Category Archives: Thought Starters

These posts got us thinking.

Nice UX: The Rubadub App

Congratulations to Digital Media student Michael Loader for his recent publication on Medium. This piece was written for the ‘Analysing Effective Experience’ Assessment as apart of User Experience at Macleay College, Melbourne.

A quick background

Rubadub Records is a Glasgow-based record store & label that opened its doors in 1992. To music enthusiasts, collectors and DJs, Rubadub is iconic — particularly in the spaces of electronic music.

The store is widely known for its ability to introduce quality & undiscovered techno, house, disco, reggae, hip-hop (and everything in between) to the wider community.

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Credit: Wesley Gibbs

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Resident Adviser — Rubadub: 25 years later feature

 

These days, the store’s output is easily reachable beyond Europe with its online store that sells both records & music equipment such as turntables, modular synths & drum machines.

This means people like me (I am a bit of a fan) who live 16,000 km away, can easily access the goods.

Earlier this year, Rubadub increased their digital presence with the help of the team at Green Hill Digital, by creating the Rubadub App.

 

The purpose

As Green Hill highlight in their case study, there was no point simply recreating the online store in app-form when the mobile-site was already perfectly functional.

The mobile application had to have its own purpose. It needed to be a space where music-heads can discover fresh releases in a organic and random way.

“We tried to recreate the shop experience where you get fed tunes you wouldn’t normally listen to.”

Rubadub’s co-owner Wilba Sandieson mentions over email.

The app is available on IOS & android.

Music for heads and feet

The apps intention is to deliver an experience that mirrors the way one would flick through vinyl, select a pile and then listen to those records in a physical brick & motor store.

While this is a ecommerce app in which one user-journey ends with a purchase , I personally feel the success of the app comes down to the listening, discovering and the overall ‘digging’ experience, rather than the quantity of sales.

So, let’s have a look…

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Initially I (the user) am greeted with two clear options, Sign in or Sign up.

The apps ecommerce system was purposely integrated with the existing site meaning account holders of Rubadub.co.uk already have an account.

Additionally, this means all payments through the app go through the same system as the website. Meaning no further stock work on the backend for the Rubadub team!

Anyway, as a new user, I select Sign up.

I fill four form fills, tap the boxes, enter the information. Done.

Already in, no email confirmation needed ✓

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‘Killer vinyl recommendations tailored and fed directly to you’.

 

Next appears a four slide series that introduces the app and its features.

  • Intro: Logo and clear copy that delivers the purpose of the app.
  • Listen: Recognisable ‘sound icon’ and copy informing me of the ‘swipe’ function as well as the exclusive value I should expect in the app (ie: staff favs).
  • Save: introduces ‘❤’ icon— a bookmark style feature that allows you put aside your favourites. This also feeds the algorithm data about your personal music tastes, allowing it to cater for you more accurately as time goes on.
  • Buy: Informing you of the store function and ability to purchase records for delivery.

A nice trustworthy and contrasting blue button then leads me to get started, LET’S GO.

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Left: Music playing (great album) | Middle: Info pop-up | Right: Track pauses when cover-art is tapped

Interface

For me, the UI works nicely. The minimalistic layout keeps things simple and obvious. It roles with the model of a typical music player so things straight away feel familiar.

Additionally, the small use of colour provides the cover-art with the spotlight. The music playing is the most important factor here so this makes total sense.

The detailed description (INFO) is a nice touch that sits discretely as a pop-up that you can quickly exit back to the track (The 2 minute music previews are never interrupted).

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Left: Saved Items | Middle: Items in shopping cart | Right: Sign Out page

 

The nav-bar sits nicely as the footer making it in thumbs-reach no matter what sized device you own 👍

Any call-to-action buttons relating to purchases are green — this makes the action you are taking very obvious throughout. The ‘listen again’ is a great addition as most people may not remember every saved record by name or visual alone.

If a record is out-of-stock, the user will be notified well before they can purchase, avoiding any frustration.

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Killer recommendations

As for the actual discovering of music, it does well.

Shown in the image above, tapping the white arrows pans through the different tracks in a particular EP (in this case Krikor’s Pacific Alley In Dub).

Swiping left takes you to the next (random) record awaiting, while swiping right simply takes you back to the previous piece of music.

This allows you to effortlessly find new music, save it and then continue discovering all in one, uninterrupted flow.

Overall

The app has done an amazing job at expanding the Rubadub record searching experience beyond the walls of the Scottish shop.

While it clearly cannot replace the feeling of physically flicking through records, talking-music with staff or whatever moment of serendipity real-life throws at you, it certainly delivers as an awesome digital alternative.

I am personally excited to see where they take the application next with more features planned to be added.

I also look forward to what the future brings as other stores and businesses in the vinyl community embrace new technologies.

 

Michael_Loader
By Michael Loader
Diploma of Digital Media

It’s About The Content Experience

Congratulations to Macleay College lecturer Zeina Khodr for her recent publication in  B&T Magazine. In her opinion piece (below) Zeina recaps her recent visit to the 8th Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland and discusses why marketers need to think beyond ‘marketing’ their ‘content’.

 

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F#*K content marketing, it’s about the content experience.

This isn’t me making a statement – it was emblazoned on a stand in the expo hall, but it’s a statement that resonates.

In fact, I even Instagrammed it.

For the second year running, I made the long-haul to Cleveland to attend the 8thContent Marketing World 2018.

I’m amongst over 4,000 marketers in attendance and immersed in the content game, and it seems the conference has moved past its own name because I realise pretty quickly it’s no longer just about content marketing.

This content gig is getting harder to do, and harder to do right.

Over the last few days I’ve spent some time kicking the tyres of AI-driven content, sitting in on a hardcore AI masterclass learning how to use R and Python, wading through spreadsheets of social sentiments and navigating IBM Watson.

I know for sure what many of us have long felt creeping up – our creativity, no matter how brilliant, can only get us so far anymore.

We need to marry that with data and insights, and get ourselves sorted in these respects damn quickly if we want to keep up and cut through.

AI is still something that gives people the creeps, and marketers are still navigating ways around this.

Most are not prepared for how big a game changer this is going to be, and understand very little about the impact AI will have on their business as a whole, let alone their marketing.

This year, the newest addition to the conference program focused on tech, platforms and data.

In fact, you would have felt right at home if you were a data-scientist and probably a little out of your depth if you were a straight-up creative.

Conversational Marketing made its debut but is still in its early phases.

We’re rapidly moving from the era of ‘search’ to the era of ‘ask’.

Figuring out how to take your SEO-driven and optimized content and make it relevant for conversational marketing is still a far-off reality for most marketers.

But the rise of voice-assistants and the proliferation of voice, in general, will bring this to a head. Need to unlock an Alexa skill for your brand?

Emerging megatrends had a strong presence in the conference content and expo hall – it was all about AI (yes it’s a big category), Immersive Experience (AR) and digital platforms. Yet the biggest surprise was perhaps the slight reluctance of content creators and marketers to deep dive. Most of the breakout sessions had a smattering of attendees while long lines formed for the intro sessions. The sentiment was that this stuff is hard, complex and most are still wrapping their heads around it, and will likely need to get their digital peeps on board.

My fellow Aussie, Natalie Giddings from The Remarkables presented an excellent session on Influencer Marketing with standing room only. So yeah, marketers are still grappling with some of the fundamentals.

My feelings on this? You can’t expect your creatives (the marketers and content creators) to become experts on this stuff overnight.

They’re right to feel overwhelmed – it is new territory, complex and difficult. But you do have a duty to help them grapple with what the industry is facing and form tighter alignment between digital and creative teams to give them the insights that will help them navigate this new landscape.

If you don’t work to bring them up to speed, you do them a disservice and risk them being left behind as the industry moves on, and you will be unable to provide a service to your clients that is cutting-edge and forward thinking.

With proliferating customer touch-points, what marketers should most care about is consistency across all channels and the content experience their users have at every point along the brand journey.

Whether you’re an insurance company or an FMCG brand, creating and managing content is a team sport and no longer the realm of clever content creators and storytelling.

Having just written the Digital Content Writing course for Macleay College and in the early stages of mapping out a Masterclass for Content Marketers for the Australian Marketing Institute, I’ll be rethinking some of the materials but knowing the fundamentals don’t change.

You absolutely have to focus on the audience and make it meaningful, but you also need to push your ideas forward and explore, with confidence and credibility, the new technologies available to you if you want the delivery of your ideas to remain interesting, relevant and most critically create curiosity.

So yeah, F#*K content marketing.

And remember that the universal truth still remains – whatever bit of ‘content’ you’re ‘marketing’, focus on the content and audience experience and make it meaningful. Audience attention can’t be bought, it’s earned over time.

This is a long game.

 

jwt
By Zeina Khodr
Content Writing Lecturer, Advertising & Media

This article was originally published by B&T Magazine on 12 September, 2018.

Welcome To The World Of The Individual

Demographics Are Dead: Welcome To The World Of The Individual 

Since the mid 20th Century, consumer targeting meant broadcasting out to a specific group of people based on gender, age, and location. Yet in 2017, data collection is far more intricate, and those brackets that we use to define and group people are now far too broad. Is it time for communicators to stop generalising markets, and shift our focus to the individual?

People no longer define themselves within one set of beliefs in the way we did 30 years ago. We have evolved to accept every facet of our personalities, and have multiple defining characteristics beyond our ethnic background, location, religious beliefs or even age. The only way to successfully market to the people of the future, is to get to know them beyond basic demographics and look further into their personality type, habits, and opinions.

Only a few years ago, people began to grow extremely uncomfortable with the amount of data that platforms, such as a Facebook, had on them. Yet it seems more and more widely accepted now that we all carry a complex digital footprint, and in that footprint is everything any brand needs to know about us. Many successful brands follow people on their daily interactions with digital media – from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to sleep. Marketing to the individual based on their digital data is a guaranteed way to increase brand awareness, whether your audience likes it or not. This retargeting model and its breach on privacy is another conversation, but we need acknowledge that when it comes to brand awareness, this method of individual marketing is a stepping stone in getting to know your consumer.

You’re probably thinking that this method of individual consumer targeting can’t possibly work for every brand – and you’re right. Keep in mind that data is power. Not all brands need social media and retargeting to reach their consumer, but all brands do need that vital information on their audience. Think about it in terms of the friends you have on Facebook; you may have never met someone, but based on their daily Facebook activity clogging your newsfeed, you can probably tell exactly what, why, and when they’d buy. Yet from a marketing perspective, this person is probably defined as ’50-65, woman, Eastern Suburbs’.

Let’s get personal. Look beyond classic defining characteristics and get to know your consumer on a deeper level. Consumers are getting smarter, so if we can respect our consumer as an individual with distinctive opinions and beliefs, then we can build a trusting relationship between brand and audience. (Even if achieving that personal relationship means digging deep in data).

By Keira Scurry (Bachelor of Advertising and Media student)

What is this trickery 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.

By Lachlan Burdis (Bachelor of Advertising and Media student)

The Power of Art Direction

A picture is worth 1,000 words

As an art director, you’re in charge of the imagery and layout of an ad all together. You need to make sure that the message you want the audience to receive is portrayed correctly. A well-known fact related to advertising is the “6 second impact”, where you only have 6 seconds of attention from the audience while they’re going through their day. This relates especially to outdoor advertising. If a person is walking down a street and walks by a bus shelter with an ad on it, you only have 6 seconds of their attention. Therefore, you shouldn’t have lots of copy on it that the audience won’t have time to read in such a short amount of time. That’s where the saying “6 words, 6 seconds” comes from, or even better: no words at all.

The phrase “a picture is worth 1,000 words” is developed from an even older saying which is “one look is worth a thousand words.” It appeared in a 1913 newspaper advertisement for the Piqua Auto Supply House of Piqua, Ohio, but ironically uses only words, not images, to invite prospective customers to see its products in their store. The point of it being how instead of explaining all its features and printing photos of every angle, one look at it with your own eyes will say it all. I think both phrases are nice references to how we only have the audience’s attention for a short amount of time, and how that time can be well spent with viewing instead of reading.

Take these great Lego ads for example. All it needs is an image with a strong impact and the product’s logo. Never underestimate your audience’s ability to figuring things out on their own. They don’t need a few sentences explaining the joke. They could have had a clever tagline under the imagery saying something about how great children’s imagination is, but they chose not to, and it made the ad so much better. Without any words to read, you reach out to so many more people as we all have got the time to simply look at the image. It also helps that the logo is well recognizable. The ad also possesses bright, playful colors to catch their attention even more. The art director or creative person behind these posters is a genius in my eyes, I wish I had come up with this idea myself.

This ad for Scotch tape is another image dominant ad that I find very clever. It is so self-explanatory and it also consists of only an image and the logo for the product. There is also Scotch’s slogan underneath their logo which they don’t even needed to ad for us to understand their message.

A picture really is worth more than a thousand words in the advertising industry, and image dominant advertising creates the cleverest ideas and are easily remembered. Here are some more examples to prove my point:

By Charlotte Leite Hansen (Bachelor of Digital Media student)

David Droga’s Emotional Rallying Cry to the Ad Industry at Cannes Lions Centres on Caring

“There goes my facade of being a rock.”

David Droga choked up several times during a heartfelt and surprisingly emotional speech at Cannes Lions last month—in the end, it was one of the highlights of the festival—as he accepted the Lion of St. Mark award for creative excellence across his storied career.

The Droga5 founder used the moment to look back at his brilliant career so far and to thank the people who’ve helped make it happen—a long list of work colleagues, of course, but also, most prominently, his mother and his wife.

He also had words for the advertising industry, which he initially cast as advice for his four children in attendance—about the single most important thing, in his view, that helps make a person, and a career, successful.

“Wanting something—wanting a career, or wanting to make something—doesn’t really mean much. It’s about finding something you care about. Because caring is the only thing that really matters,” he said.

Caring leads to everything else, Droga suggested.

“I would put down everything in my career to the fact that I cared—about what I do, who I work with, what I make,” he said. “Caring makes you want to work harder. People can’t pay you to care. People can’t teach you to care. But when you find something that you care about, you give it everything you’ve got. You never settle. And you are always pushing to learn and be better and support those around you. All I’ve tried to do in my career is care.”

He added: “That’s all we need to do. More agencies need to give a shit, work hard and try to make beautiful and impactful things.”

See the full speech video on YouTube.

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