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10CREATIVE SIDES www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 5 Crime pays for VMLY&R managing partner Contents Sarah Bailey, who has also MARCH 2020 forged a successful career as a bestselling fictional crime writer. 22SPOTLIGHT Regulars Natalie Giddings, managing director of The Remarkables Group, 08 BEHIND THE COVER: Two young creatives are addressing the issue discusses adapting to the changing social influencer landscape. of diversity in adland by creating this month’s cover as part of their Changing the Face initiative. 43MEET THE TEAM 14 AGENDA: With the evolution of publishing resulting in tectonic We Are Social is shifts in advertising revenue, experts gaze into the future of celebrating a decade journalism and the concept of subscribers paying for news. in Australia and riding the wave of 22 SPOTLIGHT: Commencing life as a talent agency for bloggers, social media growth. The Remarkables Group has evolved into social influencer strategy and ongoing management services. 26 INVESTIGATION: Vying for the public’s attention has never been more competitive, meaning those with a creative edge rise to the top. See how the best are staying ahead of the game. 37 BETTER WORKPLACES: Guided by the philosophy of “measured magic”, progressive agency Thinkerbell brings a marketing science to client branding and harnesses the power of staff happiness. Creative 48 CREATIVE REVIEW: Following the devastation of Australia’s summer bushfires, three creatives run the rule over the advertising campaigns that have stemmed from the disaster. Online adnews.com.au Go online to get the latest news and analysis every day. www.adnews.com.au twitter.com/AdNews facebook.com/AdNewsAustralia AdNewsAustralia youtube.com/adnewsaust AdNewsAustralia
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Editor’s Letter www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 7 Once more, dear friends, into the sewer Should we shore up the breach in online etiquette Congratulations accepted. Constructive review wel- with the carcass of journalistic ethics? comed. Criticism checked. Insight sought. And anon- Words written to hurt for all to see online can do ymous comment is okay if a valid point is made. significant damage. In advertising, all can be targets There can be good reasons for someone not want- but early career people are most vulnerable to troll- ing their name public. Perhaps they are reporting ing, a nasty form of bullying. wrongdoing and that could These gut blows to mental damage job prospects. health are often launched The quality of the comment for cheap laughs or to be is the issue rather than whether spiteful from behind a shield it is made anonymously or not. of anonymity. If everyone agreed not to This bile can benefit plat- publish anonymous comment, forms with online visitors, then the flow of vitriol would whose numbers translate to likely shrink. But that would higher prices for advertising. risk losing important points in But the debate has become a debate or information that fuzzy, perhaps distracted by can only be given anonymously the hurt caused, placing the or to protect a whistleblower. issue of anonymity ahead of Traditionally the opinion the questionable content itself. pages of newspapers had (and And the industry must take still do) comment from those responsibility. Many publicly who don’t want their names abhor the comments but sup- used. The editor ensures the port, either commercially or comments are relevant, based via social media, the plat- on fact and that they contrib- forms allowing such vitriol. ute to a debate. John “Steady” Steedman EDITOR This is part of the editorial at WPP AUNZ has admirably CHRIS PASH process — a set of rules to taken the lead to put a stop ensure readers get what they to vile attacks and hopefully are promised. positioning the industry as a showcase for behav- The same rules apply to all editorial. A report must iour in the online world. be fair, accurate and relevant. This applies at AdNews Steedman describes, in a letter printed in full in and goes for comment, analysis and opinion. AdNews last year, anonymous comments as the And sometimes anonymous comments are “coward punches” of public debate. needed to ensure balance in a story or to so that the But why is the comment out there in the first place? reader gets a fuller picture of what is happening. Wouldn’t it be better to block personal attacks and deny Some executives quietly told me, when visiting their them the oxygen of being attached to ad industry news? offices, that their junior staff like online trolling. AdNews screens comments using editorial To which I reply, that in my world view, journalism judgement. Abuse is rejected. Waffle is suppressed. ethics doesn’t allow such abuse.
Behind the Cover www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 8 The creative gtrbraoebApssphlfioymokriiestteahAdledsoNewdeuiniwptnisofeo‘nrAr.’ contingent of adland is the beating heart of PAYING FOR NEWS • PURSUING CREATIVITY • WE ARE SOCIAL • CREATIVE SIDES the industry. To fully THE REMARKABLES • THINKERBELL’S NEVERLAND • A SUNBURNT COUNTRY embrace this, and with a mission to Thinking. Insights. Ideas. create awesome adnews com au and inspiring covers, each month AdNews 2019* hand-picks an agency to work its magic. GENDER Changing the face of advertising 91% MALE AGE 36 YEARS ETHNICITY CAUCASIAN 2020 2021 * A composite mage of 62 part c pating creative leaders n Australia 2022 and analysed by M crosoft Azure Cognit ve Services WHAT WILL THE FACE OF ADVERTISING LOOK LIKE? AdNews – Since 1928 March 2020 During the last couple of years, WORDS BY creative directors and chief crea- How did the creation adland has recognised it has PAIGE MURPHY tive officers to upload their head- a problem: diversity. This is a prob- shots. By doing so, they were com- techniques come together? lem that two young creatives, Credits mitting to change. We created a Ava Frawley and Jasmine Subrata, composite image which became Our focus was to create a compo- are hoping to tackle with their Co-founder & Creative: Jasmine Subrata \"the face of advertising\" — a power- sition that was free from any bias Changing the Face initiative. Co-founder & Creative: Ava Frawley ful snapshot of the industry in 2019. or preconceived ideas of what the Executive Creative Director: Gavin McLeod face of the industry should look For the AdNews March edition, Creative Director: Jenny Mak How did you know you’d like. We also needed an approach they brought the face of senior crea- Group Account Director: Jennifer Gledhill that could scale, working for two tives to life on the cover. AdNews Business Operations Director: landed on the best concept? faces or 200 faces. spoke with them to find out how Olivia Chamberlain the face came together. Senior Account Director: Lauren Barnes We were overwhelmed by support We settled on a programmatic Technical Director: Dan Adijans and it was evident this idea had approach, leveraging the power of What were your initial Creative Designer: Chad Edwards strength. We presented the concept artificial intelligence to create the thoughts on the brief? Technical Architect: Albert Tan internally at Ogilvy, who jumped face. The process involved analysing Senior Production Manager: Susie Macyong on-board as our production the set of the 62 ECD portrait photos Diversity is on everyone's agenda, Digital Art Director: Paola Pelligro partner. Soon after, Microsoft and for key facial landmarks, before but talking about it and changing Art Director: Carl Robertson AdNews became our tech aligning the faces, morphing facial it are two very different things. Special thanks: D&AD, The Glue Society, and media partners respectively. structures to the average shape and Changing the Face visualises RARE, Microsoft and AdNews It's one thing to have a good idea, finally averaging the pixel colours at the problem and gives agencies the but another to make it happen. each position. The result is a true, tools to improve their workforce average face of the industry. for years to come. What were the biggest Didanychallenges keep you We ( Frawley and Subrata) came up at night? up with Changing The Face in 2017, hurdles to making this through a competition hosted by Our biggest challenge is yet to come. D&AD and The Glue Society, and a reality? We’ve opened up this initiative to brought it to life with the help of our entire agencies so we can accurately production and media partners. Diversity is multifaceted and depict the current state of the indus- while the issue is on everyone’s try. Agencies can upload their data Post first-brief chat, what agenda, Changing The Face at changingtheface.com.au and by were the next steps you drives awareness, starts a conver- doing so are helping create a true took as a team? sation and hopefully creates representation of your agency. change over time. While we know diversity is much Best bit about the process? more than just gender, we wanted We have set a three-year goal, to start where the issue is most pro- and our hope is that during these As young creatives, it’s important to nounced: in senior positions in the years we see a gradual difference in know what the future of the indus- creative department. So to start the the composition of the creative try has in store for us. It’s amazing conversation we invited executive industry. Although it’s important to to see so many agencies trying to recognise where we are now, what solve this complex issue. really matters is what the future of our industry looks like.
Dog of the Month www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 9 Seven’s star pooch Time in current role: I’ve been part Who is your right-hand person? of the Pooch Perfect dream team Rebel Wilson is the ying to my We look at our furry WORDS BY for about six months, but it feels like yang, Snoop to my Dogg, Lady friends across the PAIGE MURPHY I’ve worked here my whole life. to my Tramp, but also the ever- advertising, adtech, talented executive producers, Deb marketing and media How would you describe what Spinocchia and John Karabelas. sector, shedding the company does? Much like light on these stars Disneyland, we make dreams come Whose job have you set your sights and how they help true. We give pet stylists around the on in the future? I’m aiming high, adland get results. nation a platform to show Australia to be one of the Queen’s dogs. This month we speak what they’ve got. to Rebel Wilson’s My favourite advert is: The Pooch boss on Pooch Perfect, What do you do day to day? Perfect promo. So many good boys Russell the Brussell, Keep the bitches on track and and you can even spot yours truly. at Channel Seven. bring the laughs to set mainly. All jokes aside, I give my doggy My best trick is: The high-five. critique to the pup styling that People go barking mad for it. happens in the show. Tell us one thing people at work I got into television because... don’t know about you? I buried the moment I knew I was born for a bone on set during filming. TV was when I was the only one at I also auditioned to play Baxter in doggy day care who was strutting Anchorman when I heard it involved my stuff for people watching in eating a wheel of cheese. Find me the window. on Instagram: @RussellTheBrussel. Expressions of Interest Sponsorship Opportunities – City of Sydney Events The City of Sydney produces some of Australia’s largest and most successful events. It has a track record of working with partners, to provide a platform to communicate, connect and engage with millions of consumers every year. We are inviting organisations to become event sponsors and partners to deliver high-proﬁle events and programs to the people of Sydney, Australia and the world. Events and Programs include (but not limited to): • Sydney Christmas • Visiting Entrepreneurs Program • Sydney New Year’s Eve • Lord Mayor’s Welcome to International Students • Sydney Lunar Festival • Business Events & Programs i.e. Sustainability • Sydney Rides Festival and Retail If you would like to sponsor a City event or partner with the City, please contact Joann Di Gesu on 02 9246 7245 or [email protected] for more information. For more information call 02 9265 9333 or email [email protected] | cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au
Creative Sides The suit who writes crime fiction The advertising industry is known for its creative side, with many pursuing their own style outside the day-to-day commercial creative miracle. AdNews seeks out their stories. WORDS BY CHRIS PASH Writing is an exercise in I don’t actually interviews and flying back and forth to Canberra trying to work out maybe. Maybe someone will think I’m that who was going to make this agency amazing.” read it. Maybe they won’t. Maybe good at writing. they will like it. Maybe they won’t. The Dark Lake was a bestseller here, in the US and Canada. It won the Sarah Bailey has juggled 2018 Sisters in Crime Davitt Award for Best Crime Debut and the Ned Kelly You won’t know until words her career in the advertising Award for Best First Crime. appear on paper (or pixels). And industry with writing that’s the thing — getting the words fictional crime bestsellers. The Dream down, and in the right order. Writing a book is a common one-day-soon desire in the advertising Sarah Bailey had always industry, many of who studied the arts at university. wanted to write a book and she set herself the goal of writing one “I definitely know quite a lot of people who are writing books in the indus- by the time she hit 35. She was try,” says Bailey. “Once my first book was published, there was an influx of sick of talking about it and fanta- people who grabbed me at drinks saying, ‘I’ve actually got this idea that I’d sising about it. “I just want to do been working on’.” it,” she told herself. She studied media and communications at Swinburne University of Her first book, crime thriller The Technology in Melbourne with journalism at top of mind. But to get a break Dark Lake, was published the day into reporting, she would have had to work in regional Australia on a small after her 35th birthday in 2016. country newspaper. Bailey was appointed manag- “I had zero interest in moving away from Melbourne back then and I ing partner at VMLY&R discovered I really liked all the marketing subjects so I started to consider Melbourne in February 2019. Her a different career path,” says Bailey. third book, Where the Dead Go, a crime thriller set in regional “I did an internship at the Herald Sun, at Channel 10 and then at a mar- Australia, was published by keting agency, and I ended up liking the marketing more.” Allen & Unwin less than six months later. The Story Her first priority at VMLY&R The most used excuse for not writing is that there’s too much to do with was to hire 30 people in five weeks the weighty chains of daily life — the demanding job, family commit- to work on the Defence Force ments, the dog who needs walking, the weeds excised — squeezing Recruiting DFR account. creativity into a cul de sac. “My initial task was to hit the Bailey writes whenever she can: early mornings; over a coffee on the ground running when the DFR weekend; late at night. Whenever she can fit in a burst of words. contract began,” she says. “The first few weeks I was here was “It is a bit of a messy, non-structured approach because it is more around just a total blur of speed-dating fitting it in around what I do,” she says. Bailey writes without a detailed plan. “It’s kind of in my head as a bit of a loose plan, but it’s fairly vague with a start, middle, end, plus characters, a few key, interesting ideas,” she explains.
Creative Sides “I find that anything else that I When she’s not writing, “Whereas I’m really good with people and spreadsheets and manage- do is just procrastinating. So it’s Sarah Bailey is managing ment and presentations and selling and in relationships. Plus, I also get better if I get writing and then it partner at VMLY&R bored if I’m just writing.” figures itself out as I’m going along. Melbourne. Finding time “And then I edit. I go back and fix things, add in the clues and make Too much time can take its toll. When Bailey took time off to write, the characters make more sense. she struggled. I spend a lot of time rewriting.” “I think I’m much better when I’m juggling lots of things and I don’t She had no idea how long a book get too bogged down in the writing stuff,” she says. “I can just turn it on should be but got to 100,000 words and off, do it for an hour and not sit there all day stressing about how it’s and thought that felt about right. not coming together properly.” Holding all the threads Bailey started her career at DDB as an account executive and stayed there, working her way up to a managing partner over 13 years, including The size and complexity of a book two stints of maternity leave. means the entire story won’t fit in your head at any one time. She started working on a book in her last year at DDB and left to get it finished, using up eight weeks of long service leave, then went freelance It gets to a tipping point at before landing stints at Ogilvy and a production company called Mr Smith. around 50,000 words. It’s hard to stand back and decide: “Is this With a draft done, she went looking for a way to get the book published. working?” She pitched to Lyn Tranter at ALM (Australian Literary Management), the first stop on her list of prospects (it started with the first letter of the alphabet). Self-doubt, the nemesis of every writer, kicks in. “It was a very clean manuscript,” says Tranter. “It also had an absolutely fantastic opening. I went out widely with it as I had such faith “It’s a weird process because in it and set an auction date.” the art you are creating is so unwieldy and big,” says Bailey. The opening to the book: “When I think back to that summer some- thing comes loose in my head. It’s like a marble is bouncing around in She thought her third book was there, like my brain is a pinball machine.” strong. “And then I had really quite brutal editorial feedback, A publisher came back with a pre-emptive bid: “We really want to go which I found hard to address. ahead and publish this book and here’s the offer.” And it wasn’t because I was disa- greeing with them necessarily, it was more because I was like, ‘Oh, god, I just don’t know how I’m going to do this’.” Bailey has liked the crime genre since she was a kid. She names Michael Robotham and, when she was young, Patricia Cornwell, who kicked off the forensic investiga- tive crime genre. “I read The Godfather [Mario Puzo] when I was nine years old and just loved that whole analysis of good and bad,” she says. “I find the psychology of crime really interesting. “I think crime’s got higher stakes. It challenges all of the human emotions. When I’m reading a crime book, I know if I like it or not.” But Bailey believes her ability to be objective about her own work is low. She gets to a point in the writing process where she has no idea if what she has done is good or not. “I don’t actually think I’m that good at writing,” she says. “I love it, and I think I’m good at storytelling, but I’m not strong grammatically or structurally. I have to work really hard at my writing. It drives me abso- lutely crazy, it’s really hard.
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 13 A couple of weeks after that, the rights to the book sold internationally. “It’s really hard to enough. We’re 24 million people, Tranter called: “The Americans want it, the English want it, but also make a living off and the proportion of them who read they want another book in 10 months. Can you do it?” just writing and regularly is not high. Then only Bailey said: “Yep, I can do it, let’s do it.” selling books.” a percentage of them read crime She felt she had to say yes. “I’d already written one, so I guess I could fiction, leaving a small universe of probably make another one happen.” potential sales and audience. With the deal behind her, she thought the writing for her first book was over. If the publisher bought the book, they must love it. Right? “Everyone hears of the big But she was told, “Yeah, we love it but we still need you to change success stories but there’s so few a whole bunch of stuff in it.” of them who make big bucks. That can be frustrating. If you change one bit of a crime novel, with And then there’s this chunk in the seven or eight subplots, then there’s a cascading effect with many parts middle who have done really well needing fixing and rewriting. and have international deals and “If you pull out something, you have to check structurally that make some decent money. everything else still makes sense,” she says. “I find editing sort of tedious but a rewarding kind of tedious, like undoing a massive knot in a neck- “After that, there’s a crazy long lace, which is frustrating, but once you do it you’re happy.” tail of people who have written a book and done all of the same The bestseller amount of effort as someone else but they only sell a thousand cop- The Dark Lake came out in March 2018, featuring Gemma Woodstock, ies and make nothing. a detective sergeant who investigates a murder whose victim she has connections to. “I’m not at the top but I’ve sold internationally and I am in a fortu- New York Journal of Books: “The Dark Lake is a thrilling psychological nate position to have a series and police procedural as well as a leap into the mind of a woman engulfed people have read all three books.” with guilt.” The advertising industry pays The detective is a complex character, something of a star, bagging her well for those who’ve built a career. first serial killer early in her career. She is a good cop but her personal And, Bailey says, it’s almost impossi- life has falsehoods, including cheating on her partner with a colleague. ble to match that from writing books. The plot has layers upon layers. We read that Gemma knew her What next? victim, Rosalind, at school. And it was as a teacher at the same school in rural Victoria that Rosalind became a victim. We are also told of “I’m working away on another Gemma’s boyfriend from school. His death is a mystery to the reader. crime book,” she says. “I’ve also got a contract with Amazon for The second book, Into the Night, also with Gemma Woodstock, mate- an audiobook.” rialised while Bailey was working a main job at Mr Smith. “It was a small production company with two great guys. We were running this little For an audiobook, the process is independent shop together. I worked with them and did the writing; the same as print. “I just have to that was a bit more flexible than a full-time agency management job.” write a book they’ll turn into an audiobook. Basically it’s just a differ- The third book, Where the Dead Go, came out in August 2019. ent distribution method.” The money Ben Naparstek, director, con- tent Australia, Audible, says “Unless you sell internationally, it’s really hard to make a living off just mystery/thriller is one of the top writing and selling books,” says Bailey. “The market here is just not big three genres. “It seemed like a no-brainer to commission one of Australia’s leading new crime novelists for our Audible Originals program,” he told AdNews. “Audible Originals are specifi- cally created to be listened to and they build upon the 400,000+ titles we offer in Australia. Inspired by the boom in audio- book and podcast listening, writ- ers are increasingly publishing their work audio-first to increase their audience. “Before joining Audible, I led the digital and content businesses for Edelman Australia, so I was excited by Sarah’s commitment to a career combining agency-side brand mar- keting with writing for consumers of audio entertainment and novels.”
Agenda Publishing finds its equilibrium News publishers have turned to subscribers to help fill the gap left by declining advertising revenue. AdNews speaks to experts on how readers will pay for news and whether it’ll be enough to sustain journalism. WORDS BY MARIAM CHEIK-HUSSEIN
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 15
Agenda Following news of redundan- It’s a bit But by 2015, Fairfax had sold both printing presses for a reported cies, staff at Fairfax Media’s unreasonable $61 million. The company, which went on to be acquired by Nine Sydney and Melbourne news- to think that Entertainment Co in 2018, had spent a reported $385 million build- rooms walked out for a full week newspaper ing and upgrading the Chullora facility alone from 1996 to 2001. It of protests in 2017. The cuts, publishers would would also go on to downsize mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald impacting more than 100 roles, have seen that these and The Age to tabloid-size papers and share printing facilities with were considered too deep for a new and better rival News Corp Australia in a bid from both to save on costs. company that had already lost mechanisms of close to 2000 staff five years ear- advertising would Publishers also struggled with their first steps into digital by often lier. While the walkout made be developed. misunderstanding the nature of online advertising and simply trying international headlines, it made to transition their print model to the online world. little difference, with Australian Amanda Lotz, QUT news publishers continuing to trim “It's quite clear a lot of mistakes were made,” says Merja roles around the nation as adver- Myllylahti, co-director of the journalism, media and democracy tising revenue continued to fall. research centre at Auckland University of Technology. “They didn't think about what online advertising is early enough. They experi- The decline of advertising mented with different models and were reliant on things such as revenue that once propped up banner advertising, but they didn't see the transformation for clas- journalism has been sharply felt in sified advertising.” recent years through layoffs and sometimes title closures. However, the trend stretches back two dec- ades when classified advertising was unbundled from newspapers with the arrival of the internet. New technology meant advertisers could reach a wider, more targeted audience for less. From 2001 to 2016, classified advertising revenue in Australia dropped from $2 billion to $200 million, according to estimates from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). When adjusted for inflation, that’s $3.7 billion down to $225 million. At the time, publishing execu- tives didn’t appear to respond with the same force that their advertising revenues were leaving their busi- nesses. Instead, they spent the early years of the new millennium trying to shore up growth in ad dollars. In 2002, then Fairfax Media CEO Fred Hilmer outlined the com- pany’s revenue focus in its financial report: “We completed a restruc- turing within the publishing oper- ations to sharpen our focus on gen- erating growth in advertising reve- nues across the metropolitan mast- heads in the key advertising catego- ries of real estate, employment and automotive, and in retail and national display advertising. “This will enable the company to capitalise on the significant investments in expanded printing and colour capacity at Tullamarine and Chullora. Our customers are also being afforded further joint print and online advertising opportunities.”
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 17 FIGURE 1: Advertising expenditure by media format and digital platform, adjusted for inflation advertisers, could do because there weren't other outlets for 18 10 them. That created an underlying 16 discontent, which is okay as long Advertising spend 14 5 as conditions don't change. But ($ billions – inﬂation adjusted)12 conditions changed.” 10 0 1996 8 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 The arrival of digital meant new 1998 6 platforms began to emerge, such as 2000 4 search and social media, that were 20022 more effective for advertisers. 20040 2006 “Digital has brought many dif- 2008 Facebook Google ferent things and that's why it all 2010 Classiﬁeds Other gets very confusing,” says Lotz. 201 2 “It’s a bit unreasonable to think 201 4 that newspaper publishers would 2016 have seen that these new and bet- 2018 ter mechanisms of advertising would be developed. If we want Online advertising spend to point fingers to where it could have been different, it took a ($ billions – inﬂation adjusted) really long time to understand how and why the industry was Radio TV Outdoor & Cinema Print media Online changing and that is somewhat hindsight, too. FIGURE 2: Australians’ time spent online “It took everyone a while to 25 figure it out. It transpired during a period of 20 years in terms of 20.5 Share of time spent what people thought new media 20 on all other websites: was going to be and where the threats were. There is still an Other 50.8% awful lot of misunderstanding 15 about why newspapers are Share of time spent online 18.6 challenged.” (percent) WhatsApp Instagram The real challenge, says Lotz, is that newspapers were not Messenger a journalism product, but an advertising product that survived 10 Search by building the largest audience possible to sell to advertisers. Facebook That model worked while news- papers had a monopoly over 5 3.4 2.3 Ten delivering classified advertising Youtube 2.3 2.1 News outlets Seven West to people. However, this was NewsCorp shattered by the internet, which 0 ABC took with it journalism’s main Google Nine-Fairfax source of revenue. Facebook Microso Snapchat Apple Google and Facebook, at just 20 and 14 years old respectively, (including together consumed more than half of all online advertising outlook.com) spend (excluding classified) in Australia in 2018, according to ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry final report, June 2019 the ACCC. So, for every $100 spent online, $47 is given to Despite “partly missing the boat”, Myllylahti says publishers have Google and $24 to Facebook, had success with their own classified advertising platforms. leaving publishers to fight for the remaining $29. There are no signs In 2000, News Corp invested more than $10 million in realestate. their share will increase dramat- com.au. By 2019, the real estate site’s parent company REA Group, ically. PwC predicts print adver- majority-owned by News Corp, reported revenue of $875 million. tising will decline by 20% to $450 The publisher’s chief executive, Robert Thomson, tipped the real million by 2023, and digital to estate business to become its biggest driver of earnings, moving grow by 5.9% to $700 million the company away from its traditional reliance on advertising in from 2019-2023. news publications. Amanda Lotz, a professor of media studies at Queensland University of Technology, says there were multiple factors that con- tributed to this disruption. “It’s complicated because so many different things have happened,” she says. “In the US, advertising rates just kept going up. There was really nothing that advertisers, particularly local city-based
Agenda Figure 3: Average daily paid Paid subscribers for The print circulation Australian and The Weekend for The Australian Australian (print and digital) 2019 83,684 164,968 2018 88,581 135,783 2017 99,000 127,000 This shift in where brands are It was partly who subscribe. However, experts say the watchdog is limited in its advertising has translated into publishers taking power to help news media companies. mass redundancies in newsrooms their time, partly across the globe, and often com- consumer attitudes “The actual report was pretty on point in that Google and Facebook, plete closures. A senate commit- needing to catch or social media generally, aren't creating news that somehow diminishes tee was told 3000 journalism jobs up, and partly the ability of these other companies to create news,” says Lotz. had been lost from 2012-2017, developments representing one quarter of all in the ad market “The problem is they created a better mechanism of advertising, they Australian journalism jobs. that have been innovated and that's not something the ACCC can do a lot about. In many During 10 years from 2008, 15%, well documented, cases, what this reveals in Australia, and everywhere around the world, or 106, local and regional news- necessitated that is that advertising was never a very good way to support the kind of papers shut in Australia, leaving publishers take journalism people want. When we wring our hands and say we need 21 local governments without it more and more better news, advertising isn't the way to get that. coverage from a single local seriously. paper. And there’s little incen- “So in many ways these new forms of advertising have really put tive, or resources, from national David Eisman, Nine the pressure on news organisations to revitalise their businesses and titles, such as The Australian or Entertainment Co. try to figure out how to do that.” The Guardian, to cover commu- nity news when they’re vying for The solution from publishers has been to turn to subscribers to help mass reach to survive. replace lost advertising revenue and fund their journalism. News media companies have A study from the University of Canberra found that getting people responded to the surge from big to pay for news is still an uphill battle. Its Digital News Report found tech, in part, by publicly calling that 14% of Australians are willing to pay for news, compared to the for them to be reined it. The global average of 13%. ACCC’s inquiry that looked into this impact digital platforms are News publishers also have the added competition of entertainment having on Australian journalism platforms such as Netf lix, with 34% of Australians preferring to had 23 recommendations, from subscribe to video-streaming services rather than online news. better bargaining powers for pub- lishers, to tax relief for readers But there are positive signs, with legacy media companies such as The New York Times pulling off successful transformations. In February, the company hit 5.25 million subscribers, with 4.4 million being digital-only. “Most publishers are putting emphasis on reader revenue, not so much advertising, and building more direct relations with their read- ers,” says Myllylahti. “The New York Times, for example, has a record number of digital subscriptions and they made the transformation ahead of schedule. If people are paying for something, they expect some sort of quality, and that’s exactly what is encouraging publishers to do a better job.” In Fairfax Media’s final financial report before its takeover by Nine, its then-chairman Nick Falloon noted that while this new revenue model would be sustainable, it wouldn’t provide the so-called “rivers of gold” the company once saw. “Our three publishing businesses — Australian Metro Media, ACM and Stuff in New Zealand — are underpinned by a new revenue model which is multifaceted and moves well beyond the traditional reliance on advertising, print subscriptions and circulation,” noted Falloon. “It leverages premium brands, quality journalism and audiences of great scale. While this model has lower revenue than in the past, it is more sustainable and valuable, featuring multiple business models and revenue streams.” By the early 2010s, erecting successful paywalls became the focus for news publishers, with the main hurdle being readers’ attitudes, says Nine’s director of subscriptions and growth David Eisman. “It was partly publishers taking their time, partly consumer attitudes needing to catch up, and partly developments in the ad market that
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 19 Figure 4: necessitated publishers take it more and more seriously,” he says. Average daily paid Paid subscribers for The Daily circulation for The Telegraph and The Sunday “But I guess consumer Daily Telegraph Telegraph (print and digital) attitudes is probably the most important one. When I joined, it 2019 167,785 87,560 was still very much in this era where the general expectation 2018 192,007 114,203 was that content is free on the internet. 2017 237,000 122,000 “Whereas I think during the last few years there's been increasing recognition that you get what you pay for, and there's a difference between a blogger, a free news site, and a subscription news site where the investment in highly trained, highly quali- fied, experienced jour- nalists is just on a dif- ferent level.” As a sign of this new strateg y, the metrics publishers focus on have also shifted. Previously, publishers looked at figures such as page views and unique visitors to prove a large audience to potential advertisers. Now, there’s a greater focus on time spent on their sites — a better measure of how likely someone is to subscribe. Speaking to the industry last year, News Corp Australia’s chief operating officer for publishing Damian Eales high- lighted the importance of captur- ing people’s attention for longer. “In our business, we see a strong correlation between engagement and churn,” said Eales. “It is so strong that bringing members back to our content just one extra day each month reduces churn by one percentage point.” Australian publishers have been increasing digital subscribers under this new model. Nine’s papers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, grew their digital subscriptions rev- enue from $64.1 million in 2018 to $70.6 million in 2019. During the same period, digital ad revenue also increased to $65.1 mil- lion from $55.9 million. At the same time, Nine’s print subscrip- tion revenue declined by $2.1 million to $153.9 million in
Agenda 2019, while print advertising stag- nated at around $133 million. News Corp Australia has fol- lowed this trend of increasing digital subscriptions while print declines, with The Australian and The Weekend Australian reaching 164,968 paid subscrib- ers across print and digital last year. The company also passed 500,000 paid digital subscrib- ers in 2019. To help boost revenue from readers, businesses have also been prioritising it in their nego- tiations with tech companies. Recently, Nine was one publisher which refused to sign up to Apple’s news subscription ser- vice, Apple News Plus. “We looked at their terms which were non-negotiable, and the answer to that was a resound- ing no, so we chose to pass,” says Eisman. “The other thing, which is a broader strategic point, is that our most loyal readers are those who are visiting our site and have a direct relationship with us. “Our starting position is we always favour efforts we can make to increase the number of subscribers we have on our websites and apps. Couple that with the terms on offer from Apple, and it just wasn't an attractive proposition.” In another effort to maximise reader revenue, last year both Nine and News Corp Australia ended their distribution contracts with news- agents across Sydney metro areas outside of the CBD. Instead they opted for a distribution company that would give them a more direct relationship with customers. This decision put pressure on News Corp’s Sydney papers The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph, with the combined papers losing more than 34,000 paid subscribers over three years. “News Corp Australia’s strategy is to grow profitable subscriptions across print and digital,” a spokesperson for the company tells AdNews. “A year ago, in NSW, we reduced our reliance on low-priced subscrip- tions resulting in a short-term reduction in subscriber volume. Since then, we have seen growth in digital subscriptions at News Corp Australia, including with The Daily Telegraph.\" The traditional newspaper may not be able to compete with digital giants, but it’s still important for marketers who are interested in long-term brand building. While brands will continue to turn to platforms such as Google Search
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 21 News Corp having in-house studios to meet the Australia’s strategy demand, including the Guardian is to grow profitable Labs, Verizon Media’s RYOT Studio subscriptions across and BBC’s StoryWorks. print and digital. However, Schwartz Media, News Corp Australia publisher of The Saturday Paper spokesperson and The Monthly, has bucked this trend and rejects all request for for its ability to target consumers, Lotz says traditional media, such as branded content. newsprint, remains valuable for brand building. “Schwartz Media’s core pillar is “Publishers should be recognising that there are different kinds of ad editorial integrity,” says Fabien dollars and strategically do the kind of advertising that they can, and remake Beillard, Schwartz Media’s their business accordingly,” says Lotz. national sales manager. “We believe trust is key to growth and “You have advertisers who are willing to pay much less for display ads accepting branded content would online than they would have paid in print, and this is a condition pub- be renouncing our core values.” lishers can't change. The advertising attention you get for an online article is just different to what was happening with a paper. The paper is a good, Despite knocking back regular it’s an aggregation of a lot of different things, whereas when people click requests from brands, Schwartz onto an article, they're probably reading one article. They're not reading Media increased its advertising a lot of advertising.” revenue by 17% last year. Beillard says it’s been able to achieve this Recognising what little engagement online ads often attract, advertisers growth during a difficult time for have adapted by increasing their use of branded content. A study last year the wider ad market by under- by WARC and the Mobile Marketing Association found that branded content standing its audience and targeting had the most potential for growth, with 53% of marketers planning to use it clients accordingly. in the next five years, compared to 46% who will be focusing on mobile web display and 42% who say they will use mobile-based branded content. “Once we explain Schwartz Media’s model, most brands will go The decline of traditional advertising and rise of branded content for with just traditional ads as they publishers means advertising is now shaping what stories look like. It has understand the quality of the audi- become an important revenue stream for publishers, with many now ence and the highly trusted envi- ronment,” he says. “Schwartz Media ranked as the third most trusted media outlet in Australia behind the ABC and SBS in the 2019 Roy Morgan Media Trust Survey which makes us the most trusted non-broadcast media in the country and one in only four outlets with a positive media trust rating.” The publisher’s revenue is split almost evenly between advertising and consumers; with 55% coming from advertising and 45% from readers. This trend has become the new norm for publishers around the world, who would traditionally have 80% of their revenue coming from advertisers, with some now even relying more on reader reve- nue than advertising dollars. “There's this beautiful thing with subscriptions which is the more subscriptions you can sell, the more capacity you've got to invest in journalism,” says Eisman. “This means you can do better journalism, generate more subscrip- tions, and it’s this beautiful and vir- tuous cycle. The more we sell, the better that works. The past 12 months were certainly the best we've seen in the last few years.”
Cracking the How did the business come about? influencer market The Remarkables Group (TRG) was founded in 2012 as Australia’s first The Remarkables Group was founded talent management agency solely dedicated to social influencers, then in 2012 as a talent management agency called bloggers. At the end of 2016, the original founder approached dedicated to bloggers. Since then, the me to change the business model from traditional talent management industry has changed and the agency has to providing strategy and ongoing management services. In my role changed with it. Mariam Cheik-Hussein at the time, I was seeing first-hand the rapidly emerging power of catches up with managing director Natalie influencers. It was increasingly clear that in order to maximise the Giddings to see what it’s been up to. value influencers could bring, brands needed hands-on help to plan and manage the activity. When you are doing your job as a talent manager, you can actually be in direct conf lict with a brand’s objective. At the end of the day, your role is to serve and maximise the opportunity for the talent. I took on full ownership of TRG by December that same year. Since then, I’ve turned around and refreshed the business with a new focus that has allowed it to step away from its legacy of being a blogger talent agency and truly innovate within the crowded influencer marketing space. Now proudly standing as the strategic agency that digs into getting real results for its clients. Since we embarked on the change in late 2016, part of the mind-shift we have assisted our clients with is to now see these content creators as legitimate media networks in their own right — more and more people
Spotlight The Remarkables Group has created influencer strategies for clients including Bunnings and Woolworths. Natalie Giddings (below left) is the agency’s managing director. are choosing to watch and engage with “human media channels”. My Agency snapshot witnessed the influencers’ audi- vision is to also empower a rising force of talented creators who can ence-first approach, many brands build businesses through strategic partnerships, and who can work NAME OF AGENCY: THE are now enlisting the skills of with brands to reach and engage millions of Australians. REMARKABLES GROUP influencers much earlier in the creative process. What services do you offer and how has this changed since NUMBER OF STAFF: FIVE you launched? What’s your point of LOCATIONS: difference? Since the major business model change, the team developed a strategy- MELBOURNE AND SYDNEY first approach to planning the program. Once you have a clear focus of Specialising in “human media” what you want to achieve, decisions such as what style of content or CLIENTS: WOOLWORTHS, and working with this relatively which talent you should focus on will be easier, and you will be able to BUNNINGS, WESTPAC, new channel differs from booking better measure your success. All that is great about influencers and their BROWNES DAIRY a more traditional advertising appeal can also make marketers emotional rather than logical and inventory. Each individual influ- rational when planning their programs. For us, the outset is all about COMPANY MANTRA: encer is essentially a stand-alone creating a methodology to remove this risk and ensure results. We run TO BE REMARKABLE publisher with their own nuances each brief through a number of stages to eventually map the right IS TO BUILD TRUSTED and talents, unlike any other approach and the most relevant influencers to work with. It’s like a RELATIONSHIPS, media channel. Unlocking this vertical sieve. This way, we can ensure content is co-created to outper- DELIVER EXCELLENCE, uniqueness and maximising the form all set benchmarks. BE PIONEERING, THRIVING opportunity for brands takes WITHIN OPPORTUNITY expertise. The point of difference Not so long ago, influencer marketing was treated as an afterthought OF CHANGE. TRG provides might well lie in the of an overall program. This lends itself to one-dimensional, inauthentic unique space it occupies between product-placement style posts at best. But as more businesses have
Spotlight brands and a network of influenc- Working at TRG is TRG works largely remotely, communicating across platforms such as ers. With its original roots being unlike any previous Slack, BaseCamp, Google Drive, Hangouts and FaceTime to be as agile in talent management, providing employment and efficient as possible. My very first marketing role was for an IT infra- advice and mentoring to influenc- I’ve had. I love structure business which provided remote working options. I’m still ers is still a cornerstone. The the influencer staggered as to how this technology still isn’t widespread. human and audience insights space and the gained from these relationships relationships we Who is your ideal client? are immensely valuable. Brands build make my can ultimately work with influ- job rewarding. We are not interested in working with brands on what we call one-night encers to better unlock the genu- stands with influencers. You can make very little impact for your brand ine trust and understanding they Ailsa Renk, influencer with a one-off post or product shout out. If anything, this kind of context have built with their audience. campaign assistant can have negative repercussions. Our ideal client is interested in a holis- tic plan and open to investigating results to regularly recalibrate the What makes your team program. An ideal client will be open to experienced advice and is keen unique? to tap into the creative knowledge of the influencer themselves. Accessing audience data is only What’s the dream brief? the beginning. Being readily available to consult with influ- A dream brief allows us to establish a longer-term plan, to approach the encers in a meaningful way to right type of influencer and to prescribe the best channel, treatments and map out the best program for the formats to meet objectives. This style of program also allows for regular brand is essential. Indeed, most recalibration of the program as results come in each month or quarter. typical agency talent wouldn’t cope in this environment because On occasion, a client will approach us with an existing idea of how it shifts from creating and circu- they feel the influencer program could look. More often than not, this lating traditional advertising cre- is because brands can get enamoured with audience size alone and ative, and takes as much effort to throw out any need for a strategy or analytical assessment against come alongside the influencers their objectives. The other scenario is that they have used an online as it does fulfilling clients’ needs. recruitment platform — again detached from a solid strategy — and therefore become disillusioned or hoodwinked about the effectiveness This is a digital world so influ- of the work commissioned. encers are based all around the country, mostly working from What has been the agency’s biggest challenge? their homes. Predominantly Australian influencers are women, A challenge for us, and in fact the industry as a whole, has been the mass many with families who are bal- of negative commentary within the media around certain influencers’ ancing always-on platforms, inter- behaviours. Unfortunately, much of this commentary within the twined with their many followers. Australian marketing trade press comes from people who do not actively It makes sense TRG should be, too. work with influencers and is not an accurate reflection of what’s really happening on the ground. This can be disheartening at times. It is always important for us to go back to our core values and remind ourselves that our methods are founded in genuine understanding and will result in successful and authentic partnerships. Biggest highlight? Last year, The Remarkables Group worked on a completely new influencer format with the Bunnings Make It Yours house. This was a 10-part series where we set influencers the task of making over a room to completely transform a real house in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. The line up of talent includes Keira Rumble, Rachel Aust, Geneva Vanderzeil and Just Another Mummy Blog’s Steph Pase. The influencers were used across an integrated program including YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, social media advertising, PR and print. This hit more than one million organic reach from the influencers' channels alone, and served to prove how remarkable influencers can be at the forefront of a combined marketing scheme. What are the top trends to watch for in the industry in 2020? Late last year, Facebook and Instagram made a bold and mostly under reported move: further evolving paid partnership functionality and launching Influencer Marketplace. Pushing the boundaries of amplification is an exciting and changing avenue we have had our eyes on for a while now. With a dedicated in-house team of paid media specialists, TRG has been endorsing and further amplifying influencer content with incredible results since mid-2018. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram reward great creative and we see it perform three times better than a brand’s own advertising creative. This
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 25 The strategy for client Westpac focused on targeting 16-24 year olds. literally translates into reaching three times more people for the same getting a deep understanding of dollar spent in amplification. what content works. In 2020, TRG will be producing a number of What’s on the agenda for 2020? creative projects, with several confirmed which also put them in An exciting adaptation we saw in 2019 was brands bringing influencers the director’s seat to produce into the heart of their marketing program. Brands now have two to more brand-owned content. I was three years of working with influencers in more meaningful ways. a producer on the first season of Using inf luencers within a brand’s overall content plan is becoming [TV series] Emmylou Loves, and more widespread or a hybrid of both, such as projects like the Bunnings the second season was commis- Make It Yours house. sioned by 10 Peach, with season four already commissioned to air Brands are notoriously bad at creating content themselves that con- in October 2020. The show blew nects with an audience. Practised influencers start and finish with their Network 10’s expectations of audience’s interests at the core of what they produce. No other channel viewership and audience partici- can claim such a personal connection to its audience. pation via social media. You don’t work in the midst of best practice content creation without People and culture initiatives Top three pieces of work focused on finding influencers to talk -December 2019. It blends We’d like to become a recognised candidly about the moments their traditional TV with Emmylou's f lexible employer. During the 1Bunnings Warehouse: bank mattered. The news feeds of memorable Instagram Stories, course of a project or year, it can Make It Yours 16-24-year-olds were flooded with taking her fans behind the scenes very much feel like the influencers Westpac posts and stories that made as she strives to make her dream themselves are actually part of our We worked on a new influencer bank account features worth talking a reality. The show includes team. The Remarkables Group is format for Bunnings. In this 10-part about and relevant in their everyday pre-produced segments filmed mostly a remote workforce, allow- series, influencers transformed lives, reaching 2.1 million individuals, on location with everything ing our employees and creators to rooms in real houses with the with a staggering 115,000 Instagram Emmylou loves the most, feed into projects via technology content shared across YouTube, Stories views. such as cooking, beauty and such as BaseCamp, Google Drive, Instagram, Pinterest and more. fashion. Retailers House, DFO Hangouts, Facetime and Slack, 3Emmylou Loves and Woolworths have all been whether they are working from 2Westpac Emmylou Loves aired on sponsors, as well as Covergirl, inner-city Melbourne, the Sunshine Westpac wanted to find a new 10 Peach during November Bosisto’s and BetterYou. Coast, regional Victoria or the sub- way to reach the under-25-year-olds. urbs of Perth. This also maximised For this age group, peer opinion and face-to-face time with our creators recommendation is key. Our strategy around the country.
Investigation The pursuit of creativity No longer confined to a department in adland, creativity’s reach is spreading in the quest to innovate and stand out. In an increasingly tech-fuelled world that is overloaded with content, where eyeballs become harder to catch and attention spans continue to wane, it is creativity that cuts through the clutter. A standout idea can glue a brand into people’s minds. In the case of Brisbane-based Caravanning Queensland and caravan park group Top Parks, it was the idea to create the world’s largest Lego brick caravan that spun the business into the international spotlight. Dreamed up by John Cochrane Advertising, the idea was brought to life by Lego artist Ben “The Brick Builder” Craig. Crowned the largest Lego brick caravan by the Guinness World Records, it comprised 288,630 individual bricks and took five weeks to complete. The caravan consisted of basic amenities such as running water and electricity, as well as some home comforts, including a jar of Vegemite. In 2009, Guinness World Records launched its consultancy after WORDS BY being approached by numerous brands and businesses wanting to PAIGE MURPHY break world records in their campaigns. More than 10 years later, the organisation has helped a number of brands, including Caravanning Queensland and Top Parks, achieve record-breaking campaigns. Neil Foster, Guinness World Records vice-president of consultancy EMEA APAC, says the consultancy has become a growing part of the business with six offices worldwide. “The simple idea of being the ‘best in the world’ at something really appeals to brands and agencies,” he says. “The jeopardy of ‘will they?’ or ‘won’t they?’ delights audiences everywhere. For a brand or agency, record breaking is a powerful tool — and it can be used as a platform to deliver carefully tailored messaging which ref lects a product truth and has universal appeal.” Brands come to the consultancy to break records for reasons ranging from anni- versary celebrations and product launches to purpose-led campaigns, brand spectacles or pure entertainment. During the past decade, the creativity behind the campaigns has increased and the reasons behind them have changed. “Back in 2015, one of our most popular record attempts was ‘the most selfies in three minutes’, powered by celebrity and influencer-led marketing campaigns,” says Foster. “Fast-forward to today, and one-off records for fun are not as popular. Instead, we have seen a 110% increase in brands wanting to break a record ‘for good’ as part of their campaigns.” Regardless of the reason for the record attempts, the approach is one that generates huge brand awareness, sparks conversations and encapsulates creativity. When it comes to encapsulating creativity as a brand, Vegemite couldn’t be a more perfect example. From the Happy Little Vegemites jingle of the 1950s to its current Tastes Like Australia brand platform, the brand knows how to make a memorable mark when it comes to advertising.
Investigation “Creativity has played a key Vegemite toast role in Vegemite’s history, from stencils and Ash the invention of the product Barty’s limited- itself, where leftover yeast was edition “Bartymite” used to create the nutritious and are two of the iconic delicious savoury spread Aussies brand’s recent still love today, through to its rich creative ideas. communications history,” says Matt Gray, Vegemite senior mar- keting manager. “For Vegemite, creativity is about capturing the essence of Australia and being a part of everyday Australian life. “Vegemite works best when the creativity is as iconic as the brand itself and guides the entire brand, not just the ads.” The Vegemite brand started to work with creative hot shop Thinkerbell in 2018 and soon after launched the ongoing Tastes Like Australia brand platform. Gray says everything Vegemite does moving forward will be built on this. “Just like a jar of Vegemite is a wonderful and unique mix of ingredients, so is Australia,” he says. “So our launch TV material conveyed just that. It featured everything from John Howard stuffing up on the cricket pitch to the ‘yes’ vote and everything in between.” “When we heard that Marmite was handing out free jars during The Ashes last year, we fired back virtually overnight with a full-page ad in the UK’s Daily Mirror newspaper. This was perfectly timed and written to ignite a media storm which was talked about and embraced across TV, radio, and celebrities’ social channels.” From introducing limited-edi- tion Bartymite jars as a tribute to Australian tennis star and brand ambassador Ash Barty to inventing the world’s first toast stencils, innovative and creative ideas have been the driving force to building the iconic brand. The essential The Oxford English Dictionary defines creativity as “the use of skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art”. Deemed as one of the top 10 skill sets to have by the World Economic Forum, creativity plays an impor- tant role for the economy.
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 29 World Creativity and Innovation Day is held on April 21 each year by in Sydney, the regular on the the United Nations. According to the global organisation, creativity has ABC’s Gruen program made a become a “true wealth of nations” in the 21st century. plea for brands to apply creativity throughout their business. The Creative Economy report, Widening Local Development Pathways, co-published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural “We need the creative brand Organisation (UNESCO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to absolutely be at the core of highlighted why cultural and creative industries should be part of eco- business,” he said. “It’s around nomic growth strategies. The report states these sectors generate US$2.25 brand purpose. It’s around the billion in revenue and 29.5 million jobs worldwide. proposition. It’s around what we do every single day. For marketers and advertisers, creativity is essential. The rise in tech- nology and digital advertising has created a sea of sameness leading to “I think those of us in the mar- more than 90% of ads going unnoticed. keting services business under- stand that for ourselves. We’ve just Forrester says chief marketing officers (CMO) now have the fast- got to get out there. We’ve got to get est-growing tech spend in the C-suite, which is projected to grow a whole lot better at getting our between 9% and 11% from 2017 to 2022. This is compared with only 2.4% clients to recognise that it’s creativ- for agency services. ity throughout the organisation.” In its report, The Cost of Losing Creativity, Forrester recommends CMOs In 1995, Australia sat at 57 on “move portions of your marketing budget out of commoditised areas of the economic complexity index technology and into creative resources to produce powerful, differenti- (ECI). Today it is 93rd. Japan is ated, branded experiences and communication powered by the right number one. Howcroft believes a technology”. It says US$19 billion could be shifted from technology to lack of creativity is to blame, call- creativity, yielding a more proportionate approach for marketers. ing Australia “constipated” and in need of “collective laxative”. A transformative power “Here’s the problem with When it comes to championing creativity in Australia, there is no the creative word,” he said. “In the greater ambassador than PwC partner and chief creative officer Russel Australian context, people think Howcroft. Speaking at the Interbrand Best Global Brands 2019 event creativity is about the arts. You say creativity around a political Media agencies weigh in on the role creativity plays in their work today. table — in particular, with a right- wing conservative government PHD strategy director GroupM chief technology Publicis Media — they don’t see it as an economic Remi Baker and transformation officer ANZ head of content and word. It is an economic word. Cameron King sport Patrick Whitnall When we think of creativity in “We’ve just got to find a way to media agencies, some may jump It’s tempting to imagine that instinct Media agencies have always been get the creative word out of arts to thoughts of creative flighting, and art are lost at the hands of a creative source for brands. The and into business because if you’re trading and targeting. Yes, while data and technology. The robots growth of channels and technology not creative, how do you possibly this is true, creativity plays a are going to win, right? Not quite. has created an explosion in the need come up with wi-fi? How do you much bigger role. Improved tech I believe technology enhances for more creativity and assets across come up with plastic money? It’s capabilities, access to data and creativity. It gives us detail about customer journeys, client-owned another Australian innovation. more diverse talent pools mean consumer attitudes, preferences assets and devices. Media agencies How do you come up with penicil- that media agencies have the tools and needs. It automates the are best placed to adapt to this lin? That’s pretty good.” and the talent to come up with communications process and allows speed and demand in collaboration more meaningful and effective ideas to be tested and refined. It with media/tech partners, which is To Howcroft, everyone is crea- creative ideas. Ideas based on an gives feedback about how effective seen across SEO, mobile, six-second tive. At the talk, he spoke about in-depth understanding of people great ideas were at influencing ads, long-form written content and the “three Cs” of creativity: small and their behaviour. hearts, minds and wallets. personalised digital ads. C, professional C and big C. Small C creativity can be found in every- one, while professional C is attrib- uted to those who have made a career out of it, including those in marketing and advertising. Around 95% of five-year-olds have genius levels of small C creativity. By the time they’re 15, it sits around 25% because, as Howcroft puts it, “we teach it out of people”. Big C creativity, on the other hand, is reserved for the few who are true creative geniuses such as Pablo Picasso. Despite accounting for a small echelon of society, it is often considered as the bench- mark for creativity.
Investigation Like Howcroft, VMLY&R chief strategy officer Alison Tilling believes everyone can be creative. Can adtech be creative? “Can everyone be a creative with a capital C? Probably not, but that’s Amobee head of sales and Facial recognition probably because most people aren’t thick-skinned enough,” she says. client services Andrew Dixon used for Movember “But I think everyone can bring creativity to bear on what it is they do promotion in Sydney and given some of the challenges society faces, it’s incumbent on us all Good data should inspire creativity to do that anyway.” at the planning stage rather than replace it entirely. The adtech A seasoned strategist, Tilling may not work in a creative “with a capital C” industry often confuses the role but it doesn’t mean she isn’t applying creativity in her day-to-day work. concept of dynamic creative with solving the “creativity + data” “I know not everybody would agree with this, but I think being a problem. Dynamic creative is more strategist is a pretty creative role,” she says. “For example, when you’re about automating the production writing a brief or you’re thinking about how a business might grow, there of creative assets to personalise is creativity there. You have to think about that from some different messaging — which is great for perspectives and in some different ways. You have to pull it apart and relevance, but not necessarily put it back together in different combinations every time. So, I think replacing “creativity”. Creativity strategy in itself is a creative act.” is about being memorable, and being memorable is about shared Once a thing that only a select few people did, Tilling says creativity experiences and reactions. is being applied more broadly today to a range of different problems. The most memorable and creative ads still tend to be shared While much of her work sits within the marketing science realm experiences that are talked about where Binet and Field’s 60-40 rule is lauded as the driving force behind around the water cooler, usually effective advertising, Tilling says it’s important to remember creativity on large canvasses such as TV and is the real power. outdoor, which are now very much within the adtech space as well. “I think sometimes creativity gets a bit lost in that conversation and for me it’s really important that work on effectiveness is in the service of creativity,” she says. “It’s creativity that gives power of effectiveness.” The modern creative As noted by Tilling, creativity is no longer an exclusive role reserved for those with it in their job title. But for those who are in traditional creative positions, recent years have seen a shift in their own day-to-day work. “Creativity is a culture, no longer a department,” says Belinda Lodge, founder and CEO of the recruitment agency iPopulate, which specialises in the advertising and communications sector. “Most successful agencies now see creativity as everyone’s responsibility and good ideas are welcome from anywhere.” Today, digital strategists, web developers, social media specialists and data analysts all work in tandem with creative teams. As the agency model continues to evolve, Lodge says siloed job descriptions are a thing of the past, and it’s those with “a truly integrated skill set” who are becoming desired candidates.
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 31 “It is tough out there as client spend is being reduced and redirected,” happening in adland, the key to she says. “Creatives are now being asked to present engaging ideas with creativity is remaining open and smaller budgets, making innovation and commercial acumen core curious. Like others, she’s also a requirements of any creative role. believer that an idea doesn’t nec- essarily have to come from within “Hybrid skill sets are also more prevalent than ever. Both talent and the creative department. agencies reap the benefits of individuals who can play across multi dis- ciplines, broadening traditional job titles.” “Just because our title is crea- tives, I don’t think that should stop The move towards a desiloed workforce sees more modern creatives clients, marketers, strategists or joining adland from diverse backgrounds and collaborating across anyone else coming up with ideas,” departments. she says. While everyone in the industry has been talking about a desiloed Hetherington departed Dentsu structure, Digitas creative director Simon Brock still thinks the industry Aegis Network’s WiTH Collective has a way to go before it is truly there. last year, with fellow creative Simon Fowler, and the duo set up “It’s become the biggest cliche in this industry,” he says. “Yet when their own creative consultancy. you look at the fundamental structures we use to define ourselves, the Going from creative in a big very first thing we do is put up walls between departments. agency to owner of a new business has seen her role change “That’s problematic because we’re now seeing a really interesting dramatically. generation of creative people coming into this business who don’t fit neatly into one of those predefined buckets.” Hetherington says rather than be experts in everything, they’re For Brock, one of the most transformational moments in his career choosing to work with the right was when he began to work for Digitas in Sweden. Joining the industry experts to meet client needs. with a background in film, TV and music production, he interviewed for a role which Digitas didn’t feel was quite right for him, however they “While we don’t have experts knew he had something to offer the team. in certain areas sitting right next to us, what we see as an opportu- “I was employed without a department and without a title,” he says. nity is the fact we can draw on our “That was such a massive liberating moment in my career because it partners — the right ones — for the changed the game in terms of expectations.” Nicole Hetherington, co-founder and creative partner at newly- formed independent creative consultancy Abel, says despite the changes
Investigation creatives do lose their voice in this process,” he says. “Particularly for creatives coming up in the industry, it’s harder. As an ECD, I see less of that because I’m in more of a decision-making role. Whereas if you’re a young team, you often never get to follow something through.” Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne ECD Simon Bagnasco says the move to more collaborative work is one of the most interesting changes to his role. “I’ve had to understand a lot more other parts of the business, more than I ever had to,” he says. “It used to be, as a creative director, you could really sit in your own island and just be in charge of that island and that was it. Now you have to understand data, you have to understand media a lot better, and you have to harness those and work with those people collaboratively.” This shift brings changes to the kind of work Bagnasco once did. Like many others in the industry, he is becoming increasingly involved in solving clients’ business problems and not just creating campaigns. “I didn’t realise it at the time, but a couple of years after I first started, I realised what you’re doing is essentially filling rectangles,” he says. “Then over time [the work] has evolved and now it just feels the freest and most liberated it has ever been. The problems clients have are a lot more diverse and interesting and they require different responses each time.” For adland newbie Stephanie Ryan, a graduate copywriter at CX Lavender, joining the industry changed her perception of what it means to work as a creative. The experience economy As more brands seek to create memorable moments for their customers as part of the marketing strategy, we asked experiential leaders how creativity is helping to shape the experiences of 2020. right project,” she says. “It feels A street panel is transformed into INVNT APAC executive creative Imagination creative like a slightly more modern way of a Neutrogena sunscreen dispenser director Adam Harriden director Michael Reid being able to work.” during the Australian Open The age gap between key audiences Limited attention spans, quick Recently returning to Australia — think Millennials and Gen Zs turnarounds and lean budgets after working in Droga5’s American — and decision-makers on the brand — none of these are going office, Leo Burnett executive crea- side is widening, so it’s our job as anywhere in 2020 so we’ll tive director (ECD) Andrew creatives to craft brand stories that keep exploring new creative Fergusson says collaboration is simultaneously gain clients’ buy-in territory to hit the mark. more necessary today as timelines and resonate with these tribes. We’re striving to make our continue to shrink. Experiential agencies can’t tell experiences more personalised these stories in the physical space (to grab attention and not let “It’s definitely more about being alone anymore. The days of the go), authentic (building trust and fast-paced and collaborative,” he omnichannel brand experience are harnessing our intrinsic desire says. “What’s really needed for mod- over. Instead, shareability is key. to be part of something bigger) ern creatives is nimbleness and a bit Brand stories need to be developed and unexpected (because it’s of confidence so you can go into with multiple platforms in mind, kind of fun to be surprised those environments and not feel like especially digital and social. every now and then). you’ve lost all that thinking time.” Once upon a time, coming up with the idea sat purely in the creative department but that isn’t always the case now. While Fergusson welcomes collaboration, he does also note the challenge it brings for creatives. “Sometimes it is tricky and
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 33 Prior to entering the workforce, she expected it to be “only big TV As workflow changes, so does commercials and coming up with killer slogans” but soon learned it was the work. While some people have much more than that. been fearful of what technology brings, others are welcoming it “Starting out now, I’m realising you can effectively use creativity in lots with open arms. of different ways and lots of different avenues,” says Ryan. “So even if it’s something that feels really small or inconsequential, [such as] we need Brock likens technology to to have this mandatory form that customers need to fill out, there’s ways the script an actor has in a play to make that a more engaging process or pinpointing a particular pain or a tool for an artist. Through point they might be experiencing and trying to come up with a clever improvisation and experimenta- way to fix that and to make the process better for everyone.” tion, he says the industry is able to evolve. Enjoying the “performative nature” of copywriting, Ryan predicts in 10 years’ time her work will become more focused on technical writing. “We have no choice but to take She cites technology and science communication as areas she believes the brilliant craft we’ve made to this hold the greatest opportunities. point and start thinking of data and technology as new paint brushes on “Science communications can still be quite confusing for people,” she our easel rather than thinking of says. “The same with tech. Anything that needs to be translated before them as replacements for it,” he says. it can go to a lay person, I think there’s always room for copywriting and creativity in those fields to try to help bridge that gap.” “I totally get why there’s appre- hension because most examples Friend or foe? we see is where data and technol- ogy get applied to a traditionally There’s no denying the shake-up the industry has experienced as creative output. We see things a result of technology’s rapid advancements. Catapulting society such as versioning or program- into the realms of a 24-hour news cycle, and always switched-on mode, matic media buying — which can tech significantly sped up the pace at which we work.
Investigation be really powerful — but they tend What technology to take the soul out of it.” has unlocked from a creative point On any given day, people are of view is very exposed to as many as 10,000 ads, exciting. But at the but most go unnoticed as the world same time, being becomes desensitised to them. creative is scary Brock believes if creatives have a because it feels like better understanding of how pro- you’ve always got grammatic works, as well as to be in the know knowledge on the power of data with everything. and new technology, that it will only enhance technology. Nicole Hetherington, co-founder and Hetherington, on the other hand, creative partner Abel says she understands how difficult it can be for creatives to really stay on “For brands, this means being able to prove both quantitative and top of the latest technology. qualitative ROI across three key areas: reach, resonance and reaction.” “Obviously what technology Spotify has collaborated with a number of brands and agencies on has unlocked from a creative point campaigns, proving just how effective creative data in audio can be. of view is very exciting,” she says. “But at the same time, being crea- The streaming platform worked with Ogilvy Melbourne and insurer tive is actually very scary because AAMI to deliver the award-winning Warning Spots campaign. It delivered it feels like you’ve always got to be geo-targeted audio messages to dangerous spots along the Great Ocean on the forefront and in the know Road and inner-Melbourne during the Labour Day long weekend. with everything. The campaign utilised data about Victorian road accidents on the “The way technology changes most dangerous hotspots on some of Australia’s busiest roads. By using and the new platforms that are the geo-targeting capabilities, AAMI was able to serve tailored ads available, it [can be] quite hard to to Spotify listeners in precise locations, warning them of potential keep up.” dangers ahead. Instead, she suggests creatives Bryant says great creative audio has the ability to stand out among the take a more general approach to clutter of visual assets and content consumers are already exposed to. learning these new technologies and platforms, and partner with “Visual assets are often beautiful but the fact is fewer people are seeing those who are experts. them,” he says. “From an industry standpoint, audio is a massively under- estimated channel. Last year, I went out to around 70 creative and media Pushing the boundaries agencies across Australia and New Zealand to talk about [our service] Spotify for Creatives and discovered there’s little engagement or even As daunting as raw data can be, interest in audio. many brands are beginning to find ways to use it creatively. Data “We have a big education job around what audio can do today.” scientist roles are in hot demand Another big player changing up the creative landscape is JCDecaux. and data’s usage in campaigns is In a world where most media formats are seeing declining ad spend, starting to garner more spotlight out-of-home (OOH) alongside digital are experiencing growth. with awards such as the Creative JCDecaux ANZ head of creative solutions Ashley Taylor sees huge Data Lions award category at opportunities in OOH for brands. Like many others joining adland in Cannes Lions International recent years, Taylor’s background isn’t in OOH, instead she came from Festival of Creativity. experiential and events marketing. This background has helped her transform a regular street panel into Music streaming platform anything from a sunscreen dispenser for Neutrogena during the Spotify has been using its services Australian Open to an interactive ad using facial recognition to determine to help brands use data creatively the likelihood of pash rash from a man’s Movember moustache. in the audio world. “For me, out-of-home is just a stage, and then it’s all about making the most of the stage we have,” says Taylor. Spotify ANZ creative solutions lead Matt Bryant says tech and data doesn’t have to come at the expense of creativity, or vice versa. “Tech and data are enablers of creativity. When listeners are served more relevant messaging, it’s a better experience for every- body,” he says. “For creatives and creative agencies, it means unfiltered guid- ance to understanding what listen- ers want and how to get the most out of creative ideas for brands.
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 35 When she started in the role, it was just Taylor and her boss on the Top left: Caravanning Aside from increasingly using creative team. Fast-forward a few years and she is now leading a growing Queensland’s world record facial tracking and recognition, team of five and answering 10-20 briefs a week. Lego replica of a 1973 Taylor says live streaming has been Viscount Royal caravan another popular format. They work closely with a team of engineers to ensure they can bring to life what clients are looking for. In 2017, the team used it for a campaign called Answer the Call “Facial tracking and facial recognition was a really huge focus for to see what Australians would us during the past 12-18 months,” she says. “With face tracking, do to win tickets to the AFL Grand there’s a lot of extra layers that can be executed in different ways. It Final. The campaign appeared on started with eye tracking, but we knew, as part of that, we can do interactive digital panels in CBDs smile recognition, plus gender recognition, age and sentiments.” across the country and featured a static AFL advertisement pro- While they aren’t using it to track people at the moment, Taylor moting the finals in the lead up to says in the future she sees opportunity for the technology to be used the Grand Final. At a random as an engagement tool. She sees the possibility for it to test what peak time, the panel displays creative works for a client campaign, measuring the best reactions were activated, beaming well- due to eye gaze, the length of time viewed and the sentiment when known players from teams in viewing the ad. each state via a live video stream, enabling members of the public “We would be able to then code that to optimise the rest of the network to interact in real time. from the learnings of those panels where we would do those builds,” she says. Fans were rewarded with game tickets via the screen and the play- For now, the interactive panels are predominantly being placed in high ers would sometimes physically foot traffic areas such as Sydney CBD’s George Street, Southern Cross appear at the site. Taylor says they Station in Melbourne and at public transport shelters and stations. reached around 1.2 million people Taylor says this is because the work is often deemed as a high distraction with the work. for motorists. “I don’t think it has to be super One of her favourite campaigns is Pepsi’s augmented reality (AR) complex, it just needs to be bus shelter in London where the panel appeared as a fake window smart,” she says. with unlikely objects appearing such as flying saucers in the frame. However, she does think AR isn’t always the best technology for clients “Creativity for me, especially to use at the moment. across our format, is about considered creative and making “The traditional way that we’re seeing a lot of AR is where you actually the most of the placement you have a panel with the scene behind and then the scene changes,” she have. It’s about how we create emo- says. “But right now it’s quite expensive. tion in whatever we’re doing.” “It does serve a great purpose for really great content but I think there’s a lot of ways we can get great content that doesn’t cost that much in development.”
Better Workplaces www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 37 Thinkerbell agency launched in 2017. Measuring I t has been almost three years since the industry was graced with Magic Thinkerbell’s inception. Formed by ex-Cummins&Partners chief strategy officer and partner Adam Ferrier, and executive creative Mental health, long hours and short directors Jim Ingram and Ben Couzens, the agency has cast a spell over tenures are issues synonymous with the the industry with its “measured magic” philosophy. advertising industry. In Better Workplaces, AdNews takes a look at the ways in which Global consultancy PwC recognised the value of the business and its agencies are changing this through company marketing science approach early on, purchasing a stake in the business culture, HR initiatives and office design. shortly after its launch. However, unlike other consultancy acquisitions, Thinkerbell and PwC have previously told AdNews that their relationship WORDS BY is more like “friends with benefits”. PAIGE MURPHY “Our investment in Thinkerbell is an investment in a future we think is really exciting, and we don’t need to own the agency in order to play a part in that,” PwC partner Lawrence Goldstone said at the time. “We will find ways to work together on particular clients when it makes sense, otherwise we have nothing to do with Thinkerbell.” Building up a strong team of “Thinkers” and “Tinkers”, the agency has expanded from a simple creative agency to a full service shop with Margie Reid rounding out the team as managing partner and to help drive its media offering. Joining the team following 11 years at OMD, Reid said she would bring “a broad understanding of the marketing and media landscape, strong management skills, and perhaps upweighting the ‘measured’ component of the ‘measured magic’ proposition.”
Better Workplaces Agency Snapshot The Thinkerbell agency’s In addition to its creative and media offering, the agency has added Neverland in Melbourne public relations (PR) to its services. Catherine King was appointed STAFF COUNT: has reinvented the modern, head thinker of PR, bringing 20 years’ experience. creative workspace based Around 60 to 70 on the principles of As it continues to grow, Thinkerbell has begun to beef up its presence “measured magic”. beyond the Melbourne market. Opening up shop in Sydney’s Surry Hills LOCATION: and appointing The Works’ Paul Swann as executive creative director, the THINKERBELL NORTH Thinkers and Tinkers are continuing to spread their magic across adland. (SURRY HILLS, SYDNEY) AND THINKERBELL SOUTH In line with this, the agency moved its Melbourne office to a new (RICHMOND, MELBOURNE) Neverland in Richmond last year. Decked out to project its measured- magic proposition, Thinkerbell’s new home is one they hope inspires AGENCY MANTRA: employees and clients to work with them. The Thinkers and Tinkers “WE LIKE TO HUDDLE took AdNews inside their new digs to show us how they make magic AND THINK AND TINK happen and describe it in their own words. AND GET SHIT DONE.” Thinkerbell’s Neverland We designed our office around two principles: the first is measured magic. Everything in the office ref lects our driving philosophy, from the knitting installation you walk through that guides you to
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 39 reception, to the 12-metre bar made from resin by an amazing Melbourne artist. Everything is carefully considered, but with a magical feel. We really want the measured-magic vibe to impact how people feel when they come here. Getting the combination of feeling warm and welcomed, but also inspired and thinking anything is possible. Secondly, the office is designed to show people what it’s like to work with, or at, Thinkerbell. From the huge brand experience (BX) room — designed specifically for large-scale think-tanks — to the intimate consumer experience (CX) room with viewing facilities to better understand consumers. All of which is hopefully guiding people to think about building brands and businesses, and also how to empathise with people and their needs and desires. We also wanted to avoid a few things. Fussball, pool tables and video games feel a bit frat boy and frivolous. We also don’t want the agency to feel like a playpen, although we do have a chess board — with a timer for competitive people — and a jigsaw puzzle for people wanting to get away from their desk.
Better Workplaces www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 40 Reception is at Quiet time in the the very back Thinkerbell library. so people need to walk through the A magical experience office to get there. This hopefully We want to bring measured magic into everything we do, including where communicates we work. It’s our guiding proposition and how we go about our day. transparency and a concept of We want the experience of the agency to reflect the Thinkerbell brand. nothing to hide. When you come to Thinkerbell, the first thing you see is a big BX room, and around the corner is our custom-designed CX room — the layout Thinkerbell founder reflects a working model of Thinkerbell — to always put “BXB4CX”. Adam Ferrier Reception is at the very back so people need to walk through the office to get there. This hopefully communicates transparency and a concept of nothing to hide. We have a library for quiet time; Fonzie and Pinkie are two “floating booths” for group thinking; and the bar has an extension space which acts as another breakout room. PwC were given a large oak desk and a very important-looking chair. There are a few other bits and bobs — managers get to work at the Paris End of the office, and, for some reason, Jim and Adam insist on having their own toilet. Mind Expansion One of the benefits of working at Thinkerbell is the office has a nice vibe. We also have a parental leave policy in place, plus other stuff that should be in place at a modern, caring workplace, including flexible hours. We also offer every employee an extra week of leave, referred to as the Mind Expansion Project, were they are free to go wherever they choose and do whatever they want, provided it expands their mind in some way.
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Meet the Team www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 43 A BIGGER, MORE Adecade after We Are Social opened its Australian office, managing PROFESSIONAL director Suzie Shaw says the agency is still riding the wave of growth in social media. TEAM The UK-founded business recently moved into new offices on Sydney’s We Are Social is marking 10 years in Cleveland Street, complete with new production studios. The move Australia with a bigger office and more accommodates its team of 50, which includes new executive creative director Edu Pou and head of strategy Gerry Cyron. ambitious goals for the agency that’s grown from a handful of staff to 50. “In all the time the business has been open, it's been in growth with a few ups and downs,” Shaw tells AdNews. “Part of that has been AdNews sits down with its managing riding the wave of substantial growth that we've seen from social. director, Suzie Shaw, to talk 2020. But also, the scope of what is social has been growing and growing. WORDS BY “In the early days, as a social specialist, it was about helping clients MARIAM CHEIK-HUSSEIN with their social media channels and creating content for the platforms. Whereas now, increasingly, it's much broader than that. It's about creating campaigns that are socially led, and that may or may not result in some content that lives on social media. It's more about getting people to talk and driving conversations around a brand.” The agency has 20 clients, including big names such as Netflix, Red Bull and Samsung. It recently completed a global campaign for the elec- tronics company, enlisting Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown, gamer Ninja and Instagram personality Miquela. Shaw says when her team creates a campaign, they focus on how to invite consumers to be part of the conversation — something brands still need educating on. “A lot of brands still see social media as an advertising channel rather than a channel that operates with the opportunity to connect more meaningfully with your customer or to build a community around your brand,” she says. “Those sorts of things behave very differently from just advertising at someone. There's a long way to go, but some brands are doing it super well.”
Meet the Team changes in the media landscape and I don't think there's many brands that She says the failure to recognise the uniqueness of social has resulted have yet nailed how to use social in underspend in the medium, and she hopes to see more brands double thinking to build affinity with a new down and invest in it more seriously. According to a report by Zenith, audience outside television and social media will remain one of the fastest-growing channels, along with traditional formats.” online video, from 2019-2022. Shaw says her industry faces its In an effort to keep up with the sector, We Are Social recently own challenges, which carry on restructured its team around clients, rather than by departments. from the previous decade into the The new structure means there are multidisciplinary teams sitting new: short-termism and the together working on the same client. demand for content. “This is about being able to move at the pace of the culture,” says Shaw. “The industry has been “You need to create content fast and move at the pace of the internet. challenged and will continue to You can’t be genuinely culturally relevant if it's taking you weeks and be challenged by the fact that months to think of an idea and respond to an audience.” brands need more stuff, more of the time, and they don't necessar- TikTok has been the latest development in the space, which has cre- ily have more money to pay for ated a new format social media specialists need to adapt to. While We it,” she says. Are Social’s work remains spread out evenly between the main platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it expects TikTok to have a big 2020. “We continue to see a prolifera- tion of channels and content, and “TikTok has become an important player and it's going to be a huge it's moving really fast. And what that year for platforms like it,” says Shaw. “TikTok is driving new behaviour. means is there's often limited time It’s not just getting people to shift platforms — it’s connecting audiences to and resources to think about it and new people according to their interests.” deliver really valuable content. The new decade ahead “As agencies, we’re making sure we’re keeping brands honest and To complement the new office space, Shaw says her team are also eyeing saying, ‘How can we make the a bigger client list for 2020. biggest impact for you?’ Sometimes it's not doing everything cheaply. “We moved in response to us growing as a business, but also trying to step up and be in a space that's representative of the business we are With social continuously evolv- today,” she says. “And that’s a bigger, more professional business.” ing, Shaw says there’s often a lot of roles being created across agencies Her goals for the new year include nabbing clients across telco, and businesses faster than people financial services and alcohol companies. can be skilled up for. However, she says being part of the global “We have a gap in telco and believe there's a strong opportunity for We Are Social team helps it meet that category to better engage customers and develop stronger these challenges. relationships through social thinking,” she says. “Making sure we're at the fore- “Financial services organisations are notoriously risk-averse, as they should front of the discipline that never be, but they're particularly risk-averse around their use of social. They see the sleeps is a challenge,” she says. risk of something going wrong as greater than the reward of potentially building a stronger audience or building community around the brand.” “But for us, having the network is really helpful because we don’t “There's downward pressure on the beer and booze category in terms of just have 50 people, we have 850. lifestyle changes that are occurring, which is good, but also marketing That really helps us keep our finger challenges. Brands in that category are some of the most challenged by the on the pulse of what is a very fast moving discipline.”
www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 45 GERRY CYRON•HEAD OF STRATEGY What’s the biggest challenge communications mix is the biggest incredibly talented humans who in your role? challenge and of paramount teach you a thing or two along the importance. It helps to position way. What’s not to love? I think in any strategy social above and beyond role, finding a fresh community management as What’s been one of your favourite and differentiated way a social force that drives real campaigns to work on? of solving your client’s business results. Wow. That’s an incredibly difficult business problem can question to answer. Campaigns be challenging. However, What is your favourite part about are like children — you love them proving and isolating the your role? all (with the exception of the really impact of social within The beauty of being a strategist is annoying ones, of course). If I had the variety of business problems to pick one, it probably would be the marketing you are exposed to. Every. Day. “Share a Coke”. The campaign was Is. Different. Yesterday an energy social by nature but started on drink captured your undivided the shelf, not on Insta. With that attention and imagination, today said, the campaign blew up on you focus on an airline destination, social media. It’s the bane of my and tomorrow you find yourself existence that we weren’t able to in the pressure cooker that is do more with the amazing UGC pitching for an entertainment as the media buy was heavily brand. Throughout this potpourri skewed towards traditional, of challenges, you work with non-conversational media. EDU POU•EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR What brought you to Australia? key elements is the self-referential Moving to Australia needs little sense of humour, which advertising convincing. Creatively, I’ve always embraces wholeheartedly. On been a fan of the work coming out top of all that, having a smart and of here, and some of my favourite active audience creates an ideal colleagues in Amsterdam and the playground for social-first ideas. US were Australian — I consider Eric Quennoy, ECD and partner at What’s one trend to watch in 2020? Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, one Brands going beyond their of my mentors. I also love the rich comfort zone. Whoever coined and distinct Aussie culture and the the expression “better to be safe inviting nature of the people. The than sorry” couldn’t anticipate the mind-blowing nature doesn’t hurt, impact of social media. Today, if either. The fact my wife is Australian you’re safe, you’ll be sorry. Trying and we have two half-Australian and failing is better than not boys may have helped a little, too. trying at all. Expected is boring, and boring doesn’t get any attention. After working in New York, how Remember how Elon Musk smashed would you describe Australia’s the windows of his new pickup truck creative scene? live on stage to demonstrate they In Australia, there’s a strong sense were bulletproof? Well, he still got of identity that permeates through record-breaking sales. We better every layer of society. One of the get our steel balls ready.
Meet the Team www.adnews.com.au | March 2020 46 SUZ TUCKER•EDITORIAL DIRECTOR What’s the main focus of your role? routine. And, like most people, At the start of 2019, I visited my I’m genuinely interested in what’s 90-year-old grandmother in Texas happening in the world so I read and in describing my job to her the broadsheets, Twitter, Reddit, a I said something to the effect sizable collection of e-newsletters, of: I use the same principles and magazines, Yelp reviews, the creative disciplines from the world of comments section of our clients' journalism (great storytelling, finding social pages, and so on. I also have the angle, tone of voice, writing an excellent team of super switched craft and, importantly, servicing the on people who are into culture, audience first) and apply them to art, politics, celebrity, technology, making content for brands that help videos of dogs reuniting with their the right people notice them and owners after lengthy separations... like them. She patted my hand all the stuff people are talking and took a sip of white wine. She’s about, which means staying a shrewd woman. on top of trends and topics is a collaborative effort. How does an editorial director fit into an agency? Any goals for 2020? I’m only 5’2” so I don’t take up a lot Make work that real people of physical space. genuinely give a shit about. And, with all due respect to data and the How do you stay on top of the latest algorithm, in 2020 I also want to trends/topics consumers care about? continue working with clients who I come from a digital publishing are keen to create new trends, not background so following the news just respond to existing ones. cycle is an ingrained part of my That’s exciting to me. MICHAEL BATISTICH•HEAD OF RESEARCH & INSIGHTS What’s kept you at We Are Social value investment of people, for nine years? time and money. Brands need Being part of a network growing to rebalance their investment in at the speed of social has been favour of campaigns over always- an amazing opportunity, allowing on, and consider amplification as me to work with smart people and part of every brief. smart brands. As social platforms have evolved, so has our approach Trends to watch in 2020? to measurement. Back in the early We’ll see social platforms relying days, we spent most of our time more and more on machine wrangling spreadsheets, counting learning to tweak the algorithms clicks and conversations. Today, and drive greater engagement, we’re automating our analytics return visits and future usage. and working hard on measuring More brands will rightly jump what matters to brands. on TikTok, which is the fastest- growing social network and the What’s something brands most “addictive” one. We’ll also misunderstand about social see a shift in how influencers media? monetise their popularity, using With organic reach approaching direct selling, subscription and zero, brands need to understand membership models, and that organic social is a low-to-no tipping and gifting.
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Creative Review CHARLIE COOK JimJam Creative Director Last year, we were delighted to create a tourism campaign for the Eurobodalla Shire, one of the most stunning places I’d ever seen. This year, we were devastated as we watched half of it burn to the ground. I reached out to the local councillor to see how we could help. The shake in her voice almost had me in tears, but her response was swift. In short, they need visitors to start rebuilding what is now a broken economy and a heartbroken community. In turn, we need brands to respond swiftly with genuine initiatives that drive real action and make an immediate difference. A sunburnt country JIMMY HYETT This Is Flow Founder Australia’s bushfire crisis is far from over, but the and Managing Director support from the nation and brands across the globe has been overwhelmingly positive. We asked Is it wrong to say you’re sick creatives to review some of the best (and possibly the of seeing bushfire posts? worst) campaigns to come off the back of the disaster. The volume of companies and individuals driving support WORDS BY for the crisis was staggering. PAIGE MURPHY While this influx into our feeds had a serious donation-positive impact globally, brands walked a fine line between being sincere and opportunistic — and consumers could see straight through the frauds. PAUL FENTON Loyal Co-Founder and ECD It’s sad that it takes a crisis to bring us together, but we’ve shown that when we unite with a single goal, we make a difference. Let’s keep this momentum, focusing not only on the immediate, but also long-term solutions. As long as no-one’s listening to #ScottyFromMarketing.