Digest: Droga 5’s Telstra community project revealed?; Word-of-mouth wallies; Media agencies grow a pair; Masterchef – the magazine

These days, a word much overused by media wankas like myself is engagement.

It’s all very well getting your media property in front of a punter, but do they engage with it?

Well, this morning, I’ve been engaging the hell out of my copy of the Australian.  

I’ve been holding it up to the light, putting my nose against the paper, even trying to see a picture from behind. Yes, I’ve been engaged. Gawd bless tactile old newsprint.

And why this frankly eccentric behaviour?

Australian AFR digestBecause there’s a marvelous photo of the two Davids – Droga & Nobay – peering through a glass screen at their office.

Stuck to the screen are various Post-It notes, which appear to be outlining a current project.

Happily for us, the punters, they’ve been written in a heavy enough ink that the back shows through. Unhappily, although the story is online, you’ll have to invest $1.50 in buying the paper if you want to see the image in question

The item mainly focuses on the success of the new VB The Regulars ad – and I must admit for a commercial that appears roughly every 17 seconds during the cricket, its ongoing low annoyance factor is frankly remarkable.

But the intriguing thing about the article comes in the third from last paragraph when Simon Canning refers to “a special project for Telstra believed to centre on repositioning the image of the telco in the mind of consumers”.

That’s intriguing because David Droga – who is based in New York – is much celebrated for his The Million project, a scheme to keep kids in school through rewarding them for good behaviour with mobile phone credit.

So what do the little scraps of paper say?

“Mobile tracking, young people experiences programme”

“Kids under cover, scholarship scheme, online tutoring support.”

“Mentoring young people living with a disability”

“At risk children with chronic responsibility issues”

“Mixed ability creative arts program”

“Mental health”

Of course, it may all have nothing to do with the Telstra project at all, but it certainly upped my engagement.

Indeed, Droga 5 is part of a planned crackdown on film and DVD piracy, with a campaign under development. As a service, I suggest this approach:


But the most bizarre part of the story is that it says the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation has been “writing scripts that anti-piracy Australians can work into dinner-party conversations”.

According to the paper, these anti-piracy champions can dazzle their (soon to be former) friends be reciting the following: “making a film isn’t simply a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job. It’s fuelled by a passion and desire to bring a project to life for the audience.”

It’s not entirely clear whether people are supposed to memorise the script before they attend the dinner parties or are allowed to take a cheat sheet with them.

Meanwhile, following last week’s latest audit figures, magazines are a major focus of The Oz’s Media section today. I’m happy to see that media agencies finally seem to be growing a pair and asking magazine and newspaper publishers for greater transparency about individual edition sales. You know, what with them wanting to be able to know if they’ve got what they paid for.

And Mediacom’s Nick Keenan wades in on the same topic, asking:

“We are in the new century, aren’t we? This is the dawn of media convergence – a media landscape plugged in and booting up – is it not?”

Media metrics is a bit of a theme in today’s Oz – albeit at times in a confusing way. There’s an intriguing page lead about an industry coalition to create a new TV audience panel, with the headline “Coalition plans to take on Nielsen”. As a bit of fun for the reader, they have to guess this this is happening in America rather than Australia  based on the clue that there’s a Wall Street Journal logo on the story.

Next to the article is another about Nielsen – this time, one assumes, our Nielsen – and their radio audience panels. Verity Edwards asks whether the methodolgy isn’t, well, a bit rubbish.

Speaking of a bit rubbish, Geoff Thompson’s man-on-the-ground account of the Jakarta bombings doesn’t give the impression of the always-in-touch foreign correspondent, as he recounts how he was out for a nice run and uncontactable when the terrorist attacks occurred. Still, once he’d had a refreshing shower, the ABC man was able to toddle off into the city to take a look into it.

Meanwhile, in magland, The Oz (and indeed, the Australian Financial Review too) both report that the latest Masterchef spin-off is to be a magazine, with ACP and News Magazines both pitching for it.

High jinks and dirty tricks among journos  is the main theme in Amanda Meade’s diary. She reveals how Nine stitched up their competitors over pool footage at the Kokoda air crash, while karma came with The Oz in turn stitching up the Nine crew.

Meade also names the headline genius behind the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Vile & Tacky O’ headline. It was the art-loving Luke McIlveen. If you want to see what he looks like, see this footage of the first episode of Punch TV on Sky news.

He’s the one doing an excellent immitation of a man being dragged off to face a firing squad 24 seconds in:

Meanwhile, over at the AFR, Freeview has caved in to marketing editor Neil Shoebridge’s complaints of last week that it wouldn’t share its research with him, telling him that 60% of people understand what Freeview offers.

Meanwhile, there’s a return to the AFR’s favourite marketing topic – How Much Do TV Ads Cost This Week? This week’s answer is: not very much on Nine.

And in news for those AFR readers that haven’t seen any other media since Thursday’s announcement, Shoebridge reveals that Kyle & Jackie O will be back on air tomorrow. But that when he asked Austereo about it on Tuesday they wouldn’t talk about it. The paper also reveals the illuminating news that Foxtel still won’t talk about the new 30 channels that Saturday’s satellite launch will bring.

Tim Burrowes


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