A Year In TV: 2016

April 21st, 2017 by Steph Feather


Thinkbox, the UK’s marketing body for commercial TV, has released a review of ‘A Year in TV 2016’ exploring the evolving TV landscape. We’ve taken the highlights and condensed into a jazzy infographic that’s easy to digest and ready to share.

A year in TV infographic

Boutique’s Big TV Roundup 2016

December 22nd, 2016 by Steph Feather

father Christmas watching television

A turbulent 2016 has almost gone in a flash and with it we’ve lost some absolute legends, been on a political rollercoaster and seen how even though TV is somewhat our constant, it continues to change as ever. With Christmas in touching distance, we’ve taken a look at the festive line up ahead and a roundup of the crazy year that was 2016.

Ex Factor

This year’s X Factor has fallen even further behind rival Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings battle – the 2016 finale struggled to reach 8m viewers, down a hefty 15% compared to last year’s finale. It’s the worst audience on record for the X Factor, ever. Earlier this year, ITV agreed to renew the show until 2019 – after 12 years of the same predictable format, maybe they should let X Factor rest up and make way for The Voice which debuts in January on ITV.

Great British Bake Off jumps ship

It was the hottest topic in the TV industry when BBC confirmed they weren’t renewing their contract with GBBO after Channel 4 paid a whopping £75m in a three-year deal. There was uproar and rumours as Mary Berry threw in the tea-towel, quickly followed by presenters Mel and Sue. For the Paul Hollywood fans amongst us, the only presenter left has confirmed the search for new bakers has begun – hooray! Before the show heads to its new home on Channel 4 in 2017, the old Bake Off team will be on BBC One for one final time on Christmas Day with a festive special. I’ll be tuning in for sure.

Planet Earth II rocks

The almighty Attenborough restored faith with another series of the natural history show which not only has incredible never-before-seen footage, but also a powerful conversational message that makes for perfect Sunday night viewing. It has become one of the few ‘feel good’ moments of 2016 – a weekly instalment of delight that has attracted more than 12 million viewers every week. Now the most-watched natural history programme for 15 years, Attenborough is still on top form at the ripe old age of 90. Not only that, the producer of the show has hinted that the BBC could return with a third instalment…

*Keep everything crossed*!

Christmas TV adverts return

Every year in the lead up to Christmas, big brands get their big guns out and release their festive TV commercials (albeit somewhat prematurely in Oct/Nov) to the world and they spread like wildfire on social media and the like. So many are a cause for conversation and controversy but this year feels like a slight step change from previous years. A shift from emotion to animation seems to be the focus of many brands – maybe it’s the pick-me-up we need after a heavy year of ups and downs. From a trampoline-loving dog to a carrot called Kevin and an all-singing-all-dancing James Cordon voice-over, my fav has to be an unexpected entry from Heathrow Airport with a heartwarming story of Coming Home For Christmas which I think rivals giants John Lewis and M&S.

The Guardian has rounded up its top 50 TV shows of 2016, with Planet Earth II sitting at number one.

Amen Attenborough.

You know what? Not everyone’s like you

October 19th, 2016 by Charley Downey

youths standing with mobile phones

In comes the brief.

Easy peasy. The target demographic is basically you – (you’ve got this!). Every 18-25-year-old ABC1 female outside of London consumes near enough the same media as you, right? A bit of Cosmo, the odd scan of the Metro on the way to work and the Daily Mail app is the holy grail for quick news.

Not necessarily.

A recent experiment by Newsworks demonstrates just how easy it is to assume you are a complete representation of the demographic you sit within.

In their recent study, they asked 30 young media planners who sat within the 23-27 age bracket to record their daily media consumption. They then compared this to a sample of 23-27-year-old non-media planners – and the results were fairly surprising.

For example – in our office we have magazines and newspapers left right and centre. We live and breathe news and media. We scan the papers every morning, so of course we consume more national print than our non-media planner counterparts?


Non-media planners spend an average of 45 minutes consuming national print, whilst media planners spend just 33 minutes.

This was a stat that surprised me the most – as I quickly thought of all the 23-27-year-olds that I know, and the fact that not one of them would be likely to pick up a paper. But that’s the thing – not everyone is the same.

Here’s another one. Surely the vast majority of 23-27-year-olds don’t spend more than a few hours a night watching the telly? I don’t think I could name more than a few who even watch that much (other than the hungover Sunday night Netflix binges of course). Although at 19 I’m a little under that age bracket, I’d probably say I consume about an hour or so a day – and in the summer months it’d be even less.

Wrong, again.

Non-media planners spend over an hour each day consuming TV/video content – nearly 4 hours, in fact. Media planners spend just over 2.5 hours.

That’s a pretty significant difference isn’t it?

Turns out that media planners are all about Netflix too – with the streaming service taking up 30% of their total viewing. Surprisingly, for non-media planners this figure sits at just 10%.

It can be pretty easy to assume that everyone else who falls into the same demographic as you thinks the same as you do. And although it’s useful to have an actual understanding and insight of that audience, it’s important to stay open minded.

Next time you’re sat in front of a blank media planning schedule and you tick the consumer box, don’t necessarily assume that everyone is the same as you.


So here’s the sell:

At Boutique, we use a variety of research tools and insights to help us understand our clients audience as much as possible – but data and stats aren’t always everything. We make sure this is mixed with a good dosage of real life knowledge, experience and understanding, which is why every single proposition is completely bespoke. Strategy is always our focus – and planning based on assumption alone just isn’t us, or what we do. We think and do better.


The MD’s Media Week

September 9th, 2016 by Simon Bollon

man in bed reading news

This week it’s the turn of MD Simon to lead the social takeover so as part of that we’ve grabbed 5 minutes with him to ask about his media week…

I’m an early riser (3 school age kids and a dog!) and sadly, I confess to being one of those that checks emails within 5 minutes of rising. As I grab the first coffee of the day I will have a quick flick through the BBC ‘Most Read’ articles on the app and then check the Sky Sports feed. I love everything sport and, unsurprisingly, find Sky Sports is so focused on their televised content (football, cricket, boxing, rugby…and more and more MMA!) that my dwell time is limited on the site (worsened by the fact my team is now in the third tier of English football!).

At some point in the morning I will check out Instagram. It’s my latest social love affair. I tend to flick across social media channels and between my personal feed (@SimonBollon) and the company feed (@WeAreBoutiqueUK).

Insta is my fav. Its full of positivity, happy vibes and as a person whose head is often on a desert island, up a mountain or in the gym, I find it motivating and I love the escapism of it.

I try to get the train to work as often as possible which means 16 (yes, exactly 16) minutes in the car during which I will flick across radio stations. TalkSport is a go-to but if I want music I’ll flick endlessly – I have no loyalty! As a Harrogate resident I have to doff a cap to Stray FM. It’s a brilliant local station that has embraced social and digital (their content is ever improving) and they’re clearly passionate about being a major part of the local community. They’re a fine example of how radio has gone beyond airtime to embrace digital changes to their advantage. Its revenue and listening figures are testament to that!

On the train I read or listen to podcasts. I love TED Talks and as an MD I am obsessed with teams, work ethics, people management and how to make my business better. That hour each day is critical to my own self-improvement and when I have to drive I miss the opportunity to escape in my earphones or a book.

The working day is hectic. I will take the odd break to clear my mind, check out my fantasy football team (I’m useless), flick through Facebook and maybe a news portal (i100, the Guardian or Telegraph). I try to make sure I read through The Drum, Marketing Week et al. to keep up to date with industry developments and I will always scan the headlines of Prolific North. We work with so many agencies there’s often a report on one of those agencies growing, developing and winning business so I like to drop them a note of congratulations.

Knowledge share is a big deal in the office so people will always send interesting articles, news on the industry etc. They vary from the new biz team sharing news and thought pieces to the digital team sharing a knowledge bomb! They’re good for conversation and provoking thought around the office.

My evening media exposure is limited. I spend very little time in front of the telly but I can tell you that Smyths Toys’ frequency on kids’ TV is still too high! Fireman Sam (Or ‘Ne-nor Sam’ as he is known in the Bollon household), Tom and Jerry, Power Rangers and Family Guy are the favoured programmes across the various boys in the house (I have 4 sons!).

I use Facebook on an evening. I’ve found that Facebook has become an aggregator for the brands I follow. My feed is rarely populated with friends’ content as people post less but consume more. I’ve become very selective about the brands I follow so if you didn’t know, content is king! I find the evolution of Facebook fascinating. It used to be people moaning, it’s now brand video. I watch my 13 and 20-year-old sons engage with it and it’s the same across generations. Video rules!

I might have a flick through the Daily Mail website as well but keep it a secret. I run an agency, it’s important to get a view of the wider world. That’s my excuse!

Mags, Specsavers and Justin Bieber deleting Insta

August 19th, 2016 by Charley Downey


It’s Friday and the sun isn’t out… but I hope everyone has glorious plans for the weekend regardless. Anyway, here’s my little roundup of the week. There have been a few stories that have…erm… stood out, and some that we really don’t care about (Biebs).

I’m on duty with the Bartdog (another Bollon-ism that’s stuck) to collate stories each morning to circulate around the office. If there’s a marketing, advertising or agency related newsletter or site, you can guarantee I’ll be on it at 9:30am. It’s actually crazy how each day there are so many new stories – the industry is moving so quickly at the moment and so much is going on!

A week in the media

Monday 15th – “Instagram has launched Business profiles – the picture-sharing app has launched Business Profiles in Europe to serve the majority of its 200,000 advertisers which are small businesses. The profile allows companies to quickly signal to people on Instagram that it is a business and enable them to use a ‘contact’ button to connect with them” (Campaign) –  I found this one interesting. As we all know, Instagram plays a huge role in most business’ marketing strategy these days, with some entrepreneurs owing to Instagram for their success! So I think it’s cool that they’re constantly looking at ways to help make the integration of businesses onto social even smoother.

Tuesday 16th – “Sitting for too long is bad for your heart – even if you exercise, new research by American Heart Association claims” *(Daily Express) –  *slowly gets up from desk and walks around*

Tuesday 16th – “Snapchat’s Rio 2016 coverage attracted almost 50 million viewers in the first week alone” (The Drum) –  I think this is crazy when we actually think about the reach that Snapchat enables an advertiser/news stream to have.

Insta update

The big one this week has to be the Biebs. Love him or hate him, the amount of media coverage this boy gained from purely deactivating an account, really proves his social influence.

My Twitter favs

Specsavers had their request to trademark ‘should’ve’ approved. Yep. Read about it here.

#BlackCatAppreciationDay … they really do have an appreciation day for everything don’t they?



I’d read about this campaign earlier on, and I’m chuffed it’s come back into action. The campaign sees the letters A, B and O disappear from logos of brands, to raise awareness of the scarce blood types… and encouraging people to donate. It’s such a clever, yet simple campaign – I really do love this one!


Ad love

This one is pretty deep, but I love the way Dove endlessly shows their support for women, and raises awareness of body acceptance. This particular campaign highlights the issue of low self-esteem amongst young girls. The ad shows parents of young girls sat in a classroom, and displays a variety of popular search terms amongst this group. The results do hit home, and I think this powerful campaign is one to be admired.

That old chestnut…

Despite the old ‘print is dead’ chestnut – of course, as an agency, we know full well that this is super far from the truth – and the latest ABC figures have shown some great results. Although overall, titles are still seeing a decline on the news stand, the readership is going from strength to strength. You can find the Drum’s report on this here.


I think that’s all from me this week. So have fabulous weekends all!

Over and out

CD x

Carpool Karaoke in the fast lane

July 14th, 2016 by Steph Feather

YouTube on mobile device

Working in the broadcast media industry it’s in my DNA to keep up to date with all things culturally and market relevant. Whether that be watching the latest Top Gear viewing figures fall off a cliff until Chris Evans finally jumps or finding out that Corrie will be moving to six episodes a week (yes!).

I’m far from celeb-obsessed and keeping up with who’s who in the celebrity world, especially in the US pop world, really isn’t my bag. BUT, James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is some serious viral-churning addictive viewing that I’ve recently jumped on the bandwagon of. The popular video item is part of Cordon’s hugely successful Late Late Show in the US, and as a newcomer over the pond, he’s up there with long-standing chat show host Jimmy Kimmel and the likes. And recent news that the show is coming to the UK and has been snapped up by Sky, is exciting news for the content-snackers among us. Although the chiefs in broadcasting may disagree…

A trending conversation that’s caught my eye recently is a claim that YouTube is overtaking TV in reaching 18-34 year olds. YouTube, being the humongous Google giant it is, dominates the video world and represents the acceleration in online consumption amongst millennials. As our worldly technologies evolve, our everyday media consumption becomes ever more fragmented with many different options and platforms. The conversation about whether YouTube is stealing a share of traditional TV revenue is a beasty debate I’ll leave to top TV bods.

But with star-studded passengers such as Adele, Stevie Wonder, One Direction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (my favorite yet!) what’s not to love about the world’s most famous celebrities belting out a tune? And with loveable Cordon attempting to compete and keep with up the pitch, we can only imagine being in his seat, singing as best we can to some cracking tunes! The ‘fly on the wall’ documentary style filming makes us feel like we’ve got a sneaky peek at celebs being ‘normal’ and letting loose singing along in their cars… like we all do. So they are human?!

Carpool Karaoke is a massive hit on the Late Late Show’s YouTube channel racking up over 6.3 million subscribers and 1.4 billion views. Intrinsically linked, the Carpool Karaoke YouTube channel works as an extension of the TV show, so surely this is regarded as a promotional tool accelerated via the success of the broadcasted show? Whether this role will may one day be reversed, only time will tell.

New AdWords editor

May 21st, 2015 by Rory Dunlop


This week saw the latest version of AdWords editor released (11.1), bringing further improvements to version 11 which was released late last year.

For those who aren’t aware of the tool, AdWords editor allows advertisers to make bulk edits and quickly change particular elements of their Google AdWords account.

The revamped version 11 brought with it a completely new layout, making it one of Google’s most comprehensive makeovers to date (see below). The navigation is distinctly fresher and admittedly took me a few days to become fully accustomed to. Version 11 did however come with some flaws and minor bugs, which seem to have been rectified with this latest 11.1 release.


JW 2


JW 2

In terms of the main new functions, Labels integration is probably the key one. Labels have been integral in the grouping of our campaigns, and having the functionality to edit and manage within the editor interface is of huge benefit from a time saving, organisational perspective. The vast array of colours also spice up the screen.

Another benefit of the upgrade is the ability to build call-only ads. Although we have only built these out on a small minority of accounts, the bulk creation and management of the feature has been still been adopted.

Other benefits such as upgraded URL support and spell checking in other languages can only further enhance account performance in other areas.

With the growing emphasis on Google shopping through online ecommerce, I’d be interested to see how this area evolves to become compatible with editor, perhaps it will be seen in 11.2!

Print isn’t dead

May 13th, 2015 by Simon Bollon


Dominic Mills (Ex Publisher of Haymarket and Editor of Campaign) wrote recently about the cover lines of magazines being detrimental to sales, and I’d have to agree that the salacious, personal ‘bullying’ and hyperbole of headlines is often off-putting.  The societal need for self-loathing and desperation for self-improvement in equal measures is well represented on many mainstream magazine front covers- it’s a damming statement for society that the biggest selling titles tend to cover horror stories you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies!

However, the need to shout is a consequence of cluttered and declining market. Who wants ordinary?

In April the Advertising Association and WARC released a report showing the advertising industry, as a whole, was in rude health with UK spend up 5.8% to £18.6bn.

National News brands and magazines were the only losers with print ad spend in steep decline, rescued only by the increase in digital income.

The problem newspapers and magazines face is the perception that they remain platforms that their names allude to; paper and print. In reality, consumption of those platforms are evenly spread across print and digital, and the platforms must work hard to be seen as news brands and content platforms.

In the news brand market the Sun and Times have limited their shift to digital due to the paywalls, but the likes of the Telegraph, Mail, Mirror, Guardian and Independent have seen huge shifts of reach from print to digital and, as such, their commercial structure has shifted also.


However there’s still a place for print. The recent UK elections demonstrated the power of press and the importance of the platforms as outlets for news, opinion….and bias!

Whilst the newspaper still saw a mixed bag of declining circulation or a period of stabilisation (probably worse than expected results?) their role in a democratic society should not be underestimated.



Daily Mirror, May 8th 2015. Staying true to its core!




For news brands, we should never underestimate the importance of these platforms for news distribution, opinion and information. In a content rich world, newspapers often remain the key platform to which society turns for knowledge.

In terms of magazines, several titles still return healthy circulation and readership figures. From TV Choice, to Glamour, Radio Times and Good Housekeeping, circulations for several titles are still in the hundreds of thousands.

We have several clients in the magazine market and we continue to give the channel due consideration for all clients. The change we have instigated is a shift of budget away from print to digital, but also from generic display advertising to more creative, more integrated ideas around content, native, inserts and competitions. Ultimately, using the titles to their strengths.

Magazines are a highly trusted medium and referred to for inspiration and ideas. Integrating with content and being part of that inspiration is one common tactic whether that’s online or in print.

They offer significant dwell time in a relatively uncluttered environment which means greater engagement.

The declining circulations also mean titles have become introspective, focusing on their customers, understanding their desires, needs and motivation and providing better content and better opportunities for advertisers. That makes them a compelling partner for us and our clients.

Magazine circulations will continue to decline and more consumers will shift to digital platforms but with more engaging and connecting content, magazines should remain on every client’s eye line.

As Sue Todd, Chief Executive of Magnetic, the magazine marketing agency stated, ‘Magazine media is growing in power and influence as consumers demand more compelling content which inspires ideas and helps them make choices in an ever more cluttered world’.

Client win: Costcutter Supermarkets Group

February 25th, 2015 by Simon Bollon

Costcutter appointment

We are very happy to confirm that we have been appointed by Costcutter Supermarkets Group to handle its media strategy and implementation following a four-way pitch.

This is a brilliant win for us; a client that saw the value in our ‘think and do better’ proposition. Our approach is around matching products with audience and utilising the most pertinent media in a new and creative manner. We will be also be playing a fundamental role in the gradual integration with digital. The cultural fit between the businesses was evident from the outset, and we’re confident we will be integral to an exciting growth period for Costcutter Supermarkets Group.

The decision to recruit a new media agency comes as the Group embarks on a brand new operations and marketing model – a change which will present positive opportunities and growth potential for its retailers. Working on a 17-period a year system, our media plan has been designed to complement the extensive marketing activity being undertaken internally.

Costcutter Supermarkets Group Marketing Director Jenny Wilson said of the appointment, “Our new vision and model marks a significant step change for us, and we were keen to work with a new media agency who would provide a fresh, strategic media plan with a difference. Boutique stood out as they displayed real creativity combined with an understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. Their industry experience offered the best of both worlds – an ability to support us on a full-scale, national level whilst supporting our ‘proud to be local’ ethos.”

I have issues – Rules for pitching agencies

February 5th, 2015 by Thomas Selby


I have issues… serious ones.

We all do; constantly defining ourselves and working out who we are.

Everything needs its place, its own defined set of rules and parameters.

We define, rationalise and compare everything in a bid to understand the world around us and, more importantly, help others see and think the same as us.

It’s these same factors driving me to write this post. In an attempt to share my thoughts and rationalise some information, I’m going to use the power of comparisons to make my point.

We’ve conducted a recent survey asking senior marketing personnel about how and why they pitch out to agencies.

According to the survey, a whopping 92% of companies review their agency structure because of creative stagnation, closely followed by poor account management at 85%.

It’s a bit like dating; if you keep eating at the same restaurant every week and stay out of contact for long periods of time, you’re going to end up single.

Continual account reviews are a must. Keep listening to clients and challenge the status quo. Just because you’ve done it before, doesn’t mean it will work next time.

If your partner keeps hearing from their friends how much fun they are having on dates, they will start feeling like they are missing out. You’re going to end up single.

Another huge factor driving account reviews was a change of personnel (55%). Agencies must hang onto key personnel. We don’t own stock or machinery, our assets are people, ideas and talent. Taking time to select the best people and then retaining them is as important as trademarking a brand or patenting product. I’ve written a blog about this here – http://weareboutique.co.uk/general/five-of-the-best/

Be yourself and be consistent because no one wants to date a schizophrenic. You’re going to end up single.

The survey also found that over 80% of the time the incumbent has a good chance of retaining the business. Agencies should always re-pitch, unless the relationship is unsalvageable.

You never know if they might still have feelings for you, tackle the issues head on and win them back, otherwise you’re going to end up single.

We also know that just under 50% of businesses review their agency structure annually. Tracking the review dates for prospective clients is imperative for agencies targeting growth.

If you forget an anniversary you’re going to end up single. If you’re already single, make sure you go out on Valentine’s Day.

40% of clients moving to a new marketing role review immediately with a massive 80% doing so in the first four months. Agencies must stay in touch with clients throughout their careers – forming professional yet personal relationships is key. Get interested and take them out once in a while.

It’s pretty hard for me to draw a similarity here but burning bridges is never a good idea, you never know when you might bump into someone. Awkward……

Life, work, life, work, balance. etc. etc. etc. Now I’ve got the clichés out of the way I can get to the point. Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, so why should we put less effort into the relationships we build there than the ones we build at home?

People want to work with people they like so unless your clients are masochists, act like you’re dating.