Marketeer

THE TUBE

The Tube book was a massive undertaking. I was brought in by the LIVE agency half-way through, when it had already been going a few months but was floundering, with a brief to beat it into shape.

The book was to be 140 pages long, high production values, picture-led, and given away for free to every member of the London Underground staff: 15,000 people or so. It would deal with the history of the Tube and also its future direction, stressing that change and innovation were at the very core of its existence and success, and preparing staff for the challenges ahead.

The Managing Director, Tim O’Toole, took a very personal interest. He very much felt the weight of history on his shoulders: that the design ethos and integrity brought to London Underground by Frank Pick should live on in this book – which turned out to be his legacy, as he resigned not too long after. He was a joy to work for: precise on detail, clear on direction, blessed with a natural skill and economy with words, yet open to argument from experienced editorial and marketing heads..

He was delighted with the result, so much so that he later recommended me for other projects, for which I am grateful.

 

ADVERTORIALS

When I joined the Times, it was commercially very bullish: advertising and editorial were so strictly segregated that I wasn’t even allowed to consult the Ad Dept when preparing the entertainment supplement The Eye for launch, which in the end caused a variety of problems. As traditional revenue streams dried up, the time was ripe for relaxation of the rules. I helped instigate what became known as the Solutions Department – a fancy name for the advertorials team – when I attended meetings with Kraft.

 

Kraft wanted to ally Carte Noire coffee with a sophisticated image. French film had been chosen for its positive associations, and the Times, in particular my Knowledge supplement, was being considered as the vehicle. I suggested, commissioned and shepherded through various political hoops a 26-week series of advertorials, as well as two standalone supplements: on French film, and on Paris. The idea throughout was to provide editorial that would be interesting to and valued by readers, and therefore read and noticed, while giving Carte Noire the positive brand associations it wanted. The campaign was lucrative for The Times, and judged a great success by Kraft.

There followed advertorials, covers and supplements for Comet, Hewlett-Packard, the Australian and Canadian tourist boards, as well as some one-offs. All required diplomacy, intuition of the client’s real wants, rather than what they originally expressed as their wants, and some degree of compromise — not universally without friction, but mostly filling the brief of adding reader value while conveying the right brand messages.

After leaving the Times, I was asked back to devise, oversee and write an 8pp supplement, six weeks of advertorial features and some online features for Courvoisier – who professed themselves delighted with the result.

British Heart FoundationBritish Heart Foundation

I was commissioned by PSP Rare, the customer publishing firm that produces the Heart Matters magazine for the British Heart Foundation, to launch an accompanying website.

This required weeks of meetings with all the BHF stakeholders. In order to integrate the website better with the magazine, I was also involved in feature and design discussions on the print publication in tandem with the website.

For launch, I re-edited the magazine copy to be more ‘web-friendly’ – eg cutting long medical pieces in half – and input and formatted it online using their CMS, including adding picture galleries and embedding videos. View the website here: http://www.bhf.org.uk/

In addition I  wrote and presented a promotional information  video for the British Heart Foundation on the risks of coronary heart disease. The video was shot by Beyond Media on location at  Spitalfields fruit and veg market:

 

THE GUARDIAN

Over the past year, Dominic has been commissioned to write a number of advertorials for The Guardian. Individual features range from travel guides to holidaying in France and skiing in America, to banking with NatWest banking and enjoying Nespresso coffee. He recently completed a six-week series of features in association with Bupa Care Homes, and is currently writing a year-long, monthly series on French film in association with Studio Canal.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

Museum of London/ELL Adtable display

I put together a joint exhibition between the Museum of London and the new east London Line, showcasing archaeological finds discovered during the excavations and what they revealed about the history of the local area. I also prepared a mission statement for Network Rail, commissioned by Unspun Ltd, and acted as Editorial Consultant for the launch of Middle Media TV. I have also written press releases about European food and eco-cleaners.

I am available either as a writer-for-hire, or as editorial consultant. Contact me here