Tis the season for Christmas adverts

Tis the season for Christmas adverts

When the John Lewis Christmas ad finally arrives (along with mince pies, the Oxford Street lights, panto season and ‘I’m a Celebrity’) it heralds the official arrival of the Christmas season. And we somehow find time in our busy lives to discuss whether or not Elton was on a par with the man on the moon, or fell short behind the snowman.

 

In the spirit of its arrival, I wanted to take a look at this year’s bounty of adverts to review some of the attempts at taking the Christmas advertising crown. I can’t help thinking that this year’s offerings have been slightly underwhelming.

“It’s a little bit funny”

The aforementioned Elton-through-the-ages commercial is incredibly charming and impressively well imagined. Once again, John Lewis has made a valiant attempt to retain the company’s star billing at the top of the tree.

It was about time John Lewis threw a curveball and despite the absence of a solid Christmas theme and one of their recognizable remastering of old classics that will inevitably weave its way into the charts, they have hit the spot with this one. As well as conveniently providing Sir Elton with a timely promotion before his biopic hits the cinemas next year. Although, I’m willing to bet that it wasn’t John Lewis who sold his mum that piano.

Equally effective, it must be said, is the clever cross-referencing in the Waitrose advert which sees the parents of an exasperated teenage girl fast forward ‘Elton John Lewis’ so that they can eat some panettone.

“You get what you give”

I can’t not mention the adorable Sainsbury’s ad. I’m sure there will have been some eye-rolling going on amongst Sainsbury’s execs when John Lewis and Waitrose unveiled their joint pre-Christmas ad which featured an unfortunately similar school play set up. In my opinion, Sainsbury’s went cuter, funnier and more charming than the Bohemian Rhapsody iteration. That ‘plug’ just tops it!

The Christmas Fool

Among the festive joy there’s also been the inevitable Christmas turkeys, and unfortunately the Argos ‘Little Fool’ advert finds itself as the least redeeming in my eyes. The idea is original but it’s a rookie error to make your Christmas mascot so annoying.

Of course there is a plethora of other entries in this year’s Christmas advert chart and many raise a smile or a tear. But do we actually remember the brand? What about the one with Holly Willoughby? Or Santas on motorbikes? None seem to have established their brand quite so brilliantly as John Lewis who year on year are met with the most anticipation. Has there ever been a more impressive advertising accomplishment than becoming synonymous with the very season of goodwill itself?

By Holly Miller, Account Executive, Franklin Rae

The Press Room: Tom Grater, Screen International

The Press Room: Tom Grater, Screen International

From #MeToo to the new wave of streaming services, there’s a lot going on in the film business. We welcomed Tom Grater, Senior Reporter at Screen International to the Press Room this month, and he gives us the rundown on what’s happening in the industry.

 

 

What are you writing about at the moment?

At Screen we cover a very wide remit – anything related to the global film industry and to an extent TV as well. As our primary UK reporter this country is my main remit, but I write a lot of international news. I’ve just returned from the American Film Market in Los Angeles where we covered all of the events there: new projects being announced, distribution deals, etc. Our ongoing focuses include stories about the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, diversity questions in the film industry, and the shifting distribution landscape that has been majorly disrupted by players such as Amazon and Netflix. For the next few months, the awards season is key for us, with the industry’s attention firmly fixed on the major award ceremonies. Next week (Nov 26) I travel to Tallinn Black Nights film festival to cover the industry activity there.

What are the headlines that everyone’s talking about?

Weinstein case, growing prominence of #MeToo, ongoing questions around diversity in the industry (in the UK and abroad), the extreme growth of Netflix and the proposed new streaming services from Disney etc, the Disney-Fox merger, the challenges in the theatrical market, the polarisation of revenues from blockbuster films and small indie titles – there’s a lot going on in the film business!

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

#FakeNews has created an increased distrust of journalists but that hasn’t ever really affected me personally. I think the decline in print and online advertising revenues has changed the industry a lot, and smaller budgets mean less time to work on more investigative pieces. The importance of web traffic and diminished staff numbers mean that there is an emphasis on quantity of content rather than quality (churnalism). Luckily, trade magazines seem to have been less affected by these factors things than other outlets such as nationals – we’re doing ok.

What are you watching on TV at the moment?

British TV is in a good moment. Killing Eve was great fun (Jodie Comer, what a star!) but I thought Bodyguard was pretty underwhelming. My secret pleasure is cooking programmes and I consume a remarkable amount of MasterChef and Great British Menu. On the cinema side, The Favourite is this year’s must-see film!

The Press Room: Tim Dams, Freelance

The Press Room: Tim Dams, Freelance

This month, former Televisual editor turned freelance journalist, Tim Dams talks to us about the impact of FAANG on the TV industry and why everyone is obsessed with this season’s smash hit BBC drama Bodyguard.

 

What are you writing about at the moment?

The FAANGs. As a journalist, it seems you can’t avoid writing about them at the moment, as the disruption they’ve unleashed on the TV and film market is so profound. They’ve brought greater opportunity for lots of indies, particularly drama producers. But they’ve sparked a crisis of confidence at British terrestrial broadcasters and US cable channels, who are the still the main clients of most indies. The drift away by viewers from linear schedules is, if anything, under-reported, particularly among younger audiences.

What are the headlines that everyone’s talking about?

In terms of programmes, it’s Bodyguard, which has put a bit of spring back in the step of the BBC. More generally, many of the headlines are now about how companies are partnering up to compete with the US tech giants. That could be European broadcasters partnering to co-fund programmes, or British broadcasters working together on their own joint-streaming service. ‘Partnership’ is the buzz word of 2018.

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

Transcribing interviews. In this era of Amazon Alexa and voice-activated tech, I still can’t believe I’m having to do this. I wish there was a reliable piece of tech that could covert audio to print yet. It would save me hours each week.

What are you watching on TV at the moment?

Like everyone, Bodyguard. I’ve yet to see the last episode though, so am desperately trying to avoid any reference to it in the media. I’ve just started Money Heist (La Casa de Papel) on Netflix – I’m a bit late to this Spanish hit, but it looks good so far. I recently interviewed director Michael Waldman about his upcoming documentary Inside the Foreign Office for BBC2 and that’s definitely one to look out for.

The Press Room: Juliana Koranteng, Freelance

The Press Room: Juliana Koranteng, Freelance

This month, we speak to one of the top freelance media and tech journalists, Juliana Koranteng, editor-in-chief of MediaTainment Finance and TechMutiny, and one of the main feature writers for Reed MIDEM’s MIPCOM and MIPTV magazines. From digital content for kids to Apple’s US$1 trillion valuation, we hear what’s making headlines ahead of market.

 

What are you writing about at the moment?

I’ve just completed a series of features for MIPCOM’s flagship Preview magazine on investments in TV productions, diversity and inclusion, and digital content for kids. Now, I’ve embarked on a report  for creative-industries tech journal TechMutiny, which analyses the pitfalls that ambitious tech start-ups could face if they want to list on the stock exchange – as Spotify is learning.

What are the headlines that everyone’s talking about at the moment?

In the media-and-entertainment sectors that I specialise in:

  1. iPhone maker Apple has become the US’ first publicly traded company to reach a US$1 trillion valuation;
  2. Although a universal problem, it is inside the media and entertainment workplaces that some of the worst cases of the harassment and bullying highlighted by the #MeToo movement have been exposed;
  3. Ireland’s team of amateurs reaching the finals of the Women’s Hockey World Cup

What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

People’s universal trust in professional journalism, for communicating and examining all types of issues as fairly as possible, is being severely undermined by the rise and rise of fake news on the Internet.

What are you watching on TV at the moment?

I’m a sucker for high-end US legal and crime dramas: the Law & Order and NCIS franchises; fantasy thrillers like Wynonna Earp and Supernatural also work for me; and, to raise my spirits, I can’t think of anything better than repeats of comedy classics Frasier, Cheers and Only Fools and Horses.

The Press Room: John Reynolds, Freelance

The Press Room: John Reynolds, Freelance

This month, we speak to veteran media journalist and host of the Media & Marketing podcast, John Reynolds. From Martin Sorrell to the BBC, find out what’s making the news in the media sphere.

 

 

What are you writing about at the moment?

I work as a freelance general news reporter, so write about anything and everything, from transgenderism to Grenfell. On the media and marketing front, I am following what Martin Sorrell is up to and also interested in new news brands network The Ozone Project. The death of media agencies and problems of the big holding groups like WPP and Publicis are also interesting topics.

What are the headlines everyone’s talking about at the moment?

Everything from trans toilets in organisations to BBC staff being overpaid, and even the death of media agencies.

 What is your biggest frustration as a journalist?

Getting stories. It’s become too hard to break stories now in the 24 hour news cycle. Journalists are simply tweeting exclusives with just a few words and not even bothering to substantiate the tweet with a story. It can also be frustrating having to hit up contacts all the time for stories and not getting much in return.

 What are you watching at the moment?

The World Cup.

Franklin Rae PR acquires The Media Foundry

Franklin Rae PR acquires The Media Foundry

Content and creative sector PR experts acquire the marketing and media sector specialist

Franklin Rae PR today announces that it has acquired The Media Foundry, a PR agency that focuses on businesses working within the media and marketing industries.

The acquisition will see the agency move from its current home at The Cubo Group and brought under the Franklin Rae umbrella, allowing the company to expand its current offering in the marketing sector as well as further grow its footprint with media and brands.

Set up in 1998, The Media Foundry has a heritage in working with the great and the good of adland including Karen Blackett OBE, Annette King, Ian Pearman and Laurence Green. In recent years the agency has expanded its offering to become the PR agency for all media & marketing professionals – working with brand-side CMOs including Mark Evans at Direct Line Group, and adtech/martech companies.

Franklin Rae, a leading name in the content sector offers PR services to the production, distribution and creative industries, raising the profile of both businesses and the content they produce. Established in 2003, the company works with world leaders in TV, Film and the creative industries, including producers of BAFTA winning ‘People Just Do Nothing’, Roughcut TV, global content distributor, Keshet International, creative company Gravity Road and award winning creators of sporting content, Noah Media Group.

Franklin Rae CEO Tessa Laws commented, “TMF have a fantastic reputation in the industry, a great team and a host of exciting clients that align perfectly with our own strategy and ambitions for the future of Franklin Rae.”

Cubo Group CEO, Kerry Simpson added, “This is a great strategic move for both parties. TMF’s specialism is a perfect fit for Franklin Rae and they can be a formidable combination in their sector”

Following the acquisition the TMF team will continue to work in partnership with its current clients as well as developing a wider offering in conjunction with Franklin Rae.