2015 Annual: The year that was – January

annual2015 (1)In 2015 we saw more major 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. We start with January.

The year started with public broadcaster the ABC getting a kicking for the quality of its New Year’s broadcast with hundreds of viewers and many media outlets calling on it to relinquish the rights to a commercial broadcaster.

It was the second year the public broadcaster has shown the event after taking over the rights from commercial rival Channel Nine, with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph publishing an editorial headlined “ABC’s New Year’s Eve coverage needs a cracker up its clacker”, a reference to a famous headline from News Corp stablemate the NT Times.

ABC NYE coverage

2015 was set to be year of major leadership transition, particularly among media agency CEOs, with the first departure being James Greet CEO of Ikon whose departure was announced in the first week of January. In the wake of the departure STW announced each office would be led by a different managing partner.

January also saw the world shaken by the murders of 12 people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Many of those killed were cartoonists and in the wake of the tragedy their peers from around the world paid tribute to them through their own work.

Among the tributes was this off-the-cuff effort by the Canberra Times’ David Pope which went around the world and saw the cartoonist win a Walkley later in the year.


In the wake of the attack the publisher of Charlie Hebdo unveiled its first cover featuring an image of the Prophet Mohammed crying and holding a sign saying “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie), a slogan which became a global tribute to the victims, with a headline “Toute est pardonne” (All is forgiven).

The magazine, which normally prints 60,000 copies, was set for a print run of a million would eventually sell out do to high demand around the world.

The start of the year also saw pay-TV operator Foxtel begin work on what would be an $80m marketing blitz aimed at promoting the new reduced pricing and benefits such as its iQ3. The campaign kicked off with an ad set to ‘You Sexy Thing’ by Hot Chocolate. 

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 3.48.27 pmJanuary also saw News Corp title Sydney Style forced to apologise after posting an advert on Instagram with the word ‘Interns wanted’ over a picture of a woman on all fours in lingerie on a bed.

The image, posted on Friday, was quickly removed from the social networking site but not before a string of complaints from followers. The magazine, which is owned by NewsLifeMedia, later posted an apology admitting an “error of judgement” by posting the image.

The start of the year also saw global brand Calvin Klein roll out a new campaign featuring Justin Bieber and Dutch supermodel Lara Stone, reminiscent of the famous Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg campaign from the 80s.

The campaign divided opinion by using pop star Bieber to front the campaign with Calvin Klein chief marketing officer Melissa Goldie said: “Justin joins a long list of musicians, models, celebrities and fashion icons that have been featured in our global advertising campaigns.”

calvin-klein-jeans-s15-m_ph_mert-marcus_sg02_2-468x655Opinion was less divided on the annual Meat and Livestock Australia Day campaign which saw them move away from the Sam Kekovich rant style Australia Day campaigns with cricket legend Richie Benaud instead fronting this year’s campaign.

In the ad Benaud recruits a number of national icons, past and present, Captain Cook, or ‘Cooky’, explorers Burke and Wills, bushranger Ned Kelly, cricketer Don Bradman and media icon Ita Buttrose and of course Kekovich to attend an Australia Day lamb barbecue.

January also saw national debate over the inclusion of Taylor Swift in the Triple J Hottest 100. What began as a Buzzfeed joke quickly became a trending hashtag #tay4hottest100 and sparked a national debate about the legitimacy of including the global pop star in the local music competition.

KFCThings got more complicated after fast food brand unintentionally risked ending the public campaign after it breached the competition rules by using Swift’s image and the #tay4hottest100 hashtag in its advertising. 

Ultimately the ABC would rule the #tay4hottest100 campaign ineligible for the Hottest100 claiming viral site Buzzfeed tried to “troll the poll” with its campaign to get the song onto the list.

The ABC’s 40-year-old youth station tweeted a link headed “8 Hilarious But Totally True Reasons You Won’t Hear ‘Shake It off’”. The link went to a spoof website Triple J Feed, designed to look like Buzzfeed.Buzzfeed

The Triple J article also noted: “Whilst their advertisers enjoyed the sweet page views, it’s not legit for other media to try and troll the poll.”


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