2015 was another year of major change and transformation in the media and marketing world. Mumbrella’s Nic Christensen and Miranda Ward provide a month-by-month recap of the most read and biggest stories that affected the industry.
The month kicked off with a surprise as Optus grabbed the broadcast and digital rights for the English Premier League, challenging both Telstra and Fox Sports in a single step. The telco won the rights to all 380 Premier League Games for three years commencing in August 2016, stripping Fox Sports of one of its marquee properties.
Foxtel attempted to placate furious fans who besieged its Facebook page by telling it is willing to talk to Optus about buying back the rights to the English Premier League.
Woolworths was forced to pull an online ad featuring Michelle Bridges. The video drew the ire of people who grow their own fruit and vegetables, condemning the supermarket for labelling them as “freaks”.
The video was part of a wider campaign produced by Emotive and Carat featuring the star to push her new range of frozen meals.
Nine Entertainment Co’s talismanic CEO David Gyngell stepped down from the company to be replaced by director Hugh Marks.
November was a stormy month for Leo Burnett Sydney which came under fire for trumpeting its hire of five new creatives who were all white men. Prominent equality campaigner and former senior BBH executive Cindy Gallop called out the creative agency on Twitter, tweeting: “@leoburnettsyd it’s 2015…’What the fuck are u thinking?’”.
The debate around female representation in creative agencies continued to rage – with stats from the Communications Council bringing home the point that the problem was industry wide with less then half of creatives employed by agencies being women.
Leo Burnett finally broke its silence on the issue 48-hours later with a series of five tweets in which the agency responded to criticisms of its press release about its five new senior male creative hires saying they were hired “because they were the best”.
The matter didn’t quieten down, with an employee of the agency telling a possible contractor she would not be considered for work after sharing a news story criticising the agency on Facebook.
This was enough for Leo Burnett CEO Peter Bosilkovski to finally comment on the controversial issue. He said: “Leo Burnett Sydney has been at the centre of a conversation that is vital to have.
“Understandably, this has also created a large emotional response. The recent posts on social media are emotional responses by one employee, and do not reflect the views of management of the company, or a company policy of any kind. We have spoken to both our employee and the contractor regarding this issue to resolve it.”
That same afternoon Bosilkovski penned an open letter on the topic, in which he said: “Over the last week, our company sparked and has been at the centre of a conversation about gender diversity. While one photo isn’t reflective of our company, it does highlight that we clearly have an issue to address.
“And we need to publicly recognise that. This is an industry-wide issue, but we have to tend to our own backyard. We acknowledge that we have some work to do when it comes to gender diversity in our creative department here. It’s an uncomfortable truth, but one that we need to face up to.”
Moving on, November also bore witness to the cancellation of film festival Tropfest. Founder John Polson said in a statement the disaster was linked to sponsorship problems.
The Victorian Taxi Association finally admitted its widely panned #YourTaxis campaign was a mistake and fired the PR firm behind it citing an “inappropriate” tweet published on Remembrance Day.
The #YourTaxi campaign was aimed at giving people a place to talk about their experiences in taxis, however the overwhelming majority of feedback was negative.
VTA CEO David Samuel admitted the “concept and delivery” of the campaign was not right adding the association has made the decision to “part ways” with the agency responsible, understood to be Ellis Jones, despite initially standing by the campaign as a success.
Myer launched its Christmas marketing effort, with a worried elf and a nonchalant reindeer starring in the stop-motion ad made by the creators of Wallace and Gromit.
November finished up with The Daily Telegraph using a picture of the wrong woman who it had identified as the victim of a drug overdose at the Stereosonic music festival on its front page.
The News Corp owned newspaper ran a prominent image of a young woman which it claimed was Sylvia Choi, who died after taking what was believed to be ecstasy at the music festival.
However, police since released the correct image of Choi, forcing the paper to change its articles online.