Archive for December, 2010

Snow makes Real Time Planning a reality.

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

It will be no surprise that the snow affected more than the journey to work. There was huge impact on media habits too.

Just as ice and snow have brought disruption to many parts of the UK, they have also disrupted traditional shopping and media habits.This one is a no brainer. Daytime viewing was up nearly 30% if you compare the first days of December with the week before. And this is just on a national basis. Clearly some regions were and will be hit more dramatically than others. The trend follows through on to Video on Demand. For example Channel Four’s 4oD saw a 20% boost on Wednesday 1st December versus the previous Wednesday. This could well have included some people trying the service out so that they could watch Misfits or Any Human Heart when they had time to kill, instead of defaulting to Deal or No Deal.

This may lead to a real step change in habits as people watch not just whatever is on the telly, but catch up with favourite shows online. What else were people up to last week? Of course they spent more time on Facebook too, and online generally. MSN’s homepage spiked an extra 6 million daily impressions.

Shopping in shopping centres and on the high street suffered in some areas as it was too cold or too difficult to get out for Christmas shopping. But the snow fell at the right on time for online sales for safe delivery pre-Xmas.

John Lewis – a bellwether for retailers – saw sales flatten in retail outlets year on year but zoom up online.Media strategies with Real Time Planning tactics built into them will be taking advantage nicely of the added impacts in daytime, and the opportunity to drive immediate sales online. Real Time Planning was one of my key predictions for 2010. ( Communication strategies that were fired up and ready to go for the ongoing snow situation will reap the rewards versus the competition.

Its good to know we all think of cake when times are hard!

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

The other day I was crawling down the Finchley Road as usual and I noticed with some excitement a sticker on the large dirty white lorry in front of me. It said (I initially thought) Hendon Bake Club. How nice I thought, a lorry driver that cooks.

Closer inspection however revealed that the sticker actually said Hendon Bike Club (the “i” was in the shape of a motor bike which is what confused me). As my thoughts had wandered off into the realms of lorry drivers baking scones, chocolate chip cookies and lemon tarts I was a bit disappointed (I realise I am making a very stereotypical judgement about the minimal baking abilities of lorry drivers here and if there are any out there reading this blog whilst thumbing through How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella or Baking Magic by Kate Shirazi then I apologise right now).

I expect it was the cold weather and grim outlook that turned my mind to cakes. Apparently this is an established trend and IPC are making a mint out of exploiting it with their website prides itself on a precise SEO strategy and execution. It used to be that the most popular recipe search was for chicken recipes (healthy low priced protein).

Not any more. Since the recession first began to squeeze the mums of Britain there has been a surge in cake and cupcake recipe searches. This intelligence translated itself into a counter intuitive front cover for the launch of the print magazine last winter. January issues are usually savoury and healthy. Goodtoknow launched with blueberry pancakes. And this month’s Christmas issue features a star of their recipes Facebook group who makes an excellent Christmas cupcake. It’s a lovely example of online interaction driving the editorial and creating a niche but profitable dialogue with a highly engaged audience. Those Christmas Cupcake recipes in full are at

Anyone want to set up a Bake Club ?