Friday, October 31, 2008

Etihad Stadium…Etihad Stadium…doesn’t really roll of the tongue does it? Not like Telstra Dome…especially when you do your deepest movie voice-over-man impersonation.

Regardless of how it sounds, us Melbournians are going to have to get our mouth around the change of Telstra Dome to Etihad Stadium when the United Arab Emirates Airline launches their service in March 2009.

And what a way to launch a new brand; take over the name of the second most mentioned sporting arena in Australia’s home of sport. I’m sure by the end of the 5 year deal most of us will have included the Arabic word, meaning united into our vocabulary, but I wonder how long it will take to catch on…or to change. Surely its only be a matter of time before we see Etihad Stadium referred to with something a bit easier for the average Aussie to pronounce. I’m not saying we’re all gibbons when it comes to pronunciation, its just that it’s such an Aussie thing to do to shorten the name of a destination or something we love. Take for example The G, The Gabba and The Wacca...or the mate that everyone's got, Gibbo.
This makes me think that the naming rights deal is an even smarter move for Etihad. There aren't many brands that can say that they are so well known by the Australian public that they’re given a nickname and if Etihad can achieve nickname status with us, it should go a long way to getting consumers to feel good about booking flights with them. See yous at Eti next year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


From this....

To this!

Consumer discontent... it's nothing new...There's a whole lotta lovers out there and the yang of this means there's a going to be as many haters who have been defacing and bitching about brands since jesus was a boy. Still, there's no doubt consumers have found a louder voice than ever and are not afraid to use it in as many creative and interesting ways as advertisers can and do.

Trendwatching call this Transparency Tyranny:

Old economy fog is clearing: no longer can incompetence, below-par performance, ignored global standards, anti-social & anti-eco behavior, or opaque pricing be obscured. In its place has come a transparent, fully informed marketplace, where producers have no excuse left to underperform. TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY for some, TRANSPARENCY TRIUMPH for others

First there was Adbusters who have been challenging the old model of 'brand as dictator' since 1989.... today this style of anti-advertising or SUBERVERTISING can be seen through the likes of Banksy not to mention the millions of blogs and forums and ratings systems such as Amazon,,, etc etc

So naturally these are great places for like minded anti-brand/ Naomi klein lovers to congregate and share their views but... getting these subversive messages out to the broader community is happening through interesting and frankly very humorous means.

Let me introduce you to the Billboard Liberation Front (BLF) who are 'marketing for the people' and believe in 'establishing a new paradigm in street marketing'. They actually have more than a 30 year history but undoubtedly the WWW is giving them a bigger, stronger and more global voice. It's worth a visit to their site if not for their comical and undoubtedly genuine list of employees to read their manifesto which states that:

Each time you change the Advertising message in your own mind, whether you climb up onto the board and physically change the original copy and graphics or not, each time you improve the message, you enter in to the High Priesthood of Advertisers

A subvert according to Adbusters "mimics the look and feel of the targeted ad, promoting the classic double take as viewers suddenly realize they have been duped. Subverts create cognitive dissonance. It cuts through the hype and glitz of our mediated reality and, momentarily, reveals a deeper truth within...'

This creates a great debate about the importance of brand truthfulness and transparency and acknowledging that you can't ignore your brand's dark side. Every brand has one... have you had a conversation about yours lately?

Also just stumbled across this one too.. but if you are a little sensitive to the above image, don't click through...!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Recession Marketing - Seen on the Streets of London & on the TV screens of USA

We are all aware of the 'global credit cruch' so it is no surprise that across the US and the UK families have seen their income reduce in value.

In fact in the UK people were £14 a week poorer this September thanks to high inflation and limited wage increases.

So with governments in Britain & America talking about the coming of the dreaded R word, advertisiers are responding with value messages.

This ad from KFC captures the moment perfectly

In the US, Target is running TVC's under a new day - new ways to save tag line.

Coles is the Australian advertisier that comes to my mind when thinking of those that have jumped on the penny pinching banwagon here, with meal ideas under a price point. E.g. Feed 6 for under $35.

It is likely only a mater of time before we see more of this type of messaging....

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Consumers - the lowest they have been in nearly 17 years

Latest report unsurprisingly showing lowest confidence rating since 1991.

Always useful fodder for responding to client requests wanting the latest (depressing) data. You can get a historical read and a bit of commentary from the Roy morgan site

Applying Photography Darkroom Principles to Strategy

V Raw's Grand Prix win at last Thursday's MFA awards was an example of how a good idea can get marketeers excited about what is fun about our industry. Media and Creative agencies will always support good ideas, as this is what the history of the communications industry is based on.
What is interesting about this process, is that when an idea is first ignited, it is important to surrround the idea with people who care about it. Only by having a tribe of advocates who believe in the idea, are commited to it and are able to think of a 100 ways to sell to the people who can make it happen, does it really have the chance to grow and prosper.

Like photography darkroom principles, it's imperative to keep the image (idea) away from daylight until the image has evolved, been fixed and washed from impurities.

From a recent blog...

'A really good idea is simple, unexpected and relevant. And it unites extremes: it should risk a lot but nevertheless be easy to implement.”

By it's very nature, a high-reward strategy will be inherently risky, because it hasn't been done before and may have the possibility to fail. If the success of the idea or strategy is hard to measure, then influence and passion plays a big part to sell it into the client. Any resource possible which can be used to actualise the vision to the decision maker is absolutely crucial. So for example, if it's a brand experience, get an art director who can visualise the campaign, if it lives online, mock up a simulated site which you can navigate the client through.

My last word; many big ideas often fall down in the execution phase of the process. I genuinely believe that the production values applied to deliver on an initial thought are as important as the thought itself. So before you rush to create a mood board asssembled from Google images to try to give a sense of idea you want to sell, really think about the messsage you are giving the client - is this really the last thought you want to leave them with before they decide to invest their money on a risky strategy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

A night at the Media Federation Awards

By now many of you will know that OMD had a great night on Thursday 16th Oct at the Media Federation Awards taking out the Grand Prix, 4 category awards, the Pro Bono award and the NGen award (for a strategy piece written by someone with less than 5 years industry experience).

As a reference, no-one has ever won more awards at a single MFA, and we are now up to 3rd on the all time list.

So, a massive night for OMD. Big agencies like ourselves rarely, if ever, combine size with brains and I think this is proof that we have had a brilliant run the last 4 years as we do have the brains and the brawn. That puts us in a unique place in the Aussie market I believe. Much of it is driven by our specialist structure where we are truly ahead of our competitors in content, trading, strategy, digital, research and so on. All of those disciplines were involved in the award winners.

One of the other elements that pleased me most was the recognition of our young stars Kerry and Naomi (NGen finalist and winner respectively) - they and a number of others who enter the various competitions for young people in our industry really represent the culture and the future of OMD. We have people who aspire to great strategy and who are passionate enough to take on extra work to do it.

Congratulations to us, to all our people, to all the other award winners (notably Bellamy and Starcom and Campaign Palace who picked up 2 each). Trying to top this next year is going to be tough!

Friday, October 17, 2008

So many definitions of bravery.....

To kick off this week we held a Think Fresh client session where we had 3 senior clients come and talk to us about what freshness and bravery means to them. We also wanted to know more about how we could better address their needs around this topic.

We heard the different perspectives of a paint manufacturer, an energy provider and a directory service. All 3 had very interesting things to say about the world they live and breath in.

We also had conversations about how fresh ideas could be brought across the line. The need for passion and belief in an idea in order to sell it was discussed and the importance of measurement & ROI were hot topics.

Overall the session was a great opportunity to learn from a few of our key senior clients and their thoughts around not only thinking fresh and being brave but continuing to deliver above and beyond their expectations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Culture Shock

You can always trust in 'your ABC' to bring some interesting programming that reflects what is happening Australia currently. And in this case, also helps us (as consumer champions) to understand the culture more deeply.
There will be an 'arts' program Artscape: Not Quite Art - Culture Shock on the ABC at 10pm that explores the 'fragmented cultural landscape', with a particular focus on the role of new media as a way of communicating ideas to a global audience.

If you get a chance to catch it, I would be interested in your feedback on it so please leave a comment.

Net 10s No Evil Campaign

In an span of 18 months, US mobile carrier, Net10 US went from the 15th largest mobile network company to the 7th, by launching a campaign which addressed all the negatives barriers consumers have about their mobile network – long contract periods, penalties to leave, fixed rental fees, and high roaming charges..

Key benefits of Net 10– No Bills, No Contracts, No rental fees – just 10C a call to anywhere in the US.

Specifically, by pointing the finger at carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, new creative agency Droga 5 (New York) launched their No Evil campaign with an online viral, which gave consumers a platform to talk about their frustrations and experiences of the ‘evil’ mobile carriers. To add further fuel to the fire the viral story focuses on America’s underdog – nurses, teachers, charity workers, volunteers, senior people, illustrating the point, that all other carriers are evil.

So far, so good, the danger here however, as the network increases will they be able to sustain their competitive offers or will the carriers they have slandered come bite them in the tail?
Check out Net10 Case Study on Droga 5 website.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Knees up Google Stylee

Happy Birthday to....Google...
It's their 1oth birthday as it turns out.
As part of their celebrations for turning 10, they have turned back time on themselves to 2001. You can make searches in the directory for what was searchable nearly 8 years ago. Apparently they have gone with 2001 as it was the earliest version they could generate from their directory.

Anyway, what I love about this as it is the perfect demonstration of their evolution. Steps you back in time and simply shows you how far they have come to get to Number 10 (coincidence?) on the latest best global brands report by Interbrand. On this years' report, Google is a mere 'toddler' surrounded by big established greats like Coca Cola, Toyota, Microsoft and Mcdonalds and yet the perfect information brand in the information era.

No need for a fancy PR fuelled party, no need for a gazillion dollar ad campaign shouting about success; just an invitation to see with your own eyes then and now.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Office Envy

I always like getting my cool hunter newsletter delivered to my inbox, and last week one particular article caught my attention. It was about ANZ’s Learning and Breakout Centre in Melbourne.
The centre is designed, as the name suggests, for breakout for sessions that will enhance creativity and innovation away from ANZs’ staff normal office environment. The centre is not an isolated idea to breed creativity and innovation at ANZ. Since new management took over the bank in 2000, they’ve been implementing a Cultural Transformation Program, called Breakout. The program has seen 26,000 of their staff undertake self development workshop since its inception.
The Breakout program has been about staying competitive by being a very different bank that focuses on people, its culture and environment…which has now lead to this very cool breakout centre. Apart from the entry way, there is no ANZ branding on the inside, and every day they’ve estimated 220 will use the space for meetings, workshops, events and training. I love the idea that people that you expect to be working in stale office environments, like a bank, get to enjoy the spoils of great innovation in design that will help them with creativity. Who would of thought a bank would be doing this!

Cool Hunter regularly update great office spaces that they’ve found from around the globe if you want to see more:
And Trudi recommended this site to take a peak at the brainstorming rooms at Naked in Sydney:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Economic Downturn’s effect on Media.

‘As new paths emerge, new opportunities emerge with them.
Long and Winding Road, OMD, Yahoo Research

In 2004, consumers found themselves face-to-face with billboards and magazine ads featuring normal women in just their underwear. The ad’s promoting a skin firming cream for Unilever’s Dove, was the beginning of a campaign which challenged beauty norms and convention (campaign for real beauty). This was followed by the ubiquitous virals entitled ‘evolution’ and ‘onslaught’ which received over 7 million hits combined on Youtube. Despite the disproportionate amount of PR this campaign received Unilever has made a 360 degree turnaround which may revolutionise the beauty’s industry strategies of selling dreams and playing to womens’ hearts. The approach; focusing on the fundamental rational benefits of selling soap bars. This shift from the emotional to the functional may have more to do with the economic downturn than just a creative refresh from creative agency Ogilvy & Mather.

As the global credit crunch entrenches itself ever deeper into the globes consciousness, consumers are much more careful with their money, looking for the best offers and finding shortcuts to ensure they get value.

Consequently, a new path to purchase is emerging, with a particular emphasis on how people are using online to shop. Information gathering and price comparisons are all part of how online influences the awareness and consideration process. For considered purchases, such as auto and white goods online provides consumers a peace of mind, before parting with their money. We are even seeing a a trend towards online impacting retail goods (which normally skews towards shorter paths), where consumers are checking rrp before finally going into the store to close the purchase.

Hard times create opportunity
In Europe the recession, combined with the growth of digital media is encouraging advertisers and agencies to take a new approach, and be more creative in their executions. Christof Schmid, chief executive of Mediaplus, concurs: “Since media owners failed to sell sufficient classical ad space across all media, they have had to become more open to special ads and content integration.’ Although this requires more effort and support from specialists in the field, it is raising the bar by encouraging media innovation and strengthening the reputation of media in the industry.

Whereas investment in brand advertising may suffer during recession (harder to measure ROI, Conversion rates etc) investment in Direct marketing is the least risk averse channel to invest in, more accountable, closer to the money, less risk of reach wastage. There is also an argument here that Econometrics becomes more important than ever for clients, as long as it can provide the comprehensive measurement structure between media investment and business outcomes.

When the lines go blurry

It was bound to happen at some point... Aunty (the ABC) has started airing a new series on ABC2 called Iconoclasts that is produced by Grey Goose Entertainment and is part of the the branded content division of Grey Goose Vodka.

Admittedly there is no product placement during the programme but you'd have to be a teetotaller not to realise the association to the brand.

Actually the series looks amazing - each episode features two 'creative visionaries' and takes a peek inside their lives and the way they have transformed popular culture. Some of the pairings include: Paul Newman and Robert Redford / Mikhael Baryshnikov and Alice Waters/ Richard Branson and Desmond Tutu / Howard Schultz and Norman Lear.
Has the ABC accidentally embraced advertising in the era of branded content?