Category Archives: Events

C is for celebration

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Today. Thursday, 24 November – the last Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States, officially kicking off the holiday season. In fact, more people in the US celebrate Thanksgiving than Christmas – making it the country’s most loved holiday.

In 1939, during the Great Depression, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to create a boost to retailers before Christmas. The precursor to what is now known as “Black Friday” – the biggest shopping day of the year.

If you are interested in the history of this holiday check out Melanie Kirkpatrick’s fascinating book, “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience”.

But if pop culture is more your thing, you can read all about what the late Joan Rivers served up as a thanksgiving feast.

Many celebrities get involved and share their thanksgiving stories and time.

And in New York there’s the annual and colourful Macy’s Parade.

Wherever you are, however your year has been, take time today to be reflective and give thanks for the things important to you.

Happy celebrations from all of us at the c word.

Cute owls attract crowds

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img_1646Next week’s c-word is counting as we take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, helping our client BirdLife Australia count 1.5 million birds in 7 days.

On Wednesday, we helped BirdLife Australia bring a pop-up backyard, complete with a very cute owl, to Sydney’s urban backyard, Martin Place. Serena the owl certainly knew how to draw a crowd.

BirdLife Australia is calling on all Australians to head into their favourite outdoor spaces and join the count from Monday 17 October.

We’re calling on all c-words to embrace their inner #BirdNerd and join the count … come on it’s a c-word!

Whether you count in your own backyard, local park or botanic gardens, in a group, with a friend or by yourself, everyone who joins the count will help BirdLife Australia reach its target of counting 1.5 million birds in 7 days. It’s fun, but it has a bigger purpose: it provides a picture of how Australian birds are faring across the country.

No matter where you are, there are birds all around you. It doesn’t matter if you live in the suburbs, in the city, by the sea or in the country; our Australian birds live in all different types of habitats. Sometimes you just need to look up!

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count really is for everyone, and anyone can take part anywhere in Australia.

Download the FREE app or head to the website to get started and become a part of this huge citizen science event.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Conversations from a #CommsCorner Congregation

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Reimg_1501cently, we hosted our first #CommsCorner Congregation. A congregation of communicators who have taken the chair in our #CommsCorner over the past couple of years.

As you would expect from a room full of communicators, the conversations didn’t stop – literally until the lights were turned off. Topics ranged from the creative to the cool and covered everything from errant commas to compelling TV shows.

Adding to the flavour of the event was the range of backgrounds represented in the room. Some communicators who had pursued communications from the starts of their careers (or before) and others who had found their way to communications after careers in law, property and travel.

The common thread was our passion for storytelling and understanding of the power of communication.

If you missed this one, don’t worry. We are already planning our next #CommsCorner Congregation and look forward to watching as the conversations kick off.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Communication lessons from #Rio2016

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For more than 100 years, the modern Olympic Games have been celebrated as a testament to human physical achievement and power. On another scale the games are also an opportunity for peaceful cooperation between nations. They’re also a huge global marketing opportunity. With the world watching, the right mix of communications can make or break an Olympic sponsor. With the large audience and participants involved in the international event, there has been some form of controversy in nearly every Olympic year since 1906.

5591054268_40c2a4b3ce_mEven before Rio had its official opening ceremony there was controversy surrounding it. One such problem affecting the Rio Olympics — not to mention the rest of Brazil — is the spread of the Zika virus, which was declared a public health emergency earlier this year. There was the slumping Brazilian economy and let’s not forget the water tests that showed the public that Rio’s Olympic waters were heavily polluted with human sewage; not to mention an alarming number of disease-causing viruses and bacteria that were present. These were all handled with poise by the respective Olympic representatives.

After years of preparation, what a party so far: the venues have turned out to be amazing, despite the original hiccups.  The sport has come first (mostly), Rio2016 is now in day 5. Listed are 5 communication lessons we’ve learned and reviewed so far.

1. Practice makes perfect

The opening ceremony had to be planned just like any event. Brazil kicked off this year’s Olympics with a low-budget opening ceremony that was full of colour and a Samba bear. Throw in some dancing and some preaching about environmentalism for good measure.

The ceremony seemed flawless until it was leaked to media that Brazilian supermodel Gisele made a mistake in her walk – she was too fast (ironic at the Olympics really).  Her walk in a thigh-split silver sequined gown (amazing) led to a 1,850% rise in Google searches for her name in just one hour. Richard Lawson, of Vanity Fair, said: “Gisele literally just walked across the stadium and it was an event.”

2. Watch your P’s and Q’s even in the pool

When the Mack Horton scandal erupted a few days ago, many Australians had never heard of the young swimmer. The 24-year-old was at the centre of controversy three days before the Olympics began when Fairfax Media revealed that a Chinese swimmer had tried to disrupt Horton by splashing him at the training pool in Rio. Horton responded by saying he had “no time or respect for drug cheats”, a jab at Sun’s positive drug test two years ago. Sun served a three-month doping ban in 2014, which the Chinese federation kept secret.

Earlier this week, Chinese fans took the grudge into their own hands, attacking Horton on his various social media accounts using the hashtag #apologizetosunyan.

“Your parents and whole country should be shame [sic] on what you’ve said,” one user wrote on Instagram.

Another wrote: “You even won the match, but you are still a loser, you don’t deserve to have an Olympic gold medal.”

Many other trolled Horton’s accounts with snake emojis.

Horton hasn’t taken to social media, and is charming the media, he claims his comments have been taken out of context and was quoted saying “what controversy”. It’s now up to the fans to decide as everyone looks towards the 1500m final – both of the swimmers main event.

3. Monitor your social…

London’s 2012 Summer Olympic Games had an official social media following of 4.7 million users across all platforms. Two years later, Sochi’s had gone up to over 5 million across two platforms alone: Facebook and VKontakte, the most popular Russian social media site. @Rio2016 is sitting at more than 500K followers on Twitter. Thinking beyond the official channels, and only five days in, the potential impact of social media on the games is endless.

4. Advertising and brands can make the most of any event.

Westpac put together a montage of Olympians’ family members attempting their sports. It’s funny, adorable, and leaves you feeling nice and warm.  Susie O’Neills mum doing the butterfly stroke is cute. Lacoste for team France anyone? Rio 2016 marks the fifth time Ralph Lauren has dressed Team USA. Stella McCartney based the looks she created for Great Britain’s athletes on the signature silhouettes that commonly feature in her fashion designs.  We saw Puma in the opening ceremony looking after Cuba’s team, but it is rumoured that Christian Louboutin has helped create outfits for the closing ceremony on 22 August. The Olympics gives these brands a whole new platform to expose themselves to a larger public.

5. Has Channel Seven’s Olympic coverage controlled and changed the way we can watch sports.

Channel Seven has decided to broadcast the Olympics solo. No Foxtel partnership. People who want to watch Gymnastics live for example have to pay for it via a subscription app. This has already upset the public. Why should we have to pay for an event that is broadcast for free in other nations? The Conversation explores this in a deep analysis.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

C for Casting our eyes back over the year. In hindsight…

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It’s that time of year again. The Kris Kringle presents are getting swapped and it’s time to reflect on another 12 months of c-words, and we as you know love communications and all things that go with it. So many c-words to look back on from the past 12 months. Wow 2015 you have been truly amazing!

The 1989 movie Back to the Future, Part II gave the world a fictitious view of what 2015 might look like through the eyes of Marty McFly, predicting things like flying cars and portable fusion power. the c word doesn’t yet have a time machine, but as the new year winds down, here’s a look at some of the real events that helped shape the communications landscape and the world in 2015.

There were no flying cars but we did have a chopper crisis in Canberra, a new royal cherub, Bruce Jenner transformed herself into Caitlyn, and Hillary Clinton continues to sprint towards the WhiteHouse!

Now sit back & catch up on our commentary:

And how could we forget the final moments of Mad Men … Coke or coastal contemplation?

Twitter has also released its top trends of 2015 – which highlighted the top 10 topics that people discussed. From Caitlyn Jenner to One Direction (all the really important stuff). Some did come as a bit of a surprise. https://2015.twitter.com/retweeted

Social Media as usual was on top of all the breaking news. Here’s a look at their top trends for 2015. https://2015.twitter.com/top-trends – a truly engaging platform!

And YouTube released its lookback at 2015 through a musical video of course. Take a look here: https://youtu.be/KK9bwTlAvgo

YouTube has been doing these types of video summaries for a few years now. But 2015 is the brands 10th birthday – a special occasion.

Facebook has been so kind to let their members create a “year in review”. Who wouldn’t want to look at a years worth of selfies?

Now here’s the the final countdown to 2016. What will the year ahead bring?

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

The Big O returns to Oz & other event inspirations

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Source: Oprah.com; George Burns

Whether it’s a surprise milestone birthday, a large gala dinner or a royal visit, events can be crazy or cool depending on the amount of planning put in place. With the announcement of Oprah’s return to Australia in December, we have been thinking about everything that goes into planning an event for the ‘lady of talk’.

From dawn until dusk, Oprah’s events during her 2010 visit went off like a rocket and appeared to her audience: flawless. Each provided a carefully staged managed glimpse at the country we call home.

From the audio visual spectacular of the lighting of the Big O on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during her official welcome event  to an intimate dinner in the Block Arcade in Melbourne, no detail was left unplanned.

There are things that can be controlled, like the venue, the food, the people you invite (not who turns up). But, there are also the uncontrollable elements of events from timing to weather to guest behaviour (tsk tsk).

Here were 5 event highlights from her time in 2010. We wonder what will be in store for December.

Here are 5 tips we took from watching Oprah and her crew dart around Australia:

  1. Plan for the unexpected –Hugh Jackman gets a black eye after a mishap
  2. Ensure you have the basics covered – for Oprah this means a motorcade
  3. Be prepared for extra guests and double check your guest list – don’t forget Russell Crowe
  4. Learn from your event – Tourism Australia review
  5. Have an event bible – 8 days in Australia

Mistakes at events are hard to hide. And one error generally leads to another. Timing, food requirements can all lead to disaster. So it doesn’t hurt to double and triple check.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

Closing comment – A turkey called Clyde

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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!