2015 Annual: The year that was – March

annual2015 (1)It 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. Here are the highlights from March.

March kicked off with one of the most read Mumbrella stories of 2015 which involved Southern Cross Austereo executive Linda Wayman telling a forum at Mumbrella Perth she gives condoms to its staff in Perth to discourage them from having babies.

Linda Wayman

Wayman’s comments caused a media controversy.

The comments by Wayman, who is boss of SCA’s two Perth stations Mix 94.9 and Hit 929, caused a storm of media controversy with a number of outlets picking them up, after she declared: “Thirty five per cent of my staff at the moment are on a maternity leave contract or maternity leave and that’s significant.”

“We do have a big jar of condoms at work. I’m not lying, I’m not exaggerating. I do encourage people regularly, to have sex with condoms. That is a big area of focus for me, encouraging people to have sex with condoms.”

March saw one of the big appointments of 2015 with Henry Tajer the local boss of IPG Mediabrands getting the nod to run the group globally.

Tajer would depart for New York in the coming months but not before taking a number of his key lieutenants with him.

MediacomMarch also saw media agency Mediacom and GroupM address revelations that emerged in 2014 about misreporting of audience reports on major clients including Yum! Brands, Foxtel and IAG.

The revelations included that staff deliberately faked campaign reports for three of its biggest clients for at least two years, and Mediacom also breached the policy of its own parent company by selling back to clients free or heavily discounted advertising time given to it by TV stations.

On the same day that Mediacom addressed the controversy it also picked up one of the biggest account wins of 2015 with News Corp Australia dropping its media agency UM after just over two years, in favour of moving its account. It would later emerge that News was keeping its digital buying at UM.

It was also a month which saw airline Qantas told by Fairfax that its advertising dollars will not be welcome at the Australian Financial Review after the publisher struck an agreement for Virgin Australia to become its “preferred airline”.

The airline has been frozen out from advertising with the AFR for six months, following the Virgin deal in an unusual agreement that will further sour already strained relations between Qantas and Fairfax.

Fairfax also faced embarrassment after a big event in Sydney’s Domain saw just a few hundred people attend at any point over over the weekend at a venue which has a capacity of tens of thousands.

spectrum now panoramicThe company later claimed 60,000 people attended the final week of its Spectrum Playground event in the Domain, building on the claimed 9,000 who attended the first weekend of the free arts festival.

IAGJust weeks after the revelations at Mediacom one of its biggest clients IAG moved its $30m media account to sister agency Mindshare. 

Jane Merrick, head of marketing for IAG said: “After a lot of consideration and due diligence, we have made the decision to move our media buying to Mindshare, a decision we have made with Mindshare, Mediacom and GroupM senior management.”

March 24 saw one of the most significant media events of 2015 occur with Netflix formally launching in Australia.

NetflixAt the time it launched it was tipped to have some 300,000 local users accessing the US version of the site today the number of Australians with access is thought to be over 1.2m.

On the back of the Netflix launch Optus launched one of the best ads of 2015, featuring Ricky Gervais, which was created by Emotive.

The HooplaIt was also the month that Wendy Harmer’s women’s website The Hoopla announced it was closing, citing competitive pressures as a key factor in the decision.

The Hoopla has been around since 2011 but has struggled to monetise its audience, with Harmer telling Mumbrella the online market for female readers was too crowded and that they ran out of time.

“Our subscriptions have been going really well but we just ran out of time,” said Harmer. “We are all pretty aware of how tight the market is and how little money there is around for digital advertising – that money is going to be very much fought over. It is becoming extraordinarily competitive.”

Another campaign that got headlines that month was for Dolmio. The food brand launched an ad with a “Pepper Hacker”, a pepper grinder which powers down TVs, shut off Wifi and mobile apps in an effort to end dinner time distractions.

To demonstrate how it works, Dolmio “secretly filmed” reactions of the technology obsessed families once their tech was switched off and dinner was served.

The ad was criticised as being built to win awards and Clemenger BBDO admitted it is was “prototype” it also insisted that the Pepper Hacker was legitimate technology. 

March also saw a senior Sydney media agency executive Glenda Wynyard, who leads media at Chaos Media Group, found guilty of misusing more than $1.75m of her client’s money at her former agency.

She was convicted in an Auckland court of 11 counts of fraud, relating to her former agency The Media Counsel and was later been sentenced to eight months home detention. 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.