Opinion | Features
- With the AFL finals in full swing, Team Epic head of strategy Tony McKay looks at why some clubs are always in the news, irrespective of their performances, while others fade from the headlines.
Why are some AFL clubs always in the news, seemingly always relevant and contributing to the footy story, regardless of on-field performance week-to week? And yet other clubs seem to almost disappear as soon as the losses outnumber the wins?
Look at the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in 2014. Poor performers, yes, but also largely anonymous. When did you last hear a spirited footy discussion about either club? What’s their brand story at the moment?
Compare that to Hawthorn, Richmond and even Melbourne, all have had lean periods over the last decade. Yet they have never been out of the news. At various times Jeff Kennett, Shane Crawford, Buddy Franklin, the late Jim Stynes, Paul Roos, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin, just to name a few, have all contributed to the footy dialogue whilst their teams have been struggling. Be it President, Coach or players, it happens too often to be coincidence.
So what makes a strong footy club brand; one that can be relevant and interesting throughout the performance cycle?
Just like consumer brands, a sporting club’s strength comes from a mix of tangible and intangible brand assets. On the tangible side, each club’s brand has a commercial value based on the exposure it generates.
In AFL, brand commercial value (not to be confused with revenue) comes from three main sources:
- media exposure
- merchandise value
- hospitality and events
- emotional capital; and
- With wearable tech set to burgeon Peita Pacey takes a look at the opportunities which are presenting themselves in the healthcare sector for brands. In the olden days, you know like 5 years ago, when people felt ill or just not quite ourselves they went to the doctors. Nowadays their usual first point of call is to contact Dr Google, who is most likely helpful enough to diagnose them with a rare form of incurable cancer at which they run screaming from our screens into the waiting room of an actual doctor who rolls their eyes and prescribes us with some R&R. Our human condition has people always seeking to find, to know, to understand, but if left unchecked well quite simply we can get a bit ahead of ourselves. I’m as curious as the next gadget freak about my sleeping and hydration patterns. Yeah, I do want to know when I need to get up and walk around from my desk. And if I could have a bracelet that simultaneously gave me lunchtime menu suggestions of what to eat based on my real time blood sugar and cholesterol stats, well I’d be placing a bid on Kickstarter for that piece of tech no questions asked! I can only imagine how the future of wearable tech is going to affect how I care for my body. But what happens when people don’t need to see a doctor anymore? What happens when they can self-diagnose? Better yet, what happens when one of the myriad of devices we use can monitor and detect what’s happening in our body and advise us of what medication we should take and how we can make lifestyle changes that promote a healthier body? What if a bracelet could tell me that a headache was coming, and prompt me to pop two Panadol quick smart to beat the pain? Or if it could tell me that there’s been an increase of flu in my local area, and my Vitamin C levels are looking a little depleted? With 25 per cent of respondents in the Royal Philips Electronic Consumer Attitudes Toward Healthcare Technology 2012 survey stating that they used websites or technology as often as they visit the doctor and a further 25 per cent use it instead of visiting the doctor, it got me thinking about the ethics of such things. It seems to me that the opportunity here is not just for tech companies, but also for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. With a newly empowered consumer who is seeking more and more information, and who has already given permission for certain brands to have a role in their daily lives, combined with the trend towards holistic healthcare, should we not be looking at our communications plans differently in light of this? Our consumer is inviting us in for conversations about their health and wellbeing and we should be chatting right back, showing our expertise, providing them with genuine and relevant guidance, which ultimately celebrates our customers’ health. There’s a delicate balance between pushing the brand/sales agenda and providing genuine and useful information for this empowered consumer, but the brands that get it right will ultimately win at shelf. After all, our customer is looking to us to help get them back on their feet as quickly as possible, so they don’t miss a beat of the life that they want to live. Peita Pacey is a senior strategist for OMD
- After yesterday's announcement the ABC is wrapping At the Movies at the end of the year we give Credit Where its Due to one of the longest on-screen partnerships in Aussie TV, Margaret and David. As Margaret always acknowledged, they were like an old married couple, but without the sex. Quarrelling, bickering and occasionally agreeing. But it was all done with mutual respect and genuine affection. We refer, of course, to Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, known by movie fans across Australia simply as Margaret and David. Surnames were rendered superfluous for two of TV's most respected and popular presenters. The pair announced this week that after 28 years of reviewing films, initially for SBS on The Movie Show and then the ABC for At The Movies, it was time to call it a day. And so the curtain will come down on one of TV's most enduring, and endearing partnerships, at the end of the current series on December 9. It is no exaggeration to suggest that Margaret and David have achieved cult status over the years, and their presence on our TV will be sorely missed, not only for their knowledgeable and considered opinions, and in Pomeranz's case for her sometimes emotional outpourings, but for the fact that, well, they always seem to have been there. After all, there is a whole generation which has grown up with the pair an ever-present on their screens. They are a somehow comforting, intelligent and well-informed presence in a general sea of reality TV nonsense. The duo got together in 1983 when Pomeranz was assigned to produce the introduction for Stratton's "Movie of the Week" and "Cinema Classics". Three years later, after what Stratton described in an article for The Australian as "disastrous" pilot programs, The Movie Show went to air. Not that they were instant friends. "At first we didn’t hit it off at all; she was pushy, I was set in my ways," Stratton said. "It was an oil and water situation. But gradually I came to appreciate her knowledge and her qualities, and we became friends." Such was the widespread affection for the pair that on the 25th anniversary of their TV shows two of Australia's best talents, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush, sat in their seats and offered their versions of Margaret and David. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STEv-U_-R2Y Their departure leaves a gap in our TV schedule as there is no other show that delivers a weekly dose of film reviews on free-TV. That is a crying shame, not only for movie fans but for the struggling Australian film industry that Pomeranz and Stratton have championed, Wolf Creek 2 notwithstanding, a movie they both refused to review. Even more worrying is ABCs confirmation that nothing will replace At The Movies in 2015. It must be hoped this is only temporary and that one of the networks, if not the ABC, has the wit to grasp the opportunity to launch a new version of Margaret and David. Nothing can replace them, of course, but the show must go on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moeK94Nru-o
- Ahead of a video hangout on Wednesday answering your legal questions Stephen von Muenster looks at how defamation law is evolving in social media. 140 defamatory characters posted in the Twitter-sphere could cost tens of thousands of dollars in damages, the New South Wales District Court has held. The case reignites the complexities of defamation law in a world where everyone is a publisher and information is disseminated across the globe at the click of a button. In the recently handed down court decision of Mickle v Farley, 20 year old Andrew Farley was sued by Ms Christine Mickle, a highly-regarded music teacher who taught at the same school. Mr Farley believed Ms Mickle was responsible for his father (the previous head teacher of music) leaving the school, and posted multiple allegations on both Twitter and Facebook. The comments were false, as his father had left the school in 2008 “in order to attend to personal issues.” The suggestion that she was responsible for the harm or ill-health of the father caused distress to Ms Mickle, who subsequently took a year of sick leave. The case itself is unremarkable in regards to the current state of defamation law in Australia except that it’s the first Twitter judgement. Judge Elkaim awarded $85,000 in compensatory damages. He commented: "When defamatory publications are made on social media it is common knowledge that they spread. They are spread easily by the simple manipulation of mobile phones and computers. Their evil lies in the grapevine effect that stems from the use of this type of communication.” Judge Elkaim additionally awarded $20,000 for aggravated damages for Mr Farley’s uncooperative behaviour. The case shows the accountability of social media users for their actions, even when Mr Farley only had a mere 60 Twitter followers and 50 Facebook friends. The Social Media Legal Landscape in Australia Whilst Andrew Farley’s case was the first Twitter judgement in Australia, it’s not the first to hit the courts. In 2012 music reviewer Joshua Meggitt sued Marieke Hardy and Twitter, but settled out of court. This otherwise unremarkable case demonstrated the law responding to technological change. Companies too must, of course, be careful as there is a history of liability for the failure to remove posts on their Facebook pages written by others. This is important, as the control and responsibility of the page rests on the company – even for content which it did not produce. Even Google couldn’t escape publisher liability when the search engine failed to remove defamatory search results after several requests from a Mr Trkulja, who was defamed and Google found to be liable in late 2012. Defamation Law in Australia and Beyond As defamation law us is usually more concerned about where content is downloaded, rather than uploaded, the internet has made the law more complex. As content can be viewed or downloaded anywhere, amateur and professional writers can now be exposed to defamation laws across the globe. In Australia, a person can sue for defamation in the state or territory where his reputation is established, even when the content was published overseas. This pick-and-choose system provides advantages for people who believe they’ve been defamed. By bringing an action in countries with stricter freedom of speech laws increase the chances the material will be held defamatory, whilst it’s lower in countries which strongly promote free speech. In reality, most potentially defamatory comments never eventuate into law suits because of the cost and time to do so, and many won’t be across multiple jurisdictions. Looking Forward Defamation has always been a topical issue, but as the law and evolves to meeting the challenges of the social media age, it has become more relevant to everyday people. There is a misconception that social media is treated differently from traditional forms of media. In reality, this isn’t entirely true, and whilst people may let their guard down with what they say on their Facebook page, it can have unintended ramifications. Judge Elkaim’s words should be a warning to those with a propensity for hot-headed tweeting, or perhaps even a careless fib. For the young Andrew Farley, he found himself owing more than $100,000 plus significant legal costs in circumstances where he was unlikely to have considered this a likely outcome at the time of his tweeting. Stephen von Muenster is a solicitor and owner of von Muenster solicitors and attorneys.
- Modern marketing is taking services and products that used to be free and adding subtle charges for them, argues Andrew Hughes of the Australian National University in a cross-posting from The Conversation. Remember the days when free really was free? When reading a news article to the end didn’t mean having to get over, around or through a paywall. Or when loyalty schemes actually rewarded loyalty with decent rewards, not “spend $200 get a $20 reward voucher that can only be spent with us”. The recent suggestion by Australia Post that letter delivery should be slowed unless Australians pay for a “priority service” is the latest signal that what has been considered free or “regular” can easily be bumped up by marketers to “premium”, with the associated cost. Marketing is changing in response to a new world order in markets. The era of the liquid and dynamic market, as Coke calls it, is here. Markets move quickly. Getting a competitive advantage is becoming more difficult, but so is sustaining old business models that are unable and too rigid to keep up with the pace of change. Banks were among the first to feel these forces. Online competitors, globalisation and more open competition forced them to move us firstly away from tellers to ATMs, then to the internet and now of course to mobile devices where the cost of a transaction to the brand is in the range of a few cents. Credit card rewards became harder and harder to get and the three tier system was replaced with five tiers – low-fee no rewards, low-rate with rewards, silver rewards/low rate, gold rewards/low rate, platinum, and WOW, you have that card! Airlines had the same dilemma. In the face of smarter competitors entering the market with deeper pockets (just ask Qantas), they sought more agile strategies and different service offerings in a drive to change customer expectations and perceptions and raise new revenue while simultaneously reducing cost. Enter premium economy. Cattle class made stylish. If the customer would like not to be elbowing or having their fellow passenger fall asleep on their shoulder they could pay just a little extra and fly in a bit more comfort. Or basically get the same experience they had before the introduction the 3-4-3 configuration, the bane of so many of us on long-haul flights. While it failed on the uptake, it did reinforce that if you wanted what you had before then you had to pay futuristic prices. The illusion of free And now the internet. It’s all free right? No. At the moment it’s the selling of our private information on a scale surpassing anything seen before that is paying for our “free”. Remember condition 57f of the terms and conditions that you quickly scrolled to the end of and accepted? Paywalls changed the media model. Now newspapers are meant to be prestige products, but feel very much like low-cost promotions of their online sites. Someone needs to get that marketing right. In digital media, it’s data that is helping the giants monetise and grow on a massive scale. Just take a look at the type of location information Google collects – it’s a marketers dream. At the same time more ads are jumping into our social media feeds. Those big social media apps and sites that so many of us now deem essential to life on Earth have got us hooked on the free offering, but the social value they provide to us means many of us would potentially pay a nice monthly fee to keep that access alive 24/7. It was never free In 2004 two now very famous marketing academics by the names of Vargo & Lusch wrote a seminal paper arguing essentially we will never own a product but merely lease it. Companies loved this. They have been working to make us accept this concept ever since. In other words it never was free. That was just the basic value offering you had accepted. It wasn’t meant to last. As they say, all good things come to an end. The “better value” offering isn’t based on price alone anymore, but more the value that we derive from it in so many ways – be they social, financial, psychologically, or whatever. The experience factor. What you thought was free but now pay extra to have. Australia Post will by no means be the last company to move down this path. The marketing world of 2014 is destroying old business models without fear or favour. And with that destruction will come changed perceptions of what “free” really is. Andrew Hughes is a lecturer at the research school of management at Australian National University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- In a new column Mumbrella celebrates the best people and work in the industry. Today we recognise dairy brand Devondale for its work with creative agency DDB which saw the brand revitalise a tired sector. It's a common moan from creatives in Australia there aren't many clients willing to take a risk with their brand due to the grip of a conservative corporate culture. But one brand which has given its agency free-reign to push boundaries, and reaped the rewards, is Devondale. Two years ago not many people would have had much brand recall of the Murray Goulburn-owned brand, but now it has a series of the most memorable, and quotable, ads of recent times. It all started in March 2013 with the memorable and hilarious Soy Aftertaste Face spot promoting the brand's Fast Start breakfast drinks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJjUAXIK6pQ It was a different tactic for a dairy brand, which traditionally focussed on the farming aspects of the brand and celebrating the dairy farmer behind the product. The brand's agency DDB Melbourne continued to deliver, with the new campaigns positioning Devondale as a solution to a problem posed by a competing product. The next spot looked at "hard butter" and how it can destroy families. The spot worked so well that even our content director Tim Burrowes went out and changed his butter buying behaviour, opting for the brand's soft spread product after seeing the ad just twice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=negVVIwCN8E More spots followed, including the Crazy Cat Lady and the Glow Girl spots, although it was here that the brand's new campaign hit its first bump in the road. The Glow Girl spot, which promoted the brand's Long Life Milk, was banned by the ad watchdog because the phrase “preservatives have consequences” “would be considered misleading by reasonable members of the community”. However, that didn't deter the brand from its irreverent style. With its cheese ads, for its Smooth Tasty product and its easy peel cheese slices, the brand continued to hit new highs, with audiences engaging with the brand's new personality thanks largely to the work of director Tim Bullock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ckaSxpc0AE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZuDAGwTxEE Mumbrella readers were already starting to applaud the work, expressing a desire for more clients "taking risks" to build their brand and suggesting Devondale was one of the best clients in the country. But not everyone was resonating with the brand's new style, with its spot for its flavoured milk coming under the scrutiny of the Ad Standards Board and being banned for presenting unsafe behaviour. (Ad courtesy of Ebiquity) However, DDB and Devondale continued to do what they do best - creating compelling and engaging ads that demonstrated an understanding of the sector and its audience. The next spot from the brand featured a character that was "a good mix". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLDT7BKlaQQ And while the brand's most recent spot has come under fire for being demeaning to Asians, we hope Devondale and DDB continue to push forward with their approach. The industry needs more clients willing to take a chance on a new idea, to challenge sector traditions and to not be deterred by set-backs such as ASB rulings. Indeed the campaign was also recognised at this year's Mumbrella Awards where it claimed the Ad Campaign of the Year trophy. It was a deserving win and sets the bar high for the category next year. 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.
- Following the launch of Twitter's "Buy" button earlier this week, Peter Cassidy, co-founder of Stackla, examines how social media drives potential consumers to retail websites. The success and rapid adoption of social media made it inevitable that businesses would look to social to drive online sales. New social platforms came with the promise of unprecedented reach, providing retailers with the means to drive swarms of qualified prospects to their websites. The truth of course, is that social media didn’t deliver on the promise. US data company Monetate analysed over 500 million eCommerce sessions and found that only 1.55% of all eCommerce traffic came from social and only 0.71% of that traffic resulted in sales. People simply don’t hop from their Twitter timeline to your shopping cart. Don’t shoot the ‘messenger’ The results brands have typically seen are less a symptom of social media’s failings and more a matter of approach. It’s not new knowledge that buyers regularly seek reviews about products prior to purchase from other customers; few would argue that product mentions by satisfied customers hold more weight than any brand-generated review or advertisement. A Nielsen study shows that 77% of shoppers say ‘social exposure’ to a product is the most persuasive source of information. Own your earned media What are brands doing with the brand mentions and authentic endorsements their customers are posting on social networks? In most cases these ‘money can’t buy’ social validations are lost in the social ether, victims of the brief ‘post halflife’. Herein lies the problem: brands are not harnessing the power of social recommendations. If you consider that social media has increased the number of product endorsements available to a brand - be it a post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest - we start to see social media’s true potential for eCommerce. Where social media excels is in converting customers at the point of sale. We need to stop thinking about social media as a source of website traffic and rather as a powerful conversion factor at the point of sale. Social validation has to happen at the point of sale When someone is shopping at home, alone, perhaps on their iPad on the couch - that is when the authenticity of social content is most powerful. Fashion retailer Wanted Shoes is an example of how integrating social content at the point of sale can work seamlessly. Wanted Shoes created a ‘Social Scene page’ that provides users with a whole new way of browsing their products. In effect, it’s like their own Pinterest board where all the content is sourced from photos their customers post on social media while wearing their products. Users can browse the content, find a picture they like and click through to buy the product featured in the picture. Customers identify with the real people in the photos and that social validation provides the confidence they need to complete a purchase. Over a period of three months, Wanted Shoes compared conversion rates for customers who shopped via the Social Scene page against those who shopped via the regular cart. What they found was significantly higher conversion rates via the social catalogue. The Social Scene page was also the 'stickiest' page on the website, with the longest dwell times (almost 2 minutes), and a bounce rate of just 5% making it the most engaging page on the website: 95% of customers were clicking from this page to a product that appealed to them. Retailers are starting to see the light. Brands harnessing social commerce to great effect include Myer with its Spring Summer Fashion Launch, Michael Hill, SABA and Loving Tan. User Generated Content is better than Brand Generated Content Brands are producing expensive content for social media that simply doesn't get seen by their target audience, so why not harness what is already being created by your brand advocates? With the advent of smartphones featuring superb photography capabilities combined with surging mobile Internet usage - 7.5 million Australians used the internet via their mobile phone in 2013, an increase of 33 per cent compared to June 2012, according to ACMA - the customer voice has never been stronger. The challenge for brands is to aggregate content from across disparate social networks and bring it to where it has the greatest impact - at the point of sale. Only when this is done can social media truly deliver on the promise to drive sales. Peter Cassidy is co-founder of Stackla, a platform that helps companies aggregate and curate social media content around their brands.
- With the launch of two new iPhones today DT's Jason Deacon says Apple has done the job of redefining mobile experiences. When you pick up a phone in a store the first thing that grabs your attention is the display. It’s the feather fascinator on a Melbourne Cup goer. The ‘new and improved’ sticker on your washing detergent. The hundreds and thousands on white bread. We are dazzled. Drawn into the bright and colourful aura, momentarily distracted from the less refined attributes, which may lie beneath the surface. By virtue of this screen size arms race, the iPhone has increasingly (and undeservingly) come off second best in side-by-side in-store comparisons. Like comparing apples with bowling balls. One is certainly better for you, but gosh that bowling ball is big! This all changes today. Though, given Apple’s famous philosophy of not bending to trends or outside pressures (Netbooks, anyone?), I imagine it is somewhat bittersweet for their exec team to stand up in Cupertino’s Flint Centre this morning and decree the benefits of a larger (much larger) screen. But the market has turned. Just as megapixels once dominated digital camera purchase decisions (before we saw the sense in sensor quality), so too has the mobile phone industry created an arbitrary metric for measuring what is perceived as good. Despite previously condemning the industry’s obsession with screen size, Apple had no choice but to play the game. Apple's ad about screen sizes: http://youtu.be/EY4c2mh15Yk And this ain’t a bad thing. The extra space (available in two sizes; 4.7 for the iPhone 6 and a hefty 5.5 inches for the iPhone 6 Plus) will be welcomed by Apple fans. The iPhone will once again pass the superficial side-by-side test, and customers can put aside the girth of the glass to focus on what truly makes Apple a superior choice — the same reason why they turned the mobile industry on its head in the first place. Attention to detail, build quality, and a cohesive software experience designed wholly around the user, not carrier partners or advertisers. That’s what makes a phone. But philosophies aside, what lies beneath the razzle dazzle? If we’re talking tech specs, the iPhone 6 builds upon an already solid base. The cellular modem is faster and includes even more bands for getting the most out of overseas networks, and the inclusion of the new 802.11ac protocol will see your WiFi speeds triple on next gen routers. The battery and processor get a notable bump, and a swath of camera improvements (such as HDR video and image stabilisation in the Plus model) will see our hobby photos and videos work even harder for those coveted Instagram likes. Lastly, the inclusion of NFC — near field communication, a technology already present in many competing handsets — should hopefully act as a tipping point for the modernisation of contactless payments, though Australia unfortunately won’t see this in market at launch. Of all the improvements to the iPhone, NFC (near field communication) presents the most interesting opportunity for marketers. Finally, the QR code can die. While unconventional use of this technology for brands will rely on Apple opening up an API, we should start to consider now how to leverage this beyond mobile payments now. And let’s go beyond simply activating Call To Actions, too. The potential of two-way near field data exchanges as standard across all mobile devices is huge. Wearables have been on the rise for a while now. And now that Apple bring this further into the mainstream, the shift of attention from pocket to wrist is well worth watching. Third party apps will be available for this platform next year. How might your brand best utilise this behaviour change? Contextual arm ads? Maybe. Wearables – the Apple Watch included – are packed with sensors that allow us to do so much more than just broadcast a message. What should you do right now? Keep pushing that iBeacon strategy. These low-energy Bluetooth emitters are rolling out into retail outlets across the US, and there’s still a significant, untapped opportunity in the Australian market here. As categories mature, the rate of innovation inevitably declines. We can add features and make things faster, but the form factor and usage principles are defined and understood. Now, it’s about refinement. With the iPhone 6, Apple does not disappoint, as they continue to advance an already exceptional platform. The iPhone 6 concedes that bigger is better. What that means, however, is our focus can now shift away from the superficial. The discussion has been reframed, once again, around what truly makes an incredible mobile device: hardware and software working together seamlessly, and an unmatched hunger for perfection. Jason Deacon is creative director for DT
The idea that brands can pick out and target a small group of social media users with large 'followings' and then imagine that they will reach everyone else with their message is still prevalent however this influencer theory is a myth and its protagonists have got things the wrong way round.
There are a couple of reasons marketers still like to believe in this idea of the 'influencers'.
Firstly, a little bit of laziness. It’s a lot easier to believe that a message can spread by the brand tapping apparently popular individuals - those special few to whom we all turn to in order to make decisions as Gladwellian rhetoric would have it - rather than get down with the messy business of continually reaching a mass of distracted, disinterested consumers.
Secondly, just by implementing these ‘influencer’ strategies it’s actually the brands themselves who appear to be the ultra influentials!
They, after all, are now the ones who influence the influencers.
Sadly neither of these things are true.
If they were our jobs as advertisers would be so much easier and predictable.
What is true, is that you're just as likely to spread a message or product by targeting a mass market of random consumers as you would by going after so-called influencers, as long as the conditions are right.
If people are ready to adopt a product, message or trend, then just about anybody can start one, but if the conditions aren’t right, then no one can.
Indeed, most of what we should call real influence is much more accidental and principally involves easily influenced people influencing other easily influenced people, without either party being particularly cognisant of the influence.
There’s bad news and good news.
The bad news is that the specific conditions in which any given trend might emerge are very hard to predict and success only looks like success in hindsight.
The good news is that the psychology literature explains the general conditions for copying behaviour pretty well.
All day long people unconsciously mimic the behaviours of others they interact with, including facial expressions, accents, postures, gestures, mannerisms and emotions.
And the simple act of observing others’ behaviour can induce behavioural mimicry, particularly the behaviour of others who appear similar to us, and all of the above are unconscious automatic processes.
Likewise, simply observing others’ choices induces choice mimicry - just like behavioural mimicry it occurs automatically - and collectively when we are uncertain about which behaviours or choices are acceptable or accurate, then we use the ‘social proof ‘ heuristic to be on the safe side.
Or in more simple terms, ordinary people copy other ordinary people without really noticing they are doing it.
Speaking of hindsight, we’ve never held much truck with the old Gladwell ‘Hush Puppies’ story.
The legend goes along these lines; some East Village hipsters began wearing Hush Puppies in 1994 and then suddenly everyone else started wearing them, too.
What Gladwell failed to notice is that Hush Puppies were a staple of just about every UK subculture from the early sixties onwards, worn by mods, skins, hippies, punks, soul-boys and ravers right through to 3rd generation mod brit-poppers in ermm.. about 1994.
Even if Gladwell’s theory were true, it still doesn't mean that if East Village hipsters did wear a specific product then it would automatically be popular.
Hipsters in the East Village presumably wear all kinds of other clobber that never becomes particularly popular anywhere else, or even in the East Village.
It depends on whether anyone else was open to copying at that time.
This belief in ‘influencers’ can be simply explained using a particular logical fallacy.
Rosenweig’s ‘delusion of the wrong end of the stick’.
This is the tendency to get causes the wrong way round.
For instance, in observing that successful companies tend to have a corporate social responsibility policy, should one infer that these pro-social activities are contributing factors to their success, or is it simply that that profitable companies tend to have money to spend on CSR?
The former makes for a better story – and is therefore lapped up by the purpose-before-profit lobby and more recently proponents of the so-called ‘sharing economy’ - however the latter explanation is much closer to the truth, if somewhat less sexy.
Similarly, ‘influencer’ theory makes for a better story than random copying of each other by ordinary people.
The final irony is, of course, that the so-called ‘traditional’ mass marketing that ‘influencer’ type strategies seeks to discredit is actually far more effective at reaching accidental influencers than activity focused on reaching those with some sort of perceived influence.
Therefore smart marketers could, in effect, have their influencer cake and eat it, too.
As it is impossible to know which person, if any, is going to start any given cascade of influence, then activities should be aimed at as broad a market as possible to give it the best possible chance.
And then if something does catch on they can correctly say ‘we got the influencers’ because the random nature of accidental influence means that ‘influencers’ can only really be identified after the fact.
Eaon Pritchard, strategic planning director at Red Jelly, Australia
- In a new column Mumbrella celebrates the best people and work in the industry. Today we salute 20-year SBS veteran Lee Lin Chin, who traverses the serious world of news with a more light-hearted approach. There aren't many newsreaders who can successfully make the leap to light entertainment, but Lee Lin Chin can put that feather in her cap. Not content with being a mainstay on the po-faced SBS World News since 1992, Lee Lin has been engaging and delighting a younger audience with her regular appearances on SBS2's The Feed. To be a survivor in the cut-throat TV news world you have to have a steely edge, and Chin clearly has that in abundance, as well as an authority and gravitas that delivers an extra edge to her new bulletins, even if she is only on at weekends now. http://youtu.be/uK3AQH6bdtU SBS may be a niche channel for much of Australia, but for those looking for news beyond our shores it is the go-to destination, thanks in no small part to Chin. And it's testament to her skills that she is known well beyond the relatively small hard core of her audience. Indeed she may not be the biggest celebrity, but when 28,000 people like a Facebook page devoted to celebrating your "asymmetrical outfits" something is being done right. TV stars are not renowned for having much of a sense of humour about themselves, but Chin clearly revels in her regular slot on SBS2's The Feed, which now has a dedicated Lee Lin Chin channel on its YouTube page. These self-parodying appearances in things like The Real Newsreaders of Sydney, Celebrity Chin Wag with Lee Lin Chin and most recently The Lee Lin Chinnel ( a 24-hour rolling news service for SBS), are elevating Chin to cult status, and have opened her up to a whole new audience. She always has a twinkle in the eye. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7viSJeXIq7o Some might remember her first viral hit, when she was caught asking "Who is that handsome...." as producers cut back abruptly from a filmed report to the studio, but even then her recovery and pick up were that of a true pro. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISnGo-nt-jo But the quote that best sums up Chin have to come from a 2012 profile of her written by TV Tonight, where she said she is still surprised when people recognise her on public transport, adding at the end she won't be giving up reading the news anytime soon, adding with a smile: “What else can I do? I have no other skills!” 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.
- Product placement is infiltrating social media influencers, but how long will it be before the platforms come for their piece of the pie asks Richie Meldrum? Beauty and popularity have always gone hand in hand. If you think back to the most popular kid at your school, chances are, he or she was blessed with nice hair, clear skin and fortuitous features. Call it natural selection if you like, but the cool kids have courted the attention and admiration of their peers in a relationship dynamic that’s been going on as long as anyone can remember. These days, things are different – there’s money to be made from being popular. In the online arena, certain individuals have been able to amass huge audiences via their social media accounts. Followers are attracted to their beauty, status and apparently enviable lifestyles, which they document, down to the finest detail, through regular posts and updates on social media accounts – most notably Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr. A new breed of online celebrity, famous only within their own social media accounts (for now) continue to play an ever-increasing role in the lives of today’s notoriously elusive youth market. They court attention, evoke response and can influence behaviour. Not surprisingly, brands and businesses have quickly taken notice. It’s always been tricky for advertisers to reach mass audiences in Australia. Geographically, the country has the sixth largest landmass in the world, but in terms of population, it’s way down the line at number 53. The sheer distance between the major cities and the relatively small population makes running national campaigns hard. Traditional media is either very general – the country only has one national print paper (the UK has seven) – or very tailored, with the various regional TV stations only able to speak to their own local audience. This means that brands have had to look for new ways to connect with national markets. This is especially true in the case of younger audiences who, more and more, are backing away from mainstream media consumption – when was the last time you saw a teenager reading a print magazine? By tapping into the social media realm where huge numbers have congregated, advertisers are getting direct access to their target market. What’s more, they are doing so in a far more effective way than simply ramming their product in-between the entertainment the kids want to watch. Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the way the social media platforms work, the marketing, advertising and PR industries have essentially created a new form of product placement. However, rather than just showing Marty McFly drinking a Pepsi, or Daniel Craig sporting a Sunspel polo shirt as 007, the social media celebrities endorsing brands in their tweets, posts and videos, are willing and able to offer advertisers a much more blatant endorsement of their wares. Jump online and check out the Instagram accounts of @kayla_itsines (currently sitting at 1.1 millions plus followers) @stephclairesmith (400k followers), or @sjanaelise, (also 400k+ followers) and countless others, and you’ll see what we are talking about. Peppered in between the photos of their ‘everyday lives’ are numerous examples of social media product placements. It could be a new skin care product they ‘swear by’, a new handbag they ‘love’ or a strategic post from a far-flung holiday destination in which that they just happen to mention the tour operator’s name and what an amazing time they are having. Whatever the product, brand or service that is slipped into the mix, it always comes with a picture of said product and an ‘@’ mention, meaning anyone seeing the post can link through to the social media account of the company behind the placement, follow them and perhaps even click on the web link in the account and purchase said product. First coming to prominence around 18 months ago through the social media accounts of people with large followings and a health or fitness focus to their content, social media product placement is now a well-established and oft used channel for the marketing industry. PR companies including Sweaty Betty have been quick to catch on to the opportunities offered by social media marketing and even started up an offshoot business called Ministry of Talent which represents ‘normal’ people who can wield influence over their followers. However, according to some professionals working in the industry, being approached by company to promote their product through your social media account isn’t just about how many eyes you have access to. “Followers are taken into consideration,” says Kate Patterson, an experienced social media manager “but these days the engagement rate is more important. Having 50k followers is great, but if only 500 of them are liking/interacting with the content then the account is not as valuable for a brand. It's also important to assess whether the person is a good fit for the brand - tone of voice/age etc. Those would be the factors I’d take into consideration if I were to approach an influencer.” As a new form of marketing and product placement, finding solid information on how it all works, including the commercial arrangements behind the deals, is hard. Many people believe it works on a case by case basis. Often brands would want it to look like a genuine endorsement or a love for the product rather than a paid one. In most cases, brands or PR companies would send out the product to the individuals for free, hoping that this will be incentive enough for them to post it on their social media accounts. They would also provide the relevant brand accounts/handles and hashtags and the expectation would be that the individual would tag the brand page in their post. It's likely that there would also need to be a discussion whether or not the individual would say that they'd been sent the product, or whether it would be made to look like they've chosen to wear or use it themselves. In terms of monitoring the impact, again it’s hard to know. Analytical reporting on click-throughs in these situations is not provided. Therefore, as an advertiser, you’ve no way of knowing for sure what kind of cut-through you’ve achieved through social media product placement. However, there are some indicators. The more likes or comments there have been on the post, the more you know you’ve had an impact. Likewise, if you see an increase in followers or an increase in sales then you might be able to point to your social media product placement as a factor. One thing is for sure - if brands and businesses are using social media platforms to market their products without the owners of the platforms being able to take a cut, then you can bet your bottom dollar that plans are afoot to stop it when the time is right. As Instagram, Snapchat and other such channels move closer to fully monetising their business models with official advertising packages, the days of ‘under the radar’ product placement are numbered. Until then, the popular kids will continue to be popular and the rest of us will continue to look at them in admiration. Richie Meldrum is creative director at creative agency Yoke in Melbourne.
- In a new regular column Mumbrella recognises the best people and work in the industry. This time it's Jason Kent for daring to ask tough questions of the Australian film industry. It seems to be increasingly rare for people to put their head above the parapet and question their peers. Too often, industries - and not just this one - close ranks, watch each other's backs and fail to address issues that are holding back progress. So take a bow Jason Kent, the founder of Pure Independent Pictures, who is behind a documentary which aims to lift the lid on why Australia's film industry is struggling at the box office. In the 1980s, Australia was churning out some enormously successful movies. Look no further than Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee, which generated substantial returns at the box office. Back then, Australian films contributed more than 23 per cent of local box office takings. Yet in the intervening 30 years, that impressive number has shrunk to less than 4 per cent, despite a lot of support from movie critics. Clearly then something needs to change, especially as Screen Australia is facing large budget cuts, making money harder to come by for would-be film makers. But as Kent told Mumbrella last week, the film industry has for too long ignored the decline and continued in a blinkered "crisis, what crisis?" mindset. “Some people are trying to pretend as if there is no problem. I see articles every year saying everything is great, but the opposite is true,” Kent said. “But if we don’t do something about it and if someone doesn’t at least start by saying ‘hey, there's a problem’ and ask the questions about what is wrong, then nothing will improve." He is well aware that the documentary, What's Wrong With Australian Films, could cause a stir, recognising he could be at risk of being ostracised by the film making community for making such a documentary. But causing a stir, stimulating debate and tackling the reasons behind the slump are precisely what his intentions are. Not in a mean spirited point and laugh way, but as a means to force a much needed debate out into the open and build a self-sufficient commercial film industry. The talent is certainly there for it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGw3W-25PII&feature=youtu.be 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.
- Men are regularly represented in the media and advertising as stupid and clumsy and it is denying younger generations proper role models argues Peter West of the University of Technology in this cross-posting from The Conversation.
Get your hand off it,” says the girl in the ad. Here is a cowgirl type telling men not to play with anything while driving. It’s the mobile that she means, ha ha.
Why should we be concerned? Because yet again, here’s an ad showing men as fools, clowns or rogues. Time and again we’ll be shown someone doing the wrong thing, then told off. It always seems to be the man doing the wrong thing, and a woman ridiculing him.
I see ads about littering on suburban litter bins. Here’s a man shown dropping a wrapper. And here’s a woman frowning at him, unimpressed and thus no longer seeing the man as desirable. Dumb men, wanting the affection of women who don’t welcome their interest.
Think of some well-known men in the TV comedies you watch. There are many dumb males in The Simpsons and the worst is Homer.
Househusbands has a clutch of guys struggling manfully (if that’s the word) trying to manage a few kids while earning money. They don’t seem to make a very successful go of it, either.
And the men on Home and Away always seem to be getting into fights, mischief and trouble. Brooklyn 99 is a new show on SBS. It’s fun, but the male cops are all lazy, work-shy and trying to impress, mostly unsuccessfully.
Once we held men up for boys and girls to admire. There were Galileo, Cook the brilliant navigator, St Patrick who converted Ireland, and tons of other saints, martyrs and heroes.
Today the only males held up for our admiration are young men with amazing bodies or superhuman powers. Think of The Bachelor or the movie Hercules.
Clearly, these are exceptions to the rule that most men shown in the media are fools and clowns. Sorry, most of us can’t look like these musclemen or do all those superhuman tricks.
Why does all this matter? Vast sums are spent on advertising. We’re told that Tony Abbott employs large teams of people to promote the good news about all his government’s achievements.
Propaganda supporting the current war has been with us for centuries, certainly since the first world war. Advertising and images in the media change people’s behaviour.
Jim Macnamara analysed images of men in the Australian media in a doctoral thesis, later published as Media and Male Identity. He found that overwhelmingly, Australian men are confronted by:
a misandric world that demonises, marginalises and objectifies men and tries to change them.It’s not just advertisers but educators too The discourse of the “flawed male” in the media echoes that in many educational institutions. The doctrine of “most men are bad” is reported by male students in university subjects in sociology, history and education. And nasty images of men in the media reinforce the negative views of men current in many sectors of education. The effect of all the negativity is that men bunker down. They say, “Oh well, here’s another attack”. It doesn’t offer much hope to young males who are already searching for an acceptable masculinity. Perhaps many women would like men who are more sensitive, who listen more attentively and commit more easily. But if we change men too much they won’t be recognisable as men. When there’s a natural disaster such as a cyclone or bushfire, we expect men will come and help out. If Australia commits itself to war in the Middle East, it will be mainly men who are expected to fight. How does this affect boys and young men? Young men are affected by what they see on TV and in social media. Just this week, the boys next door were throwing buckets of cold water on each other. It was another example of boys imitating what they see around them. We often hear that boys are trouble. As John Marsden says:
Teenage boys are among the most maligned groups in society.They are called drug addicts, semi-illiterate, hopeless communicators and a leading group among school failures. Young men on the street are depicted as sources of trouble, with endless arguments about how to stop their violence. The sins of a few are visited on all. Young men aren’t choosing teaching as a career and the only role models we offer are poor ones. Do parents want their sons growing up in an atmosphere of such constant criticism of males, as males? Where is the scope for their ideas and ideals? How can we give boys a lead and show them how to make a better world, if all they see is a relentless ridiculing of their sex? Boys are, after all, bound to turn into men. So for this Father’s Day, I’d like to give males more hope. Let’s insist that advertisers present us with more positive images of men as well as of women. For the sake of all our dads. And the sons who will be dads, soon enough. Peter West is a lecurer in edutcation for UTS Sydney. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- In a regular new feature in which Mumbrella recognises the best people and work in the industry, Credit Where It's Due begins by saluting Peter Biggs, the talented and charismatic Kiwi who helped turn Clemenger BBDO Melbourne into Australia's best creative agency.
In a competitive industry, it's hard to find an agency boss that nobody has a bad word to say about. Even harder when that includes rivals that his agency keeps beating.
So the departure of Peter Biggs back to New Zealand is a big moment for the Australian market. Biggs, a thoroughly decent individual, has been a leader not just within the agency, but in the wider agency world.
Given that the industry needs a little positivity, we've been planning to launch this new series Credit Where It's Due for a few weeks now. And there is nobody in the industry who deserves that credit more than Peter Biggs.
On the two occasions that Mumbrella has surveyed its own readership and indeed the industry experts for our Creative Agency Review book, the agency has been scored the best agency in the country. It was top for effectiveness, account management, planning, commercial success and client stability, and close to the top on every other criteria.
And in his eight years at the helm, the agency has of course been recognised as Creative Agency of the Year in the Mumbrella Awards, Campaign Brief's awards, The Effies and many others.
Biggsy, as the natural leader he is, would no doubt point to the strength-in-depth of the agency's entire executive team. And it's certainly true that creative chairman James McGrath and ECD Ant Keogh are both world class. But there are many agencies with world class creatives that don't succeed commercially.
In Melbourne, Biggs was everywhere it counts, in many subtle ways. Turning up matters. And if ever a client was speaking at a public event, you'd find Biggsy supporting them in the audience. It sounds obvious - but that's the reality of account management and something many agencies fail to do.
Every now and then, Biggs would disagree with something Mumbrella had written about his agency, and he wouldn't be afraid to let us know - so don't mistake his charm for lack of toughness; we've experienced his displeasure at first hand. But no matter what, we've always respected him as one of the agency world's ethical heavyweights.
When we've sat in on the Clems' Agency of the Year presentations, Biggs has projected a balance of hunger-to-win, but also humility. Even when it's been head-and-shoulders above its rivals, Clems has never come across as an arrogant agency.
Peter Biggs is also a thoroughly intriguing character. As a profile of him in B&T back in 2008 put it:
"He once trained as a Catholic priest, has a key to the city of Wellington and his biggest break came during a conversation at the urinal of an Italian restaurant."And Biggs is one of the few agency bosses who seems to enjoy diverting the conversation over lunch to great literature, or classical music. Long term industry watcher Gawen Rudder accurately decribed him yesterday as "a true renaissance man". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbWe2gIWHMM No doubt his rivals will be a little relieved that Biggs is retiring from that battlefield in Melbourne. As Sean Cummins put it yesterday:
To see a great practitioner and in the nicest way I say this – a combatant – leave the industry makes me feel a little lost. A more charming, erudite and sophisticated man I can’t remember meeting. Holmes needed Moriarty. Salieri needed Mozart. And anyone who wanted to be any good needed Biggs. I enjoyed knowing you were there. Age quod agis."Now in his mid-50s, we hope that the description of Biggsy's departure as "retiring" to New Zealand is an inaccurate one. Undoubtedly, like many of the senior Clemenger Group's staff, the sale to Omnicom back in 2011 means he doesn't need to work. But it would be a huge loss to the industry if that proved to be the case. We hope - and believe - Biggsy will be back once his non-compete clauses have expired. He's too good to lose from the industry. We're confident we'll see him return. Credit Where it's Due will be a regular feature in which Mumbrella celebrates the best of the industry - including individuals, organisations or work. We welcome topics suggestions and guest postings via firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Yesterday Foxtel announced some significant changes to its pricing and some services. Here Simon Dell looks at what the pay-TV provider needs to do to really combat the upcoming arrival of video streaming services.
So I’ve spent the last few years having a crack at Foxtel whenever I could. I thought the service was expensive, restrictive and, in TV terms, antiquated. Sure, not as antiquated as the main channels and their: YOU WILL WATCH THIS WHEN WE WANT YOU TO WATCH THIS approach but still not dancing on the cutting edge of TV broadcasting.
And then I went and signed up for Foxtel. And not just any Foxtel. The super dooper premium $99 a month package. Even though the basic package has recently been slashed, I thought I’d get all the bells and whistles.
It must have been a moment of madness. Or it might have been the fact that my wife was running out of things to watch on YouTube. Or maybe it was curiosity. Either way, we took the plunge, signed up for six months and thought we’d see how it compares to the $15-odd-a-month we
pay for Netflix and a VPNspend elsewhere. First things first: the positives: The sign-up and the install process were all brilliant. Efficient as any other service delivery I’ve ever used. Two guys came out when they were supposed to, moved some cables, took their shoes off without asking and knocked it over in 30 minutes. Second positive - there’s a lot of stuff on Foxtel. A lot of stuff. Sure, there’s Toddlers and Tiaras, but there’s also a bag load of great drama, reality and comedy. Get the IQ recording thing right and you’ll never, ever be short of TV to watch. Third (future) semi-positive - the ‘BoxSets’ channel announced yesterday. Sure we can all say ‘about time’, but at least Foxtel are acknowledging the changing viewing patterns of the average Australian family and the growth of bingeing on TV. There’s still going to be some ‘wait and see’ on it - will it provide the content that we actually want, or will they still hold back the premium content for the normal schedule? And will the BoxSets work through the Foxtel app? Even then there's an issue with premium drama where you can only jump into many series halfway through the second or third seasons, forcing you to go elsewhere to find the rest of the episodes. And that’s about where it all ends. Sadly, the things that let Foxtel down are the things that could spell out its impending doom when Netflix rolls into Australia. Let’s hope CEO Richard Fruedenstein is listening. HD Availability So if you want to see your shows in HD, you have to pay even more. Not content with taking a $100 off you every month, you need to spend another $10. Why is this a rort? Well, most of the content you’re watching is shot in HD, so if they broadcast it as it was shot, then why pay another $10? Pace, who makes the Foxtel HD set top box, said that all of the IQ boxes delivered to Foxtel are HD enabled with a full HD processor built into the box at no extra cost. Throw in the fact that the HD channels are then in between the normal entertainment channels and the movie and sports channels, you have to flick past them every time to get to anything. It’s like I’m being teased every time I scan the channels. Management System I had Foxtel about five years ago and in that time, no-one has thought to update the horrible, horrible content management system. It’s clunky. It’s ugly. It’s almost in 8 bit. And worst of all, you can’t use it and watch your show at the same time - unlike most modern HD TVs on the market. Even the shitty onboard computer system in my BMW has been updated in that time. Foxtel’s almost has cobwebs on it. Again, the announcement yesterday mentioned IQ3 - Foxtel’s new management system - but will it be a patch-up or make-over on what exists, or will they have really put some sophisticated thought into the user experience and deliver a solution that wows the audience? Mark Things To Record In Advance There’s a new comedy series coming out with Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe called ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’. It’s due to start on Foxtel mid-September and promos for the series are running now. All the time. Think you can set the recording facility to record it now, two weeks out? Of course not. Series Link Whilst Watching The Series So you find something you like to watch, whilst you’re watching it, you would think you could series link the whole thing with one button? Nope. Not a chance. By the end of the first week, I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that Foxtel doesn’t actually want me to enjoy the experience of using Foxtel, and they certainly don’t want me skipping adverts. It’s almost as if they want me to go and download some shows. There’s a slight smell of panic mode with Foxtel - new updates and ideas based on competition, and not based on a genuine desire to provide the best viewing experience. One day soon ad-free Netflix will arrive in Australia and that will knock Foxtel off balance. Then an Apple TV app store will arrive and that will be the end of that. You can’t help thinking that the question isn’t whether Foxtel have done enough to grow their subscriber base, but whether they can hold onto it at all? Simon Dell is the founder and director of full-service marketing agency, TwoCents.
- With the AFL finals in full swing, Team Epic head of strategy Tony McKay looks at why some clubs are always in the news, irrespective of their performances, while others fade from the headlines. Why are some AFL clubs always in the news, seemingly always relevant and contributing to the footy story, regardless of on-field performance week-to week? And yet other clubs seem to almost disappear as soon as the losses outnumber the wins? Look at the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in 2014. Poor performers, yes, but also largely anonymous. When did you last hear a spirited footy discussion about either club? What’s their brand story at the moment? Compare that to Hawthorn, Richmond and even Melbourne, all have had lean periods over the last decade. Yet they have never been out of the news. At various times Jeff Kennett, Shane Crawford, Buddy Franklin, the late Jim Stynes, Paul Roos, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin, just to name a few, have all contributed to the footy dialogue whilst their teams have been struggling. Be it President, Coach or players, it happens too often to be coincidence. So what makes a strong footy club brand; one that can be relevant and interesting throughout the performance cycle? Just like consumer brands, a sporting club’s strength comes from a mix of tangible and intangible brand assets. On the tangible side, each club’s brand has a commercial value based on the exposure it generates. In AFL, brand commercial value (not to be confused with revenue) comes from three main sources:
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