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!

Closing comment – Celebrating 50 years of Bewitched: comedy, advertising and a witch


Fifty years ago this week a charming witch named Samantha met a mortal advertising executive named Darrin and the rest is comedic history.

Five decades on, and two Darrins later, we thought we’d look at some magical tips we can conjure up from the show’s almost-decade long run.

  1.  Someone is always looking (remember their nosy neighbours) – so consider what your actions, website, social media and publications are communicating even when you’re not with them!
  2. Magic doesn’t solve every problem – sometimes you need to knuckle down and work your way through an issue/challenge
  3. Make an entrance with a burst of smoke – every major event needs a little smoke to set the scene and stun the audience into silence
  4. Always be ready for the unexpected – whether it’s an extra guest for a roundtable discussion or a publication delivery gone MIA; have a plan B, C & D
  5. Be ready to explain yourself and answer difficult questions – so you probably wont have to explain why a witch would marry a mortal but you should always be well informed and ready to answer questions about your products/services/programs!

And always remember that your facial expressions can reveal a lot about what you are saying – think nose twitch!

While researching this story (also known as scouring Google) we were transported back to the internet in the 90s with the wonderful broomstick for a mouse-clicker on

Now to go work on our nose twitches!

Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – caffeinated classroom: axis of video



Our video production collaborator Burning House joined the c word last week for a caffeinated classroom focused on video. The result: a captivated class of communicators committed to creating cool video content!

The trends
Tim Anderson from Burning House covered off the latest trends in video including:

  • Knowledge
  • Native Advertising
  • Choice
  • Interactivity
  • Distribution
  • Mobile
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Quality

Who, how, why?
Every time Burning House begins a video project they ask the questions: Who are you wanting to communicate with; targeted? How will they consume the communication: which channel, platform, viewing environment? Why do you want to communicate: what do you want out of it?

Choose your own adventure

Tim shared a cool video from Peugeot, which allowed customers to choose their own adventure. The tip: give users the opportunity to take control of their video viewing!

The axis of video

Charlie Porter from Burning House gave us the axis of video. Apparently he’s obsessed with axes; we were the beneficiaries.

The class of September 2014 discovered the extremes of creativity and lifespan.

For creative it’s capture to crafted while lifespan deals with disposable to evergreen.

Capture – footage shot for limited use with minimal production
Crafted – scripted, well-developed story boards and skillfully shot video
Disposable – use once and then it hits the cutting room floor
Evergreen – to be played time and time again on a website, at meetings or via email.

Charlie conveyed that your answers to the previous three questions [who, how, why] determine where on the axis your video needs to sit.

Top tips

The top tips from the creative crew at Burning House:

  1. Share, share share – once you’ve spent the time and money creating a video share it through as many channels as possible
  2. Start with the who, why & how – solid answers to these questions will guide the video development project
  3. Sound is critical - whether you’re shooting on an iPhone or a professional camera: get the sound right
  4. Work with what you’ve got – get creative and re-purpose stills that have been gathering dust on the server
  5. Keep it short – about 90 seconds is as long as most videos need to be

And here are a few video ideas to start thinking about today:

  • FAQ’S

Head over to the Burning House website for a peek at some of their creative work!

Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – Chim Chim Cher-ee, Mary Poppins turns 50


This week, Mary Poppins celebrated her 50th year on the silver screen. Fifty years since Dame Julie Andrews flew in on her umbrella and brought the loveable Mary into the homes and hearts of millions of people around the world.

Mary, the magical nanny with the perfect British accent and a bottomless carpet bag, has a unique ability to walk the fine line between merriment and earnestness, and the gift of teaching without people realising they’re being taught – perhaps it’s that “spoon full of sugar”.

While the movie is as feel good as they come – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – it has also played a critical role in many people’s lives and this week TIME described Mary as the original Disney feminist.

Half a century later, Mary continues to teach children – and adults – many important life lessons. For communicators we can learn a few lessons from Miss Poppins too.

  1. Respond in person (even to ripped up letters) – when Mary wants the job she responds to the children’s advertisements in person proving face to face communication is always best
  2. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down – when communicating change, lead with the positives and benefits
  3. Know your audience, and listen before you communicate – Mary watches and listens before communicating with the children, the mother, the father, and countless other characters in the movie
  4. A good song, laughter and perhaps a dancing penguin can make or break a presentation
  5. Never give up – some advice from Walt Disney himself who spent years in pursuit of the film rights and also Mary who knows she can win her audience (the family) over!

Time for a jolly holiday or at least a weekend!

Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – Celebrities, cash and a cold challenge


Oprah’s done it. Nicole Kidman too. Red Symons has helped bring it to Victoria, along with Victorian Labor Leader Dan [Daniel to those who haven’t caught the new adverts]. But Pamela Anderson is steering clear!

We’re talking about the ice bucket challenge sweeping the world; a fundraising and awareness-raising activity that’s gone viral in an effort to raise awareness and much-needed funds for ALS research.

It’s a simple concept – take one bucket of icy cold water *brrrr*, dump it over your head, and then challenge three other people within your circle to take the challenge – but one that taps into the internet’s love of a challenge!

So far the ALS Association, a non-profit organisation that conducts research and provides help for those with the debilitating neurological disorder, has received more than $22.9 million in donations; $20 million up on the same period last year.

Sadly, the man who started the global sensation died earlier this week in a diving accident. But Corey Griffin leaves a lasting legacy and has created a phenomenon that has raised millions of dollars and taken the world by storm.

How long will it last? It’s hard to tell but possibly with the number of celebrities now embracing it for a PR stunt, only a few more weeks! But let’s hope for the sake of ALS research that it lasts a few weeks or months more, and at the very least raises a few more million dollars!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and lend your hand to #StrikeOutALS by donating at

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – C= Canberrean writer Lucy Nelson heading to coastal Sri Lanka with writing fellowship


Here’s a post the combines charitable people (philanthropy at its best!), creative people (writers at their best) and a month in Colombo.

Our chums at Templeberg Villa (Melbourne-based Brent and Christopher) have awarded their second Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship to Canberra-based writer Lucy Nelson.

Ms Nelson was awarded the 2014 Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship at a Writers Victoria event The Salon this week and will travel to Templeberg Villa in Galle, in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, before the end of this year.

The fellowship includes a return airfare from Melbourne to Colombo in Sri Lanka, a 30-day tourist visa, internal transfer costs, accommodation, full board (all meals, which according to the 2013 winner are excellent and inspiring in themselves) and an A$1,000 spending allowance.

Nelson will use her time there to work on a novel-length manuscript set within rural Sri Lanka about secrets that make slaves of their keepers. “There is nothing that could more usefully serve the development of my project than being plunged into its spicy, sticky setting,” she said.

Having spent six years as an ‘adopted’ member of a Sinhalese family in Melbourne (including some time in rural Sri Lanka learning to speak Sinhala amidst extended family), Nelson says that the sensory awakening she experienced there has continued to haunt her. “Through this project, I am attempting to capture the evocative elements of that culture, and to use this landscape of quiet constant rhythms as a complementary setting to a narrative that is both gripping and lingering,” she explains.

Eleven writers were shortlisted for the residency, which attracted high-quality applications from writers from nearly all states and territories of Australia.

“Writers in Australia are so fortunate to have opportunities like this one and I’m incredibly grateful to have been considered,” Nelson, who travelled to Melbourne to accept her fellowship, said upon receiving the fellowship.

The international fellowship is a philanthropic initiative of the Australian based owners of Templeberg Vila, Christopher Shields and Brent Carey.

“Both Brent and I are delighted to offer this fellowship again this year, with Lucy as the recipient,” Shields said. ‘’As a philanthropic contribution, this long-term commitment to the Australian writing community is fairly modest, but our hope is that the funding will contribute positively to the lives of Australian writers and our adopted home of Sri Lanka.”

“It is very important to us that the fellowship will allow an Australian writer to pursue their artistic endeavors but to also reach out and touch and be touched by the landscape and people of Sri Lanka,” Shields said.

An international judging panel was chaired by acclaimed Sri Lankan-based author Royston Ellis, along with Victorian travel writer Michelle Aung Thin, winner of last year’s fellowship Michelle Wright, Carey and Shields.

“I can’t wait to be back in Sri Lanka and get to work,” Nelson said.

Based on the story from Writers Victoria.