Closing comment – Becoming a Fellow

Jack Walden FPRIA with Mike Watson FPRIA

Our CEO Jack Walden receiving his PRIA Fellowship from PRIA President Mike Watson FPRIA

I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne about a decade ago to continue developing my career, soak up the coffee, cuisine and culture of the southern city, and chase the cold.

Even though I may no longer call Brisbane home, it still holds a special place in my heart. So it was very appropriate that on a humid 30-degree Brisbane night, about 500 metres from where I developed my first PR plan, and across the river from where I studied PR at QUT, I became a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

The College of Fellows is a senior group of practitioners that brings their collective skills, experience and knowledge together to help guide PRIA through evolving issues in the industry – particularly in the area of ethics.

What does a fellowship mean to me? First and foremost it is a lovely recognition of my professional achievements combined with my contribution to the PRIA and the community. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my career so far and the people who have helped me get where I am.

In addition to noting my professional achievements over more than 14 years, the PRIA President Mike Watson added “I can commend you for your contribution to the PRIA as State President, event organiser, national council member and as one of the team that delivered the 2012 World PR Forum in Melbourne”.

During my time as President of the PRIA in Victoria, I was fortunate to be invited to the quarterly state meetings of the College of Fellows hosted by Peter Mahon at Royce Communications.

Every time I sat down for lunch with these Fellows, I benefited from the wealth of knowledge around the table. These legendary communicators were more than happy to share their experience and wonderful stories gained from working for some of the biggest national and international companies, and they had plenty of wonderful ideas and insights for the PRIA as well.

As a Fellow, not only can I add FPRIA to my name in my email signature, I now have the opportunity to surround myself with an inspiring group of communication leaders on a more regular basis. There are too many inspiring people to name – but I look forward to working closely with them all as a new member, and possibly the youngest yet?, of the College of Fellows.

Thinking about my career to date, I would not have achieved so much without so many champions. Colleagues who are only ever a phone call away and armed with words of wisdom and advice. Chums who are prepared to point out an uncrossed T, an undotted i or a missed opportunity, and in turn help make every piece of communication better. And characters pushing me to think about the world in which we are communicating and develop better strategies and channels.

Congratulations also to the other Australian communicators recognised on Sunday night as Fellows of the Public Relations Institute. I’m proud to stand alongside you.

I am particularly delighted to have been made a fellow at the same time as another PRIA State President who served alongside me during my time on the board, Adam Thomson from South Australia.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – Communication critical in campaign to tackle obesity


This week, we spent two days in Sydney live tweeting from our client’s third annual #ObesitySummit. The common call from politicians, economists, journalists, GPs, dieticians, public health specialists and researchers was the need for clearer communication.

There’s no doubt that communication is critical in tackling the obesity problem confronting Australia and countless other countries around the world. Whether it’s developing a consistent language to help GPs work with patients, less complex information for the communities and individuals, or campaigns to encourage people to take action, communications has an important role to play.

US economics professor John Cawley opened the summit with a keynote outline the range of costs associated with obesity, and the need to present an economic argument. This provided a clear outline of why we need to understand the economic impact and how we need to build that into communications about the issue.

Other speakers added further economic data on direct and in-direct costs to individuals and society. These included a great presentation from AusBIG, an organisation raising awareness of the complexity of safe and dignified physical management of bariatric patients.

News Ltd journalist Sue Dunlevy told the #ObesitySummit attendees that they needed to develop a much clearer message around obesity – because at the moment it’s far to complex. This was welcomed feedback, but is just further evidence of the complexity of the issue.

Other speakers included former Victorian Premier John Brumby, Victorian Cancer Council CEO Todd Harper & Obesity Australia board member Geoff Walsh AO.

Here are some of our tweets from the day:


Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – A turkey called Clyde


Gov. Robert Bentley pardons Clyde the Turkey Nov. 13, 2014. (Picture via Twitter)

A turkey called Clyde, cyber makeovers for Melbourne-Boston, and cocktails with a French horn player – they’re our c-words for the week: can you compete?

It’s not unusual for American leaders to flex their power muscles by pardoning a turkey or two in the lead up to Thanksgiving. What caught our eye was a turkey named Clyde who was pardoned this week by the Governor of Alabama as part of the state’s thanksgiving tradition to pardon a turkey named Clyde.

If you want to hear more about pardoned turkeys starting with C, then join us on Thursday, 27 November for ‘A Melbourne Thanksgiving’ cocktail celebration with other friends of Melbourne/Boston.

Onto cyberspace, and we’ve been coding (well actually we’ve left the coding to the professionals at ManageWeb, credit where credit’s due) the new website for Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association. Take a moment to catch up on all the connections between our two great cities.

And cocktails with a french horn player you ask. We helped host the presentation of the 2014 Hugh Rogers Fellowships on behalf of the Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association during Melbourne Knowledge Week.

Among the five inspiring recipients of Hugh Rogers Fellowships, including a bioinformatician, two science teachers and a researcher building a low-cost, electricity-free oxygen concentrator, there was a french horn player.

Susan de Weger, who visited the New England Conservatory of Music in November, entertained the guests with a number of pieces on her French horn.

More c-words to follow in the coming weeks: curating content at the #ObesitySummit, connecting with other PRIA Fellows at the national conference, celebrating colleagues, chums & clan in the lead up to Christmas & controlled consumption of champagne & canapés!

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

PS. Here’s our favourite turkey pardoning scene from the West Wing – thanks CJ!

Closing comment – Creative campaign can cause crying


Qantas have unveiled a new creative communication campaign, ‘Feels like home’, using the stirring song featured in My Sisters Keeper and countless other cry-worthy movies.

The new campaign, which launches on Sunday on television and in cinemas, follows a challenging year for Qantas with job-cuts, increasing competition and financial losses.

According to Mumbrella “The carrier is drawing on the oft-cited emotional pull Australians feel towards Qantas by featuring five “real stories” of Aussies returning home from overseas in a campaign called “feels like home”.

A two-minute commercial, which airs from Sunday, depicts the emotional reunion of five passengers with their loved ones in Australia, all shot in real time. A series of five shorter ads featuring individual stories will roll out over the coming weeks.

Here are some other campaigns in recent times that have created cause for crying:

Tim Tam turns 50 & reunites long lost friends and family
Thank you mom by P&G
Pictures of You by TAC
Fading Families drinking & driving commercial
Homeward Bound: Google Maps

Have a little cry before you start the weekend! It’s healthy!!

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – Count continues with 500,000 birds spotted during #AussieBirdCount



Caspian Terns, Cockatoos, Cockatiels, Common Mynas, and Crested Bellbirds are some of the c-word birds counted so far as part of the first-ever Aussie Backyard Bird Count.

More than 500,000 birds have been spotted across the country as part of our client BirdLife Australia’s national citizen science project, which continues over the weekend in the final days of National Bird Week!

Our crew have spent the week generating coverage about the national count starting with a live broadcast from Melbourne on Monday morning, bird dates with radio, television and newspaper journalists and producers, and constant refreshing of the app to track the steady flow of data.

BillBailleyandJudyHArringtonFollowing the official launch in a pop up backyard at the Sydney Opera House (attended by UK Comedian and Aussie Bird Lover Bill Bailey) support from around the country has been phenomenal.

Here are some highlights from the coverage and social media conversations so far:

Make sure you take 20 minutes this weekend to contribute to the count and tell us how many birds you spot!

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – cringe comedy


This week, The Project’s Rove McManus created a cringeworthy TV moment during an interview with former PM Julia Gillard.

Rove asked Ms Gillard what her partner Tim had given her for her birthday and then continued the questioning down a rather juvenile path. Thankfully the former PM was able to brush it under the carpet and move on.

This cringe comedy made us think about other cringeworthy TV moments and here are a few we stumbled across:

Have a great weekend everyone and avoid the cringe comedy.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – confessions of an annual report addict




It’s annual report season, which means thousands of words flying across desks of communicators and their C-level colleagues, globally; gigabytes of photos culled into a final collection; and graphs of countless shapes and colours constructed.

I’ve always been a fan of a good annual report. Give me a standout one and you can lose me for hours as I consume the financials and narratives which go into painting a positive picture of the organisation’s performance over the previous year.

You’ll find me pouring over the document from cover to cover, devouring the carefully crafted words, and eagerly eying the images clearly capturing moments in time defining the organisation and its stakeholders.

Like a box of Liquorice Allsorts, annual reports come in all shapes and sizes. Here are five examples (from across the spectrum) to give you a little inspiration:

From print to digital – the evolution of an annual report by Bates Creative

Over the past four years, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington (YMCADC) has partnered with Bates Creative to find creative solutions for publishing its annual report. Each year they build upon their previous year’s work as they push the envelope a little bit further. Follow their journey from paper to digital – it’s rather cool!

Elegance, class and innovation – A cosmetic giant’s annual report

White space. Full page images. A double-page spread with a glam shot of the board! And a narrative that makes you want to pack your Vuitton and join the creative forces continuing Mrs Estee Lauder’s legacy.

Up, up and away – Qantas goes digital

“Shaping our future” is the title of the 2014 Qantas annual report and it’s delivered as an interactive website. You can fly through the sections and delve into the detail or enjoy images from rejuvenated lounges to the renewed fleet. Obviously a need for some creativity when presenting major results such as Qantas did this year!

An international voice for women – clear priorities

The annual report for UN Women is published in English, Spanish and French. So, that’s the first tick for an international organisation. Second tick: it’s structured to profile the organisation’s five key priority areas. Third tick: images of real women from around the world!

An apple a day gets the investors to stay

Like many organisations, Apple have expanded their annual report to encompass an investor relations section on their website. Like the Apple website, it’s clear, easy to navigate and builds on the brand’s strong iconography.

You’ll find so many tips just by reading these reports and the millions of others produced annually all around the world.

To start, why not head to this Pinterest page devoted to annual reports!