A composition, a canvas and cocktails to celebrate #MelbourneBoston30

"My rooftop to yours" - HighLine Series 1.63 x 1.63 Acrylic on Italian linen, framed in solid handstained ebony Aus Oak

“My rooftop to yours” – HighLine Series 1.63 x 1.63 Acrylic on Italian linen, framed in solid handstained ebony Aus Oak

How are a composition, a canvas and a cocktail connected with 30 years of Melbourne and Boston?

See, hear and taste how on Thursday, 28 May at Melbourne Town Hall starting with a celebratory cocktail supplied by Melbourne Gin Co.

The composition

The American Suite, composed by Melbourne pianist/composer Gemma Turvey, will be performed by the New Palm Court Orchestra as part of the Melbourne Boston 30th Anniversary Gala. Gemma Turvey composed the American Suite while visiting Boston with the support of a Hugh Rogers Fellowship for Arts and Culture in 2014.

The canvas

A canvas featuring the work of Melbourne artist Kerry Armstrong will help raise funds to send a Melbourne artist, teacher or researcher to Boston next year! Returning to Melbourne after a successful showing at the Boston’s Liquid Arthouse in late 2014, Kerry has donated a new piece from her ‘Off the HighLine Series’ to help raise money for the Hugh Rogers Fellowships. The ‘Off the HighLine Series’ was exhibited in Boston and has received praise from national and international media.

The cocktail

Cocktail historians [yes it’s a real job] have long been seeking out the origins of the drink we call ‘gin’. Many bottles have been drained in the process, and while the criteria of gin remains vague, key elements have been agreed. There are three key elements to consider in every gin – and here’s why!

  • Gin is distilled with aromatic additives representing a departure from the decoctions and juniper berry flavored beers and wines that were fairly common from the medieval era forward.
  • Gin is grain based, a departure from brandies, distilled wines, and other spirits existent in the Game of Thrones era.
  • And finally, Gin is recreational; important because distilled juniper berry waters were once quite common, and although prone to abuse they were designed to be drank as medicine. Yes, shock horror, people used and abused their medicine for recreation (lucky we have become so civilised). Gin was intentionally distilled enjoyment, with no pretence.

Melbourne Gin Co. will be providing the gin for the Boston Spirit.

I guess it’s one way to come to terms with the end of Mad Men.

Farewell Mad Men: Did Don find Coke or coastal contemplation?


Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 12.06.48 pm*SPOILER ALERT – do not read this if you have not yet reached the end of Mad Men!

Not since the controversial ‘fade to black’ ending of the Sopranos has there been a more divisive series finale than last night’s farewell to Don Draper and his fellow mad men and women.

There are two schools of thought. Two camps to sit in. You either buy into the idea that Don created the iconic 1970s coca cola advertisement (we’re firmly in this camp) or you believe Don, who has ‘retired’ from the advertising game has truly changed and opted for life by the Californian coast.

We’ve loved following this great AMC series from the Golden era of television, and over seven smoky, boozy years Matthew Weiner has created a real seducer unlike any other.

The seduction paid off with the finale, probably not the archetypal Mad Men episode we’ve come to expect but a genuinely original, resonant, and existentially brilliant ending, being debated by critics and views alike. The main questions being asked.. whose idea was the Coke ad? Who is on team Peggy? And will Joan find true love outside the boardroom?

During its seven year run the show like any has had its ups and downs but it kept pace, with a dark comedic strangeness that all of us Mad Men addicts adore.

To this end, we can’t help but adore the final scene with Betty Draper smoking one of her last cigarettes while her daughter Sally washes up. So much has changed, so little has changed.

If you missed last night’s ending, it showed Don Draper, blissed out in California his legs crossed lost in meditation. A bell rang—ding!—and Don’s grin began to stretch wide across the TV screen – in what appeared to be a sort of mystic revelation. When the screen cut out, we were watching the iconic Coca-Cola TV ad that became a hit in 1971, a clip flooded with nostalgia on so many levels.

On a grassy hilltop, beautiful youths of all colours and cultures danced and swayed, singing, “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony!/I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” The tagline: “It’s the Real Thing.” Last night, it took a moment for this to sink in, but once it did, that dinging bell seemed to resonate back through the whole series, finding echoes everywhere. What appeared to be Buddhist meditation was an advertising brainstorm. Don’s hippie revelation was also advertising genius being formed, the yogi saying “A new day, new ideas, a new you,” creating the genius tagline that Don would then present to his new bosses, McCann Erickson (who in real life actually did create the game changing Coke ad).

Now it’s time to roll away the drinks trolley, throw out the last pack of Lucky Strikes, and return to the post-Mad Men era.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

RIP Don, Betty, Joan, Peggy, Roger, Pete, Trudy & all of our other mad men & women.

Caught through correspondence


After a decade long legal battle between the Guardian and the UK government, the “black spider memos” between Prince Charles and government ministers have finally been revealed. The Supreme Court decided it was time for the public to see these letters. Named the ‘black spider memos’ after the Prince’s scrawly handwriting.

Reflecting on the intimacy of correspondence, the Guardian’s Robert Booth says we can now explore “the heart of relationship between Prince Charles and government ministers” and exactly how he lobbied for action against issues he feels strongly about.

Prince Charles’s ‘memos’ delved into a range of topics including agriculture, complementary medicines and the slaughtering of badgers. He appears to be pushing for changes to the political stance on these issues. His detailed letters also indicate that he must have been well briefed on each of the topics.

The release of these letters shows that nobody is above the freedom of information act. As our future king, Charles is expected to remain neutral on political topics. I assume that’s why the British government, and the royal family have tried for years to keep the letters locked in the vault – along with the Queen’s crown.

Although courting some unsavoury topics, Charles mostly stayed away from hard politics, but did on one occasion raise his concerns about cuts to the defense budget. Personal opinions like this from such a respected member of the community could have negative consequences and the publics perception could be influenced by these memos.

Prince Charles was expressing his own concerns on government affairs, and appears to have his intentions in good places. But surely the Royals know his letters carry more weight than others. Their brand name alone holds much weight, and could easily influence public or government decisions., which is why man born into his position must maintain distanimages-5ce, and not share his opinions on politics.

Timing is everything: A new law has just passed that any correspondence from the heir of the throne can’t be made public for 20 years, or 5 years after their death. So perhaps, briefly at least the Monarchy is yet again above the freedom of information act. Who knows what goes on behind castle doors?

From the UK to the US, and traditional correspondence to the electronic super highway, Hillary Clinton recently deleted nearly 32,000 emails she deemed private from her time in the Obama administration. Now a federal judge has agreed to reopen a lawsuit that seeks to gain access to these. People should be careful with the written word, whether it be text, email or traditional letter.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – Charlotte’s clout


The rapid pace of change within digital media was further highlighted this week with the arrival of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge, celebrated with an official tweet of her birth certificate from Kensington Palace.

Less than two years after her brother’s arrival, which spread across the interwebs but was announced in a more traditional way, Kensington Palace used Twitter as the main platform to announce the arrival of the latest royal family member. This marked change from Prince George’s arrival makes you realise digital platforms like Twitter are truly ubiquitous; even getting the Royal treatment.

The press and bookies alike speculated about the baby’s sex, name, birth date and even weight, but in an eerie predication, two years ago all most to the day a lady on Twitter had it picked.

Again, the Royal couple didn’t opt for a modernistic or alternative name like Crown, Diamond or Jubilee, but rather chose a name from the King in-waiting’s side of the family. Charlotte, a feminine form of Charles, is a likely salute to her grandfather. The middle names acknowledge the baby’s great-grandmother, and her paternal grandmother, Diana, who died in 1997.

This new Royal isn’t just any pink, cute new born. She’s already a fashion influence expected to deliver UK retailers billions of dollars in coming years. Like mother, like daughter: even the beanie worn home from hospital has already been copied by couture* fashion houses worldwide.

Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

This baby, like the rest of the Royal Family is an iconic emblem for the United Kingdom and, and in a sense she is not only a little human, but a burgeoning brand. The Queen and her family collectively stand as a globally recognised symbol of the UK and for millions around the world are synonymous with history, image and strength.

One of the Monarchy’s strongest assets in recent years has been The Duchess of Cambridge who, despite being a relatively new member of the family, has captured the world’s attention. ‘The Kate Effect’ began as news of the Royal Engagement was announced towards the end of 2010.

This new addition to the Royal Family, like her mother Catherine will be yet another fresh face that this traditional brand needs.

The Monarchy remains a quintessentially British tradition of which people are proud, and with the birth of this little princess it gives the public and media something positive to focus on.

Cheers, Jack and the c word crew


* Note to Jackie from RHOM, this is the way to use Courture, darling ;)

Closing comment: digital leadership


Who would have thought that one of Melbourne’s Heritage listed buildings, the Old Treasury Building on Spring Street,  would provide the classroom for Victorian leaders to hone their digital leadership capabilities.

Our communications consultant focused on digital communications, Rosie Walden, spent Thursday and Friday this week participating in Leadership Victoria’s Digital Leadership Program.

Sitting in a building built to store the colony’s gold, and once the epicentre of a new colony’s growing power, Rosie has been thinking about how leaders from the past, including the Governor, the Premier (at the time called Chief Secretary), the Treasurer and the Auditor General would have coped with, embraced or responded to the challenges and opportunities we face in the digital age?

We’ll bring you a full wrap up of the two day program in coming weeks; but for the second here are a few highlights from day 1:

  • Leadership Victoria opened the discussions with The Age’s Michael Short @Shortmsgs talking about the openness of social media and and its ability to turn people’s opinions around
  • From open media to a young entrepreneur the group reflected on the fast pace of change with @willdayble, Director, Squareweave reinforcing the importance of taking time away from our devices to reflect. Will’s said that in a digital world we still need to make time to “break bread with real humans”.
  • @Liz_Bardwell from Telstra shared some fantastic practical approaches to managing digital communications

Rosie is responsible for engaging with the growing online communities across public health, education and innovation sectors on behalf of our clients. She is also the voice behind the cheeky tweets for @thecwordagency when our CEO is on classified assignments :)

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment: cities connected by characters & culture


J001272 30th Gala_eDM

If you’ve ever visited Boston, or chatted with a Bostonian, you’ll know our cities share some quintessential c-words: culture, cuisine, characters, creativity … and so the list goes on.

Not only do we share some great c words, we also share a similar urban landscape as the clever animation above, created by our collaborators at HM Group, demonstrates.

This year, our client the Melbourne Boston Sister Cities Association clocks up 30 years of connections between our two cities, and to c= celebrate we’re helping the Committee deliver an anniversary gala at Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday, 28 May.

The spectacular program of entertainment to mark their 30th anniversary, emceed by ABC News Breakfast’s Michael Rowland (who coincidentally spent more than a decade in the US for the ABC with his fair share of time in Boston), includes an exclusive performance from Melbourne’s very own New Palm Court Orchestra of their American Suite. Yes, a 12 piece orchestra served with a three course dinner!

The MBSCA is a not for profit organisation focused on expanding and enhancing the relationship between the innovative hubs of Melbourne and Boston, and the gala will help raise funds for the MBSCA to continue its annual Hugh Rogers Fellowships.

The purpose of the Hugh Rogers Fellowships is to encourage and support innovative people and ideas by funding research and projects that expand and enhance Melbourne’s and Boston’s reputations as centres of knowledge excellence in three areas of research and practice. The Fellowships are awarded to practitioners and researchers in the early stages of their careers to assist the longer-term development of the Fellow’s career by furthering their research or project and by providing them with opportunities to create new professional networks.

the c word is working closely with MBSCA in organising what promises to be a terrific evening of conversations, collaboration, creativity and culture.

A little taste of America right here in the heart of Melbourne, with leaders from across a range of industries.

Closing comment – 7up: 7 highlights for 7 years


There are seven days in a week (never enough), seven colours in a rainbow (leading to a pot of gold?) and seven years of c words (so far). This Sunday marks our seventh anniversary: seven years of creative copy, seven years of connecting characters, and seven years of collaborations. Why should anniversaries be celebrated? As creative types, we enjoy digging through our archives to take a closer look at the impulses, philosophies, triumphs, and setbacks that propelled our CEO Jack Walden to create the company we have today. An anniversary also provides a great opportunity to plan for the next seven years: strategy, messaging, goals and commitments. But before we begin planning for the next seven, here’s a look back at the first seven: 2008: Creativity ruled as we helped launch the 2008 exhibition of Moving Galleries with a live weather cross and painting class hosted by Network 10 weatherman Mike Larkan  MovingGalleries2008 2009: Designer runners: we helped our long-time design collaborators housemouse (now HM Group) re-launch their design bible Fluoro and their wrapping paper range Wrapped by HM, and we spent a month following a group of emergency services personnel around Australia during Run for a Safe Climate   2010: The year of the video, and the c word convenes a festival of ideas for staff at Consumers Affairs 2011: Cocktails to celebrate 4th of July, and co-location with our clients @veskiorg in the charming Milton House 2012: We welcomed BirdLife Australia and Bird Week to our nest 2013: Cannoli, Cavallaro family and characters for Your Footscray with media tours, festivals and rooftop dates 2014: Becoming a fellow, counting birds and celebrating our client’s 10 years Jack Walden FPRIA with Mike Watson FPRIA Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.41.11 pm the c word has become the company it is today: a crew of hard workers working alongside classic and contemporary brands with accelerated timelines on budget and with maximum innovative thinking. And this has paid off. Jack has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and an eagerness to take on the unknown to make it BIG. “As someone who’s been passionate about communications for my whole career, I found an opportunity to apply some of the most exciting things I learned from some incredible mentors…while being an entrepreneur at the same time.” — Jack Walden The c word has been an agent for collaboration, creativity, and has sparked many conversations for both the public and private sectors. Between 2007 and today, we’ve seen this company transform from a ‘one man band’ with few resources and a big goal to the popular creative agency we all know and love. We are proud of our work, and we sincerely hope you believe that our efforts now, and in the future, with a commitment to the vision that launched us, will merit a lasting future. Here’s cheers to the next seven years! Thank you to all of our clients, chums, collaborators, colleagues – and of course the creative, cool crew members who have helped make the c word the success it is today! Cheers, Jack & the c word crew