FOCUS: INTEGRATED MARKETING; Mixing the right recipe for success

BREAKTHROUGHS: As more campaigns become PR led, the challenge is to demonstrate the added value it brings CASE STUDY: The Village offers a through-the-line service by using member agencies on a project basis CREATING A STIR: Pepsi and Murphy’s decided they needed more than advertising to push their drinks

BREAKTHROUGHS: As more campaigns become PR led, the challenge is to

demonstrate the added value it brings

CASE STUDY: The Village offers a through-the-line service by using

member agencies on a project basis

CREATING A STIR: Pepsi and Murphy’s decided they needed more than

advertising to push their drinks

The signs are that consumer brand managers are beginning to take

integration seriously but PR practitioners must still battle prejudices

about below-the-line disciplines. Danny Rogers reports

Who would dream of painting an airliner blue to promote a soft drink?

Have the audacity to ‘take over’ St Patrick’s Day? The sheer nerve to

set up a blind date between toddlers?

The PR-led marketing campaigns for Pepsi, Murphy’s and Safeway (see

panels) reveal a watershed for the industry. They are examples of PR

bringing creativity and demonstrable value to the marketing top table.

Claims that PR is no longer advertising’s poor cousin in the eyes of

brand managers may be premature but there is evidence that the

distinctive characteristics of the discipline are at last being

appreciated within the marketing mix.

‘Consumer brand managers are beginning to take integration seriously’

says James Thellusson, joint managing director of Cohn and Wolfe. ‘PR

people are being invited in with ad agencies at the beginning of

campaigns. They are helping to develop basic marketing concepts.’

A combination of factors explains this trend. There is a growing

corporate recognition that reputation affects sales and today’s

companies are wise to address a wider audience than immediate consumers

of their goods and services.

This is compounded by a proliferation of media through which to reach

these people, including new electronic media. Such diverse communication

has costly implications for ‘above-the-line’ (advertising) activity and

PR’s traditional ‘below-the-line’ cost effectiveness makes it an

attractive proposition. Companies are also talking to an increasingly

mature, even cynical, consumer and it is here that the credibility of PR

communication can cut some ice, especially when dealing with complex


‘An increasing number of campaigns are led by PR rather than advertising

because clients appreciate that one can talk to consumers rather than

shouting at them,’ says Quentin Bell, chairman of QBO.

Consolidated Communications’ managing director Alastair Gornall is even

more ebullient ‘We’re sending signals to lots of people that there’s

been a turning point in the industry - that PR, at a fraction of the

cost of advertising, is a more subtle and highly effective weapon.’

But it’s worth remembering that these are early days and a fiercely

competitive marketing communications sector’s response to the new

opportunities has been inevitable.

Many agencies have attempted to feed their hunger for fee income by

broadening their business and offering services outside their

traditional specialisms. A determination to ensure control remains in-

house has led to some companies positioning themselves as ‘through-the-

line’ agencies.

The Grey Group set up Grey Integrated specifically to manage through-

the-line campaigns alongside Grey Advertising and GCI PR.

From the PR corner Consolidated also markets an integrated service, the

credibility of which was given a further boost recently by a pounds 6

million above-the-line budget from Virgin Direct.

The downside is that agencies may be perceived as jacks of all trades

and masters of none, whereas clients are often searching for a

specialism or a creative edge from their agency - the reason why they

outsourced in the first place.

Some of the larger advertising agencies, like D’Arcy Masius Benton and

Bowles and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, have reacted by acquiring below-

the-line agencies with varying levels of financial integration. The

loosest of networks being Saatchi’s ‘village’ concept (see panel.)

But Thellusson points out: ‘Agencies can talk a good game when it comes

to integration and see the benefits to their business, but at the end of

the day it’s the client that really drives it.’

Of course if integration is client-driven and separate agencies sit

together in marketing teams, almost inevitably there will be competitive

tension. This can be highly productive as disciplines compete for their

client’s creative heart and ‘leadership’ of the campaign. It could also

mean a counter-productive clash of egos.

According to research undertaken by Cranfield School of Management

earlier this year, advertising agency egos and politics pose the

greatest barriers to fully integrated marketing in the UK.

Bell cites the example of QBO sitting down with other agencies to plan

the marketing strategy for Mazda cars. According to Bell, QBO came up

with a brand proposition which it was convinced should form the basis of

overall strategy. Mazda’s subsequent rejection was judged by Bell to be

based, not on the merits of the concept, but on an in-bred reverence for

advertising over PR.

However, there are cases where PR’s creativity drives the marketing.

Indeed Freud Communications could justifiably claim much of the credit

for the Pepsi ‘blue’ campaign.

Politics aside, PR practitioners need to focus on the emerging

challenges of integration. If cost-effectiveness really is PR’s trump

card, the industry must learn to measure its input effectively - not

only the evaluation of media coverage, but the tangible value PR can

bring to other disciplines.

A recent example is Cohn and Wolfe’s media relations support of Nike’s

Dream Team advertising around the 1994 FA Cup Final, which achieved 71

per cent awareness among its target audience compared with only 38 per

cent recall for the TV commercial.

Many feel that proper analysis is long overdue. In this way integrated

campaigns could be demonstrated to be more effective than non-integrated

ones. As well as measuring input, agencies would be advised to develop

their own truly integrated outlook, recognising PR’s true value in the

marketing mix. The discipline’s strategic nature at corporate level

could be used to claim natural leadership of integrated campaigns.

Helen Mitchell, researcher in marketing at the Cranfield School agrees.

‘PR agencies are in a strong position to lead integrated marketing


‘The question is who holds the best relationship with the client? The PR

agency handling corporate and consumer issues with the board or the

advertising agency handling brand communications with the marketing


Bell believes that, despite the increasing esteem with which PR is

viewed in the marketing mix, there are some basic gaps in understanding

that need to be bridged for more effective integration.

‘Individual disciplines are still guilty of staring at their navels.

Although integration is accepted as an intellectual idea, they’re often

unable to look beyond their own expertise,’ he says.

Bell has been a strong advocate of the Integrated Marketing

Communications Initiative involving the trade bodies for the PR,

advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing industries. The

initiative began well but tailed off and Bell is critical of the lack of

support given by other disciplines. Now that he has stepped down as

chairman of the PRCA, he plans to devote more time to it.

A third challenge is creativity. Leadership derives from authority and

PR’s authority with senior marketing personnel will be bolstered by

effective creative input. Recent examples are encouraging but many in

the industry believe it must mature to a point where, like advertising,

it can separate its creative resource from account handling and


The sooner these challenges are met, the more often PR will be in at the

start with advertising rather than just supporting it. And the nearer

the day when the poor cousin inherits the estate.

Case study: Murphy’s hijacks the St Patrick’s party

To target drinkers on St Patrick’s Day - an occasion when more than a

little stout is usually imbibed - Whitbread set out to develop a

powerful marketing concept for its Murphy’s brand.

The company spent the four months leading up to 17 March planning an

integrated campaign, driven by a cross-functional team comprising PR

consultancy Cohn and Wolfe, advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and

sales promotion agency BBL.

Murphy’s, with 14 per cent market share, is number two in a draft stout

market still dominated by Guinness. Whitbread’s aim was to use the Irish

anniversary to encourage trial among males in the 18 to 24 age group.

Whitbread marketing manager Pip Landers said: ‘As the main alternative

stout, we had to be cleverer than Guinness. The team spent a lot of time

simply ‘blue skying’ ideas.’

The outcome was that Murphy’s should claim ownership of the day’s

celebrations, and the agencies left the table to develop their specific


‘The point was to raise brand awareness and all activity was geared

around this objective. In this sense it was a PR-led campaign,’ said


As well as media relations, which involved taking journalists to

Murphy’s brewery in Cork, Cohn and Wolfe produced regional radio slots

promoting competitions and Murphy’s pub parties on the eve of St

Patrick’s Day. Vouchers for free bottles of stout were also featured in

the Sun in the previous week.

BBL supported the pub parties with posters and simultaneously targeted

the off-trade by producing a free commemorative CD of Irish music and a

Murphy’s St Patrick’s Day beer glass.

For the day itself, Bartle Bogle Hegarty organised sponsorship of all

the Irish television screened by ITV, top and tailing feature films like

The Field with short ‘bumper’ ads. This was in addition to a rotation of

five advertisements featuring the new ‘caravan’ commercial.

Media relations work continued throughout, becoming heated when Guinness

started its own campaign to counter Murphy’s publicity.

‘The campaign stirred up a fair bit of media controversy but Murphy’s

came out on top. The Times ran a piece on the marketing battle the

following week, concluding that the Murphy’s ‘upstarts’ had won the

day,’ said Landers.

Whitbread says it is too early to fully evaluate the awareness generated

by the campaign and any increase in market share. Nevertheless the

cuttings book and compilation tapes are evidence of the interest

stimulated and the company is convinced of the campaign’s success.

‘Integration is becoming more and more standard in our marketing,’ says

Landers. ‘There’s no doubt that the total effect is more than the sum of

its parts.’

Case study: This Village takes no prisoners

The Village is a group of 13 marketing services agencies ranging from

sales promotion and PR, to a ‘new media’ consultancy run by sci-fi

author Douglas Adams.

The member agencies are neither financially nor geographically linked,

but can come together as a single ‘through-the-line’ network.

Now six months old, it’s the brainchild of M&C Saatchi joint chief

executive Nick Hurrell who remains its central catalyst.

Since its dramatic split from Saatchi and Saatchi a year ago, M&C

Saatchi has concentrated on building its core advertising business

instead of buying up below-the-line agencies. The Village enables it to

provide an ‘integrated’ service without the risk.

Hurrell says: ‘Most of the agencies have worked together for a long

time. Others have been added when we have been impressed by their work.’

The latter was the case when M&C Saatchi came into contact with Lynne

Franks PR during a pitch for PPP healthcare. It is now one of the

Village agencies working on a pounds 6 million integrated communications

programme for luxury goods company Asprey.

However the greatest interchange on the PR side is with Lowe Bell - not

surprising considering Sir Tim Bell and Maurice Saatchi’s long-term

partnership in marketing the Conservative Party. But Hurrell would not

be drawn on any Village involvement in the forthcoming election


He says that the service is likely to appeal to more ‘complex’ clients

and gives examples of campaigns for PPP, British Airways and Gallaher

Tobacco - although none of these involve PR.

Karen Earl, whose sports sponsorship agency worked with Saatchi on the

Gallaher account, was also introduced to Asprey for a four-month

consultancy on its sponsorship of the Ferrari Formula One team.

Earl says: ‘It is a valuable account. The Village provides financial

gain without financial commitment. Instead there’s a mutual exchange of

respect between agencies.’

Hurrell believes this loose-knit, egalitarian approach to be effective:

‘The agencies working on an account will be doing so because they’re

best suited to the job rather than because we own them.’

Nevertheless he sees M&C Saatchi as responsible for a degree of quality

control: ‘We remain the guardian of the brand. The Village facilitates

communication through media in which we are not experts.’

There are no formal meetings but Hurrell says that he talks to other

partners ‘all the time’.

‘We keep integration tight for our clients - it is a loose knit set-up

but it shouldn’t feel that way.’

Earl sees the Village becoming more disciplined as it gains momentum.

‘I would envisage more regular meetings and I’d be happy to get more

involved, although I remain wary of joint pitches,’ she says.

Hurrell believes that the demand for this type of integration service is

driven by clients that want to make better use of their depleted

resources. M&C Saatchi co-ordinates agencies on their behalf.

What does the future hold? Hurrell is optimistic, saying: ‘We’re

learning all the time. We may add new agencies, but we’re more likely to

add new categories.’

Case study: Cute kids have them flocking to Safeway

The cherubic face of Safeway’s toddler ‘Harry’ has been gracing our

screens for almost two years now and few won’t have heard about his

romance with, and ultimate replacement by, two year-old ‘Molly’.

‘When Harry met Molly’ has been one of the most talked about advertising

campaigns of the year and is a prime example of using PR to explain, and

add value to, advertising strategy.

Earlier in the Spring, Safeway had decided to broaden its pounds 2

million Harry campaign by introducing the new character.

‘The ads are designed to tell a story,which presents us with significant

PR opportunities,’ says Safeway brand manager Karen Bray.

The relaunch of Safeway’s advertising was tied in with its annual

results. The retailer formed an integrated marketing team that brought

together its brand marketing, corporate affairs and media functions,

along with ad agency Bates Dorland and PR consultants Countrywide.

Alicen Ridsdill-Smith, senior consultant at Countrywide says: ‘We had a

group of professionals coming from different angles. The relaunch

required a great deal of planning so our central messages could be

targeted at the various audiences. We all realised that meticulous

planning would be paramount.’

The new advertising, which broke on Wednesday 15 May, was preceded by an

in-store ‘teaser’ campaign and substantial sales promotion activity.

The public relations element was carefully timed. Safeway briefed trade

press on the Monday morning, and in the afternoon Countrywide held a

full-scale press conference for the consumer media at BAFTA, along with

a photocall with the Harry and Molly actors.

On Tuesday Safeway announced its annual results and a corporate name

change from Argyll to Safeway plc, backed by another photocall in which

chief executive Colin Smith sat with the child stars on a bouncy castle.

Regionally Countrywide ran a media relations campaign based on the cute

one-liners that toddlers come out with.

The result was a period of intensive coverage for Safeway and Thursday

saw many of the national financial pages featuring the PR photograph.

There was even an element of crisis management as a group of Labour MP’s

attacked the child-led advertising as exploitative.

Ridsdill-Smith says it was the first time that she had given a high

level of strategic input to an integrated board. Asked whether there was

a clash of advertising and PR egos she replies carefully, ‘There was an

interchange of opinions but everyone was aiming at the same objective.’

‘The project encompassed a lot of different disciplines,’ says Karen

Bray, ‘It was also genuinely multi-media as we used stores as media

channels in their own right and even put information out on the

Internet. Although it is too early for quantitative research, we know

that the campaign has been very well received.’

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