2014 Annual: The 10 most read opinion pieces

Yesterday we brought you our 10 most read stories of the year. But which opinion pieces did Mumbrella readers turn to as we all tried to make sense of the issues and developments that impacted the industry? Steve Jones found out.

Bruce Meagher

Bruce Meagher

1. Piracy: At least the Lannisters pay their debts: Bruce Meagher, Foxtel

Piracy was never far from the headlines in 2014, with Australians leading the world in illegal downloading of Game of Thrones.

Foxtel’s Bruce Meagher explained why the company aired Game of Thrones in the way it did and argued that regardless of circumstances, illegal downloading is just plain wrong and robs actors, extras, writers, camera crew, make up artists and everyone else involved in a production of the rewards they deserve.

2. Australia’s media passes its big test: Tim Burrowes, Mumbrella content director

There can be little doubt that Australia’s gravest story of the year came just this month with the siege of a cafe in Martin Place, in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and opposite the studios of Channel Seven.

The story saw the TV networks – and some radio stations – drop regular scheduling and switch to rolling news as they provided minute-by-minute coverage of developments. It was a testing day for the country as a whole, and Burrowes suggested the media, with one or two exceptions, did itself proud.

3. Terry, Richard and Mark: Tell me, are these winning Australian ads actually scam? Tim Burrowes, Mumbrella content director

Australian agencies picked up major awards at the Cannes Lion festival for their innovative work. But just how many of the ads entered were nothing more than scam?

It was an issue Mumbrella pursued with vigour, and with agencies and brands unwilling to answer questions, Burrows penned an open letter in a bid to prompt a response and draw the industry’s attention to the issue.

4. Two stats about Netflix that should scare Foxtel and Quickflix: Andrianes Pinantoan, Pocketbook

With Netflix announcing its intention to launch in Australia – which it later confirmed will happen early in 2015 – Pocketbook’s Andrianes Pinantoan crunched the numbers, analysed market share data and concluded the US streaming company’s local entrance should have Foxtel and Quickflix looking over their shoulders.

5. Fifty ads where music made the difference and why agencies should think of music first, not last: Robin Hicks, Mumbrella Asia editor

Music can transform an ad from one which may otherwise vanish from the conscience into one which is stored in the memory bank. So argued Mumbrella Asia editor Robin Hicks who compiled a list of 50 TV commercials where the soundtrack made the difference.

So it’s odd, he wrote, that music is usually the last thing a creative team thinks about when making an ad.

6. Calling bullshit on John Oliver’s attack on native advertising: Richard Parker, managing partner, Edge

Satirist John Oliver pulled no punches with this stinging tirade on native advertising on his show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

It drew a response from the managing partner of content marketing agency Edge, who argued there are bigger evils in life than native advertising.

7. Why our agency will never work with a betting client: Michael Abdul, The Sphere Agency

Abdul’s refusal to take on a client which promotes gambling on the grounds it could be cashing in on people’s misery split opinion among readers who argued the same rule could be applied to alcohol and fast food restaurants.

The managing director of the Sphere Agency said in his comment that it was clear Australia, as a nation, has a gambling problem and that exploiting that would be morally wrong.



8. PR isn’t about polishing turds: Graham White, group managing director, Howorth

The CommsCon awards is a night to celebrate the best in PR, so White was less than impressed with moderator, journalist Joe Hildebrand, who, he argued, presented the oft-articulated “narrow view” of PR’s. Namely, a profession preoccupied with cover ups, manipulation, hiding the truth and turning the negatives into positives – polishing turds in other words.

White insisted the truth is far different.

9. The problem for media agencies looking to recruit graduates? They don’t know you exist: Jacob Hkeik, student

In this piece by Jacob Hkeik, the business administration and psychology student says his attendance at the Mumbrella360 conference opened his eyes to the breadth of personalities and skills in the marketing, advertising and media industry.

But there is one major problem; the industry is not doing enough to explain or promote itself to graduates.

10. Five things Wicked Campers needs to do online right now: Sebastian Vasta, Quiip

wicked-campersWicked Campers has been a serial offender with the Advertising Standards Board with its graffiti-daubed vans causing endless controversy.

Vasta, social strategist for online community and social media management agency Quiip, argued in this opinion piece that it was time for the brand to grow up and outlined the online strategies it could adopt to save face and “salvage its business” from further public mauling.


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