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Tag 8 Media: Andrew Franks

An alternative media company taps into the receptiveness of consumers while they enjoy their favourite beverage.

Juliet Pitman

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Andrew Franks of Tag 8 Media

“Advertisers are continually searching for new and innovative ways to speak to their markets, ways that cut through the clutter and deliver a powerful, focused, cost-effective message,” says Andrew Franks. It was while drinking coffee on holiday in New York City that Franks hit upon just such an innovative new brand communication tool – a tag attached to the handle of a coffee cup.
“Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world – people drink over 1,6 billion cups of coffee every day. When they visit coffee shops they are in a relaxed environment and receptive to interesting messages. The idea I had was to create holistic campaigns that give brands targeted exposure, provide consumers with relevant and interesting messages and uplift the coffee
environment,” says Franks of the vision behind Tag 8 Media.

Developing strategic partnerships

With over a decade’s experience working in the advertising industry, Franks has a knack for creating tactical ambient media that allows a brand to interact personally with a clearly defined market. The key to Tag 8’s success is to create strategic partnerships between like-minded brands and coffee partners. “The trick is to partner the right brands with the sought-after coffee drinking market, targeting consumers in their leisure time when they have time to absorb a message. Advertising is restricted to one message per cup and there is a high level of accuracy and penetration in blue-chip shopping centres across a national network,” says Franks. With these unique advantages and Tag 8’s fresh innovative approach, it’s little wonder that brands like Levi Jeans, Mini Cooper, X-Box, Adidas, Virgin Active, Sony Ericsson and Nestlé Gold Chocolate have grabbed the opportunity to be involved. The deal is equally attractive to coffee partners who get a commission and are able to offer their customers an enhanced coffee environment. Partners have included the likes of Seattle Coffee Co, Mugg & Bean, Vida e Caffè and a large network of independent cafés.

Diversifying the offering

When it started, the company offered branded coffee cup tags and sleeves. Today, Tag 8 has diversified its offering into a host of innovative and alternative media channels, including coffee cup advertising, table top advertising, wi-fi, sampling and activations.
One of Tag 8’s latest projects combines all three in a holistic alternative media campaign for Lufthansa German Airlines. Launched across 35 Seattle coffee stores nationwide it uses Tag 8 table-tops, coffee cup advertising and wi-fi to encourage customers to register online and qualify for a discounted Lufthansa airline ticket. “We’ve used a patented tablewrap, a first for the South African market,” says Franks of the unique material he’s sourced from a UK supplier. “It’s a transparent filmique that encapsulates the entire table surface and allows consumer advertising to be securely displayed on tabletops – it is tamper resistant, heat resistant and FDA approved which means it can be in direct contact with food,” he adds. The Lufthansa campaign is a prime example of how effective coffee cup advertising can be. “The campaign ran from 15 September to 15 December with three phases of staggered discount redemption. Lufthansa’s tabletop message, together with marketing on Seattle coffee sleeves and tags, offered an incredibly unique opportunity for it to reach prospective travellers at a time when they are open and receptive to marketing messages,”
explains Franks.

Ideas driven

He’s constantly looking for new ways to bring clients innovative, effective alternative media campaigns. So it helps that he’s an “ideas guy”. But he’s quick to point out that Tag 8’s ideas don’t come in a box, out of a mould or on a production line.
“It’s about looking at the message that the brand wants to communicate and then providing the right campaign and the right platform to reach a highly targeted audience at the right time,” he says. Such innovation, together with Franks’ energy and first-mover advantage, look set to secure Tag 8 the leading position in what is one of the fastest growing outdoor advertising segments.

Company: Tag 8 Media
Player: Andrew Franks
Est: 2006
Contact +27 21 412 29 32
www.tag8.co.za

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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