Oystercatchers Club | Sept 2012 | Fraser Chisholm | Royal Mail

Oystercatchers Club | Sept 2012 | Fraser Chisholm | Royal Mail

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Fraser ChisholmFraser Chisholm: So I’m going to talk about stamp collectibles at the Royal Mail, which is the part of the business that is there fundamentally to celebrate the nation’s events and passions. That’s kind of our mission statement. We’re going to just run through the background to the campaign, what we do at Royal Mail stamps and collectibles, and Gary is going to talk about some of the advertising that we’ve done and the media_from Tony a little bit about the PR, which is really one of the highlights of the campaign is the activation that took place for the campaign. A little bit about results, we won’t give you any figures but we will give you an idea of how successful it was and then a little bit about inspiring a generation towards the end of the session as well. On your chairs I have put some stamps out and I can see you all looking at them you’ve all got a set of what we call a mini sheet, it is a set of six stamps, which is what we were selling as part of this campaign. We also were selling first day covers which are here – I will pass them around so enjoy those as well. For those of you who are stamp collectors, you will recognise what these things are. If you haven’t been lucky enough to get the stamp that you want, then talk to the people next to you, a bit like Panini, and get the one that you want. Just one final point before a kick in as well, further to Suki’s point, I actually do know who is going to win sports personality of the year because we know how many stamps that we’ve sold. So I actually do know the answer of that and it’s on a blackberry. I can be bribed. Okay, so let’s launch in. What we are here to do as stamps collectables is to celebrate the nation’s passions and events which is articulated in these images here. So we are doing a lot of stamp issues for a lot of different subjects around things that children are interested in, general art and literature.

Fraser Chisholm: Obviously we have had a massive campaign this year for the Diamond Jubilee year – the 60th year. But also with more modern kind of subjects here like this – on the bottom right hand side – is our great British fashion issue which came out in June time. And that celebrates fantastic British designers from Hardiemiss through to Sandra Rose and Paul Smith more laterally. And these are some of their classic images and classic clothes that they designed over the years. So that is the kind of thing that we are involved with – celebrating the nation’s passions and events. A little bit about the background of the campaign. For every team GB athlete and Paralympic GB athlete that won a gold medal at the Olympics and Paralympic games in London 2012, we issued a gold medal stamp which you can see there in the format that I have handed out. A six-stamp mini sheet on the first day cover. And we sold those as individual items in post offices across the country and as sets of all 29 gold medals. What’s crucial about this, of course, is that we delivered this stamp into the post offices the next day. That process involved anything up to, I think Jess J. Jones is a tae kwon do player who won it at 10:45 at night and still had a stamp in 513 post offices the following morning between nine and 12 o’clock. We also painted a gold post box in the hometown or training town or birthplace of every athlete again the following day. We also produced digital advertising, press advertising and cross track promotions – underground out of house advertising – again the following day. So every single gold medal athlete for the Olympic Games was featured in press ads that went into the press the following day. So really, a logistical masterpiece, if I may say so myself. Listen, when have you ever seen Royal Mail standing up this confident. This mojo that you’re talking about – absolutely. I’ve git shivers down my spine right now just thinking about what we went through the whole period of the games. I’m sitting talking to Garry at 3 o’clock in the morning saying “where the fuck is my digital ad?” I wasn’t that polite, no. So it was an adrenaline rush the whole way through, and what a way to experience the Olympics because that medal win just means that little bit more when you are involved in it and you can enjoy the experience with the athletes as well. So, I’m rambling again. I do this when I get this excited about the Olympics. Yeah, that’s basically the thing. So what I think it brings to life is really the way the Royal Mail were able to leverage the power of our network. We are getting stamps into 500 post offices within 11 hours, and then another 4700 within three days. We’re painting gold post boxes, we are famous for a red post office, but we painting them gold with massive coverage and I will cover some of the PR staff at the end. But also the work that people that people put in, the partnerships that we have with our agencies was second to none. It was a real absolute pleasure working with them. So I’m going to hand you over to Garry now who is going to go into a little bit of detail about the advertising and the campaigns and the big ideas that we came up with.

 

Garry LaceGarry Lace: Thanks Fraser. Luckily I’ve only got one slide. So it’s okay. But I’m going to milk it to death. There was a moment in the campaign, quite early, where I was tempted to say to Fraser “do you want to come and sleep with me for the next two weeks?” Because it would have been easier to roll over at three the morning and say, “where is my fucking digital ad?” Then it would be to pick up the phone. I’m supposed to talk about the advertising. I’m probably not going to for two reasons. One, because in a way, we thought there was no point in putting an intervening idea between what is a great product and the need to tell the consumers about it. So we thought we would just stick the stamps on an ad and that’s what we did. And we consistently did and you will see up there the product. The only slight robust debate that Fraser and I had really was about how the stamps should be displayed and whether we should do a full page or half page – you know, the usual pretty boring agency client debate. But fortunately Fraser saw sense and we did lots of full-page ads. Which, in all fairness, was the right thing to do because, actually, we had to showcase the work and the stamps themselves. And actually outside our agency network now we have a poster site and we’ve got that bad in our window on a poster site and it’s incredible the number of people that just stop and watch and look at it because they want to be reminded that we won as many gold medals as we did. Can I just say while I’m here, for those of you who didn’t get the stamp you want, don’t talk to the person on your left. Please go to www.royalmail.com, buy the other 28, they are available, there are a lot left, they make a great Christmas present. So you can now buy the Paralympics ones as well. But really two things, and Fraser talked about the logistical effort. It was a logistical triumph I suppose for the Royal Mail, we helped a bit in that but only in a tiny way. Two observations, one of which I think Fraser will come back to. For an organisation like the Royal Mail, it’s something like this that I think in the way Abi talked about that can really give an organisation its mojo back. And in a way what the Royal Mail is, as you know, ultimately, a distribution network that gets things to people as quickly as possible. And that is what they have done with this campaign in extraordinary ways. One of the conversations that Fraser and I are now having a lot is “what can we do to maximise the potential and demonstration of what we’ve done with this campaign?” Because I think it’s a hugely impressive demonstration of what the Royal Mail can do. And I think in fairness to Fraser, the logistics around giving us the information that is needed in the time that we needed it – because actually when a medallist wins at 10:45 and we’ve got together an ad out the next day and we need to know what’s the image, where is that image, the information flow was absolutely fantastic in fairness to Fraser and his team. That helped us enormously. And then the final anecdote I would tell really, which, if you an ad man and you are during a presentation with your clients, you have to be absurdly sycophantic because that is the nature of the beast. And I shall be true to form and I will be absurdly sycophantic because there was a moment in the debate that we were having  when I got it very badly wrong and Fraser got it very right. Because one of the big debates was “agency, this is an amazing thing. Let’s tell people about it before the Olympics because we can get momentum, we can get people to register, it will save us a lot of money in advertising before we go, you will know how many you’re selling, blah, blah, blah.” Fraser rightly said, “I don’t think that there is going to be a lot of excitement around the Olympics before the Olympics starts so let’s save our money. Because actually, once the Olympics starts we’ll be able to capture the excitement of the games and we will probably make more money work harder.” And it was almost as if Fraser had got access to the information that Maria and her team had presented this evening. So a small anecdote which demonstrate two things really: clients in the end most of the time are right. And secondly, if you put your money at the right time in the right place, you can really make it work very hard. So we did a great deal of putting the ads together incredibly quickly overnight and really persuaded Fraser to showcase the product. But it was an amazing thing for my team to be involved in and it was a pleasure to work with the Royal Mail. I’m going to hand you over to Tony now because really, what Tony is going to talk about is what we attempted to do in the ads, which is make a hero of the product which is the stamps themselves, which as you can see from the ones in front of you look great. Thanks.

 

Tony MattsonTony Mattson: Thank you. So I’m going to try very quickly, sorry if this sounds more sycophantic, but also then chop Fraser down to size and just talk a little bit about how we did things ever so slightly a bit better with the media that even he managed to do with the stamps. So bear with me on that. So the first thing, to be fair, we’ve heard it earlier on with regards to British Airways. Fraser touched on the mojo point too, is that our challenge as an organisation working with Fraser, were multiple really. We needed to sell stamps and we are working here with a company called Royal Mail that as Fraser said, he would traditional stand-up here and talk about direct-mail and how direct-mail helps you sell things. So we wanted to see whether or not there was a way of overcoming that. At the same time we had this quite extraordinary story to tell, but tell in also a very simple way, which as you see in front of you here is almost like the stamp itself was the story. So what can we do? What can we do in the face of advertisers that were going to dwarf our spend to make sure that we cut through and help Fraser hit or exceed his sales targets? And, generally, if you like, inject a little bit of mojo into the Royal Mail brand? Well, there were_that needed to be, as you’ve heard later on, we needed to think differently. We needed to be innovative, we needed to be dynamic. And so, what we did is we took the need from Fraser himself and Royal Mail nights. We adopted what we called a “news room mentality.” The newsroom_matter was threefold really. First is that news rooms tend to be always on, people are always there, ready to go. The second is that now news is obviously not just through one channel, but it’s through multiple channels on multiple that forms, etc. We needed to take that on board. And the third thing is that the news room is both announce and also distribute content. So all of this against the backdrop of an advertiser and a company that is quite comfortable with something like direct-mail but thankfully under Fraser’s chiefage here was able to kind of broaden its wings. How do we actually do all of that? Well the first thing in terms of being always on and ready to go, we had the kind of tough gig of having to be made to watch the Olympics for the whole time. As soon as the gold medallist win then everything kind of kicked into action and I’ll talk to you a bit more about that in a second.

Tony Mattson: The second thing is that we needed to make sure that we were present if you like across multiple channels. So, with a small budget we made our decision to go very broad actually in our channel selection. So we were advertising in newspapers, through online display and other digital display channels, social media, on the cross tracks that Fraser mentioned and also on radio with Talk Sports. And finally about this kind of announcement and distribution of content, this is really where kind of the sort of in-house people kind of kicked into action. For press, we kind of had a situation where the guys at Beta were on call ready to get the images. The images arrived at Beta’s offices. Beta turned around and made a variety of ads and called to our guys in the offices at home, or wherever they actually had to be to get the work done the next day. But it wasn’t always just the next day – I think sometimes it was just about getting that ad out as soon as possible. So for the press, for example, for our press director on Saturday night, was receiving calls from Fraser who was then making calls to the newspapers, who had held back their printing to be able to allow the ads to run. The ads would then appear slightly ahead of the stamps in the post offices the first thing the next morning. I digital we had Marika I think – one of our online buyers – effectively kind of worked all hours that were necessary. She became a real kind of surrogate part of Fraser’s team. As soon as the work came over from beta, she was there to actually adapt the work and get it out live and that was within in effect minutes of receiving that from beta there was that actively going out to announce gold medal wins. The cross track, so that kind of thing was then working with the media owners themselves to make sure that they had their own production people ready to go. And finally, on talk sport. This is kind of where more of the customer content came in. So we developed an editorial programme with them called “summer of success.” Which we were certainly hoping it would be when we signed that deal. And it was so they then had themselves a whole variety of commentators that would be ready soon as the gold medal was won. The call would go to talk sport, talk sport would gather the commentator together, they would produce this minute or a minute and a half of content that would then air immediately in the next news programme. And that happened throughout the entirety of the Olympics. The success was actually adopted that as a feature to run consistently thereafter. So we had a lot of this kind of stuff going on, and I’ve touched briefly on the fact that it was great to be involved in it. It was a great campaign to be involved for the three of us. Fraser probably more so than me to be honest as he was obviously at the heart of it. But it really was one of those things where collaboration could not have been allowed it to happen without that. And not just in terms of the three of us here from different agencies, but as I say the media owners themselves were working tremendously hard on our behalf in terms of not just the sales teams, not just the people who come up with the ideas, but also actually right through into their production teams as well. So it was_effort and it was great to be involved in and I will now handed over to Fraser to talk you through just how successful that was.

Fraser Chisholm: I’m going to be to read my notes this time and not get so carried away. I think it’s fair to just go through very quickly what the process was to get these stamps produced. So an athlete would win one of the different venues and we would download one of the images that was taken by Getty. So we would pay Getty a licence, they would download it to us within 20 minutes. Within the next hour we would have this design so we would choose a photo, we would crop it, we would Photoshop it so that it looked as good as it could be in the format that it was going to be that big. We would then build that to Locog for approval because they had to approve every single stamp. When they had proved it, we would get the image out to our group cons guys – our PR guys who would produce the stamp. You’ve probably seen more of those, then you have a little stamps and I will come to that in a moment. We would then distribute the artwork to 6 regional printers from London to Edinburgh and they would then, using Royal Mail same day service, deliver those stamped out to… I’m just telling you the facts. To 518… In fact that was more than that, because we didn’t know which athletes were going to win. And therefore, which put offices we had to deliver them to. So every day we were saying, “who won? Where do they live? Where we got to deliver another batch of gold medal stamps to their local post office?” Because we were painting the post box there as well. So that was the process. A little bit about I think the PR. This is probably the bit that kind of captures the imagination as much as anything else did.

Fraser Chisholm: On the first gold medal win, I don’t remember the names I think my apologies. I think somebody has got to stamp and they can read it out if they wish. Gary Lineker _ the stamp to them and they signed it, they took a photo shoot, and we were able to PR the photo shoot of these people winning the stamps. The same with Bradley Wiggins. The gold post boxes actually taken to heart by the consumers. I took a little ride on my bike to my local post box in Warwickshire where Nick Skelton has got his post box and there is literally crowds of people. It may have been a coincidence that the day I was there, but it was Sunday. I say crowds – 10, 15 people. It’s not the Olympic Stadium I will give you that. But, nonetheless, there were a number of people there outstanding taking photographs of their family next to this gold post box. And that was the excitement that I think this brought. So I think a great job by the PR guys, great job. It’s classic lace isn’t it, very sycophantic and a little bit embarrassing to I’ll tone it down next time. Tony you were actually worse. Yeah, a little bit about results. I think we’re going to talk about now. Now, we’ve got shorter pockets then you have. I guarantee you that at Royal Mail. And in fact, regardless of how much money we’ve got, we can’t be seen to be spending any because we are heavily criticised by somebody else called The Mail. There is a few caveats here obviously, because we won 29 gold medals, who won a further 34 at the Paralympics. But I’m just going to concentrate for the moment on the Olympics at the moment because it’s early days with the Paralympics as we only launched the stamps for the Paralympics on Monday. So very, very, only launched the sets of stamps on Monday. However, we were at 42% over target, that’s this morning. If I was telling you tomorrow, we would have beaten our target. We’re still selling a lot of stamps every single day. However, we won 45 more medals than we expected to win. So that does that mean we pretty much hit our target? Probably. But of course the stamps don’t sell until Christmas and we’re still doing an awful lot every single day. The original advertised price of the stamp set – based on 19 wins, the same amount we won in Beijing – we are offering the 20th free, was £68.40. The final price of the sale was £104.40 and I think probably demand for that type of prize is going to affect the amount of sets that we are going to sell. So I think it’s safe to say that it is an absolute success, but still a long way to go. We also believe that we probably achieved about £10 million of PR value from the gold boxes and the stamps and the kind of activity that you can see here. We’ve also acquired getting on for 10,000 new customers and for a brand like Royal Mail stamps and collectibles that in February when we will be issuing a stamp celebrating locomotives in Northern Ireland. However, the following month – Dr who! Fantastic. You know, it’s a really, really good thing. So we basically increased the size of our customers’ data by 5% in a matter of two weeks. I’m going to let you read the quote yourself, which is from our marketing director, but I’m actually going to read one for you from David Cameron. He did this interview with the BBC.

 

Royal Mail have had an excellent Olympic Games. They have produced these stamps, they have been painting post boxes. I don’t know who is doing the thinking for them but I think they’ve been really on the ball, very good idea.”

 

Fraser Chisholm: Now, I’m bigging myself up a little bit with that or the brand. However, when you use that piece of information and put it into the business it really creates some significant excitement within the people who were involved in the program itself. The support staff at the agencies were certainly fantastic and they really were part of this team 24 hours a day. Also with the front-line staff – you talk about your pilots and your cabinet style, etc. Our front-line staff have struggled for a long time with some of the things that they have to put up with. And to communicate this internally is really, as you say, the mojo is the work of the night, isn’t it? So let’s use it again and again. It’s really put that mojo back into our business. Final point, and Gary said this, it about how to leverage and how to take advantage. Not so much commercially because we’ve got as much work to do with repetition, as we have with purely financial things. So we’ve taken this mantra of “inspire a generation,” and we’re working with a company who provide lesson planning content and lesson content for schools through all age groups. But also, educators – people who are educating at home, people who are educating at nursery level. And we are going to work with them on a project called “your dreams on a stamp.” And the insights come from a picture that Tom Daley drew when he was nine when Locog announced they would be pitching for the London 2012 games. There is a picture of him, standing up side down on a 10 m board with London 2012 written on this picture. He drew it – I just love telling this story – and he showed his parents and they put it on the fridge and all this kind of stuff that was published recently. And we have taken that insight and what we are going to do is try and create a project that we will go into schools, where, and it’s not necessarily sports. It could be art or whatever that might be. Draw an image of where you want to be in 10 years time, your dreams on a stand. And when you use our smiler product – look it up on the Internet – which is very similar to the stamps that you will see here. You’ve got three there Mike! Murray, that’s a _ for the sports personality of the year thing, isn’t it? So smileys are basically a format that you go online and I was talking to somebody about it earlier on, or moon pig. Basically you can put your image on a stamp and have that delivered back to you. So it literally is your dream on a stamp. So that is what we are working on at the moment which I think is the right way to kind of push this through into this idea of inspiring a generation. I’ve got lots more to say but I think I have to stop now. So thank you very much for the opportunity.

Victoria Sinclair