Cinema & comms in the #CommsCorner with Lauren Zoric


This week we with spoke with Lauren Zoric (@laurenzoric), the Marketing & Communications Manager for the renowned Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). The festival is one of the oldest and respected of its kind, and Lauren manages its marketing and communications. A self-confessed music lover, and with a work history of music and arts journalism, Lauren has found a job she loves at MIFF.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

I grew up in Melbourne, and started out in music journalism and community radio. I was utterly consumed by music and writing, so I moved to London in 1999, where I worked in publicity at two cult indie record labels, Warp Records and The Leaf Label, and started writing for publications like i-D, The Face and The Guardian. In London I also co-founded a publicity agency, Dog Day Press, with an international roster of music artists. I returned home to Melbourne, and found the perfect role at MIFF in 2012. My local community is important to me, and I serve as a volunteer Board Member on the Clifton Hill/North Fitzroy Community Branch of the Bendigo Bank.laurenMIFF

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

The MIFF year is divided into the planning stage, and the doing stage. Half the year I’m working with our agency McCann Melbourne on the forthcoming campaign strategy, meeting and negotiating with potential or current festival sponsors and partners, talking about activations and events at the festival, as well as keeping the regular MIFF comms ticking over across eNews and social media, producing a podcast and video content, maintaining the website and overseeing the MIFF Members program. Then there’s the doing part – implementing the huge campaign, delivering on the benefits to our partners, and selling-in about 350+ films on offer each year. Sometimes I even get to watch a film! During the festival, I’m glued to Twitter, checking out all the reactions, and focusing on sales reports and making sure our comms are meaningful and relevant.

When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?

I was so besotted with music as a teenager, I read all the music magazines and thought being a rock journalist was the life for me! I studied RMIT Media Studies, starting getting published as a music journo, and worked in community radio at Triple R. I fell into music publicity in London and learned on the job about campaigns, pitching stories, writing press releases – communicating the story of bands and songwriters to persuade journalists to listen and write about them. It was such a competitive environment – so much music, so many media outlets, and the culture was very neophile and trend-driven. I loved the scale of the music industry in London. Similarly now, I love the scale of MIFF – it takes over the whole city. It’s beautiful that it’s an event that is owned and loved by the community. You overhear people talking about the festival on the tram. I still get a kick out of that.

Which tools can’t you live without?

I am addicted to my phone, like everyone else. Social media, for finding, communicating with and listening to audiences. Social media scheduling tools. Google docs!

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Managing the workload in the key months of the year when the program is launched and tickets are on sale. Marketing and Comms is a bottomless pit, there is no end to how much work you could put in or ideas you could develop, especially when you have as much rich content as we do at MIFF. Having a clear strategy, prioritising the most effective channels and making sure the sales results are where they need to be keeps me on track.

Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?

The last one, of course! I loved the #MIFF2015 key art illustration by We Buy Your Kids, the focus on the audience experience, developing the campaign experiential and working with more video content.

My favourite music PR campaign was working with the Gossip on their Standing In The Way of Control album. Their front woman Beth Ditto is a powerful punk rock singer, feminist and activist for gay rights. The campaign started out with grassroots media, but Ditto is such a compelling performer and media talent, the story took off – suddenly she was being dressed in Dior couture for 8 page fashion magazine shoots, and by the end of the year NME named her #1 on their 2006 Cool List. The impact was huge. The Guardian Weekend magazine supplement put her on the cover and gave her a weekly advice column: What Would Beth Ditto Do? You couldn’t dream up a campaign like that!

What’s been the biggest change to communication since you began your career?

The disruption of digital. The importance of video. The ability for the audience to communicate directly with an organisation through social media, and get an immediate response.

If you had to cut something in your communication budget, what would it be?

Paying for print advertising is increasingly hard to justify.

What quality do you look for in your communication team members?

Integrity, initiative, humour, willingness to keep learning, resilience for when hours are long and problems need solving. Ideas and solutions. Organisation and coordination skills. A fine way with words. Photo and video editing skills.

What’s your favourite brand?

In the arts space, I adore MONA in Hobart and the associated festivals, in winter Dark Mofo, and in summer MOFO (MonaFoma). I love the design aesthetic, the risky programming – it’s razor-sharp style that delivers must-see art, music and culture. Not only have they become a significant international art destination, the Tasmanian community has gone along on the journey. I heart them so much!

What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?

I mainly read fiction, or non-fiction history when it comes to books. As for blogs, everyone should read Jon Loomer to know what to do about Facebook this week, for strategy & management pick-me-ups, and Aeon Magazine for thoughtful reflection. I’ve been getting a lot out of on the content marketing front, and I read everything by Eaon Pritchard – punk rock marketing science. I subscribe to for audience development insights.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ the best way to solve problems, and prevent them from happening in the first place.

I’m a celebrity … let me in


With the new Cabinet contained, the AFL and NRL grand finals over for another year, and several weeks before another celebratory public holiday, we were concerned we’d have nothing to blog about this week.

Just when we were considering c-words to describe the “it’s hot and it’s cold” weather in Melbourne (yawn),  Kate Ceberano got ousted from the Qantas Lounge for wearing flip-flops. Ms Ceberano, disgusted with the treatment and disrespect of her Haviana thongs, took to social media to vent about her “experience” and gave us content for our blog for the week.

757792-c7ae9a28-6b1a-11e5-a6ff-375823713d47Who cares? I can hear you thinking. Well, ten thousand plus Australians have liked the picture of Ms Ceberano’s foot on Facebook … and counting. Thousands have even commented saying it is “un-Australian” to have a dress code or that they’d rather fly Virgin.

Qantas hasn’t taken to social media to formally respond. But considering the evidence all over the internet, and their pre-existing lounge dress policies. They might just let this one fly by.

I’m sure Kate is used to the ‘experience’ we all relate to when flying: perfect timing with departure, the smiley, welcoming staff who maintain their airline’s tradition of great service, warm towelettes doled out both after departure and before arrival, the entertainment system that makes you want to stay on board, and the liberal provision of drinks. So this harrowing experience I’m sure will make Kate pack a pair of closed in shoes on her next business trip.

Rules are rules, and even with Kate’s 25 year member status they still apply. You’d think after being a Qantas member for 25 years you would know the policies … but alas maybe she hadn’t flown in a while.

But enough about that. And onto something else that has been around for 25 years. Something worth celebrating. It’s 25 years since the first copy of the Herald Sun was printed. The Herald Sun arrived in 1990 when the morning paper The Sun News-Pictorial was amalgamated with its sister broadsheet The Herald. The first press was 8 October. The Herald Sun is Victoria’s favourite Tabloid newspaper if numbers are anything to go by, both in print and digitally.

The baby of NewsCorp has gathered a big following over the past 25 years. From blue collared workers to business men. The paper has evolved with the times, as have ideas of who the readers are and what they want and need. The digital version has allowed the paper to embrace new technologies and redefine how the news is presented. Indeed, The Herald Sun is only a young paper, but has already redefined and reinvented itself many times. Of course it’s had its bouts of trouble, but what 25 year old hasn’t?

In recent years, Herald Sun readers have become accustomed to a supermarket of information in a tabloid style paper packed with world, national, suburban and city news, and a panoply of sports, business, arts, entertainment, science and other subjects. There is something for everyone, and it’s easy to read and entertaining. Most readers of the Herald Sun and any newspaper today are already aware of breaking news from broadcast and Internet sources, which means these papers must provide higher level analysis and interpretation.

Happy Birthday!

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

#CommsCorner with @paulnprice


This week we chat with @paulnprice, an Australian communicator living and working in New York. Paul has built an impressive career over the past 25 years; consulting to leading marketers such as ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, HP and Pfizer and leading multiple marketing services companies across direct marketing, digital, retail and advertising disciplines. His innovative approach and collaborative management style embrace and overcome marketing challenges we face everyday in the 21st century.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

PAULfinalProud father, loving husband and a digital marketing services leader.

Tell us about your typical day as a communicator?

A quick scan of my favorite bloggers on apps like Pulse and Zite including a couple of guilty pleasures like Twitter and Reddit then check-in with the leadership team to make sure I’m doing what they need me to.

Call the clients and call the ones we want. “Always be closing.”

The rest of the day tends to fill itself with the more tactical things but I try to focus on what helps our business and its people grow.

When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?

In high school I wanted to be a journalist so when a job at a local newspaper came up I took it. The ads we’d get from agencies caught my attention and when I moved to Melbourne I got a job at my first ad agency in the traffic department. I was soon in front of clients taking briefs from my first client, the Myer Bargain Basement.

What made you move from the world of advertising to the world of customer experience?

Customer Experience is the new advertising. In other words, advertising is just one experience of a brand to manage amongst many others like the mobile, social and commercial web, in-store and so on. To really solve today’s marketing challenges you need to embrace the view that every experience of your brand should be managed with your consumer’s experience of it in mind. Every experience communicates.

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

I love film so I think of some great directors. Orson Welles was amazing – he created masterpieces in every medium he had access to. He was a great creative director, probably the greatest. Likewise Stanley Kubrick who made a masterpiece in every major genre.

I had the privilege of working for DDB when it was awarded the world’s most creative agency network three years in a row and we all believed in Bill Bernbach’s vision as one of the first great admen.

Which tools can’t you live without?

They’re all from Apple and not likely to change anytime soon.

What are the biggest challenges in your field?

Digital transformation of business coupled with new marketing and advertising technology are displacing or replacing a lot of marketing services. Standing still is going backward.

You’ve spent a lot of time in advertising, what’s your favourite campaign and why?

Wassup? for Bud from DDB Chicago is still my favourite. I had run the Fosters Brewing Account in Australia, so I recognised the subtle but important cleverness in the creative strategy behind it. It went viral way before Facebook or YouTube existed so imagine how powerful it would have been now.

Bill Bernbach’s revolutionary work for Volkswagen is often overlooked for the breakthrough it was compared to other advertising styles at the time.

What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations/advertising since you began your career?

The arrival of digital and it still isn’t done yet. We’re going through the next big change as a result of the emerging Internet of Things.

If you had to cut/change/create something in your communication budget, what would it be?

I prefer to think of optimising instead of cutting.

What quality do you look for in your communication team members?

Be passionate. And be nice.

Which companies are creating the best experiences?

Apple is at the height of their game – almost every experience they create is amazing.

What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?

Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahnman – it challenges a lot of misguided assumptions about how we process what we encounter. A good communicator should be an expert in understanding how consumers pay attention.

What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communication?

I wasted too much money on suits.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ a meaningful experience.

C = correspondence, conjecture and a classless platform


Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch puts his thoughts out on the Twittersphere just like any other Joe Bloggs. Last month, Hugh Martin from La Trobe University wrote this great piece in The Conversation examining why a media mogul, billionaire and powerful person like Murdoch might bother with Twitter – and gives us an insight into Rupert’s tweeting style.

Why does Rupert Murdoch bother with Twitter?

Hugh Martin, La Trobe University

After one of his semi-regular visits to Australia, News Corp executive chairman Rupert Murdoch recently let forth with a series of Twitter pronouncements covering Labor’s problem with unions, the need for a free trade agreement with China, the deadlocked Senate that is making Australia “ungovernable”, and the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef (which was cover for a dig at the Greens).

Murdoch is nothing if not a prolific tweeter. But why does he bother?

As the head of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, Murdoch has more media outlets at his beck and call than anyone. His editors famously either intuit or are told what he wants published and act accordingly. He has more reach than any single individual on the planet. And he uses it.

So, why would a man with so much media power at his fingertips, and political power on three continents to match, choose to expose himself to the raw landscape of the Twittersphere?

It’s a question that has exercised at least one of his biographers. Michael Wolff has said Murdoch uses Twitter to “express himself”, which really doesn’t explain why a global news organisation isn’t satisfying enough.

To anyone familiar with his newspapers and TV networks the views Murdoch expresses on Twitter are not surprising. It appears he is not “expressing” anything different on Twitter.

In the past week Murdoch has tweeted in support of Ben Carson as the potential Republican US presidential candidate, drug threats faced by rural communities, and the political situation in Australia. His news organisations comprehensively covered all of these topics and apparently represented his viewpoints accurately (pro-Carson, anti-drugs, pro-Tony Abbott).

So it’s clear Twitter serves a different purpose than simply allowing Murdoch to express a personal view. Nor is his use of the social media network about engaging directly with other users. His responses to specific tweets are rare – he uses it as a broadcast medium.

Murdoch has 609,000 followers on Twitter, which is tiny in the context of News Corp’s global audiences. He follows 110 people. Social media conversation is not what he is interested in.

Murdoch’s use of Twitter may be far more revealing on a personal and sentimental level than has previously been recognised.

In 2008, Wolff wrote:

Murdoch, at 77, can’t use a computer, doesn’t get email, can’t get his cell phone to work properly, can’t even imagine changing the variables on a spreadsheet.

Some of that, at least, is simply wrong.

While it is true that Murdoch isn’t a digital native, he has always demonstrated a hands-on approach to technology that pertains to the media industry. Whether that is sub-editing copy onscreen for early editions of The Sun, running printing presses during the Wapping strikes of the mid-1980s or tweeting from his iPad, he knows how to use the tools.

In November 2005, at a small gathering of News Limited editors in Adelaide that I attended, Murdoch said:

When I get up in the morning I check the news from all over the world. I am constantly amazed by the rich variety of offerings on the web.

This was at a time when News was gearing up for a digital fight with its competitors. Murdoch said very clearly that day that he wanted News to be at the forefront of digital publishing:

It’s where our audiences are moving to. And it’s where we have to be.

This is a man who has always led from the front. Murdoch is far more comfortable with technology than his legend would have us believe. And yet, something is odd about his use of Twitter.

For one thing, Murdoch’s style is unfamiliar to modern readers. Twitter is defined by its 140-character limit. But he uses this restriction to pack description via adjectives and terse use of verbs into the available space and make this relay his meaning:

Why should we be surprised at the incisive use of language? Murdoch has always identified as a journalist. He is, after all, the son of a celebrated journalist. But Twitter’s 140-character limit lends itself to a wonderfully eloquent and antiquated style of writing: telegraphese.

Rupert’s father, Keith, would instantly recognise his son’s tweets as exactly the sort of writing employed by journalists sending breaking news reports by telegram.

From the battlefields of the US Civil War to Murdoch senior’s own reporting from the Dardanelles in the first world war, telegraphese was the essential mode for journalists.

And that is how Rupert tweets, as if he is reporting to the world and paying for each word. The only thing missing is the characteristic “STOP”. If we were to add that into the above tweet the effect is immediate:

2 stories STOP Carson, Detroit ghetto to brilliant neurosurgeon STOP Obama white upbringing to community organizer STOP Sincere men, different values

In Rupert’s dotage, it seems the son is reliving the father’s glory years as a global correspondent.

The Conversation

Hugh Martin, Lecturer in Journalism, La Trobe University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Counting crows and citizen science

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 2.41.11 pm

Last October we helped launch the #AussieBirdCount in Sydney, this October we’ll be at Fed Square (another iconic backyard)

Excuse the ornithologically inspired blog post but we’re actually counting crows, not listening to the band.

We’re counting down to national Bird Week, which runs from 19 to 25 October, and we’ve become a little obsessed with the colourful stories of Aussie birds, and the people who share their backyards with them.

This is the fourth year the c word has been part of the PR team for this fantastic annual event, and every year it keeps getting better. We are excited to again be helping BirdLife Australia deliver the Aussie Backyard Bird Count – a citizen science project and Australia’s largest bird survey.

With less than a month until people head into their backyards, the countdown is on for the largest annual event on the BirdLife Australia’s calendar, and our crew is working hard to help deliver the best national Bird Week yet.

Do you have a story about Aussie birds to share?

We’ve been working closely with our contacts in the media with a passion for Aussie birds, as well as Aussie twitchers and ornithological specialists, to get ready for the event.

These conversations have already led us down some very interesting garden paths. We’ve chatted with a couple who have been in a bird count off for fifteen years (chasing a personal 700 species record), a group of bird watchers who enjoy craft beer while participating in a 24 hour twitch, and a woman who “felt like she was partly deaf before learning to understand the call of Aussie birds”.

The bird counting app is back and it’s even easier for Australians to get involved in the art of bird watching. Anyone can be a twitcher – from professionals such as Sean Dooley Editor of Birdlife Magazine to children playing in their backyards. The app is fun, user-friendly and creates an interactive experience.

Have you got 20 minutes? Have you got a smart phone? Then you can bird watch too. Get involved in the bird survey, download the app and get counting. We want to hear from all types of people, from all areas. This citizen science project will involve professionals from all over Australia along with non-professionals to collect and analyse the data, adding to BirdLife’s already large bank of knowledge.

Our aim is to help BirdLife Australia count 1 million birds in 7 days.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

#CommsCorner with Rumbie Pasipanodya


This week in the #CommsCorner we sit down with Rumbie Pasipanodya, a Marketing and Publicity Coordinator at Schwartz Media (the publishers of the Monthly and The Saturday Paper) and a former intern at the c word.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally? 

photoRumbieHello, I’m Rumbie – a young communicator working for Schwartz Media as a Marketing and Publicity Coordinator. I love to travel and you can often find me eating my way through Melbourne with a smile on my face.   

Tell us about your typical work day? 

There is no such thing a typical working day, it’s fantastic.  

When did you first know you wanted to work in PR? 

In my first year of my PR degree (phew), I had always known I wanted a career in communications but it wasn’t until I had finished my first year that I could really see myself working in the industry as a publicist.  

Who’s your communication hero/mentor? 

I like Kelly Cutrone, I really admire her integrity, hard work ethic and ability to actually deliver! 

Which tools can’t you live without? 

My notebook is essential, I know it sounds outdated but I always need to be able to put pen to paper and write down ideas, tasks, notes.  

What are the biggest challenges in your role? 

The hard deadlines, we are often under the pump to make sure we meet our printers deadlines but it’s always so rewarding when the magazine and the paper arrive fresh off the press! 

Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on? 

I was lucky enough to work on the Monthly‘s 10 year anniversary campaign. It felt great to work on a campaign that focussed on celebrating a milestone for the magazine and also in Australian publishing. It was in the first 6 months in my role so I felt very fortunate to be involved in something so celebratory. 

Which campaign do you most admire? 

I really love the Dove real beauty sketches campaign, it’s a couple of years old but it was so incredibly emotive and perfectly suited to their market. A beautiful, well executed idea.

If you had to keep something in your communication budget, what would it be? 

Brilliant copy writers, for us words are everything so it’s important for the copy to be perfect.   

What’s your favourite brand? 

I really love Aesop, they always have consistent brand messaging and they have such beautiful stores no matter where you are in the world, their stores are always a delight to visit.  

What book/blog do you think every communicator should read? 

Every communicator should be reading the Monthly and The Saturday Paper.

What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications? 

Experience is so important, even if it’s in an area that you don’t think you would enjoy. It helps you understand exactly where it is you are best suited and why. 

My first few internships were in areas of communications that I thought I would love but quickly learnt they were not all they were cracked up to be. The more experiences I exposed myself to the better I understood my strengths and weaknesses.  

Finish this sentence: Communication is … essential.

Consoles and controllers: 30 years of Mario Bros and another spill in Canberra

Malcolm takes the controls

Malcolm takes the controls

There are two brothers – both small business owners (plumbers in fact). They launched in September 1985, and their empire has only grown. They are greenies and walk everywhere (or run). They are cheap, have great reviews, and are willing to leave their suburbs for money (or in search of a princess). We are of course talking about the overall-wearing, mushroom-eating, coin-collecting Mario Bros: Mario and Luigi.

Happy 30th to Nintendo and the Bros – here’s to another 30 years of fun times.

As fun as video games can be, there are two other players to discuss this week, which brings us to the games of Australian politics. They are of course our former Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull, who has become Australia’s newest PM, and his predecessor Mr Abbott.

This blog is not going to be another analysis of this week’s political stampede. We’re not going to regurgitate what you would already know if you’ve even glanced at the ABC or your Twitter stream. But we can’t go by without talking about Australia’s latest spill.

Our new Prime Minister is a respected businessman. So let’s hope he can use some of his business acumen and just get on with the job at hand.

Malcolm Turnbull had a long list of careers before entering politics, from representing former MI5 agent Peter Wright to becoming an investment banker, from being chairman of a logging company in the Solomon Islands to overseeing the expansion of OzEmail in the early days of the internet. He also ran the Australian Republican Movement for most of the 1990s. And he’s a communicator, and a good one.

He has some big issues to deal with – many similar to other industries at the moment – including the number of women in high positions. Already there has been a push for Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet to feature more women. Parliamentary Secretary Kelly O’Dwyer says the party would do better with more women on the frontbench. Australia’s eyes are watching.

Turnbull has already fronted the media, careful with his words and seems to (unlike many public figures) think before he speaks. With the media hanging on his every word and movement who can blame him. He has a grace and sophistication with the English language that the everyday Australian either respects or finds a bit pompous. Either way, love or hate him – he looks and acts like a leader.

And from the arena of Aussie politics, a great opening speech from Turnbull:

“A style of leadership that respects the peoples’ intelligence, that explains these complex issues, and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take, and makes a case for it. We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.”

Hopefully he’ll be a winner, and the PM’s office won’t need to do another run of business cards for at least another 12 months.

Cheers, Jack and the c word crew