Richard Robinson: I got the fantastic category which is best website and I, further than that, got four good fun people who I know very well to come on as the judging panel. Now, just to make sure you know everybody I had, I had fantastic Tamara Strauss who is the Director of Global Cross Brand Communications at Intercontinental Hotels Group globally. Which basically means that Tamara gets to look after the world’s largest, all the core competencies marketing disciplines within the world’s largest hotel chain. Secondly, I got to work with Yianni Papadopoulos. Yianni cut his teeth at Procter and Gamble before he went to Omega Pharma where he is now the Marketing Director for the UK and Ireland and he’s got two sides to his job: on the one hand, he’s reigniting some of the old classics that you’ll all remember from when you were younger, taking lots of, well your parents gave you lots of drugs to take which were things like Jungle Formula, Nytol and Solpadeine and he’s about to do a massive attack into the UK with future brands: XLS Medical, Prevalin and Dermalex. Yianni will explain to you in the bar later what all of those things do!
Richard Robinson: Lastly, well almost last we have Bryan Scott. Bryan is the marketing communications director of Metro newspapers, so if you ever wondered, in the morning, the voice of London which is clearly Metro, that probably everybody here reads when they go into work. Bryan is the man who’s responsible for that! And last, but by no means least, Zaid Al-Qassab. Zaid is the Managing Director of beauty and grooming for Procter and Gamble but more importantly, and he is going to get two minutes to do a little party political broadcast, he is Mr Movember, so the guy behind all the moustaches that all of you are seeing popping up…well apart from Bob Gamble from the Royal British Legion because I know it’s there the whole time! But Zaid is the man responsible for any moustaches that you’re see in your agency or your brand office at the moment! So without further ado, I promised Zaid that he can big up Movember for two minutes to all of you.
Zaid Al-Qassab: Thank you. I’m certainly not the person responsible for all the moustaches! There’s a wonderful team at Movember – I’ve been there on secondment this year for the last few months helping them with their marketing and their future strategy. And many of you friendly faces that I see in the room have allowed me to come into your agencies and brainwash all of your people. I’ve been trying to harness the creative juices of London and of our industry, so thank you very much to all my friends in the audience who’ve allowed me to do that. Movember is a wonderful little story. Ten years ago, a group of friends met in a pub and after a few beers, they had an idea. All good ideas happen after a few beers in my experience! And they decided to embark on this amazing journey which ten years later, resulted in them raising last year more than £90 million around the world. They, like all good ideas, it’s built on a fantastic insight and that insight is that men don’t like talking about their health and therefore by growing a moustache and creating a visible signal, you have an unavoidable conversation starter. Based on the more than a million men who took part last year, we estimate that more than two billion conversations about men’s health resulted and those people recommended to their friends and family and typically to their fathers to go to the doctor and get checked out and make sure that they’re fit and healthy. And many of you do take part – the thing that many of you don’t know is where the 90 million quid goes.
Zaid Al-Qassab: Movember funds three different things: it funds Prostate cancer research. In the UK that’s through Prostate Cancer UK and Movember’s their single biggest donor. It funds testicular cancer research through the Institute for Cancer Research and it also funds programmes into men’s mental health. If you think that those things might not be relevant to you then you should probably think again. 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime and in the case of mental illness, it’s estimated now that 1 in 4 men suffer from mental illness in any single year which is quite shocking and not much talked about. So when you see someone with a mo and you want to make a cheap jibe at them, please go ahead and enjoy yourself, but also please remember what’s behind it and do spread the word. So I think many of the men here don’t need to be told to check their balls but if you’re one of the men who isn’t regularly doing so then I’d encourage you to check away! Thank you very much.
Richard Robinson: So without further ado, we had a large quantity of websites to look at and we’ll play the film which will show you who the shortlist is.
Richard Robinson: So there we have it. We have 3 on the shortlist which is Zone, TMW and WCRS. What you probably don’t see is that we spend a lot of clients, with people like this, trying to get them to justify their decisions. So when they’re talking to us about why they happen to like a particular agency, we’re asking them the question of why a heck of a lot. So when we got together and we sat down in the room, we got all these websites to have a look at. One of the first questions, I can’t remember who asked it but some asked it, which was “so what’s the criteria then?” And I said “well I don’t know, because we don’t quite know what the criteria are, you need to tell us what the criteria are”. And then we got this “No really what is the criteria?” I genuinely didn’t know what the criteria were. So we spent a good amount of time talking about what it is it when you try to get into a website that you’re looking for? If your mate, who happens to be Marketing Director at Coast, sends you an email saying “oh check out this website” what is it that you’re actually interested in? If Peter sends you a website and says “I’ve just seen something that’s quite interesting”, what are the things that are going to make the difference and are actually going to connect with you as a client? Because for us at Oystercatchers, we always want to dig underneath why things are going on and what the things are that are making the difference.
Richard Robinson: There were the criteria that Zaid, Bryan, Tamara and Yianni collectively came up with to describe what it is when they’re sitting there in their offices looking at websites (as obviously they’re doing 8 hours a day!) what are the things that actually for them are very important? And they pulled out these 5 very interesting points. One was around immediate impact, the second was around ease of navigation. So immediate impact, does it actually grab you straight away? Ease of navigation, can I actually get around this website? Is it obvious and intuitive what’s happening? What’s the speed of use? So can you quickly get around? Can you find out films which are in there, maybe look at results? Optimisation, which I know the guys are going to talk about – we talked about this a huge amount. And then lastly about the agencies and actually a clear sense of who the agency is and what’s going on if it’s the spirit of the agency or the words that we’re reading about the agency come through. Do they translate when you’re looking at it in a digital format? So I’m going to start off with Mr Zaid after he gave you your two minutes. So overall, when you were looking at all the websites, what struck you the most about what you were reviewing and what you were seeing from the agencies?
Zaid Al-Qassab: Well firstly I thought that the quality was really high and I’m pleased that it no longer seems to be the job of the intern to do the website, but I’d love to say that the really important things up there on the wall were what struck me, the personality or the philosophy of the agency, the quality of the work and the results and so-on. But even though that’s the most important thing, what struck me most was that some of the hygiene factors weren’t always being dealt with well. So, I was browsing on either my phone or a tablet, because that represents the mobile situation which I’d probably be in when I had a bit of spare time to do this sort of work, almost certainly not at my desk, and it was really tough to find sites that were optimised for the device agnostic. Some of the other hygiene factors like how quickly you could navigate, whether you could even find the context that you needed, all of that sort of stuff was not universally dealt with sufficiently which is a shame because I wanted to focus on the work and the philosophy of the agency!
Richard Robinson: It was interesting for me as a judge. My biggest insight was when I said “let’s review the website”. Without any prompting, Zaid pulled out his tablet, Bryan pulled out his smartphone. We had a computer in the room – Tamara pulled out her laptop, Yianni, I don’t know you were looking out of the window at the time! But the point being is that I naively assumed that everybody was going to crowd round this computer that I had that we had set up in the room, but everybody said no, they wanted to wanted to review it how they reviewed an agencies website. So we had this multi-platform viewing session going on and we learned very quickly that a number of the websites, actually one person would get immediately removed from the viewing experience that they were involved in. Was there any other insight on the first question that Bryan or Tamara or Yianni would like to chuck in around the overall quality of the work?
Bryan Scott: Yes, the mobile thing was so important, by mobile I mean all devices, it was just one of those things that as you say came really naturally to everyone, and the ones that didn’t cut the mustard, albeit we were in a fairly artificial environment. We were sat round looking at one after another after another, four of us round a table. But if it just didn’t work, we cast it to one side very quickly and there was no disagreement about that. It was very much a case of “it doesn’t work – stick it away”.
Richard Robinson: Ok thank you. Tamara, would you like to give us a little insight. What were some of the things that you found that you really loved? And then maybe some of the things that you didn’t love when you were looking through?
Tamara Strauss: Well I think we’ve already covered off the aspects about the search and so-forth. If we couldn’t find a website easily on any of the search engines, we kind of gave up. Also, understanding a bit about the domain – if the domain was too clever, that just didn’t link in to the name of the agency, again it impacted search. We wanted to know that agencies were investing as much time in their own websites as they would in clients’ and so it became apparent that sometimes agencies spend so much time on their clients’ sites, they sometimes forget their own. We couldn’t do things like actually find the contact details for the Business Development Director or we were taken off onto a new browser as part of your network agency contacts. Not necessarily finding the contact details for the UK. So they were quite frustrating.
Richard Robinson: I’m just going to cut in there: the quote of the day for me was, the person will remain nameless who said it, but they said: “I can’t believe it; this agency is actually hiding their contact details on there. I actually feel like I want to ring them up to tell them that they’re hiding their contact details.”
Tamara Strauss: It was great when it was easy to find out the content. You know what do you actually do? Without having to go deep down into the content and go “ah digital agency – I know what I’m going to be getting”. There were quite a few, as you say, the basic hygiene factors weren’t always coming across but generally the quality was good and good use of graphics, but we wanted to make sure that there was the content that linked into search that then meant that we found the right site as quickly as possible.
Richard Robinson: Thank you. Bryan – I always think Bryan’s interesting because as most of you know the big thing with Metro is (I hope you’ve all downloaded the app) Metro is moving from a paper-based format to an app format. I hope you all download it because it’s a very fantastic app, isn’t it Bryan? I promised you I’d do that! My question for you is how important is the agency to you? When you’re looking at websites, how important is the agency behind the website to you, or is it about finding somebody who will just get the job done?
Bryan Scott: I think, as Tamara and Zaid both talked about, getting those hygiene factors right is incredibly important so you got a really good gist of what the agency is about. Some of the sites that we looked at, and this isn’t to take away from the creativity or the beauty in the execution of the sites, but sometimes you just can struggle to understand what is it they actually do? What are they trying to tell us is their core specialism? And I think the team that talked about the cred’s talked about that as well which was, just tell us what you do! Even when we boiled down to the last few agency sites and then we got to the shortlist, we started seeing a very clear and it wasn’t always a case of a functional piece. It wasn’t like “we do, let’s say mobile, or we do digital or whatever”, it gave you an idea of the context behind the agency, the way that they thought and the way that they would operate. It wasn’t always the first thing that we thought of. If we got to the point where we couldn’t find the work or we couldn’t find the contact details, again, having all that stuff there didn’t really matter. I don’t know if anyone would add anything else.
Richard Robinson: Thank you. Yianni, the last question for yourself. So, probably the biggest question of all, what do you actually use an agency website for? And then when and why do you find yourself looking at them? Is it the ‘big thing’ at 8 o’clock in the morning when you get to your desk or is it something else?
Yianni Papadopoulos: When do I find that I look at agency websites? Usually actually when I see a piece of work, that’s usually it. I don’t find an agency name, usually they’re acronyms of something to be hones so I don’t normally remember those, but if I see a good piece of work I will immediately go and look it up. That’s the first thing I do and that leads me then to the agency website. The other reason is you Richard, you often prompt me to look at agency websites! Is that a good plug? So thank you Oystercatchers for that! One more build just on what everyone else has said, I think we’ve talked a lot about the optimisation, about the work, tell us what you do, I think that’s all very important. For me actually, personality is very important actually because at the end of the day it’s all about people, what they believe in and having a point of view. Maybe that’s obvious to most people as well, but for me that’s something that grabs me when I look at an agency website. I’m not just looking at optimisation or the contact details, I’m also looking at why are you guys different? What’s your edge?
Richard Robinson: Excellent. Thank you. So, without further ado, same as last time, so Yianni is going to announce the agency from the shortlist of three who won and we’re going to attempt to do a bit of a double act. He’s going to talk about all of the reasons why the panel voted this agency as the winner, and at the same time, seamlessly, I’m going to attempt to drive this live but I’m not sure what he’s going to say so we’ll dot around it! But hopefully because the websites so good, it will all work quite well. If not I’ll look like a bit of a tit! And then we’ll ask the winning Managing Director to come up! So Yianni, without further ado, the winner of the Best Website 2013 is….
Chris Pearce: Do I get an award?
Yianni Papadopoulos: Yeah, well I won’t lie I had to remind myself last night about your website, but I’ve got to say, when you land on it my god it’s like you’re in the movies! It’s beautiful! The production values are incredible and it’s instantly engaging any eye-catching and not just because of Kelly Brook! I think the second thing is simplicity – I’m a big fan of that. I think using plain English is very important. You have very clear principles, that’s very important to me as well. You have a point of view and for me, that comes out very clearly in your website. You can’t see it there, but on my iPhone and on my tablet, it’s very easy to navigate. Your menu’s dead simple, about us etc. You don’t try to be too clever – that really works! The final thing is engagement – your work. Great work by the way and again it’s not just because of the Lynx girls! There’s many videos of the Lynx girls here – it was late last night! But I think the way you presented them, I’ve got to say, first of all having the results there, having the context there of why they were special etc. But just having a video that in a minute or two told you why it’s a special piece of work. That’s the main thing that I look at to be honest when I go “right – these guys are for me”. So on those counts, it was a fantastic website and well done!
Tamara Strauss: There was one other thing that we loved about the website that was that you have an elevator pitch in there. We loved the fact that you had a two floor elevator pitch that actually took two minutes so that kept us reasonably entertained as well.