2015 Annual: The year that was – April

annual2015 (1)2015 was another year of major change and transformation in the media and marketing world. Over the next 12 days, Mumbrella’s Nic Christensen and Miranda Ward provide a month-by-month recap of the most read and biggest stories that affected the industry.

April kicked off with its usual plethora of April fools day pranks among the notable mentions this year was Vodafone who announced an emoji phone, Google turned its Maps function into a giant game of Pacman and Qantas announced it was putting the U back in customer service by putting the letter U in its name.Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 12.58.16 pm

It was also the month that saw Game of Thrones return for another season. Unfortunately the first episode leaked online with pay-TV operator Foxtel refusing to comment on the impact that this might have had on its initial numbers.

The launch of the season also blaze of publicity, with a large model dragon is being installed on the steps of Sydney Opera House as the pay-TV prepared to host the premiere of season five of HBO hit drama.

Dragon-1-468x171April also saw the implications of the merger of Macquarie Radio and Fairfax Radio take hold with around 60 jobs being cut. At the time staff at Radio 2UE described the changes as a “hostile takeover” by Macquarie, with COO Adam Lang admitting later it was a “tough time” for the radio network.

Fly spray brand Mortein also drew negative headlines when it was criticised and forced to apologise for a Facebook post which showed its mascot, Louie the Fly, voicing his sympathy for murdered schoolteacher Stephanie Scott.

louie the fly mortein wideThe post depicted Louie in front of purple vest hanging outside a wardrobe as the company looked to join the #putoutyourdress hashtag movement started on social media and was seen by many as distasteful.

woolworths fresh in our memory meme generatorHowever, Mortein was not the only one under fire with Woolies sparking national outrage over its ‘Fresh in our Memories’ campaign. the centre of its major Anzac Day marketing push, which was accused of exploiting the events of Gallipoli for profit.

The name of the site was a play on the supermarket’s tagline ‘Fresh food people’, and allowed users to generate Facebook cover photos and profile pictures which feature the words ‘Fresh in our memory’ and the company’s logo.

Woolworths quickly took down the website as social media furore erupted and said it “regretted” that the site had caused offence. While the agency behind the campaign Carrspace denied it was in hiding, despite having shut down social media and avoiding media questions for days.

Chief marketer of Woolworths Tony Phillips abruptly departed a month later.

One of Mumbrella’s most read stories of April was the revelation that web retailer Appliances Online had sacked its digital agency after discovering it had ripped off content from bloggers and passed it off as its own.

The electrical goods firm told Mumbrella it terminated the contract with Sydney-based Stencil HQ with immediate effect, after bloggers posted on its Facebook page accusing it of populating its social media with other people’s content without credit.

Dumped: Dan & Maz move to weekend breakfast

Dumped: Dan & Maz move to weekend breakfast

April was also the month that questions started to emerge about the ratings performance of 2Day breakfast hosts Dan Debuf and Maz Compton, who moved to the breakfast slot earlier in the year. The duo captured just 2.8 per cent of the market, down from three per cent, despite Southern Cross Austereo’s concerted marketing campaign to raise their profile and would eventually be replaced by Rove McManus and Sam Frost.

Around ANZAC Day public broadcaster SBS sacked football presenter Scott McIntyre after he tweeted a series of “inappropriate and disrespectful comments” about ANZAC troops tweeted on the evening of the day of remembrance. 

Among a series of comments on the social network site McIntyre tweeted “remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs in Egypt, Palestine and Japan” and “Wonder if the poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers pause today to consider the horror that all mankind suffered”.

McIntyre launched legal action against his employer and the case is expected to be heard next year.

Amid growing concerns about declining TV audiences the chief marketer of Fiat Chrysler came out saying he believes TV works but social media is an ineffective channel in generating sales for his car brands.

“I’ve never sold a car via social media”, Mark McCraith joked from the stage of a Mumbrella Spends and Trends event. “It is an avenue for a lot of complaints which does at least does take the pressure off our call centres, I guess.”

The comments caused wide industry debate.

April was also the month that saw Ten name former Bachelor contestant Sam Frost the first Australian bachelorette. The series would go on to be one of Ten’s biggest successes with 1.52m Aussies tuning in for the finale.


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