Marketeer Association campaign to promote local agencies
Inspired by statistics that included £1billion of the £2billion currently being managed in marketing departments along the M62 corridor being spent in London, the organisation was set up five years ago by The Drum.
The initial motivation was economic. The members of the Association were keen to spark a virtuous cycle meaning that the more money spent in their areas, the more people they could employ, which in turn would attract even more budgets to their markets.
However, there is now an environmental side to the argument – procuring locally helps cut carbon emissions.
The Association’s membership philosophy has always been inclusive. It features agencies of all sizes, all connected by one common denominator – each is based outside the M25.
“What is really evident is the skill set and talent among the group,” says Nicky Unsworth, Marketeer Association chair and BJL MD. “There are some great agencies producing great work across a very broad range of disciplines, but because in many cases they are so busy creating great work they aren’t necessarily getting the recognition they deserve.
“This campaign is the start of a process whereby we can showcase great agencies, and clients can begin to select based on a more complete knowledge.”
To make it happen, a “virtual agency” was created from Marketeer Association members to source ideas for a campaign strategy. From this, a number of ideas were put forward. These included one which featured the line –LoNOdon. But this was deemed too negative, being pro the great UK centres outside the M25, does not have to mean being anti-London. Another concept was the idea of turning every light out in a major centre such as Manchester, so you could ‘see the Northern Stars.’ A great idea, but one which would be hard to get off the ground in practice.
Manchester’s Dinosaur was eventually tasked to take on the creative brief.
Mark Beaumont, Dinosaur’s creative director, explains how they developed a creative campaign around the very loose brief of promoting agencies outside the M25.
“The problem that came to us was how do you actually define the territory we cover?
“Our breakthrough was realising that we were actually talking to our neighbours. Meet Your Neighbours was the logical conclusion of this train of thought. It allowed us to give a softer approach rather than tackling London head on. It’s about accentuating the positives of the region, not criticising clients for using London agencies. London agencies are good, but what we wanted to say was that there are quality options nearer to home too.”
Production values were important. Because this campaign represents the entire industry, quality and attention to detail were deemed vital. Dinosaur chose actors rather than models to add extra expression and to help develop some of the more surreal ideas seen in the campaign. The objective was to ensure the campaign would work across a broad range of mediums in the longer term.
“There’s a laidback feeling to the campaign, we didn’t want to attack any of the clients. It’s an awareness campaign, we’re not dictating to anyone,” says Beaumont.
The first burst of the project includes two executions. However, another eight concepts are waiting in the wings – and now other members of the Association, and the industry as a whole, are being invited to help take these ideas to fruition. In fact, Beaumont says the process behind this project has been every bit as important as the end product.
“The process has helped unite the regions,” he said. “One day we’re all pitching against each other for a client and the next day we’re all having a meeting. We’ve formed some strong relationships and that will help us all progress.”
John Ardern, a founding member of the Marketeer Association and partner of Consult, stressed the need for patience, building the campaign gradually.
“It has taken us a long time to get to this point – I started the original research for the campaign over five years ago.
“We help develop agencies on an individual level, which is hard enough, so you can imagine how much harder the process is when you’re trying to develop a group of agencies like the Marketeer Association.”
The Marketeer Association is now issuing a call to media owners and clients, as well as agencies, to help build the momentum. If they respond Unsworth says she has every reason to be optimistic.
“The success of this campaign is in everybody’s interest; client companies, media owners as well as those in marketing services,” she says. “We would now like to invite anybody who believes they can help to get involved.
“The creative industries are vital to the economies of the centres outside London. This is a chance to make a real difference by building on the strong foundations already there.”