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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

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Business of Fashion with Collette Dinnigan

As an avid follower of all things business and fashion, I was thoroughly looking forward to hearing Collette speak about her success as a Fashion Designer in a very global industry. As the first Australian Designer to have been invited to show on the official schedule of Ready to Wear Paris Fashion Week in 1995, her legacy has always been about breaking boundaries, but at the same time, she’s managed to maintain consistency across her brand, and really hone into who her customer is and what they want.

Although there were numerous insights Collette shared about her journey as a Designer, it was her thoughts on the business side of things that were the most compelling. From a retail perspective, it was really interesting hearing her talk about her relationships with key retailers over the course of her time in business. Anyone with a good understanding of branding knows the value of the right associations, and it’s very clear that Collette’s pursuit of overseas opportunities with retailers like Barneys New York and Harvey Nichols was what really set her up for success.  Later down the line, she has sought more mass market partnerships with UK department store M&S and Target Australia, in an effort to expand her business, and has now partnered with cult women’s clothing and accessories retailer Anthropologie, as she begins to re-surface her brand in the marketplace.

Putting her business model aside, Collette also had some amazing advice for emerging business leaders. I couldn’t help but jot down a particular quote as I sat there in the audience, and it’s one I feel that reflects greatly on her work ethic, and approach as a business leader; “When you’re passionate about something you want to keep going. Nothing’s ever good enough”.

As an aspiring business leader in this industry, I couldn’t help but feel a little awed after hearing her speak, and her unwavering passion for her brand was more than a little infectious. Whatever happens in my career, it’s good to know that hard work will get you somewhere, but at the same time, it’s being business savvy and having a clear understanding of your brand and industry that will set you apart.

Salil Kumar
Alumnus of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Jurassic World: Product placement at its best!

What do Merdedez-Benz, Beats by Dre, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Samsung, Starbucks and Margaritaville have in common? They all recently made a starring appearance in the blockbuster Jurassic World!

In its second week, Jurassic World has made a whopping $981.3 million at the worldwide box office. But the ticket sales won’t be the only profits generated for the movies' producers. Product placement has become part and parcel of big Hollywood movies and a major source of revenue. Mega hits cost mega bucks so its no major surprise as to why these products find their way somewhat inconspicuously onto our screens.

Call me a cynic, but these days I can’t seem watch a movie without looking for the product placements. Starbucks was the most obvious offender in the movie, with the leading female character noticeably drinking from their iconic cup. Less noticeable was Chris Pratt sipping on a Coca-Cola while fixing his bike. The movie itself even seemed to poke fun at the idea of product placement and mocked the idea of creating a new sponsor themed dinosaur named “Pepsi-saurus”. I have to admit, I did laugh at that one!


Did anyone else notice the man running away with two margaritas in his hands when the dinosaurs began to attack? That was none other than the American singer-songwriter and owner of the restaurant Margaritaville. The small cameo was a really great way to gain some subtle promotion for the restaurant chain.

Corporate tie-ins have become an increasingly valuable tool for marketers to promote products. Blockbuster movies have mainstream international appeal and will be replayed for many years to come. The danger is featuring the product too prominently, risking the films integrity and the product's genuineness.  Everybody knows James Bond drinks his Martini shaken and not stirred. Yet in the movie Skyfall, he is clearly seen drinking from a green Heineken bottle. The beer manufacturer reportedly paid $70 million to feature in the film.

On the whole, I thought the product placements in Jurassic World added to the movie's authenticity and helped the park feel like a real place. For the most part, the brands found a way to be part of the action of the movie rather than detracting from it.

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

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Art of Storytelling in Marketing is to be “Ruthlessly Consistent”

In the transparent age in which we live, marketers need to become more ruthless when delivering consistent brand messages. However, with this being said, they have been warned that messages lacking validity and authenticity may backfire.

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. On the other end of the spectrum, those brands that are deemed not as successful or just mediocre are unable to articulate what they stand for and thus, struggle to get cut through with consumers says, Rowena Millward, Director of Partnerships at Seven West Media and a partner at marketing agency, Morgan..

“When you think about the brands that continue to be number one, and you look back at the history of their communications, they are ruthlessly consistent about their story,” Millward said. “Brands that succeed tell their story simply and consistently at every touch point.”

Much of what Millward speaks about revolves around the notion that 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. 

A prime example of what happens when companies’ stop becoming authentic can be seen with Woolworths regarding the Anzacs. Not only this, but it is important to keep in mind that brands are generally part of a larger corporation, so if disconnect between stories becomes evident, there will be a larger impact on how your brand story is understood by consumers.

Nike has successfully maintained their brand message for 25 years, depicting people overcoming adversity. Their success lends itself back to the notion of  “gelping you win when the odds were against you.” Even though Nike is a brand that breaks the rules, it still maintains to deliver the same message each time in multiple ways.

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

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Oculus Rift: Virtual Reality the next big game changing platform

If you have read any of my posts on the Marketing Matters blog, you have probably worked out one thing about me. I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

So it will come as no surprise that I am incredibly excited to try the new Oculus Rift headset! What’s Oculus you say? Well I’m glad you asked, because soon it will be changing your life forever.

Oculus VR, otherwise known as “The Rift”, is a virtual reality head mounted display currently in development. Virtual reality really isn’t a new thing. I can remember as a teenage going to the arcade and playing VR games. But do not mistake “The Rift” for this same primitive and clunky technology of the past.

OK…I sense you're not yet sold on the idea of virtual reality.

Well, the Oculus team only began prototyping their concept in 2012 after raising $2.4 million from a kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Fast forward two years and Facebook paid a whopping $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, plus a further $300 million subject to conditions.

I am pretty sure I have your attention now! The Oculus team certainly were able to grab Facebook’s attention drawing that much money for a two-year-old project.

News broke earlier this week that in early 2016 we will finally get to see the first consumer version of the headset available for sale. The VR of the new headset is a completely immersive experience. It is quite unlike anything you will have ever experienced before and is like stepping into another world. This is not a gimmick like 3D TV’s; this is very much a game-changing platform.


The implications for marketing are going to be unbelievable. This is a new platform with a new way to connect with consumers. So, I guess with a statement like that I should give some bold predictions to what we could expect in the future. I am going to preface this by staying that all new technologies usually take at least two generations before they become widely adopted. That being said, here are some things to consider:
  1. VR is going to be huge in the gaming community. I can see this headset being popular with hard-core gamers, but it will quickly become mainstream. In fact, Xbox maker Microsoft have already teamed up with Oculus to support Xbox-to-windows game streaming.
  2. Death of the cinema. Or at least as we currently know it. Who is going to want to watch 2D or 3D films anymore? When you can be transported into a new augmented world rather than simply watching it.
  3. University teaching will change. How will classes be delivered? The Universies who do best will be the ones who embrace this new generation of technology and integrate it seamlessly into the learning experience.  
  4. Doctors will use VR as part of standard medical practice. They already spend small fortunes on simulators and headsets for performing surgical procedures.
Mark Zuckerberg said that virtual reality is the next major computing platform. With a budget the size of Facebooks supporting this aim, we would be foolish to think differently. I look forward to looking back at this blog in five to ten years time and seeing how many of these predictions I got right.
Robert Brunning
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

Friday, 12 June 2015

The future of marketing as we know it

Where does the future of marketing lie? What changes must we implement in order to better market our discipline?

Time and time again you come across people who don’t really understand what marketing is and don’t really quite get what marketers do. So with this being said, what can marketing do to market itself better? An odd question you might think, however, it’s a no-brainer: launch a new campaign, improve social media, host a extravagant event, plant a couple media stories, hire a new marketing manager, devise a digital content strategy, set up an online community…the list goes on. Surprised? Don’t be, this is not too dissimilar from how marketing is perceived by many today.

At the other end of the scale, there are academic talks and papers circulating matters on marketing leadership, which has said to have revolutionised the way marketing is perceived. Mahesh Enjeti, Managing Director of SAI Marketing Counsel, mentions a paper based on the future of marketing, named “Six Visionaries Speak”. One of my favourite visionaries, Seth Godin, advises today’s marketers to create things that matter. What does he mean by this? The term “things that matter”, refers to a creation or innovation that generates a buzz amongst its targeted audience, opposed to marketers being stuck on creating the buzz itself.

Unilever’s, Marc Mathieu, reiterates a quote which resonated with me, stating, “Marketing is no longer about creating a myth and selling it, but finding a truth and sharing it.” A quote so powerful, yet simplistic, stresses the importance of sustainability, transparency and trust within our discipline.

If we as marketers are meant to progress from our roles today and lead the aspirational future, we must start to look beyond the confines of our own discipline, because “marketing will cease to be a strait-jacketed function and will soon assume the mantle of a facilitator and fountain head.”

 “Six Visionaries Speak” interestingly discusses how the future of customer needs will revolve around the notion of well-being, and sustainability. “Research will investigate how products and services actually fit into peoples lives. Metrics around market cap of brand value will be talked about in the same breath as brand health. Market segments will make way for channel and hour of day clusters, and so on.”

So then what? The important challenge for us is being able to manage this transition, so others who are practicing marketing, as it exists today, will be able to lead the business of tomorrow built on completely new models.

This is a time where influential groups such as the Australian Marketing Institute can lead exponential change. Through a continual learning of the marketing discipline, organisations such as AMI can start to prepare marketers for a future where their roles within the discipline could be completely transformed, enabling them to perform more efficiently within their roles and begin the initial steps for change.

We all have to learn how to speak the language of both profit and purpose, bridging the gap between art and science, whilst at the same time promoting a culture of customer intimacy across the discipline. The 4Ps as we have been taught in the many marketing subjects at university may take on a new significance as those in the profession “pursue marketing careers and networks, perform to their peak, progress in their roles while enabling their businesses to prosper”.

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Your Instagram feed is about to change: paid advertising on the way

My morning routine pretty much starts exactly the same way every day. Open my eyes, turn off my alarm and then spend the next few minutes browsing through my friend’s photos on Instagram. But my routine this morning was a little different. As I scrolled down the stream of new content, a video that happened to be automatically playing caught my eye. This video wasn’t from one of my friends, but from the drinks company J2O!

My initial reaction told its own story, “What’s this doing in my newsfeed?” I mumbled to myself with my eyes half open, wondering if I was still dreaming. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-advertising. Well-positioned and targeted advertisements can be a fantastic way to grab your potential customer segments attention. But why was J2O advertising in “my” newsfeed? I don’t even drink orange juice!

Source: Robert Brunning

In 2012 Facebook brought Instagram for $1 billion dollars and had kept the platform relatively free of advertising. But last week the company announced new plans to open up Instagram to advertisers to target its 300 million users. Tests have also begun on adverts that will allow users to purchase online items including downloading paid-for-apps and content.

While the service is currently only for large brands such as Levi, Burberry and Lexus, it will soon be available for anyone who wishes to advertise. In the official Instagram blog, the team wrote, "Advertisers also want to target their messages in more effective ways and reach people not just because of their age, location and gender, but because of the people, places and things they love."


With Facebook cashing in on Instagram’s popularity, one can only begin to imagine how much profit the company will make with its change to paid advertising. However, they must be careful not to oversaturate the users' feeds with advertisements, or risk disrupting their satisfaction. They must tread lightly and take a cautious approach to the adverts that allow. The appeal of Instagram is viewing visually beautiful imagery, so the prospect of “ugly” ads could greatly dissatisfy the end user.

My feelings on advertising through Instagram are mixed. From a personal perspective it feels like an invasion of a “sacred” place that should be left alone. However, from a business perspective I think it could be incredibly successful given the large amount of data users are willingly sharing with Facebook. Mobile platforms offer the potential for incredibly lucrative advertising space. That being said, these advertisements need a high level of targeting if they are going to be effective.

So, my morning routine will continue as usual for now, but I still won’t be drink orange juice!

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

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Corrupt FIFA ruining the world game: Where does this leave the sponsors?

It’s been quite a week for FIFA with their reputation falling to an all time low. The football federation is the governing body of world football (soccer), and responsible for organising major international events, most notably the World Cup. 


Last week saw Swiss police interrupting FIFA’s annual meeting arresting six high-ranking senior officials on corruption charges leading from an FBI investigation. This comes after months of allegations of money laundering, bribery and corruption charges for the bidding process of the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cup. Three days after the arrests the President, Sepp Blatter, was re-elected for a historic fifth term as president of the organisation.

With his position becoming untenable amid the corruption scandal, Sepp Blatter called a press conference at FIFA Head Quarters on Wednesday to announce he is stepping down as president. “I will organise an extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president and I will not stand,” said Blatter.

As a not-for-profit organisation, FIFA is responsible for championing the idea of “Fair play” and using football as a vehicle for uniting and educating the world. FIFA’s World Cup Sponsors are some of the most powerful multinational companies in the world. The reputations of McDonalds, Adidas, Visa, Budweiser and Coca-Cola are very much at risk in their response to this crisis.

In the aftermath of the corruption investigation last year, both Sony and Emirates opted against signing new contracts, while Castrol, Continental Tyres and Johnson & Johnson also chose not to renew their sponsorship agreements. Looking back at the events of last week, this may have been a very wise decision. Visa has already made a statement expressing their disappointment and concern with FIFA and informed the organisation that they will be reassessing their sponsorship. Coca-Cola said, “This lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup and we have repeatedly expressed our concerns about these serious allegations.”


The following few weeks should bring some new insight into the direction of the sponsors. As key partners, it is vital that they have a say in the reform of the organisation or risk negative backlash from customers.  Leaving the sinking ship of the FIFA regime would make a big statement. However, they could be walking away from the biggest mainstream exposure that is the phenomenon of the World Cup. With sponsors contributing at least $1.5bn to FIFA every four years, they will have a big say in the direction of the organisation. Ultimately, I believe the sponsors will be the ones who play a major role in the reform the organisation going forward.

Upon Blatter’s resignation, Coca-Cola released a statement saying, “We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st century structure and institution”.

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

Friday, 29 May 2015

Lend Lease has taken the plunge and finally rebranded!

This global property and infrastructure powerhouse has replaced its twenty-year old logo with a fresh organic green mark, joining its iconic name to a single word, Lendlease.

This vibrant new look has been designed to reflect the company’s new strategy, positioning themselves within the market as a contemporary, diverse and international business. The new logo can be described as the organic and versatile “fold”, suiting Lendlease’s range of projects across industries and countries.

Another reason for the companie's re-branding lends itself back to the concept of designing for the future. Lendlease understands the need to provide their customers with a unique identity that goes from “consumer to business, enterprise to government partnerships and local to international markets”.

The new branding and strategies Lendlease will implement will take place over the next year. It will run in accordance to the “run down and expire” strategy which will systematically change brand assets according to project's stages of development.

CEO, Steve McCann states, “We have emerged out of our five year strategy to hold a strong market position and believe we have re-established the leadership position of this great organisation. As a result, the time is right to evolve our brand.”

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

Monday, 25 May 2015

A week without Internet: Are our basic needs changing?

Oh what a week!

University deadlines, group meetings, work commitments, moving to a new apartment, building furniture to name but a few. I would have to say this week has been my busiest since joining the Master of Marketing.  It took a whole week without any Internet connection in my new apartment to realise just how important a commodity it is to my daily life.

The Internet meme of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with ‘WIFI’ scrawled underneath the base came to mind on many occasions as I pondered life after the Internet. No Facebook, No Instagram, No Podcasts, No Skype and No Blackboard for my assignments - nothing, nada, zip!


After a whole week of thinking time without the Internet, here are my two thoughts I would like to share.

Firstly, have our basic needs changed? We will always require the physiological needs of food, water, shelter and warmth, as these are all basic functions of the body. So where does Internet fit in to the picture? It has become a commodity I now regard a utility in the same way I would electricity or gas, and without it, my life becomes infinitely more difficult to navigate.

I don’t believe it is a basic need or a desire to be safe and secure in the knowledge that the basic needs will be fulfilled in the future. But for me personally, having Internet access unquestionably plays a role in every other category. Tools such as video chat with family and friends can certainly fulfil a sense of belonging and love. The next stage of the hierarchy is all about social recognition, which could be argued, is one of the key drivers of Facebook. The final stage at the top of the triangle is self-actualization, which is a sense of fulfilment. This means that you are doing on the planet what you are meant to do, to ultimately be happy in life. Without Google, how can I search for what I am meant to do in my life? If like me you can remember life before Google, you will know just how hard it was to find information.

My second thought was about Maslow and his theory of motivation. I remember having just started high school when I was first introduced to this mysterious pyramid of human needs, yet today, as I study at Masters level I am still looking at the same pyramid. I think that is testament to the strong influence that a 70-year-old theory still has on the world.  As a marketer, one of the insights I have gained is how we can shape the conditions that create peoples' aspirations. The model proposed by Maslow is able to explain this very complicated idea in a very simple way. In the years since it was first published, the Maslow triangle has been flipped upside down, pulled apart, chopped up into numerous diagrams, but again still remains today in many textbooks as it did in 1943.

So as much as my life wouldn’t be complete without the Internet, my understanding of human behaviour wouldn’t be the same without Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.

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

Friday, 22 May 2015

Gucci Online – Where tradition meets modern digital marketing

Despite the fact a French company owns Gucci, the notorious global brand is still seen as the epitome of “Italian luxury”. Looking past the opulence the brand radiates, Gucci has been able to successfully combine old world tradition with a profound understanding of modern technology and marketing techniques. In relation to the digital capability of companies in the luxury market, Gucci was ranked number one and labelled a “fashion genius”. The development of their online presence through the use of e-commerce, social media, digital marketing and the integration of a smartphone app puts them in an advantageous position.

Lets take a step back and think about why a global company like Gucci, rich in heritage and richer in reputation, feels the need to be skilled at digital marketing and social media.

These days consumers are using the Internet along with other browsing platforms to research the products prior to purchasing their “must have” luxury item.  While a marginal 5% of luxury sales take place online, the 'digital browsing' signifies the birthplace over almost 50% of sales. In more recent times, the profit aspect for Gucci has been on a decline as “high-end” customers are switching to brands they perceive as more exclusive. Even with Gucci’s pursuit to find wealthier clients, their sales continue to decline.

Gucci was one of the first luxury brands that saw the significance of having a well-defined and well-branded digital presence. Part of Gucci’s success lends itself to their belief in providing all customers with a “Gucci Experience”, in both the real world and the virtual one. Gucci has achieved this presence by providing a broad selection of products both in its boutiques and its online store. Taking advantage of future growth, Gucci has further felt the need to invest in their e-commerce infrastructure. Even though Gucci’s digital commitment has not yet improved its global revenue, it has definitely enhanced its profile. In addition, the smartphone app has provided users with a customized experience, resulting in a 150% increase in online traffic.

The digital marketing strategy Gucci has implemented involves a
multi-faceted approach using a variety of social media platforms. In the past, Gucci has been known to combine their excessively opulent window displays with beautifully designed online video advertisements. Gucci has cleverly tied promotional campaigns to the anniversaries of some of it's iconic products. A prime example was the 60th anniversary of its legendary “Horsebit” loafers, when famous fashion bloggers were asked to show off the celebrated shoes. A large percentage of the success of these cross-promotions lends itself back to the involvement of consumers on social media, which can be seen in the size of Gucci’s online community.

As consumer trends continually change, even global companies such as Gucci need to start looking into how they can adapt, acquire new customers and potentially enter new markets. Gucci’s partnership with Fiat began with bringing out a limited edition version of the popular ‘Fiat 500’, all ensconced in trademark Gucci leather. However, it should be known that Gucci is extremely discriminating when it comes to working with others. “Partner carefully,” warns Nicole Marra of Gucci, and so they should I say! Gucci’s aim in maintaining constant conversation with its customers, as well as its marketing partners, at the end of the day all relies on their digital strategy. Whilst digital marketing campaigns and projects are important, so are building long-term relationships.

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

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Elon Musk: A new world of marketing opportunities

I have been a long time admirer of the serial entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and investor Elon Musk. As the cofounder of Paypal, he has amassed a personal wealth of approximately $13.3 billion and currently sits at number 100 on the Forbes World’s Billionaire list. Like a real life Tony Stark from the Iron Man comics, Musk is every bit the superhero, just without the suit. But do not let his cartoonish ideas fool you, with his vast personal wealth his ideas are quickly changing the world in which we live.


As CEO of Tesla Motors he has already achieved a significant milestone by becoming the third largest selling luxury car company in California. To reach this level of success in such a short time with a petrol engine car would have been quite a feat, but this is an electric car company! Then again, there really is nothing ordinary about Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk.

Typically you would find most car dealers along busy public roads with large extravagant showrooms. Tesla on the other hand takes a very different approach and meets with customers in public shopping malls. Next to your traditional clothes and food outlets you can find their small showrooms that typically house one or two model cars. You might be out for a spot of shopping when you walk past a show room and casually drop by to talk with a Tesla representative about the benefits of electric cars. Moving in to the mainstream shopping outlets has gained Tesla a significant amount of exposure by breaking from the traditional way of marketing and selling cars.


Last week Musk made the very exciting announcement of the Tesla Powerwall. The wall mounted energy storage unit can hold 10-kilowatt hours of electric energy. The traditional problem with renewable energy such as solar panels is that you need to store the energy for even distribution through out the day. For the small cost of $3,500, you no longer need to fully rely on getting your power from the traditional utilities providers. How long until we see the Tesla Powerwall being sold in shopping centres alongside their electric cars?

As if Musk didn’t have enough on his plate, he is also the founder of the SpaceX programme. This ambitious project was set up to bring down the costs of space travel using reusable rockets with the ultimate goal of colonising other planets. This is not as far fetched as it might sound. The SpaceX program was awarded $1.6 billion by NASA in 2008 to deliver twelve payloads of supplies to the International Space Station. The significant investment in commercial space travel could make it as common as flying on an airplane in less than a century.

I for one am excited by the possibilities a new future ushered in by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk might have to offer. With change comes opportunity, so as a marketer, I will be watching his business ventures closely to see what future opportunities they may bring. 

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

Friday, 15 May 2015

“Service Revolution” Drives Customer Growth at Westpac

In the digitalised world we are living in today, we can definitely see a shift to more digitalised platforms in which more powerful and newer technologies are changing the way consumers live their lives. It is important that companies are taking hold of this shift by implementing more customer-centred strategies to ensure their position within the marketplace. With this being said, the expectation of services has increased and particularly been felt within the baking sector. Consumers are expecting things to be much quicker, more seamless, easier and more personalised.

The Westpac Banking Group has realised the changing needs of their consumers and the need for their company to be radically simplified, particularly through the compression of their many processes into world-class digital platforms. In simpler terms, Westpac is reinventing their brand network along with their customer experience by simplifying their products and processes.

The service focused strategy Westpac has implemented has been reflected in a growth in customer numbers, high customer satisfaction among both consumer and business customers, and improved growth and increased return. 

According to the earning results that were released at the beginning of May, the Westpac banking group made a large $84 million dollars from digital sales in the financial first half of 2015. To put it in perspective, digital sales currently makes up 13.3 per cent of total retail sales, including digital transactions and online loans. The bank is continuing to move away from manual transactions, such as phone services, to online and smart ATM’s.

Westpac has revealed it has over 4 million digital customers, proving to be an increase from the 3.97 million in the second half of 2014. 3.1 million consumers have migrated to the banks online banking platform, Westpac Live, while 300,000 businesses were migrated to the platform.

What strategies have Westpac implemented that is driving their consumer growth?

Firstly, the banking giant has initiated and installed video conferencing services to their Australian branches in the hope of improving the services available to their customers. Through the use of technology, particularly their online lending application called LOLA, Westpac has made $30 billion dollars worth of pre-approved lending available to their SME customers. 

The next stage of Westpac’s digital transformation is a customer service hub that will aim to improve efficiency and support the service focused strategy. Westpac’s CEO, Brian Hartzer, also mentioned the bank’s Asian digital transformation. “We have completed technology foundations including global trade platform and core banking systems. We are now offering faster end-to-end processing,” he said. Westpac is building capabilities and capacity in Asia to “seamlessly connect” its customers to the increasing flows of global trade, capital and people between A/NZ and Asia.

I am sure from this we can see and will continue to see many companies like Westpac implement digital platforms and services within their business strategy to ensure both their position within the market and to ensure that there is a drive within consumer growth.

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

Monday, 11 May 2015

End of an era: Sex no longer sells for Abercrombie & Fitch

The winds of change are blowing through the department stores of the clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch. Established in 1892 in New York by David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch, the brand was originally a purveyor of sporting goods as well as shotguns, fishing rods and camping equipment. After filing for bankruptcy, A&F was revived in 1978 as a mail order company specialising in hunting clothing. By the early 90’s the company’s direction changed once again, this time by focusing on the youth market and targeting aspirational “casual luxury” buyers. 

Sexualised advertising has become synonymous with the retailer Abercrombie & Fitch and its offshoot brands, Hollister and Gilly Hicks. Shirtless models adore the shop front for each new store opening. Inside the store attractive All-American looking staff make the brand come alive by serving customers with shopping bags featuring the latest fashion pin ups. For almost a quarter of a century, the provocative use of advertising has helped to establish A&F as a leading fashion brand. The problem is, this tactic is no longer working.

Abercrombie & Fitch share price is in free-fall and dropped 39% in the last 12 months alone. Its merchandise appears to have lost its uniqueness and has been labelled as stale and unappealing by the millennial generation they are targeting. The company has also been criticised heavily in the media after comments made by the CEO that the brand is only for "the good-looking, cool kids".


As part of a major rebranding, the executives at Abercrombie & Fitch are looking to reposition the company and the way they interact with customers. Last week they announced that they would no longer hire employees based on their body type and physical attractiveness. Rather than be known as models, the in store staff will now become “brand representatives”. By the end of July, all sexualised images will be replaced with new advertising designed to portray a more wholesome image.

So where did it all go wrong?

As with so many other successful companies that fell on hard times, A&F simply failed to adapt to a changing marketplace. You could say they fell asleep at the wheel of a billion dollar multinational company and hoped that their reputation alone would sustain their success. They didn’t follow consumer trends or insight gained from market research until it was almost too late. It will be interesting to see if this radical change in direction can help to transformation the fortunes of their flagship stores.

Abercrombie & Fitch has already had several major changes in direction since its creation; this may be just the latest one. To be successful again they must listen to their audience and redefine the brand's image without loosing its history and legacy. If they want to continue selling to a younger audience, they must understand what is “cool” to this segment and find ways to connect to them with effective marketing. Building a better picture of their audience through gaining meaningful insights and foresights is essential in defining the brands image going forward.

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

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Forefront of Co-Creation

How can we as marketers work with consumers to co-create brand innovation ideas?

Based on the S&P 500 index of leading US Companies, Professor Richard Foster from Yale University is of the understanding that the average lifespan of a company in today’s contemporary society has decreased more than 50 years in the past century. As a comparative, companies in the 1920’s saw a healthy average lifespan of 67+ years, opposed to today’s companies averaging on 15 years.

What we as marketers need to understand is that as consumers move more rapidly, businesses must become more agile to compete, or they will die. With this being said, businesses are now taking a conscious effort to understand just how important innovation is in order to survive in the marketplace.

Founder of Melbourne based company, Brandhook, Pip Stocks, is of the belief that innovation is the key to drive growth. With that being said, innovation itself needs to be anchored in the undiscovered needs or “pain points” of consumers, and the corresponding solutions need to then be rigorously tested. As barriers fall away between brands and consumers, Brandhook encourages their clients to commit to a co-creation program.

So how can businesses quickly gather insight in a cost effective way and still have the rigor needed to build confidence in the ideas generated?

Brandhook promotes the idea of spending time with your consumers in an “online community”, where you can “hang-out” with a good representation of people who buy your product or service. Over a period of time, you gain an understanding of your consumers' lives, their needs and their attitudes and perceptions to various brands and experiences. Through observing, probing and getting your consumers to undergo a variety of tasks, Pip believes you can quickly and cost effectively gain insight that will kick-off the innovation process.

Head of Category and Insights at H.J. Heinz Company says “ Understanding our Consumers helps us to ensure big innovation is successful, which provides a key platform to deliver sustainable category growth”.

As part of the Masters of Marketing program, the Contemporary Consumer Insights class has the pleasure of listening to the inspiring Managing Director of “House of Brands”, Bryony Ranford. A concept that was discussed was the importance of research in provoking information that will generate innovative ideas. Due to the influx of technology, engagement these days has become highly fragmented and saturated, so the ability to adapt is always paramount. A key factor that resonated with me was that good consumer insights was attained by having the ability to find touch points where someone is receptive to the message you are trying to convey. It is not so much as to the “what” in marketing anymore, but the “how” and “when”.

There is a menu of different approaches we can take to build consumer knowledge, however it’s the innovation, rigour and context we need in ensuring future success.

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

Monday, 4 May 2015

The importance of personal branding

Chances are, if you don’t cultivate your own brand these days you won’t be noticed. Worse still, failure to manage your own brand could result in someone else determining it for you!

Branding has come a long way from its initial meaning as a mark of ownership, such as the branding mark you would find on cattle. It later became a guarantee of quality, as people would burn branding marks into boxes of wine. In the 1870’s trademark registration first came to prominence in America. As brands started to be trademarked, they began to signify quality and other functional benefits which could demand higher prices. 

With the invent of the mass media in the 1920’s, brand became more familiar with what we see today by giving products desirability and emotional attachment to build brand loyalty. In the 1980’s, the world began the process of globalisation that ushered in a new era of brand as a sense of identity. Everything can be branded, from companies to countries and even people.


Personal branding is so important in the modern world as it can help to build credibility and showcase your skills. Building a strong personal brand is also a useful way to connect with your target audience and leave your mark. It can help to distinguish yourself from your competition and focus your energy to help understand what you do best.

To build a personal brand, you might begin by considering what you are passionate about: what are you good at and what does the world need. By defining your brands purpose you can use it to focus your career and life and help it to become alive in the minds of others. Brands are so powerful because they exist in all of our minds, but they can change and evolve over time.

Once you have defined your brand purpose, you need to make it come alive. This could be visually through the clothes you wear or your physical appearance. How you present yourself online is incredibly important in the modern world in which we all live. However, even your choice of ringtone can influence what people think of you and your brand. So think carefully about how you want your brand to be represented and who you would like your brand to speak too.

The Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, believes “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. If a gap exists between the perception of your personal brand and the image you want to represent, you may have to consider rebranding yourself to reach your desired audience. But remember, in life you never get a second chance to make a good first impression, so make sure your brand says the right things about you.

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

Thursday, 30 April 2015

The “Special” Anzac Centenary Issue – Will this be the end for Zoo Weekly?

Blonde cover model, Erin Pash is featured on the cover of ZOO Weekly’s most recent issue marking the centenary of Gallipoli. Bauer Media publication released the issue on the Monday ahead of the Anzac Day weekend, which included a 10-page feature, an interview with Ms. Pash and a list of “100 things every Aussie should know about Gallipoli”.

In the interview, Ms. Pash was asked if she likes a man in uniform. “Yes, I do like guys in uniform. They’re bad arses, they have guns and they’re really fit and well built”, the model said. The cover, along with its inside features, have been met with criticism from both Facebook and Twitter users describing the magazines marketing as “disgusting”. It was further labeled by Mumbrella as the most unlikely tribute to the Anzac Legend in the media this week.

The Department of Veteran Affairs said ZOO weekly did not seek consent to use the word “Anzac”, which is protected by regulations that date back as far as 1921, for a “commemorative issue” of their magazine. Misuse of the term can incur penalties including imprisonment and fines of up to $51,000. According to Crikey, the department had called and emailed the men’s magazine to request that the advertising be removed.

ZOO’s controversial cover comes after Woolworths was forced to pull its online “Fresh in our Memories Anzac Day Campaign”. Target was also forced to pull three Anzac-branded products after the Department of Veteran Affairs deemed them “inappropriate”. 

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

Monday, 27 April 2015

Pret A Manger CEO reveals truth behind free coffee

Something interesting is happening in the stores of the coffee retailer Pret A Manger. Customers are being given drinks for free. Yes, you heard correctly, FREE coffee for customers!

Shoppers have been left puzzled by the apparent generosity of the fastest growing coffee chain in the UK. After placing an order, some customers have been able to walk away without payment for no apparent reason. On the face of it this sounds like all business sense has gone out the window. But in the ultra competitive world of retail coffee, Pret’s CEO Clive Schlee believes this is a great way to gain customer loyalty.

Image Source: 

"We looked at loyalty cards, but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis," said Schlee. Instead, Schlee has given permission to staff in all 288 outlets to give away free food and drinks to the customers they like the most. The curious freebies have been puzzling Pret A Manger customers for some time. It turns out that 28% of people who have purchased a coffee in their outlets have been given a free item.

This random act of kindness has caused quite a buzz on social media with much speculation as to what criteria you need to get a free drink. Schlee clarified that Pret staff can decide, "I like the person on the bicycle" or "I like the guy in that tie" or "I fancy that girl or that boy". So far the publicity has mostly been positive, but you can’t help but wonder how a paying customer might now feel after seeing another customer get their coffee for free because "they look hot".

By not adopting a traditional loyalty system, Pret A Manger would certainly be less able to collect valuable data about their customers and their spending habits. Analysis of this data can help to devise new strategies for increased profitability for the company. Breaking from the traditional mould has helped Pret to be seen as special and unique. However, they run the risk of not necessarily rewarding all of their customers equally for their loyalty.

While this certainly isn’t a traditional approach to gaining customer loyalty, it will be interesting to see if it is successful and if other companies follow this rather bold approach.

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

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Marketing the biggest fight of the century

When Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao face off on the 2nd of May, it will go down as the biggest fight of the century. Not since the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” where Mohammad Ali beat George Forman has a fight been more anticipated.

The on-off saga between the two fighters has lasted over five years, but finally we are about to see a boxing spectacle between two of the undisputed all time greats. This fight will likely go down as the highest grossing boxing event in history.

What makes this super fight so special is that it almost never happened. Major issues have arisen in the negotiations between the two camps for drug testing, the venue for the bout and the fighter’s split of purse. But one of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the marketing of this blockbuster event.

Source: HBOboxing Twitter

While Mayweather was signed to an exclusive multi million dollar PPV deal with TV broadcaster Showtime, his opponent Pacquiao held an exclusive deal with cable rivals HBO. After lengthy negotiations, the two parties were able to reach an agreement to finally make the fight happen. With two networks promoting the fight, it will be interesting to see how the marketing differs for the two boxers who are backed by the different parent companies, CBS and Time Warner. 

Not only is the self-professed promoter Floyd Mayweather the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, but he is also a marketing genius. His flamboyant spending and egotistical personality have helped to define his brand, “The Money Team”. Through his outlandish behaviour, he has become one of the best self-marketers not just in boxing, but also in all of sport. No wonder last year he was named the highest paid athlete in the world.

In contrast, Manny Pacquiao couldn’t be more different to his ultra-cocky opponent. From his humble upbringing in the Philippines, he has developed a reputation as being a generous philanthropist and ambassador for his home country. In 2010, Pacquiao was even elected to a congress position in the Philippine House of Representatives. No slouch, himself the PacMan comes in at number 11 on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes.

In the world of boxing branding is big business. This goes beyond simply name recognition of a fighter, but what they stand for in the eyes of their fans and critics. I think both men promise an all-action big time event that will be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

I, for one, can’t wait for this fight. But what I am most looking forward to is seeing how the two fighters position themselves with the support of their cable network backers.

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

Monday, 20 April 2015

McDonalds Australia transforms fast-food experience

Would you like a brioche bun, caramelized onion and fried in a wire basket with that?

The idea of inventing an inspiring a creative dish leads itself back to the food programs that have taken Australia by storm. With shows such as Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, society is increasingly becoming more experimental with “gourmet” foods and starting to be more health conscious about what ingredients are going into the food they are eating.

Fast food giant McDonalds has recognised the changing needs amongst their consumers and have developed their own build-your-own gourmet burger service, delivered by “McWaiters” on wooden boards. Lovers of the infamous burger are now able to select their “ideal” meal from a large digital screen featuring more than 20 ingredients. With an introduction of gourmet buns, multiple cheeses and extra toppings, consumers have the opportunity to create flavor combinations that suit their palate.

At a starting price of $8.95, the burgers eat more of your budget than a basic Big Mac or Grand Angus. This innovative concept by McDonalds is the beginning of transforming the fast-food experience in Australia. On top of this, McDonalds is introducing table service, allowing customers to relax with a drink while they wait for their customised burger to be freshly cooked and brought to their table.

Will this idea prove to be successful? Who knows- we will just have to wait and find out!

(Image: Herldsun)

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

Friday, 17 April 2015

Living in a world of Consumption

Today's contemporary society lives in a culture full of consumtion where one must consume in order to survive. However, if you love fashion and consuming carbohydrates, you will love this article!

New York designer Chloe Wise exhibits her artistic interests in her new collection “ Pissing, Shmoozing and Looking away”, of sculptures that look good enough to eat! Through the duality of the word consumption - defined as both an indulgence of food and a surplus of spending - Wise has created a number of sculptures based on the notions of luxury and consumptuon by recreating some of the fashion industry's most notorious merchadise with a diverse range of breads.

Wise states that she “wanted to show the parallels between the idolatry for luxury items in fashion with the equivalent importance of the commodity in the art world”.  Reimagined in pancake, toast, bagels and pastries, Wise recontextualises the pricey products as art objects intstead of purchasable goods, where food and fashion are rid of their value and become soely symbolic of the frivolity of excess.

(Source: Artnet)
Lauren Musat
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School