Year In Review: February – New TV channel; dangerous car ad; Mamamia’s fake news

2016 was another year of major change and transformation in the media and marketing world. Mumbrella’s Zoe Samios provides a month-by-month recap of the most read and biggest stories that affected the industry.

February kicked off with a bang when Clive Mathieson, editor of The Australian, resigned after five years, moving into a strategic advisory role in Mike Baird’s office.

Mathieson told The Australian of his departure: “The Australian is, and always will be, the nation’s best newspaper with the finest stable of journalists,” he said. “To be involved at a senior [level] has been a privilege and I wish Paul and my dedicated colleagues every success in the future.”

Mathiesen steps down as editor of The Australian

The first day of February was a big one in adland, too, with Woolworths announcing M&C Saatchi as its creative partner, after less than two years with Leo Burnett.

Toyota was scrutinised for undermining a government push to stop people crossing flood waters and was forced to pull its ad down.

The Landcruiser 4WD ad triggered a large amount of complaints to the Advertising Standards Board, arguing the ad promoted unsafe and highly irresponsible activity that was in “direct conflict” with government messages.


It wasn’t all bad news for February, with Channel Seven revealing its new channel 7flix. The announcement which arrived on the first night of OzTAM’s official ratings season promised “movies to fall in love with” and “big shows that you can’t get enough of”.

Universal Music launched its first creative agency with Host and One Green Bean, which aimed to bring brands, artists and influencers together.

The new agency was headed up by Roddy Campbell, Anthony Freedman, and Host and One Green Bean founder and Cameron Farrelly.

Medibank’s campaign got adland talking, as the health-insurer filmed a diverse range of customers living everyday life without scripts or prompts.

Fiona Le Brocq, GM of brand and marketing at Medibank, said the campaign’s diversity was “a demonstration of the different needs that many people face when choosing health insurance.”


One of the highlight’s of the month was easily the tweet supposedly from Virgin Australia telling Kanye West to ‘EAD you douche,‘ a tweet that quickly went viral before Carat Media Australia claimed responsibility for the incident and apologised.

Not far behind, Mamamia’s ‘spermaholic’ story was outed as coming from a fake news website. Mamamia claimed a woman had a “rare eating disorder” which gave her an “uncontrollable craving for male semen.”

mamamia spermaholic

February also saw heavy social media criticism of radio stars Hamish and Andy, following a segment with the duo inhaling helium as part of a prank.

Facebook fans warned the pair of the dangers of inhaling helium while Dr Karl revealed his near death experience with helium to BBC radio listeners.

hamish andy helium

A Mumbrella Pitch Watch towards the end of February revealed big changes for the industry, with Jetstar dumping Big Red after 11 years, to hire J. Walter Thompson.

At the same time, Devondale announced it had kicked off a creative pitch for which incumbent agency, DDB Melbourne, would not be taking part.

However, the month wouldn’t be complete without the announcement that Westpac was to move its media account from Mediacom to a “GroupM solution“.

Westpac said the decision was to ensure it could “tap the widest expertise and achieve the best outcomes” for media buying.


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