Opinion | Features
- Celebrities and VIPs turned up in force for Foxtel's upfronts last night, but while Chris Hemsworth and The Real Housewives of Melbourne were the star turns, it was a few of the other attendees who turned heads, writes Alex Hayes. Lachlan Murdoch, Tim Worner and Hamish McLennan walked into a room. That's not the start of a joke, it happened last night at the Foxtel upfronts, which has triggered speculation the Presto streaming service could be about to get seriously beefed up. While there wasn't much surprising in Foxtel's announcements last night, it was more a case of what you could read between the lines and what was not talked about, Presto. While the messaging from the execs was around the cut-priced deals coming to market next week, and a fairly decent looking slate of new programming, it was CEO Richard Freudenstein's almost throwaway line about putting TV content onto Presto, before adding there will be more announcements next week, that grabbed my attention. [caption id="attachment_259854" align="alignright" width="250"] Lachlan Murdoch and wife Sarah at the Foxtel upfronts yesterday[/caption] It's no surprise News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch was in the audience given the company's 50 per cent interest in the pay-TV platform and ownership of Fox Sports. But there was also Network Ten CEO Hamish McLennan and Seven West Media supremo Tim Worner. Quite the power trio in the realms of Australian media. It might be that McLennan, a long-time favourite in News Corp, was there because of the Gogglebox co-production announcement, an interesting deal in itself, as well as the joint-deal for V8 Supercars which starts next year. And of course Worner's presence could have been justified because of the AFL rights, as well as Foxtel commissioning the network for two more series of A Place to Call Home from its production arm. But then where were David Gyngell or other senior Nine execs? After all they have a pretty significant deal with Fox Sports around the NRL as well. Since Seven backed out, after initial talks with Nine Entertainment, of the StreamCo project, it has been widely speculated it would hop into bed with Foxtel on Presto. At its upfronts on Tuesday Seven's programming boss Angus Ross did tell media post-event that there would be an announcement coming “soon”. Meanwhile, the speculation Foxtel, or half-owner News Corp, would pick up Ten when the government eventually gets round to relaxing the media ownership laws, has been rife to the point of deafening, the sticking point being Ten's inflated market valuation in the eyes of many. And Ten's tech head Rebekah Horne has long been an advocate of a more joined-up approach to streaming services from Australia's TV networks. So, what's in it for them? Content, and a shedload of it. If the HBO deal extends across streaming services, as Freudenstein hinted it did, then Foxtel already has some pretty solid content to offer. So why not throw in the back catalogues of a lot of other favourite shows from Seven and Ten, and then fast-track the US shows those networks have to Presto as an added incentive to sign up. That's a pretty powerful offering. The likelihood is people won't sign up for every streaming service going, and with Quickflix, Apple TV and soon StreamCo's offering (whatever it will be called) in market, Australia's 23 million residents have a lot of options to choose from, and that's before you get to the likes of IPTV service FetchTV which is increasingly being offered as part of bundled telco offerings from the likes of Optus, iiNet and Dodo. Add to that the likelihood of Netflix entering the market with its own suite of original programming, and that's a pretty competitive environment. And so far Foxtel's performance has been fairly underwhelming, with rumours of a somewhat lacklustre subscriber takeup swirling after it halved its subscription price from $19.99 to $9.99. Coincidentally the cost of Netflix in the US. So buddying up might be a way of protecting those revenue streams, at least in the short term, and creating the platform with the most content, both local and international, and if content is fast tracked it would cut piracy and tempt people to spend their cash with the service rather than paying for a VPN and then Netflix. However, Foxtel will want to protect and grow its premium subscriber base, where the real money lies in the short term, and it made a big deal of the new Australian content it is commissioning to that end. Sports rights will also be an increasingly important part of the conversation, so we can expect to see more pressure piled on the government over the anti-siphoning list as well. The new Box Sets channel offering which Foxtel was keen to trumpet last night, shows it understands the desire to binge on series, and if that can be made available to the masses online, it's a lucrative opportunity. The pay-TV giant showed last night it is going to get seriously aggressive in the market, and is looking to pioneer the kind of innovation the free-to-air channels are trying to hold back, like programmatic trading. If this deal does come to pass then it's an example of unprecedented collaboration between massive media companies. Of course there's nothing like an unprecedented threat to your business model to sharpen the mind. Alex Hayes is editor of Mumbrella
- While there are a number of articles claiming a cause-and-effect relationship between a brand’s ability to serve a higher purpose and its financial performance Eaon Pritchard asks if this really proof that the most successful brands are built on an ideal of improving lives? The rhetoric of the ‘brand with purpose’ goes along these lines. It’s much harder to run a mission-driven company than it is to run one that is simply devoted to making a profit. This is possibly why there was a sense of disappointment from Benjamin Harrison in his article, in which he laments the inability of many companies who adopt a purpose-driven position to actually deliver on that promise. But should we really expect the purpose driven brand to be authentic in this way? It’s pretty hard after all. In their book ‘The Rebel Sell’ Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter note that "...whenever you look at the list of consumer goods that [according to critics of capitalism] people don't really need, what you invariably see is a list of consumer goods that middle-aged intellectuals don't need ... Hollywood movies bad, performance art good; Chryslers bad, Volvos good; hamburgers bad, risotto good." It could even be that the much-deified new generation of ‘millennials’ – the bullshit proof authenticity-seeking information generation defined both by their strongly held values and their strong intention to live by them – is another invention of these same middle-aged intellectuals, are now looking to temper the disappointment they feel over their own generations counter-culture failure. The list of usual suspect purpose driven brands, as indicated by the Stengel 50, seems to play out to that point. [caption id="attachment_259039" align="alignright" width="234"] Chipotle's The Scarecrow talked about the fast food chain's mission to serve better produce[/caption] Starbucks, Apple, Google, Innocent, to name but a few. And, of course, Chipotle. There is no small irony in how Chipotle appear to expect farmers to produce food for the world using technologies from the early 1900s, yet seem very comfortable using every trick and tech from the 2014 marketing book to promote that point of view. Of course, every new pseudo anti-establishment approach business that declares itself as some sort of alternative to the mainstream - more artisanal, authentic or purpose-driven – is simply a response to demand from the mass market looking for things to consume that signal their alternative status to others. My favourite description of anti-consumerism is the one that calls it as ‘the criticism of what other people buy’. But the truth is that the market is just as good at meeting consumer demand for anti-consumer products as it is for straight up consumer products. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, to be honest. Take the sharing economy poster child Uber, for example. A shining example of a new social era built on transparency, connectedness and stakeholder empowerment. Driven by both a social mission and social values: advocacy, connection, and collaboration. Harnessing technology to create social marketplaces that facilitate trust, dual accountability and social capital between and amongst its stakeholders, employees, customers, and partners. A brand with a purpose beyond profit. The Uber Drivers Networks of New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and London who went on the latest of several strikes and held protest demonstrations against the company’s somewhat unethical driver squeezing practices outside Uber HQ’s last week might contest this. Or let’s ask the drivers working for third Party fleet partners operating as mini-Uber bases, which, for all intents and purposes are operating under the exact same economic and operational principles of the yellow cab or black car bases that Uber was supposed to replace. We should also give (dis)honourable mention to Uber in la France with their recent promotion offering riders the option ‘hot chick’ model drivers. To be fair, it was France, but to describe the promo as “acceptable” misogyny feels like a bit of a stretch. Uber is an easy target, admittedly. In Jean Baudrillard’s 1970 book, The Consumer Society he describes consumption itself as some sort of ‘magical thinking’. This is why advertising works so well. Goods conveying properties beyond their intended use. Anti-consumption is probably more so. You see, the post-social media analysts like to think that organisations like Uber are somehow subversive. But they are not. The system is simply incorporating a new market segment. And it is the same old competitive consumption, that drives this same consumer spending. We always seek to gain status for ourselves with what we buy (or rent), and everybody does it too. Seemingly purpose-driven brands might be the new cool, but the status-oriented nature of the activity remains the same. It’s positional and pure marketing. And the label helps resolve that particular cognitive dissonance. Now you can be a do-gooder and still consume. Eaon Pritchard is strategic director for Red Jelly
- Yesterday and today Seven West Media has been unveiling its plans for 2015 to media buyers and journalists. However amongst the glitz and glamour questions around regenerating formats, fast-tracking, streaming and HD broadcasts remain unanswered, writes Alex Hayes. Seven West Media's upfronts always take some beating, if there's one thing the company knows how to do it's put on a show. Today the sell was all about the 'Destination 20/20', keeping the network at number one for the next five years. And while there was plenty of good stuff, it struck me none of the executives addressed some of the major issues facing all TV networks in the next couple of years. [caption id="attachment_259327" align="alignright" width="234"] Cathy Freeman and Bruce McAvaney relived that Sydney 200 Gold medal triumph[/caption] This year the company took its upfronts to another level, the promised interactive extravaganza was delivered in abundance, with stars like Luke Jacobz, Chris Bath, tennis star Todd Woodbridge and Olympic hero Cathy Freeman reliving her 2000 gold medal run with Bruce McAvaney, all graced various stages on a walking tour to show off their programming and digital content slate for 2015. In terms of a show, it set a very high bar for its competitors in the next few weeks. The team from Play Communications herded groups of media, marketers and media buyers around various rooms; the X Factor set where host Jacobz did a big sell on the shiny floor talent show's virtues; to a living room with stars from My Kitchen Rules and House Rules pushing those brands; an 'outback' farm where new local shows, Yahoo!7's 'localised content' as well as a fake chopper to deliver Mark Ferguson and Chris Bath; and finally a sports locker room where tennis legend Todd Woodbridge and AFL great Jude Bolton sold the network's sports lineup including the Australian Open and AFL, as well as plans for the Olympics in 2016 and 2020. And they laid out a lot of excellent plans and content, not just for next year, but up to 2020 (Destination 20/20: geddit?). These included plans for multi-channel broadcasts of the Olympics in 2016 and 2020, notably absent from Nine's coverage in 2012, a few new shows including Winter, which follows hit telemovie The Killing Field, a drama series on serial killer Ivan Millat, and a new 'Rules' format show Restaurant Revolution, which will hit the trifecta of business, food and renovation. For more see the article here. Digital and HbbTV were also emphasised. Yahoo!7 is putting on a new personalised content app delivering ten personalised pieces of "news you need to know" to your mobile twice a day, whilst also pushing social networking site Tumblr with more brand integrations. There's the new HbbTV lifestyle channel launching 7Living along with 7Food, and the Australian Open tennis will be showing matches on the platform. But while the big sell was very much based around CEO Tim Worner's Destination 20\20, with talk of remaining the number one network until then, there was a distinct lack of coverage of some of the more immediately addressable issues affecting their business, and the industry as a whole. Piracy did get a mention, specifically when programming director Angus Ross flashed up a slide showing the three content pillars for the network: live sport; live news; Australian programming which then had the tag "Piracy Proof" emblazoned across them. And while it's universally accepted these three strands are 'piracy proof', a coherent and diversified schedule they alone will not make. Overseas content is still hugely popular and necessary for diversity. And indeed there will be more. US dramas The Age of Aquarius, State of Affairs and How to Get Away with Murder will all air next year, with Ross proudly boasting "we have a record that's unmatched" in promoting and scheduling new shows, pointing to the massive audience the first episode of Resurrection which launched to 1.9m metro viewers in March, the biggest overseas drama launch this year. What he didn't mention was the return of series two of the show on Sunday night, which got 460,000 viewers. Seven are past-masters at promotion and marketing for big shows, we're all more than aware of the ongoing promos during the Australian Open in January trailing the endless slate for next year. The problem is by waiting for that platform these shows are airing a long time behind the US. Ross said State of Affairs, starring Katherine Heigl, would get a big launch after the tennis in January following more hefty cross-promotion, whilst in the same breath noting it was launching in November in the US. Whether through 'extra-legal' streaming channels or sheer piracy anyone who wants to access that show sooner than Seven finds convenient. In the last couple of years several of these shows have tailed off during the season as eager fans seek them out elsewhere, and unfortunately for Seven it's often the younger advertiser friendly demographics who are doing so, making it hard for them to shake the ageing audience feeling. That in turn often leads them to be shuffled around the timeslots and days at the whims of schedulers, making it tougher for the still substantial audiences who want to watch them through linear channels to find them and stick with them. They also talked up the multi-channels, saying 7Mate was reaching the young males on a scale no-one else is with shows like Family Guy and Pawn Stars, and 7Two was undergoing a refresh to bring in younger demographics, although interestingly repeats of some old UK crime dramas seem to get the consistently best ratings on that station. But while multichannels are becoming more important, the big advertising bucks are still made on the primary channel. As for the local slate of productions, House Rules which picked up viewers this year and outrated Nine's the Block, will get two series next year with "format tweaks". However there was no mention of any changes to the returning My Kitchen Rules or X Factor, which both suffered some audience declines this year, despite media buyers telling Mumbrella yesterday these kind of talent shows need a "refresh" to regain their mojo. SWM's chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette was keen to boast "we own all platforms, even those not invented yet", and was keen to talk up the HbbTV offering from Seven, which does seem to be leading the market, and deserves some credit for that. He pointed out it is "measurable" and targetable for advertisers, and "can be delivered to users with no set top box". Of course, it can also be delivered via set-top box, such as those being rolled out under the FreeviewPlus banner, which have been the subject of a concerted marketing drive from all the free-to-air networks, including Seven. However, HbbTV is still very niche and needs more support from the other free-to-air channels to get a groundswell of support. We'll have to wait and see whether they announce any dedicated channels at their upfronts in the coming weeks. While it was refreshing to see a multi-channel approach being taken to sports broadcasting, there was also no mention of playing AFL matches in HD, a sore point for many fans of the code, and one I've written about before. And while Yahoo!7 was keen to push its personalisation of content, there was no mention of how it plans to make that more compelling for readers to want it. One theory is it will be the joint-venture partner with the Huffington Post when it launches here next year, which would offer it some more populist and international fodder to push. Streaming was also notably absent from any of the discussions. With Nine and Fairfax readying for their joint StreamCo venture next year, as well as the imminent arrival of Netflix, the way people consume content will change dramatically. Whilst it is heavily rumoured Seven will sign on with Foxtel's Presto service it's not clear what this would entail in terms of content sharing, or revenue raising. However, Seven's Angus Ross did tell media post-event that there would be an announcement coming "soon". In 2020 Seven could still be the number one free-to-air network (although Nine will no doubt have something to say about that). But while they may have the largest slice of that pie, the real question is how much of the increasingly diverse content pies will it have a share of if they're not willing to publicly address some of the more basic issues? Alex Hayes is editor of Mumbrella.
- Brand purpose has been one of the buzz marketing phrases of 2014 with experts urging companies to stand for something more than profits. Here Benjamin Harrison argues very few brands can pull it off. If only measured in articles, books, agencies and events espousing brand purpose - the idea driving brands through an understanding of ‘why we exist beyond making money’ or the ‘noble end’, then 2014 has been its peak year to date. It’s also the year that Chipotle – the famously purpose-led fast food chain – reported explosive 19.8 per cent same-store sales growth in the US. By comparison, McDonald’s – a one-time stakeholder of the brand - posted a 3.3 per cent drop in the same period. Steve Ells, Chipotle’s charismatic founder, once said “our performance is rooted in our long term vision to change the way people think about and eat fast food”. It seems the proof is in the organic pinto. But here are three hard truths about purpose we can learn from the Chipotle story. 1. Purpose can be expressed, not invented (or: sorry, you don’t actually have a higher purpose) Chipotle founder Steve Ells’ purpose epiphany happened when he discovered how pigs where raised in the US. What began as a personal mission become a compelling brand purpose around ‘cultivating a better world’. It’s deeply troubling when consultants say they’ve ‘created’ a brand purpose for a client. A purpose can be expressed, articulated and activated, but can’t be conjured out of thin air or transplanted onto an orgnaisation. The hard truth is that not every organisation has a higher purpose above making money. The mistaken belief that every business can be purpose-led has resulted in a swathe of generic and empty faux-purposes: ‘making the world better a smile at a time’, ‘inspiring humanity’ and ‘making a difference’. That is not a purpose that will drive preference, galvanise your people or differentiate your business. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE 2. Purpose takes relentless proof (or: no, it not enough to put purpose at the top of your brand pyramid) Chipotle is famous for its content: the Scarecrow and Back to the Start videos, and ‘Farmed and Dangerous’, an original comedy series highlighting problems in the food industry. Easy, right? Just make brilliant brand content that expresses the big idea behind your purpose and the rest will follow. The hard truth is that it isn’t an easy approach. Purpose requires relentless proofing to keep consumers reminded of your big mission. For Chipotle, that proof has includes its Cultivate festivals of food, ideas and music, the “Cultivating Thought” initiative where writers like Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell write two-minute reads on packaging. Proof includes constant menu innovation in line with the brand promise – from organic beans to locally grown Californian lettuce. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5_D0rdqeAs 3. Purpose is a premiumisation strategy (or: surprise surprise, it all comes back to profits at the end) Chipotle has a problem: food costs are going up. This year food costs were 34.3 per cent of revenue, an increase of 70 basis points, driven by increased prices for beef, avocados and dairy. The good news is that people are prepared to pay a premium for a strong purpose. And by people, we mean Millennials. A couple of days ago, Steve Ells told USA today: "Millennials are turning away from traditional fast food in favour of better food. They are willing to pay more for something they recognise as better." If purpose can premiumise, the strategy works particularly well for businesses targeting Millennials: the demographic most likely to make values-based decisions about brands. Purpose isn’t a silver bullet for every brand. It’s something inherent in a few organisations that are truly motivated to change the world for the better, and are actually doing it. Benjamin Harrison is strategy director of RE.
- At last week's MFA Awards John Grono became the latest inductee into the MFA Hall of Fame. We give Credit Where It's Due to one of Australia's leading audience measurement experts. "If you're looking for a research answer go to Grono. If you're looking for a short answer, go somewhere else." There are very few people who could talk at length, with passion and expertise about a topic like audience measurement as John Grono. As was noted at chairman of the Media Federation of Australia (MFA) Peter Horgan at Thursday night's awards Gap Research's Grono is a man seldom lost for words. Indeed before giving him his award Horgs quipped “he will of course comment on the mathematical improbably of three Johns (the others being John Sintras and John Steedman) being inducted into the Hall of Fame.” So important is the work Grono has done for the industry he is considered a leader in audience measurement research not just locally, but also internationally. There is no media in which Grono has not played an important role in helping ensure a reliable and stringent system of measurement. His career began in 1977 at ACNielsen as their panel statistician, and then as a business and financial analyst, before moving into MIS information as an analyst and programmer for a major Australian MCG clients. In 1991 he was part of the team that introduced TV People Meters to Australia, then led the team that created Media Advisor – a global first in delivering TV ratings data overnight to PCs to allow clients to process ratings and R&F in their own offices. By 1997 he moved to Clemenger BBDO as national media research director, and subsequently became Clemenger Sydney Media Director and was appointed to the Clemenger BBDO Sydney Board. Since 2002 he has run his own consultancy Gap Research. While we could talk more about Grono's influence on the industry, it's probably best left to those who've worked with him over the last four decades. Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.
- Today's edition of The Australian newspaper sees the News Corp title criticise public broadcaster for purchasing keyword search engine terms in an effort to drive consumers to its news websites. In this opinion piece Leisa Bacon, director of audience and marketing at the ABC argues that its digital advertising is no different to its other marketing efforts. All media outlets market their content. Billboards, newspaper advertising, back-of-bus signage, publicity and promotions on TV and radio stations are marketing tactics all of us as audience members are exposed to daily. The digital space is no different. This is simply the newest marketing arena. At the ABC we invest in creating strong, distinctive, Australian content and we want that content to be found by our audience. When an important Australian story breaks, like that of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s passing on Tuesday, all media outlets, the ABC included, will publish content across their platforms. And like all other media companies, the ABC wants to ensure its content, which includes many years of rich TV, radio and print archives, reaches as many people as possible. The ABC invests in Australian stories, content and conversations, often when others may not - we demonstrated this recently through our Mental Health initiative. In an increasingly fragmented media environment we need to help our audiences find and access these stories. In addition, the ABC has a rich archive of content built over many years, across all our platforms. It is of great benefit to the public to be able to access this material. In a digital environment, search is critical to help navigate this. Search for digital is like the TV Guide is for broadcast TV. It’s how audiences find things when they don’t know where to look. We need to have a presence, even though he ABC is fortunate to perform strongly in natural search. We add some paid search to this when we have content that’s harder to find, or a depth of content which will be appreciated by our audiences. It is a cost effective way of reaching our audiences. Across the keywords ABC bids on, we have a high average quality score on search which enables us to bid efficiently. Hence the spend figure quoted by The Australian in relation to Gough Whitlam was grossly exaggerated at $10,000. The real amount was about one tenth of this, a small amount to spend to help audiences navigate years of rich content across TV, radio and news stories. This is the role of a public broadcaster, to share important Australian stories. All companies act in this way, including other public broadcasters like the BBC, and frequently other government agencies, to help you find a service. Finally the ABC understands it is part of a wider media ecosystem which is why we also promote other sites, both across the ABC network and other news sites. For example, if you go to our Gough Whitlam news coverage, online links promote and drive traffic to other news sites, including The Australian. We do this because as a public broadcaster we understand the demands of our audience and the need for as much information as possible, regardless of the source. Leisa Bacon is director of audience and marketing at the ABC
- Jeff Goodby sat down with Miranda Ward on the sidelines of the Reset conference in Sydney this week to talk about whether Goodby Silverstein & Partners should have opened an office in Sydney when it won the Commonwealth Bank account in 2007, what he makes of the state of creativity locally and how if he were starting an agency today it would specialise in social media amplification. Having worked in Australia for nearly five years with the Commonwealth Bank from 2007, what have you made of the state of creativity during your visit? I think it's gotten stirred up a lot since I worked on CommBank, in good ways. Obviously a big couple of Cannes winners that have happened since I worked for CommBank and agencies like The Monkeys have really prospered in a lot of good ways. The clients in banking, the ANZ campaign, things like that have prospered. There's a lot of energy to do good things here and it's a country that's not so big and unweildy as in the US. You can still make a difference here with clients. The appointment of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to the Commonwealth Bank account did cause a lot of controversy - do you think it can work when a foreign agency comes in to work on a local client? As I've said to people here it's just a sign that Australia is in the major leagues when it comes to advertising to have someone come from the outside and work here on a big local account. That happens in the US all the time and nobody goes 'an American agency should be doing that, who the hell are they?'. Having started your own agency, what are the challenges of starting an agency and ensuring it remains relevant? To start an agency now is a real challenge. It's harder to get championed by the press now. When we started everyone wanted us to succeed. It's not a coincidence that Wieden + Kennedy started the same year we did. Everyone was hungry for something outside New York to happen. It's harder to get that effect now. You don't get any help with publicity now. The trades aren't as closely read as they used to be, so you have to do something that makes people crazy, that's the only way to make it work now. In the first year of your work you have to make something really great. What are the challenges creatives are faced with? Doing something that people notice, it's hard to do. The easier way to get things noticed in the past was to do something famous that was on TV and everyone saw it, but doing stuff on TV isn't necessarily the way to success. I always say make a difference in the world, not just at awards shows. It's always great to do something that people notice. You've been behind a number of successful campaigns, including the iconic 'Got Milk?' work. Is there a problem with agencies becoming too associated with one award-winning campaign and how can an agency move beyond that campaign's reputation? That's harder then ever now. It's a mixed bag, you succeed at something like 'Dumb Ways to Die' or 'The Best Job in the World' and then everyone's like 'now what?' And does that mean you can't do a certain other kind of a business? A bank or something. It's bad to get associated with a style, or one piece of work or one account, it's a bit of a limitation in a way. You almost have to try hard to find other things to do. It's a great thing to win all these awards but immediately you have to try and do something. Are clients and agencies becoming more concerned around risks of doing potentially controversial work? I think so and that's why I gave that talk. People are more timid then they were three or four years ago. They're more timid about their jobs, about the process and maybe it's for this exact reason that it's hard to make something famous enough to save your life. People see it as a mistake. That's one of the reasons I tell CMOs to get a lot of research to back up what they do. So if you do something you think is smart start collecting research on it that proves that it works so if your boss comes up to you and says 'Are you sure this is working?' you can quote something quickly and keep it alive. What is your view on the full-service debate? If I were starting an agency now I would try and limit it, I would not try to be full-service. I would try and get famous for doing one kind of thing, I'm not even sure what that is. I would probably try and do something where I promise that social media is going to become mass media. I've been screwing around with this tequila company that my brother and Andy Berlin and I are importing a tequila and I've gotten a lot of respect for being able to manipulate social media without any media. I've worked with people who are really good at it, and we've made some real strides in ways I didn't realise you could do if you applied yourself. Doing social media takes a lot of attention, you just have to monitor it. Starting to do this will make it do that. It's really interesting to do. When looking for new talent what are the skills you are after? I must admit I want people that aren't like the people in advertising in general, if you can get them. It's easy to go let's get a writer, he/she's famous, they're working on that, they've done that and you just keep recycling the same people through the system. It really is good to find people outside that system and it's not like we don't have those people, you have to have them, they know how to handle clients and meetings. It's really good when you can get an infusion outside of that closed system. You've come from a newspaper background - is there anything you learnt as a journalist that applies to advertising? I'm fast. I can write really fast because I had to. What is your favourite piece of work you have been involved with? I'm very lucky to have worked on a lot of stuff, I can't even answer that. One of the great things about our agencies is we don't have one account we're famous for, we've done a lot of different things and I'm really proud of that. Someone was talking to me about a campaign we did in the '80s for Chevys Mexican restaurants where we made commercials and threw them away the same day like they made the food. So it was like this commercial will be good by tomorrow just like the food at Chevys which we make fresh every day. But nobody would go 'I remember that'. If you had another local client would you open an office in Sydney? I told CommBank I was going to open a physical office, and I probably would, it's too far. We were very lucky that Mark Buckman and Barbara Chapman and the clients there really wanted an outside perspective, they wanted to break out of the community feeling and that was good. I don't think there are a lot of clients like that, most clients would go it's just too far for us. So if you were appointed by another Australian client, would a Goodby Silverstein & Partners Sydney office happen? Yeah I would, if it [the client] were big enough. I would now. The people of this country would appreciate that and we'd probably undergo a lot less of the flame-throwing that we got when we came here last year.
- In this cross-posting fromThe Conversation University of Canberra's Bruce Baer Arnold examines the issues at stake as Barry Spurr takes on New Matilda over the publication of emails.
Don’t be distracted by theatrics about political correctness, the boundaries of bad humour and professorial impropriety. The real excitement in the “Spurr Affair” has been occurring in the Federal Court. It is excitement about the shape of privacy in Australian law and about legal recognition of “public interest”. That interest is a compelling “right to know” as a basis of the liberal democratic state, rather than just public curiosity.
Prior to the release of emails from Spurr to as-yet-unidentified recipients, most Australians had never heard of the Sydney University Professor of Poetry. Supposedly jocular vilification in the email exchanges has attracted national condemnation since their unauthorised publication by New Matilda.
Publication has been justified on the basis of public interest. Do we need to know that one of the most senior academics at one of Australia’s most senior universities privately uses language that you’d typically associate with pottymouth characters in South Park?
New Matilda appears to consider that there’s value in knowing – and condemning – the character of one of the architects of the national curriculum review. It’s engaged in a naming and shaming exercise.
Apparently to deflect criticism of its action, New Matilda asserts that Spurr’s use of the university network means that his correspondence is public and thus not legally protected. That assertion is contentious; it means that any official – rather than merely any university employee – would be unprotected.
Spurr gained an interim Federal Court injunction to freeze impending publication of his email. He has sought other remedies, including disclosure of New Matilda’s source (who isn’t protected under whistle-blowing law).
His litigation is an opportunity to strengthen inconsistent recognition of privacy in Australian law. It may also reaffirm the principles regarding public interest highlighted in the Spycatcher and Defence Papers judgments. In these cases, the court recognised that informed public understanding on matters of national interest overrode concerns such as the maintenance of secrecy or embarrassing a government.
Spurr appears to be relying on the injunction provisions in section 98 of the Privacy Act 1998, the national information privacy statute, and a claim that publication breaches his common law right to privacy. New Matilda will presumably rely on section 7B(4) of the same Act, which strongly privileges the media.
Four things we have to understand about this case
- As an employee, Spurr’s use of the university network is covered by the institution’s “acceptable use” policy, typically tied to an employment contract. Policies associated with employment in Australian universities usually identify that some staff email is confidential and that all staff email is a university rather than public resource. Spurr and the university may disagree about who has copyright in the email. That copyright has been infringed by New Matilda, which may rely on traditional defences regarding reporting in the public interest.
- Protection of privacy in Australian law is complex, evolving and often misunderstood. There is disagreement about the best mechanisms for stopping a disregard of privacy and gaining compensation for that disregard. There is no comprehensive national law for damages occurring from breaches of privacy. Despite recurrent recommendations, the national government is unlikely to provide a statutory basis for such damages. Importantly, the national Privacy Act is weak but is not the only law that can protect personal life. The protection of personal life outside that Act is uneven but more common than often recognised, because much action is settled without a final judgment.
- There are competing claims of public interest. Spurr, like any academic and any non-academic, can reasonably expect that most correspondence will not be placed in the public arena. Along with all Australians he should expect a freedom from inappropriate interference, a respect for his privacy. There is a fundamental public interest in allowing people to be undisturbed. That clashes with New Matilda’s claim that there is a compelling public interest in knowing about the character and values of policymakers and educators. The litigation potentially requires the Federal Court to articulate a balance between those interests.
- Finally, the dispute may revive questions about media self-regulation. Are invasions of privacy a legitimate cost of a robust free media in an era where journalists might be imprisoned for reporting on national security? Can we expect News Corp and New Matilda to behave responsibly?
- Earlier this week advertising legend Jeff Goodby told a conference agencies should 'unlearn' everything they know about clients. Here Kate Smither argues deeper business knowledge displayed by agencies creates better marketing results. If advertising agencies are not bringing new thinking to their clients then they are really not doing their job and the industry will die. In fact the industry should die. But I don’t think our ability to think differently is limited by our knowledge of clients’ businesses. The brilliance of advertising is that we can put forward new thinking and unique ideas that will actually drive business results. The brilliance of advertising is not trying to “unlearn” everything in order to keep that thinking pure and fresh. [caption id="attachment_257929" align="alignright" width="234"] Goodby[/caption] I think that the idea of unlearning is actually about a call for the industry to maintain a healthy gap between marketing and advertising. I agree that the idea of unlearning is about what we can bring that adds something to marketing. We as advertising should not create a competition to know more. Marketing will know their business more than us and that is as it should be. But to imply that we can’t do our jobs if we know their business is to suggest that advertising has not moved with the rise of commercial creativity and effectiveness. It is to suggest that long term relationships and business knowledge are incapable of creating new, surprising and fresh ideas. This is simply not true. It is actually more interesting to think of advertising as an industry of applied learning. One that can take everything it knows about a client and connect it to everything they know about people and the world around a brand. We can find solutions that marketing can’t always get to because we live in the world of this applied thought and new perspectives. This is not thinking outside the box, or thinking from “unlearning” it is about understanding the envelope and pushing it as far as possible. It is about aiming for creativity with results and impact. Advertising today is more than just a crazy big ad. What advertising covers today is everything from products and positioning, to programs and platforms. I look at advertising and am still constantly surprised by the breadth of solutions we can come to as a collective force. I am constantly amazed by the creativity of the industry. I am not surprised that this comes from business knowledge and partnership with clients. I am not surprised that this comes from learning. But learning has to be seen as an ongoing process, you can never be done and never say you know everything. That is the beauty of a creative curious advertising mind, it keeps learning, and relearning in a way that is cumulative and powerful. Kate Smither is group strategy director at M&C Saatchi
- Headline writers, cartoonists and journalists all had very different ways of handling the tributes to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in yesterday's papers. Industry body The Newspaper Works has gathered them here. From plays on the 'It's Time' tagline to satirical cartoons, here's how the nation's papers paid tribute to the former Prime Minister yesterday. The West Australian: The Herald Sun: And the Hun's cartoonist Knight: The Australian Financial Review: And the AFR's cartoonist Clement: The Canberra Times: And the CT's cartoonist Pope: The Courier Mail: The Australian: And The Oz's cartoonist Leak: The Mercury: The NT News: The Sydney Morning Herald: And the SMH's cartoonist Moir: The Daily Telegraph: The Age:
In August two of the most decorated and celebrated creatives in Australia, Dave Bowman and Matty Burton, announced they were leaving Whybin\TBWA Sydney, the agency they had helped to turn around, for a startup. The two men tasked with replacing them sat down with Miranda Ward on a visit to Australia last week to talk about their ambitions for the agency, and their views on Australian creativity.
With the departure of acclaimed creative duo Dave Bowman and Matty Burton to Lindsey Evans' The Special Group Sydney Whybin\TBWA boss Paul Bradbury knew he had big boots to fill. His answer was to look abroad, and bring in an established creative duo from one of the most revered agencies in the world as executive creative directors.
Gary McCreadie and Wesley Hawes are returning for their second stint with Whybins, having spent six months there in the latter half of 2009 under then ECD Garry Horder, before departing to spend two years at Host in January 2010, and then heading off to BBH London.
Reminiscing about their short stint at Whybins McCreadie said the agency back then "was completely different", adding "it's really changed and it's developed into something special."
On what has changed Hawes expanded: "There seems to be more of a buzz and positivity around the place. This is probably due to the success the agency has enjoyed and the quality of work produced over the last few years, but I'd also attribute it to the type of people working there now. There's so much talent and confidence across the building, from all departments, that you just get the sense that anything is possible right now.
"We had a vision for the agency then but it was hard for us to apply it because we were a middle weight team. When Matty and Dave came in they took a lot of the ideas and did everything right, we would have done the same thing if we were in the same position," he added.
The pair, who most recently have been working at BBH as the global creative directors on Unilever’s Axe/Lynx brand, credit their time in Australia as the reason they were able to get ahead of their UK peers due to a need locally to be more self-sufficient.
"The interesting thing we found when we went back to BBH after working at TBWA and Host is that we kind of got ahead of our peers. We were forced to be more self sufficient, more proactive," said Hawes.
Chiming in, McCreadie said: "We found we had an advantage. It’s almost going back to art school at one point, you had to fashion your arguments a lot more clearly. When you’re in London you tend to rely on the resources around you and you didn’t have that all the time here, you had to make it yourself, do it all yourself."
"It’s that Australian ‘have a go’ mentality which comes out in the work and the spirit of the creatives here," added Hawes.
McCreadie joked "we're probably behind again now".
The duo's work for Axe/Lynx included a part in the Cannes Lions winning 'Apollo' campaign, which saw the brand team up with Buzz Aldrin to send 22 people into space, as well as the 'Monday/Wednesday' campaign and the 'Soulmates' campaign.
On the 'Apollo' campaign, Hawes said the campaign "lived or died" on actually being able to send people into space.
"We spent six months talking to Richard Branson and all the other companies about how far the technology was in being able to send people up," he said.
The pair also worked on The Guardian's 'We own the weekend' campaign.
The past year has been something of a roller coaster for Whybins in Sydney, picking up the prestigious David Jones account from M&C Saatchi last year, before parting ways with NRMA, which went the other way, a client the agency picked up multiple awards for.
Looking to the future and their new roles at Whybins, Hawes is focused on growing both the creative department and the agency's client roster, but is cool about awards.
"I’d like to think we’d grown the agency’s roster of clients. A massive achievement would be winning awards but we’re not necessarily an award-chasing team, we just like to do work that’s loved by people and if awards come then that’s great," Hawes said.
"A bigger department, it would be great to grow the agency in size. That would be a sign of an achievement," he added.
On the state of the agency's creative department, Hawes and McCreadie were full of praise for Burton and Bowman.
"They’ve left the agency in a really good place," said Hawes. "We had a plan coming into this week on just trying to work out on the areas we can improve, whether they’ve nailed down certain ways of work, but everything seems pretty tight."
McCreadie added: "Our job is to progress that and find the places we can make it even better and also keep the progression of growth in the creative department."
Indeed it was Bowman and Burton's reputation that helped seal the deal for McCreadie and Hawes to take on the joint-ECD role.
"What attracted us to Whybin\TBWA specifically is we knew Paul (Bradbury - CEO), we’d almost crossed over four or five times with Matty and Dave so we’d heard so much about them and their reputation and we’ve admired their work from afar and the impact they’ve had on the agency. Compared to when we were here it’s a different place," said Hawes.
"I don’t think we would have come back for another agency, the opportunity came at the right time. It really helped us knowing Paul and the reputation of Matty and Dave.
"The momentum was really kicking in for the last three years and its an exciting opportunity for us to maintain that," he added.
McCreadie added: "It’s an opportunity to work with really good people and learn how to be an ECD and be part of a management team with people you trust and like, which is quite hard."
"We want to be at the table making the key decisions," summed up Hawes on the decision to take on the role.
However, the pair remained coy when asked which of the agency's clients - which include David Jones, ANZ Bank and Tourism New Zealand - with McCreadie saying "there’s loads of opportunity in all the clients".
Hawes added: "It’s really insightful talking to them about the type of work they’re wanting to be doing and the type of work they’ve done, a lot of our philosophies they’ve really taken hold of. We really want to do work that affects culture and gets into mainstream and feels less like advertising.
"And also do a job for them," added McCreadie.
"Despite being playful people we do take this really seriously and we’re very responsible in that sense. We want them to like it. There’s nothing worse than a client who doesn’t like what you’ve done, it’s what you’ve created it for. You want to solve a problem, you want to fix something."
The pair also have a good regard for the state of creativity in Australia, with McCreadie saying "it feels a lot more solid and a lot less sporadic".
"I think it's really strong," Hawes added. "We watch from afar, then we go to Cannes and all the award ceremonies and there seems to be a good bulk of Australian work coming through and there’s always one stand out piece that seems to clear up every year."
On the challenges creatives are faced with locally Hawes named budgets as the main contender.
"The budget thing is a challenge, but I kind of like being forced to think around doing a big TV campaign each time," he said.
"Maybe there isn’t the money to do the grander things but most of the time it leads to a more interesting idea and some London agencies might be guilty of going TV first, and nowadays there’s a stronger case for starting with the business problem and creating a solution that’s media neutral and can work through a range of channels."
McCreadie added: "I obviously haven’t worked here for a while but it feels like there’s a lot more money knocking around Europe.
"Creativity wise, we’ve always said this, some of the most creative people we’ve ever met were from when we’ve worked in Australia. In terms of thinking, it’s not very different."
McCreadie said in London a major challenge is finding the right talent, however was cautious about suggesting it was a problem locally.
"At the moment there’s a challenge, I don’t know if it exists here, of getting the talent and keeping the talent," he said.
"A lot of places where we’ve come from have had to promote prematurely and bump up salaries prematurely to keep talent because they were getting offers from other places because people want cutting edge and best new talent all the time. There’s a lot of young teams who seem to be CDs."
However, Hawes is confident he and McCreadie will be able to find the right talent in the market, suggesting Australia has an "abundance" of the talent they'll be looking for.
"We know the marketplace so our knowledge is pretty extensive on who’s doing the good work and the sort of creative we want to hire. Australia has an abundance of the type of teams we’re looking for: multi-skilled, can approach briefs in a media neutral way and can do the big platform ideas and then execute them as well. We have a good idea of what we’re after, we just have to go and find it now," he said.
On what BBH has taught them Hawes said their time with the agency has encouraged them to look beyond the work rival local agencies are producing and to have a more global perspective on the industry.
"There’s a big worldly view from the creative at BBH, there’s less of teams seeing what the agency are doing next door, they’re more concerned with what’s going on from a global perspective," he said.
"That’s something we’d like to instil in our creative department here, to take more of a global view and not feel so insular. It’s good to know what’s going on in Australia but it’s not necessarily the be-all and end-all. It’s important to know what’s going on around the world and what trends are happening around the world and not being Australia specific."
Having been described by CEO Paul Bradbury at the time of their appointment as "one of the most exciting creative leadership teams in the world right now", McCreadie and Hawes put their successful partnership down to an ability to be free with one another and being able to play off their strengths and weaknesses.
The duo teamed up in 2003 and have since worked across a number of agencies including Host Sydney, CHI & Partners, VCCP in London and BBH London.
During their two years with Host, McCreadie and Hawes worked on the Vodafone account, working on a campaign for the telco's Ashes sponsorship, and for The Fantasy Cheater's League, work which Hawes said was one of the pair's favourite ideas from their time in Australia.
Vodafone Australia's 'Ashes Sponsorship' November 2010 - Host Sydney
The Fantasy Cheaters League 2010 - Host Sydney"Freedom to say and do whatever you want," said McCreadie when asked what makes a successful creative partnership. "So being able to say to Wesley 'that’s a rubbish idea' or 'I love that idea'. Being able to have genuine emotional battles without taking it personally, being a mate allows you to do that sort of stuff." Hawes added: "We have certain weaknesses and strengths, so we play off those. But not just the usual. Gary’s an art director so he’s more visual and I’m a writer so words are my forte, but even in presenting I’m better at the initial stuff and landing points and Gary’s better at riffing. "In every aspect of our work we compliment each other and try and have fun and that’s quite important. "We have a more relaxed attitude about work, we never put pressure on ourselves and when we get over here we want to relay that to our teams." "No matter what situation we’ve been in we’ve been able to have a laugh while we’re doing it and relax and not put too much pressure on ourselves. Hopefully we’ll be able to instil that in the creative department," he added. The pair move into the joint-ECD role in early December. Miranda Ward
- On a day when media outlets have been rolling out pre-prepared obituaries for Gough Whitlam The Australian's interactive effort is head and shoulders above the competition. The news of the death of Gough Whitlam at the age of 98 has had all of the mainstream media running extensive coverage of the life of the former Prime Minister. But standing out above the pack was The Australian's interactive special. While it has been common practice for media outlets to have obituaries prepared for prominent figures, it is unusual to have something so intricately detailed, which will have taken many hours to craft, ready to roll out. If you haven't looked at it, the obituary by veteran political correspondent Mike Steketee is well worth a read. It looks at the Labor leader's long career and how his policies impacted Australia. However, it is the deeply immersive experience the reader is treated to as they scroll down the lengthy piece, with changing feature images, pull-out quotes popping up, an array of picture galleries and an interactive timeline stepping you through the life of Whitlam, which sets it apart from the efforts of rivals. Whilst many may lament the loss of the art of immersive long-form storytelling in hard copy newspapers, this shows what can be done when talented journalists, photographers and designers get their heads together to take the reader on a journey. And it's not hidden away behind the paywall. More please. Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.
- Making the switch from the solitary profession of journalism to the team sport of PR was tougher than imagined, writes Ben Oliver. Whether deleting emails with zeal or bitching to colleagues in the newsroom, pouring scorn on the erratic, misguided or plain bizarre PR pitches was always a fun sport. But having now worked in agency for two years after nearly a decade in journalism, I can say without hesitation that not only do I now fully appreciate the pressures of agency – it’s a hell of lot harder than what I used to do. Please don’t misunderstand; journalism has it’s own extreme pressures, exacerbated in recent years by fewer journalists producing more copy – since 2012, News Ltd, Fairfax and Channel Ten have cut around 3000 staff, mostly in editorial roles – and additional expectations around social media. Burnout in journalism is, unfortunately, all too common. While equally stressful, journalism and agency do differ, however, in one important aspect -the diversity of skills sets required to do your job well. When I first made the switch, I was told that few journos succeed in the world of agency PR. Whether ex-journalists make good PR professionals has been debated at great length, and in my view, the switch is harder than most journalists – myself included – appreciate. In my view, good journalism is supported by three core competencies: researching, interviewing and writing. To use a sporting metaphor, Journalism is like tennis; a lonely profession requiring a few, finely honed skills. To continue the sporting metaphor, I see agency as a little more like the decathlon, where multiple, unrelated skills must work well in tandem. While the foundations of good agency PR – story ideas, pitching and writing – came to me relatively easily, it was in management and business development where I faced a steep learning curve. Firstly to management, where the twin demands of clients and staff require very different touches. It’s a cliché, but managing client expectations is bloody hard work, requiring a touch somewhere between needlessly cynical and unjustly optimistic. Nailing that sweet spot is the nirvana of good client management. Meanwhile, managing staff is a whole other ball game. Confession time; to every manager about who I’ve ever complained, hand on heart, I’m sorry for being such a dick. Managing. Is. Hard. While news editors have a role coaching and mentoring junior staff, journalism is generally a solitary profession. The newsroom is not a unified country but a chain of islands; how many journalists would share their story ideas or contacts with their colleagues? While not ideal, journalists can do their job sans inter-company communication. In agency, communication blackout is a death sentence. I’ve lost count of the number of times a media contact or a story idea offered by a colleague has saved my ass when a client was pushing for top tier coverage. Brainstorming ideas, and sharing skills and experience is the only way an agency can thrive. In journalism, new business development was something left to senior management not involved in editorial, but it’s a skill set you better develop quickly at agency. NBD quickly separates the strategic thinkers from the herd; prospective clients simply won’t accept a slide deck of media outlets you’ll call on their behalf. In the age of earned, owned and paid media, creating a fully integrated strategic plan involving such elements as media pitching, blogging and paid social media augmentation is crucial. To any journalists reading this, please don’t consider the above a slander on your profession. My respect for journalism has only increased as friends in the industry cop more work for less pay. But if you’re considering a move to agency, be prepared; the work is fun, challenging – and unlike anything you’ve done before. Ben Oliver is senior account manager at Buchan
- Amid debate around elements of the client agency relationship, Ebiquity’s Eric Faulkner asks if both clients and agencies have both unwittingly conspired to destroy each other.
Earlier this week Mumbrella's Nic Christensen, writing as a 'hypothetical' CMO, wrote what many in the industry had long been thinking on the topic of agency pitches.
"For anyone wondering about the race to the bottom, in this market, I reckon you hit it about three years ago. Not that anyone seemed to notice," his 'hypothetical CMO' wrote.
It's rather like the climate argument -- if you're going to wait until we're all under water, well, its a bit too late then, isn't it.
Well, we have already passed that point. Our hypothetical CMO may have added that although their creative quality may be at an all time low, at least the media is cheap.
In fact this year's media buy is 20 per cent cheaper than last year's and that was 20 per cent cheaper than the year before.
So next year's will be free. And the agency has dropped their fee to nothing already, so they'll be paying us to handle the business next year.
Not that there's much to handle, as the advertising has been so bad and all the ads have appeared at midnight, that no one knows our brands and certainly doesn't buy our products any more. Which is just as well because the retailers take 110 per cent of what we earn anyway. I wonder what the surf's like today?
Ok, so I am guilty as charged. It is my fault. 26 years ago I started an independent media consultancy that helped marketers lift their level of media competence and confidence. This was so that they could work more constructively and effectively with their advertising and media agencies. And then, five years later, one of our clients asked us to develop a way of independently evaluating their buying agencies. We did.
It wasn’t that sophisticated back then, but we did ensure that quality was always reviewed at the same time as cost. Soon, many jumped onto the bandwagon.
And I am not just referring to the consultancies that make up the numbers on the back of cigarette packets. I am thinking too about the client procurement people who may not have been thinking enough about the business ramifications of their media cost-reduction demands.
Media procurement has moved from a local function, to become regional and global. That’s real power. But is that power balanced with an equally lofty level of brand and business responsibility?
A managing director told me over coffee a while ago: I am responsible to my global boss for the success of this business, but I no longer have full control of our advertising spend – a key driver of our brand strength. That is increasingly controlled by procurement, based outside this country.
So, the CFO is delighted to see the million dollar “savings” that have been achieved (by procurement) and promptly docks the money from the marketing budget and plops it straight to the bottom line.
The marketing director is at first bemused, then confused and finally frustrated as they realise that their marketing effort has moved from Grand Prix race car efficiency and effectiveness to that of a family saloon. The good ones fight. But this is a tough fight to win.
But as Christensen has said in his thought-provoking articles about What your Media agency and What your client are not telling you that it is not just the clients and me who are guilty. The agencies have conspired to create The End too.
I was chatting to a senior media friend recently. He’s worked in agencies in three countries. Really smart guy. We were talking about transparency of agency media deals.
He said: “Look, what’s the problem here? As long as the client is getting you guys to do the benchmarking, then they know they’re providing competitive value and that the agency is focused on their business.
“Who cares if the agency is making a bit of extra money on the side from media owner kick-backs? After all, when I walk into Coles or Woolies, and I pick up a box of Kleenex or Sorbent, I don’t ask the store manager how much they paid Kimberly-Clark or SCA to buy it in the first place. I don’t ask them what their trading terms were. I just buy the one I want."
Now that is a fairly convincing argument. And if media agencies want to position themselves in that way, fair enough. But that’s not the way marketers see it … yet at least.
Marketers look at media agencies and creative agencies as their trusted suppliers.
They share highly sensitive and confidential information; they seek advice, guidance, support, help and ideas from their agency. They are looking for a relationship based on trust, collaboration, insight and creativity. Maybe they are mistaken.
As fast as advertiser procurement teams screw lower fees and cheaper buying costs from agencies, the agencies find smarter ways to work around those restrictions and replace the lost income from other sources -- usually ending up in a financially stronger position than where they were in the first place. That’s no longer news. Everyone knows that.
But what happened to the old fashioned concept of integrity? If your agency is acting like a broker, then say you are a broker. And if you are a procurement manager, don’t be naïve (or worse, pretend to be naïve) about how your supposed savings will be charged back to you … in poorer quality, creative accounting or less experienced resource.
I can almost hear the words “We don’t do value bank deals. We don’t have AVRs and AVBs. We don’t invoice clients for bonus spots. Maybe some of those things are done at group level -- but not by us in this agency”. You can see the three little monkeys … with their hands covering their mouths, eyes and ears, saying hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
Come on guys, let’s not follow that Jack Johnson song Cookie Jar where a never-ending trail of people refuse to accept responsibility for their actions … and no-one is willing to stand up and be counted. Let’s start being straight with each other.
Let’s stand up for our opinions … not just in darkened pubs, noisy restaurants and in anonymous blog comments … but in front of each others’ faces.
Eric Faulkner is CEO of Ebiquity’s Australian, NZ & SE Asian business.
- Next Wednesday October 22, Mumbrella’s sister title The Source is running a breakfast event in Sydney focused on how to work with procurement departments. More details are available via this link.
Community television is facing the axe — again.The stations have been earmarked for eradication from our screens after Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull suggested removing the stations’ broadcast spectrum licenses, to be put to use elsewhere. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Free-to-air television has always been a challenge of practical limitations. The rarity of broadcast spectrum — the radio waves over which TV is transmitted — as well as the cost of doing business, means broadcasters have always faced a choice of what they air, how they air it and when. It’s not the first time community television has faced extinction; similar threats were made with the digital TV switchover in 2009. But there’s no reason community television has to leave our big screens forever — in fact, technology can ensure it remains there. The launch this month of Freeview Plus, the HbbTV platform, has for the first time merged broadcast TV’s reach with the internet’s theoretically endless limits. Broadcasters are already planning to use the new technology to extend their reach at sporting competitions and other live events with multiple streams, ensuring viewers will never miss a live European Handball match that’s scheduled at the same time as a swimming final at the 2016 Olympics. They can just flick between multiple channels to get to the event they want.
Unencumbered by the limitations of spectrum, broadcasters can focus on providing all the content their viewers want, including community television.With Freeview Plus, community TV stations could partner with a major broadcaster — say, the ABC or SBS — to have their content featured on a Freeview Plus TV or set top box. There would be little cost impost on broadcasters; simply a piece of configuration telling HbbTV-compatible devices where to find those new channels. Turnbull has made the point that community television is little-watched, but that’s exactly the biggest opportunity for Freeview Plus — catering to niche audiences without taking away from the mainstream. Those broadcasters that truly grasp the opportunities of HbbTV are already doing exactly that, treating Freeview Plus as a core part of their portfolio, and using it to provide content viewers otherwise might have missed in the byegone age of broadcast. Freeview Plus gives broadcasters the edge they need to ensure that niche audiences don’t flee to web browsers for niche content, and forget about the TV screen. But broadcasters can and should also use Freeview Plus to provide opportunities for those truly niche audiences that risk being ignored as we move away from linear television. Community television can be saved; we just need to think outside the box. Mark Blair is Vice President of Australia and New Zealand at Brightcove.
Phone: 1300 366 156
East Sydney, NSW, 2010 Australia
Listing last updated December 3, 2012 | Type of business: Ad Validation and Delivery
Tags: adgate, adsend, advertising, Advertising Campaign, Adverts, asset management, broadcast, broadcast delivery, broadcast workflow, Campaign Delivery, Campaign Management, captionflow, Captioning, commercials, delivery, digital, Digital Asset Management, Distribution, dubs, dubsat, Duplication, Edit Suite, HD, hd delivery, Interactive Digital Ads, iq chaser, iqpro, Media Asset Management, media booking, media delivery, mediafront, mediapro, mediapro extreme, online, online delivery, online video, out of home, outdoor, post production, preflight, Print, Quality Assurance, quality check, Quality Control, radio, Reels, Send, Send Ads, Solutions, Streamlining, substation, television, Transcoding, TV, TVC, Validation, Versioning, Workflow, Workflow Management Systems
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