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Are textbooks still relevant?

16 Nov

Can you remember your favourite university textbook? Or rather, can you name one of your favourite books?

For me, To Kill A Mockingbird possibly, Harry Potter (not sure which one is my preferred though), but I still remember fondly my grade 1 books, (wrong of rightly so), the Dick and Dora series. It may be because I read them so many times, they were old, had been read a million times by many grade oners before me. I also had a love for the Peanuts series and collected them for years. I may still have them in an old trunk downstairs. University days it would have been a Kotler Marketing textbook, and possibly a Tourism book. This was when I fell in love with marketing, and also had a strong desire to travel!

My new Integrated Marketing Communications textbook has just been published with my amazing co-authors Bill Chitty, Nigel Barker and Anne-Marie Sassenberg. Needless to say I am pretty excited! A lot of hard work goes into a textbook, especially as it takes such a long time sitting in production after actually writing it. It is very important to stay current, relevant with student learning a key focus for all authors.

This is the 3rd edition that I have been involved and now lead Australian author and I think it is pretty cool. I have been teaching within advertising, marketing and promotions in undergraduate and postgraduate classes for over 16 years at QUT, and for ten years before that. What do you think of the cover? I think she looks pretty!

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So often I have heard students say, “Oh I don’t buy the textbook”, which I respond, well how do you pass? You’re missing out on so much ‘awesome’!

I have been reading on various blogs and news sites about books and textbooks not being relevant anymore. And many people don’t read any books. While we do live in a digital age, texts are reliable sources that provide credible information. Textbooks can support understanding as concepts discussed in class can be viewed over and over, and at any time – much like online resources. But don’t just take my word for it.

Professor Rebekah Russell-Bennett, from QUT’s Business School in the School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations and lead Australian author of Consumer Behaviour which is in it’s 3rd edition (Solomon, Russell-Bennett & Previte) tells us,

“Textbooks give structure to the learning experience, they are like a road map with interesting stops along the way to a destination. The reader can see where they are going, where they have been and the connection between the content. Without a textbook, students need to be able to figure this out for themselves by reading a collection of articles, watching videos and attending class. Textbooks do not have to just hard copy, they can also be in digital format which allows students to interact with content but still maintains the comfort of structure.”

Our minds are malleable and grow with the things we feed it.  I love when my ex students say to me that they still have their IMC textbook. It warms my heart. These books are not just sitting idle, collecting dust.

Students today still need scaffolding, support and guidance as they engage with textbooks as well as digital learning resources. It can be so easy to become absorbed in the fast-paced world we live in.

Books are a great platform where you can lose yourself for a few minutes or a few hours. They can be a sensory experience from the colour pictures and case studies that brings a subject to life. The pages are silky and the smell of a new textbook is something else. Even buying a second hand textbook means that there are pages that have highlighter and notes on them. You can almost picture the old owner sitting in a lecture hall, or studying late at night for an exam, hoping to glean a little inside information from those scrawls.

Professor Gayle Kerr, also from QUTs School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations and lead Australian author of her textbook Advertising: An Integrated Marketing Communication Perspective (Belch, Belch, Kerr & Powell). Gayle says, “Like everything these days, including IMC and advertising, I think textbooks are also in need of a definition. The inherent value is not in the text or the book, but as a repository for knowledge. A place where ideas are stored, compared, debated, updated and ultimately applied to our crazy, changing, digital world.”

Books have the potential to change your life. Textbooks have the potential for better grades, opening up a secret world and bringing colour to your study. Share with me your favourites.

Further reading:

Bard for Life, Shakespeare is still relevant to schools (2001), https://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/feb/09/classics.schools

Knight, Bruce (2015), Teachers’ use of textbook sin the digital age, Cogent Learning, https://www.cogentoa.com/article/10.1080/2331186X.2015.1015812

Paton, Graham (2014), Schools told: reintroduce traditional textbooks in lessons, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11241014/Schools-told-reintroduce-traditional-textbooks-in-lessons.html

Leon, Barnaby (2015), Textbooks have a huge impact on eduction, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/11739310/Textbooks-have-a-huge-impact-on-education.html

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Christmas advertising take #2

13 Nov

Yes I know only a few days ago I posted a blog post about loving Christmas advertising (see it here). But over the weekend three amazing campaigns dropped…. all from the UK.

First I dove into Marks & Spencer’s brilliant campaign (much like the Murder on the Orient Express tie in by ALDI with Kevin the carrot), that sees the much-loved Paddington Bear save Christmas around his neighbourhood by confusing a burglar with Santa. The M&S ad has many messages, and hits the nail on the head with emotion, and of course ties in with the Paddington Bear 2 movie which was released in the UK today.

Second I watched the John Lewis ad. I connected with this ad as when I was little I was sure there was a monster underneath my bed! I watched Moz the monster and the young man Joe connect and play at night. That was a gorgeous time of bonding. I was wanting to cry, waiting to cry, but didn’t. (And I cry at the drop of a tissue)! I suppose you outgrow monsters, but Christmas isn’t a time for that. There have been mixed reviews about this ad. Read one from the BBC here. You can make up your own mind.

Moz the monster from John Lewis christmas advert

The final ad was my favourite from Debenhams. Based on the fairytale Cinderella, but with a modern twist (kind of like Rowse’s new three bears – see my post here), Debenhams take you on a wonderful magical love story, click here to watch the ad and tell me if you don’t cry! What girl doesn’t want to be Cinderella? The #YouShall Find Your Christmas is a great teaser campaign, which is really a love story. It captures the spirit of the season, and takes you on their journey.

Cleverly, Debenhams have allowed you to shop what Ellie and Josh are wearing at this site here, including personalised gifts.

personalised gifts

Which is your favourite ad and why?

Rowse honey sweetens with three bears campaign

9 Nov

While Britain may be going a little bit crazy for the new Rowse honey campaign, viewers and ad experts around the globe are tuning in to Rowse’s take on the Three Bears. Some are against it, but most are loving the cheeky way Rowse are making audience connections.

We all know the old story of Goldilocks and the three bears. We all know that the bears love porridge. Circa 2017, Goldilocks is nowhere to be seen, but rather three burly gay man-bears. Meet Matt, Joel and Phil.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSZJ8yH_u2Q

Our loveable three man-bears are cheeky hosts for a breakfast cooking show. And who would know who to cook porridge better than the three bears? Nobody! They are such an authority on porridge making them a credible source.

Rowse have nailed this campaign, playing on the global success of the many cooking shows and nostalgia. What could have gone terribly wrong, or misrepresented in a world where things get misconstrued, has been applauded by the LGBT community. Also to whom the campaign was targeted – Millennials are loving it, as well as any other three bear fairytale and honey lovers.

Why has it been a success? 

We all know of honey and most of us like it, or cook with it. We probably have a jar in our pantry cupboard. We may use it in when we’re baking muffins, or honeyed carrots (a bit more nostalgia from my childhood now), but it’s just always there. And always has been. Hence the problem. It isn’t exciting anymore! In Australia, the ants love it, so often we don’t buy it. But this campaign from Rowse draws on emotional, nostalgic and slice of life strategies, that sees us sit up at the breakfast table, and want to rediscover honey.

First,who knew of the many amazing benefits of honey? They’re not exactly page 1 news anymore! But the many studies conducted tells us that honey:

  • can counter pollen allergies
  • is full of antioxidant powerhouses so can help reduce blood pressure
  • is empty calories that aren’t refined sugar – less bad than sugar for diabetics
  • can improve cholesterol levels
  • promotes sleep
  • natural cough syrup
  • Heaps more – click on the links below.

But there’s much more than that!

Second, if honey isn’t sexy, then how do marketers, or specifically Rowse make it so? By using likable characters, creating excitement and adorable stories. By using bears, big burly gay man-bears to lure us in, like bees to a honey pot! The lads are funny, handsome, very genuine. If you want someone to like you, you must be transparent and authentic. These three bears are all this and more.

Third, if you want people to consume more of your product, and create loyalty, what can marketers do? You find a solution for non-honey eaters and give them reasons to notice you and to consume more honey. Simple? Not really.

Next, choose an audience who may not be ‘into’ honey. Give them reasons to use your product, and value add with ideas, recipes, information and drip feed content to them by funny and lovable man-bears. Content that is fun and delivered in media that the audience listen to, watch and read. Three, two minute Youtube clips have been released to coincide with new recipes, new cheekiness and insights into the bear’s lives and personalities. A great teaser campaign.

Watch episode 1 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG7dhp0AC78

The choice of millennials was the perfect audience for Rowse to target. And the secondary audience of already-using honey consumers would also catch on to the sweetness of the campaign. Further, by using social media platforms: Instagram and YouTube, out of home (OOH) and sponsoring of Stylist magazine have proven to be perfect mediums.

Timing: it’s cooling down in the UK, so what’s a perfect way to warm you up? Porridge of course, with Rowse honey drizzled over an array of nuts, fruits, but delivered by the 3 bears in a fun way. As shown in the recipes or on the Rowse Insta page. The Rowse honey Instagram page has also grown in numbers, but they aren’t bombarding you with too many photos, or too many posts. They are being very strategic to align with new cooking show spots and drip feed the story of the bears and intertwine the entertaining cooking show, as well as a little about the bears.

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Rowse and their advertising agency BMB have been very particular with choosing their bears. And obviously don’t mind Matt Lister being very popular on socials. He’s a great role model, athlete and ambassador.

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Rowse have injected life into their brand, and the beauty of this campaign is that it could last for years if Rowse and agency BMB can create great content that fits in with the brand. A very lucrative and sweet campaign.

Other links

Articles that don’t agree

a. https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/why-were-uncomfortable-rowse-three-bears-ad/1449166

Articles that love the campaign

a. Adweek

b. Huffington Post.au

Honey benefits

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey

https://draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/

Do you love Christmas advertising?

8 Nov

What’s more to love about Christmas than family, feasting and napping? Yes, it’s Christmas advertising! I have just received the first of what will be many emails promoting brands, and it was from one of my favourite brands: ALDI.

It reminded me of last year and a fantastic array of Christmas goodness. Some of my favourites were Cadbury and love how the Myer one is truly Australian and shows true of Aussie culture of helping out your mates by repairing Santa’s star: Myer 2016 Santa’s Star TVC.

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Over in sunny UK, John Lewis for years have been coming out with fantastic ads, Marks & Spencer also had a great campaign where Mrs Claus steals the show from Santa in the M&S 2016 TVC. This very touching one from Heathrow airport – bringing families together was also another standout, Heathrow TVC.

My favourite ‘Come Together’ by H&M, directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrien Brody channels Grand Budapest Hotel, watch it here.  I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it still brings me to tears. Be warned, it is 3.52 minutes, but it’s worth the watch.

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These three examples, and please share your favourites in the comments section, all use emotional based strategies: empathy, family and love and togetherness. Their messages are powerful, and not one bit of clothing or aeroplane to be seen (well maybe right at the beginning of the Heathrow TVC.

Bring on 2017 Christmas TVCs I say! ALDI have resurrected Kevin the carrot after the success of their 2016 campaign. This is their first instalment of the season and again the theme is love (and it only goes for a minute), ALDI 2017 TVC.

ALDI’s sales grew over 15% last Christmas, so why not bring back Kevin? The campaign has a clever movie tie-in with Murder on the Orient Express, and of course features a train, a gingerbread man, introduces a sexy female carrot Katie, and Kevin doing un-carrot hero acts! I’m sure ALDI are onto another winner here, as their Christmas food offerings are portrayed in a mouth-watering display. It is pure escapism and will win over more new customers. Let’s see what the sales figures show this Christmas.

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While I have been reading many articles about this Christmas being lean on spending, brands will be enticing us over the next month to win over our hearts. And spend we will. Using emotive and escapism are two strategies that have worked previously, and will work again. Bring on Santa I say! And more Christmas magic.

 

 

QUT Business School marketing students take real world learning to a new high

6 Nov

QUT academics have prided themselves on engaging with industry and real businesses – and our advertising, marketing and public relations students in QUT’s Business School work in ‘agencies’ with real clients. In my Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) class, our students work on a range of objectives set by their clients: from brand awareness, brand loyalty, brand conviction, attitude formation and often creating copy and entire campaigns to deliver first class campaign strategies and tactics. Students conduct brand audits and work on achieving their client’s objectives.

During the final weeks of semester, the student agencies pitch their ideas and campaigns to their clients. These pitches from 2nd and 3rd year students are of such a high standard. They are very professional, and clients are always impressed with the high callibre standards shown by our amazing QUT Business and Creative Industries students.

Our incredible array of 2017 IMC clients included so many amazing businesses: Rio Rhythmics Dance Studio, Kerry Reece Art, radio stations, charity events, not for profits,  McGrath’s Fine Foods, Paws & Relax Doggy Daycare, a vegan food project, Grasses of Life, Kelly’s Candy, forfido – a dog walking App, Save A Horse, The Lucky Duck.

In many cases, many students end up conducting work experience for their clients implementing their ideas. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Di, Tegan & Annie of Paws & Relax (pictured below), heard IMC strategy ideas from 15 student agencies. Imagine what that would be worth in money terms if a real agency pitched?

IMG_3986.jpegOur IMC class is extra large (over 300 students each semester), we source clients far and wide, often many coming from past students and current tutors.

Another client was Stuart from forfido, a dog walking App which was supported by #RSPCA RSPCA Qld. The CEO Mark Townsend is pictured below with a group of students that presented an out of this world pitch.

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I am not lucky, but privileged to have such an amazing teaching team, and for the past 15 years recruiting from my past students has allowed me to find IMC stars. Many have stayed for a semester or two, and then their careers have taken off and they have moved to far and wide parts of the world. Running the worlds of advertising, marketing and public relations firms or starting their own businesses. They are all wonderful people and care about our amazing QUT students and their IMC learning journeys. The other half of my team have their own businesses and are industry specialists, many whom have been in the team for over 10 years, so draw on so much experience and change.

Since 2007, the IMC undergraduate subject at QUT has also been an educational innovator and leader in promoting student and industry engagement within social media environments. For the past 11 years, Facebook and Twitter have been used to build professional partnerships with industry, and promote real world learning and engagement experiences between current students, sessional academics and past alumni. Specifically, this was achieved by creating a subject Facebook page IMC@QUT. It  provides a space for outstanding connections, alumni events, industry best practice examples, creative inspiration as well as a go-to employment bulletin board, internship and networking opportunities. The IMC@QUT Facebook community spans directly from the heart of the QUT brand.

The longevity of this space has resulted in present and past IMC students sharing opinions, encouraging dialogue and ideas, marketing communication related inspiration and industry benchmarks.  It has also broken down traditional classroom barriers and maintained a consistent annual growth in members and now totals over 1200 members.

 

 

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Can you have your cake and eat it to? Promotions are alive and well.

12 Sep

UK’s largest manufacturer of cakes and baked products since 1976 Mr Kipling, have created a wonderfully engaging billboard in one of London’s busiest shopping centres, Stratford City. The billboard included 13,360 edible cakes, each one being devoured over 8 hours, after taking 8 hours to assemble. The campaign ‘Life is better with cake’ was created by JWT London.

mrkipling

There are many interesting marketing communicaiton elements to this promotional campaign. Yes it was great at raising awareness, but even more effective is when you look at the placement of this billboard. Westfield Stratford City is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe; houses UK’s largest casino, estimated Centre employees is 20,000, parking houses 5,000 cars. Further, the surrounding area is home to 4.1m people in the surrounding catchment areas. It is adjacent to London Olympic Park, East Village and Stratford regional and international rail stations. For brand exposure to as many eyeballs as possible, this placement really worked.

When I look at campaigns, I always analyse and ask, how could this have been done better? And without knowing all of the information about this campaign, these are my thoughts. First, data. Did they collect any? While ‘Content may be King’, data allows your brand to create relevant content. Mr Kipling could find out many things, including something as simple as what new cakes need inventing. Now that would be a cool crowdsourcing campaign! Data would enable Mr Kipling to have two-way conversations. Next, I wonder what social media was utilised to drive traffic to the Billboard promotion? The hashtags used was #BetterWithCake, so they will have lots of insights from this. Instagram and Pinterst would also have been great channels to use. The use of PR was an obvious media tactic and one that sees many blog (including this one) and news posts talking about this tasty story. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that pun!

When you look at past campaigns from Mr Kipling, you can see that they love giving away their products. And who doesn’t like cake? This isn’t the first time that Mr Kipling has used a promotional strategy. In 2012 they used a transit campaign dispensing 500 pieces of cake per day, in 19 cities across the UK. Resulting in over 130,000 pieces of happiness being consumed and importantly, curing hunger pains!

Are they going to rival Coke with their “Happiness” campaign?

Are We Getting Too Sensitive: Do Brands Need to Rethink Using Global Campaigns?

22 Aug

Apple’s new TVC featuring their new exercise Apps on the iPhone 5s has offended some audiences because of the use of the song ‘Go You Chicken Fat, Go’. So does the creative over-shadow the message?

 

The story gets exciting when you look into the history of the song. Actually most things do don’t they? Marketers love to copy what has gone before them… tweak it slightly, and the slight alteration to the original idea can be very clever. The Apple ad uses The Youth Fitness Song aka as “Chicken Fat” song.

In 1962, the song was written and composed by Broadway composer (Robert) Meredith Wilson (The Music ManThe Unsinkable Molly Brown), and sung by actor/singer Robert Preston. It was part of President John F. Kennedy’s Council on Physical Fitness program to get schoolchildren to do more daily exercise. The song was distributed to American schools and played every morning for students to do calisthenics. Very similar to how Australia’s Federal government supplied milk to children in primary school between the 1950’s and the mid 70’s. Every morning about 9am, a small bottle of milk – 1/3 pint – would be delivered for each child. The milk would sit there (in the sun) until morning recess, when each child would get their very own (now warm) bottle of milk. I have horrible childhood milk memories and I did not drink milk as an adult unless the milk was freezing cold or flavoured. And I never drank the bottom bit.

Back to our story! The visuals in Apple’s TVC are motivating, and the use of the phone’s physical-fitness Apps are clear, but it tends to be overshadowed by the song, as I was thinking while watching the TVC, ‘what does this mean?’ Am I supposed to find this funny? Is Apple trying to motivate me or scare me? Then the tagline kicks in, which reads: “You’re more powerful than you think.” OK, but how does the chicken fit in?

The song could make American Baby Boomers’ nostalgic for a time when they were told to “Go, you chicken fat, go,” however, there is no point of reference for anyone else watching the ad. For the rest of the world, Apple appears to be telling its customers, possibly in a questionable manner, to get off the couch, and start exercising. However, the main message was the great new exercise Apps, but that was lost.

Classical conditioning has been used in a clever way by Apple, teaming the song with memories of exercising. Apart from Americans who may remember doing their morning callisthenics to this song, it is lost on all other global audiences. I wonder if like my primary school milk memories, these weren’t happy? Which begs the question, should music with such strong associations – both good and bad – be used in advertising campaigns? Much research has been conducted on the use of teaming music with advertising. Apple has been clever, but they should have considered only using this song for American audiences.

 

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