I hate bursting other people’s balloons – but when it saves someone £4,000 I can live with it.

The balloon in question was an ‘offer of a lifetime’ double-page spread advertising deal in a celebrity magazine that one of my clients had signed up for after being contacted directly by the advertising team from the publishing house for a stable of such magazines.

On the face of it, it did seem a good deal and the client was chuffed with the promise of being in a magazine read by fans of this celebrity, who were also the client’s target market. And, as a bonus, there would also be a link on the homepage of the celeb’s website to an online version of the magazine.

The first I knew about the deal being done was when the client asked me to liaise with the publisher, write the article and provide photography from our library of images.

Before I could start work on the article I needed more information about the audience I was writing for, so I requested a full media pack that profiled the readership. I also requested details of how and where the magazine was being distributed.

I waited and waited.

When I finally got a response, the answers were so woolly it was untrue. It turns out that the publisher was only going to print 30,000 copies and hand-deliver them to affluent homes. When challenged on this, the publisher had no data to support this claim.anonymous icon

To make matters worse, I called a couple of companies who had advertised in the previous edition to gather their thoughts and their responses merely confirmed my suspicions.

The call to the client outlining the reasons why I thought the advertising deal wasn’t anything approaching value for money wasn’t a great one. It was made harder with the reminder that I’m always available to discuss the merits of advertising offers before the client signs on the dotted line.

Nobody likes a smart arse, but I’m happy to be one when acting in the best interests of clients.

Any guesses who the celebrity is? Even though I couldn’t possibly say!