If a violent game is okay, then so is using a violent ad to promote it

james whitehead ignAn ad for video game Dead Island Riptide was banned by the ad watchdog. James Whitehead of online entertainment publisher IGN argues that it was the wrong call.

A fortnight ago, it emerged that the Ad Standards Board had banned a television commercial for the video game Dead Island: Riptide, due to its depiction of violence – specifically suicide. Read more »

Why content makers are leaving our shores

CraigAnderson_HeadShotColorIn a piece that first featured in EncoreCraig Anderson says there simply isn’t enough opportunity for content makers in Australia, especially for those making comedy.

Last year I had multiple meetings with production companies in Australia and discovered that apart from the odd commercial campaign, there’s no proliferation of paying platforms for comedy. From my own experience there’s iView, which will buy content once it’s already been made (though I live in hope that it will one day be granted the financial power to commission content). I’ve also had the odd informal commission from the SMH iPad consisting of two narrative series and a comical review show. But none of these endeavours were financially viable. Read more »

Managing your management style

StephanieBrownIn an article that first appeared in Encore, Stephanie Brown says the advertising industry often leaves people ill-equipped when it comes to managing staff, especially when they’re promoted into management roles.

Managing people is hard. In fact, I actually think it’s the hardest job in the world. With no disrespect intended, I often joke that if my job didn’t involve other people to manage, it would be a walk in the park. I could get about my day’s work in a nice, linear fashion, happily checking off my to-do list as I go. I’m a process-orientated person. I get a kick out of getting things done.

Read more »

Why the Facebook chase is making brands treat consumers like morons

You know how we look back at quaintly patronising ads from the 1950s and wonder what on earth the advertisers were thinking?

I’ve got a feeling that in a few years time, we’ll be looking at the behaviour of big brands on Facebook the same way.

An entire generation of marketers – or at least a sizeable proportion of them – have lost their minds.

So many have become so obsessed with generating user interactions at all costs, that all thoughts about overall brand perceptions or long term marketing goals have vanished. All that counts now, is generating likes and comments at all costs. Read more »

Blog this!

BlogPaid content, sponsored posts and brand ambassadorships – in theory, today’s blogger can be just as valuable to brands as mainstream media. But does blogger outreach actually work? In an article that first appeared in Encore, Nic Christensen investigates.

“I get approaches from PR companies constantly,” says blogger and author Kerri Sackville, with more than a hint of exasperation. “I have never done a sponsored blog, on my own site, but that doesn’t stop them from asking.” Read more »

McLennan right man for job

Peter_millerIt’s all change at troubled broadcaster Channel Ten with new directions, new executives and a brand new CEO. Managing director of Adstream Peter Miller says Hamish McLennan is the right man for the job, in an article that first appeared in Encore.

I am a bit of a schmuck when it comes to movies. I love romantic comedies. My favourite is One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Read more »

Q&A with Richard Herring

Richard HerringIn a piece that first appeared in Encore, CEO of APN Outdoor Richard Herring talks media.

Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?

I don’t know if there is one person in particular. The fragmentation of traditional media and new entrants has made it a more level playing field with regards to major influencers. As was demonstrated with the recent media reform recommendations, together, the broader media community still has a very influential and powerful voice.

What one medium could you not live without?

Outdoor – clean, entertaining, evocative and informative. Read more »

Q&A with screenwriter Craig Pearce

Craig Pearce, screenwriter for The Great Gatsby, spoke to Encore about working with Baz and writing for 3D.

How did you get into script writing?

I always loved stories and acting and dressing up and being anything but myself and I never realised that was not something other people did. After leaving high school, I did a three year acting course at NIDA but always thought I would one day write. Baz was a good friend and he had a theatre company. He wanted to extend a 20 minute version of Strictly Ballroom. We got it to 45 minutes then he was approached by producers to turn it into a feature film. I started helping him out on the film while they were looking for a real writer but eventually Baz had to go to the producers and say, “There’s this guy who’s my best friend and he is a really good writer”. To the producers’ credit, they believed in Baz so we had two weeks to re-write it.

Read more »

Savage Counsel – winning pitches

Chris Savage tackles your career and agency dilemmas in his weekly Encore advice column.Chris Savage

Hi Chris,

It seems we have to increasingly pitch for everything. Even with existing clients, we’re now expected to pitch ideas, competitively, for every project. We’re winning about two out of five of what we’re pitching for. It’s a huge burden on our time and budgets. What is your secret to winning a pitch presentation? How do we make sure our presentations are a knockout?

Read more »

Fake it til you make it…as a TV writer

Jess Harris, series creator and writer of ABC2 comedy series twentysomething tells us how to bluff it as a TV series writer in a feature that first appeared in Encore.Jess-confetti(small)

What does a TV series writer actually do?

Create fictional characters and a make-believe world for them to play in. Basically, I’m a liar.

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The third dimension

The 3rd DimensionFrom Avatar to Gatsby and the ads in between, in a feature that first appeared in Encore, Lee Zachariah looks at the state of the 3D market.

When sound came in,they said it was a gimmick,” says director Baz Luhrmann. “It’s early days, and the [3D] tool is still being explored. But look at what Ang [Lee] did with the beautiful Life of Pi. And Dial M For Murder is just drama in a room.” Read more »

Can’t beat Hollywood? May as well join them.

Jason KentThe Australian government’s support of Hollywood blockbusters is defeating the purpose of building a sustainable local film industry says Jason Kent, in a piece that first appeared in Encore.

One of the biggest hurdles for Australian filmmakers is competing with the big budget American studio films. Indeed, this is one of the reasons the government gives for subsidizing Australian films. However, it seems to be at odds with the support given to American films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Read more »

Gatsby’s effect on the local industry

Ed GibbsBaz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby may be crass, vulgar and, to some, disposable, but the broader benefits of its box-office success should not be underestimated says Ed Gibbs in a piece that first appeared in Encore.

He readily admits that critics rarely like his films. So it came as no surprise to Baz Luhrmann when The Great Gatsby opened to a critical mauling in the US and, more recently, in Europe, where it opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival.  Read more »

The Guardian: too local for Australian lefties?

Alexandra WakeIn a post that first appeared on The Conversation, RMIT’s Alexandra Wake argues that the Australian version of The Guardian, launched earlier this week, has had a mediocre start.

For many of us who have long read The Guardian online or, in my case, had the print edition delivered once a week, the Australian edition – launched earlier this week – is disappointing. Read more »

For love or money

Making The Great GatsbyHow many jobs are really created by government investment in screen productions? Megan Reynolds investigates.

This week the NSW Government announced plans to invest nearly $1million through Screen NSW to fund four film and TV projects that will generate more than 1,000 jobs and a $25m spend in the state. But how many jobs will really be created, and what are the actual economic benefits for NSW? Read more »

In praise of The Checkout

checkout logoA few weeks back, I gave a talk to a group of clients at an agency. As we chatted after the formalities, it turned into a bit of a mutual support group.

Several marketers around the table had been beaten up by The Checkout and were taking it seriously.

In my view, that is a thoroughly good thing. Read more »

DDB emerges from running Tourism Australia with credit, now let’s see what Clems can do

Tourism Australia logoThere will be some glum faces at DDB today.

The loss of Tourism Australia will hit hard.

And it will probably be of little comfort that the dollars are staying within the Omnicom family, with the account moving to Clemenger BBDO.

Two points occur. First, DDB did a pretty good job. Second, this feels like the missing piece for Clems Sydney. Read more »

Q&A: Leigh Sales


In a piece that first appeared in Encore, journalist, author and host of 7.30, Leigh Sales talks about an alternate career as a florist and poaching journos from The Australia.

Who is the most powerful person in Australian media and why?

It’s impossible to name any one. But as in all things, the people who control the purse strings are usually the most powerful so for starters, I’d nominate John Singleton, Kerry Stokes, the Murdochs and Stephen Conroy.

Read more »

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