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Our letter to Claire, editor of Campaign

Posted June 26, 2017 by in Blog Roll

Dear Claire,

I’ve just finished reading my latest copy of Campaign, landed on my desk this morning, June 16th issue. We are subscribers, obviously. Its long been on my “to do “ list to email you, but the content of this week’s copy has really spurred me on to finally put virtual pen to digital paper. The whole issue seems to be about DIVERSITY, TRANSPARANCY and DELIVERING IMMEDIATE TANGIBLE RESULTS.

Let me introduce you to REBECCA GARRETT MEDIA.

We are a dynamic, small, niche, AWARD WINNING agency, based in Plymouth, in the South West of England. Yes, we are outside the M25. We specialise in promoting brands through competitions and promotions. We are experts in this field and have been doing this for over twenty years. There are tonnes of benefits to what we do: consumer engagement, quantifiable ROI, Brand Awareness and most importantly, the HOLY GRAIL: DATA CAPTURE. We work with over 300 big name brands every year. Our competitions run in print, online and on air. We work with ALL of the major UK Media owners , including ITV, Hearst, Bauer, DMG, News Int etc.

We also know that neither yourself or any of your readers will have heard of us. And this is our frustration.

Firstly, your article on page 5 by the revered Media God that is Martin Sorrell; “Watershed moment for media shops” talks about a “growing number of clients care about getting “the best solution” than working with one shop.” He also talks about brands “wanting to bring together media buying and digital data, and simplify their marketing strategy”.

If I could afford Martins fees I would make him our official spokesperson. He has summed up in two short sentences every single USP for Rebecca Garrett Media, RGM. This is EXACTLY what we do. Sadly, we can’t afford him and we struggle daily to get past the gate keepers and automated systems at the larger agencies and brands that are designed to keep us smaller, creative, nimble agencies out in the cold. It’s all very well for a multi- millionaire to spout this stuff, but it is useless if no one listens or actually adopts the practices he is championing. I could bore you for hours with the excuses, shut doors, acerbic gate keepers, indifferent brand managers, we have to try to get past or to listen to us every day. They either clearly don’t read your paper, or simply couldn’t care less. More importantly, their bosses, the ones who set the blueprint strategy for these power houses that spend all this money in your “top earners” lists weekly are simply NOT INTERESTED in listening to, working with, or getting anywhere near us smaller, leaner, results driven agencies. Why? Because we would expose them.

My agency is based on transparency and results. We do not hold any retainers. We are paid on a campaign per campaign basis and only paid if we deliver ACTUAL RESULTS. Our fees are less than advertising but deliver quantifiable results. We have a dedicated in house production team that do all the legwork for the client, and we do not take discounts from the media owners and mark up secret hidden extras to the client. And because of this, the big agencies don’t want to know. They don’t want to work with us because it’s much easier for them to take their client’s money, have a few high end lunches with the media owners to “plan their media spend” and then bugger off to Cannes to congratulate themselves on how well they’ve all done. If Martin Sorrel is King of Media Land, it’s a shame his subjects don’t act on his words.

This leads me on to your next article; DIVERSITY.

Fabulous to see you’ve launched a campaign with Mother to “highlight the importance of equality in the creative industries during Cannes Lions”. An admirable effort, and one we actively support daily, specifically as we are a team of predominantly women. But looking at the headline I was momentarily excited as I thought “Diversity” meant the inclusion of agencies outside the M25 into Media Land, the ability or platform for us smaller, niche agencies to have a voice that is heard above the roar of the “Lions”. Sadly your initiative seems to boil down to gender. Again. I hope this email might inspire you to broaden your remit.

And finally: Cannes. Entertaining budgets. Schmoozing. The incestuous world of Media. Your article, same issue, page 17: “For some agencies, the only way is Essex”.

I have written in big, bold sharpie, “THIS IS US” next to this article to highlight it to the rest of the team when they come to read this issue. Again, if we could afford her, we’d sign up Maisie McCabe right away. We feel every single bit of pain highlighted in this article on a daily basis and our passion, it seems, is the same as that of Atomic, championed in this article. Kudos to you for actually featuring an agency that is a bit left field, but I do believe Canvey is still within the M25.

RGM is based in Plymouth. A million miles outside the M25. In the south West. By the Sea. We have had a statement on our website for the last seven years stating that we are passionate about providing a meaningful, well paid Media Career for talented individuals in the South West who don’t want to substitute their quality of life for a career in Media. We spend two days a week out of the office meeting our clients, usually in London, but as far afield as Holland. Every single word of Maisie’s article could have been written by me. The sentence about “founder owned agencies feeling like they’re on a night out with a bunch of university friends who all went into finance” could not be more sharply painful for me to read. As a small agency we don’t inflate fees, we don’t get agency discounts, we don’t have hidden costs we charge back to our brands at inflated rates, we charge a fair and transparent fee for what we do. We have modest offices outside of London and we work hard every single day to keep costs down so that we can deliver more to the client. Of course we can’t afford to send the entire team to Cannes to “drink rose for the week”. We can’t even afford to take clients on mega high end swanky lunches, firstly because we are too busy delivering their campaigns for them, and secondly because those lunches are paid for by only one person at the end of the day. The client. And we simply can’t live with ourselves if we rip them off in that way. And for this reason, we are pariahs. We can’t compete so we are not in the game. Yet we offer EXACTLY what Martin Sorrell claims this industry needs right now. And it’s not just the agencies. Brand managers are so used to being massaged and schmoozed by the big agencies, they look at our meagre offer of a good honest day’s work on their behalf as if it was something unsavoury they trod in as they got out of their agency account Uber. Even the venerable Keith Weed, wielding the mighty Unilever Sword Of Truth, says that “people need to care about what you’re talking about. There’s a real premium on getting people’s attention in a cluttered world”. Well said Keith. Our words exactly. Quite literally. They’ve been on our website for years.

I’ve personally made it my mission to try to speak to Keith Weed every day for the last seven years. I’ve got absolutely nowhere close. I appreciate he is currently in the process of shedding half his 3,000 agencies that work with him worldwide in order to save money, but my point is, if he’d picked up the phone to me just once in the last seven years, he wouldn’t have needed all those expensive agencies in the first place.

What easier way to get people to care about what you’re talking about than letting them win some of the stuff you are trying to flog them? What easier way to “get their attention in a cluttered world” than giving them FREE STUFF ?

More words of wisdom. Same issue. This time from Craig Mawdsley. “Marketers are charged with building brands but are under pressure to deliver now”. I’m fairly certain that if a brand was given immediate coverage in any of the major media areas we work on , and got instant fresh, relevant , hot data as an immediate result, and paid less than they would have done for a direct ad, they might actually be quite pleased. THIS IS WHAT WE DO AND WE DO IT BLOODY WELL.

So, Claire. Your challenge. It would be SO REFRESHING to see Campaign put its money where its mouth is. How about showcasing all those smaller agencies struggling to break through the sound of all those lions roaring away in the sun after their fat cat liquid lunches of several gallons of rose? How about showcasing agencies who ARE ABLE TO DELIVER exactly what Martin Sorrel, Keith Weed, Maisie McCabe and Craig Mawdsley are calling for? How about showcasing all those people , employees, young guns, media hopefuls , who are working away outside the M25 to deliver great campaigns that deliver CRACKING results? How about making a real difference and actually doing something positive to accelerate the change all these articles are calling for in your magazine ? AND WHY NOT START WITH ME AND THE RGM TEAM ?


Rebecca Garrett C.E.O