When the obsession with digital isn’t always a good thing


Not wishing to be completely on trend and spend our entire budget in digital and social media, we have taken the unfashionable step of buying some traditional media. Our media selection includes a package of lovely big 96-sheet poster sites in and around major transport hubs. They are a great targeting fit for our commuter audience.

There’s no doubt that social and digital channels are transforming the way we do business, but if I have to listen to another agency telling me that I should spend my entire budget online I shall lose the will to live. True, the move towards integrated or brand-centric campaigns is a massive step forward from the old institutional model of a fancy expensive TV ad with a bit of PR and BTL on the side using whatever budget is left over. But I do genuinely worry that too many agencies have now confused a brand-centric communications strategy with the latest obsession of trying to build entire brands on Facebook.

I’m kicking myself for being fobbed off so easily by a Soho creative who probably doesn’t pass many 96-sheets

There are huge advantages to marketing online. Campaigns are distinctly more measurable and better still, the creative work tends to be developed and reviewed in the correct environment. When I am asked to sign off an online activity, I am given a URL link where I can see the work living and breathing on my own laptop or smartphone in the media space where it will ultimately appear. I do not sign off concept boards and then cross my fingers that the end result will look good when it goes live. I know what I am getting. Agencies and traditional media owners would do well to bring such ’in-situ’ mock-ups to their own approval processes.

I write this having just driven past one of our latest 96-sheets, where the copy was just far too small to read at distance. I remember it looked perfect on a concept board from six feet away set against the clean white walls of the agency meeting room. We did raise this issue at the time, but were politely told not to worry about such detail and the agency reluctantly agreed to nudge up the font size by one or two points. I am kicking myself for being fobbed off so easily by a creative who works in Soho, no doubt walks everywhere and probably doesn’t drive past many 96-sheets and even if he did, he’s probably be too busy playing on his iPhone to notice them.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here