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It’s a wrap! What was your favourite Christmas campaign?

29 Dec

It was a hard choice this year don’t you think? Let me know your favourite.

2018 has been another tough year for retailers. In Australia, Myer has had it’s woes, while globally we saw Toy ‘R’ Us go into liquidation. In a trading period during the Christmas months which can be the busiest for retailers, getting your Christmas advertising right is paramount to seeing great returns, but also high customer experiences around the brand, brand love and engagement. If your brand can connect on an emotional level during this time, it can last into the following year, but also have high brand conviction and loyalty moving forward in what will be another tough year.

John Lewis

Elton John stars in this blockbuster and it doesn’t disappoint. A beautifully crafted story about thoughtful gifts and not just giving for the sake of giving. It is about how an inspired gift can change your life.

With the tagline of ‘some gifts are more than just a gift’, the John Lewis campaign called ‘The Boy and the piano’ takes you on a two-minute historical voyage through different stages of Elton’s life, with glimpses of early days of concerts, memories and parties.

Each scene features Elton at his piano, with the conclusion of the ad at his first school concert, before eventually showing the first note four-year-old Elton John played on his newly-regifted grandmother’s piano for Christmas. Heart stopper ‘Your Song’ plays in the background and agency adam&eveDDB have really hit success with this.

This campaign is totally integrated and John Lewis sold iconic Elton T-shirts. If you happen to be in London, the flagship Oxford Street London store was renamed ‘John’, but even more impressive was that the 3rd floor has been dedicated to an experiential space where customers can explore many aspects of the ad including the recording studio, living room sets, listen to recordings and immerse themselves while shopping.

Not a John Lewis fan? But still love Christmas lights and store windows? Well every 30 minutes from 4pm, you can see an amazing one minute light show featuring another Elton classic, ‘Step into Christmas’. Watch some footage here (32 min:46 is where you will see John Lewis, but there is cool footage of London lights 2018 and it’s worth skipping through if you have time over your Xmas break)

But do not fear dear readers if you can’t get to Oxford Street. There is  a very long video here of the Christmas lights around London. Watch it here.

Elton John T shirts

AirNZ

Always a winner, and this year, Santa and the elves are back and it’s a winner. This year Santa messes up and sends out his naughty list to one of the boys on the actual ‘naughty’ list – as Santa is not very good with email! This would have to be my favourite, even though I loved the John Lewis campaign. But I do love Elton John. But I did also enjoy ALDI Australia’s effort.

 

Pedigree

Get the tissues out. This ad is delightfully shot and like John Lewis’s theme, it is about a gift for life, and has many life themes. You can watch & read about it here.

ALDI Australia

BMF Australia’s second attempt for ALDI Christmas campaign is heartfelt and totally Aussie. Its images are funny as well as beautifully shot. All against the backdrop of the Australian outback. The narratives are easy to follow: friendship, pitch in just like Aussies do to help a friend, and if someone pops in, you’ll have enough food.

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ALDI UK – Kevin the Carrot is back and this time in a three part series! Part 1 is a Spoof of the CocaCola truck of happiness. In this case, our hero Kevin is driving the truck.

Read about it and watch it here. More links at the end of this post.

CocaCola saw the funny side to this campaign (and would have appreciated the parody and free advertising), after all isn’t the best form of flattery copying? CocaCola got in to the Christmas spirit and tweeted this clever response:

Coke ALDI

Part 2 & 3 – Kevin the Carrot fights to save his family from Pascal, a wicked Parsnip living in a dark castle. And Kevin saves Little Red (carrot) Riding hood in a spoof of the fairytale. Both fun productions with fabulous imagery of amazing food.

 

Let me know what your favourites were for 2018?

 

Extra viewing & reading:

ALDI Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AldiUK

ALDI – http://www.bandt.com.au/advertising/aussie-christmas-ad-ever-aldi-goes-outback-years-spot-via-bmf

John Lewis – https://www.johnlewis.com/content/christmas-advert

House Beautiful – https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/christmas-adverts-round-up/

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Christmas (advertising #3) just keeps getting better – but you will need tissues for both crying and laughing

10 Dec

Yes I may be a little bit obsessed with Christmas advertising, but after you’ve read my 1st post and 2nd one about Christmas, how can you not be?

Just to refresh your memory: amazing ALDI brings back spunk Kevin the carrot and he slays it promoting the movie Murder on The Orient Express. And my other favourite, Debenham’s clever modern day take on Cinderella.

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Bring out the tissues as these two latest campaigns are gold. 

BBC One – The Supporting Act (click to watch)

Another fantastic UK offering (aren’t they all?), this time by BBC One’s in-house creative team. This works for me because I remember that song lyrics to Cats in The Cradle,

“When you coming home Dad? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, you know we’ll have a good time then?” by Harry Chapin, or more recently Ugly Kid Joe.

We’ve all had a parent, sibling or carer that was too busy to play with us, to read with us, jut to sit with us and chat. Life is busy! This is a simple and gorgeous story as we see a single Dad trying his best, and the daughter just keeps dancing and being happy and thinks that Dad doesn’t notice her. You’ll be toe tapping and up dancing before you know it. Love it BBCs in-house team BBC Creative.

ALERT: More tissues

RSPCA Christmas 2017 (click to watch)

Sniff, tissues, heartstrings, RSPCAs tearjerking film highlights the kindness of RSPCA staff as they all contribute to saving animals’ lives. Woody the puppy, represents all the animals that the RSPCA cares for, from exotic pets, horses and small animals to dogs, cats, rabbits and everything in between. Also great message about a pet is for a lifetime, not just for Xmas.

Now to finish with a really good ROFL

AirNZ have done it again, with a(nother) rollicking and brilliant ad that plays on the Kiwi accent. Remember the brilliant safety videos when they played on The Hobbit ? Or the videos that saw real (and nude) employees covered in body paint uniforms with the Nothing to Hide campaign? First class (pun intended).

Remember last year 2016, with Ronan Keating’s hilarious effort with child actor Julian Dennison? Mixing up vowels and confusing the entire world with their crazy words!

If you were confused with 2016 lines such as ‘a brown bird instead of a blue bird’, and jandals, this year you’ll be even more confused! We love the Kiwis (aka New Zealanders)!

2017s offering is just as good. What starts off as fun phone calls from Chinese children talking to Santa about what they’d like for a present, we then see the faces of Santa and chief elf turn to horror, the music changes, bells toll and we know the story is about to start. You will need the tissues, but this time for crying with laughter.

We will have two weeks until Christmas, so I am assuming I have at least one more Christmas advertising post! Until then…..  have a look at this hilarious recruitment video for NZ Police (stay for the bloopers at the end, plus dancing to rival Miley Cyrus 47 seconds in, the actual Police Commissioner at 1.47 and so much more).

 

Further reading:

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/bbc-one-the-supporting-act-bbc-creative/1451862, published December 5, 2017.

Another successful year for Entertainment Marketing students undertaking real projects for real clients at QUTs Business School

5 Dec

For over 15 years, my QUT teaching teams have been enabling student’s real world learning for 2nd year subjects Integrated Marketing Communication and more recently Entertainment Marketing. This subject is part of the larger Entertainment Industries degree where Creative Industries students study law and business subjects. Our students engage with real businesses, startups, artists, not for profits: you name it. QUT students work in ‘agencies’ to problem solve marketing communication objectives set by their clients.

In 2017, our Entertainment Marketing students engaged with long-standing and very historical Brisbane Eisteddfod, Brisbane Writer’s Festival (or #UpLIT), Cystic Fibrosis Qld and Travello: a Brisbane based startup travel App that connects you with fellow travellers, solo backpacking enthusiasts, digital nomads and even groups of friends & families to make your travel experience memorable. We pride ourselves on the range of entertainment and marketing businesses that want to be involved in our student’s real world learning. In 2016, we had a different travel startup Tour Amigo, who is a QUT Marketing Honours alumni, who has set upa travel site where you can search, compare and book the best value package tours throughout 160+ destinations worldwide. The Tour Amigo team have cherry picked the best guided tours from international operators such as Contiki, Trafalgar, Intrepid and put them in one place. We love to welcome back QUT ex-students into our classroom.

The student agencies pitch their ideas to their clients at the end of semester. Face to face where you can’t hide. This experience helps sets up our students to be (a little bit) industry-ready. Their pitches are very professional, and clients are always impressed with the high calibre standards shown by our up and coming QUT graduates. Most groups undertake primary research, produce video content that would cost thousands of dollars.

Students conducted work experience and work integrated learning with Cystic Fibrosis then gained paid employment organising events such as the 65 Roses Art Prize, where schools across QLD were asked to donate their artwork and a silent auction for each one at the 65 Gala Roses Ball. The project that was run by one incredible QUT student who raised awareness for the plight of those living with CF in Queensland, as well as introducing budding artists to the power of philanthropy. She not only ran the promotion, but the call to action involved a huge amount of logistics.

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As I publish this article, 30 out of the 50 paintings (shown above) have been sold and the others are on display at the CFQ bookshop. Another amazing student helped with fundraising, social media and event profiling. It isn’t easy taking on an intern, but our QUT students learnt so much from their experience with CFQ, many staying on for months.

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Another client this year were Brisbane Eisteddfod. They came to us wanting an audit and some ways of how to stay relevant with their many audiences and stakeholders. Over 150 students pitched their ideas. Our client (also QUT alumni) was super happy and plan to have students working on implementing some of their strategies and tactics in 2018. Below is just one of the amazing student agencies, Ben Hardgrave their tutor and the Eisteddfod team.

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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

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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