Category Archives: Career Advice

What is this fuckery called retargeting?… Is it effective?

Remember when you were in the market for a fresh pair of kicks or a new top to impress that not so special someone on your recently memorable for all the wrong reasons tinder date? You jumped onto ASOS and when overwhelmed with the choices thought “Fuck it I’ll look later.”. No? Well, facebook sure seems to think you did. Next thing you know your sitting in class, at work, on the train and you stumble your way online only to see banner ads from ASOS for the exact category you were perusing. Creepy. But hey no harm no foul you shrug it off right? And that weekend you’re out shopping with friends and low and behold find that perfect pair of shoes, tie, whatever, no need to keep looking but that’s not what Facebook thinks…next thing you know all you see for the next few weeks are ads for shoes over and over again to the point of irrational anger. Or is it rational?

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This is just one example of how technology is influencing advertisement and is more commonly known as ‘Adtech’. The example above highlights one of the most notorious forms of Adtech called retargeting where it roughly works like this; a website uses cookie-based technology that uses javascript code to follow those who visit the page around the rest of the web. This is done so anonymously and is done so in a way that the ad will only target those who have visited the said website. The purpose of this, of course, is so that even though Bob didn’t make it all the way to the ‘check out’, maybe he got distracted or something came up, brands and websites can subtly remind Bob about the new ultra shiny garden hose reel and other similar categorical items and hey, maybe Bob will complete the purchase at a later time and think fondly about that website.

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But is this ethical? Is Bob only buying that hose reel because he kept seeing images of it everywhere he went and now only bought it based on one initial passing thought, turned action off of subliminal advertising? More and more consumers are becoming irritated and fed up with the constant feed of adverts in their lives opting for web browser extensions that block all ads and it even caused big companies like Apple to start building these types of ad blockers into their own web browsers which have then been used as part of a selling point of their products. Innovations in technology have brought about a lot of new and amazing streams in which the advertising industry can play with but is the industry just being lazy?

The term ‘brand engagement’ is thrown around a lot these days where big brands want consumers to ‘engage’ with them but tactics like retargeting has had the exact opposite effect where consumers are actively trying to disengage with brands and ads so they can have a moment of peace from the bombardment of products and services shoved down their eyeballs. If you rely heavily on retargeting your potential consumers for your products and or services are you even offering anything of worth? Perhaps its time to think more creatively and do something that has consumers wanting to engage with your website and or brand.

Take a video… it will last longer!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… well then what’s a video worth?

Last year I snapped a picture of a little girl I met in India called Angel. On paper, her story is all kinds of tough. After sleeping with someone outside her cast, Angel’s mum tried to drown her as a newborn. Although only three days old, Angel put up a fight and her little heart refused to stop beating. After her failed attempt to murder her newborn child, Angel’s mum gave Angel to a local rescue home and has never seen her since.

Whilst reading about my sweet Angel you feel for her, but its just text on a page, you will probably never think about her again. However, after seeing a picture of her sweet smile, you feel a deeper level of connection and more emotions are evoked as the story grows on you… a picture is worth a thousand words.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? Videos are powerful and enable the viewer to transcend space and time. Whilst it brings me so much joy to gaze at Angel’s sweet face in her picture, I feel like I am back with her when I see a simple video of her. I have a video of Angel in her school uniform jumping up and down on her bed laughing and calling out to me, ‘Ukka Ukka,” which means big sister. The picture of Angel tells me a thousand words, of who she is, what she is like and who she will become; however, the video transports me back in time. Back to my Angel.

I can hear her voice and her laughter, I can see the excitement on her face and I can feel the love I felt for her right in that moment. The video is what I treasure. After months of not seeing Angel, her contagious laugh, which was once so loud in my ears slowly, softens, the memories of hours of jumping on the bed fade and hearing my name called over and over becomes a distant memory. Despite the time apart, it only takes one play of the video to make me feel like I am back with her. Maybe a video has the ability to make us feel those thousands of words in a picture.

Text can tell a powerful story, a picture is worth a thousand words but a video has the ability to transport us through time. Videos engage our minds like nothing else, they have the ability to unpack complex concepts quickly and evoke stronger emotions than any other medium. Videos have the ability to transport us through time and space and quench our mind’s thirst for information and interaction. Since video appeals to both sight and sound, it has the ability bring back our memories, beautiful memories of our journeys, memories like my Angel.

It’s all about the Idea!

You could have the greatest production team, the best global agency, and an amazing client. But just remember this does not mean anything with a bad idea.

Let me give you an example of a simple idea that was a pure genius. Do you remember the power cut during the third quarter of Super Bowl 2013, which caused the lights to go out for 34 minutes? The sandwich cookies brand, Oreo was quick to think in this situation and posted on social media ‘‘Power out? No problem. You can always dunk in the dark’.

 It revealed a simple picture of an Oreo cookie in a dark room. You could argue how Oreo was a great success compared to the other brands that paid for a spot in the memorable, global game. However I disagree with this theory as great ideas also went into all of those other commercials even If they didn’t think of it in 10 minutes. For example the Budweiser commercial- brotherhood, it worked because of the idea behind it. It was a surprising advertisement away from the typical alcohol ad. It told a warm, hearing story between a man and his horse that were separated, yet three years later they were reunited. It engaged the audience from the start as we questioned what the advertisement was for as it had a cinematic feel to it.

According to SJ Insights the number of ads that adults are now exposed to across all five media (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers and magazines) is about 360 per day; of these, only 150-155 are even noted, and far fewer make a strong enough impact to be recalled, make an impression, and ultimately, make a sale. It is vital that there is a strong idea behind any campaign; if your ad is noticed out of those 360 per day then you are on your way to success. One campaign that has stood our for me this week as my bus goes past it everyday is a campaign that was advertising Mardi Gras. It was the simplicity that made me love the outdoor advertisement. Instead of using a billboard outside Westfield in Bondi Junction they have simply made a mural to advertise Mardi Gras using a colourful set of wings, which, people can stand next to and take photos. This always grabs my attention, as the advertisement looks different every time I look at it with different people laughing and smiling, whilst taking photos with the wings. It is memorable as it made me feel happy. You could spend fortunes on a TV commercial or a print ad but if the idea is not relatable or doesn’t make your audience feel an emotion then it gets lost in the world of advertising.

Just remember the greatest ideas are the simplest.

Chloe Alexandra Geggus

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.

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“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.

Construction Work to Constructing Copy #MadeAtMacleay

I have fond memories of Ernie Ciaschetti in my Digital Design class back in 2014. He was a talented student and for a time there I thought he’d make a good Art Director but his love of writing won him over and I spoke with him recently about his new role as Copywriter for Saatchi & Saatchi.

Can you describe your new role at Saatchi & Saatchi?
I am a copywriter, so my day to day is either ideating or writing copy for a range of different clients.

What have been some of your career highlights since graduating from Macleay?
Some highlights include hearing a script I’d written on the radio for the first time, winning a pitch with my partner and getting a job at Saatchi and Saatchi.

What are your future career goals?
Win some awards and get a job in New York. We can all dream right?

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?
To cut a long story short, I was working in construction with my mate Luke, he was studying his Diploma of Advertising at Macleay. He was about one semester in and was really enjoying it. I was over working in construction and Luke recommended I join him at Macleay. So I did. What attracted me to Macleay was the opportunity to learn about all different aspects of the industry from people who have been there and done it. It was their industry insights that not only helped me decide what position best suited me (copywriting), but also prepared me for the crazy world that is advertising.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?
We went on an excursion to a printing factory- seeing all that machinery in action was something I’ll never forget. Also, working on a TVC for the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, being involved from the initial concept to the final TVC was really rewarding.

Jason Gemenis is a Digital Ninja and teaches Digital Design and Advanced Digital Design for Macleay College’s Diploma of Advertising and Bachelor of Advertising and Media.

The Death of the Social Marketing Manager

Dead Bird Blog

Graduating student Bryan Sainsbury-Hore looks at the ever-changing landscape of the social media job market.

To believe that something can “die” one must believe that it truly once lived. In the case of the Social Marketing Manager, death seems impossible. It is a figment of a lazy imagination. Marketing managing is about the control, measurement, and implementation of marking initiatives. The scope of this role has changed immensely as new technology has become part of the kit bag of the current marketing manager, but the responsibility to control what is going on has not been diminished.

Despite these changes in scope and tools, the fundamental mission of the Marketing manager has not changed. And as thus the idea of a Social Marketing Manager as separate to the previously existing Marketing Manager is absurd.

Part of this new technology has certainly been social media. It is a new beast with new ways of doing things that call for assimilation of a new set of skills. Education and cynicism from consumers have ensured that social media has become one of the increasingly few effective ways to reach customers. Interacting with them in less traditional ways, and influencing consumer decisions in more subtly.

Social Media, especially maintaining a constant presence, and being reactive to trends is almost a full-time job in its self. The work demands may dictate the requirement for delegation of social to another person. This function would be overseen by a contentious Marketing Manager as if it is part of the marketing mix it can have good results.

The tools to measure the success and ROI and ROE of social media are quite different to traditional media. Despite social media’s increased ability to gauge customer engagement, there is still a loose connection between activity and bottom line. With extremes of success and wastage as possible outcomes, Social media must be a part of a sophisticated marketing mix, and is now commonplace amongst all competitive businesses.

Imagine a Marketing manager who does not write any copy, or conceive any new ideas, or simply refuses to use anything that is printed. The idea would be ridiculous, and the marketing manager would get canned. The idea of a marketing manager that separates “social” from the rest of their tools, and puts it into the “not my section” category, is quite the same.

Social is not easy. Consumers sense the “ad” and are off put by it. Therefore, social must be treated as social not broadcast media. Consumers are looking for content that improves their life experience, and providing such content is time-consuming, to say the least. It is, however, an essential element to the Marketing Manager’s toolkit, and part of the woodwork.