Sell Me Content… ‘A New Word To Help Sell An Old Concept!’

Content marketing is a strategic way of attracting and engaging a defined targeted audience. Brands distribute valuable or relevant information to ‘pull in’ consumers, rather than using traditional advertising, which focuses on ‘pushing’ out a message.

Content is designed not to interrupt, but to interact.

From simply uploading an image or news article to Facebook, to putting peoples names on coke bottles or Jack Daniel’s sponsoring a YouTube video that shows ‘behind the scenes’ of a music producer, content marketing is on the rise. Boosted by the growth of social media, its effective and getting more and more creative and innovative.

I don’t believe people are ‘fooled’ by it. They know that its marketing based, but it doesn’t matter, if they like it, they will engage and interact.

However, Content is not a new concept. It is simply indirect information or entertainment targeted to a consumer segment market. Brands have been doing this forever…
Whether it’s a Magazine article in “Women’s Weekly,” informing you on how to get the cleanest clothes from your washing machine (brought to you by Cold Power) or MTV interviewing a popular rock band.

Content is not a new concept.It’s just a new word. And we have a shiny new potential lathered platform to use it.

It’s a word advertisers like to throw around to sound smarter. To add a little ‘pizzazz’ to what they’re talking about.

The idea hasn’t changed. It’s been around since the beginning…

How do we advertise without annoying the consumer with the same repetitive message over and over?

Lets give them something they’re interested in, and throw our logo in there somewhere or good measure. BOOM. Content.
But you still need a great idea, and how do you sell an idea? What can you use to help sell something that has yet to be proven to work?

You use jargon.

An internally constructed ad language that makes you sound like a wanker, but a wanker that knows what his talking about. Words like programmatic, channels, platforms, integrated, traffic, ideation and organic reach.
You use it to make old concepts sound new again.

Advertisers have the ideas, but they need to sell them to clients. They need to sound fresh, on top of it and impressive. They need to have a bit of the dodgy car salesman approach, or they might lose the account. All agencies have good ideas. But it’s a hard fought fight to see who can sell theirs the best.

Smother the client in so much jargon that they can’t understand what you’re saying, but they think you’re a genius… a wanker, but a genius as well.

Daniel Fitzsimmons

Programmatic – ‘Rise Of The Machines’

Programmatic has arrived and the machines are taking over. The idea of tailored advertising per person is now a reality. So, what does this mean to advertisers and consumers?

Consumers

Imagine a world where you only got what you wanted?

If you got asked the question, would you like to control the ads you see? Most people would say yes. But if you told them they would have to give up some of their privacy, would they be more reluctant? Then remind them that most of this information is already being collected…

Everyone loves something for free and on the net this has never been more available. Though nothing is entirely free. With most free information or services including entertainment on the net, the only price you have to pay is being exposed to advertising. Most of us as consumers have learnt the best ways of getting around this and know we only have to wait a few seconds to hit skip or wait for the little ‘x’ button to close it. However, what if the advertising you were exposed to was only what you wanted to see or what was relevant to your life?

Being able to choose the types of ads your interested in would be a great option. If you have to see the ads anyway, why not choose to make them relevant, maybe even interesting and engaging in portraying your own desirable needs as opposed to just trying to close them as soon as you can.

Advertisers

Imagine a world where you only hit where it counts…

For the advertisers this could be a enormous game changer. If, they were only paying for the media space for consumers, that were interested, or deemed a good candidate. This could potentially save the advertiser plenty of money and let smaller businesses advertise to target consumers who would use their good or services, leading to a chance to grow their business through advertising without having to pay for pointless reach or product outlet.

Driving traffic to your site is always a big push for businesses online and with programmatic you are maximising your potential while saving money wasted on uninterested parties.

Programmatic

So what is programmatic?

Programmatic is the ghost in the machine. It collects data on consumer’s behavior online and through powers much faster than most media experts, which decides who and when is the best time to deliver a piece of advertising. There is a lot more to it than that but like me, is still in its early stages and has a lot more growth and potential.

Once the scary part of ‘they are watching you’ passes and people get the idea they are here to make life, on the overwhelming amount of information on the net more relevant.

Lets work with programmatic to change the perception of  ‘advertising’ into ‘relevant information’ and everyone is a winner.

Benjamin Sopronick

Melbourne Ad students create TVC for CoverCard

Macleay College’s Melbourne Advertising & Media students have produced a TVC for the client COVERCARD as part of their VIDEO PRODUCTION  class. 

Macleay Lecturer Lauchlan Pevie mentored the advertising students through the creative and production processes of producing their first TV commercial which included: concept development, scripting, storyboarding, pre-production, casting, costume, lighting, filming, editing and post-production.

Matt Tomlins, CoverCard CEO and Co-Founder commended the students at the completion of the project “As a student project I was unsure how it would play out, but you exceeded my expectations in both the quality of the final output and the process that got us there. From the beginning it was obvious that the time had been taken to read and watch the various briefing materials as the team quickly ‘got’ the concept. The team was professional throughout and gave genuine care and attention to what we were trying to achieve. A number of the deadlines were tight and I felt the ability to quickly cut to the chase in regards to what was required was critical. The end product will be very useful in helping us communicate our offer and as an early stage startup it will be critical in getting our business off the ground. Thanks again for your efforts. My overall comment is that it didn’t particularly feel like a student project. Best Regards, Matt Tomlins.”

Advertising Jobs on the Rise

Great news on the job growth in the advertising and media sectors in Australia. Over 50,000 jobs in the next 5 years, and 38.6% growth predicted over 10 years. It seems like the perfect time to study the Bachelor of Advertising & Media at Macleay College. 

For more details check out this study from Job Outlook: Link

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Thirty Second Storytelling

We recently invited renowned Director, Writer and Producer Karen Borger to join our Art Direction & Design students at Macleay College. Chatting informally with a small group in our Sydney TV Studio, Karen generously shared tips and tales from her 30+ year international career.

Karen Borger, Ian Thomson and I were all fortunate to be accepted into Sydney College of the Arts to study BA Visual Communication and subsequently Award School in the 80s. Over four intensive years of full-time study, we gained a solid grounding in graphic design, art direction, photography, illustration, printmaking, typography, film, creative writing and multimedia. Karen’s first love was photography until she explored and was soon engrossed by film. A stellar international education and an award-winning career spanning advertising, feature and documentary filmmaking ensued.

A lucky break winning the US Green Card Lottery enabled her to live and work as a permanent resident in America. Couple this good fortune with a love of learning and a determination to find fun at every opportunity, and Karen was soon working at the Disney Interactive Media Group in LA. Karen became the Director of Original Content (DIMG), and Filmmaker with the Disney Imagineers WDPRO (Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online). There she enjoyed extraordinary levels of creative freedom, generous budgets and also learned the business of entertainment; the delicate balance between creativity and commerce.

The advertising world has changed inordinately during Karen’s career, and she’s seen budgets for the same scope of shoot plummet from $300k to $10k. Karen still values her background in advertising and the artistry it adds to her career in cinematography and directing.

Advertising creatives gain invaluable training in learning how to get attention, tell a story, deliver a message, leave an impact, and fast! We’re trained to know first and foremost who we’re talking to and to present the single most important message (key insight or proposition) in a few words or seconds. “We make films too; 30-second stories!”

The key takeaway from Karen’s discussion involved the importance of learning visual styles and the history of symbolic references.

“Learn to notice everything.”

Why/how does something capture your attention? What did it lead you to feel, to do? If you’re creating for an era, for example, the 60s, what images conjure up that time for you? Cars, architecture, colours? Ask yourself: if I’d lived in the 60s, with what would I have connected? Cars, food, fashion, music, white goods, sporting heroes?

Using an example of a highly recognisable item of clothing – the ubiquitous Breton shirt, Karen explained its history and relevance in film and advertising. From Coco Chanel visiting the Navy docks in the 1930s, the significance of the 21 stripes – each representing a Napoleonic victory – James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, the addition of a neckerchief and beret to characterise an artist, and so on.

“Do not underestimate the importance and power of cultural symbols and styles.”

TIP: Conduct thorough research and trace concepts back to the source to gain a richer understanding and appreciation.

this-is-me

“This is Me” showcases Australian children in a factual and entertaining short-form format. As director of several episodes, Karen and her crew hit the ground running – flying into sometimes remote locations, spending a day shooting and flying on the next day. The result is extraordinary and moving storytelling, in 5-minute bites. The series is currently showing on ABC iview. This episode featuring Campbell Remess in Tassie has recently gone viral on Facebook.

Karen currently works between Australia and the US, producing engaging projects with international story lines. Her passion as a Producer is for the development of projects and cross-platform digital media that unites the best methodologies of film-making and the latest in interactive media.

jules-stripesJulieann Brooker is a lecturer in the Advertising & Media Faculty at Macleay College. Study options include a Diploma of Advertising & Media, Diploma of Digital Media, BA Advertising & Media and BA Digital Media.

Brands that move at the speed of culture

Macleay College Advertising students recently attended an AGDA event, “How to make brands and influence people,” presented by Chris Maclean, Creative Director of Re.

1_coverMaclean believes the term ‘branding’ has become so nebulous it’s lost all meaning and is even a dirty word in some circles. Even the design industry struggles with the concept, confusing ‘Corporate Identity’ with ‘Brand Identity.’ To make matters worse, the world is confused about branding; both clients and audiences alike.

Your average cabbie, worldwide, has long been considered a good sounding board for community sentiment. With equal measures of humour and frustration, Maclean shares his regular attempts to explain what he does for a quid without saying he ‘just’ makes logos. A good analogy is that a corporate identity (beginning with the logo), is like wearing a uniform, and the brand is more about the personality under that uniform.

Maclean believes that brands are living, breathing entities that should be built to evolve and meet the changing needs of people. Modern brands are “expressive personalities that attempt to influence how you think, feel and behave.”

matt-q

Chris Maclean was “shi#*ing himself.” In 2011, as Creative Director of Interbrand, Maclean was about to launch the Telstra rebrand.

In The Australian, Sydney reporter Mitchell Bingemann had not been kind: “Telstra’s new $3m logo puts critics off colour”, and “It really seems to be a dilution of a powerful brand,” comments conveniently attributed to an unnamed “senior brand design specialist.”

A household name, we’ve probably all heard worse descriptors than “shi#’ used to relay a typical Telstra customer experience. Telstra was keenly aware that many of their customers were ‘hostages,’ and that “more people buy from us than ‘like us.’” Notwithstanding, CEO David Thodey’s mission for Telstra was “to become Australia’s ‘most loved’ Telco.”

p2

In this environment, Telstra had the seemingly impossible task of re-emerging as a brand relevant and engaging to everyone from a tween to a government department. This realisation was instrumental in the decision to introduce a six colour system. With colour, Maclean had extra levels of emotional flexibility to play with, from hot pink for a teenage girl toting birthday cash, to deep blues for bureaucrats and contracts.

One can only imagine the pitch required to sell this to the decision makers. He laughs at his cabbie’s efficacious summary, reducing the extent of his three-year project to having “just changed the colours, six times,” and that he “didn’t even design” the Telstra logo. By then he truly wished he’d booked an Uber and was instead enjoying his own music, the complimentary water, and mints to boot.

telstra-rebrand

Maclean takes us on the journey of the branding creative. After months of strategic planning, design work refinement, and celebratory launch, the project culminates in a design firm handing over a collection of digital artwork (brand assets) and guidelines to the company and their ad agencies for ongoing implementation. At this point, Maclean feels heartbroken and ready to capitulate – “Maybe I am (just) ‘the logo guy.'”

Reflective self-assessment leads him back to an ongoing exploration – how can Advertising and Design play nice together? He sets the scene: for consistency, designers want to build visual glue for brands. Conversely, advertising creatives don’t want to be restricted by static visual communication as it becomes featureless wallpaper. If a brand stays the same in a changing world, it loses relevance. So, while adhering to strict brand guidelines, how does a brand stay relevant and engaging?

Maclean’s discovery of the collaborative ‘middle ground’, is his innovative compromise that enables design and advertising to “play nice” together. The solution is explained with a simple graphic featuring the ‘core’ and the ‘playground.’ Maclean outlines a scenario where the brand agency creates the brand essence at the core, which remains consistent and stable. The playground is a large area orbiting around the core which allows the brand to remain relevant and engaging.

p3_nike

To use a successful brand as an example, Apple (of course, though image shows Nike), has a notorious solid core (no pun intended). No other brand has managed to deliver such a consistent brand experience and any changes in the delivery move at a glacial pace. Yet, when they need to ‘circuit break’ the market, they elegantly but deliberately step into the playground and shake up the space. For example, the dancing silhouettes of the 2004 iPod campaign.ipods

Maclean’s model is entirely appropriate for a landscape of digital disruption, and brands that move at the speed of culture.  Relevant brands are in beta state – alert and focussed. They need to evolve, and as brand designers and strategists, we need to build in flexibility.  Maclean likens it to a ‘Creative Thinking’ exercise: “Listen, think, create. Repeat”.

nathan-q

Chris Maclean and ‘Re’ are currently hiring: “Design Directors, Senior & Mid-weight Designers, Motion Designers, Strategists, Account Managers.” Get in touch hello@re.agency  These roles are all suitable for graduates of the Macleay College Advertising & Media courses.

In a follow-up post, Julieann will review Maclean’s theory that “brands have the power to change the world.”

jules-stripesJulieann Brooker is a lecturer in the Advertising & Media Faculty at Macleay College. Study options include a Diploma of Advertising & Media, Diploma of Digital Media, BA Advertising & Media and BA Digital Media.

Smooth tour at NOVA FM

Macleay College’s Advertising & Media students are pretty used to discussing work and career beyond the college sound lab, but it’s far better to see it up close …

macleay-advertising-students-with-lecturer-cameron-horn-in-the-nova-boardroom

Today, the Macleay Advertising Copywriting class had the opportunity to poke around in the real world of capital city radio, with a tour of Nova’s Sydney studios.

We arrived at the Pyrmont headquarters fashionably late. Well, just ten minutes. But in “media time” that’s like an hour. Still fashionable though #sorrynotsorry.

But look, we’ll rip the band-aid straight off now: we didn’t meet NOVA FM stars, Fitzy and Wippa. Being breakfast announcers, they’re in at 3am and out of the building by midday, maybe 1pm at the latest. So we didn’t see them in the flesh.

But!! We did get to hang around in their studio, and sit in their chairs and talk into their mics – and view their view over the Anzac Bridge.

We did see Kate Ritchie – part of NOVA’s drive time program which recently won Best On-Air team at the Australian Commercial Radio Awards. Kate just ran past us in the hall way on her way to a programming meeting. She smiled, laughed and said “Hi” then scurried into her meeting room.

This was our first inkling of how frantic Sydney radio can be.

hanging-in-fitzy-and-wippas-studio

 

As it happens

We really saw frantic for real, when the Smooth FM program director, Peter Clay, raced through the office to fix a computer issue in the studio while drive-time presenter Anthony Davis was going live-to-air. It just really hammered home that sense: radio is immediate.

When a problem occurs, it’s being broadcast live. We’ve spoken about it in classes, but until we saw Peter Clay taking charge like that, it was nothing more than an abstract thought.

Turning ideas into airwaves

We also met Stephen Bruce, Nova’s sales manager. He and our guide, account manager Julian Dias, explained how they take an idea and making it rain moolah. It’s actually a really long process!

It starts with the creatives coming up with their crazy ideas in the corner, they liaise with the content team to see how their ideas can be executed across different platforms: on-air, social media, websites – radio isn’t just radio any more. Then they get the sales guys involved, to get some sponsorships on it.

Sometimes, it works in reverse – the sales guys will go to the creatives, flesh out an idea and then get the promotions and production team involved from there.

Without hearing their real-world experiences seeing their ideas grow wings and flying onto the airwaves, again, we would have been left with just the abstract.

guest-lecturer-emma-horn-on-air-at-coast-fm

 

Seeing the sounds

Production was a huge highlight! We briefly met the current Australian Radio Producer of the Year, Darcy Milne, then commercial sound engineer, Shelly Mitchell spent the better part of an hour showing us the ad-making process.

We’ve had a bit of experience with Protools, but until we saw Shelly working with it, we had no idea it was so complex! There’s so much sound layering and automation in every 30 second ad. Hours of work goes into it.

And there’s also a lot of psychology too – the ad sound has to create the right atmosphere to fit with the audience demographic. You have to really understand the listener.

All in all, our tour of Nova was an eye-opener. A lot of thanks go to account manager, Julian, who took two hours out of his Tuesday to show us around and answer all our questions. What a legend!

southern-cross-austereo-digital-media-producer-emma-horn

Photos and Blog by Emma-Marie Horn. Guest Lecturer – Advertising & Media Faculty, Macleay College.

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