Let’s Get Fanatical

After my first year of media and communications studies at university, I realised that most of what I was learning was in the areas of traditional media (print, television, radio etc.). While I love delving into Australia’s rich media history, I noticed that my course was only scratching the surface of what is the future of media in this country. As I am particularly interested in the effects of the digital age in marketing and advertising, I started this blog in the hope of discovering new and innovative ways in which brands and their creative agencies were harnessing the power of the online world and with that, new technologies.

I have especially enjoyed following established blogs that have opened my eyes to the possibilities of future.

Digital Marketing Lab is authored by Australian marketing manager Teresa Sperti, who “after living in London for 2 years, realised there was a lack of local tools and resources for emerging digital marketers in the Australian marketplace”. I hold a similar view to Teresa in that Australian brands have been slow on the uptake of online marketing when compared to their international counterparts. Agencies in London and New York, for example, have astronomical budgets in which to research and develop new ways of advertising products and the Australian market is a lot smaller, and we are playing catch up. Digital Marketing Lab offers incredibly helpful hints to small and medium sized business on new ways in which to utilise online tools in maintaining your brand’s presence, as well as discussing innovations of larger brands in the digital world.

Check out The Facebook Effect on Sales and Loyalty 


Digital Toni is a bit like me! She is 19, studying digital media in the UK and she too has a “slightly compulsive love of all things media, marketing & advertising”! Toni scours the Internet to find an Ad Watch Of The Week and covers the perfect mix of marketing from the analog and digital worlds, and in particular how they can complement one another in campaigns.

Check out the Top 20 Ads Watched on Youtube


Digital Buzz Blog is the go-to location for all marketers when they releasing a new digital campaign. Digital Buzz communicates with agencies and their reps to deliver a succinct rundown of they latest happenings in the digital advertising world. What is especially great is that they blog on even the smallest initiatives of unknown companies from far-flung areas of the world, connecting them with a daily audience of 25,000. After all, the digital age has eradicated language and communication barriers between countries and importantly, advertising agencies, to allow sharing of business strategies.

Check out their post on the Breast Cancer Self-Check iPad App for Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Happy Birthday Ralph Lauren

To celebrate Ralph Lauren’s birthday this week, I thought it would be interesting to take a look into the history of the world’s most digitally innovative fashion brand.

The brand was founded by its namesake in 1967 and now boasts over 600 stores worldwide. In 2000, Ralph Lauren launched its online store, one of the first luxury brands to do so, during a time when many were skeptical about online shopping. Jennifer Sokolowsky from Brand Channel explains “luxury brands are all about creating an exclusive experience – or the perception of one”. It was thought that by selling online, a brand’s exclusivity would lessen due to the unprecedented access that consumers have to the brand and its products. However, Ralph Lauren reflected their marketing ideology of “merchantainment” to create interest not in its individual products, but in the entire brand itself as a lifestyle that customers could buy. RalphLauren.com is now 12 years old and amongst hosting an incredibly successfully online store, it gives visitors access to the Ralph Lauren’s personal Style Guide, celebrity interviews on RL TV, and travel, sport and food information in its quarterly online lifestyle magazine, RL Magazine.

Instead of the traditional product displays both in store and on online stores, Ralph Lauren aims for interactivity in the buying process. In 2005, Ralph Lauren was the first retail brand to live-stream its runway collection online for immediate purchase. Users could click and purchase brand new items as the models walked down the catwalk. In 2006, Ralph Lauren introduced the first shoppable windows in their New York stores, taking the term “window-shopping” literally. Passersby could view products through an interactivity television display and make purchases. Typically, there is a six-month delay between the debut runways and when the items land in stores. In 2010, the RL Gang online storybook was released which features characters wearing Ralph Lauren childrenswear that can be bought as the story progresses. This attributed to a 300% jump in children’s clothing sales.

Without a doubt the most digitally innovative project by Ralph Lauren was the world’s first public 4D show involving 3D digital mapping, sound effects and scent diffusion. The short film, which was projected onto the buildings of Ralph Lauren’s flagship New York and London stores, featured a runway show and a polo game. Most impressively, when the film honoured Ralph Lauren’s signature perfume range, perfume was actually sprayed from the windows of the building showering the crowd beneath (see video below). The event was a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of RalphLauren.com and signaled a future of digitally forward and creative initiatives from the luxury brand.

Google Treasure Maps

Users are not impressed with Apple’s iOS6 Maps software that has replaced Google Maps on the iPhone 5. The Amazing iOS 6 Maps blog pays umbrage to Apple and the many ‘fails’ its new software possesses.

The Statue of Liberty Disappearing Act

As Apple struggles out of Google’s strong hold, other international brands are seeking to collaborate with the Internet superpower. Philips have hidden 10 of their new Smart-TV’s around the globe on Google Maps (see below). Users are given photos of the almost frameless televisions in their hidden locations; some appear to be in very remote areas, and others in more obvious cities. The tricky part is finding the exact locations on Google Maps. Users log in via Facebook to ‘pin’ the televisions when they find them. Photos can also be shared with friends, asking for help.

BMW in Sweden have also launched a Google Maps hunt to promote the new 3 Series. The competition runs for two weeks. Only one car has been placed on Google Maps in Sweden and each day a clue is released via social media making it easier and easier to locate the vehicle as the competition unfolds. The first person to find the car, wins it. Unfortunately, the competition is only available to Sweden residents. Hopefully we will see a similar social media integration campaign by BMW in Australia.

Regulating Social Media

Following a complaint to the Australia Advertising Standards Board, a judgment was made that comments by “fans” on Smirnoff Vodka’s Facebook page were considered “advertisements” and must therefore comply with industry regulatory codes and consumer protection laws.

The watchdog heard that a fan of the Facebook page commented that Smirnoff was “the purest Russian vodka” and would lead to success with the opposite sex. John Swinson, a partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons explained to The Age that Smirnoff is Australian, not Russian and it may not be the purest. The comment also implies that you would have greater success with girls also contravenes Australian advertising codes. Industry codes not only apply to what a company posts on its Facebook page, but also to user-generated comments that followed. As the comments weren’t removed, Smirnoff was held liable for the actions of its “fan”.

Brands are increasingly relying on Facebook “word-of-month” to reach, not only fans, but also their social circles. There is currently very little legislation that governs the use of social media by brands and the decision handed down to Smirnoff just a few weeks ago has already caused havoc in the corporate world. Particularly for larger companies, constantly monitoring social media pages is impossible.

Activity can’t be completely controlled, but it can be managed. When a member of the public posts a complaint or an inaccurate statement on Facebook, companies need to respond immediately clarifying the issue. The problem facing corporations and their adverting agencies is that the Internet doesn’t close down at 5pm everyday nor does online activity cease over the weekend. If anything, user activity on social media increases after business hours. This poses a great challenge particularly to large corporations like Smirnoff who have a following of over 180 000 people.

Recent consumer trends would suggest that the risks of social media are only minor compared to its benefits. Consumers are increasingly using the Internet, and in particular Facebook, to research brands and products before making purchases. 85 per cent of Australians who are connected to the Internet use it as a resource to research, compare and seek advice about their shopping. 61 per cent use search engines, 50 per cent check the brand’s website, and 23 per cent use Facebook (source). I would challenge the last figure. Realistically, it is probably higher considering that a Google search will return the brand’s Facebook page and brand websites have links to their social media pages. Most consumers may not be going directly to Facebook, but they are certainly being directed there.

It is impossible to completely control the activity of users and fans, but strategies should be implemented to manage activity on public pages. Companies don’t have a choice: they need to be using social media as a marketing tool to positively promote their brands and now they must also comply with rapidly evolving standards and legislation.

The Kiwi Sceptics

The Kiwi Sceptics is an online-only reality series that launched in Februrary 2012. Each episode of the Air New Zealand campaign follows an Australian ‘Kiwi Sceptic’ on their surprise journey across the ‘ditch’ to NZ. Each episode focuses on a particular type of sceptic like ‘The Hipster’ who thinks New Zealand is overrun by sheep and ‘The Bali Girl’ who prefers beach resorts and day spas. Sceptics are paired with a New Zealand entertainment personality who joins them on a specifically tailored trip based on the sceptics’ interests.

The campaign is the airline’s largest in the Australian market in the last 10 years. The focus on Australian sceptics came after research discovered that while there are 5.3 million Aussies who would consider New Zealand as a holiday destination, only one in five of these people actually made it across the ‘ditch’. The creative online content was aimed at the young and young-at-heart with the aim of breaking down traditional stereotypes that Aussie’s have of New Zealand. The mini-series depicts something for everyone, whether it is the picturesque scenery, thrill-seeking adventures or the inviting local culture.


The campaign was supported by the Nine Entertainment Company, which hosted a Kiwi Sceptics page within the ninemsn website. The rollout specifically bombarded Australian news and entertainment websites such as TheAge.com with advertising banners and video commercials and the series has received over 12 million views on Youtube.

After the online hype of the campaign had begun to subside, Air New Zealand released a final episode following Lara Bingle on a winter escape (see below). The latest episode reinvigorated the series’ social media presence as the promotion with Bingle heavily tapped into her extensive fan followings on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Air New Zealand took a leap in their choice of online content over traditional television advertisements and it certainly paid off. The airline won advertising awards for its ‘Branded Content and Entertainment’ at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.