Macleay’s advertising students recently found themselves in the offices of M&C Saatchi with their group innovation director Ben Cooper. Ben described his role as “the team who, in addition to offering an advertising solution, offer clients innovation responses”. He also mentioned that “innovation is an ever-evolving cycle that can grow businesses by developing new areas of activity that stem from, be adjacent to, or even be transformational from their core business” and hence provide new and sometimes unexpected revenue streams.
Innovation is about breaking the rules of existing models to create new relationships with people. Ben described M&C’s most recent innovation project “Clever Buoy”, a shark detection and warning device, which uses Optus’ telecommunications technology to create a more humane method to keep our beaches and our sharks safe. This is done by identifying sharks’ fin and tail movements and then relaying this information to a satellite, which then sends a warning to the nearest Lifeguard hut who can warn beach-goers hat a shark is nearby the moment it happens. As Australia has the highest number of shark attacks, it is good to see it tackling the problem with a clever new piece of technology. And all of this is part of the brand development activity for the commercial telecommunications company OPTUS, which extends far beyond it’s core areas of business, but can also create new sources of revenue.
Ben Cooper taught me a lot in a mere hour, but the 2 things he said that really stick in my mind are:
“You can’t change the world all at once, but if you help one person, he will tell his story to another.”
“Admit when you are short on knowledge, so be proactive and get help to fill in the gaps.”
Thank you Ben Cooper for a fun and interesting time at M&C Saatchi.
Advertising student, Aleksander Antonijevic