Thursday, 12 December 2013

Master of Marketing Receives AMI accreditation

It’s been a big year, not just for us students, but also for our degree. To close finish it all off, the Master of Marketing at the University of Sydney Business School has received accreditation from the Australian Marketing Institute. The highly respected industry body has 7300 members nationwide, and the Master of Marketing will be the second marketing degree to be accredited in Australia.

The accreditation is the outcome of a long process of preparation and has involved a team of staff members of the Marketing Discipline and the Business School. It will add another dimension of quality to this already highly regarded program offered by the University of Sydney Business School.

AMI says the key focus of the accreditation process is on providing educators with industry feedback and assistance with curriculum development to “ensure continued professional relevance for marketing graduates”.

“The quality of each marketing course will ultimately be judged by the ability of its graduates to perform at a high level in a changing and competitive business environment,” the institute says. “This requires a flexibility of approach and a commitment to a lifetime of continuing marketing education.”

The Master of Marketing Program Director in the Business School’s Discipline of Marketing, Associate Professor Pennie Frow, has welcomed the AMI accreditation describing it as “hugely important to our students, faculty and the professional marketing community”.

“It is a recognition that graduates from our Master of Marketing are equipped with the practical skills and knowledge to tackle current business issues,” Associate Professor Frow said. “Accreditation means that employers can be assured our students undertake a program of rigorous applied learning that sets them apart in the job market.”

Congratulations to all the staff and lecturers of the Master of Marketing and the Business School for this prestigious recognition. What a great way to see off the year, and be sure to keep an eye out for more on this accreditation in the new year!

Hongi Luo: Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Jamie Oliver, Woolworths, Christmas, and our very own, Amanda!

December is well and truly here. Although in the southern hemisphere we don’t get the snow and frost, it doesn’t make the festive season any less of a celebration! One of the most important elements of this time of year is food. And how lucky we are in Australia, to be spoilt for choice and quality. However, in a season of overindulgence, the need for advocates for healthy eating is more important than ever.

Enter Jamie Oliver.

Along with the masses, I’m a huge fan. So it was very exciting to see him promote fresh food messages with Woolworths this Christmas season. But it doesn’t end there. A current Master of Marketing student, Amanda Nakad, worked up close and personal with Jamie in the UK and helped pull together the whole campaign. I jumped at the opportunity to ask her some questions about Woolworths and Bringing Christmas Together with Jamie Oliver.

View the Bringing Christmas Together with Jamie Oliver television commercial.

How was it co-coordinating such a big project? Especially an overseas project?At Woolies, we believe Christmas is about sharing good food and good times with friends and family. We know Aussie expats living in the UK miss great produce from home at this important time of year, so we wanted to bring them the great taste of Australian fresh produce in Jamie’s home town! Coordinating this project was definitely a lot of fun. We haven't had a TV shoot of this scale in a while, so I was honoured to be a part of it. There was a lot to be done, but luckily we have such a great marketing team at Woolies who love to get involved, so we had a lot of help! Knowing that it wasn't in Australia meant that we had to be very well prepared in advance, and it all ran very smoothly. We are so happy with the ads! Going to London in particular was amazing; it was actually my first trip there so I tried to squeeze the tourist activities in somehow... But getting to meet and work with Jamie was definitely the highlight of the trip.

How long have you been working on this for?We have been working on this for approximately six months.

Will Jamie be hitting our shores and a Woolies store any time soon?He sure will, and we're really excited to continue working with him. Watch this space!

Can you tell us a little bit more about the logistics of phasing out the sale of caged eggs in Woolworths stores?We are working with our suppliers to support them through the transition period including long term supply contracts so they can have the confidence to invest in infrastructure changes and reducing the cost of production, in turn keeping prices affordable for our customers.

Woolworths and Jamie Oliver are such a perfect fit, especially with Woolworths being "Australia's fresh food people." What do you think is the biggest marketing benefit from partnering with Jamie Oliver?Jamie is world famous for his passion for fresh food, and as Australia's fresh food people we believe our relationship is a natural fit. Jamie loves Australia and Aussies love him, so he’s a natural choice for us. Our partnership will focus on bringing better, healthier, affordable fresh food to life for everyday Australians, giving them the information and confidence to prepare great tasting fresh meals at home. Our biggest marketing benefit is the ability to communicate the benefits of eating healthy to Aussies everywhere, and potentially change behaviour and the health of Australians.

Amanda Nakad: Current student of the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School. Amanda is also part of the Brand Strategy team at Woolworths.

Hongi Luo: Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Louis Vuitton’s lesson in sensitivity

In advertising, especially in fashion advertising, it is all about shaping the boundaries of creativity. It is all about trying to make your customers to say WOW.  In doing so, marketers and advertisers sometimes forget that there are specific sensitive areas, like the deep seeded feelings of a nation, that could turn any creative idea into a mess. In such instances, nobody can predict how promotional words, images, or even a selected media spot in an event can resonate with a particular cultures' people.

Let’s look at last week’s example when French luxury brand, Louis Vuitton (LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), placed a gigantic suitcase on Moscow’s historic Red Square. Suddenly, the massive nine-meter tall, 34-meter long Louis Vuitton trunk just materialised there. Placed just few steps from Vladimir Lenin's mausoleum. Once the first images of this mega-suitcase, branded with LV monogram, hit viral status, people hardly believed it was for real.

Photo: Reuters

Not surprisingly, it has sparked huge backlash among many Russians. I have learned from Russian media and comments amongst friends on Facebook that different social and political groups were insulted by Louis Vuitton’s performance. Some patriots were mad due to a foreign brand blocking the view of admired sites, like Lenin's mausoleum and St. Basil's Cathedral. But nearly all Muscovites simply complained for aesthetic reasons. 

It was initially intended to be a beautiful and whimsical Louis Vuitton promotional initiative – including an exhibition called "The Soul of Travel," with all profits from tickets being donated to children’s charity. However, it has now become a synonym to bad taste. The enormous Louis Vuitton suitcase was put down before the exhibition was even released.

Obviously, this Louis Vuitton performance got the attention of the Russians, but the question is whether it was for good for the brand and it’s customers. Do wealthy Russians want to associate with a brand that clearly hurt the feelings of their nation? Lack of culture research has more than just one negative outcome. In Russia, cases have always been a symbol of corruption as well as those Russian governments who have occupied the Red Square. Louis Vuitton might have just made too many wrong intentions with its gigantic case placed too close to Russian governments.

I do like Louis Vuitton for their huge effort in trying to keep people surprised, as well as their constant support and promotion of contemporary art. I was just wondering, perhaps it would be more reasonable if they had simply located that gigantic suitcase to another space. They didn’t have to offend those Russians who regard Red Square as an iconic space of national history in hosting military ceremonies during World War II. If they had simply done their research, been a bit more culturally sensitive, this whole campaign would have made the news for different reasons.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Getting happy (and getting page views) with Pharrell

Now that we’ve hit December, and the year is drawing to a close, people are either packing up shop, or preparing see the year out with a ‘bang!’ Last week, Pharrell released his song, Happy, with a world’s first 24-hour music video. I’m not going to list all of Pharrell’s achievements, but you can be sure that the singer, songwriter, producer, and business man has fit a lot into 2013. Happy is definitely Pharrell going out with bang!

Happy’s official website is still live with a constant stream of the day-long video. While I don’t think anyone will be sticking around for the whole length, I’m sure people are checking in every now and then. Checking in to see the many stars that appear fleetingly alongside seemingly everyday people. Checking in to hear the simple, yet catchy sunny tune. Checking in just to see if it’s still going!
But what has this got to do with marketing?

Maybe it’s a long stretch, but I think this project demonstrates the capabilities of a simple idea. It also shows how lines are continually being blurred between medium, artist, creation, and communication. Video art? Music video? Internet campaign? It’s a bit of everything. And Happy does it well. Somewhat utopic, the idea of people around the world watching the same video and sharing the same Happy feeling is comforting. I hope Happy brightens your mood and helps you ease into the busy holiday season. 

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.