When Marketing Comms go wrong… Gourmet Burger Kitchen

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Gourmet Burger Kitchen GBK hits the headlines – for all the wrong reasons.

When you choose your marketing messages, you have to be clear what the potential outcomes will be.  We would be very surprised if this was their intended outcome on their latest campaign…


You MUST NOT exploit beliefs to push your brand. Never, Never, Never.

We’re all sensitive souls inside, no matter how hardened the exterior.  It’s never right to say “…they won’t mind…” when planning the assassination of someone’s personal beliefs.

  • YES – you may make a big noise.
  • YES – you may push your brand onto everyone’s radar, even if they they like / hate / don’t care about the issues you’ve exploited.
  • YES – you may see an increase in sales as your debate widens.
  • YES – you may establish strong expression of passion for your brand (both negative and positive), where previously there was non..


  • You will alienate the people you offend.
  • You will degrade or totally destroy the value of your brand with some people.
  • You risk very serious consequences.  Even if your messaging is not illegal, a substantial boycott can destroy even the most solid and predictable of cash flows.
  • You will be seen as a brand who don’t mind firing cheap nasty tactics to get what they want.

People make mistakes – even in marketing… so say sorry, and mean it!

OK, hands up, everyone is capable of making mistakes, but there must have been a number of people that thought this campaign was a good idea.  Indeed, GBK’s response suggests they had no idea how many (loud) people they were going to upset:

We’ve been reading the reaction to our latest advertising campaign and needless to say, we’re quite taken aback. The last thing we ever intended to do was offend or alienate vegetarians. The same vegetarians that we’ve looked after and fed since our very first restaurant. Our intentions were light-hearted and not meant to cause any offence, but clearly we have, and for that we apologise.

While we’ve served beef at the core of our menu since 2001, we’ve always catered well to the veggies out there, and that’s never going to change.

So having read all your comments and messages, we’ve made the decision to take down some of the adverts. We’ll still serve beef. We’ll still serve veggie burgers. But hopefully we’ll not tread on anyone’s toes while doing it. Best, GBK.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Facebook Page.


How can you mitigate risk – on a risky campaign idea?

We don’t think GBK’s intention was to antagonise or otherwise upset people.  But clearly the negative response has been substantial – and fast!  In our digital world, a proactive opinion will move quickly.  And, if you truly didn’t intend that reaction, you can’t delay your response.  And GBK’s response above is reasonable, albeit the horse has now already bolted.

We’ve heard many ideas that start of as a laugh between a few colleagues in a pub that spiral into a more detailed concept (…we’re not saying that this is how it happened).  But you must always be diligent before you commission an idea.

When does pushing boundaries become trampling the beliefs and feelings?  Here’s our very simple six step guide that we use to determine whether an idea is a good one or not:


  1. SLEEP ON AN IDEA (if you can!).  What seems like a great idea in a meeting can appear quite bad on reflection.
  2. LISTEN to both your advocates and your critics.  They may be wrong, but you should always consider a span of views.
  3. BRAINSTORM OUTCOMES – be true and realistic.  Explore every possible outcome and align that outcome to a stereotype or group.
  4. RATE YOUR RISK AND ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES – For instance, think; are vegetarians and supporting organisations known for taking a “joke” aimed at their beliefs, or are they likely to be noisily unhappy?  What could happen to the brand and business in the Short / Long term?
  5. THINK ABOUT BRAND – With all of the above in mind, is the communication likely to be a positive alignment with your brand? Or will you flush years of good branding work down the toilet?  Are you a posh, well respected brand that never wants to offend, or is your brand commonly aligned with South Park style insensitivity?
  6. PLAN REACTIONS – If you want to be edgy, pre-plan your responses.  If your messaging goes down well, how will you grow it?  Where are your boundaries?  If it risks tanking your brand, how can you restore normality?

Make Good…

If you’ve hit the lowest point, you’ve got to act fast or put your recovery at risk.  Our suggestions below are based on common sense and decency, which is what you will need to get people back on side…

  • Apologise and accept responsibility.
  • Be honest. Admit that what you intended as a “light-hearted joke” seemed like a good idea, but that it was a serious mistake and you acknowledge that.
  • Be clear that you didn’t intend to cause offence (unless you did, then shame on you!).
  • Reassure people that you’ll avoid similar mistakes in the future.  Detail HOW you will do this.  In this case, we’d suggest, in addition to our 6 rules above, that a stakeholder panel could express views before the public are exposed to an idea.
  • Make peace – if you’ve offended people, open the door and invite them in.  Listen to their concerns.
  • Always act on your promises – the internet never forgets!


We’re following this on FB.  Feel free to join the debate:



Its TV Commercial Substantiation Day at Concept TV!

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It’s “Substantiation Day” at Concept TV today!  So below, our expert shares some of our techniques and explains how it all works.

So, we’re busy pulling together all the research collected over the last few months into a full television advertising script report, and we thought you might like to know how broadcast compliance works.  So below, our Clearcast TV Advertising Compliance expert explains how we navigate the UK’s most regulated advertising medium.

Can you make a TV Commercial and broadcast it, similar to press advertising? Or do TV Adverts have to be approved before they are transmitted?

Unless the TV Channel handles their own compliance (none of the major ones do – in fact only a small handful do), every TV Commercial must be pre-approved for broadcast.

With every TV Commercial that is broadcast on TV in the UK, it has to be supported with a complete set of documentation proving each and every claim or visual.  If Clearcast, (the clearance authority) and their consultants, agree that the substantiation proves the claims you want to make in your TV Commercial, then your “clock number” is approved for broadcast.

Here’s a list of typical TV Advertising Script Claims that are more complicated than they seem:

“We’re number 1”

“(anything) FREE!”

“We’re the cheapest”

“We’re the best” or “We’re better than the rest”

“Lifetime Guarantee”

“A Quick Spray to Remove Mould”


Whilst those claims seem fairly standard in print or on a shop-front display, TV’s influential nature means broadcasters have to be very careful.  Likewise, two TV Advertising Clients couldn’t claim to both be “Number 1”, it would undermine consumer confidence in TV Commercial Advertising.

Here’s some free script / copywriting advice for you.  Instead of the unattainable claim “we are the cheapest”, you could instead run with “…the lowest price, we’ll give you the difference back!”.  Now, so long as you can prove you have reasonable grounds to assume you are the cheapest (competitor references, identical offering), and you have the where-with-all to back up your money-back guarantee, you should achieve Clearcast Approval.

Why is it essential to have a Clearcast Approved Clock Number before broadcasting?

Clearcast represent the broadcasters – who in turn have an obligation under their broadcasting license (issued by OFCOM) to ensure that anything they transmit is legal, decent, honest and does not mislead the consumer.  Broadcasters stand to lose badly if the don’t fully comply with these rules.  Penalties for non compliance include being fined substantial sums of money and they even risk losing their license to broadcast all together.  Why is compliance so important?  Because TV is considered to be one of the most powerful and influential mediums in the world!

What are some of the aspects of Concept TV’s Broadcast Compliance work?

  • Conduct further detailed research into the products performance, consumer reviews and competitor products (and their advertising copywriting),
  • Designing, Commissioning of controlled Product Tests, with final Report Generation,
  • Contacting industry peers for review,
  • Linking up the details the client is able to provide to us (in some cases this is highly commercially confidential) and then filling the gap to satisfy Clearcast’s agenda.
  • Conducting product demonstration photographs and videos.
  • Conducting consumer surveys.
  • Generating a compelling report with all of the above to convince the consultants

If Clearcast has further questions about the claims, it’s sent back to the agency and we then have the substantial task of gathering sufficient evidence that the claims are valid.

What happens if a TV Commercial claim is rejected?

Sometimes a compromise between broadcast compliance and the advertisers ideal script is required.  Again, that’s where Concept TV come in as an experienced TV Agency.  Our copywriter will work to identify powerful words and phrases that are compliant, but also say what the client wants (as far as possible!).  If you’d like to know more about this aspect, ask us about our Solid Wood vs. Real Wood submissions.

Its important to choose a Full Service TV Advertising Agency, not just a production company.

As a full service TV Advertising Agency, it’s our job to liaise with our client and Clearcast (the compliance agency) to ensure the ads we broadcast are legal, decent and honest.  As a rule of thumb, we won’t pick up the camera until we have a Clearcast approved TV Commercial Script.  Any production company that does is risking it’s clients money.  What if you’ve filmed £60,000 worth of TV Commercial, but then it’s rejected and you need to re-shoot?  We’ve had a number of clients come to us with exactly that problem – and we’ve had to help them pick up the pieces!

Not only will we help deal and mitigate the compliance aspect, but we’ll also work with you and explain how Clearcast and their consultants are likely to interpret the BCAP (Broadcast Code Of Practice) guidelines when looking at your intended claims.  After all, you don’t want to broadcast a TV Commercial that ends up being pulled off-air, resulting in expensive loss of airtime budget.

Are you having problems with Clearcast / Broadcast Copy Compliance?

Give us a call now on 0203 002 92 42.  We’ve got 12 years of experience obtaining Clearcast approval for all manner of products and services.  From HG Mould Spray and Drain Unblocker chemicals through to domestic appliances by Morphy Richards, Kitchens to safety devices.  We’ve achieved approval for every single product that we’ve been presented with – and thats something we’re really proud of!

Want to know more about TV Advertising Compliance? Call us now – 0203 002 92 42.

JOB VACANCIES – Sales Jobs at Concept TV.

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Sales Job Vacancies at Concept Television Studios Limited.

We are advertising a Commission Based Sales Role at Concept TV. We’re looking for 2 talented sales professionals to join our team at a fast growing TV Advertising agency in Hemel Hempstead, UK.

We started out back in 2004 and have grown year-on-year since.  We’re now at the stage where, following significant investment in our facilities, we’re ready to take on new business and engage with new and bigger brands.

Sales Job Role

You would be responsible for generating new business for our TV Advertising and Commercial Video Production services.  You would be expected to research, contact and meet with potential clients.  Our Director would accompany you to early meetings to provide support with our product range.

We would provide a hot-desk with computer and telephone at our studios based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, UK, where you would be expected to undertake the role.

You don’t need to understand all aspects of our industry (but experience in this area would be beneficial) – as all training will be provided during induction.

A healthy commission will be paid on each direct sale you generate covering TV Commercial Production, TV Media Buying and TV Advertising & Video Consultancy Services, as well as any of our Corporate or Live video production products.  There’s great ongoing sales commissions to be earned with any long term clients that you generate (which is our overall goal).

Rates of commission subject to negotiation before commencing this role, but we would expect a successful sales person to achieve  On Target Earnings (O.T.E.) commission payments in excess of £40,000 – £60,000 per annum.  We will also pay bonuses when you achieve and exceed monthly sales targets.  After 6 months, we will review your performance with the possibility of a salaried contract.

The Ideal Candidate

You should have experience in B2B sales negotiations, have a long term goal, be highly motivated and have a passion to reach sales targets. Bonuses paid when targets are reached and exceeded!

We will provide a desk and basic training at our offices, but you should have your own car (and be insured for work driving) to attend client meetings . Expenses are paid for travel to meet clients from our premises.

You should also have good experience / knowledge of:

  • Microsoft Word.
  • Microsoft Excel.
  • Microsoft Outlook.
  • CRM systems.

Email your CV along with a cover note explaining why you WOULD like to work with us to recruitment@conceptstudios.co.uk and call 0203 002 92 42.