The Drum Media Awards

The full round-up and results, including Media Sales Team of the Year

On these pages we reveal the main results; which was based on a poll of over 200 media buyers to find out how they rated teams in terms of customer service, market knowledge, creativity and proactivity.

Elsewhere teams were also invited to enter papers in a range of special categories and we publish two of the winning submissions – for Pitch of the Year and Marketing Campaign of the Year – starting on page 27.

Meanwhile as part of a general review of the current media climate we also invited all the major teams to describe what they believe are the key issues facing the sales business.

The report – a fuller version of which appears online at www.thedrum.com – not only reveals who the best teams are, but it also gives an insight into the strategies that are driving that success.

Media Sales Team of the Year

With all the talk of tough times for the radio industry, the recipient of this year’s Sales Team of the Year award may come as a surprise. For the last two years the accolade has been won by The Daily Telegraph, which as we’ll discuss shortly, enjoyed a fruitful evening despite missing out on the top award.

But the winner this year proves that with great ideas and a hard-working team, radio is fighting fit. Media Sales Team of the Year is Global Radio. The owner of the Heart and Galaxy FM brands achieved the highest mean score across all categories, but was particularly lauded for its proactivity.

Media Sales Person of the Year

Individual awards are always hotly contested. Aside from guaranteeing that the winner is in the top 5 per cent of drunkest people in the room come 2pm, the award reflects why the merriment is well-earned. From over 60 names that were put forward, a shortlist of six individuals were drawn up and put to a vote.

Representatives from Clear Channel, Telegraph Online, Media Link, Sky Media, and Global were nominated for the award, but it was Adam Whitehurst of News International – nominated for showing excellent market and client knowledge and going over and above the call of duty – who came out on top from over 500 registered votes.

Newspapers

The Daily Telegraph (and the newspaper community as a whole) may not have won the Media Sales Team of the Year award, but it still had a successful night in some of the more specific award categories.

Telegraph Media Group won the National Newspaper Classifield Sales award and the National Newspaper Display Sales award, the latter of which was won by The Telegraph’s Regional Display Sales team in a six nomination-strong category.

Regionally, MEN Media Sales Regional Agency Team made off with the Regional Newspaper (Sole Title) Sales award, while the Regional Newspaper (Multi Title) Sales award was won by Newsquest Media Sales.

Magazine

Magazine Display Sales, always fiercely competed for, went to National Magazine Company (Regional) ahead of six challengers.

TV

TV Sales Team of the Year went to Sky Media for the third year running, which fended off the challenge of nominee ITV Regional Sales. Creativity was adjudged to have been the key to the team’s success.

Radio

In the radio categories, Global Radio Sales and TalkSPORT took home an award each. Global won for Radio Spot Advertising Sales, while TalkSPORT collected the accolade for Radio Branded Content Sales.

Online and Independent

Media-Link collected two awards, holding off four of its rivals to swoop Online Sales and beating three to the Independent Sales House award.

Ambient and Outdoor

In the ambient and outdoor categories, the three awards were split among three of the sector’s big names. Roadside Advertising Sales went to JC Decaux Regional Sales, CBS Outdoor picked up Transport Advertising Sales and the Retail/POS/Leisure Sales award went to Clear Channel – Regional Agency Sales.

Recruitment

The award for Recruitment Sales was contested by six market leaders, with Guardian Recruitment Solutions - Field Sales taking home the award.

Client Pitch of the Year

Entrants were invited to enter a case study on a client pitch undertaken to gain new business or retain an existing client. Companies nominated included MEN Media Sales, Mail on Sunday, and AMRA (which had two entries in the field), but the winner was News International for its entry for The Times & Liverpool Culture Company. The submission was deemed to offer a complete portfolio package, which encouraged and negotiated additional stakeholder investment for the firm.

Product of the Year

Again, a new arrival, this category invited submissions for successful product launches over the past year. The winner invested in its own local and regional talent launching the first regional property supplement to be carried by a national newspaper. Product Launch of the Year goes to The Daily Telegraph for Home In.

Innovation of the Year

Looking to identify an innovative approach taken to push the boundaries of commercial success, this category was fiercely contested for. Entries from Mail on Sunday, News International and Media Sales Network pushed the winner all the way, as CBS Outdoor collected the award for its Regional agencies residencies activity. CBS Outdoor asked for and gained unprecedented access to media agencies creating tailored residencies offering education in their products, engagement with specialist presenters and highlighting key messages to enhance perception.

Promotion of the Year

There were two nominations in this category, both for Media Sales Network. Unsurprisingly, the firm was welcomed on stage to pick up the gong. Pipping its Blacksite work, MSN’s promotion for Simply Be was deemed the best of the year.

The entry engaged and empowered its customers, taking user generated content to a new level. Backing the digital opportunity with a traditional print rollout over a 12 week campaign the client achieved increased awareness of its brand and a higher propensity to purchase.

Marketing Campaign of the Year

Again, just two nominations and, again, it’s a company going head-to-head against itself. CBS Outdoor’s entries for its Agency regional residencies and Three Minute Activity were shortlisted and it was the latter that collected the award.

Marketing to media planners and buyers is never the easiest task, but CBS managed to identify to them that it takes three minutes to boil an egg, three minutes to listen to a beatles song and then hosted a three minute party showing just how much can be achieved in that short time.

With three minutes being the average dwell time in front of a cross track poster on the Metro, this campaign led to an 83 per cent rise in revenue of 12 sheets for the same period year-on-year.

During the build up to The Drum Media Awards, the nominated companies were asked about the year that’s passed, the year ahead and the key to running a successful media sales team.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced this year?

We are facing an ever evolving marketplace where each year gets that bit tougher as the business base continues to change. Our biggest challenge has also been moving into the digital arena.

Katrina Hutchinson, regional sales team (Manchester), IPC Media

Accepting market uncertainty - there is little consistency at the moment when a record week can be followed by a dreadful one. Forecasting - this has been problematic as campaign approvals have become later and later.

Sharon Allen, sales director, Media-Link

Agencies and advertisers, both regionally and nationally, are constantly striving for increased consistency, flexibility and accountability. Our biggest challenge has been to restructure our regional sales team to meet and exceed these targets across the UK. With account managers now in all the TV regions possessing unique local knowledge and the ability to deliver advertising solutions on time and on brief, we believe we’re well placed to respond to present and future challenges.

John Keane, regional group head – agency sales, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

Overcoming advertisers expectations on pricing.

Caroline Barker, northern classified advertisement manager, Daily Mail

To effectively represent the now 13 stations within our group instead of the original 5, while remaining focused on driving our brands forward and delivering solutions for our clients. Also adapting to the constantly changing shape of the industry as a whole

Helen Walledge, head of agency sales, GMG Radio Sales

The market out there is as tough as ever and we have had to work hard to grow our business. It was disappointing that Virgin decided not to invest in carrying Sky’s basic channels this time last year, both for sky media and our customers. The fact that we actually managed to increase our audience year- on-year and are fortunate to enjoy strong business relationships with our customers have both helped us manage the short term impact from the loss of cable carriage.

James Rice, regional sales director, Sky Media

Recruiting the best staff, keeping the best staff and developing a team to compete in a very competitive market has been our main challenge. To a degree we are there, we have a superb group of people at NIM (News International Manchester) and it’s all coming together. Adam Whitehurst has set the standard by winning The Drum Media Sales Person of the Year and our Times Team winning client pitch with Liverpool Capital of Culture.

Andy Garner, regional head of trading, News International

Is the market getting tougher?

Yes in some ways but I would say it requires us and our agencies to work in a slightly different way. No-one can afford to become complacent.

Katrina Hutchinson, IPC Media

I believe that this media sector has always been tough, in competitive areas there is always a winner and loser and no-one likes coming second.

Adrian Worsley, managing director, Clacksons

The market is constantly evolving and there is increasing expectation from clients of demonstrable return on investment and impact for every penny spent on advertising. We believe outdoor advertising can thrive in tougher times due to the cost-effectiveness of our panels and our ability to deliver effective broadcast and narrowcast advertising solutions. We are also committing huge investment to new technologies such as digital LED screens, LED halos, and mobile advertising solutions through our Clear Channel Interact division. Interact adds a direct response mechanism to outdoor which coupled with our instantaneous proof-of-posting service delivers real peace of mind to clients.

John Keane, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

Clients have more choice, more information and are more accountable than ever before. Yes, it is getting tougher.

Jeff Barker, regional sales manager, Mail on Sunday

“Yes but we have clearly positioned brands enabling us to continue to provide creative solutions and results for our clients, thus driving loyalty and new business”.

Helen Walledge, GMG Radio Sales

The market is challenging at the moment however with increasing audiences for the out of home medium and the investment the media owners including ourselves are making in to new technology such as Halo Lighting, LED Digital Screens and High Definition posters, OOH is still well positioned to grow revenues and provide clients with fantastic opportunities to showcase their particular brand or service.

Chris Leyland, head of regional sales, JCDecaux

Business is always tough, that’s the nature of the challenge we all thrive on. But, it’s also an exciting time, not just for Sky Media but TV in general. I believe the opportunities for TV advertisers have never been greater and the big challenge we face is in making sure we bring these opportunities to customers. In particular the creative, planning and account communities who understandably have been more remote from the media scene. In selling the future of advertising - a future that sky is helping to deliver right now, is as good as it gets.

James Rice, Sky Media

The market is definitely tougher, pressure across the board, from advertisers needing more customers to buy more product with reduced margins from reduced marketing budgets, whilst the media owner still needs to achieve their own business targets on yield, volume, share and revenue growth. This makes for interesting times, tough negotiations, additional pressure on positions, real focus on ROI and delivery of budgets, sometimes even strained relations! A depth of understanding is needed to ride out this lull, and it is a lull! We are making every effort to understand and help weather the storm with our clients and agencies. Buckle down and get on with it!

Andy Garner, head of training – digital, News International

In some respects I’d say so. Online in particular is growing into an almost irresistible force, which does of course lead to there being greater overall pressure on the same budgets. But as the market grows tougher, it’s down to us to raise our game accordingly; and we do.

Matt Pover, area manager – central and south, The Independent

The economic forecast is not a positive one, however, even in a credit crunch our readers keep on spending. 60 percent of our readers own their homes outright, they are mortgage free, debt free and have high disposable incomes. We are growing our non core areas of the business due to the fact that advertisers are having to try and reposition themselves and target a more affluent audience.

Gary Freilick, regional sales director, Daily Telegraph

What has been the most important factor in your achievements over the last twelve months?

A strong experienced team and good relationships internally with our editors/publishers/ad teams and externally with good “partnerships” with agencies and clients.

Katrina Hutchinson, IPC Media

Ensuring that what we always add value in the supply chain – our link has to be the strongest – providing data and information that hits the spot conscious of agencies’ time pressures.

Adrian Worsley, Clacksons

Having a fantastic motivated team that really believe in their product! The team have an excellent portfolio of multi media solutions to offer their clients which makes their jobs interesting and fulfilling. The regional Classified and Recruitment Teams work hard because they want to. It is not just about ‘the money’ but more about their enthusiasm and great pride in providing the best level of professional service.

Michelle Turner, regional sales director – classified, Daily Telegraph

We’ve had a solid year for our existing clients and won some exciting new pieces of business, notably ShortList, The Economist and most recently AOL.

Sharon Allen, Media-Link

Acknowledgement from the marketplace that we are delivering and confidence from regional advertising agencies that increased investment in outdoor will yield good returns.

John Keane, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

Being surrounded by talented people with different skills and personalities who challenge and enjoy being challenged.

Jeff Barker, Mail on Sunday

Having the ability to sell all stations and brands within our portfolio, via one regional sales point”.

Helen Walledge, GMG Radio Sales

News International are changing. We have refocused and re-energised ourselves. We have restructured and invested in the areas of our business where previously resource was lacking. We are on a path of continuous improvement and have hopefully shown to our agency customers that we have listened to them and are positively changing the way we approach business. Personally I am delighted with the awards we won at The Drum Awards last night. Adam’s win is great recognition of his hard work and persistence and to win Client Sales Pitch of the Year signals green shoots in our ability to deliver creative and multi-faceted solutions for our clients.

Sandra Tinker, regional director of sales, News International

Great relationships with your agencies; Great products to sell; And A great sales team to develop those relationships and create client focused solutions that deliver results. At JCDecaux I believe we tick all those boxes, however, we are also mindful of the need to constantly challenge ourselves to improve in each area whilst not forgetting to also have some fun along the way.

Chris Leyland, JCDecaux

In a nutshell: great people selling a great product.

James Rice, Sky Media

I’d say that strong agency and client relationships, backed up with intensive service levels and a creative sales approach have all been significant factors in our continued growth.

Matt Pover, The Independent

How do you ensure you hire and retain good sales staff?

With hiring it is about keeping your ear to the ground on who is maybe looking and seeing people proactively. In retention it is about keeping individuals motivated and to continue to develop their roles through projects and initiatives as well as training and PDR’s.

Katrina Hutchinson, IPC Media

We have the best team in the business and they are constantly approached by our competitors. We endeavour to ensure that each individual feels ‘valued’ and is given a high degree of autonomy and respect. We have a strong team culture and a work hard, play hard ethic that encourages loyalty to the brand and to the team.

Michelle Turner, Daily Telegraph

We have great business to work on and a good reputation which obviously helps when hiring. Keeping good people is about giving then autonomy and looking after them.

Sharon Allen, Media-Link

Clear Channel Outdoor’s Regional Sales team has very low staff attrition because we employee people who are passionate and enthusiastic about media. Outdoor is a unique offering and all our staff have absolute faith in the products we represent. We also set realistic targets and bonuses which encourage our staff to consistently perform beyond expectations. All team members are naturally competitive and this is encouraged by internal brainstorming and team building off-site. In a recent poll, 100 percent of the team described themselves as achievers.

John Keane, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

Excellent interviewing techniques - Happy working environment; Together Everyone Achieves More

Caroline Barker, Daily Mail

Recommendation from within the industry is highly regarded as a benchmark for potential employees, while GMG Radio’s clear values and vision to be the best at what we do, whilst also having fun and providing fair rewards, ensures GMG Radio is a great place to be.

Helen Walledge, GMG Radio Sales

I have just been through a really tough last six months finding and appointing nine new recruits to News International Manchester. It is not easy finding good people and anyone who tells you otherwise is kidding you! Every appointment is critical and helps you build a team that not only will stand the test of time but, as with our situation where the numbers have been quite a high percentage of the overall office, will also take the business and culture in the direction you want it to go in. As for retaining good staff, set them in a challenging, accountable and responsible work place, where you invest in them and nurture them and offer good reward and positive recognition for a job well done. This then leads to a happy and productive team, who will naturally, over time form a strong and loyal unit.

Sandra Tinker, News International

I’m the man for all things Independent across the Central and Southern regions, and we have Media-Link who do an excellent job for us from Manchester to Scotland. Given this rather unique set-up, this question isn’t entirely relevant for us.

Matt Pover, The Independent

Hiring and retaining quality staff is the key to any successful business. Create your culture which allows your people to learn and develop their careers and keep challenging them, take them out of their comfort zones, there should never be a groundhog day feeling!

Gary Freilick, Daily Telegraph

What will the next 12 months have in store for regional sales teams?

Well hopefully, lots of new and growth business for all. But seriously, we all need to work with our agencies to help with pitches to help switch the trend of accounts moving to London, which was fairly prevalent over the past few years. Other than that I think we should embrace the great work done by our regional committees such as the PPA and also the Publicity Associations – MPA, PACE, YPA, EPC to name but a few – we have a great community in the North and we could really feed off each other to help grow our regional scene.

Katrina Hutchinson, IPC Media

It will be no different to what our counterparts face in London. This will largely depend on the economy. If we are in for a recessionary period, which is looking likely, advertising budgets will be reduced and we will all be fighting aggressively for share. Separately, the continuing consolidation by media owners will see some significant changes on the sales side.

Sharon Allen, Media-Link

There has been some notable client migration to London agencies over the last 12 months. I’m hopeful that such clients will realise that the grass is greener here in the regions, and help to assuage some of the inevitable difficulties brought by the gathering global financial downturn.

Matt Pover, The Independent

Over the next 12 months we will continue to listen to the market and ensure we keep Outdoor front of mind in every advertising campaign placed in the regions. As part of the UK’s (and the world’s) leading outdoor advertising company we will continue to deliver innovations to the market including new products (watch this space) and bespoke advertising solutions. As Taxi Media’s regional expansion, announced this month, demonstrates, Clear Channel Outdoor is committed to continued to significant investment in the regions and the next 12 months promises to be an exciting time for our company and the outdoor industry as a whole.

John Keane, Clear Channel Outdoor UK

The same as sales teams in London. Those who believe in being close to their customer base and have the energy and ability to influence it will be successful. Those who don’t, won’t.

Jeff Barker, Mail on Sunday

A changing media landscape that offers opportunity to be the best at what we do for us and our clients.

Helen Walledge, GMG Radio Sales

Whilst the market nationally is certainly challenging at the moment, regionally I think we will have another great year. The investment in the medium means that clients and agencies recognise that the OOH medium adds real value and cut through to most if not all media schedules. At JCDecaux we are investing over £20million over the next two years to improve the quality of product throughout the whole of our portfolio. Regionally this is great news for our sales team as they continually have new things to talk to agencies about, keeping OOH front of mind in planners’ heads.

Chris Leyland, JCDecaux

Pretty much what’s in store for all sales teams, where ever they may be. We’ll all be covering a lot of ground inside and outside of media departments trying to sell the range of opportunities we hold. We are perhaps luckier in the regions in that we do have advertisers and agencies who always want to think smarter, who want to get more out of their ad budgets. Advertisers, who in the main , will always respond positively to a sound sales proposition, For sky media, we’ve got even more exciting innovations to talk to customers about and we will spend the next 12 months doing just that.

James Rice, Sky Media

Similarly once “we” have weathered these recent ‘bad times’ the regions should see the good times return, slowly at first but definitely improving through the year. There is significant investment into the regions from Media owners (News International, Global and Bauer Advertising to mention a few) and these investments must see a return. Additionally regional agencies continue to be highly competitive not just from a Media perspective. The Regional creative and full service agencies have a wealth of talent and skills and have garnered some cracking business this year. Just look at TBWA and Love as shining examples - and not just within our marketplace but also within the London marketplace all this makes for a healthy business environment. This said, media owners need to drive creativity and develop their approach to match and deliver for our agency partners and more importantly the clients that continue to trust and invest in the talented regions.

Andy Garner, News International

Important factor over 12 months – delivering multi media solutions to clients. We are Market Makers with our fully integrated media operation in Victoria which is the envy of our competitors.

Gary Freilick, Daily Telegraph

Media owners were invited to enter categories for Client Pitch, Product Launch, Innovation, Promotion and Marketing Campaign of the Year. The papers were judged by a team of leading media buyers. On these pages we publish two of the winning papers; other winning papers can be downloaded (below) as PDF files, below.

Document 1

Document 2

Document 3

Document 4

Marketing Campaign of the Year

CBS Outdoor– ‘three minute’ activity

With Cross-track 12 sheets on the iconic Tyne and Wear Metro underperforming, CBS Outdoor built a buzz around them through focusing on their three minute dwell time. CBS took the strapline ‘Three minutes - it’s longer than you think’ and built its activity around a three-minute link (for example, it takes three minutes to boil an egg) and used this as a postcard campaign to woo agencies. CBS enjoyed a great turnout at the launch party and the overall outcome saw revenue on 12 sheets rise by over 80 per cent.

The brief

Cross-track 12 Sheets on the Tyne and Wear Metro were underperforming. Our challenge was to create a buzz about the Metro amongst the Newcastle media industry and to drive sales on 12 Sheets.

We were tasked with reminding local advertising agencies and key direct clients that the Metro is an iconic symbol in the North East and a premium advertising medium.

The marketing campaign had to highlight the benefits of advertising on this medium in a unique way and engage advertisers looking to capture and captivate the North East’s consumers on the move.

Objectives

To raise awareness of the Tyne and Wear Metro and promote 12 sheets to Tyne Tees agencies and key direct clients by end of Q2 2007. To increase spend on 12 Sheets in Q3/4 2007 compared to Q3/4 2006

Action Taken

We identified the key benefit of cross-track 12 Sheets as their three minute dwell time – the average time spent waiting for a train.

We developed a different style of marketing campaign based around the fact that cross-track 12 Sheets posters on the Tyne and Wear Metro are different to other posters and other media by focusing on their key USP (three minute dwell time - a valuable amount of time to engage consumers). All of the activity related back to the strap line; three minutes – it’s longer than you think.

We identified activities that have a three minute link; for example, it takes three minutes to boil an egg. We devised a postcard campaign to tease agencies and clients about the three minute activity.

The final part of the postcard campaign was an invitation to our three minute launch party. The party was to be held at Tokyo Bar in Newcastle so the activity also followed a Japanese theme. The invite again related to the three minute strapline and also contained a competition to win a night at the London Mandarin hotel in London. Guests had to answer three Japanese themed questions in three minutes and bring their entry card to the three minute launch party.

We devised a presentation that could be presented in three minutes to get across the point of just how long three minutes is and how much you can achieve in that time. It was taken out and presented in the two week period between the postcard campaign and the three minute launch party. The presentation was delivered using a series of 10 images on A3 polyboards, along with a script which covered these key points:

• Introduction to a presentation with a difference to mirror the fact that 12 Sheet posters on the Tyne & Wear Metro should be considered as different to other posters and other media.

• Summary of the key benefits of advertising on Metro 12 Sheets; value of reaching a highly mobile, attractive audience; the fact that 75 percent of North East adults welcome the ads they see on the Metro.

• Reveal the key USP that the three minute presentation will explore – the fact that dwell time on a Tyne and Wear Metro platform is three minutes, meaning that advertisers benefit from at least three minutes engagement time with their customers.

• Compare three minute dwell time for a 12 Sheet cross-track poster on the Metro to the dwell time for other advertising such as TV ads, radio, press.

• Give examples of how much can be done in three minutes, be it the distance Hicham El Guerrouj can run in three minutes (equivalent to running from Haymarket to Monument Metro stations) or the fact that A Hard Day’s Night was the first Beatles’ song to be over 3 minutes long.

• Showcase examples of 12 Sheet campaigns that take advantage of the 3 minute dwell time with long copy-rich ads, ads with striking visuals and a call to action web address, phone number and escapist ads that take advantage of travellers’ frame-of-mind for three minutes.

• Final comparison to roadside poster dwell time. An email competition ran for three days leading up to the three minute launch party. Participants were asked to answer questions relating to three minutes and encouraged to reply within three minutes of receiving the email - the first person to respond won.

The party brought the whole activity together. The venue was dressed in the three minute style, Ian Trotter recapped on the three minute presentation and to continue to stress our USP, guests were invited to take part in the three minute challenge – animal handlers were present at the party and challenged guests to hold a snake, hissing cockroach, giant millipede, tarantula or scorpion for three minutes to really understand how long three minutes is.

Post-party, guests were emailed a link to the party pics webpage and the competition winner was announced.

A press release was issued and coverage achieved in the Drum, the North East Times and NEPA (the North East’s Publicity Association) magazine.

Challenges Faced

The key challenge was to engage our target audience (Tyne Tees’ agencies and clients) in order to achieve their buy-in with the three minute activity; to secure appointments for the three minute presentation; to receive competition entries; to convince them to attend the launch party and ultimately to increase their spend on Metro 12 Sheets.

Outcome

The three minute presentation was made to all key Newcastle agencies. Around 50 email entries were received over the three days and prizes were awarded at the party. There was a great turnout at the launch party and a fantastic atmosphere from the minute the doors opened until we eventually closed the bar at midnight. We received great feedback from key clients and achieved PR in the local media. Most importantly, revenue on 12 Sheets rose by 83 percent - Q3 / Q4 2006 compared to Q3 / Q4 2007 (post three minute activity in May 2007).

Client Pitch of the Year

News International Newspapers (in Partnership with the liverpool Cultural Company)

News International Newspapers devised a campaign to capitalise on Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year and make its Times audience aware of the cultural renaissance happening in the city. It wanted to spread the message of the exciting events coming up in the city throughout 2008 and making its audience throughout the UK aware of the city’s cultural heritage. The Culture Company would use News International’s ideas as a ‘menu of opportunity’.

The Brief

This integrated solution was instigated by Times Media and began a unique and rewarding relationship with the Culture Company. Mediavest has provided full support and backing throughout the two-year consultation period.

Back in 2005, Times Media understood Liverpool was and is undergoing a cultural renaissance and being the European Capital of Culture 2008 will be the catalyst that launches the city as one of the Premier European Destinations for Business, Arts, Entertainment, Sports & Life. Through our portfolio we understood the importance of getting this message out to a UK audience and not simply for the benefit of the north west.

Objectives

To make our audience aware of Liverpool’s heritage, improve emotional bonds with the city; create awareness of the exciting events on the run up and through 2008.

To promote “understanding & desirability” of Liverpool and surrounding areas through an uplift in emotional empathy, cultural perception and in turn an increase in visitor numbers and investment to the region.

Over 12 months Liverpool will play host to the world and showcase not just what Liverpool has to offer but what the UK can offer for the international audience.

It is a matter of national pride, 2008 can be seen as the launch of the cultural Olympiad that will run up to and beyond the 2012 Olympics. It’s about creating an enduring legacy for the future – a cultural shift that will affect generations to come.

So we were to re-position Liverpool as the city of choice for Tourism and Business and to change perceptions of Liverpool from a ‘city in decline’ to a successful and vibrant hub.

Action Taken

Liverpool was announced as Capital of Culture on the 04 June 2003. Following the inception of the Culture Company our conversations and initial proposals began in 2005.

Our initial conversations proposed a complete portfolio package sell never before offered by Times Media. We understood significant funding would have to be found for a £1,000,000 plus package and other stakeholders would need to fund. Our conversations were transparent from inception that the Culture Company could use our ideas as a menu of opportunities.

To reinforce our commitment to this project we gained and furthered existing relationships with the Culture Company’s partners and stakeholders, these included: Arriva, Everton Football Club, Hill Dickinson, Mersey Partnership, Mersey Travel NWDA, The Arena, United Utilities and Virgin Trains.

By 2007 our ideas had been tailored to a bespoke package of Media Firsts. We organised an editorial day in Liverpool which gave many London based Times staff their first visit to this unique city. Our colleagues left impressed and this gave further impetus to our partnership. The final presentations were taken to the board in early 07. Still at this stage no budgets had been finalised but the intention and goodwill remained.

During September ’07 the decision was made to publish a ‘Liverpool Issue’ of the Times Magazine, this had been the wish of Gill Morgan, Editor of the magazine, a Liverpudlian herself. The team secured supporting commercial revenue and met with key city figures securing not only commercial revenue but access for editorial to key events. Example: Everton V Liverpool football Derby.

This Liverpool Magazine was published on the 10/11/07 and signalled Times Media’s commitment to the 2008 Capital of Culture. The feedback was unanimous and sealed the relationship between Times Media and the Culture Company.

Our final proposals were signed off in December 07 and work commenced on the 16 page up page of the Times Magazine using the same journalistic team from the November issue. This was a Media First, never before has editorial allowed a 16 page commercial up page of the magazine. This ran in the Times on the 05/01/08.

Challenges Faced

The Culture Company, created by the council to deliver 2008 and its legacy, has had a troubled life, losing key staff, such as chief executive Jason Harborow and artistic director Robyn Archer, at critical times.

Due to the unique nature in the running of the Capital of Culture, this led to a different approach and understanding of the end goal. The Culture Company is funded by Liverpool City Council and therefore funding has to be processed through committees. This led to lengthy timescales and understanding from all parties.

Here is an example of the typical example of the problems that have been encountered: Council leader Warren Bradley said: “Liverpool will have invested close to £67m in Capital of Culture, putting our money where our mouth is and bringing economic opportunities to the people of this city.

“This is a budget that retains front-line services and delivers the £20m that’s needed for Capital of Culture.”

But deputy Labour leader Paul Brant said: “This package uses the smoke and mirrors of accountancy tricks to find the £20m needed... (Source: Liverpool Daily Post).

With the amount of people involved in the project internally and externally this led to its own unique pressures of communication to all parties and the constant pressure of the Culture Company withholding budgets until the very last moment. Ultimately, this led to the Times Media team having to keep momentum going internally with editorial and externally with Mediavest and the Culture Company.

This schedule also represents majority share within the newspaper marketplace. The Bespoke Supplements were carried on a solus basis along with the Times Online activity.

The Lord Mayor highlighted the November issue of the Times Magazine during his annual Media Reception and explained along with his councillors will be using the issues for inward investment talks and meetings.

News International has commissioned its own research that is currently ongoing. This provides the Capital of Culture with unique access to our own Editorial Reader panels. The awareness research will be available to all parties at the end of 2008.

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