Dr Mumbo

What got adland talking – and fighting – in 2018

Dr Mumbo knows he shouldn’t judge popular opinion – or indeed humanity – by the contents of an internet comment thread, but as 2018 draws to a close, he just can’t help himself.

So here’s what really got people talking, arguing, questioning, and perhaps despairing for humanity, on Mumbrella in 2018.

Dr Mumbo presents, the most contentious opinion pieces of 2018, and what you all thought of them.

Henry Innis called “bullshit” on media agencies and ad-tech vendors who say they need to own their clients’ digital and social media data

And media agencies called “bullshit” right back to Henry.

The comment thread heated up quickly, with Henry, agencies, and Mumbrella all in the firing line.

It’s safe to say not everyone agreed with Henry

Mumbrella’s deputy editor Josie Tutty questioned adland’s drinking culture, which she proposed was actually a problem. 

Many came out in support, saying it’s an issue we need to talk more about, while others thought nose beers* were more of a problem.

Then, of course, Dr Mumbo was not surprised to see the “you could have been a school teacher” suggestions come out, along with the “snowflake” comments.

* Dr Mumbo translator: Cocaine. Dr Mumbo is talking about cocaine.

These people are also talking about cocaine

Dr Mumbo knows Australians love nothing more than a public holiday, but it appears adland is conflicted about just how much brands can do to celebrate these sacred days. 

Whether it was Richenda Vermeulen arguing brands should steer clear of Australia Day, or Ben Willee advising adand to stop muscling in on ANZAC Day, only one thing was clear: adland remains divided on this issue.

Thankfully, we have another public holiday tomorrow to think about it.

Dr Mumbo definitely doesn’t live in the mystical land of ‘Real Australia’

Despite all of Facebook’s troubles in 2018, it was actually LinkedIn which really got people talking. 

Matthew Tukaki declared he was quitting the social media/ work media/ grey-space media platform because he was sick of influencers and thought leaders, and no longer trusted what he was being sold. And, it seems, people largely agreed.






….. more


Get rid of the humans?

Josie Tutty also weighed in on the subject, reminding the industry LinkedIn is not a dating app, and contended simply ignoring creepy messages isn’t the solution.

In the era of #metoo, there was also plenty for adland to reflect on, and, it would seem, argue about. 

An anonymous female creative revealed her experiences working in adland, and said men are still given far more opportunities than women to rise up the creative ranks.

Everything from #notallmen, to discussions about racial discrimination came out in the comment thread.

Dr Mumbo has just learned 29 June is ‘OppositeDay’

Jennifer Backhouse also had some advice for male sales representatives – kindly, kiss off. 

“Do you want to become known as Toungie Trevor the TV rep?” she asked.  Even if you do, just don’t, because agencies are not kissing booths, she argued.

Mumbrella has turned into Mamamia, argued some of the commenters in return.


Another anonymous female creative detailed her experiences with sexual harassment at agencies, noting her experiences were far worse in Australia than across the Pacific in the US.

Commenters were largely supportive of the exposé

Debbie O’Connor then took aim at a GIO advert for making women look “stupid”, and said the implication was only men knew about insurance.

But some commenters said men feel the pain of shitty, lazy, stereotypical advertising too.

Discrimination sauce does not sound tasty

Earlier in the year, after Israel Folau made his views on homosexuality abundantly clear, Patrick Southam asked: Should an organisation try to gag the private views of an employee on contentious issues if they undermine a commercial relationship?

With so many delicate topics involved (sexuality, ethnicity, religion, heaven, hell), Dr Mumbo won’t make any jokes here, and will just let the thread tell the story.

Insert joke here

Old white males caused some problems – or maybe they were the victims, Dr Mumbo has lost track since wading through all these comments – which allowed the thread to light up about Alan Jones and the Opera House. 

“Y’all don’t know what it’s like, being male, middle-class and white”

On lighter topics, Scott Rhodie took aim at the launch event for Solo: A Star Wars story, lamenting the poor organisation and the awkward rent-a-crowd.

His tale of tedium got people talking about #influencers, marketing, research, event planning – and of course, WTF Mumbrella is doing?

Some people learned, others, not so much… 

And finally, Mumbrella’s Adam Thorn took aim at agencies which boast about their happy cultures and staff engagement – flying in the face of research which suggests the exact opposite

Most of the commenters were on Adam’s side, but Dr Mumbo notes there is always (at least) one who has a different point of view.


Dr Mumbo is getting this on his business card: “Can still be a hypocrite and be right”


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