Search This Blog


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Marketing Campaign: Melanoma Likes Me

Oh boy, what a wonderful long sunny weekend!

As the temperatures sizzled and the beaches packed, I couldn’t but help think about one of the best marketing campaigns of the year. Aussies love the sun, and love telling friends about it on social media. But every time we do, we make a new friend, _melenoma.

Melanoma is a skin cancer that kills 1500 Australians each year and is the most lethal cancer in 15-30 year olds. Melanoma Likes Me was created by Melanoma Patients Australia as a digital advertising campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of prolonged dangerous exposure to the sun.

The first step of the campaign was to create an online persona for Melanoma to communicate with the target audience. Using a unique algorithm, the _melenoma page was able to search for and respond to popular hashtags on Instagram and Twitter. Words such as #beach #sunbake and #poolside were targeted, along with geo-located images such as @bondi.

Users who uploaded a photo would receive an unexpected 'like' from _melanoma with unique tailored messages from their new ‘friend’. These were sent right at the moment which mattered the most, as the audience were exposed to the sun.

Source: Ellen Fromm Youtube

The single-minded proposition for the campaign was to educate and raise awareness at the point of exhibiting unsafe sun behaviour. What was so clever about this campaign is the way it was able to connect through the use of technology to young Australians spending time out in the sun. More than 2 million people have already received a message from _melanoma, resulting in a 1371% increase in unique visits to the Skincheck mobile website.

The campaign, developed by George Patterson Y&R, has since been recognised with multiple awards at the Cannes Lions 2015 festival. What I think is so special about its delivery is the ability to effectively target the audience in real time. Advertising is as much about getting attention as it is about changing behaviour. The personalised messages serve as a reminder to always use sunscreen or put on a hat to protect yourself from sun damage. 


So next time you share a photo on social media with an associated hashtag, you may too receive a message from _melenoma.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Mobile Marketing for the Oldies

When you think of marketing to “Older People” what comes to mind? Is it images of retired couples sitting back in a rocking chair? Is it couples that still have a so-called “brick” as a mobile telephone? Make no mistake here; these misconceptions in marketing for the elderly should be cleared up straight away.

In today’s ever-evolving technological world, brands and companies tend to overlook the over-65 demographic, perceiving them as not being tech savvy enough. Many also believe that older audiences are not prepared to switch brands, and therefore aim for younger audiences, hoping to win them as lifetime clients.

While this might have had relevance a few years ago, today’s reality is drastically different. People 65 and over now live longer, and are much more active and involved in the online world. Smart phones, social media, and online communities! You name it and they’re there. It is quite astounding to think that the elderly represent the fastest growing group of social media users, and are using it for the exact same purposes as other age groups.

With this being said, here are a few tips we as marketers can use when appealing to seniors particularly when it comes to mobile marketing.

Keep it Simple Stupid! The infamous KISS rule should be kept in the back of each advertiser and marketer’s mind when creating captivating mobile campaigns that target the 65+ age group. Even though they represent the fastest growing group when it comes to social media and new mobile devices, it can be argued that they are equally as influenced by ads that are much more simple when it comes to both text and image.

Based on research, when it comes to the text, use relatable language. It would make no sense to use colloquial and hip phrases seen on platforms such as “the LAD bible” because most of the time they have no idea what you are saying. It is important to ensure you are putting forth educational facts that will aid your consumers to make an informed decision about your product or service. Then we have image! Like our teachers used to tell us, a picture is worth a thousand words. Ensure that when creating your campaign you use simpler images. You will find that they are more visually appealing to those aged 65 years and older to make a stronger impact.

Congratulations! You have passed the first level of marketing to seniors. However, be careful as it is not over just yet. Once you have influenced your 65-year-old consumer to download your app there is another major focal point that you must get right if you want success. This focal point is the sign up/ set up. Generally once an app is downloaded, the user must enter a few of his or her personal details. If this sign up process requires too many steps, you’re bounds to lose users right away.

Keep in mind, those that are 65 years and older certainly did not grow up with technology as a fundamental part of daily life. So, taking this into consideration, many of the actions that feel natural to us “younger people”, require them to think twice. To solve the problem, lets make life easier for them! When designing an app, make sure to strip back the la-di-da fluff, simplify any in-app processes, enlarge small buttons and text, and explain each time you request personal information why you need it and how it’s going to improve their experience.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Ambush marketing: A threat or an opportunity?

Ambush marketing is a strategy in which advertisers “ambush” or take over an event to gain exposure for an advertising purpose. The unauthorised use of an event for marketing publicity it not a new phenomenon. The first recognised example of ambush marketing came shortly after VISA was made an official sponsor of the 1984 Summer Olympic games over its rival American Express. The phrase "ambush marketing" was first coined by the head of marketing at American Express, who proclaimed his company “Have not only the right, but an obligation to shareholders to take advantage of such events”. For the very first time, laws on being the “official” sponsors of the event were starting to be enforced.


By becoming an official sponsor or partner of an event you are paying for the privilege to associate yourself with that brand. That may be through the use of certain words, phrases or logos intended to raise your company's profile. Even though ambush marketing is a legally dubious practice, this has not stopped many organisations throughout the years from using this tactic to gain notable publicity. The Wimbledon Championships have long been protective over their classy and traditional five star brand image. They have long standing advertising deals with high status brands such as watchmaker Rolex and Champaign producer Lanson as official sponsors. The official water sponsors for the tournament are Evian, who feature their products regularly alongside the athletes. However, this has not stopped rival companies from handing out free bottles of water to spectators entering centre court in an effort to be noticed. In 2009 Pringles handed out 24,000 free tubes of its snack carrying the logo “these are not tennis balls”. The stunt gained widespread praise in the media for being innovative but drew criticism from the events organisers. 

In fact, ambush marketing has become such a problem at Wimbledon that the events organisers released a statement this year that they would take a “firm stance” on any ambush marketing. This includes refusing entry to any spectator they believe may be associated with ambush marketing and taking away branded items such as hats, rain capes, umbrellas, sun creams, radios and water bottles.
Ambush marketing can however be highly creative and has produced some very memorable publicity for major brands. The 1996 Summer Olympic games where held in Atlanta saw the then 100m champion Linford Christie defending his title as fastest man in the world. The official sponsor for the athlete’s footwear was Reebok who secured exclusive promotion rights. At a press conference before the race the champion appeared wearing contact lenses showing the Puma logo. This was later shown on the front covers of newspapers around the world, gaining great exposure for the Puma brand.

Perhaps one of the most notable examples of ambush marketing came in the World Cup 2010 when 36 women dressed in orange were ejected from a game between Holland and Denmark. Wearing short dresses and the national colours of the Netherlands the women drew lots of attention from fans in the stadium along with the cameras capturing the event. The stunt had been organised by the Dutch brewery company Bavaria to gain free publicity on a global stage. Shortly after the incident two of the event organisers were arrested with FIFA pressing for legal action to be taken against the brewery for breaching the Merchandise Marks Act.


Ambush marketing appears to be a growing threat that continues to undermine the development of commercial sponsorship. It presents both an opportunity and threat for companies seeking publicity at major events.  However, ambush marketing raises both legal and ethical issues that must not be ignored. While there is certainly a responsibility for marketers to “do the right thing” there must also be counter measures and strategies to deter this behavior.

Even with stricter laws in place, the prospect of having your brand attached to a major cultural event, even in an unofficial way, may be too much for many companies to resist.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Instagram is developing, but what does it mean for brands?

Instagram is updating and building upon its platform with new innovative developments, such as the integration of the Instagram API (Application Programming Interface).

Representing one of the fastest growing major mobile properties, Instagram is home to an engaged and authentic community with more than 300 million users. To further put this giant powerhouse in perspective, the mobile app shares on average 70 million photos per day and gives out 2.5 billion likes.

More importantly, the avid 13-24 year old users feel as though instagram has provided them with a platform to help define who they are through a 640px squared photo - pretty amazing if you ask me! Instagram as it stands allows their users to be visually creative, to find inspiration and to share snippets of their life, perspective and ways they look at the world.

On a more business-oriented level, Instagram poses an innovative opportunity for social advertisers to grow their brand. If you think about it, users on a global scale can engage with brands of their liking on a daily basis by following them, looking at new content uploaded, liking photos, sharing, commenting and visiting its website. In particular, we are seeing retail fashion, travel and automotive sectors rushing to get in front of the millions of users. The so called APIwill allow such sectors a further means to cross-channel and cross-publish content that is directly aimed at their target audience.

A prime example being high-fashion retailer Net-a-Porter, demonstrates just how influential Instagram actually is in building relationships with both existing customers and reaching new audiences that are interested in luxury brands. The instagram API test allowed Net-a-Porter to target very specific European audiences within 24 hours of their corresponding event. In return, the brand was able to drive awareness which resulted in Net-a-porter being able share outstanding fashion content with its customers quicker, easier and better.

With the API release, any company that is doing branding will be able to easily create, test, and optimise their direct response advertising campaigns on Instagram. Another few things that the API will be able to do include:
  • Search tags
  • Incorporate photos on websites
  • View photos from specific locations in real time
  • View popular and trending photos
  • •Print photos from dvents and tags instantly
  • Create compelling campaigns
  • Market venues, events, brands and businesses
  • Create event live feeds
Advertising campaigns on the Instagram platform have proved to be highly effective and can easily be managed alongside Facebook and Twitter. By doing this, advertisers are able to obtain some valuable information including performance, insights and management efficiencies. By leveraging the full capabilities of Facebook’s powerful advertising infrastructure on Instagram, brands can drive impact at scale across both platforms.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

4 Easy Steps to Succeed Using Online Advertising

Advertising online is, nowadays, the ideal, most efficient way of driving traffic to your website and/or business. It instantly extends your reach significantly and gives you greater transparency at a reduced cost in contrast to the more traditional methods of advertising (television, radio, papers etc.). Nevertheless, a successful campaign is one that is a good balance, and knowing what you’re doing exactly is key.

So what is it that makes people click on ads?

This being one of the most frequently asked questions in the digital marketing space, ought to be answered for once. All too often, people opt to advertising online without having a clue about what is it that actually makes people click on ads? Is it the flashy colours? Is it the animation? Is it the statements that push too hard?


Read on for a more comprehensive insight on what to do in order to get more customers through your online advertisements:
  1. Know your customers - An advertising campaign must be directed toward your niche market. Creating generic ads that do not speak the language or grab the attention of your potential customers is a common mistake. You must always make sure you know the kind of customers you want to attract, and ensure that your ads speak to them on a personal level; for that is what convinces the customers that you are their best bet.
  2. Be interactive – Nothing attracts customers more than when they are shown concern on a personal level. And so, one of the many advantages of Internet advertising is that it allows you to get instant feedback from the public on your product, marketing strategies etc. Giving your customers the chance to fill out an online feedback form can be a great way for you to analyse what the public thinks of your company AND your product. Also, you may even create Internet advertising promotions that will encourage people to provide their email addresses to sign up for contests or receiving newsletters. Then, you can use those emails to make the public aware of future products.
  3. Pay attention to the colours – Yes, cliché as that may sound, the colour matters. Colours and colour combinations send different messages. The colour signals can be used to send stronger messages online. However, this part is tricky; you should use colours in the right way, at the right time, with the right audience, and for the right reason. For instance, if you are selling bouncy jump houses- where your audience is kids — you don’t want to use a black website – you’d rather go for vibrant, fun colours like orange, yellow, reds etc. While on the other hand, if you’re selling office chairs, you’d opt for the colour silver or black, or even a combination of the two. Its kind of simple if you get hang of it and are able to imagine yourself in the audience’s.
  4. Call to action – This part oftentimes is the most prominent on the advertisement, and so, it is vital that your call to action has an impact on the customer. An effective call to action clearly tells the customers what they should do. They should include active words that encourage users to take an action, for example: Call, Buy, Register, Subscribe.
 Additionally, create a sense of urgency with words that can be used alongside phrases such as:
  • Offer expires June 22nd!
  • Order now and receive a free gift!
Furthermore, the positioning of call to action is important - Ideally it should be placed high on the page and in the central column.

Regardless of how wonderful or in-demand your products and/or services are, your business will not be successful unless your websites and pages generate enough traffic of targeted customers. And so, online advertising must be done bearing all the previously mentioned points in mind.

Good luck!

Alejandro Catalan
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 21 September 2015

7 tips to increase customer online engagement

It’s not like conventional ways to deal with, advertising where you particularly target prospects with direct reaction offers, engagement promoting permits your crowd and potential clients to associate with you and shape how they might want to speak with you. Engagement promoting starts when an intrigued individual makes a move to start an association with you.

Engagement implies somebody is keen on listening to you, and you must connect with that individual so as to accomplish your business target while satisfying his or her advantage. As a business element you will execute engagement advertising to drive your intrigued gathering of people towards business destinations:

Here are the 7 simple tips to increase customer online engagement:
  1. Develop an engagement method: To be effective, you must set up an unmistakable arrangement and methodology for your engagement advertising. Your arrangement will need to incorporate how you will contact your audience members and how you will have the capacity to react and collaborate with your drew in members. This can be done through emails and social media.
  2. Integrate with your promoting blend: All parts of your advertising correspondences blend ought to incorporate an 'invitation to take action' for engagement from just asking for remarks or postings at your websites or discussions to empowering audits on your items and administrations.
  3. Focus on substance and relationship: Focus on significant and intriguing substance as the way to connect. Focus on building honest relationship with your customers by focusing on their needs and wants and full filling them with your available resources. 
  4. Promote memberships: Use consent based systems to empower memberships with upgraded web forms. 
  5. Invite audience to collaborate with your Blog / Fans Page: Establish a society and excitement for engagement by urging your audience to contribute with remarks, recommendations and even as visitor essayists to expand the perspectives and assets accessible to your associated group.
  6. Conduct overviews and surveys: Run incessant studies to offer chances to start engagement while gaining from and about your listening group. Utilize a studies or web surveys to begin the dialog that is pertinent to the person.
  7. Engage with informal communication: If you have not knew about Face Book, Instagram or Twitter that are behind the interpersonal interaction marvels, you should not squander any additional time, go straight to these locales and see how these destinations that are catching actually a large number of individuals who are effectively captivating on these destinations consistently. These locales work in light of the fact that long range interpersonal communication groups need to share and need to realize what their friend network and relatives are doing. Discover how you can influence the engagement and sharing of your substance utilizing these interpersonal organizations.
Keep in mind, once you have an intrigued group drawing in with you, verify you keep the lines of correspondence going, learn and alter your technique to guarantee your engagement advertising will conveyance main concern results to your business by expanding your client base.

There are around 14,000,000 internet users in Australia. Most of them are using social media; about 2,791,300 users are on twitter and 120,000 users on Myspace. About 5million Australians watch videos on Facebook and they are online all day so these sites are good place to engage your customers.

Good Luck!

Alejandro Catalan
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 18 September 2015

Apple 1984: The ad that changed everything!

For many years Apple have been known as an innovative company that broke boundaries.  It was not until this weeks class in integrated marketing communications that I learn just how innovative Apple had been in its advertising.  To tell this story we must first take a trip back in time to January of 1984. The Super Bowl XVIII was in its third quarter when something truly amazing occurred on the screen. But this did not happen on the sporting field, it happened during the advertising break, which would later become one of the most coveted and expensive slots for marketing.

The advert is set in an industrial grey landscape with what appears to soldiers marching through a tunnel. A “Big Brother” like voice speaks to his army of drones who continue to march forward. Out of the grey background comes an athlete dressed in uniform with bright red shorts and a white top carrying a sledgehammer. The athlete played by Anya Major runs through the crowds of grey drones into a large auditorium. As the Big Brother is finishing his speech and proclaims ‘We shall prevail!’ the athlete hurls the hammer through the screen. A bright white light projects from the broken screen with a voice over and text reading “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like Nineteen Eighty-Four”.

The ad was directed by Ridley Scott, who five years earlier had risen to prominence with the hit movie Alien. Much like the movie the 1984 ad was ground-breaking in so many ways. The rumoured cost of the ad was $650k, which at the time was unheard off.  The then Apple account manager Fred Goldberg tested the ad using a market research company before airing it in the Superbowl slot. The testing results where very disappointing, with even the Apple board of directors claiming to dislike the advert. But this did not deter Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who were confident of its success.

So how did this become one of the most iconic adverts of all time? There are a few factors which led to this adverts success. Apple was the first company to produce something truly outrageous in advertising during the Super Bowl. The advertisement demanded attention and had amazing production quality for the time. More importantly it was more than just an ad, it was a minute and a half story. It closely mirrored the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four which had been very popular at the time. The “Big Brother” character of the ad represented IBM and their dominance in the personal computer market.

Image Source:

IBM represented conformity and rules where the Macintosh represented revolution and freedom. The Macintosh was the first personal computer with a graphical user interface that was relatively affordable and easy to use.

The 1984 advertisement helped to position Apple as the innovative company that many of us know and love today. The ad has long since had an impact not just on Apple, but the world of advertising as a whole.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Philips and its integrated marketing campaign

I know, I know! I have been MIA over the last week. Sorry if you all have been missing my posts, no sarcasm intended. I have just finished another intensive, yet amazing subject called “Integrated Marketing Communications” run by Dr Kathryn Charlton.

The number of late nights and group brainstorming sessions that took place was countless, but boy did we have fun! Besides the potato business cards, cupcakes and role play, we were able to walk away with a huge amount of valuable information that will most definitely come in handy down the track. As the subject was based around creating an integrated marketing campaign, I thought it would only be appropriate to post an article that reflected this topic.

Royal Philips of the Netherlands has launched an integrated marketing campaign in Australia promoting its current brand positioning and refreshed brand identity, “Innovation and you”. The change in message better reflects the brand's mission that aims at improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation. 

The central point of this campaign revolves around the brand’s new visual storytelling platform ‘Innovation and You’. This platform features a plethora of the latest Philips innovations, showcasing real-life stories from around the world behind each innovation. Philip’s campaign was designed in collaboration with Guardian Labs Australia that are the commercial content division of Guardian Australia.

Spanning across a four-month period, a number of episodes will air that revolve around the themes of a healthier, brighter future. These episodes will aim at inspiring Australian audiences, by demonstrating how innovation is advancing healthcare and personal wellbeing. It will further show how innovation is transforming the way people experience lighting in both public spaces and at home.

 “Our commitment is to deliver innovation that matters to people, by transforming healthcare access and delivery through partnerships, improving people’s health and wellbeing and making the world more sustainable through our lighting solutions,” says Kevin Barrow, Managing Director of Philips Australia and New Zealand.

Embedded in Philips belief is the idea that innovation is only meaningful “IF” it can bring forth change to the lives of others. The following campaign that will evolve over the next few months will focus on innovating in areas that allow people to be healthier, live well and enjoy life.

The campaign will be supported by more digital, social and PR activations containing a multitude of mediums such as rich video content, articles and interactive visualisations that showcase the individual experiences of patients, providers, caregivers, consumers and businesses alike about what Philips’ solutions meant for them in the most meaningful moments of care and how it has enriched their world being better connected.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Marketing to Generation Z

Who exactly is Generation Z you ask? Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t know they existed either! The world has just got to grips with the term “Millennial” when along came Generation Y to supersede them.  Now we have an even younger category of consumers with a new buzzword to define them.

Although loosely defined, Generation Z are generally considered to have been born between mid-1990s to the early to mid 2000s. This puts the oldest of the generation in their mid twenties with the youngest in their early teenage years. But what really define this group are the characteristics that set them apart from their predecessors.

Generation Z are the most connected generation to have ever existed.  They are also the most highly educated to boot. The generation have become early adopters of new products and strong brand advocates. They are influential, particularly on social media and where they are leaders of popular culture. That being said, Generation Z lack brand loyalty with products attributes being more important than the brand itself. They are considered to be minimalists but will spend time seeking our products and services that are unique.

This new generation were born into a global financial crisis, threats of terrorism and a changing climate. They are living in a period of significant change and are expected to lead change going forward. Where Generation Y were considered to be passive, Generation Z are considered to be more active, progressive and even more socially conscious. They are ambitious and eager to make a positive impact on the world around them.


They have also grown up in a generation of Facebook, YouTube and Google, which makes them tech savvy digital natives. Social media is a fantastic way to connect with this audience through campaigns that are both honest and transparent. Successful brands will need to show they care about this generation by fully understanding their needs to garner their attention. This means connecting via multiple platforms in new and creative ways.

The brands that are able to express their personality in interesting and fun ways will be the most likely to catch the attention of Generation Z. Particularly brands that are able to get behind the social causes that really matter to this generation.  This has to be more than just on a superficial level to make deep and meaningful connections with these consumers with messages that break through the clutter.

It is important to take notice of this new generation of consumers who account for approximately 2 billion people globally. The key challenge for marketers is to find meaningful ways to connect with this generation who are considered more complex and cynical than previous generations.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Want to evolve your marketing? Social media is your answer.

A few years ago the job of social media was primarily given to the intern or dedicated to a single person in a business with very few resources supporting its functions. Today the Concept of social has matured and exponentially grown into an integral and utmost fundamental part of a brands marketing mix.
The evolution of communications marketing can be demonstrated by the use of social posts. Due to the complexity of todays social channels and posts it can be said that it is not longer good enough to draft a Facebook post or share an Instagram photo. Social Content has drastically matured over the years and is now generally the result of a businesses creative, editorial or digital team.

Whether or not we admit it, these departments play a huge part in creating the captivating content that you see across multiple social media platforms. In order to ensure this captivating content remains innovative and cut throat all teams must collaborate seamlessly, when they are unable to do so it becomes highly obvious.

For businesses and brands that feel disheartened or overwhelmed by the whole “social media situation” here are a few tips you can use to evolve your social practice. Firstly it is important to understand that the social channels and platforms a business chooses to advertise through can hold large amounts of data and insights. In order to market a brand/service successfully we must thoroughly understand our consumers, what makes them tick along with their behavioral patterns. All this data gathered from social media could be leveraged and used to add in an extra dimension to the traditional data sources generally used.
Another tangent businesses could potentially take is evolving their brand towards becoming a so-called publishing platform. Even though the concept of social media has been around for a while it is still a fairly new marketing tool. With the demand and increase in newer technologies the ability to learn about using social media becomes rather difficult as there are new platforms and channels introduced all the time.

In the early days social media was about ownership, establishment, and both operating and globalizing channels. In todays crazy world where the concept of time is but a mere memory of the past, the world of social media has shifted and is now about coordinating multiple channels with third parties and campaigns with a focus on quality over quantity.

Evolving your social practice might take the form of acting like a bridge between both creative and editorial. We are all aware that social media has expanded and is continuing to expand into content marketing. With this being said it also continues to require the innovation of creative together with the media savvy of editorial. In A nutshell, with a future that is rapidly evolving brands must start, continue and maintain seamless communication across all departments of the marketing mix to ensure innovation, success and collaboration.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 17 August 2015

My journey to the Master of Marketing

Having just begun my second semester at the University of Sydney Business School, I have started to reflect on my time spent enrolled in the Master of Marketing. Taking my very first class a little over six months ago, I already feel like I have acquired lifetime of learning!

But to really tell this story, I need to start at the beginning. My journey actually began whilst backpacking in Australia in 2003 when I first visited the University of Sydney campus. Although I did not know it for certain at the time, I always thought that one day I would study at this famous and prestigious University. Eleven years later, I was awarded with a Business Leader Postgraduate Scholarship from the Business School, which helped turn that dream into a reality.

Source: Hun Jung Photography
In February of this year I handed in my notice at work, sold my car and moved my life to the other side of the planet. Looking back now, I can see it was the best decision I have ever made. What made the program stand out to me was the opportunity to learn from marketers in industry who are at the next level, and to see how they operate within their organisations. Taking this knowledge, I could then actually implement those skills, tools and insights in my future career as a brand manager.

What attracted me to studying marketing at the University of Sydney Business School is the real life application of theory you learn in the classroom, applied to real businesses. As part of the marketing consultancy project, I am currently working with the youth hostelling association YHA. This has given me a fantastic opportunity to work with a real world company to help add value to their business practices using the frameworks and tools learnt during my studies.

I really enjoy the diversity of my fellow colleagues studying the Master of Marketing. My classmates come from Australia, India, New Zealand, China, Italy, Korea, Germany, Bulgaria, Indonesia and the Maldives to name but a few! With such great diversity, you get really interesting insights into marketing practice in different cultures. My favourite experience on the program so far was breaking the service model of a well-known Australian fast food chain by ordering items that were not on their menu. It was very funny, but also taught me about the importance of service quality in relation to marketing practices.

Source: Hun Jung Photography

The uniqueness of the program is not just the diversity of the cohort, but also the diversity of the curriculum in the program. My first semester consisted of four very distinctive modules, Internal Marketing, Evaluating Marketing Performance, Contemporary Consumer Insights and Marketing in a Global Economy. During the winter break I began my intensive Marketing Consultancy Project module. For the second semester I am enrolled for Decision-Making and Research, Regulatory Environment and Ethics, Integrated Marketing Communications and Innovative Marketing Strategies.

Each module I have studied has helped me to add to my overall understanding of the discipline of Marketing, and added another tool to my growing inventory of knowledge that will help my career continue to flourish.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 14 August 2015

Au Revoir Paid Media - Hello Modern Marketing

The Glitz and glam of television commercials represent the advertising of yesterday, however we all know times are rapidly changing and with this being said, so should the medium in which marketers choose to advertise. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, the value a great campaign holds becomes more challenging. All us marketers and advertisers can continue to debate the meanings and terms related to paid, owned and earned, however one thing that can't be is the crumbling value in broadcast and reach media. According to Forrester, more than 50% of purchases in today’s society are digitally influenced.

This shift to the now Digital Age has hit us fast and hard. For as many years as we can think back the concept and delivery of paid media has been the mistress for marketers and advertising agencies. The admiration television ads encompassed generally overlooked its accountability. In this day and age, clients are wanting more return on investment, more results and more value, and to top it off, they want it NOW! This sense of urgency has fuelled the technological age along with digital media to form new grounds for modern marketing, as we know it.

Today most of us either have an iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or perhaps all three, and to top it off, we have been conditioned to use all three at the same time, impressive no? Regardless of what it is, we as a generation thrive on technology and cant seem to live without it; pretty sad if you ask me, however, does it get the support it deserves?

The term “owned” as the name suggests, is but a mere asset; a living breathing investment. For those reading this article unaware of the term, the concept of owned media is defined as the communication channels a brand controls, including websites, blogs and emails. With this being said, it can be strongly argued that without a strong foundation and a so-called “digital ecosystem”, investment in paid media is pretty much wasteful.

Paid media only does a small percentage of the job. More importantly, we should be asking questions such as where the paid media is driving customers? What will they discover one they get to the destination? A campaign might be highly successful in deliverance, however, if the online experience is poor, what would the point of been? Technology has driven us marketers and consumers to consider speed, usability and simplicity as they key attribute. The concept of loyalty is now challenged more than ever, as even the largest of brands such as NIKE need to carefully ensure they don't let their consumers down.

A step in the right direction would be to continually ensure total consumer engagement. A prime example indicating how powerful the right platform can be would be to include companies such as Uber and Tripadvisor. It can be said that these brands have assimilated into how we live our life and in some instances, having spent nothing on paid media. Not saying paid media is not important, because it is, however, without the appropriate next step including the right platform ready to convert, “paid” media can end up costing more.

The plethora of digital marketing platforms has most definitely changed the game, however, what does that mean? All in all, our job as marketers should be to find strategies in which we can continue to create a connected experience, one of innovation and empowerment for the consumer where online and offline channels become an amalgamation of seamlessness.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 10 August 2015

Facebook launches VIP live-streaming video service

Early last week Facebook announced an exciting new live streaming video service for celebrities and public figures. This new feature called, Facebook Mentions, allows users to broadcast video to interact with fans in a very public way.

Currently this service is reserved only for the rich and famous, with Facebook already signing up Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Serena Williams, and Michael Bublé to name but a few. In a statement Facebook said, "We’re excited to introduce a new way for you to connect and interact with your favourite public figures on Facebook through live video." Nearly 800 million people are currently connected to public figures via their Facebook account.


The new Mentions app will allow Facebook viewers to comment, share and like the video they are watching with their friends. As the live video plays, users can view live stream-posting comments and can even catch up on feeds that they may have missed earlier in the day. Comments are staggered so they can be viewed at a steady pace, with a blacklist filtering out words or topics that broadcaster does not wish to discuss.

In March 2015, Twitter purchased the Periscope live streaming app that allows any user to broadcast live video via their account. This has opened up a whole range of potential marketing opportunities and ways for users to connect in an authentic way to their audience of followers. It is no supprise that the Mentions app has been designed to compete directly with services such as Perisope and Meerkat, that have already proven to be very successful in a very short time.

I feel that live-streaming video services have a great deal of marketing potential given the huge audiences that follow these public figures postings on social media. How long will it be before companies are added to the list of athletes, musicians, movie stars, politicians and other social influencers already signed up Mentions app service?

I predict there may be some backlash and resentment from the 1.49 billion monthly Facebook users who are unable to stream their own live videos through the service. However, the greatest resentment may come from the (not so VIP’s), who feel they deserve rights to the new service but are denied. In the big business of online advertising and brand promotion, the Mentions app has the potential to really put the cat amongst the pigeons!

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 7 August 2015

Emoticons take over Cokes latest “Share a coke” campaign

Droga5 Sydney, a New York city based global advertising agency, has taken the reins on the most recent take of Coke's “Share a coke” campaign. Launching in Vietnam and then aimed at running across Asia’s southeast, Droga5 has cleverly implemented the use of emoticons instead of names on the side of bottles.

Before we move forward, it is important to understand the impact emoticons and emojis have had on the way we communicate, especially in a time poor society where even character counts are decreasing. An interesting fact scientists have discovered is that when we look at a smiley face online, that same very specific part of the brain is activated as when we look at a real human face.

The video advertisement depicts a group of GEN X males and females expressing themselves by sharing bottles of coke with emoticons on the labels. Since being launched three weeks ago on YouTube, the video has gained over 1.7 million views.

Pratik Thakar, Head of Creative content across ASEAN, is of the idea that emoticons have become the perfect sharing platform, transcending the language barriers and have integrated into our society as a part of popular culture.

In the initial phase of the campaign, Coke connected with bloggers and local celebrities to bring forth the idea and product featuring the emoticon-tagged bottles, identifying the emoticons as the new language of youth. With this being said, Coke entered a partnership with both Facebook and zalo to ensure the campaign would spread.

After gaining traction from consumers on a global scale, Coke further encouraged the youth of Vietnam to share their own stories, enabling these cans and bottles of coke to be personalised at selected retail outlets. In addition to this, consumers will be able to customise their own stickers on platform Zalo chat, which for those of us who don't know, is Vietnams main mobile messaging app.

Stan Lim from Isobar Singapore, one of the four-agencies behind the campaign, mentioned the importance of personalising the coke product for consumers. By using this new so called emoticon language, Coke has created a product that “unifies both online and offline behaviours that travels across borders, that will live and grow in the virtual and in the physical world.”

As marketers, we are always reminded that the consumer is and will continue to be the most important person throughput the business cycle. Coke has cleverly used the language of this generation to generate a campaign that keeps the consumer at heart. This new form of communication will further allow Vietnamese teens a means in expressing how they feel and will also benefit the Coca-Cola company in increasing their volume.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Nike: End of an era for chairman Phil Knight

Earlier this month Phil Knight announced he would be stepping down as the chairman of the sports apparel company Nike. As one of the most influential business people in the world, the self made CEO has generated an estimated personal wealth of $25.5 billion dollars. Knight co-founded the company back in 1962, which at the time was known as Blue Ribbon Sports. Initially they operated as a distributor of running shoes for the Japanese company, Onitsuka Tiger. They soon began designing and selling their own branded shoes and changed names to Nike in 1978.

The company was named after the Greek Winged Goddess who personified victory. Its famous swoop logo was commissioned for a mere $35 and shortly after the famous “Just do it” slogan was coined. After increasing success in the late 70’s, Nike began to loose ground to competitors in the mid 1980’s. It was at this time Phil Knight began to realise the importance of marketing and began to make changes that still resonate and are felt in the company today.

Rather than being simply just a product and technology orientated company Nike began to put the consumer of the product in the spotlight. When asked if Nike is a technology company or marketing company, Knight replied “We’ve come around to saying that Nike is a marketing-oriented company, and the product is our most important marketing tool.” Nike’s decision to put customers interests first turned the from a million dollar company to a billion dollar company. 

Nike’s consumers have played an important role in leading innovation over the years. They have also been able to collaborate with Nike in designing and customising shoes with NikeID launched back in 1999. One of the keys to Nike’s success has been their ability to understand and connect with consumers. Time and time again, Nike has been able to come up with new designs and target audiences and find meaningful ways to connect with them. By breaking their offerings into sub-brands Nike has been able to target everyone from elite athletes at the pinnacle of sport all the way to non-athletes who wear the apparel for fashion and not function.

After receiving significant criticism during the 90’s for their alleged use of child labour, Nike began to make significant changes in their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Being a marketing-orientated company, Knight realised that visibility is important and “It’s not enough to do good things. You have to let people know what you’re doing”. Marketing plays a critical function for Nike, not just in terms of getting their brand to market, but also highlighting the positive steps they have made to improve their environmental record with initiatives such as the Reuse-A-Shoe program.

With Phil Knight’s vision Nike have oozed creativity and innovation from the very beginning. Pushing the boundaries of technology in sports apparel has seen them benefit from superior products in the marketplace. However, in the post Phil Knight era, Nike must remember that its greatest ability comes from successfully connecting with their many customers.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A new take on a branch experience

To be a bank these days is by no means an easy job. Consumers hate them, shareholders have a continual haste towards them and regulators just can’t seem to figure out what to do with them. At the end of the day, a bank’s got to do, what a bank’s got to do - make money! However, the way in which they do this makes all the difference.

The Bank of Queensland is aiming to challenge consumer perceptions about banks through the national transformation of their branches in the hope to bring to life the concept that it is possible to love a bank. A big challenge if you ask me! Another key issue that sparked the idea of this re-design was the fact that the bank branch is no longer about the telling counter.

In today’s world, we are of the understanding that customers are increasingly using a multitude of platforms to make transactions. In order for the bank to move forward, it had to understand that if the less complex decisions and transactions could be made online, then the experience within the branch had to be shifted and focused on the more complex decisions, discussions and transactions.

The new branches are said to demonstrate an open plan focusing on enabling conversation and customer relations rather than transactions. Centred around a café like atmosphere, there will be large long tables that will drive more “side-by-side” discussions between staff and consumers with the added bonus of self-service devices. The success of this re-branding can be seen in the results of existing Bank of Queensland branches that have said to of doubled. The strategy to re-design the banks branches stems from the understanding that in order to succeed there must be a strong, stable relationship model between customers and staff members.

In relation to marketing we learn in most cases, successful brands sit apart from the rest by both telling a simple story that builds an affinity with the brand and sticking to a certain brand message. From its early stages, the brand message, the Bank of Queensland abides by is one of real partnership and relationship however their branches design and layout never really aligned with this ethos. Philippa Bartlett, General Manager of Corporate Network and Retail Transformation, mentioned that it was important that a physical presence was designed in alignment with customers loving a bank.

When delivering brand messages to your consumers, it is important to ensure you are being authentic to the brand. In an era where technology plays such a large part it, becomes easier and easier to become quickly exposed. The concept of authenticity within the branch was to be seen within the physical environment it resided. An important factor in the re-design of the banks branches was the idea that the customer should be in charge of any interaction within the branch. By removing the physical barriers, consumers are now able to have this side-by-side interaction that the bank labels a “partnership”.  

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 27 July 2015

The dark side of collaborative consumption

The roots of collaborative consumption are deeply entrenched in the idea of a sharing economy. The act of sharing is hardwired into humans, but can be more prevalent in some societies and cultures than others. However, almost all cultures value sharing from a young age, with children being taught that sharing is good and should be encouraged. The idea of a sharing economy is certainly not a new phenomenon. In fact, sharing is a fundamental element of our past and evident in activities such as market trading, hunting in packs and farming in cooperative groups. The term collaborative consumption is often used to describe people powered marketplaces. From a consumer perspective, it allows goods and services to be sold, swapped and traded to a wide community of users in an infinite number of ways.

As collaborative consumption becomes an ever-increasing part of consumer behavior, it will continue to become the norm as we move away from the hyper consumption of the 20th century to collaborative consumption of the 21st century. As new technologies serve to remove the pain of sharing with others, reputation within these marketplaces is vitally important. In fact, reputation is the distinguishing feature that sets one consumer apart from another and is a measure of how well they can be trusted. Reputation will allow consumers to differentiate their service from others and potentially charge higher prices to other consumers willing to pay for a better experience. Our reputation may one day be as powerful as our credit rating. Reputation is the social currency that allows trust between total strangers. The mindset of consumers is starting to radically change in regards to ownership and what we choose to own.

Image source:

While the benefits of a sharing economy are clear, particularly in terms of sustainability, there are disadvantages to collaborative consumption and conditions that can inhibit its occurrence. Looking at the example of the highly successful Airbnb that has grown immensely in the past five years, there are a number of concerns and issues with this type of sharing. In comparison with traditional hotel facilities, the accommodation may be unsafe and unreliable. It is argued that these services breach many rules such as insurance cover, fire safety regulations, public liability, development rules and, also the tax implications for individuals renting out their spare spaces. It could be argued that the success of Airbnb could have a negative knock on effect on those directly and indirectly employed through the tourism sector.

The utopian view of collaborative consumption paints a positive picture of a perfect world where there is little friction in the redistribution of goods and services. As trust plays such an important factor in sharing, there are examples of “collaborative consumption gone bad”. For example, using a shared Zipcar may not deliver the same level of cleanliness that you may expect from a vehicle you actually own. Physically owning something may increase the care that is taken to look after it. Also, sharing your possessions with others who may not treat them with the same level of care, may cause dissatisfaction for both parties. If you were to hire out goods with a high value and the renter breaks it, how liable are they to repay for the damage incurred?

With reputation becoming such an important factor, there is also an increased emphasis on the digital footprint we leave behind. This in itself raises privacy concerns, although generally people have become more willing and open about the information they share. Generation Y are growing up with an increased sense of sharing which has been dubbed, the culture of WE rather than the culture of ME. From sharing information via social networks, to music files and even experiences such as flash mobs, these new generations of consumers are fundamentally reinventing the art of sharing. While I am a strong supporter of collaborative consumption, it is important to remember both the pains and gains experienced in the new sharing economy.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 24 July 2015

Wrigley’s Extra and ‘The Bachelor’

Wrigley’s Extra has become a major sponsor of The Bachelor, whilst undergoing a global rebrand.

Wrigley’s Extra has decided to hop on board to sponsor The Bachelor as part of their global rebranding strategy for its main gum brand, Extra. The new look for Extra will incorporate aspects of pop culture and dating conversation through the new business relationship with Ten's The Bachelor Australia.

This new look for the brand is said to feature a shield with a glint, along with the television campaign starring Ashton Kutcher that has been airing for several months. Supported with secondary media, their decision to sponsor the well known dating series forms part of a multi-million dollar campaign that aims at targeting consumers during their daily routine.

Wrigley Pacific is relying on the mass appeal of The Bachelor to educate consumers that the role of Extra in dating is “to rescue you in moments when you want to impress”. Marketing Director, Tami Cunningham, stated that in order to build up Wrigley’s brand salience in a fun and engaging way, a mass integrated campaign would be an ideal way forward. Taking part of the sponsorship deal, Extra will also have a presence across the show's social media platforms to extend its presence.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Co-creation takes over at LEGO

One of the best recent examples of co-creation is LEGO, and its IDEAS website which allows customers to create new designs. The website was set up for LEGO enthusiasts who can both create, vote and give feedback on new projects. The projects that receive over 10,000 votes go into a review phase where senior LEGO employees decide if the product is viable for production. If the product is approved, the creator will receive 1% of the net sales of that product.


Consumer insights are now a core part of the LEGO strategy that enables staff to make consumer led decisions. The ‘LEGO Friends’ play set was designed through the process of co-creation, and came from the insight that young girls prefer designs with bright colours and environments that have emotional connection. The Senior Director for insight generation, Laura Post, conducted 13 research studies over a four-year period, which involved their target market creating new products in collaboration with designers. The insight lead to one of the biggest commercial successes in LEGO history, with a new product range that attracted new customers that they had previously not been able to connect with. 

Co-creation is quickly becoming an established feature of marketing practice for many successful firms. It is a relatively new approach to innovation that allows customers to add value to an organisation. This enables companies to differentiate themselves from competitors by encouraging collaboration with customers by putting them at the core of the business. The value of the insights generated by co-creation can be beneficial for both the company and the customer. Today’s customers are better-informed and actively take interest in the companies that they desire to connect with. They are no longer passive consumers and have become active creators of content and opinions. With the popularity of social media and the increasing number of websites with feedback mechanisms, customer’s voices can be heard louder and clearer than ever before.


One of the primary factors driving co-creation is the vast access to information that customers now have. Considerable pressure is being placed on organisations to reinvent themselves for the millennial generation by adapting their products and services. Co-creation is an opportunity for customers to become even more integral to the company by helping to shape its future business practices.

To gain the most meaningful insights, companies must play the important role of a moderator who can help to facilitate discussions rather than lead them. The customer may not always be right, but they should always be listened too. Opening up does involve some risk that must be managed, especially for big brands with valuable reputations to protect. Involving the customer into these areas will help to create brand loyalty and long lasting relationships between the company and its community. It will also allow companies to become more consumer-centric in their approach and easier to act upon customer feedback. New product development can be both costly and time consuming for companies, but successful co-creation can help speed up this process and bring products to market faster.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 17 July 2015

Nike takes female empowerment on a trip to Moscow

The empowerment of Russian women has been influenced by Nike’s most recent marketing campaign “Real girls of Moscow”. In April this year the United States saw the launch of the Nike women “Better for It” motivational campaign. Due to its success, the Powerhouse Nike itself has decided to expand the campaign to Moscow with their ‘Real girls of Moscow’ campaign.

The campaign aims to demonstrate the determination and strength Russian women use to overcome touch challenges they may encounter. The campaign aims to empower women to become active through platforms such as video, street art and GIF’s.

Undergoing a more dramatic and intense composition, the campaign takes the angle of looking into the inner-thoughts and processes that Russian women go through in overcoming adversity. Another key factor giving consumers the ability to resonate with the campaign is the use of professional athletes such as former world champion, Thai boxer Katya Izotova.

Nike has also designed outdoor murals of athletes that can be seen all across Moscow. These features work alongside a series of animated GIF’s that use geo-location enabling people to find the actual mural on the streets.

David Smith, the creative director looking after this campaign, pointed out that he wanted to give this work a “lasting sense of legacy” compared to the campaigns today that are about that one-second moment. Smith states, “So we broke the usual parameters of advertising and created a series of giant outdoor murals. “The scale and beauty of the photography really gives these girls the heroic stature they deserved.”

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 13 July 2015

Coca-Cola fighting prejudice by removing logo in the Middle East for Ramadan

Coca-Cola has long been known for their fantastic use of marketing to connect with their audience. Earlier this week saw one of the best campaigns I can remember from them in a very long time. Coke cans in the Middle East have been stripped of the famous Coca-Cola logo. This will run throughout the holy festival of Ramadan, which is observed by Muslims worldwide.

The new blank cans still have Coca-Cola’s iconic colouring, but with all references to the brand name being removed. On the other side it simply reads, “Labels are for cans, not for people”.  This strong and powerful statement from Coke is encouraging people not to judge each other based on their appearance.

Alongside the visual changes to the can, Coca-Cola has also created a short online film that has already had over 46 million views since it was uploaded last week. It begins with a group of six strangers who have been invited for a dinner. But this is no ordinary dinner party, as the strangers will have to get to know each other in the dark. After spending time getting to know one another and chatting about the things they have in common, the lights are finally switched on for the big reveal.

The striking thing about this advertisement is the diversity of the all male group of Middle Eastern men which contains men in traditional Arab dress, a man in a business suit, another man in a wheelchair and a man with facial tattoos. The group were at first shocked but had learnt that they had seen each other in another light. 

Afterwards the group is asked to pull out the Coke can from under their chairs that reads, “Labels are for cans”.


The advertisement carries a very strong message that we should not judge others based on their looks before getting to know them. Shortly after the film launched, Coca-Cola released a statement saying, “In a time when equality and abolishing prejudices is a hot topic for discussion around the world, how does one of the leading brands like Coca-Cola join in the conversation? In the Middle East, during the month of Ramadan, one of the world’s most well known labels has removed its own label, off its cans, in an effort to promote a world without labels and prejudices.”

I believe this very bold and brave advertising by Coca-Cola will win them a lot of fans regardless of their religion. It reminds us of a very important moral, but also highlights that large corporations too need a moral conscious. By boldly standing behind these values Coca-Cola, has made itself stand out. The goal of the advert is promote open-mindedness and tolerance, but will no doubt win support for its product.


Ramadan is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar where the tradition of fasting is commonplace. The ending of Ramadan is celebrated with the Eid al-Fitr festival.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The modern age of globalisation – What does it mean for brands?

In today's world, nothing is considered “local” anymore. It is clear to say that every local action taken by brands now has a global reaction. No matter what scale a brand takes on, whether it is global or local, it must begin to delve into deeper meaningful relationships, developing thorough culture networks and knowledge along with maintaining a consistent and edgy media presence. 

It is important to understand that there is no such thing as a one-way conversation anymore. What I mean by this is that brands can no longer avoid the culture in which they are entering. There is much talk about a term called “globality”. We as marketers are moving towards a world that encompasses and embraces this term more than ever before. Globality can be seen as the bridge between global and local. It aims at spreading a brand, product or service in a “multi-market” capacity which actively enriches the receiving culture.

It is of the view that the old way of viewing the world through so called regions including APAC and EMEA is on a very fast declining spiral. With reference to Roshni Hegerman, Planning Director of McCann Sydney, Hegerman suggests that instead we should be tapping into our pattern recognition skills to effectively reveal shared cultural behaviours between countries across key universal human truths including love, success, connection and purpose.

One of the prime benefits to living in this so-called connected world is the capacity to learn about other cultures, however its greatest downfall is that half of the globe cites that they experience loss of local culture.

For Australians this can be felt greatly as we are currently battling an internal identity crisis; in other words, we are still trying to define who we are as a nation. For example, in relation to the technological and vehicle industry we say we would like to support local businesses, but we still choose global brands.

So what does it mean for brands? This idea of globality for brands means that greater relationships must be made with people and consumers. Relationships that involve knowing what unites us as human beings, knowing where people get their information from, along with understanding how a brand earns its way into peoples lives. We should use this deep cultural local and global knowledge to better the lives of consumers and to benefit our brands.

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Why pay for something you could otherwise get for free?

Earlier this week I was shopping in my local supermarket when I noticed a customer loading up a trolley full of bottled water. Upon seeing the customer loading case after case of water into the trolley, one thought instinctively crossed my mind. Why on earth would someone pay for something that you could otherwise get for free?

You only realise you are truly a marketer when instead of taking every day things on face value, you begin to question everything! I must start by saying that personally I do not buy bottled water unless absolutely necessary, so this is a biased perspective. 

According to Ibis World, the bottled water industry in Australia is worth a staggering $681m and is predicted to grow by 2.8% in 2015. In fact, the industry has seen steady growth for the last five years with shifts in health conscious consumers seeking healthier alternatives and an increasing need for convenience.

Buy why exactly do people buy bottled water?

Brands such as Evian are extracted from natural sources and springs, which can act as a point of difference for the product. Many bottled waters are actually just plain ordinary tap water that has been filtered. By and large, there are actually very few differences between the H2O coming from either the tap or bottle. The health arguments for bottled water are often overstated, although there can be some differences in taste.


The major difference between bottled and tap water is the price. A typical branded bottle of water comparatively is more expensive than petrol and more than 1000 times more expensive than water directly coming from the tap. Would you really consider paying over 1000 times the standard price for any other product on the market?

It is also important to consider the incurred cost to the planet, which is often overlooked.  The bottling of water has many negative environmental impacts caused by its extraction, production, transportation and ultimately ending up as either litter, or even worse, landfill. The story of how water is produced is brilliantly explained in the story of stuff project at

Have we all fallen for a big “water con” or are we simply purchasing bottled water as a way to exercise our freedom? The natural and pure images often conjured up by major brands marketing water is something we all identify with. You only have to look at Evian’s “Live Young” campaign to really get a sense of how they are looking to market to our desire for youth and vitality.

As a responsible modern day marketer I am fully aware of the ethical, social and environmental implications of selling bottled water. Bottled water does have a use, particularly in parts of the world where there is a lack of access to clean water sources.

So, next time you are considering buying a bottle of water, please remember that Australian tap water is clean, safe and the most sustainable option. While the packaging of many brands promotes nature’s beauty, it is actually the natural world that is ultimately paying the biggest price.

Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 26 June 2015

Collaborative Consumption Takes Over

An emerging trend, the idea of “sharing economy”, otherwise known as collaborative consumption, will greatly impact the society in which we live. As consumers, businesses and companies move away from private ownership of assets, we are slowly moving towards sharing assets.

What exactly is collaborative consumption? According to collaborative lab, collaborative consumption is an economic model based on sharing, swapping, trading or renting products and services, enabling access over ownership. It is reinventing not just what we consume but HOW we consumer.

Many established brands are implementing this model into the structure of their business, taking on a collaborative lifestyle. A prime example would include Airbnb, where global consumers have the opportunity to reinvent the idea of sharing through renting out their homes and apartments, giving world travellers the opportunity to “belong anywhere”.

Another prime example would be eBay, in which their use of collaborative consumption can be seen through the redistribution or “transfer or ownership” of new and pre-owned goods. Lastly, the third main form of collaborative consumption can be seen through the idea of a product service system such as Zipcar, where consumers pay to access the benefit of a product versus needing to own it outright.

A key driver pushing the growth of collaborative consumption is the ever-evolving Internet, and the many technological platforms, along with the multitude of social media channels that are becoming easier and easier to use. From this we can see the introduction of more “share platforms” that allow consumers to share things from the click of a button.

Perhaps another driver impacting the move towards a shared economy could be peoples' need to connect with others in a meaningful way. This idea of sharing goods and services is not new. Many of us can trace the use of borrowed tools and equipment, hand-me-down clothes and shared babysitters back to our parents and even our grandparent’s generation. The only difference is that this is the first time that we can see a joint shift in consumption patterns, ones that have very little to do with marketing or retail accessibility.

If we were to sit back and try to predict where consumers and their consumption patterns are going, the simple answer would be “they are taking the consumption model into their own hands and controlling when, how and why.”

Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School