Monday, 17 December 2007

Chocolate Gift Retailer Launches Cross Correlation to its affiliate program

Hotel Chocolat are delighted to announce that with the launch of their new US company they are extending their gifts affiliate program to work across both their existing site and new US website,, via a new cross-account correlation featured.

Cross-Account Correlation is a feature that enables an advertiser with multiple Web sites and multiple affiliate programs to accurately track a referral from a publisher. Additionally, the feature allows publishers to receive credit for all of their referrals regardless of the path the consumer takes before finally taking a commissionable action.

Cross-Account Correlation allows affiliates to receive credit for all their referrals to Hotel Chocolat regardless of the initial path, as we can now accurately track a referral from both our delivered gifts sites.

All existing Hotel Chocolat affiliates will receive an offer to join the US program and can either actively start promoting to American traffic or offer it as an option for UK traffic to purchase for family and friends over in the US. New publishers when they apply to join the UK program will be able to tick a checkbox to also apply for the US program and visa-versa.

If you have any question regarding this please feel free to contact Hotel Chocolat via

To join Hotel Chocolat's gifting affiliate program please click here, or to join our US gift affiliate program follow this link.

Kind Regards


Take a tour a cocoa plantation, Rabot Estate - St Lucia... our recently uploaded video on the Hotel Chocolat website and get a unique insight into cocoa farming from our plantation at the Rabot Estate, St Lucia. Angus introduces the video explaining the story of purchasing the historic Rabot Estate to then detail the cocoa growing, the pods ripening on trees as well as how we harvest, ferment and dry the beans, until they’re ready to make chocolate.

Hotel Chocolat Rabot Estate Cocoa PlantationHere's a direct link -

This is our first video from the Estate and Phil & Judy are keen to keep us all updated of developments from St Lucia via video/photo format on our website. Feel free to share with your family/friends as the video is also available on our Hotel Chocolat YouTube channel.


Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Christmas Secret Santa Competition

As Christmas is fast approaching, we are on the hunt for our very own yuletide David Bailey!

Why not enter our Secret Santa Competition by simply downloading and printing off one or all of the Hotel Chocolat Christmas images which can be found at . We would then like you to photograph yourself and your office colleagues, with said image, in the most festive and imaginative setting you can think of – this is your chance to get creative!

Hotel Chocolat Secret Santa
All you have to do is upload your seasonal photo and you could win 15 gorgeous chocolate gifts from the Hotel Chocolat Christmas range for your office secret santa!

Happy Christmas snapping guys

Here are a few examples!!!
Hotel Chocolat Secret Santa

Hotel Chocolat Secret Santa

Good Luck!!!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Worst Miss Ever?

On Sunday at Anfield Nicolas Anelka (hero last weekend with our victory over Man Yoo Plc) achieved the unwanted title of miss of the season so far with....

Which made me think... was it really that bad?? Or do we just demand higher quality for a elite player such as Nico...

Well hear are some other complete howlers I've just found on YouTube---- Enjoy!!!

The original and surely still the best!!!

Taxi for Ronaldo - You Man Yoo winker!

Or what about

I don't think I could ever beat that last one!

Chocolate Slam Dunk Success

Earlier this month we hosted four Ambassador Dinners as a thank you to our new friends on the other side of the pond. The Ambassadors are a group of carefully selected influencers and ‘tastemakers’ including business leaders, designers, artists, journalists and local celebrities in four key US cities, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston and Chicago.

Each Ambassador had received a bespoke selection of our chocolates by way of an introduction to the Hotel Chocolat brand and products and then in time honoured Tasting Club tradition, were invited to score each of them out of ten. The chocolates with the highest scores were then collated and a ‘City Sweet’ established to reflect the varying tastes of the East and West coasts, Mid-West and the Deep South!

One of the friendliest and most enthusiastic Ambassadors was Joe Barry Carroll in Atlanta. Joe spent 10 seasons in the NBA playing for the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets amongst others and is now a successful businessman based in Atlanta.

At 7’1’’ it’s not surprising he’s successful!

He’s pictured here with our Chief Operating Officer, Nicki, who was wearing heels!!!

Both the Ambassador events and TV appearances go to prove that awareness of Hotel Chocolat is building up nicely Stateside!

Chocolate Dessert Recipe from

In November I posted about Angus Thirlwell's (Hotel Chocolat co-founder) first foray into American TV with his appearance on ABC7's - View from the Bay with my A simple chocolate dessert by a European chocolatier post.

Well its now found its way to YouTube so double the fame for Angus and our US chocolate gifting company...

Below is an embeded version of the clip

Or click here to visit Chocolate Dessert Recipe from

Products featured in the video include our Giant Gourmet Chocolate Slabs and our Liquid Chocolat which is our fantastic take on traditional hot chocolate

Thanks, Chris

Win luxury Hotel Chocolat Christmas Prizes - for you or a loved one

Tis’ the season to be chocolaty. As Christmas time approaches, Hotel Chocolat is reaching out in search of the finest Yuletide themed chocolate recipes.

Do you have the best Christmas chocolate-chip cookies in town? Is your Christmas chocolate log simply to die for? Then why not put your recipe to the test against the rest of the country.

All you have to do is submit your original recipe and you could win a host of luxury chocolate goodies.

Your chances of winning don’t end there; you can also enter your favourite recipe on the Hotel Chocolat website to win daily prizes. The lucky daily prize winner will also be automatically entered in to the Hotel Chocolat Grand Prize recipe competition to win even more prizes from the Christmas selection!

Do you think you’re the finest chocolate chef in the land? Well there really is only one way to find out …

Click here to enter your favourite Christmas Chocolate recipe....



Friday, 23 November 2007

Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

According to the BBC News, there could be a Celtic Cup without England..

The FA don’t have long to decide - and given their recent performance, will they be able to make a decision quickly?

Don’t let them waste this opportunity to make sure we have some British and Irish football to watch next year, join the Bring back the Home Nations Tournament facebook group and invite your friends!

England can destroy Scotland... surely... ? Are Northern Ireland now a better team than the Republic... and surely Wales are to remain the laughing stock of the Home Nations...

For the majority of fans born in the last twenty five years, the only fixtures that have really segregated the British football fan along lines of nationality have been those chance meetings in major cup competitions.

Every English fan will remember David Seaman saving Gary McAllister's penalty and Gascoigne's wonder goal during Euro '96 and as such, the British Championship - or Home Nations - when conceived back in 1883, would have known little about how important these matches would become.

Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

Join in the support to bring back the home nations tournament by following the following facebook group, especially with news they are going to have a Celtic Cup without England! - Act Now! - Bring back the Home Nations Tournament - Summer 2008

Holidays are coming - Coca-Cola Christmas Advert is back!

It's now officially Christmas

Christmas (not Xmas - read my Christmas vs Xmas post) is all about tradition! And for me the Christmas season really does begin with the old traditional Coca Cola festive ad campaign, which Coca-Cola has decided to re-use its best-loved ads during the Christmas period, with "holidays are coming".

The "holidays are coming" ad features a train of red Coca-Cola lorries bedecked in fairy lights driving through a snowy landscape. Everything they pass lights up as people turn to stare at the lorries driving through.

Many last year blamed Coca Cola for a poor Christmas after they didn't release the iconic advertisment in 2006. Many a petition was signed, calls to the Coca-Cola customer hotline and recently a Facebook group dedicated directly to bringing the advert back! This shows great stength of consumer power and also that TV advertising is still one power media!

So here's to Christmas, and don't forget those Christmas Gifts!!

Here's the longer version...

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Online publishers participate in pure chocolate indulgence

Online publishers of Hotel Chocolat were treated to a true chocolate indulgent treat when we hosted our Christmas Gifting Online Publisher event in our Kensington Store last Thursday.

Profound words from Lynn and Chris Bishop
Our online partners travelled from as far as Toronto to be part of the chocolate shindig. The night was hosted by Lynn (Hotel Chocolat People & Ethics Director) and myself with the main purpose to thank our online ambassadors for their contribution to our company for the past year, let them exclusively sample some of our new range and also drink plenty of champagne!

The glamour girls from TMN media sample our champagne truffles
The evening was kick started with a little introduction from myself and then words from Lynn explaining Hotel Chocolat’s history and growth but also the key factor to our success, which are the relationships we keep. Whether with our chocolatiers, our customers or our partners… relationships are vital in the success of our business and the night was about celebrating the relationships we have built and strengthening those with chocolate training and chocolate recipe inspirations.

Our Training team and Store Staff happily paraded some of our current and new product ranges and I was delighted to witness the full on engagement from our VIPs for the night. The dusted Champagne Truffles are always a big hit and accompanied the complimentary champagne for the evening, Moet. The chocolate tastes where then widened with white, milk and dark chocolate offerings and then the chocolate journey was then heighten with our 72% Dark Chocolat Purist Bar with Chilli & Pink Peppercorns and then also our Cocoa Nib Balsamic Vinegar and Cocoa & Chilli Olive Oil served with classic big rustic French baguettes.

Chilli and Chocolate Tasting
It was a pleasure to meet online publishers of Hotel Chocolat; some was a first time meet (which was a great pleasure) and naturally catch up with old friends. The night was certainly a success from my point of view as everyone enjoyed the full on chocolate indulgence inside Hotel Chocolat.

A huge thanks for the night to the following people
- Liz, Katy, Lynn and Gabriela for your on the day expertise, phenomenal chocolate tasting database, profound words to open the evening and providing the chocolates!
- Andy & Dan for allowing us into your store after hours and entertaining our guests with vast product knowledge.
- Matt for being the paparazzi for the night and offering to buy me a pint!

Also, not to forget Charley and Zia our online socialites from Immediate Future and Sallie and Dom from Commission Junction.

But most of all thanks to the online publishers for your attendance and the best of luck in your future promotions for our company.

Thanks, Chris

Friday, 16 November 2007

Win a Cocoa Adventure in St. Lucia courtesy of Hotel Chocolat

Ever dreamt of spending a week basking in the Caribbean sun, enjoying the rolling views and taking private walks through one of St Lucia’s most historic estates? Well thanks to Hotel Chocolat, the luxury chocolate retailer, this could soon become a reality for one lucky couple.

Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate - St LuciaPhoto: Jake Perks from Flickr

Set high up in the Soufière hills, amongst the cocoa trees, Hotel Chocolat’s very own Rabot Estate is one of the jewels in St Lucia’s crown. Not only will you have free run of the estate, but you'll also be able to plant your own cocoa tree and even harvest a few pods if you feel up to it...!. Ensuring you can get to the heart of the story of cocoa - and an exclusive glimpse at the very origins of chocolate.If this sounds like the perfect break, and for gourmet chocolate lovers how could it not be, then entry couldn’t be easier.

Hotel Chocolat, Rabot Estate - St LuciaSimply answer the three questions about the estate on the Hotel Chocolat site and you and a partner could be whisked away to the idyllic setting of St Lucia for the holiday of a life time.

The prize includes:

• Return flights to St Lucia
• Accommodation for two on the Rabot Estate
• Guided tour of the cocoa estate
• The opportunity to take part in cocoa harvesting (not compulsory!)
• A cocoa tree planted in your honour

For your chance to win please visit:

Best of Luck!


Monday, 5 November 2007

Affiliate Chocolate Recipe Comp to win increased commission!!

A little ad-hoc chocolate related incentive...

I've just blogged about Angus Thirlwell's US debut appereance on American television - A simple chocolate dessert by a European chocolatier... and basically Angus was invited on the show to make some Caramel Kiss Pots which is an alternative chocolate recipe idea from our Liquid Chocolat range (Hot Chocolat) and naturally to promote our US chocolate gifting website.


I'd delighted to announce the Hotel Chocolat - A4U Recipe Competition open!

Simply create a chocolate themed recipe (ideally using Hotel Chocolat products!) and then post it on the following post on the A4Uforum... the 4 finalist will automatically receive 2% increased commission, and the winner will receive a £100 bonus, a Hotel Chocolat recipe book and also 4% increase commission

....naturally pictures/videos will assist in deciding the winner

4 recipes to be chosen for Angus to cook and to evalute the overall winner entries close on the 30th November 2007.

I'll aim to pick a winner every Friday (9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th) and either publish on the date or the following Monday.

For ideas either look at our Chocolate Recipes section on the site or view our Gourmet Chocolate Specialities page for some awesome products - Cocoa Pasta, Cocoa Bean & Chilli Olive Oil, Spiced Savoury Chocolate Sauce.

Remember these chocolate recipes (with links to Hotel Chocolat products) will all be great content supportive for your own affiliate sites!

T & C's
- Valid Hotel Chocolat affiliates only (sign up if not! link below)
- Entries close 30th November 2007
- Commission increase valid until 31st December 2007
- My decision is final (I've always wanted to say that!)

Best of luck to everyone and start placing those recipes on the A4Uforum....

Any questions or comments please contact me....

Thanks, Chris

A few notes....

Full Christmas affiliate update will be shortly this week (great incentives, new creative, product reviews, cash bonuses and the annual Hotel Chocolat Affiliate Awards!) and the US Hotel Chocolat affiliate program is in the pipeline and naturally as soon as we are ready this will be launch.

Christmas vs. Xmas

I was going to call this "Let's get rid of the X!" and plead from a traditional point of view for putting "Christ" back in and using "Christmas" instead of "Xmas". But I changed my mind after checking a dictionary. Which states the "X" in Xmas does really mean "Christ".

In fact, I learned something completely new and found that there are more abbreviations where the X is used instead of Christ, without changing the meaning. I learned that "xn" means "Christian" and "xnty" means "Christianity". And when looking up just the "X" as a letter, I found it to also mean "Christ", even without the connection with the word Xmas.
And here I was, worried that the world might be starting to forget about Christmas and its origins! Well, I still think there is that tendency, but at least I know now that this is not reflected in the word "Xmas".
So I’ll get off my soap box now so whether you are looking to buy/receive Christmas gifts or xmas gifts it doesn’t seem to matter… well as long as they are chocolate gifts from Hotel Chocolat!
Oh and let’s not forget Christmas is a time for hope, cheer, and goodwill for all mankind

A simple chocolate dessert by a European chocolatier

Hotel Chocolat debut on US TV!!! Woohoo

Here's a link to Angus Thirlwell’s (co-founder of Hotel Chocolat) first US TV appearance on ABC7's - View from the Bay.

Angus Thirlwell, Hotel Chocolat on US TV

Angus was invited on the show to make some Caramel Kiss Pots which is an alternative chocolate recipe idea from our Liquid Chocolat range (Hot Chocolat) and to promote our US chocolate gifting website.

Any aspiring chocolatiers please feel free to send me a picture of your Caramel Kiss Pot or any Chocolate Inspiration and I’ll review with Angus and I am sure we can pass some chocolate candy treats for good attempts…

P.S. Angus – I love the Apron!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007 article

A quick update, after my Speaker Event at Internet Retailing I was asked by the chaps at for a quick Q&A regarding my presentation but also the wider affiliate marketing world such as the future of affiliate marketing, our PPC terms update, and the great "wouldn't you be getting the sales anyway" question!

They published the article and he’s a link to it! - Hotel Chocolat’s Chris Bishop on affiliate marketing

Enjoy the read and any questions or comments (as always) feel free to post a message...

Cheers, Chris

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Affiliate Marketing Case Study

For those who couldn't make my speaker event this morning at the Internet Retailing event... well you lucky dogs I've embedded it into my blog.

Katie Harrod (Account Director, Commission Junction) and myself spoke about the future of affiliate marketing and I went on to discuss how I have adapted Kevin Roberts "LoveMarks" book as an ethos to my affiliate marketing communication.

I hope you all enjoy the presentation... any questions or comments as always feel free to add....

UPDATE: Please note I have now moved from Hotel Chocolat - my current contact details are chrisbishop(at)

Monday, 1 October 2007

a4uAward Finalists Announced...

I was alerted by a friend on MSN that I had been short listed for "Publishers Manager of 2007" award from A4uAwards @ A4u Expo. A4uAwards the UK’s first impartial awards rewarding excellence and innovation in the Affiliate Marketing Industry.

I am personally thrilled to be nominated and now short listed for the event, it is continual recognition of the hard work that I’ve put into the affiliate program at Hotel Chocolat, but naturally this couldn’t have been achieved without our great affiliates and the team at Commission Junction – so thanks for those who voted for me and I my CJU Affiliate award might have some company come the end of October….

Below are the complete finalists; I’ve added my personal winner and comments for some of the award for those – if I was to choose would win from shortlist!

Publisher Choice of Network 2007
Affiliate Future
Affiliate Window
Paid on Results
TradeDoubler – Naturally biased as I used to work at TradeDoubler. They continue to grow above the curve of affiliate marketing and with further resources now seem to have a strong future ahead of them.

Publisher Choice of Agency 2007
Affiliate Program Advice
Existem Affiliate Management

Publisher Choice of Merchant 2007
3 Mobile
Buy a Gift
PrezzyBox – Zak’s team really do understand what it means to succeed in Affiliate Marketing – their hard effort should be rewarded

Merchants Publisher of the Year 2007
eStuff (holiday Watchdog)
Freebie Sites UK
Uk Web Media

Innovation in Affiliate Marketing - Network Award
Affiliate Future
Affiliate Window
Paid on Results

Innovation in Affiliate Marketing - Merchant Award
Amazon – Still the don’s of Affiliate Marketing and continually developing API’s, blog tools, widgets etc…
Buy a Gift
Pru Health

Innovation in Affiliate Marketing - Publishers Award
eConversionsFraser EdwardsNectar – This was a hard one to choose but I feel has really helped bring Affiliate Marketing to the mainstream. Their platform seems very solid and from speaking to fellow merchants it continues to drive incremental sales…QuidcoUK Web Media

Publishers Manager of 2007 - Merchant Award
Chris Bishop - Hotel Chocolat – Again, thanks for the vote!
Ennis Al-Saiegh - Jessops
Graham Keen - Buyagift
Naomi Brown - Firebox
Zak Edwards – Prezzybox – As already mentioned; I believe Zak and his team have but in considerable effort into their promotions, understand what affiliates are like and need has no-doubt assisted Prezzybox in their success.

Affiliate Marketing Blog of 2007 - Kirsty McGubbin - Fraser Edwards – Surely has to be! A great resource for Affiliate Marketing… - Kieron Donoghue - Paul Wheatley - Dan Morley

Best Account Manager 2007
Fiona MacPherson - Equator
Hero Gregoraki - Webgains
Matt Bailey - DGM
Michelle Boxall - All Response Media
Sean Carter - MediaVest International

I personally would have liked to see either Sandra Denyer (TradeDoubler) or Hildegunn Iversen (Commission Junction) from working with to two of these fine account managers, they both display 110% commitment to the advertisers’ business objectives, understand the affiliate market place and have a true passion for their affiliates.

Best New Merchant of 2007
Childrens Rooms

Best New Affiliate of 2007

Best International Publisher
Clicks2 Customers
Net Media Planet

Industry Champion Award 2007
Clarke Duncan
Fraser Edwards
Jess Luthi
Keith Budden
Matthew Wood – Very close and hard to call this one. Affiliate Marketing is all about building relationships and Matt’s A4Uforum has allowed this from its infancy. It is used by networks, agencies, merchants and the affiliates as a best practise, knowledge sharing and friendship community. For his efforts to the forum, the numerous social events and leading the first Affiliate Marketing Expo – Matt – take a bow!
Nick Roveta

Voting for your a4uAwards winner is now open on

A winner and highly commended place will be announced at the a4uAwards ceremony & networking party held at a4uexpo on the 25th October at 7pm.

More information about the a4uAwards can be found below:

If you still need to register for the conference you can do so below:

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Hotel Chocolat US Launch!

It is official – Hotel Chocolat is now open for business in the US of A!

Hotel Chocolat US website

Our US delivered gifts website launched this morning

Hotel Chocolat US website

I’d like to reach of a few special thanks to those who contributed to us reaching this historic Hotel Chocolat milestone!

Naturally all the team at Hotel Chocolat… Paul, Fredrik, Richard, Matt et al…
Dev and the team at Paraspar (The website developers!)
Ambergreen – Our search marketing agency and general statto’s!
Immediate Future – Our online socialites
Simon at TreeFrog Copywriting – Thanks for accepting those post-stick note briefings!

And finally…

Sugar-free RedBull (Couldn’t have done it without you baby!)

Here’s to the success of Hotel Chocolat Inc.

Hip hip horaaaay!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

When is Google indexing your site?

What if you could tell Google to show you how many new pages it has found in the past 7 days? Or, 8 days? Or 9?

Well now you can do all these things by adding a parameter to the end of the URL of the search results page.

Let's look at the example that Matt provided, a query that shows how many new pages were added to the Google index for in the past 7 days:

The key is the "&as_qdr=d7" at the end of this URL. It tells Google to limit the search to the last 7 days.

Here is a summary of the various parameters you can set, straight from Matt's post:

d[number] - past number of days (e.g.: d10)
w[number] - past number of weeks
y[number] - past number of years

You can get the results over the past 2 weeks, for example, as follows: "

Fantastic! - Now you can spend every spare moment checking to see whats been indexed and whats not.



Monday, 17 September 2007

New Hotel Chocolat website

Prepare to be ravished… Hotel Chocolat's brand new website is now open for viewing! And it’s not just the enticing, new images that will seduce you – we’ve listened carefully to customer comments, so it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Hotel Chocolat

Buy Chocolate - Luxury Chocolate Gifts from Hotel Chocolat UK

As well as being easier to explore the website, you’ll also find lots of new features like dietary information, improved maps for finding our stores, slick new baskets and a Chocolat Glossary amongst many others. And you’ll still be able to do all of your favourite things – like having your own personal address book and those indispensable occasion reminders.

NB. All existing affiliate links will work correctly on the new platform - no need to change any links!



Friday, 14 September 2007

Hotel Chocolat officially announced a CoolBrand

Cool, some people have it and some people… well they just don’t. And last night’s CoolBrand launch night confirmed something that I think we have all suspected for a while. Hotel Chocolat have been named as one of the Top CoolBrands of 2007.

Aston Martin - CoolBrands 2007

It was a fantastic event and special thanks to the Asahi and Cobra promo girls for the fantastic range of complimentary beer. I am sure some embarrassing photos will be published early next week of myself and colleagues that attended so I’ll aim to add these to the blog post (as long as they are cool, naturally)

CoolBrands is the brainchild of the international organisation SuperBrands. Launched in 1995, they publish an annual list of the coolest 500 brands as determined by the CoolBrand Council and a poll of over 2,000 members of the public. They look at brands and ask themselves six key questions:

• Are they stylish?
• Are they innovative?
• Are they original?
• Are they authentic?
• Are they desirable?
• Are they unique?

That we’re now swimming with names like Aston Martin, Bang & Olufsen, Apple, Agent Provocateur and Ferrari is not just down to the quality of our products and marketing, but how we all portray the company. And for that we should all take credit (in a nonchalantly cool way).

NB. A certain Hotel Chocolat employee suffered more than others this morning and was caught out twice actually asleep at his desk... if you ask nicely I'm sure I'll reveal who.....



Monday, 10 September 2007

top 5 TV introductions

Claire Watson’s post on Daddy Cool randomly game me to idea to think about the top 5 TV introductions…

Now there are plenty to choose from… The Simpsons, Family Guy, Scooby Doo, Neighbours, Bananaman, Home & Away, The Jetsons, Bodger and Badger, …

But here below are my favourite 5 TV intros and cheeky YouTube clips. Pass on the link, post on your blog and let me know your top 5

5. The A-team

4. Captian Bucky O’Hare

3. Knight Rider

2. Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles

1. Thundercats

Do you agree? What are you favourites?

Over to you to discuss....

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Luciano Pavarotti RIP

Pavarotti RIP

The famous Tenor, Luciano Pavarotti has passed away at the age of 71 today in his home in Modena, Italy. Pavarotti, one of the most legendary opera singers of our time had been battling pancreatic cancer for quite some time and lost his battle this morning

The greatest ever football tune from Italia '90 - Nessun Dorma

Official Logo

Gary Lineker scores for England in their World Cup semi-final match against West Germany.

Italia 90


Sweet Chariot!

Where were you at around 11.30am on 22nd November 2003? I for one will never forget. That was the day the nation watched breathlessly as Jonny Wilkinson dropkicked us to Rugby World Cup glory. And now, 4 years on, it’s about to begin all over again.

This time, however, the England rugby team have a secret weapon – Hotel Chocolat chocolate!

Recently, we’ve been in touch with the wife of the England coach, Helen Ashton, as well as the team nutritionist, Matt Lovell. It turns out they had been looking for the best chocolate around and had found it in our Kensington store. Eating chocolate the night before a match gives the players much needed energy.

Naturally, we invited Helen back to Kensington last Saturday accompanied by the players’ wives and girlfriends who are affectionately known as ‘Scrummies’. To our delight several star players also came along, including the iconic Jonny (picture below with Richard Kent - Marketing Director & his son).

Richard Kent, Thomas Kent & Jonny

The team are now safely ensconced in France and, armed with Hotel Chocolat giant slabs, are ready to begin the defence of their title. And when they get back, hopefully not too soon, we’ll be working on making chocolate especially for the team.

PS. Rumours that Jonny's ankle injury was caused by a mini slab are completely untrue!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Hotel Chocolat Affiliate PPC guidelines update

##Update## 23:58, Thursday - Should Merchants be able to specify negative lists for PPC - I've joined this debate on A4Uforum and it seems a lively discussion point.

F.A.O. Hotel Chocolat Affiliates.

Hotel Chocolat has seen considerable growth over the past year from our affiliate program and as an organisation (including Board Room level) we are very proud of our program and activity by our affiliates.

Unfortunately, in the past month we have been hit with a handful of affiliates who have abused the rules and continue to break our Paid Search Terms & Conditions. We have therefore felt necessary to update our terms and distribute. I am well aware the vast majority of you are keeping within the limits and it is a case of a few bad apples, but unfortunately they are undoing the goodwill and hard work invested by our affiliates, our agency and my team here at Hotel Chocolat.

I have documented our PPC guidelines below which if you currently undertake any paid search promotion please to these read these guidelines and ensure you update your campaigns ASAP (by 3rd September 2007 at the very latest) to adhere to these terms

Any use of our intellectual property rights - whether bidding for our trademarked keywords or any other use of our intellectual property without our written consent - will be considered a material breach of your affiliate agreement and an infringement of our intellectual property rights which will lead to you being removed from the Hotel Chocolat affiliate scheme and commissions reversed.

I am available for the majority of today if anybody wants to discuss this with me personally (details below) and I will aim to reply to any IM messages, email and forum or blog posts!

Finally, thank you for your continuous efforts to make the Hotel Chocolat affiliate program a success and look forward to plenty more in the future.

Important PPC Guidelines
Please ensure that you DO NOT bid for Hotel Chocolat's brand related keywords on search publishers such as Google, Overture, Espotting and BT Looksmart and any other "Paid For Listings" providers. This includes the Hotel Chocolat trademark, brand name & brand name misspellings (This includes all misspellings of brand terms, any terms similar to the brand and misspellings of the URLs – Example misspell “hoetl chocolat” or “h9tel choc”)

Terms not to bid on & to add to negative keyword list (negative for all PHRASE, BROAD and EXACT MATCH).

Hotel Chocolat
Hotel Chocolat Corporate
The Chocolate Tasting Club
Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club
Choc Express
Geneiva Chocolate

We do not encourage affiliates to bid on any of our competitor’s brand terms.

We are happy for affiliates to mention Hotel Chocolat in the title/body of adverts. e.g Irresistible Chocolate at Hotel Chocolat – and use the Hotel Chocolat URL as the URL displayed

Kind regards

Chris Bishop

Monday, 27 August 2007

Probably the best Guerrilla Marketing

This is an interesting idea of guerrilla marketing from Carlsberg beer. The company promoted their “Don’t do litter” campaign by dropping £5000 in £10 and £20 notes randomly around London. Each note was slapped with removable stickers that noted “Carlsberg don’t do litter. But if they did it would probably be the best litter in the world.” The company hopes anyone who’s lucky enough to pick up the notes may head to a local market and get a six pack of beer.

Now on the face of things, this seems an expensive marketing campaign especially for a small niche area of London but consindering the old adage, "I told two friends, and they told two more friends"? It, as most viral/guerrilla marketing tactics do, will ensure a "Probably" massive audience then and a highly effective marketing tactic. Especially as this has currently been posted all around the internet and now actually reached my blog!

I believe Carlsberg used the Saatchi & Saatchi, London, UK advertising agency for this campaign.

What are your thoughts? Expensive? Effective?

Here are some more Carlsberg TV adverts...

Come on the Wanderers!

A super Saturday performance from Bolton Wanderers! Great goals from Gary Speed, Nicolas Anelka and the new wizard winger Daniel Braaten.

A comfortable 3-0 victory over last years bogey team Reading. Not had the full match report off the parents yet (As I don't have a season ticket this year, I rely on my parents for match reports!) but apparantly 3-0 was well deserved and minus a bit of cocky show boating it could of been four or five.

Man of the Match - El Hadji Diouf

Thursday, 23 August 2007

New Product- Chocolate Wedding Favours

I thought I’d update my blog with an update on a new product range at Hotel Chocolat. From time to time I’ll be updating the blog with updates from NPD and marketing and hints and tips for affiliate marketing supportive copy and deeplinks.

Earlier this week we launched our Wedding Favours range “Little Boxes of Love”, with three new products; Truly, Madly and Deeply.

They are available in sets of 10 and retail at £27.

Hotel Chocolat Wedding Favours
Hotel Chocolat Wedding Favours

Here’s a little background information on Wedding Favours from Wikipedia, for the SEO affiliates I’ve add some deeplinks for example of how to link into the Hotel Chocolat site (naturally ensure you use your affiliate tags)

"Wedding favours are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception.

The tradition of distributing
wedding favours is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favour, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere

Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as
wedding favours and are shared in cultures worldwide. Wedding favors have become a part of wedding reception planning, especially here in the UK, USA & Canada.

N.B. The US spelling of
Wedding Favours is Wedding Favors."

I'll be updating the CJ system with text links and also images for the range, please ensure to check.



Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Hotel Chocolat US in the news!

From my Google Alerts I’ve just found out that Retail Week have published a small article surrounding our exciting US launch has been published. Please click here for the link to Angus’ interview with Retail Week.

As the launch clock continues to count down I’ll keep adding tid-bits and potentially sneak previews on all news regarding our Chocolate Candy Store.

On that, if there are any particular parts that interest your regarding our US chocolate home delivery launch please feel free to add comments/questions below and I’m aim to answer these...



Tuesday, 14 August 2007

A new home for Chris Bishop!

The name say’s it all!

Terms have been agreed and the keys handed over! Last night I moved into a new 2 bedroom flat in Clerkenwell, London. I’ll be continuing to living with my old school (Standish Community High School) and college (Winstanley College) friend John Phillips.

The place is a great penthouse 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with awesome views of The City of London with our glass wall arrangement in our front room (see pictures below). We also have a massive private roof so I am sure they’ll be a few late Indian summer parties up there and I am tempted to winch some five-a-side football nets up there!

A little about Clerkenwell...

London's first gastropub, The Eagle, appranrly opened in Clerkenwell in 1991. Clerkenwell is the home of two of London's largest nightclubs, Turnmills and Fabric. The nightlife is centred on the north side of Smithfield market, revellers (does that make me a reveller then!) gathering alongside delivery teams from across Europe at the meat market on nights throughout the week. Several pre-club bars such as Smith's of Smithfield (Were I can often be found), Meet, The Castle and Bed Bar have flourished in the area

So I’m sure there be a few trips to Ikea (furniture) further trips to Smiths of Smithsfield and I’ll keep the blog updated with any flat updates and invites to any summer dinner parties!

New Flat - Front Room!

Glass Walls!

Chris Bishop on roof!



Thursday, 9 August 2007

PopEye Family Guy Clip

Just watching a Family Guy repeat, just find this hilarious!

Inside Chris Bishop Office

I thought I'd follow Bill Gates' footsteps and show my desk at Hotel Chocolat

My office desk - Hotel Chocolat, originally uploaded by Chris-Bishop. Click on image to view the tags on the image to view the various items on my desk!

CJU - More the celebration!

Looking back at Commission Junction’s CJU event, it was not only great for the various presentations, networking and of course personally collecting the outstanding individual in affiliate marketing award but also because I managed to sit next to Team Hitflip during one of the lunch sessions!

Did were chatting the usual business talk and discussing the finer points of affiliate marketing when it was announced Adam Finlayson won the CJ Charity Raffle main prize, a once-in-a-lifetime Lamborghini driving experience at a UK race track.

Now what you need to understand is that Hitflip is a legal peer-to-peer platform for the exchange of products. Usual DVD, music CDs, games etc to which Adam had been proudly explaining to which I personally loved the idea, a kind of “swap shop” online.

Getting into the spirit of things (and being slightly envious of his Lamborghini prize draw swoop) I hit Adam with the offer to swap the prestige driving experience for his weight in Hotel Chocolat’s gourmet chocolates (bear in mind, and Adam will admit, he’s seen a good few cooked breakfast in his time and isn’t shy on the old Bratwurst and I’m sure a few Warsteiner Beers too!)

On considering, Adam admitted that would put Hotel Chocolat out of business however an offer was proposed for in exchange of Adam’s driving experience he wanted enough luxury chocolate to satisfy the cravings of Hitflip’s staff.

Deal or no Deal……

Hotel ChocolatLamborghini


Lambo time equals Good Times!

Adam acted in great spirit, and proved the fantastic character and ethos of Hitflip. I received the Lamborghini experience pack this morning and I am currently on the Hotel Chocolat site choosing a selection of chocolates for the 30 strong German Hitflip office and I must add paying for the chocolates and delivery to out of my pocket!

I’ll ensure I keep you updated with the extreme driving experience and also pass on feedback from the Hitflip guys on their sensual chocolate journey!


Thursday, 2 August 2007

Hotel Chocolat Summer Campaign

Here's the latest offering for Hotel Chocolat affiliates:

Chocolates to make your summer website shine

If you’re planning a summer category page or you’d simply like your site/email to be remembered by your visitors and customers alike, there is one thing you can depend on this summer, come rain or shine… Our brand summer range is out, ready to make you and your brand sizzle!

Full of light, fresh flavours specially created for warmer weather. And made with wholesome, authentic ingredients like real fruit and chocolate high in cocoa solids.

Chocolate is universally accepted and always enjoyed…

Chocolates to Chill creative (obtain from CJ log in):

Summer Chocolates Deeplink Category

Supportive Copy
Summertime Chocolate Specials

Whatever your occasion demands – heels, boating shoes or flip-flops – discover the only chocolate to step out with. Hotel Chocolat's Summer Collection of exclusive chocolates features light, fresh recipes in perfect harmony with the season. For picnics in the park, al fresco dinner parties and summer frolics…

Step out in style this summer with Hotel Chocolat's summer chocolates...

So to brighten your guests’ day and leave them with a warm, sunny glow log in
to the Commission Junction interface to obtain the links to promote Hotel Chocolat's summer range. Key Stats

Average Order Value £32
Conversion Rate 9%
Default Commission 7%

Suggestion products to promote...

Chocolates to Chill

Summer Goody Bag

Selection of the Season with Pink Champagne

Kind Regards


Chris Bishop
Online Marketing Manager
Hotel Chocolat
E :
Skype: cpbishop
T : 01763 257784
Blog - Chris Bishop

Speaker Event – A4UExpo

Chris Bishop speaking at A4U Expo

I’ve had the great pleasure to accept an invitation to speak at A4U Expo. A4U Expo will be the UK's very own and first Affiliate Marketing Conference & Exhibition on October 25 & 26

a4uexpo will represent the only UK-based Affiliate Marketing specific event and aims to bring together all those working in or around the sector in a professional environment to hear about & debate the key issues currently facing the channel. The full Conference programme will run over both days, with a collection of top speakers working across the sector, as well as a range of different topic-specific Workshop sessions

I’ll be sharing the floor with Chris King (BT) and Zak Edwards (Prezzybox) and we’ll aim to pass on some best practise knowledge sharing in a fun and informative manner.

Anybody There? How to Break Through The Noise

Experienced affiliate managers uncover their secrets, with fast paced presentations on proven activation techniques, advice on formulating incentives, recruitment and communication strategies to ensure your affiliate programme and offering gets noticed in this crowded market. With ample time to unleash your questions with the included Q&A session.

To register for the event please follow the link and take advantage of an early bird discount.

I'll look forward to seeing you there...

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Hotel Chocolat US landing page

GET READY FOR A SENSUAL JOURNEY. We have launched our US Holel Chocolat site with a landing page. We aim to bring our gourmet chocolate gifts to America for Autumn (Fall) 2007.

Watch this space for more information on Hotel Chocolat's launch in America our for email alerts please register to keep upto on all things chocolate

The fantastic striking Cocoa Pod image is shot by photographer Jörgen Ahlström and is from the 2nd harvest 2007 of Hotel Chocolat's Rabot Estate in St Lucia.

Internet Retailing Speaker Event

I've recently been asked to speaker at the Internet Retailing Event on the 2nd October at the Novotel Hotel in Hammersmith

Internet Retailing Speaker Event, Chris Bishop

I will be presenting a case study on Hotel Chocolat's affiliate programme and my approach to affiliate communication and our successful affiliate strategy so far. Or as taken from the website:

Case Study: Hotel Chocolat

Has the industry reached Affiliate 2.0? Hotel Chocolat will discuss next generation affiliate marketing developments and how the chocolate retailer works with affiliates on a global scale while concentrating on carefully targeted, seasonal promotions. It will explain how it utilising new media such as podcasts, magazine and web-based content to achieve an uplift on performance, including 15% of mail order revenue from affiliate marketing.

Chris Bishop, Online Marketing Manager, Hotel Chocolat

To register for the Internet Retailing Event please follow the link. I am sure it will be a great event and I'd best get to writing my presentation!

Update 2008 - click to view the affiliate marketing strategy casestudy or if your are interesting in affiliate marketing advice or consultancy.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Scare-mongering' is damaging affiliates

Below is an old letter I submitted to Marketing Week magazine, I found last night on my laptop. It was a furious reply to an article featured in the previous week in June 2006.

I am thankful to see even in just a years time the reputation of Affiliate Marketing is continuing to improve and I feel this is thanks to affiliate agencies, the merchants but most importantly the affiliate themselves.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the read.

Thanks, Chris

Scare-mongering' is damaging affiliates
Source: Marketing Week Published: 15 June 2006

When are people going to realise affiliate marketing (AM) is not about "them vs us" and give affiliates the recognition they deserve?

I was disappointed to read yet another article portraying AM in a negative way (MW June 1). The article entitled "If you liked that, you'll like this" explained that AM is not all "win-win" - and that badly managed, it can damage your brand equity.

From my experience working for a leading AM agency and now managing the affiliate programme at Hotel Chocolat, I agree whole-heartedly to this message. My disagreement is the unnecessary level of scare-mongering within the article.

This obsession is damaging the marketing channel and harming growth. Most worryingly, it is harming the acceptance and credibility of AM within marketing departments, which results in it being considered as an "add on" to a campaign, instead of being fully integrated.

After using only vague, top line statistics about AM the article develops the message of the need to manage and protect brand equity. The use of emotive words to describe affiliate marketers such as "old Wild West", the need for "policing" and affiliates' habits of "hijacking" paint dreadful character images. I feel it is more the case of a few bad apples, which can surely can be re-educated, or could be suspended from a programme.

The report highlights two case studies, which is where the article really does not do AM justice. The first talks about the recent highly publicised legal action with the Tesco affiliate programme, a clear A-list company and high profile brand, which every reader instantly recognises and identifies with.

On the flipside, to sing the praises of AM it mentions a small online consumer offers site, Pigsback. Why not use a similar like-for-like A-list brand? Why not mention how many sales or percentage increases Apple achieved last year due to its phenomenally successful affiliate programme? Or state how well all the financial services companies have performed, even with the FSI compliance issues?

AM seems to be portrayed as the "underworld" of marketing and is not taken seriously. There is never a mention of how important it is for AM to be integrated into the whole marketing mix of organisations, to harness its huge potential.

There is reams of evidence which highlights AM as an equal or superior to other "traditional" methods. This is due to the highly measurable nature of AM in terms of return on investment. In an era when demands to demonstrate accountability have never been higher, AM is clearly the future and anything but "the old Wild West".

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Hotel Chocolat US coming...

We (Hotel Chocolat) officially launched our US landing page yesterday on the domain. Designed to assist the launch activities of our American launch in Fall 2007 and to build excitement to our US chocolate gifts delivery service.

Here's a link to the site -

Of course, life will go on as usual in UK with the same high standards for our luxury chocolate gifts.

Thanks, Chris

Saturday, 23 June 2007

CJU EU Event

What a packed few days at the CJU EU event at the Landmark Hotel in London. Firstly the two days where crammed full with speakers, break out group sessions and plenty of time for networking both with affiliates and advertisers. I must say Tim Waterstone’s talk was of great value and I am sure this motivated and inspired the whole audience… A fantastic example of true entrepreneurial business man.

On the second day of the event in one of the advertiser break out sessions I spoke with Dan Powel (CJ, Head of Account Management) on the issues of building positive relationships with affiliates and the different approaches from one-to-many and one-to-one. I enjoyed speaking at the session and passing on my experiences.

CJU also hosts it’s own CJU Awards which were announced at a gala dinner at the end of the first day’s conference. The awards dinner was hosted by Carl White, CEO, ValueClick Europe and Alison Guise, UK Managing Director, Commission Junction and Mediaplex.

Guess what! I was nominated for the Outstanding individual personal contribution to affiliate marketing’ award and was fortunate to win! This award is fantastic recognition of the hard work that I’ve put into our affiliate program at Hotel Chocolat, but naturally this couldn’t have been achieved without our great affiliates and the team at Commission Junction (especially Hildegunn & Dan).

CJU Chris Bishop Affiliate Marketing Award

A fantastic event and a great result to walk away with an award!

P.S. were brave enough to let a SEO panel discuss their new website. They are in desperate need of links. So here you are: voyages en Egypte

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

CJU - Speaker Event

I've been kindly asked by the team at Commission Junction to speak at their CJU event later in the week. I will be discussing the various techniques I use to communicate with the Hotel Chocolat 7k affiliate base.

Including Market Wide messaging and the special relationships and rapport I have built with our Top Performing affiliates to assist their sales of our gourmet chocolate

For more information on CJU - follow this link or general information on Hotel Chocolat Affiliate Program

Back blogging

After a poor Christmas effort into my first voray at blogging, I am now going to re-try to keep my blog up to date and include interesting information about all things Chris Bishop.

Including flat hunting in London, exciting expansion news at work and new records on Pro Evo!

Thanks and happy reading


Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Building a Luxury Brand Online

I recently spoke at's Search Engine Marketing at the Kensington Close Hotel, London. I was briefed to speak about building a luxury brand online via search engine marketing - I've drawn upon my recent practical experiences of building Hotel Chocolat's brand via both natural search and PPC (pay per click - paid for search marketing) whilst also ensuring that online marketing sits holistically as part of the marketing mix in a wider marketing strategy.

Please see the presentation below.
Do you have a search engine marketing strategy? If not contact me for search engine marketing advice and consultancy.