14 December 2010

Worst Movies Ever

I've come to hate my DVD collection.

It was once something I was proud of; a collection of great movies that had grown considerably over the years. In fact movies were the only form of content I was willing to pay for, unlike the music and television shows I downloaded for free.

But I've realised it's become an expensive waste of physical space, for many reasons.

Not only is the DVD case poorly designed and unnecessarily large, it's quickly being replaced by Blu-Ray. And were I to update my collection to Blu-Ray, I'm certain even that would become obsolete within a few years. And while your standard definition DVD's (which by the way I think are fine quality wise) seem to be on the way out, retailers have no problems stinging you $40+ for a new release.

And if I were to try and sell my collection today, I reckon I'd be lucky to get $5 for each one.

Unfortunately I can't see myself paying for digital downloads, which means over time I'm going to steal the content to replace my current collection. I figure if I've paid for it once, I don't need to again, right?

Now I only need to work out a way to download special features. And find someone willing to pay more than a gold coin for my collection.

Anyone else have the same frustration? How many people have as stack of CDs collecting dust?

29 November 2010

The Risk of Hardcore Fans

Stephen King wrote the novel Misery that later became a movie of the same name. Although I've not read it, Wikipedia tells me it's a story about a women who rescues an author after he crashes his car in the snow. She recognises him as her favourite author of a series she's obsessed with. Locked in by the snow, she takes him to her home and nurses him for months. However she discovers a manuscript of his latest novel and doesn't like it. Her series is ruined and it eventually leads her to cut off his foot, holds him captive and forces him to rewrite the ending.

I think social media, particularly community managers, are increasingly going to have the same problem.

Social media is great for building a community around your brand, or bringing together an already established one. What you can then do with this group of evangelists is limited only by your creativity.

But by bringing together this group of hardcore fans, you also bring in the fans that are a little too hardcore; the fans whose obsession with your brand becomes harmful. They don't quite fit the mold of your perfect target market, where their social awkwardness is not limited on platforms of such an impersonal nature. Their constant activity becomes spam and a slight wrongdoing in their eyes creates an unwarranted response. These obsessed lovers become haters.

I have a friend who does promo work, usually giving away free samples. I found it amusing when she told me she was only allowed to approach consumers who were in the target market, but never to turn down anyone when they approached her, no matter who they were. Many of those who approached her would not reflect positively on the brand. But she dealt with them by keeping them happy, allowing them to move on.

But with social media these people don't have to leave. These crazies can continue to interact with the normals and when you create a branded community, they think they're being encouraged to do so.

And dealing with these people can be difficult. Particularly if you like your feet.

10 November 2010

Six Things I Learned From A Marketing Degree

Yesterday I stepped out of my last exam thus completing a Bachelor of Business (Management/Marketing) from Monash University. Well technically I still have a piece of assessment due in March but let's not talk about that. Looking back, in a concluding sort of manner, here's the six lessons I take away from my time as an undergraduate.
1) Play the game
University is about playing the game. Once you learn how to work the system, achieving good grades is easy. I worked it out towards the end of my second year, and my grades were consistently better from there on out. It's not about saying the right thing but giving the teachers what the want to hear.

Students aren't encouraged to apply themselves, they're told what to write, do "research" (read: plagarise off a journal article) and any form of creative execution goes unrewarded. Instead you play the game to get the grades.

2) It's important where you sit
For some reason universities are far too keen on group work. Which I don't have a problem with because that's the way it should be done in the grown up world. However if you're caught in a shit group, it's too bad. Upon raising concerns with teachers about said group you'll be told that it's too bad, in the real world you don't get to choose who you work with. Except in the real world people who are shit don't get employed. And if they don't do anything they lose their job.

In some cases I single handedly carried useless groups to HDs (arrogant but true). The best way to overcome this is to make sure you attend in Week 1 and sit next to "good" people and try and get into a group with them.

3) Be loud
Being the loud arrogant kid in class isn't all bad. Opinionated students never receive anything but full marks for class participation and presentations. Even if what you're saying is rubbish the fact that you're saying it gets you points. Especially when you sit in a class full of people unable to speak up in front of others.

4) Rote learning is for winners
Studying the night before an exam trying to think of stupid acronyms to help you remember a list of six items that you forget on the way out of the exam got me through my degree. Likewise for when a tutor tells you that you can't do an assignment the night before it's due. Challenge accepted and you prove them wrong when you smash it.

5) Drink beer with your lecturers
Well, the cool ones anyway. It makes a massive difference when you can rock up to Week 1 and the tutor or lecturer already knows you because you've met them through other staff members. Can't state enough how helpful this is, especially beyond academic performance.

6) Uni teaches you to learn
Most importantly; I will finish on the the biggest point. Uni helped me realise my career interest. I wouldn’t say it taught me a lot about it, perhaps a few basics, but it did teach me to get off my ass if I wanted to follow it and go out on my own to learn it.

In many ways, it taught me that university couldn't teach me what I needed to know. It got me interested in marketing and ultimately advertising, which made me realise I needed to learn on my own by reading books not on the text list, start a blog, meet people in the industry, do internships and ultimately score a gig.
I suppose that's a rather negative take on the past four years of my life, one that will no doubt change as I look back on it in the future. There are certainly a few teachers who do good things and I would like to thank them.

And I suppose because of that last point alone the ridiculous HECS debt and the piece of paper I receive when I graduate will be worth it.

06 November 2010

Deliberately Flawed

Research is flawed. Incentivising it creates a defective outcome.

But as I sat in a focus group the other day I couldn't help but wonder if someone had ever deliberately partaken in their competitors' research just to screw with the results.

That would make a great blog post.

20 October 2010

Six Tips For Running An Internship

Old timer Julian Cole wrote a cracker of a post, Six Tips to Nailing an Internship. I was fortunate enough to do two internships with Naked Communications and George Patterson Y&R, and would def recommend his list for any students looking for some experience.

But what about the other side of the coin? Based on my own expiration and many of my friends', here's six things I've learnt on how to run a kick ass internship...
1) Make them feel like one of the boys
Give them their own desk, stationary, computer, email address, rubbish bin, phone; you name it. Nothing says "temporary" like coming into work and having to wait for a chair.

2) Don't start the first day at 9am
Especially if it's a Monday. No one is ever prepared for an intern to come in first thing in the morning. On the first day give them the morning off and do an induction that afternoon. Make day two the big day they can get started.

3) Give them more than enough work
Perhaps the biggest complaint among my friends who have done internships, there's never enough work. Which kinda surprises me given how busy everyone is always complaining they are. There's often no expectation on an intern's capability, so make sure you've got something lined up when they come back from a two hour task half an hour later. This is generally why an intern will leave at 5.30pm.

4) Give them feedback on everything
Pretty self explanatory. On every task they do.

5) One long meaningful project is best
Rather than giving them a number of tasks each day that don't really mean anything, try to work out a project that will last the period of the internship. It allows them to think a bit deeper, keeps them occupied and they walk away feeling like they've actually achieved something.

6) Sit them next to someone rad
Don't sit them next to other interns. Put them next to someone who they can annoy all day with questions and who will show them which places to avoid food poisoning from at lunchtime. I sat next to Praveen during my last internship and learnt a heap just from him. Makes a massive difference.
I think sometimes organisations think they're doing interns a favour by taking them on. Which is completely true, just make sure the intern is getting the most out of it. I certainly appreciated it and they will too.

What does your organisation do to make their internships kick ass?

17 October 2010

Happy Third Birthday

Today my blog celebrates its third birthday. Over the past 365 days I have...
+ Posted 70 times.
+ Had 16,765 visits.
+ Had 29,224 pageviews.
+ Received 441 comments.
+ Peaked at 657 RSS Subscriptions.
+ And 35 email ones.
+ Completed an internship at George Patterson Y&R.
+ Started my career as the Social Media Manager at George Patterson Y&R.
+ Ran a $100,000 campaign.
+ Appeared a few times on the Gen Y Marketing Podcast (not really an achievement, just giving them some love)
+ Completed my third year at university.
+ Celebrated my twenty first birthday.
And just in case you're interested, here are my statistics from last year's birthday.

I certainly didn't give this blog enough attention over the past year. I kicked off my career while uni and work commitments have certainly taken priority, although in many ways getting a job was one of the reasons I started this blog so all is well. Who knows what will happen to this space over the next twelve months. Either way, I hope you continue to read and comment. Thank you.

05 October 2010

Zac Sells Out

Perhaps naively, a few years ago I promised I would never run AdSense on this blog.

Well I haven't quite broken that promise, but perhaps I've come close.

I was recently approached by someone to include a link to their website in an old post of mine. The link was fairly relevant to the post and I bet you couldn't find it if you tried.

They said they would give me $100 to do it. So I accepted.

Am I a sellout or what?

22 September 2010

Digging Up Content

Google changed everything. Suddenly, everything became about search. You could find anything with Google.

But this is changing. It is no longer about search. That takes time. Time to decide what you're looking for. Time to find the right key words. Time to filter the results.

Instead, it's now about discovery. Where the content finds you.

Where is this most prevalent? Your Facebook News Feed and your Twitter stream. And with the recent implementation of Facebook's Open Graph, content will come better recommended to us, with more relevance, drastically reducing the need for us to search.

Eventually, everyone will have their own personalised Digg where the content is almost perfectly relevant, recommended from the people you want on the topics you want.

31 August 2010

A'rrr You A Pirate?

A year ago I wrote about how research is generally flawed. I think this latest attempt to curb pirating is a good example of an outcome based on such research...

One third of Australians are accidental pirates. Wait, what!?

Upon questioning that incredible stat, I was pointed to this research from which the campaign is based.

This research would indicate 53% of Australians are pirates but roughly 60% of those do not consider themselves pirates (34% of all Australians in total). Fair enough.

But to say this 34% of people accidental pirates is a big stretch. They're not accidentally breaking the law without realising it, they just don't think they're pirates. That's a big difference, and not a conclusion I'd jump to to base a campaign around.

My second issue is how I image this research was conducted...
Have you ever downloaded a song illegally, burnt a DVD from the video store etc.?


Do you consider yourself a pirate?

Let's assume I tick Yes to the first box. Now here's just a few things that run through my head for the second question...
1) How do you define "pirate"?
2) No, I only watch movies I download, not sell them onto people.
3) Yes, but everyone's a pirate these days, only losers watch shows on television.
4) No, pirating is naughty and I'm not a bad person.
5) Okay I know I'm a bad person, but I don't want to admit that to this survey.
6) No, it's not my fault, it's the industry's fault, right?
8) I bet if I tick No I can collect my money for doing this survey sooner anyway.
And then I'm just simply meant to tick a Yes or a No box?

People know what they're doing is wrong. And your survey, and your campaign, isn't enough to convince me the concept of accidental piracy is anything but ridiculous and a waste of money.

Go back to guilting me. I've stopped downloading Australian content because of it. Although that may be because Australia doesn't produce much worth downloading.

Also, what's with the dude playing different characters? So don't get that.

End rant.

24 August 2010

It's Just Beer

Good old Carlton Draught have a new ad...

And a bloke by the name of Simon Canning from The Australian rips it a new one here, somewhat justifiably so. He says that slow motion isn't an idea. Fair call. Although some would argue that the parody is the idea. I dunno.

Sometimes I think we think too much about it all. For the right brand and the right audience, sometimes all you need is a piece of content that people like to align with a brand. Your average bloke is going to like this ad for an average beer.

Consumers are idiots. Keep it simple. Sometimes, it's what they want.

06 August 2010

The Quickest Way To Grow Your Fan Page

In one day, a Facebook page of ours went from 11 fans to 3,440.

How did we do it?

Well it's another benefit you have access to if you're willing to spend some money that earns you a relationship with the Facebook team.

From there, all you need is an existing fan created page. Unless it's already being well managed (see how Soap approached the Bubble O'Bill page) a dead community on an inactive page is a waste. As it stands, these fan create pages are technically not allowed and are a breach of copyright/trademark/legal stuff.

Facebook will delete the page and migrate the fans across to yours.

You can expect a small drop off from fans who haven't heard from the page in potentially years, but also a fantastic response from a now ignited community who have been otherwise dead.

And that's the quickest way to grow your fan page.

24 July 2010

Massages With Happy Endings

As a blogger, I don't think about keywords enough. Yet somehow I still sleep at night. But as Josh explains, maximising their use is important for business.

However something I wouldn't recommend is a concept called black hatting; unethical search engine optimisation techniques. This includes the use of hidden keywords or links in order to improve your search engine rank.

Particularly not good if you're a reputable businesses like Endota.

Check out this page on their official website and view the source code. Below are screen shots because I imagine they'll remove the code in the next few days...

If you're running a day spa, probably best you don't associate yourself with keywords like "mature squirters", "group multiple cum shot" or "young teens hairy armpit".

Just don't ask me how I found the page.

19 July 2010

No Love For The Advertisers

As I've said before, Facebook can continue to push users around with design changes and even privacy and get away with it. My opinion is that if you don't like it, don't use it. However they're in one of those unique situations where they have such a critical mass and consumer investment that no one is going anywhere fast. This is why they'll last far longer than MySpace.

However, the people you can't push around are the advertisers, those that fund the social network.

Facebook recently decided to make some significant changes to official page structures, and were fortunately forced to revoke them immediately due to backlash. And at some point in the indeterminable future, they're going to adjust the width of tabs. Nearly every brand will be caught out, and the agencies will be forced to fix them on their on dollar.

While Facebook is happy to deal with those willing to spend some solid dosh, everyone caught in between aren't getting the love. And they may just think about asking their clients to invest elsewhere.

09 July 2010

More With Money

Regrettably, once again this blog turns into some kind of sharing of advice or knowledge that I've acquired recently from my life in the adland.

Chokito is a chocolate bar. Naturally I despise it because Cadbury Boost is a client of mine.

But if you were to jump into the DeLorean, travel back in time a week and look at their Facebook page, you would notice the name of the page was Chokito says No No No. However if you take a look now, it is simply Chokito.

This is interesting because changing the name of a page is not something Facebook do.

Unless of course, which is what I'm slowing learning, you're spending money. By investing in a shit load of media on Facebook, you can get away with much more.

So use it to your advantage.

26 June 2010

Right Where It Belongs

Here's a slide from a marketing unit I took this semester. You'll have to ignore the death by PowerPoint.

I'm sure you've seen similar statistics before. Generally taken from the Fortune 500 or similar, a survey that demonstrates how poorly senior management consider marketing. At least that's how it's explained in lectures.

But that's not right. If these managers are running the most successful businesses in the world, why is there an assumption they're wrong? One would think they're doing a pretty damn good job as it is.

Maybe that's exactly where marketing should be.

18 June 2010

It Starts Before Teaching

In my last post I blamed universities for creating bad clients. But maybe I could blame the industry.

When I started my undergraduate degree at the tender age of seventeen, I had no idea what marketing was. Neither did any of my mates. We were all under the impression that marketing was advertising, and I'm sure many would argue this perception often doesn't change, even after you graduate.

Our dream of working on ads was soon crushed by crippling numbers and boring accounting lectures. But maybe the reason we have bad clients is not because of the way marketing is taught. Instead perhaps all marketers inherently want to be advertisers, a misconceived possibility pushed upon them before OWeek due to ignorance.

Is the marketing industry not marketing itself appropriately to high school students?

10 June 2010

Teaching Clients Wrong

In at least two of my units throughout my marketing degree I've been asked to develop a marketing plan as a piece of major assessment. This degree, for the most part, and particularly these units, is designed to teach people how to be marketers. Or as I prefer to call them; clients.

But in both cases, the assessment involved putting together a campaign. Any assignment that said, "We'll get our advertising agency to develop and build a creative strategy" would have failed, Instead, students were required to develop creative (as the client), and in most cases without any kind of strategy.

Coming from the arrogant advertising side, is this not giving students the wrong idea of how things work?

Do these students go on to become that client who gets way too involved with the creative? Or comes up with an idea early on and pushes it from the start? Or perhaps they'll simply be unwilling to pay for strategy because they've never heard of it before?

Anyway, I think the way marketing is taught is the reason to blame for poor client behavior. Ironically, the poor campaign that results is usually blamed on the agency.

And on a side note, I wonder if media peeps have similar feelings.

07 June 2010

First On Facebook

Brands are quickly jumping on Facebook in massed. And most of them are putting a some money behind media and these pages to build strategy, content and a well managed community.

Sooner or later though, there'll be too many brands on Facebook. There's only so much room in one's consideration set for brands they'll follow on Facebook, before they say no more.

The quality of content, freebies that are given away and innovation will make a difference. So will the degree of how rad your brand is (banks and life insurance companies might struggle). Above all, I imagine given how lazy consumers tend to be, it will be survival of fastest. Those brands that get in early will probably succeed simply because people can't be bothered deleting them.

01 June 2010

My Religion

YouTube recently turned five. This is their story...

Maybe it's just the super geek inside me, but watching that video sends shivers down my back. It's hard to explain, but I think it makes me kind of proud. Not just to watch it, but to know I've been a part it (albeit in a very small manner).

There's a couple of great videos from ROFLCon 2010 that got me thinking about this. Specifically the quote, "We may be on the forefront of Internet culture becoming the most dominent culture in the world" by Ben Huh, founder of I Can Has Cheezburger?.

When I think about the language, the symbols and even the values I use every single day, Internet culture is perhaps the most prevalent in my life. On any other day, I might even go as far as to say it's my religion.

26 May 2010

You'll Never Win

Okay, the last of my #firstworldrants. For a while.

If someone writes a post about you or flames you in a comment, don't reply. Don't add fuel to the fire in an attempt to explain yourself or start an argument.

It's like playing in a game of women's hockey. You might win, but at the end of the day you're not really a winner, are you?

It doesn't look good.

If you can't post your response in a witty comment that is no more than two sentences, don't do it. Write a response on your own blog sure, but don't be a woman who plays hockey for anything more than fun.

24 May 2010

Comment From Jerk Face

For fuck's sake, stop commenting under a fake name.

I don't mean here. You can be anonymous all you like here.

I mean on trade press websites. If you're from the agency or the client the article is about, the general rule should be not to comment. And if you do, do it under your real name with a link back to your blog/twitter account/email address.

Even if for no other reason than the fact most of these blogs track IP addresses on comments. And you look like a jerk face when you get caught.


21 May 2010

No One's Space

Unless you have a really fucking good idea, you're a band or you're targeting prepubescent emo tweens, do not set up a MySpace page.

It's a waste of time and money, and it tells the consumer you have no idea what you're doing.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's worse than setting up a Facebook Page for the sake of it. Or a Twitter account because everyone else is.


18 May 2010

Selling To Clients Not Consumers

Advertising is a B2B service.


15 May 2010

Pun With Lower Case I In Front Of It

Fuck it. I'm getting an iPad.

But why is it so hard to work out the pricing structure if I go with the 3G option? I Googled four different telco's, and only three had paid search results leading me to the correct place. Two of those asked me to register my interest and told me they'll get back to me at some point (never). And the one remaining is my current provider who doesn't give me reception in my own house.

One of the telco's has an amazing opportunity to get a massive share of the iPad market. Too bad they're all fucking it up.

That, and the fact they're all bloody expensive, is the reason I'll probably go with the WiFi only version.

12 May 2010

Gold For Your King

Generally my thinking goes through phases. What I wrote about a few months ago I may now disagree with.

And my thinking at the moment is about feeding communities content. They don't have to be large communities, and any brand with any budget can get on it. Look at these three examples...
Expensive: RedBull
Ongoing production of high quality videos.

Moderate: Cabeoke
A mate of mine jumped in a cab the other night. Instead of handing over money, they were offered to put on a costume and sing karaoke until they reached their destination. I'd be willing to put a month's revenue from this blog's advertising on that there'd be video content of him somewhere on the internet (interestingly I can't find it. Damn). They've creating their own platform to create and capture content, not with high production values I'm guessing.

Cheap: Dr Pepper
Using an existing platform and simply capturing content.
So maybe I was wrong to criticise Gatorade for this piece of content. As an ad, I think it's a terrible idea to slap a logo on the end of it. But as a piece of content to feed a community, it's probably pretty damn awesome.

05 May 2010

All On Red

I've seen some posts lately questioning a marketer's purpose in using Chatroulette. People criticise the lack of long term strategic thinking when it comes to social media, particularly the relevance of a short term campaign.

But if you're building a community or a following or a tribe or a cult, you need small campaignable ideas to keep them ignited. Or even reward them. Or keep your brand top of mind... you know... so they buy the shit you're trying to sell.

And Chatroulette could be the perfect platform for your brand to produce a shit load of great content to feed these loyal peeps. And on the cheap too.

Dr Pepper did it well...

So some more advice I said I didn't want to give on this blog; don't overlook the small short term campaignable ideas.

You'll just have to ignore the obligatory masturbators.

23 April 2010

Facebook Is My Constant

People often complain about Facebook's regular design changes. Yet it improves their experience on the site and they forget about it a week later. But more importantly, these regular updates stop Facebook from doing a MySpace, that is remaining stagnant until a point of irrelevancy.

Perhaps in one of their biggest revamps, today we saw Facebook introduce Open Graph. This is a game changer, and keeps Facebook relevant for an extra umpteen years. Combine that with the high investment many users have with their accounts (identity, networks, memories and content), Facebook isn't going anywhere any time soon.

And Facebook's constant changes are the reason. So stop your whinging. And while you're at it, Like this blog by clicking the button below.

19 April 2010

I'll Think Of A Title Later

13 April 2010

Sourcing From Twitter

I think the social media community manager role is going to explode over the next year or so. These roles will be responsible for looking after a number of small communities or have a full time gig looking after one big one. Even those that are large enough to run themselves require moderation to an extent.

And the role will be a broad one. They'll require customer service skills, an understanding of how consumers use social media and technology, analytical skills, basic design skills and the ability to produce and source content.

And if you're looking for one, I reckon the place to start is with your favourite Twitter personality. Find someone who fits your brand, produces relevant, regular content and manages their following well. Then bring them on board.

10 April 2010

Lolcats Go To School

My girlfriend received this in her mail box today...

I can only assume it was the result of a class project, perhaps where the best "ad" was chosen to be used as a direct marketing campaign.

It reminded me of something I once heard an academic say not too long ago, "The internet is for nothing but smut and porn". I'm sure there's a whole 'nother blog post in that quote, but maybe the above is a good example of a meme going mainstream, even to a Grade 6er. Or maybe it shows that in the hands of the consumer, all content comes back to Lolcats.

06 April 2010

A Temporary Gig

When I started this blog two and a half years ago, I wasn't even on Facebook. Now I have a job, for the most part, because of it.

And scarily, in another two and a half years, it may not even be around.

In the mean time, I will do my best to continue to blog as often as possible. Fair respect for those peeps in the industry who are pumping out consistently good content.

24 March 2010

Pigs Can't Look Up

Perhaps there's some kind of metaphor there about pigs only looking forward. Because I've been thinking about this blog lately moving forward (did I really just say that?).

There's two things I've decided to commit myself to regarding this blog and my newly found source of beer money. Both of which I know I'm going to break.

Firstly, I don't want this blog to change too much, not yet anyway. I don't want it to become a resource of case studies or analysis on the campaigns I'm working on. Despite this, my next post will be able a couple of rad things I picked up on that you can do with Facebook.

Secondly, I don't want to see this blog suffer in regards to post quality or post count. But I am starting to have a lot of respect for peeps who work full time and pump out regularly good content.

I'm fascinated by the way a blog changes as the blogger changes. Usually it results in the blog dying but sometimes the blogger starts writing for a different audience, and that's not something you'll see here. Fingers crossed anyway.

22 March 2010

A Faster Horse Please Sir

I got some feedback about my last post.

And it reminded me of something my now boss Russel Howcroft once said at a student event he spoke at. On career advice he could give to young marketers he said, "Always listen to your advertising agency." As someone who now works in advertising, I couldn't agree more. ;]

So while the client might be the one who pays for those expensive award applications, and has the ability to make your co workers redundant, sometimes they're wrong. I guess Henry Ford's quote, "If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse" applies to more than just the people buying your product of shelves.

Sometimes I think I think about this stuff too much.

19 March 2010

Keep Them Smiling

When we see a shit ad, it's only natural to blame the agency. In fact, I've spent a fair few words on this blog doing just that.

But what I'm slowing realising is there's far too many reasons a remarkable idea might never see the light of day. Perhaps, as a result, this leaves us with teh campaigns we judge so harshly.

Not just the fact that it can all come down to one person but issues with legal, budget, timing etc.

At the end of the day, if the client is happy then the rest of us should be too.

17 March 2010

Playing The Piano In A Brothel

After two and a half years, writing this blog has served its initial purpose. I now work in advertising.

This week I started as the Social Media Manager at George Patterson Y&R Melbourne. It's a part time gig while I finish my fourth and final year of university.

I can't state enough how validating it is after doing nothing but talk for almost 28 months to actually do an internship and have people impressed with your work, enough so that they're willing to pay you to keep you around.

And luckily for you lot, this blog will continue to kick on.

11 March 2010

Cookies De La Creme

Well, today it was announced that Cookies 'n' Cream was the winning flavour of the Flavour Crusaders competition I was in and will be on shelves shortly. Unfortunately I didn't win the overall prize money as well.

Despite this, I can definitely say I picked up a few things here and there and managed to learn something along the way. No doubt I'll share some of this with you all at some point.

Anyway, mostly just wanted to say thanks to those who voted.

09 March 2010

It's A Long Way From The Top

One of the things you pick up doing a business degree is how fucking awesome Google are. Used in nearly every human resource example possible, Google are constantly highlighted as the number one employer of choice. Pretty much of all time.

So when you're told someone will be in touch from Google and you don't hear back after three weeks, even with a follow up email, it's a little disappointing. Especially when it comes from a brand you love.

It's not enough to make me jump to Bing by any means, but a taint in a brand you love hurts the most.

And on a complete side note, the fact I applied for a gig in their Sydney office, told my best mate about it, he applied, he's pretty much interviewed immediately, my application seems to get lost in bureaucracy, he soon after lands the gig and moves to Sydney next weekend has absolutely nothing to do with the bitterness of this post. ;]

04 March 2010

Have You Heard The Wispa?

Ahh, advertising. Despite what university textbooks and agency websites tell me, sometimes you don't need strategy. Or even creative.

Running the most basic ad in a newspaper and some good shelf space is sometimes enough.

And that's exactly what Coles have done to promote the new Wispa chocolate bar they've imported exclusively from Cadbury UK.

At the end of the day, a good product is a good product, and it's certainly done a good job infiltrating my friendship circles. And it might even be enough to get me to shop at Coles occasionally.

02 March 2010

The Bear Basics

Perhaps one of the finer moments during my internship was something I picked up on while working on a current user generated content campaign.

One video submission from a consumer featured a bear on the tee he was wearing. Seemingly harmless, this was approved and uploaded to the website, with consideration to then appear on national television.

Upon browsing the latest approved uploads that day, I quickly notified my boss that the bear was actually Pedobear, a popular icon commonly associated with paedophilia. The video was immediately removed.

Just another day as an intern in adland.

25 February 2010

A Last Resort

I think it's a tell of a struggling medium when it advertises the fact you can advertise with them. I imagine their advertising revenue can't be too successful if they have no ads to place in that media space.

You see it all the time on websites with banner ads suggesting one could "advertise here". It's also pretty popular on the inside of trains. And I realised today, that radio has been doing it for a while with a pretty heavy push lately.

Is this the sign of a dying medium, or at least a profitable one?

And how long until we see a major television networks running similar ads?

19 February 2010

The Swine Database

My final project as an intern at George Patterson Y&R was to do a presentation on the world of advertising through the eyes of a 20 year old.

And the first thing I did, was to go through the database that is nearly two and a half years of my own opinion. You would not believe how useful it was.

Although I've had some complete rubbish posts in the past, fuck I've written some good stuff if I can say so myself. And fuck it feels good to read a joke you wrote two years ago and still laugh at it.

Good times.

18 February 2010

The Question Is Answered

No one could answer my question as to what the letters B&T, the trade press publication, stood for. So I went straight to the top and asked...

And who said investigative journalism was dead?

15 February 2010

Information Is A Spam Filter

You know what the best thing about being in a relationship is? You don't get those annoying "Meet single 18 year old girls" ads on Facebook.

Upon this realisation, it reminded me of an argument I once had with a tutor. The class discussion was about database marketing, and her advice to students was to never sign up to any competition because your details will be used to spam you.

Perhaps it's the naive utopian young marketer still yet to be beaten out of me by the industry, but isn't the more knowledge a brand has about you the better?

Of course there will be brands who sell this information on to others. But ideally, brands can use this to reduce the amount of spam you're receiving, not increase it. Ads become more targeted, personalised and therefore more relevant.

At the end of the day, ads are inevitable. And I personally would prefer brands to know as much as possible about me to make these ads as useful and value providing as they can be. And by definition, they no longer become spam.

08 February 2010

Jetstar In The Negative

I've just spent the last four days flying around Australia hitting every capital city.

One thing I noticed, is that all of Australia does some terrible advertising, not just in this state.

But the other, after seeing it far too many times, was how awesome the Jetstar logo is. Take a look at the negative space between the T and the star...

Reminds me of the FedEx logo. Great stuff.

Nothing to do with what I normally write about but I'm tired and it's my blog and I think it's rad. That is all.

02 February 2010

The Happiness Virus

I'm sure you've all seen this piece by now...

Here's one somewhat negative review. And here's another.

Now I love a good opinion piece. I write them often. And I'm fairly certain that's how I fool most of you into reading this blog occasionally.

But I have to respectfully say these guys are wrong.

This is a fucking awesome viral by Coca Cola. And I can call it that because that was its intention and that's what it achieved. Yes it is probably fake and over acted, and yes it doesn't follow what some would dub the conventions of creating a viral... but it went viral. And in a big way.

The only people who are going to watch that and leave disappointed work in this industry I love called advertising.

But what really gets me excited in the pants about this is its branding. This is not just a piece of entertaining content that someone's slapped a logo on the end of (check out that link, would love to get your thoughts on that too). The video is about the product. And not just product placement. Even the current brand personality of happiness comes across.

I'm just gonna put it out there, but this is the perfect piece of branded content.

28 January 2010

The Internet Is A Playground

No, that's not just the name of David Thorne's new book that I just ordered.

I think it's also something brands need to realise before they come out to play. Because no matter how many "social media etiquette" rules you follow, at the end of the day there's always going to be a bully or a troll or a mob ready to push you off the monkey bars.

But I think it's important to note that this doesn’t just happen to brands in this space, but people too. It's almost inevitable, no matter who you are. So if it does happen, get back on your feet and give it another go. Although you can listen to advice from your parents (or the “social media experts”), at the end of the day sometimes it is going to happen anyway.

Probably best you don't listen to my Dad's advice though, which was when I got in a fight to always punch the bully back. Consumers may not like that.

25 January 2010

Wrong Tone

Are advertisers seriously still giving away ringtones as prizes?

I'm not even exaggerating when I say that every single mobile phone today has an option to make your own ringtone. From your own iTunes collection. For free.

Giving away codes to download them was lame five years ago. Move on peeps.

And even get me started on brands creating their own Crazy Frog style remixes.

21 January 2010

No News Is No News

One of the issues in not watching television, as my favourite co worker Stan points out, is that you miss ads. Which is fucking awesome for the most part except that people often talk about them. On more than one occasion I've been caught out where friends have turned to me as the one studying advertising and I've not had a clue as to what they're talking about.

Ads, it would seem, remain a popular conversation topic. Music is another, which despite the fact I don't listen to radio, strangely hasn't affected me. The biggest issue that I am suffering from, is news.

With the massive decrease in the consumption of traditional media, myself and many of my friends tend to be less informed about news and current affairs.

And the only real reason this has become an issue is because it's a popular conversation topic among peers that I can't always join in on. But other than that, is this a big deal?

For the most part, news programs have become commercial, vested interest vehicles of entertainment anyway. And as tragic as it was, is the death of four teenagers in a car accident really something that I should be concerned about?

Instead, democratically, the most important and the most interesting news finds its way to me. This means I receive a lot less unimportant news, yet the big stories, like an natural disaster leaving many in need of aid, are made aware to me through platforms like Twitter. The jet skiing squirrel does not (I use Digg for that).

Overlooking the fact I work (using the word lightly) in advertising, is it an issue that the next generation will be less informed about many of the ultimately pointless day to day news?

17 January 2010

Yeah, Let's Pay For A Sarcasm Emoticon

So someone, somewhere, somehow had a brilliant idea. That sentence, unlike the title of this post, was not sarcastic.

The idea was to introduce a mainstream emoticon for the emotion of sarcasm. It's call the SarcMark and it looks like this... .

I mean, overlooking the great choice of name that will surely be adopted into the masses (), a problem exists. You have to pay to use it. $1.99 will let you download software that lets you use it with a keyboard short cut as you would with any other emoticon.

A great idea was surely just killed. Yes they'll probably make a small bag of money but no it won't go mainstream if you have to pay for it. Not even the micro transaction concept can save it.

And if there's one thing you don't want from a new emoticon, it's people not knowing what it is or what it conveys.

Oh well, I wish the creators the best of luck.

15 January 2010

It's My First Week

So that finishes my first week at George Patterson Y&R. I'm not sure what I was expecting but I think the word "traditional" came to mind. Possibly in the way you'd look at an accounting firm.

Oh how wrong I was. I've already learnt so much, and it's only just the beginning.

11 January 2010

The Call Is Answered

A couple of months ago I put out the call that I wanted to do an internship. Well, George Patterson Y&R answered, and as of tomorrow I'll be there four days a week until I'm back at uni for my final year in March.

A young guy stepping into the oldest advertising agency in Australia... I think I'm going to learn a lot. I have no idea what I'm in for, but I'm pretty damn excited.

And perhaps the best part, I'll be going in on my first day with a Mohawk.

04 January 2010

Just Me

People often criticise myself and this blog because it's incredibly bias. "But you're just one person" or "You can't base anything off a sample size of one" are often comments that people like yourself leave.

Well... no shit. But that's all I've got. Every day I attempt to write about an industry I have very little experience in and certainly no money to fund some kind of research. So if you're expecting anything more than an arrogant young blogger's opinion, you're better off reading something else.

Don't get me wrong, I love comments that criticise, object, question and sometimes ground me. Often I change my opinion because of them. But just a heads up, there are plenty of more experienced bloggers out there, many of whom research a topic before they write about it. ;]

02 January 2010

Reducing That Half

John Wanamaker, who ever he was, supposedly said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half."

As much as I hate to play to the whole "social media is a revolution" idea, I think in 2010 and beyond we'll start to see this wasted half reduced dramatically. Although I don't know if you would class the spend under "advertising".

The reason we haven't seen any kind of revolution yet is because no one is using it in any kind of revolutionary way. When we move beyond Facebook Fan Pages as the core of strategy, combined with increased accountability on agencies, we're going to start seeing some pretty amazing stuff.

The Utopian in me can't wait for a time when I'm discussing a night out with my mates on Facebook and and my favourite beer brand joins the conversation with information on the nearest and cheapest location to buy a six pack. Or a theatre, knowing my favourite movie, checks my calendar to see if I'm free and then informs me they're showing a screening. And my favourite candy brand is in on it too. How about a retailer makes a recommendation on what to buy my Dad for Father's Day based on his Amazon browsing habits, or even his Twitter usage. The examples are endless.

Obviously, we're not gonna be at this stage for a long time. And I'm not even sure how to get there. But at some point we'll start using this abundance of information, deal with the privacy issues and eventually develop the right technology to start reducing that wasted half of advertising.

But in the mean time, the least I can hope for is that Coles will stop wasting their half on me.
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
Pigs Don't Fly © Copyright Zac Martin