Category Archives: Industry News

3 great ads I had nothing to do with!

In the tradition of the popular Thinkbox series of shorts that explore some of the greatest TV advertisements in the company of leading Creatives ‘who know a thing or two about making them’, I’ve decided to put forward my own three choices of great advertisements that I had nothing to do with. Now, I’m no Chief Creative Officer of a huge agency, but I feel like I still know a good ad from a bad one. So here goes.

In the age of digital television recorders, advertisement skipping, product placement, overlay ads, Google and pretty much the internet in general, making a TVC stand out above the rest has become tough. Attention spans have shortened, and the point now is to make a TVC that instantly grabs attention and is genuinely engaging. I’ve selected three TVCs that have recently inspired me in my journey through studying advertising; brilliant commercials, old and new, that I admire. (Oh and by the way, if you’ve never heard of it, check out advert.ge on Facebook – absolutely brilliant page constantly posting great TVC’s from around the globe.)

Ad #1: It’s now or never.

As the rest of the world runs for their lives and civilization crumbles around them, the bar-goers enjoy their last moments together and make the most of theirs. The bartender pours shots of Cuervo, a man plays Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” on the jukebox and couples tango while destruction around them ensues, because as for these brave souls; ‘tomorrow is overrated’.

The coolness factor is stratospheric here. CP+B’s campaign, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, features stunning visuals and uses an end-of-days scenario in charming fashion as a metaphor for living in the moment. The Elvis ballad, which was the second best-selling single of his career, is conceptually perfect and cuts right through the mayhem. The end tagline, “Tomorrow Is Overrated,” is a fun way to highlight tequila’s reputation as a liquor that can lead to unparalleled nights of abandon – and a way to emphasize the primacy of now in times of uncertainty.

Ad #2: Only time.

Who would have thought that more than 85 million people would watch the Muscles from Brussels doing his signature split with two Volvo trucks moving in reverse on a highway, backed by Enya’s “Only Time”? Volvo knew.

Directed by Andreas Nilsson, Volvo filmed the short on a runway in Spain in one take after three days of rehearsals. The short was, at the time, the latest in a series of videos Volvo used to promote how easy it was, and is, to steer its new high-tech big rigs – others have featured a woman walking a tightrope between to moving trucks heading toward a tunnel and a hamster steering one up the edge of a cliff.

The series, and the Jean-Claude Van Damme video in particular, are an insanely clever way to get attention to a type of vehicle most consumers usually don’t care or even think about while proving to other brands that they can use short clips to generate a Super Bowl-sized audience for little money when upping the creativity level of their campaigns.

Ad #3: Satisfaction.

While they sleep, a man’s tongue crawls completely out of his mouth and embarks on a journey to a house party down the road, bringing back home a cold Tooheys Extra Dry.

Yes, another alcohol ad. But prove to me that this isn’t one of the greatest Australian ads ever. I distinctively remember always rushing to the TV whenever I could hear Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” playing. “The tongue beer ad is on!”, I would say. I was 12.

This Tooheys TVC, created by BMF in Sydney, drew dozens of complaints but ranks as one of the best television commercials in the world. The Advertising Standards Board rejected a deluge of complaints about the ad, while Tooheys claims it reinvigorated Australian beer advertising. The advertisement is deliberately distinctive to reflect the diverse and growing consumer appetite for the brand, with a particular focus on younger consumers. At the core of the ad, the tongue is a simple yet strategic device to highlight the importance of taste.

The overall theme of my three advertisements, it seems, is that they all effectively make use of one huge feature amongst the impact of the visuals; that of music. Each advertisement conveys a strong message, but through the added characteristic of music, and specifically popularised music, the ad becomes something else. It becomes engaging.

Rowan James Slade

The future is no longer digital. The present is.

‘Digital’ surrounds us – to the extent that it we no longer know what to describe as digital and what not. What is the difference? And when is it appropriate to describe technology as ‘digital’ ? Or telecommunications? Or marketing? Or the process of your toddler at home tapping on plastic piano keys? If living in; communicating for; and doing business with a digital world has become the norm, how do we best take advantage of the opportunity that digital media presents to us? 

But let’s take a step back, and look at the impact that digital media has had on our business, communications and personal worlds. Born from the dots and dashes codes of electrical telegraphy, then developed into the transistor and later the computer, binary code has allowed us to transmit and reproduce information quickly, over vast distances, and without deterioration of quality.

Since the development of the Internet, the transfer of data for all kinds of applications has had a huge influence on our commercial, social and personal activities. Research from the Computing Productivity Report (Brynjolfsson & Hitt) indicates that “digital technologies have significantly increased the productivity and performance of businesses”. On a personal level Yvonne Wong in her book ‘Sovereign Finance and the Poverty of Nationssuggests that “by enabling greater interconnectedness, easier communication, and the exposure of information that in the past could have more easily been suppressed, society demands a whole new level of freedom of speech”.

And as digital technology continues to expand into mobile telecommunications, interactive media and screen based communications, new entrepreneurial and employment opportunities have risen for those able to devise entrepreneurial concepts, generate content and leverage projects for digital media.

But when the whole area of digital media seems so broad, where do you start to get a handle on it all? The answer lies in the combination of: developing broad-reaching knowledge about information and communication technologies; learning to think outside of the box to generate ideas for digital media projects for digital applications that may not even exist yet; managing digital media projects in any one or more area of specialist technology – whether that be word, screen, mobile, interactive, marketing or data focused.

The digital analytics firm comScore recently reported that “time spent with digital media has grown exponentially, increasing 49 percent from 2013… and mobile consumption has increased by 90 percent over the last two years”.

“In the future, every business will need to have a person who can create digital content” claims Chantal Abouchar, Founder and CEO of Australia’s first Media Accelerator THE STUDIO as she took part in Macleay College’s series of industry advisory panel consultancies in order to develop the new Diploma and Bachelor of Digital Media courses.

Macleay College’s new Bachelor and Diploma courses in Digital Media combine conceptual development skills and strategic thinking with management and digital production skills in DIGITAL VIDEO, WRITING FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, INTERACTIVE DESIGN and DIGITAL MARKETING and an ability to adapt to changes in industry and technologies that are bound to come.

Ian Thomson is Head of the Advertising & Digital Media Faculty for Macleay College’s campuses in Sydney and Melbourne.

About Macleay College:

Macleay College offers highly regarded, industry focused education in Business, Journalism, Advertising and now Digital Media. These tertiary courses have an emphasis on multi-media qualifications and offer students a hands-on approach to fast-track their career. The Bachelor of Digital Media features specialisations in DIGITAL VIDEO, WRITING FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS and DIGITAL MARKETING. Macleay College has campuses in Sydney and Melbourne. 

For more information, contact Macleay College on 1300 939 888.

 

Macleay College launches Digital Media degree

Building on its reputation of offering Australia’s most progressive multi-media journalism course; it’s focus on entrepreneurship in Marketing & Business; and featuring a dedicated degree in Advertising & Media, Macleay College is extending its selection of courses to Diploma and Bachelor qualifications in Digital Media.

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Industry advisory panel members (L to R) Ross Raeburn (UM), Felicity Coonan (Animal Logic), Ian Thomson (Macleay College), Chantal Abouchar (The Studio), Andrew Barnum (Peopleness) and Kim Chatterjee (UX Consultant) were some of the leading consultants involved in developing Macleay College's new courses in Digital Media.

It’s become a well-worn catch-cry that “the future is digital”, but reality is that we’re already immersed in a world where information, communications and data are propelled through the Internet as binary code. As geeky as this might sound, the wonderful reality of digital media is that this information is instantaneously re-translated for us at our point of retrieval (on our smart TVs, laptops, tablets and phones) as articles, stories, photos, films, music and games to inform, engage and entertain us.

Digital Media has become the currency of communication for generation NOW. And because it allows resources to be copied, transmitted and shared without loss of quality, its expansion into all areas of our personal, professional and creative lives is pre-destined.

In the future, every business will need to have a person who can create digital content claims Chantal Abouchar, Founder and CEO of Australia’s first Media Accelerator THE STUDIO as she took part in Macleay College’s series of high-ranking industry advisory panel consultancies in order to develop the new Diploma and Bachelor of Digital Media courses.

The future of media changing is so quickly. If you think about Occulus-Riff and the Drone technologies that are coming out, we need people who understand the potential of these emerging technologies and can coordinate creative and business opportunities around them” adds panel consultant, Fullbright Scholar and Master in Communications Science and International Affairs from Columbia University, Andrew Robinson.

The 2-year degree course in Digital Media features Macleay College’s commitment to industry focused education in innovation, enterprise and communications. The 3 trimester system allows the same volume of learning from a 3-year university degree to be delivered in two thirds of the time, keeping well in-trend with the career focus of the college and the fast moving nature of the digital media technologies. “Graduates will be well equipped to be adaptable and manage the fast change expected within the digital media industries” said consultant and panel member Dr Graham Salter.

An alternate entry pathway to the degree is a 1-year Diploma of Digital Media, which allows students without the ATAR qualification to articulate into the degree if they achieve a Credit average or higher. This accommodates students who are well suited to Digital Media, but don’t come from a more formal academic background.

Students identify one area of specialisation, such as DIGITAL PHOTO & VIDEO CREATION, WRITING FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS or DIGITAL MARKETING or BUSINESS, but complement this with elective units to broaden their skill sets. Career paths are no longer linear, we need to be developing creative thinkers, strategists, problem solvers who can apply a concept to any form of media and are not limited by the media they have training in” added course designer and Macleay College Head of Faculty, Ian Thomson.

The course offers core units in CREATIVE THINKING, DIGITAL DESIGN, BEHAVIOURAL PSYCHOLOGY, CONTENT STRATEGY, STORY & NARRATIVE and RELEVANT DISRUPTION & GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT – just to name a few.

“When we employ graduates at Animal Logic, the people who have longevity and will be valuable are those who are curious, have a hunger for knowledge, an aptitude for design thinking, and who think ‘bigger’ about the world” mentioned Animal Logic Art Director Felicity Coonan at the course development panel. Hence the ‘big picture’ approach to the core units of study in the course, with enough specialisation and elective options to develop multiple skills sets, such as combining studies in VIDEO PRODUCTION with electives in DIGITAL MARKETING. “You as a student must be able to tell your story, in whatever medium, as a response to the brief – no matter whether this is gaming, writing, video” adds Design Education specialist Andrew Barnum.

Macleay College has a long history of working very closely with industry, and compulsory internships are an integral part of all courses. This ensures that graduates are industry-ready and useful in the workplace from day 1. Panel consultant and UX specialist Kim Chatterjee mentioned that “In the future we will need graduates who can solve problems no matter what their nature. Then as they gain more industry experience they can move into strategy roles. It was important that learning experiences pit students against professionals and companies.” “If graduates can enter the workplace with the knowledge of how to create relevant content, and also how to develop and work with tools that will make money and save the world, I would hire them” added Ross Raeburn, panel member and CEO at UM Australia.

Macleay College’s new Bachelor and Diploma courses in Digital Media combine conceptual development skills, strategic thinking, an understanding of relevant disruption, leadership and change management with digital production skills in DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO PRODUCTION, WRITING FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS, DIGITAL MARKETING & DIGITAL BUSINESS. These skills provide a great foundation for their careers – and combine real world skills that are relevant now, with an ability to self-learn and adapt to changes in industry and technologies that are bound to come.

Ian Thomson is Head of the Advertising & Digital Media Faculty for Macleay College’s campuses in Sydney and Melbourne.

About Macleay College:

Macleay College offers highly regarded, industry focused education in Business, Journalism, Advertising and now Digital Media. These tertiary courses have an emphasis on multi-media qualifications and offer students a hands-on approach to fast-track their career. The Bachelor of Digital Media features specialisations in DIGITAL VIDEO, WRITING FOR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS and DIGITAL MARKETING. Macleay College has campuses in Sydney and Melbourne.

For more information, contact Macleay College on 1300 939 888.

Media Contact: Laura Parker | Marketing Coordinator | lparker@macleay.edu.au | 02 8373 5135

Macleay Lecturer and Graduate Shine Bright at ACRA Awards #MadeatMacleay

The Australian Commercial Radio Awards (ACRA) are Aussie radio’s night of nights and the 2016 awards proved that Macleay’s lecturers and graduates can deliver.

Copy writing and Radio Lecturer Cameron Horn was most surprised to win his 5th ACRA in 5 years, when his campaign for Spot Go Cleaning Products picked up Regional Campaign of the Year.

“I really didn’t expect this,” says Cameron. “I just kept eating as they were announcing it. I actually dropped my cutlery when they announced it. I couldn’t believe it.”

Cameron says, the real surprise was in that about 8 clients had rejected the idea behind the Campaign. “Persistence really does pay off. I’ve had this idea in my mind since about 2010!”

The night wasn’t finished for Cameron though, as later, his campaign that he collaborated with Macleay graduate Katrina Fowler for client Carl’s Junior, won Best Regional Sales Promotion.

“I wrote these, Katrina and I voiced them, then our promotions team worked on them at Southern Cross Austereo. The results were astronomical for the client. They were running 700% above their projected targets after the promotion.”

Katrina was also a finalist in the Best Newcomer to Radio category. “Hey, I was just stoked to be a finalist – that’s top 5 in Australia! Awesome!” Katrina said after the event. This follows up Katrina’s nomination as a finalist last year in the Commercial writing category.

Listen to the Spot Go Campaign:

YOUR AUDIENCE CONTROLS SOCIAL MEDIA NOT YOU

Macleay College’s Melbourne advertising students visited the ADMA DATA DAY to pick up some insider tips on the perils of social media marketing and why you should never ignore sleeping casino visitors. Advertising student Gianni Piccolo reports.

There’s a bearded man wearing a suit and round glasses, sleeping in a chair with hundreds of people scuttling past him on their way to gather lunch from the buffet at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. I’m getting worried as I see him lying there, wondering of I’m going to regret the decision to go to an event I didn’t know much about on the first day of holidays?

Our lecturer from Macleay College got us tickets to the ADMA DATA DAY at the Crown Palladium. The day was jam-packed full of talks on data strategy, content, technology, analytics and data activation. We went specifically to see Tim Hill, a Digital Strategist who co-founded socialstatus.io – a company that offers a service a bit like Google Analytics for social media.

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Tim Hill discussed how the possibilities for brands to communicate and connect with consumers are becoming endless with the abundance of social media in our society. After presenting three social media case studies, the main point Tim was making was that you are never really in complete control with social media. Even if you think you are, you’re not. There are too many variables in the world that affect the result of even the best social media communication strategies.

The three case studies were 02, BART and Walmart. 02 is a telecommunication company, the BART is San Francisco’s train system and Walmart, we all know is the supermarket giant from America. Each company has a different voice they use on social media and Tim explained that it’s crucial to have a consistent voice with your social media campaigns, the same as you would with any advertising strategy. You can look up the case studies, but I will spoil the Walmart one for you. It highlighted ‘the troll’ element in social media and on the Internet in general.

Walmart recently ran a campaign to increase their social media following, specifically on Facebook. The campaign saw each Walmart store set up a fan page. The page with the most likes would win a visit from Pitbull. A satirical columnist heard about the competition and jokingly said that everyone should click like on the Facebook page for Kodiak, Alaska. I lost it, couldn’t control my laughter and neither could everyone else in the room. We all realised quickly where this was going. Kodiak ended up with a massive 70,000 likes at the end of the completion. There are only 6,423 people in Kodiak according to Google (2013).

Did Walmart have any better options here? They did, they could pull the plug on the competition, but they were smart. They realised the exposure they already received through the campaign and Pitbull was great getting a lot of Likes, so they also asked the ‘troll’ who started it all, to come with Pitbull to Kodiak as well. The point here being, that you can come up with strategies and attempt to control and steer an organic campaign, however you are never in complete control of social media.

It was a great experience, we learned so much about how social strategies are formed and managed. As we leave, I grab a glass of water and standing next to me is the (now awake) sleeping man. I asked him how his nap was. He replied “after a long flight I needed it, are you staying for my talk?” Turns out he was one of the main speakers and wasn’t just a punter from the Casino who got lost on his way to his room.

By Advertising Student, Gianni Piccolo

THE FUTURE OF STORYTELLING REMIXED

As the media and entertainment sectors become increasing disrupted by developments in technology, one of the big topics at this year’s REMIX conference in Sydney is how do we tell stories on multiple platforms, using new technologies to an increasingly fragmented audience?

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“There are so many stories out there, but how do we tell them?” was the question posed to the panel of film, media and advertising professionals by Nicola Harvey, Managing Editor at Buzzfeed.

Neil Peplow, CEO at AFTRS reinforced that even though visual filmic stories are now being consumed more on mobile devices than in the cinema and on TV, the first rule of storytelling still applies, “that stories help us understand the world around us”, and visual story producers need to be very aware of why they are telling the story, what is it about and how is an audience going to engage with it.

Katie Rigg-Smith, Managing Director of the advertising media agency Mindshare, made the point that we live in an attention deficit economy and the pressing question that all communicators in this context face is “how do we get our audience’s attention?” Interestingly the multi-platform environment allows for different potential entry points to a story and for narratives to be non-linear, allowing for very distinct individual consumer journeys.

Rigg-Smith emphasises that it’s important for authors to know “what the role of each channel in progressing the story and making it relevant to each individual audience is”. She adds that launching a story on a social media platform also brings the benefit to the creators of receiving direct audience feedback though comments, giving the makers the opportunity to revise or modify the content and/or sequel materials accordingly.

“So will Facebook eventually own Storytelling?” asks Harvey. If we’re talking about content that connects, we’ve seen the unexpected power of user-generated stories on platforms like Facebook, “but Facebook can never control that” responded Peplow, and asks how ethical is the live-streaming of a suicide simply because it has the power to surprise, shock and engage us?

“Our job is to make people care” added Jay Morgan, Executive Creative Director at JWT. “In creating compelling content, you have to become the enemy of indifference”. The challenge for visual storytellers still remains how do you engage emotionally with your audience and continue to surprise them. In the campaign driven realm of advertising, the balance of power is shifting from brands to content creators – where the creators are the ones with the established audience, who are now dictating to the brands how they will tell their stories and integrate the brand messaging, and not the other way around.

“Don’t adulterate the form. Find the core insight of your story, then find the best way to tell that story to an indifferent consumer” explains Morgan. “Create messages with integrity. Don’t pretend to be what you’re not” advised Rigg-Smith. Firstly, consider the audience and the platform before the content. And use data to liberate creativity, as the old world view that these areas were mutually exclusive has been superseeded.

As our attention spans shorten, we have to become quicker at telling stories. Not only shorter, but faster in producing them and getting them out there to a content hungry audience. How we are sharing stories is also changing due to developments in technology – from Flickr to Facebook to Instagram to Snapchat.

What particularly interested me is the movement into story landscapes, rather than the linear narrative. We now have the platforms not only to create multiple access, but also multiple view-point narratives. Yes, we can learn a lot about this area from the gaming sector, but beyond that, the rapid developments in Virtual Reality and making it possible for the user not only to interact – but actually decide on how they want the story to develop.

An interesting suggestion at another session at the conference from Roger Lawrence, Chief Technologist for Innovation at Hewlett Packard, was rather than the director directing the viewer, with VR the viewer can choose what they want to see – so at any one point in a story the user could turn and follow the story path to become a romantic comedy, whereas a different decision or physical movement could have created a journey into a psycho-thriller. This opens the potential for us to create multi-genre experiences.

On a closing note, when asked if his film students still want to make feature films, Peplow responded: “Students come in wanting to be Tarantino. But leave knowing that (YouTube film-maker) Freddy Wong has a better business model”.

Ian W Thomson is the program leader of the Advertising & Media faculty at Macleay College, a writer and filmmaker.

BECOMING PERMANENT AT SEMI-PERMANENT

There is something very invigorating about being surrounded by hundreds of creative people talking about what they love.

This year’s Semi-Permanent conference in Sydney had some tough competition, with the city in lock-down with winter cultural festivals. But faced with engaging options at the Biennale, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Vivid Festival of Ideas, the REMIX conference or MUMBRELLA 360 – it was still a good choice to go to listen to some choice speakers at Semi-Permanent at Eveleigh’s rusty, rustic and renovated Carriageworks.

Semi-Permanent is a great chance to see what some of the most talented and innovative creative professionals are producing both here and abroad. But far from being an introverted look by the design world at it’s golden spiralling navel, it’s a chance to hear from some big thinkers about technology, globalisation, sustainability and the future of creativity.

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I must admit, I didn’t manage to get to all of the sessions, but one highlight for me was the FUTURE STATE panel with Dantley Davis, director of design at Netflix, Jon Lax, director of Product Design at Facebook, Jon Wiley, director of Immersive Design at Google and Dav Rauch, futurist at IDEO.

From announcing strong new developments in technology such as Google’s Tilt Brush that lets you paint in 3D – in the virtual reality space, and tiny portable supercomputers that plug into whatever interface you have access to (phones, tablets, laptops), to the challenge of using data to create personal and personalised product experiences at scale, the three speakers built a strong argument for need for empathy.

In a world where designers sit and work in cities like San Francisco, London and Sydney –isolated bubbles a long way geographically, economically and societally from the global audience who are now consuming these products, Dantley pitched that the way forward to create successful and sustainable products and businesses is to develop a deep understanding of the people we are creating these for – whether they be on the streets of Lahore or the avenues of New York.

A second highlight was hearing from a couple of blokes, designers and businessmen who have been around the traps long enough to be able to share some words of wisdom from their professional success and failings. Vince Frost, founder and executive creative director of Frost Collective and Andy Bateman, founder & CEO at Everyone. The lads offered some great advice to creative businesses in their session on ‘Break it to make it’.

Based on their shared years of experience in top level creative businesses, Frost and Bateman presented a compelling thesis on the importance of constantly challenging your own business model in order to create sustainability and growth.

Their premise is not to sit on your laurels based on past success, but rather to challenge everything you are doing and how you are doing it at the pinnacle of each of your successes. They argued that to stay on the leading edge of business and technology, you must not simply develop your product further, but destroy it and rebuild it on a regular basis, to ensure that you really are responding to the latest consumer needs and developments in technology. Only by doing this can you ensure you will not end up being superseded by technology like NOKIA, KODAK and the like.

Their 3 maxims: 1) Know where you are in the growth phase of your business or product, 2) Challenge yourself creatively all the time, and 3) Sitting still will kill your business. With good advice for achieving sustainability and permanence in business like that, Semi-Permanent may need to consider a name change.

‘Can’t wait for SP 2017.

Ian Thomson is the program leader of the Advertising & Media faculty at Macleay College