Case study William Hill Increasing efficiency at in-house studios

The overview

William Hill is one of the world’s leading betting and gaming companies with over 16,000 employees across 9 countries. Their Leeds-based office produces hundreds of ads per month for newspapers and magazines.

The challenge

  • Incorrect or unavailable spec information
  • Manual data entry
  • Repetitive process

The solution

  • Universally accessible specs, contacts, and schedules
  • Campaign cloning tool
  • Bulk upload and preflight

The outcome

  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced errors
  • More confidence regarding deadlines

In 2009, William Hill decided to review their advertising production processes. Print advertising was a strong avenue for their company, addressing newspapers and magazine consumers all across the UK, but the process was, in its current format, costly and time consuming. As press marketing manager Neil Foggin described it: “print wasn’t dead by any stretch of the imagination; it was alive and kicking and costing us a fortune!” To continue investing in quality print advertising, the brand decided to focus on increasing efficiency. In 2009, they ended their long-standing relationships with creative agencies to establish an ad production department in-house. “We set up an in-house studio for efficiency reasons - to save money and to save time.” Efficiency is essential for a brand that produces hundreds of ads every month. The venture successfully increased creative control and simplified the production process, but operating in-house presented its own set of challenges.

“The Specle Campaign tool has saved us so much time and has made us more confident about making deadlines.”
Neil Foggin,
Press Marketing Manager, William Hill

“There were a lot of boxes to fill in, and a lot of admin work.” The manual work required to distribute large volumes of advertising to numerous publishers resulted
in a time-consuming process that was liable to human error. William Hill weren’t aware of any workflow solutions on the market, despite the fact that, increasingly, more companies were setting up production studios in-house. Then, in 2013 Specle initiated a meeting to present their new product, and William Hill realised that Specle could solve their efficiency problem. The solution came in the form of Specle Campaign.

Specle Campaign centralises the ad delivery process for large brands and agencies. It is a cloud-based platform for browsing specs, hosting media schedules, preflighting artwork, and delivering ads.

Because Specle has “caught on to the fact that the world is changing, from a technology point of view and from a customer point of view”, Specle Campaign is designed to help brands easily run in-house production studios. For William Hill, Specle Campaign was a tool other suppliers “couldn’t compete with”. The ability to clone campaigns, and to upload and deliver multiple ads simultaneously increased efficiency and lowered costs. The implementation “was straightforward because the system is similar to other ad delivery systems. But what Specle could offer in addition was a simplified and comprehensive process.”

For William Hill, the biggest advantages to working with Specle have been the “knowledge, the passion, the campaign tool and the Colour Engine.” Colour quality became more significant after the company changed their branding in 2016. Neil Foggin remembers that, “initially, colour wasn’t very important, it was a very expensive product, and part of an investment we weren’t prepared to make.” Yet, in late 2016, Specle launched Specle Colour, an affordable colour conversion and amendment tool that integrates into the Specle Campaign workflow. This allowed William Hill to invest in optimal colour while still operating efficiently and economically.

Today, the two companies communicate often and work together to further improve the production process for in-house studios.

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