone at Mother as being we don’t get the sales dips we did.” will seek it out. Creativity works, to coin a phrase. happy to have on board” because Clie n t Ag e n cy The fact that not everyone could new advertisers have come along as Biog r a p h y Biog r a p h y identify all twenty-six of the well. characters was one of the idea’s But Sands is coy about the hard Marc Sands, Robert strengths. It stimulated numbers, saying only that the Marketing Saville, conversation in those pre-gig pubs conversion costs per customer have Director, Mother as well as generating chat online. It been better than with the other two Guardian Robert Saville also communicated the sense of monthly magazines, Sport and Food. Newspapers started his breadth that was at the heart of The As of August 2005, circulation Ltd. career as a Observer. was up to 441,943 copies. While Many years runner at And the results? there have been a steady series of ago, Marc was Valin Pollen, This is all Sands will admit to: product innovations and at Cambridge University and then before becoming an Account Director “We were getting sales peaks twice consistently noticeable advertising went on to do an MBA. He then at Saatchi & Saatchi. He worked at a month, with Sport and Food. As a in support of these, there can be joined D’Arcy working in both the Abbot Mead Vickers before result of OMM and the advertising little doubt that the Abba to Zappa London and New York offices. Marc switching to copywriting at Publicis behind it, we don’t get the sales campaign has played its part. Not then went on to work for Lintas, followed by GGT, where his award- dips we did. Also, as I said before, only has it driven sales but it has Simon Palmer and HHCL, before winning work for Holsten Pils the campaign has brought us a new reinforced the brand as witty, sharp opting to work in the client side. amongst others led to his kind of reader, who we are very and accessible. Marc moved to Granada / London appointment as Creative Director in Weekend Television as the 1994. Robert left GGT to start What the client brought to the table: marketing director. This led to a Mother in 1996. He has recently • They briefed on a small project but recognised they had a big rollercoaster ride as one of the been described by Campaign idea on their hands and changed their plans as a result. pioneers of On Digital, the magazine as a curmudgeon. • They are not afraid of making mistakes, nor of owning up to eventually doomed multi-channel Needless to say he takes a contrary them. digital platform. Marc joined the view. • They make decisions quickly. board at Guardian Newspapers Ltd • They want their agency to do well from their account. If the in July 2000. During Marc’s time agency wants to win awards, they want them to win awards too. The Guardian and Guardian • Having a history of buying award-winning work has given them Unlimited have been awarded the permission to cajole their agencies into doing their best for Marketing Week Effectiveness them. Award and the Media Brand of the • They were happy to work with some of the agency’s younger Year award for The Observer by people, demanding talent rather than status. Media Week. The advertising created for the Guardian has won On the creative side of the partnership: many awards, most notably • They brought new people in on the team to reinvigorate it. numerous awards at the Campaign • They were open to all the suggestions made by the client. Press Awards, frequent presence in • They shared their success with their clients, inviting them to the D&AD annual and most recently join them at the D&AD Awards dinner. our IPA Effectiveness Award.
Pages to are hidden for
"old tv commercials"Please download to view full document