28 November 2009

How I Ended Up Running A $100,000 Campaign

In August this year I stumbled upon a contest called Bob's Got No Idea. The brand behind the campaign was yet to be revealed and entrants were asked to submit an essay or video demonstrating some sort of creativity about advertising.

I initially dismissed it but at the last minute (reflecting back, somewhat gladly) decided to enter with this submission...

This put me through to the next round where a group session would take place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The morning consisted of some creative activities with a panel interview that afternoon. Here it was revealed to us that the brand was SupaShake, a milk drink you shake to make thicker. Three people were to be selected from around the country to become Flavour Crusaders, who would each be assigned a new flavour. Each Crusader would have to develop the strategy, creative and execution for a campaign to drive consumers to a website to vote on their favourite flavour and their favourite Crusader.

The flavour with the most votes would be put into production and the Crusader with the most votes would receive an additional $10,000 worth of prizes.

A few weeks later I got the call. I was one of three Flavour Crusaders selected. I pocketed $6,300 prize money, a new video camera and an amazing opportunity to head up a campaign for SupaShake.

Over the midsemester break I was put up in a hotel in Melbourne for what at that stage I only knew was a workshop. Tegan from Queensland and Andrew from Western Australia were also flown down where we were introduced to the Morph Marketing crew, the guys that would be helping us along the way.

The weeks consisted of an introduction to the industry, meeting some peeps from Clemenger BBDO and OMD, the development of a strategy, creativity and execution. On the Friday morning, we pitched to the client and the other heads at Fonterra.

Since then, I've been working with the client's feedback, changing the campaign around, developing new ideas and finally, as of only a few weeks ago, settled on a campaign. The launch of the campaign is today. And the campaign is...

Zac won't stop until Cookies 'n' Cream is on top.

As for what I've got planned, well I'm sure I'll keep you updated over the next few months. Luckily for me, the launch is in Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast for schoolies, so I'm heading up there for a week to kick things off.

And it goes without saying, I'd love for you to vote for me.

23 November 2009

Australian Marketing Trade Press Awards

Welcome to the 2009 Australian Marketing Trade Press Awards.

As you've no doubt noticed, with the new year approaching trade press publications go crazy with their annual awards. Which isn't surprising really given this is an industry that places such importance on self recognition. Is it just me or does the whole concept of nominating yourself for an award seem odd? Or more so that you have to pay for it? But before I turn this into a rant about weirdly shaped trophies and unnecessary flight carbon emissions, I ask you; who will award the awarders? Said publications will recognise the best in the industry throughout 2009 in a multitude of categories, but none of which are Best in Trade Press.

So with the little credibility I have, let the awards begin...

In third place, we have AdNews. A close call between Campaign Brief, which honestly I only read for the anonymous comments, and B&T, who I'm still not sure why exactly I read. I think it might be Inga Van Kyck's half page ramblings in each edition but unfortunately it's not enough to overcome the few issues I have with their magazine. Which of course leaves AdNews, who provide the serious news I probably won't have to worry about for a few years, but still find interesting... sometimes. Although they're the only magazine I haven't seen my name in yet, for 2009 they take out third. Congratulations AdNews!

In second place, we have Marketing Magazine. The growth of its thriving online community provides some unique content, even if sometimes some articles sound a lot like a media releases. For some reason I was invited to write for them this year, which of course wins them some non objective votes. Plus the magazine's not bad either and for 2009 they take out second. Congratulations Marketing Magazine!

In first place, we have Mumbrella. Headed up by a man who lives in tees he buys off the internet, Mumbrella had a big first year. With its news, opinions, video content, job board, podcast and a host with a funny accent; you can't really go wrong. Mumbles has been more than kind to me this year, although did confuse me as someone who lived in Sydney, almost losing him this award. A top read that covers just about everything, including some witty comments from time to time and for 2009 they take out first. Congratulations Mumbrella!

You will all receive your invoices in the mail before Friday.

19 November 2009

One Person

I've been thinking a bit about the agency process recently.

And it surprises me how much impact just one person in that process can have. In some cases millions of dollars are put on the line, and it can all come down to a single few people.

A client might turn down a great idea. An account manager might not be convincing enough. Or the creativity didn't hit at the right time. But on any other day, with any other person, the outcome could be different.

And for some reason, it's been doing my head in lately. Crazy.

15 November 2009

The Daily YouTube Fix

Just an observation I thought I'd share with you all.

Over the last 10 months, I've watched 6,148 videos on YouTube. On average, that's 20.5 videos a day. And if the average video is 2.7 minutes long (sorry academics, no peer reviewed source provided), that's 55.35 minutes a day.

This means I'm spending more time consuming a single website than television, radio, newspapers and magazines combined. Thankfully, there's no way to track how much time I spend on Facebook.

I know I'm not an accurate portrait of this generation, but I'm not even sure the above stat includes videos embedded on third party websites.

13 November 2009

My Agency

I was in a meeting today (I won't drop any names, but they were certainly worthy of dropping) and I was asked, "If you started an agency today, what would it look like?"

I threw out some generic ideas and buzz words, and of course it wasn't until I was on my way home that an idea hit me.

There is a fundamental problem with the agency/client relationship. Agencies are constantly forced to compromise on pieces of communication for client approval. It makes economic sense because without happy clients there's no one to pay for the expensive furniture in the office. But, it does mean the communication is not at its most effective. It seems to me, the two parties in this relationship have almost opposing objectives. These differences are usually overcome by settling somewhere in the middle. An area of compromise.

So if I started an agency today, perhaps its motto would be "No Compromise". At all. If the client wasn't 100% happy with the work, then we wouldn't work with them. It's either take it, or leave it.

Financially, it's never going to happen. But it does ensure only the best work is ever done.

Unfortunately, it doesn't overcome the fact this is an industry where success is determined and therefore influenced by awards. But maybe it's the start of a conversation worth having.

10 November 2009

Zac Wants A Kick Ass Internship

In what can only be described as excellent timing, there's been much discussion recently about starting your career in marketing, including my own article.

With just one exam pending, I will have completed the third year of my double degree, with one year remaining. Unfortunately I failed a law subject last year (perhaps this is the wrong time to be bringing this up) which means I have to make up the unit over Summer. And what I'd like to do, is an internship.

So instead of approaching agencies, which is what I'll do if this little experiment fails, I thought I'd advertise it on my blog first.

Here's what's in it for you...
+ A passionate young student who is far less arrogant in real life than on this blog.
+ Three weeks of a free full time work over Jan/Feb (dates flexible).
+ An honest Gen Y perspective from someone who will bring value to your agency.
What I would like to get out of it is...
+ Experience at an advertising agency (big or small).
+ To work on something meaningful, ideally more than just social media to get the full experience (whether it be various tasks or one three week project).
+ Little travel to work, ideally somewhere close to the CBD in Melbourne (unless you can help me cover the costs to get interstate, or even internationally, but let's not get carried away).
+ To be able to brag to my mates about my kick ass internship.
I'm not expecting anyone to bring me on just from this post. But if you want to grab a coffee or beer, it's my shout. At least for the first round. After all I am volunteering.

I don't really know what to expect, but I thought I'd run this as an experiment. How many students have advertised their availability to intern before? If you are interested, hit me up on email, buzz me on 0400 949 184 or drop me a comment below.

05 November 2009

Ambient Mobs

The way I see it, flash mob stunts are like ambient marketing. High impact with low reach. Except of course, with the internets, the reach is heavily extended.

Take a look at this recent one by Flip...

Fail. But it's not because it appears nearly everyone on the beach is a paid actor. This episode of the Mumbrella podcast suggests there's no one being engaged with. But as stated above, the people physically there mean almost nothing, it's the people who are sitting in office chairs watching it as we speak that matter.

And the fact that the initial video received 150,000+ hits in less than a week is a testimony to that.

Actually, even the idea behind this video I quite like. Flips are pretty much the most portable video camera on the market, perfect for capture the spontaneous events that happen in your life... like a flash mob.

But the execution let it down. The flash mob thing has been done, and without pushing the idea further it gets lost in existing freeze stunts and something about a mobile starting with the letter T. The initial release of the unedited amateur video also wasn't the smartest move. Here's a tip, when you're trying to promote video cameras make sure the footage is of a high quality. It almost seems they wanted to rush it out to be the first to put it up, unable to give up control of their message.

Perhaps cameras could have been handed out before, something along the lines of you'll never know when you need a Flip. Encouraging people afterwards to submit it online, then using all the angles and some of their own footage making their own version.

Of course the biggest reason it fails is because none of it is branded, not well anyway. David sums it up nicely. The idea was lost in its execution. What do you think?

03 November 2009

Blogs Together

I'll start by saying this post is not intended to be arrogant or self indulgent in any way, but I know my only writing style can't avoid sounding that way, so just a heads up. And for this to make any sense, you'll need to read Stan Lee's article, Blogs Apart from this month's Marketing Magazine.

It's certainly an interesting read, one that I'd suggest is unnecessarily cynical and perhaps just another dig I've come to expect from older generations. And I can't help but think that with less than a handful of Australian marketing student bloggers out there, it might not even be all that relevant. Yet I feel one of us should probably respond. So here's my thoughts as to how I perceive the article personally.

To me, this blog is just a conversation starter. In many ways it's my resume. And just like you'd be stupid to employ someone based on their resume alone, the same goes for bloggers. But it's a foot in the door somewhere, where I'm then given the chance to prove myself. I've actually recently come to the decision I don't necessarily want to work just in the social media area, but definitely in an agency. This blog, I hope, will help me indirectly achieve that goal. Even if it's just because someone's happy to grab a coffee or beer with me.

Even the most talented graduate in the country is useless if no one's heard of them, right? Especially when you consider how many positions are never advertised but rather are filled through a network's word of mouth. I'm thinking writing a blog like this one is a great way for someone to begin to "know the right people".

Now I realise I criticise the industry. A lot. Probably too much. But if there's anything I've learnt about this industry is how cut throat, back stabbing and competitive it is. I'm certainly not the only one criticising, I'm just not doing it behind everyone's backs. Perhaps the only reason I publish it with my name attached is because I've got nothing to lose but I think every point I raise is a worthy one, and hopefully something other people agree with or are willing to discuss, even if not publicly.

As for the expert claim, I don't think there's a single student blogger who claims this. I think some might suggest they could provide insights, even without practical experience, but none of them are claiming a guru status. And you know what, I think insights without experience can still be valuable if taken for what they are.

The one thing I'd probably agree with Stan on is the issue about telling employers how things should be done. This is something I'm quite passionate about, and again, I'm only going to offer my insight, but Gen Y are not going to "bow down to employers". That's not how you're going to attract and retain talent. I see it more as something people can take on board or not... more or less like Stan's article.

As for the suggestion that blogs are only important if people Stan considers important read them... well I don't even know where to start there.

This blog has been responsible for (and here comes the arrogant part) landing myself an internship, started a business, doing some incredible networking most graduates would kill for, writing for Marketing Magazine and The Punch and a whole lot more. Perhaps one of the most important, is that it's helped me realise a passion, one I could spend every day for the rest of my life doing. Criticise that.

And please, if you ever see a spelling mistake on this blog it will be corrected immediately. Likewise for a sentence that doesn't make sense.

So to any students or graduates out there thinking about starting a blog, my advice is ignore Stan's article. Do it. And if you do, remember that starting conversations, no matter if you do it through controversy, criticising the industry or bad grammar, is better than writing a blog about ads and quotes you find interesting. ;]

01 November 2009

Chill Bro

I've been thinking about "cool" lately. Ignoring the fact it's probably not cool to use the word "cool", start by taking a look at Adam Ferrier's thoughts on the five indicators of someone's coolness.

I suppose thinking about the cool people I know, my definition would be that the coolest person in the room has the personal brand worth the most social currency. Here their personal brand encompasses everything from their personality to what they're wearing to what they do for a living. Included in this is the ability to share said social currency through remarkable story telling.

Just had this stuff on my mind a bit lately. What do you think? What makes someone cool?
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
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