Getting your brand out could be a waste of money

Perfume bottle
Do you have £100,000 to spend getting your business name out to the world?

No, I didn’t think so!

Let me tell you about someone who does and the lesson we can learn from them.

Last week the Sunday Telegraph came wrapped in a full four-page advertisement for Chanel No 5 perfume.

When my husband picked up the paper his first words were “What’s all this rubbish then?” as he removed the wrap-around and headed for the recycling bin with it.

Being interested in promotion I rescued it from him and studied it.

The front page had the Sunday Telegraph masthead and a huge numeral 5 plus the barcode for the newspaper. That was it!

I’m not convinced that Chanel’s branding is that well known for people to have instantly made the connection. Maybe they didn’t think so either as the wrap-around continued inside.

On the inside the text read “No 5” and “A drop of No 5 and nothing else”. At the foot of the page in very small letters it read “NO 5 AND MARILYN MONROE INSIDE-CHANEL.COM”

The third full-sized sheet of the wrap-around showed a huge image of a bottle of No 5 perfume and the back page was a picture of Miss Monroe with the bottle and the same copy as on page 2.

I looked up the Sunday Telegraph rate card. They don’t quote a price for a wrap-around but an inside full page is £34,000 and the outside back cover is £33,500. So, conservatively I’d guess that wrap-around will have cost Chanel at least £100,000. And the circulation of the paper? 425,000!

So they’ve spent somewhere around 25p for every issue of the paper. And that doesn’t include the fee they’ll have paid to an advertising agency to come up with this idea!

How many households reacted just like my husband – remove the wrap-around and throw it in the recycling unread and certainly not acted upon?

Because, most importantly, Chanel have no way of measuring this advert’s effectiveness.


There was no direct response device, no special code to quote, nothing at all that would feed back any information to the company. So they don’t know that they’re not throwing all that money away.

John Wanamaker, a US department store merchant, is reported to have said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

When you have some kind of direct response mechanism it becomes possible to measure which half!

My takeaway from this is two-fold

  1. Chanel have an awful lot of money to throw away – which could be why their perfume is so expensive!
  2. Whenever you advertise it makes sense to include something that will allow you to track the effectiveness of your advert!

You could include a special offer, a coupon or code the enquirer has to quote, or a special department code in the address for postal replies.



To help you measure the effectiveness of the advert.

Don’t ever just throw money at advertising without tracking it.

For a small business that could be the difference between surviving or thriving!

And if you want any help crafting your adverts for most effectiveness, or ideas about tracking your adverts then do get in touch! Comment below or send me an email through the contact form.

3 comments on “Getting your brand out could be a waste of money

  1. I didn’t get the paper last weekend; but I do know what you’re talking about – because it matches their TV ad, doesn’t it? Or I’ve seen the Chanel/Monroe story talked about recently somewhere – her famous quote of what she wears to bed on cold nights!! Bit like myself, only I add socks, jammies and sometimes even keep my dressing gown on!!! (Very romantic in our house!!)

    Love your thoughts on tracking – must remember!

    Thanks for the interesting newsletter.


  2. Yes, they must have spent a small fortune on this! The TV ad is almost a mini documentary…..saw it for the first time last night. Thanks for the reminder re being able to track the response for an advertisement.

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