Always hold your sales meetings in rooms too small for the audience, even if it means holding them in the WC. 'Standing room only' creates an atmosphere of success, as in theatres and restaurants, while a half-empty auditorium smells of failure. – David Ogilvy
Copywriters do need to really know their market ….
Back in the mists of time, over twenty years ago, Royal Auto was the official magazine of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, a prestigious organisation that was highly respected by both its members and the general public.
Despite this, the advertising manager of Royal Auto found it very, very hard to sell advertising space in his magazine.
Research showed that the magazine had good reach, attracting more readers than Wheels, Modern Motor, Motor Manual, People, Playboy, Penthouse, Time, Newsweek, Rydges, Australian Business or even the Business Review Weekly.
The demographics were good too, with Royal Auto reaching more A/B socioeconomic group readers than Family Circle, House and Garden, Home Beautiful, Better Homes, Vogue Living, Newsweek, Rydges, Australian Business or Business Review Weekly.
Yet advertisers were just not buying space in the magazine.
The first clue came when the Royal Auto advertising manager casually shared a joke with his agency copywriter that he had never yet received an ad direct from an advertising agency. The copywriter was intrigued and investigated further, which revealed the advertising bottleneck.
Although the identified target market were in the group that read, enjoyed and valued Royal Auto, most agency media buyers did not personally read Royal Auto and saw it as some kind of garden mulch regularly home delivered to rot in the garden. Royal Auto just did not register on their personal "desirable media" radar.
What would you have done?
One way would have been to wine and dine all media buyers at an expensive industry function while we re-educated them with an expensive dog-and-pony show - but Royal Auto just didn't have that level of advertising budget and there was no guarantee that the media buyers would believe the statistics.
Another approach would be a publicity campaign with stories placed in industry magazines, but again there was no guarantee that the sophisticated and media-saavy media buyers would take any notice.
We also had to consider the considerable peer pressure exerted when all media buyers thought Royal Auto wasn't worth the advertising dollar. We needed a creative solution that would change the entrenched beliefs of a sophisticated group, who talked to each other often at numerous social events.
The Royal Auto print campaign you see here was the selected campaign. Royal Auto ran the full page ad in advertising industry magazines, backed up by six weekly postcard mailings to every advertising agency media manager and every potential advertiser.
Each piece of advertising highlighted one aspect of the research findings and invited the reader to take advantage of Royal Auto’s hand-delivered guaranteed readership.
Suddenly potential advertisers were demanding answers from their agencies, while media managers were surprised by the research and didn’t have good reasons why Royal Auto should not be included in their media mix.
While the advertising budget for this campaign was restricted to a print campaign and wasn’t big even for print, the sales results for a two month campaign were huge. Royal Auto advertising sales skyrocketed.
PS: The only downside was that the agency copywriter responsible for this campaign wasn't welcome at media parties for a couple of months.
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