3-year marketing contract for ISSA

Apparatus has been awarded a 3 year contract to promote ISSA’s global conference to be held at the new Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge in London. ISSA is the International Shipsuppliers & Services Association and each year, up to 1500 of its members from around the world gather together to discuss best practice. In addition to marketing, our team will be designing and creating print and event marketing collateral. We will also be sourcing offers and events from our London partners to add glamour to this already prestigious event.

28,000 product Magento site now live

Newly launched – our latest Magento site offshoresupply.co.uk. Designed and developed for Altham’s, an international ships’ supply company, the website will facilitate their 24 hour, same day offering. New retail features will continue to be developed within the retail framework.

Clarins’ UK winner selects Apparatus

This year’s national salon award winners for Clarins have retained Apparatus as their full service marketing agency. Impressed by the extent of our retail and beauty experience we will be working on all of their marketing with a specific brief to focus on  digital marketing and social media to ensure that we spread news of their success.

First Playstation, now Club Penguin

Until now, kids’ faith in technology has been unshakable. For kids who relegate DVDs and email to the realms of ‘old technology’ there have been a few shocks this spring. Firstly we had the suspension of the Playstation network and then this week, Disney apparently forgot to renew the Club Penguin url. This meant that kids were met with a picture of an old bloke playing golf instead of cyber seabirds. How analogue can it get!

I wonder what the uplift in computer mouse sales has been. Will parents replace the thousands that have been destroyed by the jabbing disbelief of the kids who don’t realise that ultimately it is fallible human beings (largely of their parents’ generation) who bring these technical wonders to life on a daily basis.

Can Mary Portas rescue the High Street?

The news that Nick Clegg has called Mary Portas in to rescue the British High Street has stimulated much debate today.  Certainly it seems that something must be done.  18 months ago flash discounting provoked an instant sales spike for most retailers.  

But in the last few days alone via email and SMS we have received 30% from Jaeger, 20% from White Stuff, 20% from Boden, 20% from Jack Wills, 20% Habitat and a paltry 10% from M& S …  The result, of course, is that if you’re asked to pay full price for something you simply won’t.

Looking forward, as retailers crawl out of recession, offers like these will have to be anniversaried in retail calendars which creates a spiral of discounting that is hard to escape from.

But if brands like these are being forced to discount at such a level what hope is there for High Street survival?  The answer partly lies in delighting customers ever further.  Recent pleasures that the Apparatus team have enjoyed include the cinema for kids and dads in the White Stuff store in Nottingham; a spontaneous glass of fizz to aid decision making in the fitting rooms at Hobbs and fantastic aftersales service at Heals who replaced a chandelier 6 years after purchase without a quibble.  These brands succeeded in provoking a fuzzy warm glow (of course fizz always helps with that) which means we’ll return.  White Stuff in particular is onto a winner given that their clothes are most likely aimed at mums. By sacrificing precious retail square footage they have captured their audience with one swipe and are now top of any city centre destination list for their target market.

It is this kind of shopping theatre that cannot be matched by websites, however many apps they develop.  If retailers turn a store visit into a pleasure and have every branch managed by a good team of people who make customers feel good they will increase transaction values and loyalty no end.

We’d be interested to hear of others who have had a particularly good (or bad) retail experience recently.  Let us know and we’ll send them through to Mary.

Retailers doing the Royal Wedding

London stores are decked out in their wedding finery – so who’s doing it well?  The Apparatus role of honour goes to:


Liberty wins our vote for its dry British humour

Runner Up: New Look for being bang on the mood of the nation.

Point Of Sale

Body Shop


John Lewis

Budget Busting


Booby prize

Shockingly for us goes to Selfridges for not trying very hard and being too commercial

The funniest reviews on Amazon!!

The most entertaining Amazon review pages?  We’re just wondering how the Paul Ross canvases would look in the newly decorated Apparatus offices, it could really set off the Farrow & Ball.

Maybe Tuscan whole milk will be our tipple for the weekend to accompany our fresh whole rabbit.  As we feast we’ll be wearing our 3 wolf moon shirts whilst listening to Katie Price and Peter Andre’s album.  So – dinner with us sounds good – who’s up for it?

Make our day – post to our collection if you know of any better ones.

Happy Friday

Great Brand Extension

Havaianas, the cult flip-flop brand, has circumvented seasonality by introducing a range of wellies into the UK.  A triumph of strategic thinking, they echo the range of colours and designs of the flip flops and are priced comfortably below Hunter (the current object of desire).  Launching at Easter, well in time for the festival season and the British summer, they are bound to be an example of great brand extension in action.

iOS conversions not showing in search

A study by Marin Software has shown that the growing use of iOS devices (iPads, iPhones & iPods) is having a serious effect on paid search results – up to 80% of conversions are being missed.

This is because Safari, the default browser on iOS devices blocks third party cookies making conversion tracking very difficult.  At the moment only about 5% of paid search traffic comes from iOS devices but as the popularity of Apple continues to soar, the effectiveness of PPC campigns is going to be continually underestimated.