‘Lack of civility’ on comment thread sees The Conversation lay down guidelines

ConversationAcademic journalism website The Conversation has launched a set of community standards to raise the level of discussion in its comment thread.

Cory Zanoni has been hired by the not-for-profit website to moderate reader’s comments and develop the guidelines, which were published today.

“We want The Conversation to be a place for intelligent discussion and we think there’s more we can do to achieve that,” Zanoni said in an email to readers announcing his appointment. Read more »

Volkswagen tackle perceptions around cost of ownership in new online campaign

Volkswagen Group Australia has teamed up with DDB Sydney to launch a new online aftersales campaign which attempts to tackle the perception that owning the brand of car can be expensive.

The campaign features a Volkswagen representative testing what people will believe, asking such questions as ‘Do you know the cost of Volkswagen service will be more if you have blonde hair?’ and ‘did you know the cost of servicing a Volkswagen triples if the car is red?’

DDB Group Sydney executive creative director Dylan Harrison said in a statement: “The idea for this campaign was in the problem. Without knowing the facts, people believe Volkswagens are expensive to run and maintain. We wondered what else are people prepared to believe and wanted to deliver it with the trademark Volkswagen understated humour.”

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Schweppes: ‘We didn’t authorise agency to invite professional models to public competition’

SchweppesSoft drink giant Schweppes has said it did not authorise its public relations agency Professional Public Relations (PPR) to ask professional models to appear for free in its Schweppes Fancy Food Fight competition.

Yesterday Mumbrella revealed how an intern at PPR’s Melbourne office sent a group email to more than 40 professional modelling agencies asking them to be involved in an unpaid “casting call” for the Schweppes Fancy Food Fight, and urging them to enter clients into the competition on Facebook, which is open to members of the public.

In the wake of the coverage PPR issued an apology.

“We’re aware of the competition,”said Robyn Newman head of corporate affairs at Schweppes, “but the intention was not for models to be invited and we certainly weren’t aware that this particular invitation was being extended.

“The purpose of promotion was to reward Schweppes Facebook fans so the idea was to recruit Schweppes lovers.” Read more »

Daniel Hill made MD of Val Morgan Cinema following Damian Keogh’s move with Hoyts



The Val Morgan Cinema Network has promoted its chief revenue officer Daniel Hill to managing director, following the promotion of  CEO Damian Keogh to CEO of the Hoyts Group earlier this week.

Hill joined Val Morgan as national sales manager in 2011 having previously spent almost a decade working on the sales team at Channel Seven, and then gone to IMG Fashion as general manager.

Keogh said the business has grown by over 40 per cent in the last two years while Hill led the national sales team in a “relatively flat advertising market”. Read more »

AJF Partnership promotes senior creatives to CD roles, creates first ECDs


L-R: Freckleton, Skarbek, Jones and Dalton

AJF Partnership is shaking up its creative department, introducing the role of executive creative director for the first time and promoting four members of the creative teams to creative director roles.

AJF partners Adam Francis, Andrew Foote and Josh Stephens will take on the new roles of executive creative directors, a move that follows on from the agency acquiring creative business Freeform earlier this week.

George Freckleton, Michael Skarbek, Andy Jones and Glenn Dalton have been promoted to creative director roles across the Melbourne agency’s client portfolio and will continue to work alongside the newly titled ECDs.

In a joint statement, Francis, Foote and Stephens said: “George, Mike, Glenn and Andy have been key drivers of our most effective work for clients and their promotions are recognition of their loyalty and influence on the agency’s progress. They have each spent an average of almost seven years with us and we firmly believe that their CD positions will further elevate our creative performance for clients.”

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Bauer media appoints NW editor as Elle’s managing editor departs

Bauer Media Group has hired Pacific Magazine’s New Idea deputy editor Mark Brandon as editor of its celebrity gossip magazine NW, starting in May.

The appointment comes a week after Jane Davies, the managing editor of Bauer’s newly launched fashion title Elle, took a redundancy payout and departed just four months after the international glossy launched in Australia.

Yesterday Mumbrella reported Elle’s features director Alyx Gorman was also leaving to join the Mamamia Network as editor of a new website. Read more »

The Blacklist returns with 909,000 as The Biggest Loser falls to 339,000

The return of James Spader’s The Blacklist brought 909,000 metro viewers to Channel Seven last night but Ten’s The Biggest Loser Australia got just 339,000 against The Block and My Kitchen Rules.

MKR won the night with 1.911m while Nine’s The Block had 964,000 viewers at 7.30pm, but The Biggest Loser Australia had it’s lowest outing yet this season, according to OzTam’s preliminary overnight ratings.

Meanwhile Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell on ABC1 was third in the 8pm timeslot with 543,000, as was comedy quiz show Spicks and Specks, with 442,000, despite dropping of its debut to 598,000 when it launched with a new panel last week.

The Moodys, on ABC1 at 8.30pm, averaged 379,000 for the second episode of the series in competition with The Blacklist.

Although ratings for The Blacklist dropped from its launch to 1.59m in October, episode 11 of series one had a clear win over David Blaine: Real or Magic’s 674,000 on Nine and the Sochi Winter Olympics which had 411,000 on Ten.

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McCann Melbourne ties with Wieden+Kennedy for the most awarded agency in The Gunn Report

McCann Melbourne’s ‘Dumb Ways to Die‘ campaign for Metro Trains has helped Australia leapfrog the UK to take second place in the annual Gunn Report rankings for 2013.

The agency’s success with its Metro Trains cartoon public safety ad saw it enter the Top 50 most awarded agencies in the world list for the first time, but saw it tie for first place with Nike’s agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland. The tie for first place is also a first for The Gunn Report.

McCann Melbourne ECD John Mescall told Mumbrella: “It’s the best Gunn Report for Australia by a mile. It’s kind of like dead-heating with Usain Bolt, if you have to dead-heat with someone you’re happy to dead-heat with Wieden.

“It took them two offices to tie with our one. We’re Very happy to be equal first with those guys, who wouldn’t be? I’m sure an Australian agency has never gone number one in Gunn before.”

The Dumb Ways to Die campaign, which is the most viewed ad in the history of YouTube, was the most awarded commercial, taking first place in film and digital, second place in All Gunns Blazing and equal third in print and is the most awarded in The Gunn Report’s history.

The news comes just days after CEO Ben Lilley told Mumbrella he did not want the agency to be known just for the campaign.

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STW sees profits rise despite ‘challenging’ market



The STW Communications Group has posted improved earnings and profits for the last financial year despite what CEO Mike Connaghan described as “challenging economic conditions”, driven by a $185m boost in digital revenues for the marketing services group.

Company revenues grew 12.4 per cent to $402.1m for the year ended December 31, with a profit of $87.6m up from $79.3m the previous year. The group’s companies include Ogilvy, DT, Ikon Communications, Spinach, Houston and an interest in the JWT Group.

Connaghan said in a statement to the ASX this morning: “Our full year trading results are pleasing in the face of continued challenging economic conditions. We have delivered strong revenue and profit growth in the second half of the year, underpinned by organic market share gains. We have also made significant progress in accelerating our growth strategy for the future.  Read more »

Morning Update: Is this the year’s most provocative Valentine’s Day ad?; Diddy and Snoop Dog make ad cameos

This is our Morning Update, rounding up international media and marketing news from while you were sleeping.

AdWeek: The Year’s Most Provocative Valentine’s Day Ad Is Also One of Its Most Touching

“There’s a lot going on in this 60-second Valentine’s Day commercial, but it would probably spoil things to reveal either the product or the plot. Suffice it to say there are several surprises here, though it all adds up to quite a heartwarming commercial.”

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Mumbrella360 video recap: Game on

M360In this Mumbrella360 video recap, Chris Stephenson strategy director, PHD, Colin Cardwell, founder and CEO, 3rd Sense Design and Marigo Raftopoulos, doctoral researcher, GEElab explore the concept and application of gamification.


The panel defines what gamification is.

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Grant Watts returns to Microsoft as lead for global search, display and services in Asia

Grant Watts


Digital media executive Grant Watts will return to Microsoft as the Asia lead of the global search, display and services team, six year after he left the company.

The Australian, who was GM of Microsoft’s MSN and Windows Live businesses across Southeast Asia until January 2008, will return to Microsoft to take the job on March 3.

He will be based in Singapore.

Since departing Microsoft in Australia in 2008, Watts has established himself as one of Singapore’s most prominent digital media executives, most recently as head of advertising for Singapore’s regional telco giant SingTel.
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‘Business as usual’ as PRIA issues call for replacements for national board positions

PRIA logoThe newly installed national president of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) Mike Watson has issued a call to its membership to become more involved in the industry body, following the resignation of most of its national board earlier this week.

In a note sent to PRIA members today, Watson acknowledges the departure of former deputy national president Cara Burke, treasurer Phil Bursfurd and former national president Nicolas Turner along with five other representatives. He then states replacements will be named in the next week and urges PRIA members to step up for some of the vacancies on both a state and national level.

“The National Board and councils in each state and territory are made up of very hard working and dedicated volunteers…  Some state and territory representatives have decided to step down from the National Board at this time,” wrote Watson.

“There is a clear process in our constitution for your local division to appoint replacement representatives, and there are meetings in states and territories across the country this week and next, to identify and confirm your new National Board of representatives.” 

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Schweppes agency apologises for asking professional models to enter free casting comp

Food fightOne of Australia’s largest public relations agencies, Professional Public Relations (PPR) has apologised after asking professional models to appear for free in a campaign for client Schweppes. The callout was criticised by model agencies who believe it devalues the work of their clients.

An intern at PPR’s Melbourne office sent a group email to more than 40 professional modelling agencies asking them to be involved in a “casting call” for the Schweppes Fancy Food Fight, urging them to enter clients into the competition on Facebook open to members of the public. Read more »

Media Merchants opens Melbourne office to focus on ‘neglected’ retail clients

Media MerchantFull service independent advertising agency Media Merchants has expanded into Melbourne, with the agency to focus on growing its roster of retail clients.

“We already have quite a bit of business in Melbourne,” said James Fitzgerald, managing director of Media Merchants. “We saw a niche in the market for retail accounts that may not be looked after so well with the bigger agencies.”

Fitzgerald denied the move had been sparked by client API which owns the Priceline chemist chain, who recently decided to review its $13m media account.  Read more »

Most social media users believe Schapelle is guilty and media making too much of story

An analysis of sentiment on Facebook and Twitter around Schapelle Corby suggests 46 per cent of people believe she is guilty, 22 per cent that she was innocent, with nearly a third (32 per cent) saying they did not care about the story at all.

Corby’s release from her Bali jail cell has sparked a wave of criticism on social media about Channel Seven’s alleged $1m to $3m payment for interview rights as well as Channel Nine’s move to pit its telemovie Schapelle against Seven’s docudrama about INXS.

Research by social media agency We Are Social shows a quarter (25 per cent) of all discussion focused on how the media is making too much of the story and ignoring more important stories such as the Victorian bushfires as a result.

Tweeters also hit out about Channel Seven’s reported deal with Corby for interview rights. Comedians, sports stars, news outlets, journalists and users making political statements accounted for the most retweeted comments.

Schapelle Tweet Read more »

Mamamia hires Alyx Gorman to edit secret new website



The Mamamia Network has hired former editor of The Vine Alyx Gorman to edit a yet to be revealed new website set to launch later this year.

Publisher Mia Freedman said Gorman had been in her sights for “some time” and was well placed to lead the launch of the new vertical alongside Mamamia.com.au and iVillage.com.au.

Gorman was fashion editor and then editor of youth orientated website The Vine for three years before she went to Bauer Media Group as features director of its glossy fashion magazine Elle, which launched in September. She will join the Mamamia group in mid-March. Read more »

James Wright extends role to lead Havas Worldwide Melbourne office

James Wright


The head of The Red Agency James Wright has taken responsibility for the whole Havas group in Melbourne after the former managing director John Perry departed to start his own venture.

Wright has been managing director of Havas’ PR arm the Red Agency since 2011, but the new role sees him take charge of the small Havas Worldwide creative office in Melbourne which services clients including Danone and Medibank and is set to defend the La Trobe University account which is out to tender.

The group has around 25 staff in the office split across creative, PR and employer marketing agency The Face.

Havas Worldwide Australia CEO Anthony Gregorio said Wright was a natural fit for the job, adding: “It was a deliberate move as James has been doing such a fantastic job with Red, and a  lot of the business we have in Melbourne is PR clients, and a small amount of advertising business. Read more »

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