It’s getting personal, bad for you!

I’ve recently attended the graduation of my boyfriend who was awarded a First Class Honours Degree so in order to show him how proud I am of him, I thought a special gift was in order. Since he has already snatched a job as well, I thought a business card holder was a good choice as a serious, practical gift with the extra touch of engraving it to make it more special.

So as any digital native consumer, I searched the web for the company who would provide the best service for me and I decided to go with If only I had known, I would have been wiser than that. Part of my decision to go with them was the fact that they advertised a dispatch within 24 hours and that they offered a luxury gift wrap. Although the wrapping was an extra £5 and I knew I could have done it cheaper, I said luxury must count for something. I was expecting a nice box in which the holder would fit in perfectly, perhaps sat on a little foam and fabric bit to make it stand out. But I expected too much.

After 2 days of checking my account to see if it’s been sent, I decided to send them an e-mail to see what’s going on. To which I was replied this in what I found a very condescending tone from Mr Deric Tose from customer service.


Because the order was placed at 17:32 on the 15th we began this order the following day and it is now due to be despatched today after 24 hours. Your order was despatched on 17/07 by Royal Mail 48, which can take 2-3 working days for delivery so it could still be in the post on its way to you.

All I wanted to hear was a quick sorry, it’s on its way, but oh no! Notice I didn’t deserve a ‘Dear Anca’ either, which they decided to add in the email asking me to review, so they can be nice when they want to. I really can’t figure out how you can’t make an order and dispatch it the same day if that’s what you advertise for. Fair enough, the time of order was late but one would think that in the morning they make the order and send it out that same day.

And that’s not all, when I received the ‘luxury wrapping’ was not at all luxurious. The ribbon was cheap and badly packaged in the delivery box so it was all wrinkled in a very ugly way (I expected wrinkles but not like that). The box was one of those £1 boxes from Clintons and the wrapping paper was awful. So I rewrapped it in another paper and fitted a nice luxurious ribbon to it.

Long story short, I’ve had enough of getting personal with this site. No more again!


Of advertising and social media

As I have mentioned at some point in my previous posts, I am currently researching my dissertation on the topic of the impact of social media on traditional advertising. Following the countless web links resulting a quick search on ‘advertising is dead’ and being told so by university teachers, I’ve set on a quest to see whether or not this is true. 

I’m now in the midst of my interviews with practitioners after reviewing what academics have said about it. And I must say that my findings so far have surprised me. ImageNow, in this map I’m moving from the Desert of Desolation to the Data Jungle so I’m still a long way from the end. But I want to share what I know so far. Sure, there are people who agree, there are some who completely disagree that traditional is dead and see social media as this huge hype and companies don’t know what they are getting themselves into. But what I have found is that the strengths and weaknesses of both complement each other making them a very well suited match in an integrated manner. So, if traditional advertising is very much one-way communication it has a great reach, frequency driving brand awareness and easing the creation of a brand image, whereas social media is interactive, two-way communication encouraging engagement from the customer and in this way creating relationships and, according to some, even loyalty. So while advertising is great for the first stages of attracting customers, social media can help in the following stages. 

Now, this might not come as any news to anyone, but I’ve been repeatedly told by practitioners I’ve interviewed is that brands haven’t quite grasped social media yet. Sure, some have and some are built entirely on it, but most of them still have difficulty because they try to treat it as another traditional medium. So, no brands, don’t tell us about your discounts on Twitter, we want to know you as a ‘person’. Since brands pump so much money into building a personality, one would think they try to act like a human as well. To make my point a bit clearer imagine a brand is a person at a very crowded party and all he (or she) does is talk about himself – ‘oh, I have so many muscles and so much money. I have 3 cars and a huge mansion and I’m smart, I’m expensive, I have many qualities, etc.’ Without ever asking about the other people there. Some might find this attractive, but the chances are slim. On the other hand, people talk about themselves but also about the weather, about the news, their views on politics, religion or their favourite music band. In the same way brands should talk about their products but also about any relevant topics. A great example of this is Pandora (the jewellery company, not the radio) which, in their monthly magazine, have articles on celebrities, on fashion shows, on outfits for special occasions or even on teaching their customers about different precious stones. All of this while seamlessly integrating their products. 

If you get a chance, have a look here. I truly love it and I like the fact that it’s monthly so it doesn’t shower me with content too often. 

Merger ahead

Some of you might not know, but I have another blog which focuses more on my passion to over-analyse ads. Since times are a’ changin’, I’ve decided to merge the two on this blog so you’ll soon enjoy some more advertising content in this space. To celebrate it, I’ve chosen a new theme and a new name. Just in case anyone was wondering what’s going on 🙂

Nothing compares to you, IDM Summer School!

It’s been a while since I last posted something, but I’m finding that the process of writing a dissertation drains the desire to write anything else. So this post might be a bit rusty, for which I apologise. Anyway, I’ve had a little ‘break’ this past week from the dissertation as I attended the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) Summer School. So there I was, exactly a week ago, entering the same building after almost 2 months from the assessment day (read here if you wish) not knowing what to expect apart from what’s written on their website.

It was nice to recognise people from the assessment, classmates from uni, but little did I know…The first day was really exciting – we met Simon Hall who talked to us about Big Ideas and Little London – a live and alive football-pitch-size model of London aspiring to be one of the top 5 attractions of the British capital. I’ll definitely be there to see it! Then we had a live brief from Havas EHS on a marketing campaign for First Great Western which was loads of fun to work on during the week and then pitch on Friday. The day ended with a lovely dinner with new students and past graduates mingling, sharing impressions on the summer school and the career ahead.

Mingling at the Monday dinner

Mingling at the Monday dinner


Starting the week by getting to know each other

The week continued with learning about customer experience from Reynolds Busby Lee and an agency visit to Rapp which was very insightful and cool to see that they make work fun. We also learned about Big Data with Matthew Bayfield from Ogilvy and SEO with Susan Hallam, an enthusiastic, straightforward and very approachable presenter. I personally think universities should take higher interest in these aspects as they are the hottest topics right now, and crucial things to understand if you’re pursuing a career in marketing.

Where a lot the magic happened

Where a lot of the magic happened

And perhaps the highlight of the week was the networking event at The Goring Hotel with the sponsors, practitioners and none other than THE Rory Sutherland. Now, we’ve all heard how important networking is, but no one does it like the IDM Summer School! Us students have recently been told to improve our networking skills, but what they don’t tell you is that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s difficult to walk to a recognised professional and say: Hi, I’m Anca, a recent graduate and I want to know more about what you do. I don’t have that much to offer you at the moment but I’d love for you to give me chance. That’s tough! But what I found fantastic at the Summer School is that no one really cared about your professional status, everyone was relaxed to chat, willing to help and genuinely interested in you as a person. Because if you make it to the Summer School, you’ve already reached a peak that says something about your knowledge.

Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland

Networking away

Networking away

I’d love to tell you more, but readers can only dedicate so much attention to one thing online. Drop me a line if you want to hear more of my adventures.

p.s. the food was amazing: delicious lasagna, mild chicken curry, rich chili con carne, creamy melt-in-your mouth meringues and crumbly but moist brownies are just a few. Just saying…