Digest: Parsons’ random acronym generator; Robo-ratings; Welcome Jon Steel; Crabb of The ABC

Despite Mumbrella’s painfully obvious lack of a print product, there are still some things that newspapers are better at. And one of them is a weekly pullout looking at media and marketing.  

This leaps into focus as I find myself writing the usual Monday morning digest of the media and marketing sections late on Sunday night for reasons not unrelated to being tied up filming the first episode of The Mumbo Report at about the time you might be reading this.

So the smelly old web’ll have to do, to give you a sense of what the Oz’s media section has been focusing on today.

At the very least, it means the order I come across things isn’t the same as the print edition.

For starters, the eye is drawn early on to Amanda Meade’s diary (which of course languishes on the page page of the print edition), where there’s new confirmation of Austereo’s Kyle Sandilands’ continuing unpopularity.

 But the top story (if the running order on The Oz’s media website is to be believed – and I sincerely hope it isn’t because it suggests a very boring edition) is that Nine thinks it’s found the solution to its woes. It simply needs some new idents, apparently.

Then there are a couple of ABC-related stories that are, frankly, worthy but a tad dull – or at least there’s nothing about their intros that tempts one to click futher.

Then come two stories, which may – or may not – be about the same thing. They certainly both relate to a company called SMI, which measures media agency spend. Up to now The Oz has known it as Standard Media Index – what with that being its name and everything. Lara Sinclair gives the new data a tough but fair assessment.

And then comes Mediacom boss Anne Parsons, who thinks it’s absolutely marvelous. Although one perhaps needs to treat her enthusiasm with a certain amount of caution, as she also thinks that SMI stands for Serial Management Interface, which is certainly imaginative, if nothing else. (Update: See the comments thread below – The Oz says the error came at the subbing stage rather than from Parsons.)

And Quantium is another company making entertainingly bold claims. This time that it can accurately predict ratings. Perhaps they can give Nine some advice on what colour to make its logo when it changes its idents.

But one of the most intriguing tales of the day is buried away – at least on the web site. The brilliant Jon Steel – the WPP man behind the excellent book Perfect Pitch – is moving to Perth.

9:30am update: There’s not a great deal more going on at the AFR. Today’s edition also covers SMI figures with a somewhat sceptical tone.

The Fin also chats to the great and the good of the advertising sector about the outlook for the industry. Sean Cummins, chief of the recently rebadged Sapient Nitro, is the standout. he tells the paper:

“The standard of creativity is at an all-time low right now. There is a prevailing pan-global style which is creating trendy but less relevant communication. And that is essentially the business we are in: to create relevant communication.”

Speaking of ad agencies post-GFC, Cummins told the Fin that future ad agencies will see smaller, hard working teams.

“As a Japanese proverb says, ‘if you remove a nail from a piece of wood, the nail is gone but the hole remains.’ The GFC was a smack on the wrist for all agencies that got fat and lazy during years of growth. Rather than stay lean and mean, as soon as an agency won a piece of business they all gave themselves pay rises and hired 10 more people. That cannot be sustained,” he said.

Update to the update: Now I’ve got my hands on the print edition of the Oz, and there are a couple of decent tales that didn’t get much of a look-in online.

Part of the Oz’s spruce up has seen the media section moved to the back of the main business section. One of the more significant stories is what the ABC’s hiring of the talented Annabel Crabb from Fairfax means for the broadcaster’s multimedia ambitions.

And there’s an intriguing – and complex – tale of legal shenanigans involving coffee cups and (obliquely) the founders of media agency Ikon

Tim Burrowes


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