Category Archives: Marketing

Cooking up a campaign


A month or so back, I was lucky enough to be an attendee at one Leadership Victoria’s Innnovation series workshops ‘Thinking Strategically to Lead Innovation’. The course explored the concept of innovation and the importance in the business world. It was an interactive day filled with great content. As a group we explored the idea of mind mapping. This got me thinking about brainstorming and throwing ideas about in general.20111107-191743

At the beginning of a campaign – and you can relate this to most workplaces or fields – we all start with a blank canvas. If you’re an artist you could take this quite literally. To get from A to B, a lot of thoughts get thrown about and many thrown away.

Whether you’re ‘storming’ on your own or in a project group, gather lots of good ideas because you can always filter through these after. A good brainstorming session will produce a long list of ideas. When brainstorming as a team, ensure that everyone present has a voice and participates. Brainstorming within your company encourages teamwork and fosters a positive group dynamic where everyone is contributing to a common goal. If it’s appropriate include members of other departments within your organisation – this extends the teamwork and camaraderie throughout the project and the company.Walt-Disney-Mind-Map

Even if your best idea ends up being your original one, the other ideas can be used to enhance the original idea and/or create future marketing campaigns. Put simply you can never have too many ideas – a bit like the old golden rule – there is no stupid question. Brainstorming is an invaluable tool when you don’t have any ideas and are completely stuck on a problem.

The brainstorming process will not only produce ideas, but it can also be used to help develop ideas into specific actions. This is where mind mapping comes in. Mind mapping (or concept mapping) involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas which radiate out from the centre. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.

The most productive and effective brainstorming sessions follow a process.  Mind mapping has a few simple rules that allow the ideas to flow in a more effective way. Use colour, keep space for more ideas that might pop into your head. Put your central idea in the middle – this allows other ideas to radiate out and unlock others. Mind mapping is a great visual tool to allow the sharing of ideas to reach the end goal. It allows for collaboration.

Remember, great ideas can come from anywhere and often from where you least expect.  Some of our best marketing ideas have been generated on a whim, or whilst working on a completely different project. Don’t forget to write these ideas down at the time, this is why we think pen and paper are an essential tool.

Who doesn’t love a sharpie and butchers paper!


Jack and the c word crew

Can I borrow a biro? I just want to jot down my google results


Google has changed its name, creating Alphabet as a parent company for Google and many others, and now changed its logo – all in the space of a month. Haven’t seen it? Just google it. Notice I didn’t use a capital ‘G’ in the case of the word Google? That’s because it’s not just one of the world’s biggest brands, synonymous with web search, mobile browsing, email, photos and other tech startups. But also it’s now used as a pure verb – meaning to search the web.

There is a beautifully written piece from the New York Times in 2009 that explores brands as verbs. It focuses on Google and its Micosoft rival Bing. The use of brands as verbs is a good thing and the positives far outweigh the negatives. According to the article: “The risk of becoming generic is so low, and the benefits of being on the top of someone’s mind are so high”.

Take Xerox as an example. A large percentage of people (particularly Americans) use the word “Xerox” interchangeably for photocopy. This was frowned upon at first by the ‘big-wigs’ of the company, who thought it would pigeon hole them into a market and forever associate them with the good, the bad and the ugly of office photocopiers (who hasn’t wanted to kick a photocopier before?). However, the use of the word is marketing of its own, and far outweighs any negative connotations.

Google as a company has a rich 17-year history, evolving from a simple search engine to so much more: Google Maps (the only way I can find a restaurant), Gmail, Android, Chrome, YouTube and the list goes on. “The name of the company has now become its own verb in the dictionary,” the Today Show announced in the US back in 2007.

When we logged onto our computers on the first day of Spring, Google had done something different again. To our shock they changed their logo. Using the classic Google colours, simplifying the typeface, and moving to simply being G. On the day, Google teased us with a Google Doodle of the old logo being wiped away by an animated hand, probably using our tears as a lubricant, before replacing it with the new one.

While some people hate change, we love it. It’s a c-word after all. The new look for Google, a simple, sleek recognisable design seems in line with its parent company Alphabet. You’ll get used to it. And we bet, if you haven’t already you’ll google something later today.

Cheers, Jack & the c word crew

PS. What other brands have become verbs – add your own in the comments below 🙂

The three day week, cashing in on the royals & a majestic milestones


Sandwiched between Easter and Anzac Day are three little work days that people often avoid. For those of us who did not escape the city for greener pastures we managed to fit five days into three.

But we still stole some time for keeping up with the news. And here are a few things that caught our eye.

Aussie tourism cashing in on 10-day royal tour
It might be the first time in 40 years Australia hasn’t had a tourism minister but that hasn’t stopped the tourists from coming. These days their visits have more to do with celebrity pull than traditional tourism advertising. It’s estimated that the 10-day royal tour cost taxpayers more than $2 million, and the images of the royal couple at our iconic locations has led to a spike in Aussie tourism. Last night also saw the Australian premiere of the Modern Family Australian vacation episode. Tourism officials will be hoping these visits deliver big spikes in holiday bookings similar to Oprah and Ellen’s tours down under.

Majestic milestone
Last Monday, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 88th birthday—that makes her the longest serving monarch in British history! With that in mind do you think that Charles will ever be crowned the king and would it be good for the country? Given that the British monarchy drives an annual estimated sum of £500m a year from tourism would it be in their best interest to destabilise things now, when the next generation are so loved? Note to self, celebrity endorsements still work wonders!

Another royal birthday this week—or so they think—is that of William Shakespeare. It’s been 450 years since his wit and use of the English language had audiences laughing and sometimes crying in their seats. He’s literary royalty and to mark this occasion Mashable put together some super Shakespearean insults.

Want to know our favourite?

Here it is:

‘I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are armed’.

Next time you think about insulting someone take a minute to consider what Shakespeare might say, instead of the usual four letter option.

This handy hint could be particularly helpful for the ‘Real’ Housewives of Melbourne.

Fair dinkum Australian brands


Australian Flag

It’s Australia Day tomorrow. Time to celebrate living in this beautiful country. Time to enjoy a barbecue with friends. And time to look at some of the iconic brands that “still call Australia home”.

I couldn’t resist throwing in part of the Australian classic “I Still Call Australia Home”.

Now on with the blog …

First to Vegemite. You’ll find it in most Australian households either for frequent use or to have on hand for the overseas visitors.

I have personally only acquired the taste for Vegemite in the past few years but now don’t have to be worried about being found to be un-Australian. The only problem is a need to avoid the word c-word in the world: carbs (so vegemite on toast is off limits most days!!)

Before we look at the good. Let’s look at the not so good. iSnack 2.0. Where do I plug it in? How many batteries does it take? Will it play my podcasts? The brand copped a lot of flack over the decision to tinker with the classic taste and the name. After much public outcry, Kraft soon dropped the name and moved on to better things.

Now they’re back with another attempt to win Australians over with a name change. This time, they’ve opted for the name Australia. Watch out for the limited edition jars featuring a red Australian flag and Australia on the label. They’ll make any overseas visitor enjoy the taste even more.

The name change isn’t Vegemite’s only campaign to cash in on Australia Day. They are also celebrating Australia Day with special limited edition Vegemite jars featuring 10 remarkable but everyday Australians in the “Toast of a Nation”. It reminds me a little of the stamp series launched by Australia post back in the late 90s – remember?

I think both campaigns have turned out well and I am even considering rushing out and buying one or two of the limited edition jars. Thankfully they remembered to include Tasmania on their map of Australia, unlike Shapes.

That’s enough of a spread on Vegemite, now onto some other iconic Australian brands.

Hands up if you haven’t (at one point or another) had a hills hoist in your back yard? If not, put the mouse down and head off to Bunnings to check one out.

I can remember many hours spent with grandma hanging clothes on her hills hoist. And because of the set up of her back yard, we were able to jump on at the low point and fly around.

It’s one of many great Australian inventions and has become a symbol of Australia in many artistic works. It’s also a great example of a brand that spread like wildfire and came to represent a whole category of products. It’s our very own Xerox.

Another classic Australian brand is Bonds. Hands up (I know it’s starting to feel like we’re in a classroom) if you have never owned a pair of Bonds undies or a Chesty Bonds singlet? Now owned by Pacific Brands, the company has continued to produce a range of popular products. They company has also had its share of controversy with a large number of jobs moving overseas.

Australian tennis player Pat Rafter and model Sarah Murdoch have both promoted the brand in recent years.

I’m a Queenslander so I couldn’t let this post past without a reference to Bundaberg Rum and XXXX. Both brands are as Queensland as the Broncos and sunshine.

Last but not least, we can’t write a post about iconic Australian brands without mentioning Qantas. The “Spirit of Australia” has helped millions of people fly around this vast country of ours to weddings, concerts, business meetings and so the list goes on. As well as being a pioneering Australian company, they’ve also survived a number of other Australian airlines and dealt with a number of crises including the recent grounding of their entire fleet.

And who can talk about Qantas without thinking about the Qantas choir and their renditions of Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”.

Here are some c-word brands to think about on Australia Day:

  • Caramello Koala – 40 million sold in Australia each year
  • Carlton & United Breweries – call in for a Carlton at our friends at Meyers Place
  • Cascade Brewery – image adopted for its label in 1987, H. C. Richter’s 19th century illustration of the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger
  • Castlemaine Perkins – producers of XXXX (see above)
  • Chiko Roll – inspired by the Chinese egg roll and spring rolls
  • Clag (glue) – feels cold to touch and when applied to paper, it sometimes alters the colour of what is on it and causes paper to warp
  • Claytons – non-alcoholic Australian beverage
  • Coon cheese – available in every supermarket around Australia
  • Coopers Brewery – yet another Australian beer brand
  • Cottee’s – my dad picks the fruit that goes to …
  • Crown Lager – originally only available to visiting dignitaries but we can thank the Queen for making it available to the public
  • Crown Pilsner – yet another Australian beer

From everyone at the c word, have a wonderful Australia Day.


Jack & the c word crew


World Cup fever


While not everyone in the c word office is a World Cup tragic, we are all marketing tragics. So we have been interested in the Socceroos performance at the World Cup, and how the marketing of the round ball game continues in this country.

There are some big sponsorship dollars involved with Optus, Sony, Coles and even Weet-Bix heavily promoting the game. But with strong competition from codes like the ALF and NRL, will they continue to do so if the Socceroos don’t perform beyond expectations?

Prior to reaching the 2006 World Cup, you would not have seen the Socceroos on merchandise at all. However qualifying after thirty years and reaching the Top 16 instantly boosted the profile of the game in Australia.

Even thought the Socceroos have not performed as well as four years ago, they have still reached the pinnacle of the international stage in a truly world sport.

Football Federation Australia now has the difficult task of competing with other codes for audiences, participation, TV coverage and sponsorship; but certainly not an impossible one. The game has been on a course of constant growth and change for many years. Back in the National Soccer League days, the teams had strong affiliations with their ethnic roots and crowds reflected this. Italians went to watch Marconi, Greeks watched South Melbourne Hellas and the Croatians barracked for either Sydney or Melbourne Croatia, depending on their city.

The A-League has certainly made significant inroads here, with crowds exceeding 20,000 for high profile games. Although the quality of the game and its players has increased, the A-League can’t compete with the financial rewards of an overseas contract. Currently, there are more than 100 Australians playing internationally.

Despite this, there is definitely an appetite for football in this country. Soccer is one of the Top 10 sports played in Australia among men and women despite the minimal mainstream TV coverage. That said, 1.4 million Australians tuned in to watch Germany dash the Socceroos World Cup hopes with a 4-0 thrashing and similar numbers watched the team play against Ghana. Even 3AW’s This Sporting Life, which is AFL centric, committed significant airtime to discuss the merits of the teams, tactics and who the next coach of the Socceroos will be.

So what does Football Federation Australia have to do the keep building the game in Australia?

1. Firstly, playing on the world stage is paramount for promoting the game. Hiring a stand out coach for the Socceroos and player development are key. Not much a marketing department can do about that, however a successful team makes it an easier sell for sponsors and the general public.

2. Continue to build interest among children and future players. School visits by A-League players and Socceroos are necessary to keep the interest alive for younger fans. I love the Optus Small Sided Football competition to win a training session with Lucas Neil. Keep doing this Football Federation Australia. I’d be interested to know how well this site is doing.

3. World Cup bid 2022 – let’s get this right. To bring the world stage to our doorstep would be phenomenal. South Americans and their drums, African and their vuvuzelas (maybe…not), the Dutch, Germans, English and Italians. World Cup is a world party and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that.

4. Select ambassadors that children and adults relate to. Tim Cahill is great. And Schwarzer – is anyone not impressed when he saves a goal? Let’s use some local based players too like Archie Thompson. There was a missed opportunity to market our next hope. Who is he? I want to know who I’m going to be cheering for over the next few years. We all know the old guard will not be around so this was a failure to not start profiling our next champions.

5. Celebrate the history of the game, especially in this country. Let’s see some old video footage from the good old days. This is more for us older folk but it’s great to reminisce. It doesn’t need to just be about the Socceroos. Let’s profile those trailblazers like Craig Johnstone. That 1986 F.A. Cup final goal he scored for Liverpool is one of my first memories of the game.

6. Marquee players, local and international. Let’s pay for them to play here. And use them to boost the presence of the game

Well done to the Socceroos to secure a win against Serbia last week. A Gallant effort.

So now let’s hope the sponsors are committed to the development of the game long term. What else can we do?

While you have your thinking caps on, check out the new ad for the upcoming Hyundai A-League season created by BMF. I got a chuckle out of it.

the c word

There’s nothing like Au-stray-li-yah


Tourism Australia launched their new campaign this week to a mixed reaction. Some say the ad shows Australia and its people at their best with a catchy tune, while others argue that it’s embarrassing and bogan with a poorly chosen song. The song itself may come under scrutiny from Disney as the melody bears similarities to the Mickey Mouse Club song. So much for getting an advertisement with longevity if that’s the case.

Tourism ads are more widely criticised than the Olympic uniforms for our sports stars. At the c word, we just wish they would opt for a more simple approach with a classic tune.

The visual images for the current ad are quite beautiful and diverse. However the song… that’s another story. Let’s take the approach that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Looking back at the 1984 Hoges campaign was a nice little trek down memory lane. What worked about this ad is its simplicity and its star appeal. Remember Paul Hogan was pretty big in the States thanks to Crocodile Dundee. Yes, the language is a little naff but it made me giggle. Do you remember this gem?

It appears organisations like Qantas and even Network Nine (back when they were still the one) do a better job of showcasing Australia without the cringe factor. The Qantas “I Still Call Australia Home” ads are timeless – great song, great visuals, ridiculously simple concept. We all know what they look like so no need for a reminder here.

One ad that stuck in our memories was a 1999 Network Nine promotion using Gangajang’s “Sounds of Then (This is Australia)”. The simplicity of the concept and longevity of the song doesn’t really date the clip. Only thing that does is the Nine talent – spot Don Burke, Kerri-Anne and good ole Ray Martin.

What do you think of this one?

Wonder how long the latest campaign will last before they try another? When Tourism Australia does attempt another campaign, please use a classic song. We have great music in this country. Let’s use it.

So what song would you choose to represent Australia?


the c word

Communicator’s corner: Maryann Separovic


Maryann Separovic is an Account Director at the c word. She made the move to the c word after years of experience in arts and entertainment publicity and promotions.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

It all depends on which campaign I’m working on but it usually starts with checking news sites to see what happened in the world while I slept. I try to check my Google Reader at this time too; I get a wealth of information here from PR news, social media to what’s current in the blogosphere.

While I tap away at my keyboard, I like to keep an eye on Twitter. This is a great tool for me to source articles, news and also engage with fellow communicators, clients, media and the community.

Our projects at the c word are varied so the day can include anything from strategy development, proposal writing, copy writing and editing, research to brainstorming sessions and coming up with creative ideas and plans for our clients. Publicity tours can means endless days shuffling from one radio station to a TV studio with my phone glued to my ear.

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

After finishing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communications, my career took a slight detour in IT. I leant some invaluable skills in varied roles but I wanted to put my communication skills into practice. A little bit of networking goes a long way and I was offered a fantastic opportunity to work with a freelance film publicist and reintroduce myself to the world of comms.

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

I’ve worked with some amazing women in the early years of my career who taught me the ropes. Their support, tenacity, guidance and expertise were invaluable. Thanks Roxanne and Elise ☺

Given that I’ve invested years into watching the West Wing, I think I can count C.J. as a mentor too. What a woman!! Great press secretary and super awesome Chief of Staff.

Which tools can’t you live without?

My laptop and my iPhone. I consider them extensions of my body. I cannot fathom what life was like several years ago when we weren’t connected ALL the time. What did I do with my time? 😛

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Keep up to date with the changes brought about by technologies. This not only includes the technology itself but knowing that Sally from the suburbs may be a key influencer in your field.

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

I’m very proud of the Run for Safe Climate social media campaign we worked on last year. We didn’t have much lead-time but we hit the ground running (oh dear … pun not intended) and managed to achieve some great results for Safe Climate Australia. During that manic six weeks, we grew their social media network to 1500+ fans on Facebook and close to 1000 Twitter followers. With key influences like Greenpeace, Cool Australia, Green Cross and Victoria Police lending support through their networks, we reached a further 50,000 fans and followers and also secured interviews with traditional media via Twitter.

Working on Passion of the Christ also needs a special mention. Up until this film, I had worked mainly on small independent films that did solid box office takings given their size. The media mayhem that led up to the film’s release was eye opening. Great experience.

Which campaign do you most admire?

I love the campaigns that do so much with so very little.

Given my history in film publicity and love of the Interwebs, I always admired the crazy phenomenon that was the Blair Witch Project. To be a worldwide success on a small marketing budget is remarkable. With a clever strategy anything is possible. Artisan Entertainment picked up the film in 1999 and the late Steven Rotherberg developed the groundbreaking distribution campaign. It extensively used the Internet, creating a website suggesting that the events that took place in the film were real. I still get shivers recalling their website and the Blair Witch legend. Blair Witch Project grossed more than US$248 million worldwide, making it the second most successful independent film of all time (It was only recently surpassed by Paranormal Activity). Source: Wikipedia

This was well before myspace, Facebook and other social media channels. Word-of-mouth at its best.

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

While technology has changed how we work as practitioners, the fundamentals are still the same. Building and nurturing relationships, and conveying key messages are still crucial but we may go about it a little differently.

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

*hand over ears* nah nah nah… I can’t hear you.

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

Curiosity, enthusiasm and diligence.

What’s your favourite brand?

Hmmm…not sure if I have one. Apple may be my closest experience with brand loyalty but even I look upon that relationship cautiously.

I am impressed with a couple of Australian organisations who have flourished since gaining an understanding of their audience and tapping into it effectively. Channel Seven and Country Road have made this turn around. Sportsgirl is another I admire for having an impressive digital strategy.

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

When I was in New York in 2009, I happened on a book launch tweetup for World Wide Rave. The tweetup launch was being held at the NASDAQ with author David Meerim Scott ringing the bell to open the NADAQ stock market. It was a fun day and introduced me to this fantastic read about marketing online packed with useful examples.

After attending the launch, I added Mr Scott’s blog Web Ink Now to my Google Reader subscriptions. Easy read, great advice, the man knows his stuff.

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

The Scout’s are onto something … be prepared. Research and planning make solid foundations for any campaign or activity.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

Ever evolving